Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Weekend Trip in the Highlands, Day 2

We woke up early the next morning and went downstairs for breakfast. The milk was warm and the corn flakes cereal had ZERO sugar on it...? I'm sorry, but I just can't deal with that. After I choked on some cornflakes, I resorted to toast (as usual) and it actually had some taste to it, thank God.
We all got ready and packed up our stuff. Michael was surprisingly upbeat and back to life. The creep-o who slept in our room was like a dead man walking, and the party-bus guy looked like he just got out of chemo treatment with his greenish gray skin. We boarded the bus and headed for Glencoe. Driving through the mountains and past all the Lochs was so unbelievably beautiful. I have never seen anything like the hills they have here in Scotland. When the bus pulled over, finally, I was so confused. We all got off and they told us we were hiking up the mountain. I couldn't wait. The air smelled soo fresh and I felt free in a way. We headed down into a little valley where we listened to Simon tell us a wee story about Glencoe's history. Then he told us that the little stream we were standing at had some of the most freshest water. It was tested before because 3 rivers run into it. He told us all to fill up our water bottles. It was so awesome. The water was freezing, but it tasted like the freshest water for sure. After everyone got to fill up, we headed up the mountain. It was such a hike, but the sights were incredible and I couldn't get over it. The pictures we all took do NOT do Glencoe any justice. You have to see it to believe it, for sure.I was so out of breath, but all of the fresh air helped to keep me smiling and feeling happy. We made it to a huge rock where everyone sat and rested. We took a ton of pictures and laughed at the top. (It wasn't really 'the top' at all, but it's the farthest we made it without falling back down the mountain.)Scotland is known for it's crazy weather, so Simon pointed out all of the different seasons that you could easily see in Glencoe. On one side it was blue skies and sunny, the other side it was raining, and the other had snow on the mountains. It was such a wild sight.After we spent a while up there, we had to head back down to the buses. I talked to Ziga on the way down about where we go on vacation in the summer, and he said most of the people in Europe travel to Croatia because it is so beautiful and has great beaches. He said it's a lot like Greece. Who knew? That would be an awesome place to visit I'm sure.
Next we headed to a little shop to buy some lunch. Me and Beth got sandwiches and crisps. I also got some reese pieces! Oh, were they ever delicious. It's been too long. We ate everything on the bus on our way to our next stop.
I'm not sure what the castle was called, unfortunately, but it was REALLY awesome. We had to walk a ways to get to it, like it was in the middle of no where, which was cool. We spent about a half hour there exploring around. Me and Beth tried climbing up into the windows and I even pretended to be Rapunzel (look closely and you'll find me). It was so much fun. Some of the internationals hung out on the dock outside of the castle by a Loch. It was such a nice day out. I wish we would have had more time there to see everything about the castle. There were so many great hiding places. Heheh.Our last stop of the day was one of the oldest pubs in Scotland called "Drovers Inn." It was made in 1705 and has so much history to it. There are so many old documents framed on the walls and so many famous people used to go there (like Rob Roy Macgregor, the Scottish Robin Hood). It was so soo neat to see everything. There were old animal heads decaying on the walls because they've been there for so long. A lot of people ordered drinks and we just sat for a while talking. Everything just looked so awesome and ancient. I loved it!I slept mostly on the way back to Glasgow. I was so tired from all of the walking and excitement. It was SUCH great trip. I'll definitely never forget it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Weekend Trip in the Highlands, Day 1

This was the most awesome trip I have ever been on with the International students! We traveled around some of Scotland and spent a night in a hostel in the Highlands. It was so much fun and I will never forget it.On Saturday we got up early to meet at 8:30am at Uni. Since there were so many of us going on this trip, we took two buses. I was on the "cool" bus with all of my friends. I was so happy that we got split up with the people we are always around. Usually we are just split up randomly, and that's annoying.
