04 June 2009

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog

I am back in America now, after a jam-packed month and a few mishaps here and there. 

On May 10, St Andrews had its Charity May Ball, which is basically a huge fancy prom. 
They had two funfair rides, four open bars, and several live bands, at least one of which is a major national act. It was a pretty epic night, one that probably wouldn't ever happen at a US college. 

May Ball kicked off Revision week, which was just study time for exams the next week. I only had two classes, and so I only had two finals, each of which were three hour exams. Needless to say, I had a lot of free time, especially once I finished my exams. 

I was in St Andrews for another week or so until they kicked everyone out of the dorms on the 31st. Mary Beth and Katy left earlier that week (TEARS), but Caryn came on the 28th on her way to Sweden. She must have brought the beautiful weather with her, because it was absolutely gorgeous: 70s and sunny, which is practically unheard of in Scotland! We went to West Sands and I got a bad sunburn!! Who knew it was possible? On Saturday, we left for Edinburgh, where we spent the next few nights until it was time to go to Sweden! 

The appointed day arrives (this being Monday), and we arrive at the airport around 5 am, as Caryn has a flight at 7 am. I bid her farewell, and try to amuse myself until my flight around 3 pm. When it's time for me to check in, I go to th Ryanair air desk, where the lovely desk attendant tells me that my bags are overweight, and in fact they are so overweight that if I want to bring them on this flight, it will cost me £400 pounds (around $800). My ticket only cost £35! So after freaking out temporarily, we got it sorted out so that, instead of going to Sweden, I could fly home the next day (Tuesday). 

So, while the plan was for me to be in Uppsala with Caryn right now, I am in fact in New Hampshire. I enjoy being at home, but going anywhere else has just been strange. It's reverse culture shock! Everything here is BIG: the cars, the roads, the houses, (the people).. There are all these ads on TV for movies I haven't heard of, and all of my favorite British ones (Compare the Market and Irn Bru, I'm looking at you) are gone. I even tried to find a suitable substitute for my loved Batchelor's Cup a Soups; I've found some Campbell's stuff and some Lipton, so we will see if they can stand up to the challenge. 

Ahhhh home! It is so weird, but so wonderful too! 

02 May 2009

Spring Break.. over a month late :)

Since I couldn't possibly recall everything I did over spreak in Prague and Rome, I will just copy what I wrote down in my Moleskine at the time...

3/29/09 - Prague (Praha), Czech Republic
Right now, Katy and I are in the hostel in Prague! We left early this morning, had an easy flight, and simple trip via public transportation to the hostel.
So far: lots of graffiti, old cement buildings, garish signage. We are not in the Old Town (Stare Mesto) yet though. That part is supposed to be lovely and gorgeous. 
Tomorrow: walk to market in Stare Mesto, see the Old Town Hall and astronomical clock, Wenceslas Square, then walk across the Charles Bridge to Prague Castle! 
4/2/09 - Milano, Aeroporto (Bergamo)
So Prague is done. The flight went smoothly enough, except that my bag was "too big" to be a carry-on, so I had to pay 540 Kc (crowns) to check it :( Now I have a 5 hour layover in the Milan airport, which might be the worst place to have one, and I've only been here 5 minutes. It is small, dark, nowhere near aesthetically pleasing, not enough seats, not a lot of food or other amenities. You'd think that with all the designers and models that come here, they'd have something a little nicer. But you'd be wrong. How I will entertain myself for 5 hours, I just don't know. Wah, get me to Roma! 
4/3/09 - Roma, Italia
Slept in. Checked internet. Wandered around a little. Met up with Ryleigh, Jen, Mike, Margaret and Kinne at Colosseum, and walked around with Mike. Got gelato twice. Had a funky but good hotdog, and a good dinner of noodles and broth, and chicken with potatoes. Been practicing my Italian, and it's slowly coming back. HUNTING: FOR GRISBIS! I've asked a couple people (one guy in Italian) if they knew what I was talking about -- none did. Supermarket in Termini though, so might check that out tomorrow. NEED GRISBI! AH! I really just want to go to a supermarket, buy bread and fruit, sit in a park, and eat and read. Soak up some sun. It had to have been in the 70s today. I was getting hot in a t-shirt. It's a lot cooler now though. There's some BC kids staying in the same room as me, and one is in Glasgow! I thought he looked familiar from the study abroad meeting.. what a small world! 

