One day in the middle of September 2007, I woke up at half past four in the morning and set off from my parents house to catch the rail replacement bus service to Scotland.
My application to the University of Glasgow had been on the flimsy grounds that Scotland was one of the few places to have not yet turned me down, and I had accepted their offer on something not much more than a whim. I arrived in the city in the still early hours of that Sunday morning to an already autumnal chill and a sense of not quite knowing what I’d got myself into.
That was ten years ago today.
In New Zealand, the Maori people have a word, “turangawaewae”. Its literal translation is “a place to stand”, but there isn’t really a word for it in English. It means our places of being. The places where we feel connected to and the places we are empowered by. It is about how we choose to define ourselves. It means belonging and tribe. It means home.
So, here’s to you, Glasgow.
My dear green place.
To your streets and bridges and waterways.
To the place where I found out who I am, and where I’ve learned to be who I want to be.
To strangers who became friends. To friends who became family. To the people who have made it worth it.
To tears and laughter and memories.
To the mountains and the air. To the spires on Great Western Road. To fish and chips on the beach in Largs. To the sun that shines on Loch Lomond. To the burning orange sky setting over the Clyde and rising from a hospital window.
To battles fought and won. To battles still to fight. To a world changed.
To the city that people make, from one who was taken in and made one of its own.
My heart belongs to you.