Our first stop was at Loch Lomond. It is a beautiful Loch that a lot of people travel to because it is pretty close and it's the largest surface area of fresh water in the UK. We spent about a half hour there walking around and taking pictures. It was so nice to see some water and spend time with my friends. I have been wanting to visit Loch Lomond anyways because I know a lot of people have already been there. So I was happy we hit so many important places on this 2 day trip.
Our next stop was called "Rest and Be Thankful." Our tour guide, Simon, (who was awesome and told us SO many awesome stories that I can't even remember) told us that back in the day when soldiers were heading this way, they would stop at this point and give thanks for making it alive so far. Since there were only dirt paths then, and people traveled mostly by foot, they would be exhausted. Hence the resting part of it. But I thought that was really cool to stand up there and look over the huge valley. The air smelled so fresh. It was awesome.
After spending a half hour here, we got back on the bus and headed to a small town for lunch. I can't remember the name for the life of me now, but when I do...I'll change this. Haha. So, since me and the girls brought our lunches, we just had coffee's and latte's in a little restaurant and we were going to eat our real food when we got back on the bus. We only had 40 minutes there anyways. The town was really small and cute. It looked so old-fashioned, like everything does here I guess. It was nice to sit in somewhere and relax.
After we finished, we made our way over to the bus where Gary told us that if we're planning on drinking tonight...we'd better buy our supplies here before we go. So EVERYONE went into the tiny gas station across the street to buy their alcohol. What a sight. 66 kids squished in a gas station and all of them buying beer. Real cute.
After everyone was happy with their 12 pack purchase, we got back on the buses again and headed toward Dunadd Fort. In Scottish Gaelic it means 'Fort on the Add (River).' The weather was really cold, but decent. We started climbing up the big rocky hill, and half way there Simon stopped us to tell us a little bit about Dunadd. At the end of his story, he pulled out two bottles of Whisky made on an Isle near by. Everyone took a swig and passed it on. It was too funny, and totally Scottish. I don't know what else I was expecting?When we got to the top it was raining and SO windy! We took pictures and laughed about how ridiculous it was. We were so soaking wet. It was so much fun.After trying not to slip on the wet rocks and die on the way back down, we made our way to another wee place that had some very old Stonehenge. I really love that kind of stuff so I was SO excited! Some of the stones had weird markings on them from a long time ago. Simon said (haha, Simon says) no one knows for sure, but the markings probably had something to with astrology and figuring out how the world works. So cool!The stones were set up randomly in this HUGE field where there were rugby posts and sheep. It was so weird that such history was no big deal to the people who live there and they just walk around it every day. We walked through the field and passed the sheep to a place called 'Nether Largie Cairn.' It looked just like the bottom property at 166! Hahah. But unlike the bottome property, instead of a fire ring in the middle of the big circle of stones, it was a little grave where they used to do ceremonies or sacrifices. Remains of bones were found there earlier. Crazy!
We walked to a couple different spots. One of them we could even crawl inside! It was like a little cave hideout. About 10 of us could fit in there. I don't really know what it was for, but it was pretty cool.After a while looking and exploring the Stone henge, we stopped by an old church for a restroom break before going to a castle. The girls room, of course, only had one stall and ALL the girls had to go. So I went to check the church out while I waited. On my way around the back, I found a stone on the ground that looked like it had a cross on it. So I picked up and put it in my purse. I think it's really neat. The church was beautiful and had such old gravestones.Some of the boys (and Canadian Liz) played football (soccer) while the girls got done. It was cool to watch them because they all grew up playing. Just like us with American football. They were having so much fun.