10 April 2009

Kate Kennedy Club on the Rocks

Yesterday, students and faculty at St Andrews received this email from our new principal, Dr. Louise Richardson:

Dear Members of the St Andrews community

I understand that the Kate Kennedy procession is a wonderful day in St Andrews and I hope it may continue to flourish as an important traditional event in our local calendar of activities.

The University will not, however, be participating officially in the procession this year nor continuing its recognition of the Kate Kennedy Club.

As Principal, I do not believe that a university can endorse a student club – even a club like the KK which is renowned for its charitable activities - from which so many of our students are excluded at birth.

The official endorsement of any club or society which excludes people because of their gender or race would be completely at odds with the values of this University and our commitment to foster an open and inclusive international community of scholars and students in St Andrews.

I look forward to the day when membership of the Kate Kennedy Club is open to every student of St Andrews at which point the university will be delighted to treat the Kate Kennedy Club in the same way as all other clubs and societies.

Louise Richardson
Principal and Vice-Chancellor

The Kate Kennedy Club is the premier club on campus for men. There is a female equivalent, though, called the Lumsden Club. Both groups do a considerable amount of work for various charities. The KKC also throws the biggest events of the year, including May Ball, the proceeds of which go to charity. Yes, there might be an unspoken rule that you have to be rich to get into the club, but this is St Andrews, after all. She mentions that people are excluding from birth; she must be referring to the women, but it doesn't matter, since they have their own club.

Some people speculate that she is retaliating against the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, a mens-only organization, for not inviting her to become a member, as they have done to other principals of the university. 

01 April 2009

A Life Checklist (or, a Czech-list)

In Praha? in the Czech Republic? Check.

Going to Roma tomorrow? Check.

Baller apartment for the summer and senior year? Check.

All the classes I want, and no class on Friday? Double check.

My entire family coming to Scotland in two weeks? Big awesome check.

Now all I need is a summer job.

26 March 2009

Amsterdam & Den Haag

At approximately 3 am last Friday morning, my friend Mary Beth and I caught the St Andrews Direct to Edinburgh Airport in order to catch our flight to Amsterdam!!! We arrived in the Netherlands around 8 am local time, and we had the entire day ahead of us. 

the "i amsterdam" sign in the Museumplein
 near the Van Gogh Museum and Rijksmuseum

We dropped our stuff at the hostel (a canal boat!) and then hit the streets. Throughout the whole fast-paced weekendm, we visited the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum (where Starry Night is), the Anne Frank Huis, the photography museum (FOAM, where there was a wonderful Richard Avedon exhibit), and the Stedelijk in De Nieuwe Kerk Amsterdam (the New Church), where there was an interesting exhibit about religion and spirituality in modern art. 

We also took a day trip to Den Haag, otherwise known as The Hague, which is surprisingly a nice beach resort for the Dutch during the summer. Most people just think of it as the location of the International Criminal Court, but other than a bunch of UN flags on a bridge, you wouldn't have known that's where it is. We saw the Kurhaus, a very large and famous hotel, and the Mauritshuis, which was having an exhibit on Vermeer, so there we got to see Girl with a Pearl Earring

the Kurhaus from the beach in Den Haag

It was incredible how much famous art we were able to see in one weekend! I had absolutely no idea that Amsterdam was chock full of these wonderful pieces. At the modern art exhibit, I saw so many pieces or artists that I had studied last semester in Art History: Rothko, Pollock, Barnett Newman, Josef Beuys, Kandinsky, Malevich, Yves Klein, and Mondrian. I was a little museumed-out at the end, but I absolutely loved seeing everything! It just leaves you in awe. 

