An offer letter from The University of Edinburgh came to her email mailbox two years ago – the girl had been conferred a place! She packed her luggage, determined to study abroad at the prestigious university and left behind all that is familiar to her: her family, her wee nephew, her friends, and her home. Everything. After 16 hours of flying on Qatar Airways, the plane started to descend, breaking through the beautiful clouds.
She was both anxious and excited. After being pampered by her parents for over 20 years, she finally flew out of the nest. She had convinced herself that it was time for her to be independent. She wondered how her life going to be, in the capital city of Scotland. Having being raised in the capital city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, she imagined every capital city to be bustling with cars and swamped with people. “Chaotic”- that is the perfect word. How wrong was her imagination? Dead wrong.
As she got off the plane, she stood in silence. Her eyes wandered in amazement - expecting the airport to be as huge as Heathrow Airport. Instead, it is a quiet construction of runways and buildings. When she stepped outside of the airport, the chilly yet refreshing wind greeted her. Her ride to her new place diminished all her assumptions of “chaotic” Edinburgh. There was no traffic congestion. At all. And the ride was peaceful, “Edinburgh, certainly not a typical capital city”, she thought to herself. She was overjoyed for the change of scenery.
The weather was so friendly and calm when she came to Edinburgh - it was summer. Trees were full of leaves and flowers were blooming. It was one of the most beautiful moments she ever felt in her entire life. She was astounded by the story of thistle - Scotland's national emblem. The thistle is covered with thorns and protected like a porcupine. It was during the invasion in the 13th century that the Norsemen (of Norse King Haakon IV) crept barefoot to surprise the Scots. They got to an area covered in thistles and one of the Norsemen stood on the thistle, squealing in pain drawing the attention of the Scottish Clansmen who defeated the Norsemen at the Battle of Largs - saving Scotland from invasion. A flower had just saved the whole country.
When she arrived, the infamous Fringe Festival was approaching its end but she got to experience the final few days of the festival which were pretty exciting. There were street performances along Edinburgh’s famous Royal Mile up to the Edinburgh Castle and bagpipes – the national instrument of Scotland – were being played. She hadn't seen that before. The girl had her first of many things in Edinburgh - the first lamb samosa from 10to10 In Delhi, first climb up the Arthur's Seat, first close look of the pretty swans at the Swan Lake, first musical theatre; The Nutcracker at Festival Theatre, first taste of the haggis from Zaza’s at Grassmarket, first Scottish tablet (sugar!), and it doesn't stop there!
Everything is so beautiful in Edinburgh. It is the divine city she has tattooed in her heart. The city that the girl has fallen in love with.
That girl is me and this is my story. xx Nadira
Nadira is a 1st year BioEngineering student - come back to hear more from her!