What Scotland has taught me so far
As I mentioned before, I have moved to Scotland around two years ago. I spend most of my time here, except for four-five months of holidays in Moscow with my family, since I am a student. However, I do not experience homesickness as much as my fellow students do, as at this stage a small town of St Andrews has turned into my "real" home. At this moment it feels on time to talk about this experience and what it has taught me about my ideals, goals, and weaknesses.
sep 16 / on a train to Edinburgh
- Plans are good, but improvisation is often better
As a matter of fact, the whole idea of moving to a new country for education came out of nowhere. I had already dived into studying management and was about to finish my first year in university. This was not working well for me. As dissatisfaction was growing, I decided to have a not-so-serious talk with my family - and in the next two days I informed my previous university that I want to leave. However, it was not enough to break the habit of making plans for myself on big and small scales. This led me to disastrous mistakes as I was afraid of failing my own expectations. So far I have realized that this is probably the most toxic type of pressure a person can create for oneself. If I had decided to keep up with my initial plans two years ago, I would have still studied management in Moscow and felt miserable. If I had not decided to go for a walk with my friend yesterday, I would not have seen one of the most beautiful sunny townscapes. No one can give me a guarantee that sticking to an initial plan will inevitably lead to greater good; sometimes life is too unpredictable for any forecasts.
- My surroundings are not something I cannot live without, they are something I get used to
As a city person, I could hardly imagine majority of my life being spent in such a small and quiet place as St Andrews (I know that even smaller towns exist, but this is the furthest I've gotten so far). To be honest, reorganizing the pace of my life took me a while and it is still not as smooth as I would wish, but it did not turn out to be impossible. I understand that for some people the community or the size of the place play an important role for their careers or well-being, but as a teenager, I would be even skeptical about moving from a flat to a house - and look at me now. Definitely worth trying.
nov 16 / Anna
- If people are "different" - it does not mean there can be no place for them in my life
This is a tricky point, because I think it is only possible to be unbiased to a particular extent - but the limit has definitely increased for me after having to meet new people in a completely new environment. My prejudices about styles and cliques naturally stopped working after I left my home city - and this is great, since it allowed me to find wonderful friends in people whom I would probably not consider worthy before.
- I don't need as many things!
This is probably the most visible conclusion I have come to so far. Having to pack and unpack each semester and to move from one accommodation to another made me extremely enthusiastic about getting rid of useless stuff, although for my whole life I used to consider myself a hopeless trash collector. Did I close my eyes and turn away in tears almost each time I had to throw away an expired (and generally helpless to start of) face cream? Yes. Do I regret any of that? No.
oct 16 / Rector's Cafe
However, not everything is as hunky-dory as it might seem. I decided to make the last two points a little bit more down-to-earth to make the whole thing balanced.
- Changing the place does not make a person happier on its own
I naturally had high expectations about living in Scotland and studying art history here. But as I settled, it became evident that it's still just life, with its difficulties and drawbacks. One can be inspired by breathtaking cliffs and hilly landscapes, but it does not mean that seagulls are annoying and walking to the top of the Old Town in Edinburgh is exhausting, especially in a rush. This leads to a piece of advice that I would definitely give to anyone who wants to emigrate to another country in a search for better life: a change of scenery on itself does not bring unconditional and stable happiness. If anything, it ruins such hopes and makes problems even more difficult to sort out.
dec 16 / Taste, North Street
- It is normal to be unhappy
This is not merely a repetition of the previous point, although very close to it. Despite judging the change of location as something productive and positive, I still sometimes feel lonely and depressed. This does not mean that something is wrong with the town where I live, or that something is wrong with me. I don't want to get into the whole optimistic talk about "without sadness you cannot understand the happiness" - being sad sucks. However, it does not mean that I am a "broken" human. It is just a condition of life and I have to deal with it.
If you are still reading - thank you and forgive my English!
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