Sunday, January 31, 2010

Edinburgh (Pronounced "Edinborough")

So I got up at 7am yesterday, got ready, put on as many warm clothes as I could find, and headed up to the Uni with Adam to meet everyone. We left for Edinburgh on a Greyhound bus at 9, & arrived at 10. After I had my first sheep sighting, I took a nap til we got to the big city. It felt good and I was refreshed.
It was PAINFULLY cold out and we walked for a long time. The buildings were old and looked like they had so much history to them. When we finally got to the castle, Gary gave us our tickets and then we all spread out on our own. I went around with Beth & Adam. (Hannah didn't go, she had a rough night. haha)
It was amazing inside and so huge. We looked at almost everything in 2 hours, but it was so cold I felt like I couldn't appreciate it as much. My favorite part was in the War Memorial (the only place I wasn't allowed to take pictures) there was a little room dedicated to all the fallen soldiers. It was so awesome. I won't forget that.
We met up with everyone at 1pm at a statue in front of a church. There, they have a heart made out of the stones in the side walk. You are supposed to spit on it for a lucky love life. The heart looked really nasty, of course. I added to it. :)
Then we walked a lonnng time (my hands hurt so much from the cold) to a huge mountain. Gary said it wasn't hard, "just a little walk." Yea right! I could barely breathe. Wow.
Some of the kids turned around and waited at the bottom, but I just kept going because "I already came this far". But it was soo worth it! I'm so glad I did.
The view was incredible! I probably will never see anything like it again. We took some pictures (I took a video, it's on facebook) then we headed back down. Me, Adam & the Girls stopped at a little Cafe and drank latte's and warmed up. I had a danish too and it was delicious! Mmm.
We walked back to the bus at 4, and met everyone there at 4:30. We left back to Glasgow at 5.
When we got back it was already dark. Me and Adam went back down to Blackfriars (uugh) and on the way I made my first liquor purchase. From ALDI! (hahaha) I got Coconut Rum.
I went back to my room and got ready, skyped with Kayla & Jordan, then went back up to Caley Court. Everyone was in Arran on the first floor (Beth&Hannahs flat). We played quarters for a little, then some of us decided to go out. Walkabout Bar is right by campus. We went there and danced the entiiire night away. My feet didn't hurt this time because I wore my cowboy boots:) I also wore my denim leggings for the first time, it turned out pretty successful. One Scottish guy asked me something that sounded like "Are you dancing?" (Which I clearly was) and I said yes. So he put his hand out and took me over to the middle of the dance floor. We just danced beside each other (that's what they do here, thank god) and it was pretty fun/weird. We were dancing to a Grease Soundtrack Remix...?
It was a fun night and I really liked the girls I went out with. They are so cute. Krista always wanted me to take shots with her, yikes. It tooks us forever to try to get the right money out. So we would just hold the pence in our hands and laugh because we felt so stupid. (The guy holding up the peace sign below said something to me right after this. I told him I couldn't understand him and that I was American. [They know that means to slow down talking] Then he said 3 times really slow "Cun ya undastend may when ah jange muh agzent?" Everytime I would say "YES, I CAN!" And he would ask me again. hahaha, it was so weird..)
I am feeling a little homesick today, probably because I am so bored and it's a Sunday. I can not wait for a visit! :)
I miss you.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Gothic Friday

Scottish Word of the Day: "Banter" meaning "Chat"

