Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Ode to Dundee

It’s been almost 5 years since I took my first megabus to Dundee. I was coming from Aberdeen where I had been visiting the campus and said to my Mom “the other places are going to have to be preeetty awesome to beat this!” I got off the bus in Dundee and asked the first person I saw for directions to High Street. He was super hot and friendly. Immediately I thought “It’s a sign!” But I received a lot of signs there. The next day I visited the campus, the sun was blasting although it was February and a certain man called Dr Alex Wright showed me around who would turn out to become my advisor a few months later. The strongest sign, however, was just feeling it. Everything felt right and I could just see myself living there. It was like meeting a man and knowing you could fall in love with him, without knowing why. With people they call it the spark. Dundee had it.

Everyone who’s been will know exactly what I mean because there is nothing to like about Dundee, yet everyone who studied there did. It was a sweet life I had there. Maybe it’s the lack of expectation anyone would have coming to Scumdee, then realizing it’s really Fundee all along. I was particularly lucky to also be enrolled in the best course anyone could study. I genuinely never doubted it, not even the day I got my first assignment back which I got an F on. I just sat on my butt and said to myself “Boom, I’ll show ya, you can’t love this more than me!” And I made that F an A. I sat on the geek table and was part of “the Politburo”, a self-named study group full of Russian Politics losers, me being their most pathetic example. At the same time I took the dance floor apart every Tuesday, walking home with my chips & cheese because you can walk anywhere in Dundee. Except to the movies. To see a movie you needed a friend like Steven who has a car.

Undoubtedly, like any place, the people made it. In my three years there I never really met anyone I didn't like. The people I didn't like were dead easy to ignore and nobody was even so bad you would have had to. Dundee’s student body had a collective passion for focusing on the right things. There are no fun clubs in Dundee so the longer we’d been there we realized it would have to be a house party to entertain us. And at house parties you feed from the energy of the people. There was a lot of energy at a Taymills party, let me tell ya. During the day there was exactly one place to go. A place that held all my friends for the majority of the time: the Library. I spent a lifetime in there and I even took the train back to Dundee when I studied in Glasgow to write in that God sent place. Three beautiful levels that provided a fantastic little break walk looking for someone you knew, and it would never take longer than 20 seconds until you found someone to sit in the cafe with for an hour or five. Because almost everyone at Dundee was on the same page, and that page was awesome.

Now I was particularly lucky because for the majority of my time there, and far beyond, I hung out with my favorite boy Conor who is about the best person to know when you don’t like boredom. There are two weeks in the year Conor’s availability is limited around exam time, and even then he was usually up for a pint. It’s safe to say I would have been bored a lot more without that guy. But of course he’s not the only one. I accumulated a bunch of pretty awesome people and for the first time understood when people ridiculously chant “I have the best friends in the world”. Some were good for lunch, some were good for a party, and some were good for a good conversation about how much my boyfriends annoyed me. All these people stuck with me when I moved to Glasgow and they were the ones laughing at me when I returned like every other week to sit in the library or have Chili Beef Nachos at Tonic.

When I graduated, however, I was ready to go. I had just broken up with my boyfriend and he was a dick to me. I couldn't wait to get away. I was therefore pretty vocal about how my awesome new life was waiting at the West Coast. When Glasgow turned out to just not be an awesome place at all I returned all the time and looked like a huge hypocrite. A couple of months ago I was then confronted with the decision to actually go back to Dundee permanently for a job. A guy was really everything that drove me away the first time, and the first time I came back after moving back to Germany was also partially because of a guy, at least at the time I planned it. I wonder if having an actual boyfriend there would have swayed my decision not to go back because by the time I arrived back there in November I already knew that the boy I came to see had found a more (geographically) compatible lovebird, thinking I didn't know of course but I ain't blind. However, I’m glad he had because I don’t think I would have rejected the job if I had actually had someone to like in Dundee. And neither that relationship nor the job had any future or potential to make me happy in the long run, and I had known this for a while. It was hard to accept but I realized I had taken from Dundee all there was to take: the best memories, the best character I could have and an education that would take me way further than Dundee. It had come to a natural end.

If I had a dime for every time I said Goodbye to Dundee I’d be a rich bitch these days. The last time I did it though was the first time I felt I meant it. I never once wanted to leave because Dundee is sort of home but people leave home to pursue bigger things all the time, and this is mine. I never wanted to be back in Germany and I definitely don’t feel like I should be. However, Dundee is definitely not the place I need to be either. All good things come to an end and burden your heart after. All I know is that Dundee will forever stay in mine and I should not corrupt that and leave it at that. I'm curious to see how successful I will be in that task...

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