While there, we also took a canal boat tour, wandered around, saw the Amsterdam library (bibliotheek) which was incredibly modern and awesome!!! I could have spent a long time in the library. We saw the Sex Museum, which was seemingly just a lot of printed porn dating back to the 1870s, and we walked through the Red Light District around 1am. You can mentally prepare yourself as much as you want, but it won't help you when you actually get there. Lots of drunk and/or high middle aged foreign men running around and hitting on prostitutes, who are behind glass windows and doors in bikinis with a bed behind them. It was so surreal, and definitely on the sketchy side. 

I am most likely leaving plenty of stuff out, but I am in a rush, as today I have to pack for spring break. Tomorrow morning, Katy and I are jetting off to Prague! We will be there until April 2, when she will go to Perugia and I will head to Rome. After a couple days there, I will return to Scotland and St Andrews on the 5th! I'm only gone for a week, but our spring break lasts twice as long: I don't have class again until April 14! And 4 days after that, Butler is having their trip to Isle of Skye, and that same weekend, the family comes to visit!!!!! Woo, this is going to be a long but exciting month! 

17 March 2009

When Awesome Things Arrive in the Mail

I consider that a good day. 

The momma package came today: my TOMS shoes!!! Ramen!!! and Easter prezzies! Little chicks, bunnies, peeps, eggs! And some Vera Bradley stationery! Sweet! 

Look at how many exclamation points I can use!!! I MUST BE EXCITED!

Since there is only 3 Ramen packages, I must ration them. They are a precious commodity, as Super Noodles just don't replace them. The Cup a Soups come close, but there is just not nearly enough of it to satisfy me. 

Oh sweet Ramen, how I have missed you. 

And oh TOMS, how comfy you are, and how I will grow to love and overwear you. 

09 March 2009

AH playing catchup!

So I might be a little behind on updating...

27 Feb - 1 March: Homestay in Stirling. Stayed with a nice grandma. Went to see the Wallace Monument and Stirling Castle. I bought a fake plastic sword, similar to the one I had in childhood hahaha. I gave my homestay mom some New Hampshire things; she already had some of the Stonewall Kitchen jam I gave her!! 

Monday, 2 March: Today was the rectorial drag. Every 3 years a rector is elected by the student body. It's an honorary position and John Cleese was one in the 1970s. He arrives in a strange way that no one else has done before (this year it was on a B. Janetta's ice cream cart), and then he is dragged in a carriage by students through the town and makes various stops at pubs along the way. At night was the torchlight procession from St Salvatore's Quad to the pier. Everyone wears their academic gown and carries torches down and walks up and down the pier. Mind you, this is in the dark, with the wind blowing, and part of the pier is above the rest and about 1.5 feet wide. Kind of nerve-wracking, but a cool thing to experience. 

6 - 8 March: Loch Lomond weekend! This was an outdoor weekend that involved all of the IFSA-Butler kids in Scotland, about 120 in all (mostly from Edinburgh and then St Andrews). Stirling and Glasgow School of Art only had 12 kids combined! So we all stayed in this hostel in Balloch, which is on the southernmost tip of Loch Lomond, which happens to be the biggest body of water in the UK, but it is not as deep as Loch Ness. We all stayed in this monster hostel that used to be a castle!! It was right on the banks of the loch. It was rainy all weekend, which made for an interesting Saturday. In the morning, my small group went rock climbing indoors, then we went outside to go abseiling (rapelling) down a 50 foot cliff!! We would have climbed it, then abseiled down, but we didn't have enough time. 

After lunch, we went GORGE WALKING. This activity should actually be entitled WATERFALL CLIMBING. You are literally walking in the middle of the waterfall at points, grabbing onto the wet rocks, climbing up logs in the middle of the waterfall. Did I mention that this is all without safety equipment, except for waterproof ponchos and pants, and a helmet? At times you have to grab onto a rope, and climb on part of the wall that overhangs the waterfall, in order to keep ascending. Every time Joe, our leader, brought us to a new challenge, I thought to myself, "You have got to be kidding me. There is no way in HELL I can climb that, even I if I was crazy enough to want to!!" And yet, each time, he should us how, and we did it, albeit sometimes we ended up slipping into the waterfall and becoming soaked all over. The experience made everyone feel pretty accomplished. 

