29 September 2010


-Serena van der Woodsen has nothing on these teenage girls. School uniforms here are

tricked out. The shorter the skirt, the better. Is your shirt so tight that the buttons are busting? Fantastic! You're halfway there! Do you have boots with sky high hooker heels? Please, wear those to school. Also, if you happen to have any fake eyelashes laying around, put those on. They'll help you see the board better.

-Fashion is a priority. I walk around all day in my sperrys, reveling in the comfort and warmth. This is vastly different from the many women wandering the streets in (minimum) 3-

inch heels. Women walk permanently on their toes, refusing the heels the opportunity to sink between the cobblestones.

-Gone are the days when a cute top and tight jeans would suffice for a night out. A "normal" outfit involves a dress so tight and short that getting into it would require crisco and double-sided tape, heels so high that I can already see the broken ankle, and hair so teased that it looks like you stuck your finger in a light socket.

-Snookie would fit in really well here with her bump-it.

-Think it's too cold for jean shorts? No problem. Just slap on some tights underneath and throw on a pair of Uggs. Voila! Now you're ready for literally any weather. Note: Keds are also accepted. Also, if you want to dress it up, then please substitute a jean skirt.

28 September 2010


From the University webpage:

"The course offers students an introduction to the study of the literatures and cultures of the Atlantic civilisation, and those complex interchanges between the Americas, Europe and Africa which are a fundamental feature of modern life. In particular, this degree focuses on the transnational and multilingual networks of Atlantic literatures, ranging across English, Spanish, and French-speaking countries, and the three continents concerned, as well as on the historical and intellectual interactions between the cultures of the Atlantic civilisation.

This unique course is the first of its kind in the United Kingdom, and draws on a wide range of scholarly expertise within the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures. The course aims to foster an interdisciplinary and intercultural approach to the study of literature. The course is distinctive in treating the Atlantic as a single, complex space of analysis: rather than examining ‘English’ or ‘American’ literature as a discrete body of writing, the course seeks to examine the interactions between literatures in a range of languages distributed around the Atlantic. Candidates are encouraged to think about literature and culture in terms which move beyond the national towards an explicitly intercultural and comparative perspective."

20 September 2010


-No matter how long I live here, it will always be my first instinct to look left-right-left when crossing the street. This could prove to be troublesome.

-Pound coins are good in theory, until you get a handful of them back and you realize that they weigh a ton.

-Flats on cobblestone streets = blisters on mah feet

-The concept of liability is not as big here. For example, I am amazed at the playground that I walk past to get to campus. I saw one kid doing a zip-line, another hanging from his fingertips ten feet above the ground...In America, an old school playground would have been shut down for safety concerns and fear of being sued by an angry parent. Not here!

-9 times out of 10, a dog is leashless and wandering on its own, always within shouting distance of the owner. Freaked me out at first, until I realized that the dog will never bother anyone. Amazing.

-I may not really like American Idol in the states, but I love X Factor. Go figure.

-A Starbucks can feel like a little slice of home.

-Gone are the days of disgusting and fairly dangerous public transportation. Now are the days of clean buses with the friendliest locals that you may ever meet.

-Day drinking is not only totally acceptable, but it's expected.

-Unlike in the US, being a cab driver is an entirely respectable profession. One has to pass intricate tests in order to get certified.

-No matter how much of a handle I think I have on the Scottish accent, I will always meet someone that sounds like they are speaking an entirely different language. I have found that a smile and noncommittal "yeah..." can get me through any conversation.

19 September 2010

One week down in Edinburgh!

Just this time 7 days ago, I was arriving in my apartment. In just a short amount of time, I have managed to explore my surroundings and meet some new people. It's amazing how easily I have been able to get reacquainted with the city. I never stopped loving it, but I still managed to fall in love all over again. Even when the weather is beyond dreary and grey, the city still looks magical. The rolling streets, medieval architecture, uneven cobblestones, towering castle...this place is simply unreal. I still can't get over how amazing it is. I mean, it's older than my entire country! How crazy is that?? It's hard to even imagine that. Every single day I get to walk past buildings that were built before Europeans even landed in America.

Friday I found myself in Grassmarket, probably one of my favorite parts of the city. That area is filled with pubs and music -- which both dominated my weekend! We found a three-piece band that was a mixture of rock, folk, and bluegrass. We all grabbed a pint and a table outside and just enjoyed the music. It was nice to be able to sit and get to know the people I was with. After flirting some more with the band from afar, we made our way up to the Royal Mile in search of a ghost tour. A fun fact about Edinburgh? It is believed to be the most haunted place in Europe -- according to the BBC, so that means it's true. The tour brought us to the vaults underneath South Bridge, where we were told ghoulish stories and tales of hauntings. If I had not had a case of the giggles, I may have found it much scarier.

