Here we go…

One would expect that it wouldn’t take such a disproportionate amount of time. Maybe just a while after having received the result of the IB. True, possibly a bit later – no sooner than after having read the confirmation letter, or after a few days of absorbing the ultimate news.

Needless to say, such an issue is no triviality, that goes without saying; some could event need a whole week of intensive thinking in order to be able to digest the information fully. Well, it definitely couldn’t take the whole of the rest of the summer holiday, isn’t that right? Say again? Are you really saying it could? Fine, then let’s say no later than when you begin to pack for the journey… No? Even later than that? The when you end up packing even the small things that contribute to the atmosphere of you home. Or when you says goodbye to your close friends. Or to your family. When you get to the airport! When the plane takes off!! Goodness me, at the moment you land, then!!!

It has been a bit more than two whole months by now since I finished the official process matriculation at the University of Edinburgh. In fact, it really did take a lot more time than I would have ever expected to truly realise what this all actually means. This may be so because all the preceding time passed so unbelievably fast. When I first learned about Open Gate School, I thought to myself: what a beautifully unreachable dream it is to even think about going to a school in which one wears a uniform and its students go off to foreign countries to study there at their universities. In the next moment, I suddenly was wearing this uniform myself. It seems to have taken no more than just a blink of an eye, and three years of my life spent in Babice u Prahy went by, never to be returned again. Here and then, I catch myself thinking about whether I even managed to enjoy this time thoroughly. It feels like I found myself sitting the final exams before I found my feet. And then, out of the blue, I get a letter from the University of Edinburgh saying that there is a place for me to fill. You must admit yourself: isn’t it just a bit too much to understand and believe, considering whole years of life seem to turn into days and days into mere moments?

By no means do I intend to say anything untrue: when a long-awaited goal finally gets so close that one can reach it, it may be hard to comprehend the fact that the long-ago-set aim is about to arrive any minute now. The thing is that it is not particularly easy to admit this to one’s self, as it means nothing less than that one has grown another bit older, for one thing, and that a new goal needs to be set, for another. Quite fortunately, I did not have to go through this shift completely all by myself. Two of my OG comrades were to go to the same university as I, and one of them accompanied me in my journey through the air first from Prague to Cologne-Bonn and then from there to the final destination, that is Edinburgh. (The second one of these two to-me-so-dear friends was to arrive one day after our arrival to the city.) Indeed, I did not believe my own eyes when I got off the plane; I was far from willing to understand that I am no longer on the continental part of Europe. Never before had I been to the United Kingdom; now I am to live here. Wherever I laid my eyes, there I could see signs which seemingly had decided to make it the meaning of their existence to persuade me – whatever the cost – that none of this is only a product of my dreaming. Yet I was determined to remain dogged in my blissful conviction that this all is nothing more than just one beautiful weekend trip.

(Not even now that I have lived here for longer than the time of the summer holiday am I able to get rid of this weird feeling that all of this is but a temporary stay and as a matter of fact I am about to go back home any time soon. But already for quite some time, my home hasn’t been the place where I would spend most of the time; and Open Gate is no longer the second home to me either. And when it comes to Edinburgh, well, I haven’t been here long enough to feel to be home. I suppose I am going through some kind of interspace between two different ways of understanding the concept of home, and my perception of it is yet to be transformed in some way.)

The last shot that proved fatal to my vain unwillingness to accept reality as it is was the inevitable actuality that, in order to move from the airport – which naturally is situated at the far edge of the city – to the proximity of our soon-to-be new residence, we had no other choice than to take a bus, namely a double-decker. I can hardly imagine anything more British than that. By the way, when I say “to the proximity of our residence”, I am using a truly relative term. Plans of the bus lines of the beautiful city of Edinburgh apparently serve as nothing more than simply some kind of twisted decoration; one thing that these plans will not do is give you at least a piece of useful information that you normally would expect such plans to provide you with. Nevertheless, using online maps, we somehow managed to determine where approximately we ought to get off the bus. Our accommodation was (just) a few hundred metres away. (Trust me, the word “just” does not deserve to be a part of that sentence; it is necessary to bear in mind that, considering the enormous amount of luggage that we had been dragging with us the whole journey, each step required unfathomable strength by now.)

Hooray, we got there at last! We receive the keys and set off to settle in our rooms. No lift in the building. A slight heart attack after having looked at the pile of luggage and thought of how high the third floor is. The room appears to be quite spacious, with a view of the main street, deathly empty. Be it my task to turn this place into my own cosy den – I’m sorry, I mean a comforting shrine for studying. I seem to be lucky: my flatmates are really nice and square people. Three girls and two boys; four of them being Scottish, one English. However, that is not the end of the list of different nationalities sharing the same place; there are people living in this accommodation coming from all over the world. We really do form a most interesting group of individuals.

Now, the reader will pardon me for stopping at this point of my lengthy narrative. Let me say goodbye alongside with giving a promise to engage in talking about everything regarding my course of study as well as various beauties and culture of the Scottish capital in the next part of this humble testimony of mine. I mean to devote the very last words of this article to an immense thanking to The Kellner Family Foundation without which I would not even be able to write about any of this at all.


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