This week has been pretty laid back... nothing too interesting except for the fact that I tried SUSHI last night!! Needless to say, I didn't like it. Big surprise there. It's not even the taste; it's the texture and just how the whole thing feeeeels... blech. But now that I've tried it, I can refuse it whenever I want and claim that I truly don't like it. 

Next week, I actually have work due... a paper outline on Monday, a normal presentation on Wednesday, and my first St Andrews paper on Friday!!!!! Yikessss. I'm glad I'm not one of the Butler kids who went to Dublin this weekend for St Paddy's Day; I would be screwed with a capital S. 

BUT... on Friday, I am going to Amsterdam for the weekend!! And then the week after that, it's Spring Break time wahooo! We get two weeks off, and with my 4 day weekends, it's almost like have 2.5 - 3 weeks off. I am completely booked for Prague on the 29th, and then I just booked my flights to Rome on 2 April, where I am going to meet up with Emily, who is studying in Venice! After that, I really want to go to Dublin for a few days. That leaves a couple days to relax in St Andrews on either end of my trip. 

Ah, Europe is just wonderful. 

25 February 2009


The "Invisible Heating" in the flat comes through the floor. It makes walking around a delight.I could even dry my laundry on the floor if I wanted. Heated floors might just be cooler (or warmer?) than heated seats. I would like to add that this is also a feature of the bathroom floor. What better way to get out of the shower?! I know none.

I just had Super Noodles, which I suppose is the British equivalent of Ramen noodles... and they weren't bad at all.  I still prefer Ramen, but now I know I have an alternative if my cherished noodles are unavailable. 

I looked up what was on the top of the UK charts ... I like most of what I am hearing so far (minus the bad pop music).  Kings of Leon are huge, Elbow, some good rap, the Kooks, Killers, MGMT, and some other good British bands. 

Today I was watching an episode of The Weakest Link, and the question was, "What city in Pennsylvania used to be the capital of the US?" And the guy guessed Pittsburgh. I had a good laugh over THAT one. Philadelphia would be horrified to know that it had been mistaken for Pittsburgh. 

We had a fire drill this morning! At 7AM... 20 minutes before my alarm was set to go off :(  I was having a really good dream, but I lost it when I was rudely awakened.  I finally got to see who the other residents of Haldane are. My flatmate stopped to get a cuppa tea on the way out... smart move... it was freezing out there. Once I got back inside, I checked the weather, and apparently sunrise was technically at 7:18.. so we were out there before the official sunrise! Ridiculous. 

24 February 2009

Hooray for Procrastination Tools!

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here. How do your reading habits stack up?

1) Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
1b) put an "x-" next to the ones you've started but not finished.
2) Add a '+' to the ones you LOVE.
3) Star (*) those you plan on reading.
4) Tally your total at the bottom.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (X++)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien ( )
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (X-)
4 Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling (X)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (X-)
6 The Bible - (X-)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (X)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell ( X-)
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (X-)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (X)
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott ( )
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy ( )
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (*)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (X-) ??
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier ( )
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (X-)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk ( )
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (X)
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (*)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot ( )
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell ( )
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (X++)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens ( )
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy ( )
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams ( )
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh (*)
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky ( )
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (X)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll ( )
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame ( )
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy ( )
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens ( )
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis ( )
34 Emma - Jane Austen (*)
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen (*)
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis ( )
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini (*)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres ( )
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden ( )
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (X)
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell (X-)
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (X)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (*)
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving (X)
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins ( )
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (X-)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy ( )
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood ( )
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (X+)
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan ( )
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel (*)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert ( )
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons ( )
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (X)
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth ( )
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon ( )
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (X)
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (X+)
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (*)
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (*) .. I read the other other Garcia Marquez book, "Chronicle of a Death Foretold"
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck ( )
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov ( )
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt ( )
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (X-)
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (*)
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac (X-)
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy ( )
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding ( )
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie ( )
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville (X)
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens ( )
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (X)
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (X-) ... excellent movie, however! haha
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson (*)  .. read "A Walk in the Woods"
75 Ulysses - James Joyce ( ) .. read "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man"
76 The Inferno - Dante ( )
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome ( )
78 Germinal - Emile Zola ( )
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray ( )
80 Possession - AS Byatt ( )
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens ( )
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell ( )
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker ( )
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro (X+)
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert ( )
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry ( )
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White (X)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom (X++ )
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (X+) .. I read "The Hound of the Baskervilles" .. does that count? 
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton ( )
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (X)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (X) 
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks ( )
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams ( )
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole ( )
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute ( )
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas ( )
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (X)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl ( )
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo ( )

