A fond farewell to the Fringe

Emma '15 says a bitter-sweet "see you later" to a wonderful experience.

I tried to write this last night. I really did. But looking through the pictures from our trip, combined with my body clock still insisting it was four in the morning instead of eleven at night made it impossible to get anything done. I was too tired and melancholy.

In all honesty, I wasn’t ready to leave Scotland, and I know my fellow travelers felt the same way. My parents say that’s the sign of a good vacation, and I see where they’re coming from, but it doesn’t change the fact that boarding the plane home was one of the hardest things I’ve done in a long time.

I’ve been thinking of what I could say in this blog post since the moment we left on the bus to get back to Peddie. Sometime this afternoon, I realized there is no real way for me to describe how this experience changed me. I can’t bring you back in time to join us on our morning runs, or trek up to Arthur’s Seat, past the impossibly sky-high hills and jagged rocks that lead to one of the most astounding views I have ever laid eyes on. I can’t grab your arm and lead you through the crowded streets of Edinburgh. I can’t guide you up the Royal Mile and watch as you are approached by hundreds of beautiful people; some wearing colorful costumes, others dancing on their toes between the tourists, others singing so loudly that their voices rang through the entire street, but each one pouring their heart into their work.

You could almost feel the passion radiating off of them as you walked. Their enthusiasm was contagious. Without realizing it, my friends and I were carrying piles of flyers, all of them making us wish we could stay in Scotland for months, laughing together and seeing play after play until we were too tired to keep our eyes open. I can’t give you my memories, or help you see through the eyes of my friends as we sat watching Chalk About; a play that was inexplicably fascinating. Every one of us was completely pulled in and enthralled by the dancing and the complexity of the actors’ life stories which, for one of them, was told entirely in German, yet as easy to understand as if he was speaking English. I can’t perform the play Thrill Me for you, so you would know what it was like to be chilled to the bone for an entire hour as goose bumps crawled up your arms and you edged towards the end of your seat. I can’t describe the overwhelming happiness we felt after talking to some of the actors in person, or sitting in the stands of the Tattoo, shivering from the cold but not caring at all as we clapped along to the sound of bagpipes and steel drums.

What I can do is give you advice. I can tell you that our experience at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival was one none of us will ever forget. We made lasting friendships, built our confidences, and saw some of the most humbling works of art in the world. Do not make the mistake of missing this opportunity. At some point in your lives, whether you are an arts student or not, go visit the Fringe. Bring your families. Bring your friends. Do not deprive yourselves of having the same experience we did. If you go, I can promise you will come back a new person. You will see things that redefine beauty and meet people that change the way you view different cultures. But most importantly, you will meet people who are almost impossible to leave.
Our last night at the Fringe was bittersweet. As we gathered in the boys’ dorm lounge and laughed together as we tackled each other and sung songs on the couches, I couldn’t help but think of how much we would all miss each other. The rest of the summer wouldn’t be the same without JR’s humor, Katie’s willingness to step up and lead, Alex’s bubbly personality, Felicity’s unbelievable acting skill, Josie’s ability to approach any situation with a level head and calm demeanor, Kelsie’s curiosity and enthusiasm, Catherine’s intellect and kindness, Cassie’s eagerness to explore, Chet’s willingness to make friends, and of course, Mr. Jaski’s and Ms. Sherman’s passion for the arts. For those two weeks, these people helped me forget all of the stress and worries that I had left behind in America. We made new friends, and the connections that we made to Scotland and its people made it nearly impossible to say goodbye. Instead, I decided to do something that my mom has told me to do ever since I was little.

Never say goodbye. It’s too permanent. Instead, say “see you later,” because real friends can never actually be separated, no matter how far away they are. 

Addendum: Kelsie '16 was so touched by Emma's kind words about everyone in the group, that she wanted to be sure something was included about Emma too!

From Kelsie '16:  Let's not forget about Emma, with her motherly instincts and ability to take the reins and lead the group where we needed to go. At the same time, she was silly and fun - we'll all remember her reaction whenever we came across an actor on The Mile! Thank you for always having your camera at the ready to capture the wonderful moments and create memories.  See you later. :)