Well, our last full day in Edinburgh is ending, and it saddens me to realize that our time here is coming to a close. Ten days is certainly longer than any vacation I have been on before, but it just doesn’t seem like enough time in this great city. Already today we have said our good-byes to Greenside Parish, where we have been having classes, Dr.Tacky, another professor from Concordia, and the lovely ladies from the Office of Global Education. All of these farewells today being difficult enough, I am not sure I am ready to take on saying good-bye to an entire city tomorrow.
Coming here, the professors stressed the importance of not just having a typical tourist experience while our stay here in Edinburgh. They spent a lot of time assisting us in this pursuit, arranging meetings with people from within various parts of the community, and teaching us methods of observing an environment in a more revealing sort of way. With the importance of having an authentic experience in mind, we have so far met, as formerly mentioned in some of the blogs, with a professor, a protest group, a tour guide, a youth development group, and a pair of senior citizens. Meeting with all of these groups has revealed much about the current political and social structure of Scotland, and Edinburgh especially. However, with more left to discover, we today set off to meet and have lunch with a few members of the local Pakistani Society.
Over a lunch composed of some of some of the most delectable Indian food I have ever had the fortune to experience, the rest my travel-mates and I got a chance to learn about what the Pakistani Society does, and about the significance of Eastern-Asian emigrants to Edinburgh. A hard-working part of the community since around the 1960’s, the emigrants, with the help of the Pakistani Society, function as a very integral part of Edinburgh.
After lunch, we were free to spend the remainder of our last day in whatever way we wanted. It would have seemed fitting to try to see at least one more of the the amazing attractions that bring tourists to Edinburgh. Instead, my last day was spent doing quite ordinary things, that if I lived here, would happen on a routine basis. Instead of seeing a castle, or a panda, or an extinct volcano, on my last full day I did things like pick up my laundry, buy more minutes for my phone, go to a movie, and go out to enjoy a pint. In this way, I almost feel as if I have achieved a little of what our professors have been teaching us to do. Partaking in these, perhaps average, experiences, I have begun to feel just a little like a local.
Knowing that we have experienced Edinburgh on a level deeper than the average tourist, it is time to move on do the next part of our journey. However, as I leave, I won’t say I am off to see the world, as that no longer seems a fulfilling enough experience. Rather, I will say that I am off to become a part of the world. If all I wanted to experience with travel was seeing new things, I could save a lot of money by looking at a picture. With this new perspective in mind, and some freshly washed socks, I am ready to take on the next step and say good-bye to Edinburgh.