Photo supplied by Jose Rosario-Cordero
In 1998 the U.S. Senate declared April 6 to be National Tartan Day, recognizing the contributions made by Scottish-Americans to the United States. This past April 6th, several Outlander fans and I made our way to Bryant Park to listen to the opening ceremony of this year's Tartan week. I have never sat front row to anything let alone to bagpipes and drums but I've got to say that the rhythm seeps into your veins and illuminates you from within. You can't help but smile. This was an incredible feeling to start off tartan week, and having Outlander involved was the cheese on the pizza (keeping it New York).
Photo supplied by Joi Acuña
What does a person think while sitting at the park, surrounded by friends, enveloped by beautiful Scottish music, a shining sun and chirping birds?? It was one of many moments where you appreciate the atmosphere and commit it to memory before it floats away with the wind. With the announcements over, the sample beer tasted, we Outlander fans embarked on our fangirl journey.
As an Outlander fan the obligation to find Sam Heughan and squee away the day was not lost on this fan girl. I squeed at the Apple Store as Sam entered, I was so excited. I squeed at the AOL meet-up. I squeed at the ‘Live with Kelly and Michael’ show when Sam's name was mentioned. I also squeed at the hotel room while watching ‘Live with Kelly and Michael’ show when Sam was on the show the next day. I squeed at the parade as I marched by him. I squeed at the Times Square jumbo tron tv when an Outlander commercial came on. Hopefully I did Outlander proud with my squeeing. My vocal chords are currently taking a break to heal until the airing of the next Outlander episode.
Photo supplied by Joi Acuña
As much fun as fangirling can be there was a moment during the Céilidh, hosted by the Caledonian Club, that will remain with me forever.
To say that there were a lot of people in the room would be an understatement. However as the bagpipers entered and the presentation of the haggis started I looked around the room to the unfamiliar faces. The love of this tradition was palatable on each one of their smiles. I then realized that when you can viscerally feel the joys and pains of a culture that is different from your own, you cease to see the nations of the world as separate entities but as a community. And an amazing thing happens, you don't feel different any longer. You feel connected. You’re not an outlander. Which I suppose answers my previous question of what does one think while being encapsulated in this environment. There is no room for thinking--it is a feeling that vibrates through you, infecting your heart with appreciation and love.
Thank you Caledonian Club for opening your doors and hearts to us Outlander fans. The memory that you have given me will walk with me everyday.
By Joi Acuña