I FINALLY got to use the restroom and we all got back on the bus. We made our way to the castle. Well, we actually had to walk a ways to get to it. We walked up a big hill, through a herd of sheep. Haha. Oh my. It was a really cool castle and the grass all around it was piercingly green. I loved it. We walked all through the castle, looking out all of the windows and trying to fit into every hole we possibly could. It's always so much fun to explore new castles. There are soo many here! After some of us were done, we just layed on the side of the hill and waited for the others to come out. It was nice to lay and just hang out around a castle. Not many people get to do that nowadays I guess. Heheh.Since the castle was our last stop, we were now bound for the hostel in Oban. I was excited to get there since it was such a long day and I knew it was going to be a fun night. We got to pick who we wanted to room with which was awesome. We got a room with 8 beds and there were only 6 of us. A French girl and a German girl said they would stay in our room, but ended up not so it all got messed up some how. Unfortunately, we got stuck with two boys in our extra beds. A Spanish boy and an Italian weirdo that we always make fun of but never talk to. We were not too thrilled. Good thing is, they hung out with their friends downstairs all night so we had the room to ourselves to play games and talk.We played a couple drinking games with the beer we bought earlier while the boys went for a walk to a castle nearby. By the time they got back they were ready to party. They heard us playing a really funny and loud game so they came in to join when they got back. After hanging out for a while in the hostel, we all headed to a pub that was only a 10 minute walk away. They had a live band playing and we, as usual, stole the dance floor. The band played so many good songs including 'Sex on Fire', 'Time of Your Life', and 'Sweet Home Alabama'. It was so much fun to dance again.During the last song, I don't know very well might have been me, someone started the train. It started going around the TINY bar packed with too many people and it was hilarious. I was right behind my friend Claudius and Beth was behind me. As we were training past our friend Michael (really huge guy from Denmark) Claudius lightly pulled on his shirt to tell him to come join. Next thing I knew, ALL of the buttons on his shirt came flying undone and he was standing there with his shirt WIDE open, bare stomach hanging pale. All of the other Internationals were in on the train, so he was standing there in the middle of this random pub all alone with everyone staring at him. He didn't even noticed until he looked down and had the most confused look on his face. I really almost died of laughing and for the rest of the song me, Beth and Claudius stood in the middle of the dance floor laughing hysterically at what just happened. I still can't help but laugh out loud when I think about it. It was so ridiculous.We headed back to the hostel around 1:30am (early for us Glaswegians). Everyone was pretty tanked and acting totally insane. After I saw Michael drinking straight whisky while I was walking OUT of the pub to go home, I knew it was going to be an interesting night. Michael spent the entire night in the girls bathroom over the toilet. The weirdo Italian in our room spent most of the night over the sink in the same bathroom. I kept screaming at everyone that he WAS NOT sleeping in our room tonight and he's so creepy. He had one of the top bunks, which meant if he DID have to get up in the middle of the night, it was pretty obvious he was going to fall and die. But...the boys still took him in our room and put him on that top bunk. Gross. Later when we all went to bed, me and the girls were laughing and screaming about the weirdo Italian's cat-like snore. After a half hour of not being able to sleep because of the weird noises he was making, me and Karen got up and started shoving him to wake him up. Nothing worked though. He was completely unconscious. We just had to suffer. (Look closely for Michael's feet hanging out under the middle stall. Haha!)
It was an awesome day and a hilarious night. We had so much fun together and I love my friends so much. It will be so sad to leave them at the end.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Beautiful (& Cold) Ibiza

Beth, Krista, Karen & I woke up at 4am Tuesday morning to make our way to the airport. I was soo tired because I just got back from PA Monday morning, but I was excited to land in some sunshine. We made it to the airport, checked in and went through security. Beth and I boarded right away, so we said our goodbye's to Krista and Karen and got on the plane. (They were flying to Dublin, Ireland for a few days.)
The plane was nicer than I expected. (We fly through Ryanair here because it so cheap. So I was But it wasn't. Thank God.) We were both so uncomfortable the entire time on the plane. I couldn't fall asleep and it was terrible. After three hours, we finally made it to Ibiza! The water looked so beautiful through the window of the plane, and we could see palm trees!
They left us off outside and we took a quick bus to the airport entrance. It was FREEZING outside and the sun was no where to be found! We couldn't believe it. I was so bummed. I had to exchange my pounds for euros, and after trying to speak Spanish with the lady at the service desk, she told me I couldn't do it at the airport. Totally weird and inconvenient. We found the bus going to "Figueretas" and got on. It was about a 10 minute ride to the town where our hotel was. The driver let us off in the middle of the road, in the middle of town. We figured we first find a bank to exchange my money. So we walked allllll over the town and asked a couple people where to go (in Spanish of course). We were really getting frustrated. We made it to a huge bank, stood in line for 15 minutes, then were told he couldn't do it and sent us somewhere else. We tried 4 other places when someone finally told us that our hotel would do it for us. (Gee, thanks for letting me know NOW).