I got up at 8:30am today (the earliest so far. sad, i know). I emailed Jordan, showered and got ready. I saw it snowing here for the first time. Not heavy though. I could NOT believe how cold it was outside all day today. Wow. My hands and mouth would not work because they were numb.
Anyways, I walked to Primark (loooove that store) in Merchant City. I found too many things I loved and tried them all on. While in the dressing room I heard some weird accents (American. hehe) and it was Beth&Hannah (I was supposed to meet them somewhere but for some reason our phones don't send messages well)! We looked around some more in there and I bought 18 pounds worth of clothes. I got a lot for that much too. I am excited about them. The stores here are so much more hip and stylish than at home. I wish we had shops like here.
And I DID get denim leggings for the record:) yay! They look a little weird, but whatever. It's Scotland.
Then we went to H&M, which is awesome. I just bought a pair of gold hoop earrings with flowers in them. I love them. It was about 12:30pm and I was waiting around for them to finish and losing my mind. We had to make it up to the Uni to meet the group at 1:00pm! I definitely wanted to go on this walk even if it WAS freeeezing out and I had to walk as fast as I could up a huge hill (hate).
So I was practically jogging there. They went back to there room because they really didn't care to go, and outside of there building I saw Max (France) and he said he'd take me to the ARC building since I didn't know where it was. (The French boys are very nice)
A lot of people went on the "Gothic Walk", so I met some new friends and bonded better with some old ones. I met two more girls from Canada (Brittany & Kateri), I talked more with Krista (Latvia), I talked with some of the guys (Olof-Sweden, Ali-Pakistan, Claudius-Germany, Thomas-France), and I also met a new friend, Majida (I'm not sure how it's spelled) from Pakistan also. She is so funny and cute.
It was really fun to hang out with people after being cooped up in the apartment all the time.
Gary took us to the Gothic Cathedral (the last one standing in Glasgow), it was amazing. I have never seen anything like that. We also went into "Glasgow's Oldest House". They had things set up inside that used to be there, which was cool (well the fake woman in the chair wasn't cool, that was weird).
We got to go into the St Mungo Museum of Religous Life & Art too. That was really cool. They had so much stuff inside that I didn't get to see it all. I tried to read a lot of the signs, but there was soo many cool things. Like old sculptures, clothes people used to wear for rituals and weddings, and it even explained some traditions. It was awesome.
Lastly, Gary took us up to a huge Graveyard. I was so excited!
All of the stones were enormous and beautiful. He told us two TRUE ghost stories from Glasgow itself and let us walk around where ever we wanted. I don't think I brought any spirits back with me, but who knows.
I headed back Blackfriars (where I stay) afterward. Low and behold, I noticed my advisor FINALLY emailed me about meeting with him to schedule my classes. He was only going to be there til 18h30 (6:30pm) and he will be out of town all next week. So after thawing out my bones, I put all of my jackets back on and headed back up there again at 5:00.
On the way, I stopped to get a Latte at a cute little shop. It tasted nothing like our Latte's at home, but I drank most of it for the warmth.
My advisor is hilarious and loves America because his son lives there now. He and his wife ski in Colorado, but missed there trip last week because she is ill. He talks quite and laughs very loud, which makes me laugh too. He is so nice and said I'm really going to enjoy Edinburgh tomorrow. I can't wait.
Now I'm back at Blackfriars, again, waiting for my dad to skype me.
I hung up my pictures around my room and it looks a lot better in here. I still need tacks to hang up the letters everyone wrote to me<3. Tomorrow we are meeting at 8:30am to leave for Edinburgh. All of my friends are going so it should be fun!
I still am missing you.
I guess ill go try on my denim leggings...hehe.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Awkward Social

