The Friendship Struggle and Triumph

The Struggle

I was, for most of my eighth grade year, very excited about moving to Scotland the next year. I didn’t really have a group of friends to hang out with, and that made my school days pretty lonely an uninteresting for a long time. However, in later months of the school year, I was able to make several good friends (including a friend I already knew, who I grew closer with)! This made me sadder to come here, as I was leaving the first friends I’d had in almost a year.

Me and three friends the day of 8th grade graduation. From the left: Ryland, Me, Dan, and Shahriar.

I also knew I was leaving my stable friendships that I’d always had at my church, and my more recent yet very close friendship with Somee, also a church friend and fellow nerd.

This made me very sad for the first couple of months in Scotland, especially as most of the kids my age who attend my church to go the private school together, so the conversations are often about things and people I’ve never heard of. However, I went to a 3-day Bible meeting thing for teens at the very start of our stay here, in the summer before school started, where I met some nice older boys. This is good because I do still have some people to hang out with after church and stuff, though they’re not at every church event. Speaking of which, that happens at our church’s youth group too, as everyone who goes to it except me and my siblings go to the private school together!

I also struggled making friends in school for a while, at first so badly that I asked my mom to look into other options like switching me to the private school, homeschooling again, or attending an alternate school. The first couple weeks in school, I didn’t have anyone to hang out with, although of those older boys the only one who goes to my school did come over and look at my schedule with me once. That was nice of him.

For the first three-ish months, my life was like this – go to school, feel lonely, and come home to get in bed and spend time alone.

The Triumph

But, slowly and surely, things did begin to get better.

First, I met Sophia. She’s lived in America, Brazil, and the Netherlands throughout her life and speaks all three languages fluently! Seeing as neither of us have a friend group and didn’t know much about Scotland and aren’t Scottish and have a lot of classes together, it was pretty perfect that we were both here at the same time to run together.

Sophia and I.

I also joined a youth group which one of the other older boysย invited me to. I like this one a lot more, especially since many of the people who go there attend my school! I have lots of fun here and I’ve made friends among the other kids.

The Youth Group Christmas party!

Some of the other girls in the youth group invited me to go to a Bible study with them on Tuesdays. That’s Connect, a Young Life International group. I also really love this group, both for the girls in it and the enlightening study time we get to spend together. It was one day when I was there that I started to realize that I would miss people in Scotland, like Sophia and the girls in this group. Then I went on a weekend away with them, where I discovered there was also a boys’ Connect group run by Clay (leader of Young Life International for I think just Fife but I’m not sure). That was really fun. Here are some pictures of the Connect girls at various times, including on the trip.

The Connect trip. Joy (yellow sweater) did my hair ๐Ÿ™‚
More of the Connect girls. There will be lots of Connect/Youth Group/Young Life photos because a) I love them and b) we’re never all in one place!
When some of the Connect girls (and I invited Sophia) went to Jannettas!

It was through this that I found out about Club! Club is on Wednesday nights in Tayport, and is a big get-together for all the Young Life Fife kids, specifically that go to my school. This is how I got to meet kids who aren’t in the Connect groups or youth group. I’ve only been to Club twice, because it’s the same night as my parents’ Bible group with the church and one of the three of us has to babysit Jesse and Mary Ella (usually me), but I would absolutely love to get to go more often.

Christmas-themed club! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

Now that I’ve adjusted, I absolutely love the friendships and social life that I have in St Andrews. I have never had the types of opportunities that I’ve had before like Connect, Club, and Youth Group. Doing things like going to panto with Young Life are my favorite part and one of the things that I’ll miss most when I have to go home. In the meantime (while I try to convince my parents to let me stay in St Andrews for an extra year), I’m going to be doing my best to make the most of my time here with all the great people I’ve met, many unfortunately not pictured here. I’m ending the post with some more photos though!

My friend Aimee, the time we rode a double-decker bus together, ft. dark-in-the-afternoon Scottish winter!
That time on the Connect trip when Joy and I (and other helpers) stuck a lot of glowsticks in her hair. I don’t remember the exact number, but it was in the hundreds!
Angus, the Connect mascot, wearing his Young Life bracelet. He is a highland cow with a very Scottish name!

This post could also be called “all the reasons I don’t want to leave Scotland”, except I don’t have photos of everyone. ๐Ÿ™ ๐Ÿ™

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3 Comments

  1. Alison | | Reply

    Hi Addy,
    I loved your post! It’s very brave to put yourself out there in a new country, school, youth group, etc. and hang in there long enough to find real friends. I’m so happy for you! And I totally understand not wanting to leave ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you enjoy every minute of the time you have left. Say hey (Southern talk) or hiya to Mary Ella and Jesse and your folks.
    Happy New Year!
    love,
    Alison

  2. Mary Pat Dixon | | Reply

    Hi Addy,

    It is wonderful news that you are finding socialization in your new surroundings. It takes a lot of courage to confront people you don’t know and become one of them. I know, because I’ve done it a number of times. Keep up the friendliness. Your buddies can visit you here in Arlington, maybe.

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