Here is an opportunity for me to complain! I love those types of opportunities. And just so you don’t think I’m a big old complainer, I’ll include things I don’t want to complain about! Hooray!
Things I like: The National Museum of Scotland is like 2 minutes away and it’s FREE. I have every intention of seeing every exhibit which means it will take me months to complete it, since I need to read every description, but I’m okay with that. I’m perfectly located next to a ton of other flats and super close to bars and clubs which means somehow I’ve managed not to get lost yet! The Disney store down on Prince’s Street is really nice, they have a lot of Monsters, Inc. merchandise which you just don’t get when you go to most American Disney Stores! We have people come clean our common room/bathroom/kitchen which is ultra convenient. Basically, I pretty much like everything, those are just the extra special things
Things I don’t like: I keep almost getting hit by cars because I look the wrong way… That’s my fault, but it’s their fault they’re on the wrong side of the road The crosswalk sign system doesn’t make sense, or at least I haven’t been able to figure it out yet, it seems that at times all the street lights are red and yet we aren’t allowed to walk either… so i’ve been chancing it NYC pedestrian-style I’m starting to get sick of how we have different words for everything—like I thought it was neat in the beginning how they call trash cans “bins” and stuff like that, but now I’m just really over trying to figure out what people are saying when they speak in slang I haven’t learned yet. That’s probably the wrong attitude, but it’s whatever, I’m allowed to have a crappy attitude every now and then.
That’s all for now really, I’ll think of more things to complain about, but in general I’m pretty happy here!
Once upon a time, I promised the world that I would keep a thorough blog about my adventures abroad. Unfortunately, I have failed miserably at this task. In the next few rapid-fire posts, I will attempt to cover the last month+ of my life here in Edinburgh. So classes will be my first topic of discussion, seeing as I’m technically speaking “studying” abroad here.
I made the rather bold (jokes) choice of taking first year courses of things that I generally speaking find to be interesting topics. So (sorry if this is a repeat of previously divulged information) I’m taking History of Art, Sociology, and Social Anthropology introductory courses. They’ve proven to be rather interesting topics, to be perfectly honest, and I’m glad I chose those courses. Another nifty thing about these classes is that they each have two lectures (300-ish students) that are 50 minutes long each week and then one tutorial (9-ish students) that is 50 minutes long. So basically, I should be in class for about 9 hours in total a week. IS THAT A JOKE?! Especially since no one would know if you didn’t show up for lecture, I really only have 3 hours of class a week! Yay for copious amounts of free time that I generally just use to nap or watch Breaking Bad. Super cultural of me, if you ask.
The tutorials are pretty cool though, if you ask me. They’re entirely discussion-based, which is what I live for (you know, hearing the sound of my own voice and whatnot). So in my sociology and social anthropology tutorials I practically never shut up which my tutors see as both a blessing and a curse, because they want other students to voice their opinions but hate awkward silence. So hey, at least I’m somewhat helpful.
So uh, yeah. That’s the deal with classes. Super cool, right?!
So fresher’s week was over, the late nights and caloric consumption had fully taken its toll on my poor body. It was Sunday evening, and I thought to myself “how should I spend my last night as a free woman?” The obvious answer, watch Disney movies on youtube. So that’s what I did. After a coma-like nap, I began my movie marathon as I did other things on my laptop (such as figure out where my classes were for Monday).
I eventually went to bed and had a fitful night’s sleep (too excited for classes! lame, I know). When I woke up, I realized I didn’t have classes until 4 p.m. so I got ready, hung around, made lunch, cleaned my room a bit, looked at some old class notes from Richmond that I have on my computer (lame, I know) and watched more Disney movies. So far I’ve watched The Little Mermaid, Sleeping Beauty, Mulan, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and Hercules (but I’m certain I’m forgetting one or two).
Then Christina and I walked over to George Square where my two classes were and ran into Kate on the way, so we all walked together. I got to my building early, but walked around and couldn’t find my lecture hall. Now these halls fit like 300 students, so it’s hard to hide them! I walked around until 4:09 (my class started at 4:10) and realized I was in the entirely wrong building. So I sprinted to my right building and met other people who were lost trying to get to social anthropology. I talked to this girl named Charlie who is in my sociology class as well and we fretfully found out way to lecture a few minutes late. They had started and it was awkward for us to come in, but we did anyways. The class was fine and we grabbed our syllabus on the way out. Luckily my sociology class is in the same place so I won’t get lost on the way there tomorrow!
I then went over to where my history of art building is, which is right next to my social anthropology lecture hall. I got there early and sat next to a girl who happened to be from America too, so we talked about how cool we were for being American (or something like that). I learned nothing in my first history of art class, but I’m excited for it anyways. I came home, went to the grocery with Liz and Christina and then made dinner.
After dinner I typed up my notes from today’s classes, napped, then read through my two syllabi. Then I typed up these blog posts. Now I’m probably going to read through more of my class information or try to get a head start on some of my readings for either of my classes as I await my birthday at midnight. So exciting!
On Sunday, Christina, Liz, and I made the long trek to the National Museum of Scotland (kidding, kidding, it’s only like a 2 minute walk from our flat).
Now, I’m the kind of lady who loves (and by loves I mean has to) read every description of every single thing in the room/exhibit before I allow myself to continue on to the next one. I totally understand that can be annoying to everyone who came with me, but I like to know what I’m looking at and it’s significance (which adds to the number of random facts I know and can share with people who really don’t care). So I told Liz and Christina that they can go on without me and that they should just find me before they leave. Off I went into the first room, and over 2 hours later I had just made it through 3 rooms… Turns out there are about 32 for me to see. So I left (my eyes were sleepy) and came home and looked up the exhibit list of the museum. I jotted down the ones I’ve seen and the ones I’ve yet to see. Since the museum is free, I’m most certainly going to be frequenting the museum in my free time.