Total: Read 22, Attempted 12, and want to read 12.

Some of these, I've seen the movie about 348 times, so it FEELS like I have read the book.. but I guess I haven't. 

23 February 2009

On the Telly

British TV.. what a glorious thing. Since I have lots of free time, some of it is inevitably spent watching what this fine island has to offer on the tube.  

They have an entire channel of American shows (US 5, I think it is) that includes Scrubs, Beverley Hills 90210, CSI: Las Vegas, and My Name Is Earl. A rather odd sampling of shows, but we'll go with it. I have watched a lot more Scrubs in the past month or so than I ever have before, but I won't complain. 

The popular British shows include Doctor Who, a sort of sci-fi/time-traveling thing that I just can't get into, and Hollyoaks, which is your standard OC/Laguna Beach/whatever other teenage soapy drama you can think of. Skins is also another one of those. 

They are also big on game shows. My favorites include Golden Balls (where people have balls with monetary amounts in them and have to collaborate with each other to win the pot of money at the end) and QI, which is just a funny game show hosted by Stephen Fry, who asks the contestants/comedians (Hugh Laurie was on once!) questions and they respond in the wittiest way possible. Pretty arbitrary, but a hilarious show.

Similar to this is Mock the Week, which also uses a panel of comedians. They take current news events and make jokes, also in order to get arbitrary and useless points. STILL, the chuckles I get out of this show are numerous. 

Another quality show I enjoy watching is Top Gear. This is not your typical American car show where they talk specifications all day long and it's completely boring.  They test out a car or two a show, the host is hilarious, they usually have a celebrity guest that will race the car around a track, and they have a big list of all the cars and people who have raced. On one episode, he had this tiny tiny tiny car that he drove around the BBC studios, and that you can literally pick up by the bumper and walk with. And in another one, he raced a runner through the London marathon course during rush hour to see who would be faster (the runner was). 

I discovered this last show, Snog Marry Avoid, just a couple nights ago. It has people who have extreme looks (such as the body modification guy, or girls who are very orange and wear lots of make up), and asks people on the street if they would snog them, marry them, or avoid them. Sort of the British, made-for-TV version of the teen game "Kill, F***, Marry." They have to predict what people will choose, and then do the same thing after they have a "make-under." Of course, they all look much better after the make-under, and people want to snog or marry them more than avoid them. The ones that I have seen have yet to keep their newer and better looks however. Their loss! 

And so... that is British television for the uninitiated. 

17 February 2009

2 Weeks In

This is mostly just going to be me rambling about things I've been thinking about lately. 

I read The Curious Case of Benjamin Button before I left, and I just watched the movie the other day. I enjoyed the short story, as I do most F. Scott Fitzgerald stories, and the movie was alright, but I really don't like how the two had nearly nothing in common.  Okay, so in the movie he starts old and grows young and dies. End of similarities. In the short story, he's actually an old man, full size and completely capable of talking, walking, etc; he's not some wrinkly old baby who becomes a baby again in the end. Also, in the short story, he tries to get an education at a variety of levels -- none of that happens in the movie. And the story of how him and his wife met is completely different. Why did they even bother naming the movie after the short story if they completely deviated from the plotline? Damn Hollywood. 