We got some food and headed toward the hotel. The lady at the front desk told me she could exchange it, but it'd be better to go to Santander because it will be cheaper. (Go figure...somewhere else.) We just went up to our room. It was nice inside and we were glad to see a TV again. Since it was cold out and we were exhausted we slept for most of the day. We woke up late and talked for a long time then fell back asleep again. Haha.
Wednesday, we got up and there was still no sun. We decided to go searching for the Santander to get my money exchanged. It took us a lifetime to find it and of course they said the couldn't. They sent us to a place that finally would and I was so relieved. After that mess was over, we explored the town and took pictures. We ate at a place called Vodepizza. It was so delicious and tasted like pizza from home.
When we went back to our room later, a cat walked in after us and just looked around our room. It was in the bathroom, looking out the window, in the dresser...everywhere exploring. It was so cute and skinny. Beth fed it some of her dessert thing she had and it kept using it's paws to eat, like a human. So weird. We layed down and it jumped right on top of me and layed its head down to take a nap too. I kicked it off because I didn't want it's nasty bugs that it probably had, and it slept on some weird pillows that were piled up against the wall. After a while, when Beth was crawled onto her bed and slept on her. It was so funny.
On Wednesday night, at 4am, I got a phone call saying "We're on our way to Erie, Tab's water broke!" I couldn't believe it. I was so excited and couldn't fall back asleep for the life of me. I knew Greyson was going to come while I was in Spain with no means of communicating except my expensive cellphone. I was waiting all night and all morning for updates. I kept texting with Kayla about what was going on.
Beth and I went to lay on the beach, but we froze to death. On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at "Eroski", a cheap grocery store, and we got some things to eat for breakfast. While I was in the store I got a picture message of Greyson just born! We were so excited and I'm sure everyone hated us in that tiny place making a big deal. He is so cute. Kayla sent me more pictures throughout the day and I loved it. I could not WAIT to get back to Glasgow so I would have my laptop to talk to everyone and skype. I was pretty much just waiting for Saturday to come so we would be on our way back to the UK.
Mostly the entire week we just relaxed and did what we wanted. I read the book "The Last Song" and I'm excited to see the movie when it comes out here. (It's already in theaters at home, but movies come out late here.) I was proud of myself for reading an entire book. :)
On Friday the sun FINALLY came out and it was really hot. There was barely a cloud in the sky, so we got our suits on and made our way too the poolside. It was so nice to just lay and soak up the sun. I was loving it.Saturday we left early to come back to Glasgow. The flight was long and uncomfortable again, and we just knew it was going to be cold and rainy when we got back. To our surprise, the sun was shining and my jacket made me feel too hot. (That has never happened before. I am always wishing I had more clothes on...)
We were so excited and were hoping it was actually starting to warm up in Glasgow. It stayed really warm and sunny for a few days, but cooled off a little bit today. I am just glad I have some color now!

Monday, April 5, 2010

You've Always Been & You'll Alway Be

On Sunday night, after I got back from a night of dancing, I got a message from my sister that she had to tell me about my gram. I talked to her right away and she said my Megan's Gram fell down the stairs and isn't doing too good. She needed immediate surgery because she had bleeding on the brain and it may have been stroke related. I was so upset to be so far away and not know what was going on. The next day my gram was doing worse and the doctors said the breathing tube was really the only thing keeping her alive. So my mom and my uncles made the decision to let her go to heaven instead of keeping her here. My mom called me and held the phone up to grams ear for me to say something to her. I was so glad I got the chance to. She lived 3 hours after they pulled the breathing tube. The doctors said she had a strong heart. She passed away later that night around dinner time.
