Reflection #1: a “thank you” list

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I’m really terrible at goodbyes, so I’m trying to break down my thoughts a little bit as I prepare to head home after three and a half months on exchange. I wouldn’t even be here without the hand-holding, help, and support of so many people I’m lucky to have in my life. These people deserve a massive “thank you,” which is particularly appropriate now as it happens to be the holiday season. If any of you are reading this post, know that I love you and I wouldn’t be where I am today without you in my life.

In no particular order:

My mum – she’s been my #1 fan for 21 years, and without her love, support, and confidence in my abilities, I’d be nowhere in life. I hope I can be even half as good a mum to my kids as she’s been to me; I admire her tremendously.

My sister – she may communicate her love mainly through bad-angle Snapchat selfies, and she may be more than six years younger than me, but the girl is wise beyond her years and I really admire so much about her. Every day, I feel lucky and proud to be her big sister, and every day I think of another thing to annoy her with when I get back home. She truly is my best friend.

My dad – the original University of Edinburgh student of the family; he has always been supportive of my desire to come here and always wants to know how my courses are going. I hope I’ve made him proud by not only doing my exchange here, but now desperately wanting to come back to do a postgraduate degree.

My entire extended family in Scotland – they picked me up from the airport, they housed me, they fed me, they texted to check in, they’ve had me to stay twice more, lent me towels and pillows, and celebrated my birthday early. They are here to remind me of my lifelong connection to this country that’s become a second home.

My entire extended family in Canada (and elsewhere) – without the promise of a traditionally untraditional family Christmas, leaving Edinburgh would be a lot harder. However, since I love Christmas really a lot, and I love my wacky family even more, I’m feeling suddenly homesick and excited for a belated birthday and a Bake Off-themed Christmas dinner, plus stockings full of funny, worthless treasures.

My flatmates here in Edinburgh (including our honourary flatmates) – Flat 3(05), Tribe Iglesias etc., etc. – I love these girls ever so much, and I know that this isn’t the last time we’ll see each other. When you’ve seen each other first thing in the morning, last thing at night, exhausted, drunk, stressed, excited, hangry, bloated, and everything in between, it’s hard not to be friends for life.

My Vancouver roommate – she knows I love her because I keep tagging her in stupid memes on Facebook, but seriously, this girl was my emotional support system for eight months, and just because we’re not currently cohabitating doesn’t mean I don’t still think of her as my honourary sister.

My Brownie co-Guiders in Edinburgh – they made me feel welcome straight away, and I really think this is a testament to the power of Guiding. In 145 countries, I could find a unit and feel at home, but I’ll definitely miss working with this team and these girls!

My Brownie co-Guiders in Vancouver – I’ve missed them, it’s been great to hear from them, and I look forward to returning to them. I am forever grateful that they were willing to take on extra work while I was gone!

My Vancouver friends – anyone who has reached out to me, know that it is appreciated. If you’ve listened to my rants and various emotional breakdowns, you are a peach. I don’t take it for granted.

Noteorious – my acafamily, just a group of dorks who enjoy making music with their mouths. It’s been a pleasure to work with them and I am so excited to hear them continue to improve via the Internet. I almost didn’t audition because I knew how competitive it would be, and I was a little apprehensive when I went to a pub crawl having never met them before, but I had amazing luck.

Everyone in the UoE Female Voice Choir – singing with these ladies was amazing; before this, I wasn’t a great lover of treble-only choirs, but the sheer joy of this group really bleeds into their singing. They are destined for great things!

Anyone else who’s been a part of my journey, from the Go Global team at UBC, to the Ubyssey editors who published my monthly pieces, to the faculty at both UBC and UoE, thank you. To every barista who’s made me a coffee and every flight attendant who’s brought me a bland ‘special diet’ meal, to every person who’s smiled at me on the street or asked what my name was, thank you.

I am so lucky to be surrounded by this many people who are rooting for me. The senioritis is real, folks, but while my exchange journey may be ending, I know my time in Edinburgh isn’t over for good. I just have to finish this degree first (so I can forever tack unnecessary letters onto my name to prove that I finished something, finally). I couldn’t have done it alone. <3