All I Want for Christmas is Tea and Marmite

Fall Quarter is complete and so is 2019. What a brilliant year… for me, one that started in Edinburgh; a city that I love, not only for its beauty, bagpipes and bad weather, but also for the people who I share it with. Here we are, welcoming in the new decade – one that I know will be a good one. I am excited to continue my journey here in Santa Barbara, a place that is blessed with sun, sea and serenity. Having been home, for a wonderful Christmas with my family and friends, I wanted to take the opportunity to write on this space again. Maybe some of you are experiencing the well – known January blues or maybe you are not. Regardless, I hope that you enjoy this post and that you are keen to take on 2020!

I am in this moment, enjoying a cuppa whilst watching the sunset over the glorious Pacific – utter bliss and two actions I thought would never go together! Winter Quarter feels well underway now, with week 1 complete. New classes means new classrooms that I need to find on campus… it is easy to feel new again and for nostalgia from September to return. I was somewhat anticipating returning to California in January – after sliding back into life at home, I was worried that I would struggle having to leave again. I was so excited to see my family and to experience Hogmany with my beautiful friends in Edinburgh – that I couldn’t help but feel sad that it was over. Christmas was over. It is so normal to feel this way, I told myself over and over on my return flight – and it’s true, homesickness is very normal. I just remember what I learnt during the Fall and I am eager to get back into California Dreaming.

Now I am back, I am happy. Jet lag has subsided and I am back on track. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at home and appreciate my family every day – but adventure awaits and my time living in the States feels like it is still only just beginning. I have some exciting plans for the next 6 months. This time next week, I will be reunited with Sal, my best friend from Edinburgh who is living in Seattle, for a long weekend in LA. I am going to get scuba qualified and will head to Catalina Island for a scuba trip in Spring! I turn 21 in less than a month, a birthday that is taken very seriously in the US, and it is less than two months until I run the Los Angeles Marathon, inspired by my Dad who ran the same race 30 years ago! My first triathlons are coming up too and I have planned a visit to Seattle with some Edinburgh friends and also a visit to Vancouver to visit an old school friend who is spending the entirety of her university career at The University of British Colombia. Moreover, my Dad, sister and some best friends are planning visits to the West Coast… so all good things to look forward to.

Homesickness is part of life, and although it is hard sometimes, the way I look at it is that it shows just how much the people in your life matter to you – so really it is a positive. I accept that I will miss home sometimes; I miss walking my dog on Wimbledon Common and spending hours with my sister doing everything and nothing at all. That being said, I am eager to make more memories with my friends here, who I will definitely miss when I return to British soil. So, I won’t cry because the holidays are over, I’ll be sure to be happy that they happened and that I was lucky enough to spend Christmas with my truly brilliant family.

The sun has almost set now… my favorite time of day. I know that I will long for these beautiful sunsets when I am back home, so will do my upmost best to appreciate them in the meantime. Until then – bring on the new year and make sure to enjoy every moment. I know I will. I am surrounded by people that make me happy, the endless ocean and mountains and love, support and guidance from back home… plus, I have an abundance of tea and marmite to last me a lifetime!

I just can’t get enough… proof that the sunsets here are gorgeous.

Categories: INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE, North America, USA

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