Today was the first day since I've been here that I finally got to use a towel to dry off after showering. It was soo nice:)
Yesterday I did go to the Social Evening for International Students. I walked up to the University by myself around 5pm. I met Hannah&Beth (They're both from Kentucky! They don't really have accents) outside they're apartment at Caledonian Court. Then we went over together. I like them a lot, they are just like me. And it was so nice to be around some girls.
The Social Evening was pretty awkward at first. They're was random games like "Operation-Homer Simpson Version" and "Guess Who" laying around on different tables. They had free food! So I was instantly happy:)
I tried my first "IRN BRU". You can only find it in Scotland, says Gary (the coordinator of the International Student Events), and the Scots looooove it! So me, hannah, and beth poured ourselves a glass. Wow, was it weird. It tastes like someone melted down cotton candy into liquid form and poured an extra bucket of sugar into it. Yikes. I could barely finish my glass but I didn't want to insult anyone. haha.
I met a few different people, some from India, France, Sweden, Pakistan and Slovenia. They are all realllly nice and are going through just what I am, which made me feel good. Hannah asked some people about the "abc" club we were thinking about going to, and soon enough EVERYONE was going. I was excited to hang out with them other than in awkward "social evening" world. A boy from Slovenia said we'll meet outside Caledonian Court a little after 11pm. I was already tired and couldn't believe we were going that late. But these Scots are wild.
Me, hannah & beth went back to their place, got ready, listened to music, & ate some pasta. Finally it was time. We all had tights on (thats all the girls wear here. So don't forget to bring yours, Kayla), and me & hannah were wearing heels. Bad idea. We were told it was a 10 minute walk, it wasn't. Probably 30 minutes and freeeeeezing!
When we got there, since us girls were supposedly on "the list", we got in the VIP line and the rest of our group was so confused (we all have trouble understanding eachother, haha). Well, turns out when we got up there, we WEREN'T on "the list", but luckily the lady must have felt bad and just let us in. Thank goodness. We went up to the first floor, where we checked our coats, and I ordered my first drink EVER at the bar! I got a "vodka+mix". I just said "Can I have a vodka and....something?" So he gave me pepsi. It was actually pretty good.
We sat down and were talking to some locals. I just wanted to dance (there was barely anyone there, and our group didn't get in for the longest time), so I got up to go to the dance floor. Tripped over a bench...then slipped down the stairs. I grabbed onto a little wall where a Scottish boy was sitting and said "Ohhh myyyy, that's twice I fell in 2 minutes..." and he said "Ya I sawl ya za furzt time." Embarressed. I just walked to the dance floor then and felt really stupid. It wouldn't have been so bad if I was actually drunk, but I just looked like a drunk idiot. uuugh.
I also got two beers spilled on my throughout the night, which was nice.
We finally saw a boy from our group and he said everyone was upstairs (Who knew there was an upstairs? Downstairs was pretty crazy by now). So we followed him up there. I have never seen such a thing. The place was ENORMOUS and there must have been hundreds of kids. I'm not exaggerating either. Everyone was butt to butt so close, there were two bug bouncy castles, cool face painting in the corner FOR FREE!, a huge bar, fog machines, two big projector screens, really loud awesome music and soo many people! It was insane. Me and Hannah looked at eachother and both said "" It was incredible, and on a Wednesday night!?
They act very different here. At home everyone is grinding nasty on each other, and here no one even touches. Everyone is just perfectly fine dancing on there own and I love it. There were so many more guys there which was weird. Because at home, guys hate dancing and are embarrassed. But they love it here! It's really cool. Beth tried dancing on some boys and they were really confused and stressed about it. I couldn't stop laughing.
Me, Hannah, Beth and Ayro (from Pakistan) walked back to Cal Court around 2:30am. Freeeeeezing and our feet were hurting so bad! Beth traded me shoes (she wore flats) it felt sooo good. We stopped at McDonalds, even that tasted different. I was happy to have it though. The guy asked me why I would ever pick Glasgow out of allll the different cities in the world because he would give anything to leave. I said it's just because you live here. There is so much to do!
On the way back Ayro was telling me how his dad is the king of Pakistan and he will be Prince and I am the most beautiful American girl he has ever seen. haha. I kept being really rude because he was drunk and annoying, and when we woke up today he probably was really embarrassed. Oh well.
Today me and Adam went to Gary's office to pay for our Edinburgh tickets. We stopped to get a snack and saw hannah and beth on the computers. Me and Adam did the city rally, with about 6 other international girls. It was freezing and wet all day, so Gary said we don't actually HAVE to do it, he won't ever know. So we can just walk around or go home or get a cup of coffee. We walked for a little and I mostly talked to Alisa (from Toronto, Canada). I met her last night at the Social. I really like her. They wanted to come to ABC too, but they already had plans to go to a karaoke bar. She said it was fun. I want to do that before I leave!
We stopped after we found one thing on the list and everyone split ways. Adam went to Tescoe to grocery shop, and I went to ALDI. (thanks for the meal tips tab!)
Now I'm just back here. I am going to meet hannah & beth shortly at George Square to go explore and shop around in Merchant City. They haven't been there yet. It's really cool there. Here, Thursday nights are shopping nights and everyone is out walking around. I'll update later. Thanks for following<3
Miss younz!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mr. Cone Head

