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Snippets from Scotland

I'll be studying in Scotland for a semester. I like rain puddles, taking pictures, and mail. I think it'll be a good fit.

One Week

It’s been a week since I was in Scotland.  Long enough that I know I should be wrapping up some thoughts on my entire study abroad experience, or at least working towards wrapping up this blog.  But, to be honest, doing that would mean confronting the denial that I’ve been in.  It still feels as if any moment I could just pop back over there and see my friends.

However, honesty forces me to recognize that I won’t be back to Scotland for a while.  Someday, just not now.  My photos will shift from sweeping landscapes to family outings.  I’ve finally been able to put away my winter sweaters that I could never seem to shake while in Stirling.  And I won’t stop having adventures, they will just be of a little different nature.

I had a discussion with a friend before leaving about how studying abroad is usually categorized as life-changing.  I wasn’t, and still am not, the biggest fan of this distinction.  Because every semester I’ve been in college has been life-changing.  These past few months have just been a different kind of influential.  Some changes are evident (any sort of knowledge of the UK) and others less so.  However, whatever happened, I won’t forget the places I saw or the people I met.  I’m already looking forward to having new pen pals.  

As a courtesy, this is where I want to let you know that there won’t be any more posts on this particular blog.  I loved being able to use this as a way to share with my family and friends some of the photography and stories about my time in Scotland, but now that I’m home “Snippets from Scotland” just won’t quite work anymore.  Just to satisfy my own curiosity, and you don’t have to do this if you don’t want to, comment below this post if you’ve been checking in on this blog.  I’d like to see whose been keeping tabs on me! 

My heart is in the highlands wherever I go.

Things that make me wish I were in Scotland

1. Knowing there’s shows on BBC iplayer I can’t automatically access. (See photo evidence below)

2. Looking at pictures of my friends from Stirling.

3. The heat at home.

4. Watching Ewan McGregor on Regis and Kelly talk about his life in Scotland. 

5. The annoyance of switching time zones. 

6. Not seeing swans in my backyard.

This is why I came home. 

This is why I came home. 

Tea

As I was boarding my flight leaving from Edinburgh to Newark, the airport security had to ask me if I had bought anything while at the airport.  ”Just tea,” I said, smiling.  ”How very British of you!” he responded, and with that he stamped my boarding pass and sent me on my way.

Ae Fond Kiss, And Then We Sever

Times like this call for some Robert Burns. 

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;
Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!
Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,
Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee. 

Lived-In

When I first arrived at Stirling I had mixed feelings about my housing. Living on any kind of campus means you shouldn’t have too many expectations, but I just can’t help hating concrete walls and bad lighting.  But I liked the big desk and excess of drawers.  Slowly but surely, I began to settle in.  For those of you who have seen any of my living spaces before, you know I’m a big fan of putting things on the wall.  Family photos went up and the concrete began to be disguised.  It didn’t take long before I gathered mementos from my life here too, ticket stubs and scrawlings of quotes I wanted to remember.  As the days went on I liked my room more and more.  Today, my room looks like this:

Things of note: A chives plant on the windowsill, a shelf full of cards from home, unmade bed (some things never change), trusty travel bag, painting supplies, and maybe if you look really closely, you can see the crushed irn bru can holding my computer plug up. 

In many ways, I’ve made this place a home away from home. It’s almost time to tear it all down and pack it away.  I have to admit, when I’m gone, I might even have some pangs of nostalgia for these concrete walls. 

lived-in |ˈlivd ˌin| : adjective. 

(of a room or building) showing comforting signs of wear and habitation.

Wrong trains and good friends

I’ve been in Scotland for long enough that you would think I would have the transport system mastered.  Well, almost. I still managed to walk onto the wrong train the other day.  Luckily, I was with friends, and what could be seen as a mistake suddenly became an adventure.  

As my time here has gone on my focus has definitely shifted from the places to the people.  I won’t forget the old city streets, panoramas of mountains, or any of the other stunning scenes I’ve seen.  But I also won’t forget hours swapping music, countless cups of tea, or any of the unexpected experiences I’ve had with friends, old and new.  My group of friends here in Stirling is beginning to disperse as we return home.  For a while we’ve been in Scotland, but soon we’ll be everywhere from Pennsylvania to France to Sweden to Michigan to Korea, just to name a few.  It would have been impossible to enjoy being in this beautiful place without the aid of such wonderful people.  

Things I learned in Dublin

1. Irish mailboxes are green.

2. W.B. Yeats wrote some pretty awesome poems there.

3. Christ Church Cathedral has an impressive choir.

4. Ten million glasses of Guinness are served around the world each day.

5. The Weakest Link is still being aired across the pond.  I had forgotten about that show!

6. The people in Ireland are super friendly and helpful at providing directions.

7. Dublin contains almost 25% of Ireland’s population.

8. St. Stephen’s Green is a great park to sit and rest for a while. 

9. It’s great to reunite with old friends. 

I saw this. The Abbey Theatre is the National Theatre of Ireland.  One of the founders was W.B. Yeats and I went to an exhibit honoring him at the National Library. Another fun fact is that by attending that show, I was actually supporting the National Gallery of Ireland, which I had just visited that morning, as well. Pygmalion was written by George Bernard Shaw, and Shaw dictated in his will that part of the proceeds from every future staging of his plays would go directly to fund the National Gallery. I had never seen Pygmalion before and I was enchanted by the performance. 

Ash-Misery?

Although I wouldn’t call it ash-misery necessarily, my flight from Dublin to Edinburgh was cancelled because of GrimsvoetnI just got an extra night in Manchester, England!

Someone Else Decided to go to Dublin When I Did

Read up on it in the Irish Times. I would only add that I blame Mr. President for creating barricaded sections of the city, making it a little more difficult to tour around.