Week 3

To the moon and stars floating in the night sky:

Tonight I saw you again. Walking back to my flat from a day of pizza sandwiched between two movies. A day well spent with ladies who have become my friends, who have shared their time with me. Their kindness has rooted me to joy here, reminded me that God does hear my prayers. It’s been three weeks, and sometimes I wonder where you’ve been.

At first, I wasn’t sure why you caught my eye. I mean you, the moon, were only half full. And you, the stars, were not that bright. It wasn’t the most extraordinary night sky I’ve ever been under. But somehow, I couldn’t help but pause and gaze into your eyes. What is it about not seeing something, not holding it for such a time, that makes it shine brighter than it truly is?

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On a landmass separated by over 3,500 miles of salty sea, the sky is all that connects me back to where I’m from. Today, on February 4th, I am glad this is so. I want to say it can be hard to be away from life at home. To not be able to give my best friend a hug on her 20th birthday. To not be able to go to the service held for Nick. A sweet guy who I count myself lucky to have had the chance to work beside. Always laughing, always kind, which can be difficult to maintain in the intense environment of a restaurant kitchen. Encouraging my sweet tooth with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream at the end of my shift after he’s already cooked my meal. But here, so far away, I’ve felt detached. Sometimes it’s like that life is on pause.

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It’s easy to forget, to be swept away in the enchantment of Scotland’s ridiculously green grass and adorable sheep with pink splattered over their wool. It’s easy to allow the separation of my physical body to pull me away from what continues on where I am not physically located. But tonight, I looked at my watch walking back to my room, saw that it was 6:30 p.m. and realized, back home, it’s 1:30 p.m. The time when the service had just begun.

I tried to hold on to that moment. So naturally, like any good tourist, I pulled out my phone and took fifteen photos. The first few were blurry, the moon a ball of white, the horizon black. I continued on but soon had to try again when the Wallace Monument came into view. A crown of light peaking over the hill of Abbey Craig. A life of 148 years, a belly of 246 steps. I wanted my picture to capture the silent awe I felt. None of them got it quite right. It’s hard to a hold moment as it is, to replay it later on. But I want to. I don’t want to forget you, the moon, the stars, hanging in the night sky. I want to write all down, every moment of this place, forge it into my brain. I don’t want to forget how you connected me to home.

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I’m here, in Scotland, and I’m falling in love. With the lightness of the air. The constant chirping of the birds, singing to warm themselves up. The relief of a blue sky sweeping away the misty clouds. The sweet friends I’m making, from Scotland and Canada, Hungary and Italy, Czech Republic and the States.

But I’m also here, in New Jersey remembering Nick. In Pennsylvania celebrating with Becca. More and more I see how a heart can extend beyond its body. Tonight, mine is with you, dancing above the Earth.

Love Always,

Alexis

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