It's Wednesday here now and I am not feeling AS homesick. The flight over and the first two days were pretty awful and frustrating. Here's a little break down...
-I was supposed to fly out of Pittsburgh at 2:30pm Sunday. I actually boarded the plane at 3:15pm. The pilot drove us out to the runway and we sat there for 2 hours. He gave us updates on how the Atlanta airport is closed and no planes are allowed to leave or come in.
-Finally, he took us back to the airport and let us off to make new plans. After waiting in an angry line for an hour and a half, I was re-routed to Detroit-Amsterdam-Glasgow.
-I went to my next terminal, sat, ate cold chicken nuggets & fries that my mum bought for me early at 2, and waited some more.
-We boarded around 8 and the plane took off soon after.
-Coming into Detroit was beautiful because it was dark out and the city lights were amazing.
-Since we got there early, there was no one to guide the plane in close enough to the terminal for us to get out. So, again, I was sitting on the plane. (I could see the Vikings-Saints game on a big screen inside.)
-Detroit airport was awesome, and it was so easy to find my way around. I bought a cheeseburger and pepsi and waited to board.
-I have never seen a plane that big before. There were 8 seats across. (2-4-2) I sat in the middle four on an end with no one beside me. So I could sprawl out as much as I could. I was glad. I slept okay but kept waking up. Since they had the window blinds closed before we even got on the plane, I could never tell what time it was. I woke up once thinking it was about 3am, they guy beside me peeked out of his blind and sunshine shot in. I was so confused.
-I got to Amsterdam around 11:30am their time (it was really 4:30 PA time) The airport looked very futuristic and I had no clue where I was going. I followed my plane friends for 15 minutes, then stopped to ask a lady if my bag would be put on my next plane. She said yes, and I was happy I didn't have to go get it.
-I wondered around in everyone's way, went in a gift shop, almost through up over a bite of pizza, watched people (every guy had the European haircut.).
-I went down to my gate, checked my carry-on, and got a full body scan for the first time. All of the people working there acted very different. They were always joking around, I was scared they were going to get in trouble.
-They bused us out to the middle of a huge lot with a lot of planes around 3:20pm, and put us on a tiny plane. I sat next to a Glasgow police officer who I couldn't really understand.
-When the plane finally got beneath the clouds, all I saw was greeeeen! It was unbelievable and so flat. I could see forever.
-When they let us off, I had to explain why I was there and show all of my documents from both schools, my bank, and my plane ticket home.
-I waited for my bag for 20 minutes and saw the same bags going around and around. Then I accepted the fact mine was lost. (great)
-I filled out a weird paper and went to catch my first taxi ever. nervouss.
-Some guy through my bag in a van and off I went. The streets here are all in circles(?) and everyone drives verry fast.
-He got lost, but luckily my apartment was just one street up. I was happy to get there finally.
-My room is small and the lay off the flat is weird. There are heavy doors on everything that you can't prop open if you wanted to. But I do have my own bathroom:) (This is a picture BEFORE I got my luggage, thats why i don't have sheets on my bed. nasty)

-I went to an ALDI right across the street and was happy to be somewhere familiar. I bought some things like toilet paper and cheese curls.
-Since my bag was lost, I didn't have any outlet converters, so I couldn't plug my laptop in. I was completely bored out of my mind. So I mostly cried the rest of the night. But I did meet my flatmates.
-They are all girls. 2 are Scottish and 2 are Irish. They are really nice and super cute. They seem to be interested in me and like me. They can't believe I can't "go out" at home and are excited to take me out. I'm excited too.

Tuesday I called the baggage place twice and told them about it, they said it would be delivered before 5. Me and Adam (the boy from Lock Haven) walked to the University to get some things done. On the way I saw the statue of the guy on a horse with a street cone on his head. Apparently every time someone comes to take it down, its back up there again over night. haha!

We got our ID cards and we both ate a Ham & Toastie. hehe. It was pretty good.
We stopped at the Tescoe Express that everyone hear raves about, I guess it's the only convenient store that is open after 6pm. I just got bread.
I stopped at ALDI again because I wanted pb&j, and also a towel(I have been drying off with a shirt...not fun). Of course for that day only there machine wasn't taking any type of I had to leave it behind. Big surprise.
It was 5:30pm when I got back, and my bag was no where to be found. I called again and a man told me to call back in 15 minutes if I don't hear anything. Another guy called me a little later and said he'd be there in about 2 hours. I said "DID YOU SAY HOURS?!" uuuugh.
I took a nap and woke up to a phone call at 7:30pm, he was finally here! I was so happy to see my bag and nothing was broke:) Now that I have my computer I am not so bored, so I'm not as homesick either. Thankfully. I love skype-ing!
Today I need to exchange money into pounds at the bank, and I neeed to buy a towel before I scream. I am also going to take some more pictures:) miss younz!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Last Night in the USA

Aaaaah! I am finally all packed. (& only freaking out a little bit.) I think I am mostly excited now, but still 30% nervous. Tomorrow morning, me kayla & mum are leaving here at 8am. We're stopping at the bank to practice my debit card skills, stopping at walmart for last minute things, then to Pittsburgh. I have to be there 3 hours early. uuugh. It's going to be a lonnng day.

My flight leaves out of Pittsburgh at 2:38pm for Atlanta. Then after about an hour of a layover, it's off to Amsterdam. Look out. (heheh, just kidding) Then to Glasgow, finally. I'll get there at 10:45am their time, & 5:00am US time. I'll be calling/texting home. So if you're on the list to be alerted when I arrive, beware, it'll be around 5am. :)

Missing you all already<3

See you in Glasgow.