Friday, May 27, 2016

Scotland 2016: Returning To The Country That Made Me... Or Did It?

It's been over 800 days until I stepped on the green grounds of Scotland. The last time I was fortunate enough to be in Scotland I had no idea I would soon be living in Egypt, deprived from all the things that make Scotland the best country in the world: the freshest air, the nicest people, a culture of music and merriness and, of course, an abundance of green, my favorite color. And before I went to Egypt I didn't even know what a life without all these things would be like. I loved Scotland then, and now, after my forceful absence, I was genuinely overwhelmed to grace the green grasses again. Every step was a gift. Every breath was a revelation. The past week in Scotland showed me that having a wonderful past is as important as having a rosy future. And for now, the present is a treat because both of them look pretty fantastic...

With my professional overhaul hopefully being underway, a small "break" (not like I stopped working) in Scotland was better than a two week vacation in the Caribbean for me. I don't need to relax (actually, yes, I really do need a freaking break, hopefully next week) but to make myself the most positive person I can be. I have huge challenges ahead of me I can't hope to tackle if I don't become the best version and me. And what better way to do that than to remind myself of my past and how far I've come. In fact, wandering my old campus in Dundee, remembering how happy I once was as a student, made me realize that I would never find happiness in that again. Today, more is needed to make me feel successful than a good grade. And as a result, I noticed for the first time that my ambition had taken me where I am now, and hopefully even further next week. I didn't even know I was ambitious...

At the same time, it was ridiculously easy to find happiness in the smallest things. Just walking up to the campus from the train station, looking at my old life and admiring all the lovely flowers that were planted to delight smiling people living a life I hope to live too one day, made me tear up. I don't think that Egypt is a horrible country through and through, but to deny I was never really as happy as I was here in Scotland would be foolish. In comparison to Scotland, it seems, everything sucks, especially for me. After three years I walked in and had delicious lunches and wine with the best friends I ever had and went to dance with people I had barely talked to, only to find that this part of my life will never change. The feeling one gets when they experience genuine friendship is pretty unbeatable, and thanks to Scotland I can claim I have made it...

Consequently, Scotland gave me the biggest gifts I ever received, and thanks to my development in the years that followed living in Scotland, I learned to appreciate them more. After two years of not having a few things around, grass turns greener, friendships grow stronger and, most importantly, my appreciation for things that were once taken for granted have now become true blessings. For this, I have to thank Egypt as much as Scotland, but it is in Scotland that my adult life, my career and my actual development as a human being started, and being back this week showed me how I am now a person "in progress" rather than a person at the start of a new journey. I am no longer at the start. Scotland was the start, and I can't even see the start anymore. Although I still love Scotland, the person I was then has ran along quite a bit, and to return to the start would be stupid, right? As a result, I see that Scotland gave me a good boost but I'm no longer
a "beginner".

Evidently, not everyone will have these feelings when they visit Scotland, and yet I believe that Scotland does this to all people: friendly people change everyone, stunning countrysides amaze everyone and a nice whisky refreshes everyone's palates; and they literally hand you whiskey when you arrive at the airport, I'm not even kidding. Scotland is a small, insignificant country that isn't very good at anything, doesn't produce world-class athletes except for Andy and matters to nobody on an international stage, however, its people love and appreciate it without closing their eyes to the things that have to improve. But they want to improve, because they love their country. Most of the young want it to be independent to show the world they can do better (whether they can is another question...). Scotland is the country where beauty and friendliness still matter, and that's why it is a wonderful country, not just for me!

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