I finally fell asleep around 2:30am after a long two days of crying. I got woken up to a Skype call from Kayla at 4:00am. She asked me if I wanted to come home. It was such a surprise and I was so confused. She said she thinks I should be home right now and she would pay for me to get there. I could hear how upset my mom was in the background so I said "why not." I threw some things in my carry-on, jumped in the shower and headed to catch the bus to the airport at 6:30am. My flight left at 9 and I got into Pittsburgh at 2:30pm. Kayla even picked me up at the airport. It was so nice to be back in the States, and so different. I couldn't believe Kayla did all of that just for me. I got to stay until Easter Sunday. It was a great break and so great to be with the family during such a hard time.
The viewing and funeral were both beautiful and we had the family at our house after church to celebrate my grams life. It was a great time and the sun was shining like crazy. I miss my gram every second and wish I could have been there beforehand to see her once more. I know she was happy I was there though. I know she lives in me, I can feel her there. She will be missed, she already is.

So..Nessy isn't real?

Oh my, it's been forever since I've blogged. Geez. I still have to update you on the rest of Kayla's week! Heheh. On Friday, we decided to go to the Celtic game on Saturday. So instead of going to find Terri Love's church Friday, we were going to look for it after the game since is was only a few minutes from the stadium. Friday we went out with some of my friends to the Monkey Bar. Chris' two friends from home were in and one of them (who looked exactly like my dad) bought all of us a shot of tequila. Yikes. After we hung out there for a while, we headed over to Karbon to do some dancing. Some of our other friends were already there too. We danced like crazy and laughed a lot. It was so much fun. We made it home really late and were not excited to get up early the next morning for the football game. Just kidding, we were really excited to go...just tired and danced out.
Saturday me, Kayla, Kateri and Brittany took a bus to Celtic Park to watch the Celtic Football team play!! (To us, it's soccer of course.) Before we went in, I bought a hotdog and it turned out to be enormous and tasted like nothing. All I could taste was the weird texture. Gross. Kayla got some chips (fries) and we ended up having to finish everything, including our big coca-cola's, before we could go in. It was pretty interesting. There were so many people there decked out in Celtic gear (Green, white and neon yellow). We finally got in and made our way up to our seats. Wayyyy up. We were definitely in the nose bleed section, haha. The sun was actually out that day, but where we were sitting no sun could find us. So we froze the whole game. But we had fun and learned to yell "Keannoooo!" when Robbie Keane, number 7, did ANYTHING! They love him, that's for sure. Celtic won 3-0 against St. Johnstone. It was really exciting and quite the thing to experience over here. I'm so glad we went and EXTRA glad it got to be when Kayla was here! Oh yea, I even bought a scarf! Heheh.
After the game we went on a search for the church that Terri Love's grandparents were married in (Kayla's boyfriends Mom. If you can follow that.) We walked everywhere in circles, but Kayla wouldn't give up. I could tell this was really important to her. Finally, she found it. It was really beautiful. A mass was just ending which was cool. She took a ton of pictures and we both bought some things from the little shop inside. I got some Rosary Beads. They are really pretty. After she was satisfied we headed back on the bus to the City Centre. Me, Kayla and Kateri decided to stop at Pizza Hut and eat dinner. It was soo good. We were all exhausted from all of the cheering at the game and walking. It was nice to go home and pass out.
On Sunday me and Kayla planned on taking a train to Inverness. We skyped with mum and dad for a while and ended up having to RUN to the train station. We missed the train. Thanks mum & dad. We decided to catch the late train, so we to Primark and ate at Campus to pass the time. We caught the bus around 6pm. It was a long ride. We slept a little, talked and listened to our iPods. We finally got to Inverness around 9:30pm. It was so dark and we still had to find a place to sleep. The town was BEAUTIFUL. The loch ness bridge was all lit up and the castle looked magical with the lights shining on it. River Ness was so peaceful running right through the town. We stopped at a bunch of places to see if they had any rooms available and for how much. After a lot of searching (don't ask me why no one had any rooms open?! so weird.) we found a Bed & Breakfast for pretty cheap called "Strathness Guest House." It was awesome. You could see River Ness right out the window and we had a TV with cable. We ate our leftover pizza from Campus earlier and watched some TV. We planned on going out, but we fell asleep instead.