Katy (a girl from my program) and I made a list last night of things we miss from home and things we like better about the UK. I think as of right now, the UK list is longer, and the home list is made up mostly of food items (Eggos! REAL bacon! smores! Fritos! Triscuits!) BUT THIS JUST IN ... there's a gourmet food store call Border's, and they sell American things.. like Jiffy peanut butter, Oreos, Betty Crocker pancake mix, Fluff, Kraft Mac & Cheese, Goldfish, Zatarain's Rice, etc! It was a glorious sight to see. AND they had big bags of tortilla chips, which really made me excited. 

Last night we went to see Mr. St. Andrews... wow, what a show. Mr DRA lasted until around the top 5, then somehow got out in the stripper pole competition, I think. Did I mention that this show was way sexually charged? Somehow I think this would never happen at BC (sad face...). 

Friday night in Edinburgh was a bunch of fun, even if the dudes in the hostel room next to us yelled and banged on doors until 4 in the morning. The city is pretty gorgeous, and there's so much to do. Not to mention the presence of solid pubs. 

I have now seen THREE people with BC clothing around town. According to the email that BC sent out, I am the only one from BC who is here at St Andrews. The first two people had sweatshirts that looked like they came from Athletics, and the last girl today was wearing a Superfan shirt.  Since I missed my opportunity to talk to the first two, I stopped her and asked about it, and she told me she had a friend from Hull who went to BC and gave it to her as a gift. Alas, not as cool a connection as I was hoping for. 

I have found a replacement for late night, and its name is Empire. A fitting name for the hole in the wall place that makes the best garlic bread pizza I might have ever eaten. EMPIRE IS KING!! Also on my "good, cheap, and fast" food list is PM's Fish and Chip shop.. I can get a lot of chips and nuggets for just under 5 pounds. De-lic-ious. 

12 February 2009


... is the theme of Scotland thus far. 

It snowed last night! What the hell! I seriously thought I had left that at home.

A bunch of us are spending tomorrow night in Edinburgh.. should be fuuuun. 

Classes have started; I am already intimidated. 

Last night, competed in a Guitar Hero competition with some of my flatmates in the Student Union pub. Good times were had by all. 

Pictures thus far:

06 February 2009

Lessons Learned

After being here a couple of days, I have had more than one revelation. Above all, I have realized that this place is freaking AWESOME. I wish I had thought to apply here for college, or done a year abroad. This might just be the honeymoon phase talking, but it is absolutely wonderful. The town is gorgeous, the people are friendly, the university is excellent, the pubs are wickedly fun. I might never want to leave. 

Walking around town, doing errands, and just observing has been a great way to acclimate myself. So far, I've picked up these things:

1. Bag your own groceries. And quickly. Otherwise, you are holding up the people behind you in the queue at Tesco

2. There are many Americans here.  Almost too many for my liking. If I had wanted to meet more Americans, I would have stayed at home!

3. It is quite possible to get IDed at the pub, even when the drinking age is 18. I know.. it happened last night. I forgot my ID, and the bouncer let me in after I told him my birthday, but the girl bartender refused to sell me a beer. And I thought getting IDed at the movies was bad..

4. Alleys are often called wynds.. as evidenced by one called Butts Wynd (hehehehe). They are very clean, and very quaint, and one today had a small garden with a bench in it. A stark contrast from the alleys of Boston, which are filled with dumpsters, trash, grime, fire escapes, and bums. 

5. They love Stella Artois (or they just sell it everywhere, including the Student Union bar). I love Stella Artois. This might be why we are getting along fantastically. Going off of this, Corona is expensive. 

6. As an upper level student I only have to take two classes. I am in class from 9-11, and then 11-1 on Tuesdays. Coming from the American system, where you are in class almost everyday for a long stretch of time, this is ridiculous.. but ridiculously cool. 

