Given that I’ve only flown once in my entire life (to Florida), it comes as no surprise that I was borderline crippled with anxiety on the drive to the airport. I was so sure I would forget something, lose something (worst of all my sense of direction, and become lost in some way or another), or be overwhelmed to the point where I would successfully convince myself that I couldn’t do this and end up staying in the States instead. Turns out that a twenty-two-year-old can still use the company and wisdom of her mother every once in a while. At this point, I’ve made it through the baggage check, and we are officially on our way through security. There has always been a part of me that fears being questioned or accused of something I’ve not done, and under the pressure of it all, confessing to whatever is thrown at me just to avoid confrontation. So, of course, I was sweating bullets before security despite knowing I was entirely in the clear. Now for the cherry on top: as I’m waiting in line before security, I turn around and see Charlie Heaton (from Stranger Things) standing behind me! I managed to just keep it all casual as I turned and said to him “Charlie, right? Charlie Heaton?” “Aha, yes. That’s me!” Brushing it off like it’s no big deal, I said “I thought so. Cool cool.” Unfortunately, the best documentation I have of this moment is the testimony of fellow travelers in my group, and a blurry photo of his backside going up the escalator after security. We talked for a good while about his travels, my travels, the chosen study topics for my trip, etc., and that flustering moment actually ended up helping start this trip off in the best way. We took off and flew for what felt like days, we slept with our heads against the seat trays in front of us and our legs dangling off the armrests into the aisles, and we spent a significant amount of time wondering why in heaven’s name our airline served us collard greens for breakfast. It was unbelievable the way all the negativity seemed to just ascend into the atmosphere the moment we walked out of the airport. The air here is so crisp; I’m tempted to argue that it beats the first breath of Autumn back home. My classmate, Kat, told me she even cried as we landed. I can’t name a single thing that didn’t leave me believing in love at first sight. We stopped for dinner at a place called Howie’s where the daring majority of our group tried haggis for the first time (vegetarian for a few of us, including myself, of course). I’m not sure the phrase “don’t knock it until you try it” has ever been so applicable. Was it weird? Yes. Was it worth taking the risk? Absolutely. Those who tried both the vegetarian and the meat haggis informed me that the meat haggis was indeed tastier. I suppose you all will have to make your way to Scotland and be the judges of that for yourselves. Next, we made our way to Calton Hill to briefly become more acquainted with our surroundings and the layout of the area where we’re staying. Words cannot express the disbelief I had that this was not all a dream from that moment until at least our second day here—but more on our second day later. Next post, Edinburgh Castle (day two).