Monday we woke up early around 8am and went downstairs for breakfast. It was delicious. It's been a while since I've had a good breakfast... or a warm breakfast. We went upstairs and got ready to go explore the town. It was raining outside but it didn't matter. We found almost all of the historic buildings and churches on the pamphlet we got from Strathness. The places were awesome and so old. We decided to go on a Loch Ness tour called "Jacobite." We still had some time to spare before we had to catch the Jacobite bus, so we walked around town, found an old bookstore (used to be an Old Gaelic Church) and ate some lunch.The tour was really good. The bus driver explained soo much to us about the history of Inverness and Loch Ness. I wish I could have kept up with all that he was saying! We got out at Loch Ness, had a quick bathroom break, then headed to the Jacobite boat. The boat was pretty big and really nice. We stood on top of it for a while and took pictures and look at all of the scenery. But it got really cold really quick. So we went down below the boat and sat inside. It was so nice down there, and warm!
The boat took us to eh Urquhart Castle right on the Loch Ness river. We pulled up to it and got out. We had an hour to explore the ruins of the castle. It was awesome! We took a ton of pictures and climbed on everything. We even dropped pennies into a well in the dungeon! Very cool.
Then we went up to the tourist shop and watched a video about the Castle and why it was famous. It was pretty interesting. We got back on the bus and headed to a little building about Nessy and her existence. They took us through about 7 rooms and played little videos in each one. It basically was telling us that it's impossible for Nessy to exist. Even if she doesn't, why wouldn't they just make stuff up? So weird. We were pooped after the 3 hour tour. We still had to waste about 4 hours in Inverness, because our train wasn't til 8. We ate a little pub called "Hootanany." They had Tai food inside. It was alright, we thought it was pretty sketchy though. The guy that served us looked like he didn't even work there, and then he went outside to get our food? Who knows. We were hungry though. After we ate, we went to a bar, drank and watched "Scrubs" on the TV the had at the bar. Haha. We were pretty much the only ones in there, so we just watched it with the bartender and his friend. It was really funny. I mean the show, and the fact that we watched Scrubs for 2 hours in a random bar. Kayla thanked them for letting us watch TV forever and we left to catch the train. On the ride home we got in a fight over a game of cards, then went to sleep. Typical.
On Tuesday I had my Lab test that I was nervous about. I ended up doing really good. Kayla was still asleep when I got back to the room...I was jealous. This place just makes people go into a coma, I swear. We decided to go eat somewhere decent for dinner. Karen told us about a Spanish place nearby and that sounded good. We got dressed up and went to find it. It was so cute inside. We ordered a pretty big "healthy" meal and got a pitcher of Sangria! I normally don't like Sangria, but there's was really good. It was fun and nice to look pretty and go somewhere. After, we headed up to Walkabout to see everyone else. We sat and talked with them a while then headed home pretty late.
Wednesday, Kayla's last day, I had a few classes. We ate pizza for the last time at Campus and made a quick stop at Primark for some gifts for people at home. We decided to have a kitchen party with some of the girls for Kayla's last night. We got ready and Krista, Brittany, Beth and Hannah came over. Since the kitchen smelled disgusting with whatever my flatmates were cooking that night, we hung out in the hallway instead. We played cards and drank and laughed. Kayla got us all Bachelorette masks for the occasion. They were too funny. After we played for a while, and me & Kayla finished off the Scotch, me her & Krista headed to the Arches to dance. (& we wore our masks!) The music was pretty much all Techno but we had a great time. Some of the other internationals were there too. We got back to Caley around 3 and Kayla had to catch the bus to the airport at 4:30. So we just stayed up and waited. I can't imagine how tired she was. I felt bad she had to deal with all of that traveling and no sleep. Having her here was the best time. I miss her all the time.