Saturday night was another night in Grassmarket. We found ourselves at Finnegans Wake, where there was a band playing covers of classic rock. We had a hilarious time dancing and enjoying the band, who played us "American Idiot." Hint? Perhaps, but it only made us even louder.

Today was a very lazy day, complete with a Chi Omega reunion. I met Jill, Katie, and Ariel for coffee and treats at Elephant House. It's very surreal to see them all here. It's like I brought a little piece of home over with me.

17 September 2010

This entire week I feel like I have been running around like mad trying to get everything in order. It's so strange having to start all over again. I need everything, from bedding to silverware to somewhere to store my laundry -- which is still in the corner of my room. I did cover it with a dirty towel though, so progress? Yes.

Here, at 22, I suddenly feel like a freshman again. There are countless times in a person's life when they have to go through the whole friend-making-process. When you go to preschool, kindergarten, begin elementary school, middle school, high school, college, any job you get, any summer camp you attend, any new building you move into, any group or club you join...each time it works out. You end the whole thing with new, deeply significant friendships. And yet, each time you seem to forget how you actually got there.

Going through it yet again, I had forgotten the panic, the frustration, the doubts...I actually had a moment when I thought, "Why do I have to make friends? I already have them! AND THEY'RE AWESOME!! oh, yeah....but they're in a different country. Shoot." Plus, I suppose I don't want all of my socializing to be limited to facebook and skype...I don't want to be that girl that scares off the school children. But as the week went on, my doubts turned to giddiness, and my frustration turned to excitement. Already, my initial rollercoaster of emotions is beginning to fade. Or, at least my rational side took over and told me to shuuuut uuuuppp already. Besides, I was making friends all along and didn't even realize it.

16 September 2010

Pope and Circumstance

The Pope is in town today. Already the streets are packed. Just going out for coffee in my neighborhood was an ordeal this morning. It seems that this is a very big deal. I read today that there hasn't been a visit by a Pope to the UK since 1982 - which, to be fair, is understandable. When I think Catholic, I don't think British. But since he hasn't been in almost two decades and he is coming during my first week here, I'm going out Pope hunting. There is a big parade down Princes Street this evening, so I'll wander over there and see if I can spot him in his Popemobile, which would be almost as cool seeing as the Pope himself.

13 September 2010

I Have Arrived!

Well, it feels like it took years (which it did, kinda), but I finally made it back! I arrived in Edinburgh last night around 7:00, and finally found my way to my apartment at about 8:30. It feels so good to be back. In the shuttle on the way in, I literally gasped when I saw the castle for the first time. I was just overwhelmed with happiness.

I was very fortunate that I was able to see Elizabeth this weekend. Bury St. Edmunds (<--left) is an absolutely precious town. There was a street market on Saturday, so we walked around and looked at all of the stalls and bought some fresh produce. Her town is so quaint. The streets are rolling and the shops are all locally owned. Plus, Elizabeth's house is precious. She looked so excited that she was able to show me around and 
introduce me to her new life. She has certainly settled in well and is just glowing. I even got to see her office (see forced photo-op on right) and the air force base. It was my first time on a base, so that was an entirely new experience.
Today I walked around the city. It was raining off and on all day, but I persevered! I was able to find my way to campus easily enough, and I slowly wound my way to Doctor's to have lunch. Afterwards, I walked towards Princes Street, popping in and out of shops as I went. I enjoyed a leisurely day of shopping. Now, however, I could go for a nap! I'm not used to that much walking, and my knee is pretty tired. Best free physical therapy ever!

The highlight was perhaps when I stopped for a cup of coffee on Princes Street. The Starbucks I went into was on the second floor of the building, and the view outside the window was absolutely amazing! There are not many places in the world where you can have a cup of coffee and stare at a castle at the same time.

02 September 2010

Also, 8 days.

Visa Success!

Got word today that my Visa has been issued. What a tremendous weight that has been lifted! Now my journey feels much more real and much more permanent. It's surreal knowing that I have a mark in my passport that gives me free entry into that country for the next year.

In packing news, I have finally accepted that I need to bring about half of the jeans that I packed. Also, I am debating on if I want to bring my pink suitcase instead of the rolling duffel. Which will win? My Type-A desire to have a completely matching luggage set? Or my desire to have a larger suitcase and therefore more packing space? Wait, was that a real question? Pfshh...

01 September 2010

Packing is nearing completion. The only problem is, I have much more stuff than I do room. From now on, my desire for my 8th pair of jeans will have to wrestle with my sanity. I am fully aware that it will be highly inconvenient to lug around two hugely huge suitcases, but my desire for that fifth pair of flats is winning at the moment.