New friends and old grief

June 23, 2017

Our first workday in Edinburgh, Walt and I made a friend. Ok ok, in reality, she made friends with us. After we sat across from her at the Melting Pot coworking office space, I complemented her NPR tee shirt (I’m traveling around with the same one), and we walked into the same pakora restaurant for lunch, she put up her hands and said “Ok, I want to know your story. I’m Sam.”

As it turns out, Sam is a freelance designer, entrepreneur, podcast producer, and general bad ass from Austin, Texas. She too is on a year of traveling and working abroad, visiting Brazil and Peru before making her way to Edinburgh. It was really easy to chat with Sam, mainly due to her genuine curiosity and infectious enthusiasm, but also due to the fact that she appeared to have a lot of the qualities I had hoped to foster in my self during this year abroad: self reliance, confidence, and an international network of designers she’s cultivated along her travels.

Long story short, the lady is really cool and I kinda want to be her when I grow up.

After lunch the three of us made our way back to work. As the afternoon was wrapping up, Sam forwarded me a link to an anime film premiering at the Edinburgh International Film Festival later that week. “We should totally go.”

A week later and with three tickets acquired, we met back up with Sam at an awesome bar for some tasty microbrews before heading to the Odeon theater to watch a film called “This Corner of the World”. The movie was beautiful, combining motifs of watercolor and illustration into a stunning depiction of conventional life in Japan in the years leading up to the bombing of Hiroshima.

I really enjoyed hanging out with Sam, a fellow traveler and lover of the arts, but I wasn’t in a super great place as we said our goodbyes after the film. Watching “This Corner of the World” pulled me right back to our travels this January, tear stained and emotionally raw walking out of the Peace Memorial in Hiroshima. To be honest, I was surprised that a film snapped me back into that remembered emotion so forcefully, as if we were just there yesterday.

It made me wonder what impressions this trip is leaving on me. I know I’m different now, but how have I changed? And how will these experiences and new relationships shape who I am when I return home?

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