Here’s the list in case you want to see how much time I’m really going to be spending there: Need to see: Grand Gallery Window on the World Beginnings Early People Kingdom of the Scots Scotland Transformed Industry and Empire Scotland: A Changing Nation Jackie Stewart’s F1 car Artistic Legacies Facing the Sea Imagine Inspired by Nature Looking East Performance and Lives Earth in Space Restless Earth Adventure Planet Animal Senses Animal World Survival Wildlife Panorama Ancient Egypt Art and Industry European Styles Traditions in Sculpture Connect Communicate Shaping Our World
Seen: Discoveries Living Lands Patterns of Life
Yep, that’s where you can find me for the next couple of months.
So fresher’s week was a whirlwind of activity, mostly staying up all night with my rad flatmates and consuming far too many calories, followed by sleeping the day away in preparation for the following night. One of those night/days I felt the need to be productive and I set my alarm for 9:30 so I would be able to greet the day with a fresh shower and plenty of real activities.
Shockingly enough, I didn’t wake up until 1:12 p.m. Not quite what I had intended… As I woke up, I felt a longing to talk to my Richmond friends who are in Edinburgh because I hadn’t spent much time (or any time, really) with them since arriving here. So I sent a panicky “be-my-friend” message to them all, and Carter and Kate replied that I should come climb Arthur’s Seat with them at 1:30. I looked at myself in the mirror, saw that my makeup and hair were mostly in tact, and threw on some clothes and ran down the five flights of stairs to meet them (ambitious of me, I know).
For those of you who don’t know, Arthur’s seat has been described as: Arthur’s Seat is the main peak of the group of hills which form most of Holyrood Park, described by Robert Louis Stevenson as “a hill for magnitude, a mountain in virtue of its bold design”. It is situated in the centre of the city of Edinburgh, about a mile to the east of Edinburgh Castle. The hill rises above the city to a height of 251 m (823 ft), provides excellent panoramic views of the city, is relatively easy to climb, and is popular for hillwalking. Though it can be climbed from almost any direction, the easiest and simplest ascent is from the east, where a grassy slope rises above Dunsapie Loch. And yes, that is from Wikipedia (get over it).
It was a beautiful day, actually quite warm for Scotland with clear, sunny skies and a mild breeze. So we set off on our hike to Arthur’s Seat. So far, so good—I’m feeling the lack of proper sleep and lack of consuming any food or water, but I keep going strong. We start hiking up the actual hills and I start taking pictures, having a good time, living the good life. But then we actually get to a real hill, and I’m not feeling so hot. So I stop, have the group carry on without me, (I think my actual words were “leave me here to die”) and go off on my own (aka not up a ton of hills). I snapped some pictures on my own and explored a bit on my way back to my flat, where I promptly collapsed on my bed with lots and lots of water.
I have several more months here, and I definitely plan on climbing to the top one of these days… One of these days.
Good news, all: I’m alive! Sorry I’ve been so awful at posting since I’ve gotten here. There’s just so much to do in so little time! So let’s start from the beginning. I arrived at the airport super early, exchanged my dolla bills for pounds at a really unfortunate exchange rate, said goodbye to Mom and Kevin (super emotional). I went through security with ease and made friends with the bag screeners. I went to my gate and hung out, and I was really excited to write in my journal, only to find that I hadn’t brought a pen (seriously, Sarah?). So instead I just listened to my pod and watched this cute little baby girl toddle around (she looked exactly like Cindy Lou Who, so naturally I was obsessed). On my flight over to London I was sitting next to a boy from Macedonia so I befriended him. I didn’t sleep much, and instead I watched The Witches (excellent choice, I must add). Got through customs and security rather easily and then met up with Brynn and Austin at our gate. Hopped on the plane to Edinburgh and unfortunately was sitting next to an old man who was audibly chewing gum the entire flight (which naturally drove me insane). After we arrived, the welcome people from the school got a taxi for me and a girl named Maria who also lives in Kincaid’s Court. We chatted with our taxi driver and got our first real taste of a Scottish accent. Unfortunately, I don’t really understand the Scottish accent, but I’ll pick it up in time. I got my keys once I got to Kincaid’s, brought my stuff up to my room and attempted the daunting task of unpacking all of my stuff. After about a half hour I heard some of my flatmates come in and naturally I rushed out to meet them. Christina, Liz, and Becca had come in from running errands so we chatted and then decided to go out to get phones and other odds and ends that we needed. Christina goes to DePauw University and is from Michigan, Liz goes to Duke and is from Pennsylvania, and Becca is a first year from Wales. I was more or less immediately obsessed with them. We went to a little store called the pound stretcher to pick up hangers and other things for the flat, then to get phones with a girl named Naomi (who, by the way, is a DG) and a girl named Allie. Then we came back, showered real quick, and then went on a pub crawl organized by our RAs. Other than those activities, we haven’t really been doing too much other than eating, hanging out, going grocery shopping, and going out. We’ve made a lot of friends so far in these few short days and the people here are SO nice. Almost everyone we meet that isn’t American LOVES the fact that we’re American. I’ll write more later (once I actually do something interesting)! Cheers!
I have a specific blog with all of my Scotland nonsense on it, but I’ve been bad at posting on it and I might as well just post what I’ve written on there on here too, so there will be some Scottish nonsense sprinkled in this blog too!