7. They let guys and girls live in the same suite in university-managed flats.  I've only met one of my flatmates so far, and it's a guy.. named Guy, from southwestern England near Wales (but not in Wales, which is a big different he tells me).  The others (another guy, Ben, and two girls) should be coming tomorrow or Sunday. We, or Ben I guess, has a Wii, Playstation, and Rock Band in the common room. Oh, the excitement that awaits!

8. Luckily for me, there are only about 3 main streets downtown, which makes it easy to navigate, and find something to do. There are bunches of cute shops, lots of woolen stores, and I'm told there are 31 pubs in this town of 17,000 people. Why can't we have that ratio back home?!?!

9. I think this is for Danny --- you CAN buy kilts off the rack. I've seen them.. in multiple stores. Also, I bought a clan MacPherson tartan scarf today. This store also had keychains, patches, shields, and MUSICAL shields for your particular clan... fantastic. I needed to get some tartan, because I heard that when you go to a ceilidh (the traditional dance and supper that's tonight), you're supposed to wear some. 

10. You can spot the high school kids right away. They are the ones hanging out in packs outside of Tesco or other stores with black uniforms and ties. It's so British, I love it. 

That's all I got for now. Tomorrow, I'm planning on exploring the ruins and the beach on the north side of town, which I haven't really seen yet. I will also finally take some pictures, and post those for all to see!!

04 February 2009

St Andrews At Last

Finally here. Spent last night in Edinburgh.. fun night at a couple pubs.. today was long and now I have to unpack all my stuff. None of my flatmates are here, but their stuff is in the common room/kitchen. They need to take the trash out :x 

St Andrews is a very cute and picturesque town. Very surreal. Some good shops to explore later. Long walk into town though. So much familiarization to doooo.

02 February 2009

Welcome to.... London?!?!

What's this you say? What happened to Scotland?

Snow happened. 

Apparently the worst weather London has seen in approximately 20 years hit today, and our connecting flight to Edinburgh got cancelled. I would like to point out that the weather consists of about 2-3 inches of snow, and all flights out of Heathrow got cancelled. The British need to get with it.  They seem to like the snow -- we saw multiple snowmen (one with a Hawaiian theme), people throwing snowballs, and kids pulling their sleds across the street. 

Anyways, after some confusion in the airport, they put us up in a hotel in the Notting Hill/Bayswater section of London. They're feeding us dinner in a couple hours, and then I guess we have a BMI flight tomorrow at 2ish.  Who knows what will happen to our orientation.. maybe it will get cut short.  I just want to get to Scotland already.. it's been a long day. 

01 February 2009


Here it is.. in about half an hour, I'll be on my way to the airport. Ahhhhhhhh! I don't think the reality of it has hit me yet.. maybe it will when I land in the UK. "Holy crap, I'm gonna be here for four months!" Not gonna lie, I'm still kinda freaking out. 

27 January 2009

5 Days..

In lieu of sending out mass emails, or recounting adventures innumerable times, I've decided to bring this lovely blog about my semester abroad into the world.

Bets on how long it lasts?

After much debate with myself about what the title should be, I settled on what you see above. Scotland has all three of things. Craic, pronounced "crack", means gossip or lively conversation... I prefer the latter.

And so this Sunday, while everyone else is zoned in on the Super Bowl, I will be on a transatlantic flight to London, and from there will head to Edinburgh for orientation. After three days there, I will finally end to St Andrews, in the Kingdom of Fife, on the coast of the North Sea! Oooh, fancy.

Until then, I'll be running around, sorting my life out, and stuffing it into two suitcases. I took today off from work so I could renew my license, get travelers' checks, and make progress on the packing situation, among other things.

I really don't know how they expect us to fit four months into two bags. But they do.

Since I know everyone will be dying to send me mail and care packages (please?) here's my address:

Sally Roberts
HL0401 David Russell Apts
Buchanan Gardens
St Andrews
KY16 9LY
Scotland, United Kingdom

I also have Skype (srob017) so talk to me! Those who are abroad (in Europe, preferably) should probably tell me where so I can take super cool awesome vacations.

Until next time, love & misses.