Zadar, Croatia

The journey to Zadar was intense. We caught a night train with three transfers, and arrived at the Liverpool airport at 1am, where we slept until 3:30am when a rude lady from Starbucks yelled at all the sleeping people to wake up. So we did, and waited around for our 7am flight to Croatia!

When we landed, Bethany, Jennie, and I realized we knew nothing about Croatia. What currency do they use? What language do they speak? Where will we sleep tonight? All these questions had unknown answers. We found a map, and set off for the designated Tourist Information Centre. The lady there gave us a map, and some tips about the city, then set us up with an apartment for the three nights we were there. It was such a good deal; centrally located, private, with our own kitchen and bathroom- ideal for us girls! After ditching our bags, we went out to explore a bit of the city. Zadar is pretty small, and we were very comfortable walking around and finding out way back to home base. In the afternoon, Jennie’s friend Caroline flew in so we picked her up and gave her a tour of the city. We saw the: big, beautiful, fresh fruit and veggie market, Roman Forum, water organ, ocean, archaeological museum, old town square, city walls, and clock tower. In the evening we took naps then had a nice dinner and wandered into a jazz bar before heading home to shower, and sleep.

The next morning our daily routine of going to the marketplace for breakfast began. The fruit was so delicious and they also had fresh pastries. Then it was time for more exploring! We saw Five Wells Square, which was built by the Venetians in the 16th century to help the city withstand Turkish sieges by building a large drinking water cistern with five ornamental wellheads. Then the Turkish thread ended, a park was built on top of the nearby bastion, that we also visited. Then we went back to the tall bell tower and climbed to the top for an impressive, panoramic view of Zadar. Next we walked through the Land Gate on the way to the water. The Land Gate was build by the Venetians on the little Fosa harbor in 1543, and is considered one of the finest monuments of the Venetian rule in Dalmatia, and has the form of a triumphal arch decorated with motifs such as St Chrysogonus on his horse, and the Shield of St Mark. On the water, we saw the Greeting to the Sun which works in congunction with the Sea Organ which is a pipe organ played by the sea. The movement of the sea pushes air through and- depending on the size and velocity of the wave- chords are played.

Zadar is filled with many many churches, and we explored a few of them including St. Anastasia’s Cathedral, St. Donatus’ Church, St Francis’ Church and Franciscan Monastery, and St. Simeon’s Church. St Donatus’ was built in the 9th century and is the oldest church in Zadar. It was pretty, but no longer used except for the International Festival of Medieval Renaissance Music.

We had lots of gelato while in Croatia, as it was a very inexpensive country to travel in: perfect for university students. In the early evening, we walked to the beach and laid in the sun, then went to the grocery store for snacks. We watched the Little Mermaid 2, and went to bed.

The last full day in Croatia, Caroline and Jennie went to the beach all day, while Bethany and I went on an excursion to Plitvicka Jezera National Park, which is the largest of Croatia’s national parks and is included in the list of World Heritage sites. The lakes are known for their cascades and the ongoing biodynamic process of tufa formation under specific ecological and hydrological conditions. Basically, there was lots of waterfalls and it was really pretty. We met some girls from New York on the tour, and we all had dinner together back in Zadar at a cute little place on the waterfront while the sun was setting. It was gorgeous, and the food was delicious! Afterwards, we had gelato, packed our bags, and got ready for another day travelling– this time to Liverpool! Croatia- on the busthe gang

largest waterfall in Croatia

Plitvicka

Plitvicka

with Bethany

with Bethany

Plitvicka

Plitvicka

Plitvicka

sunset

5 Wells Square

St Francis

me, Caroline, Bethany, and Jennie

view from bell tower

view from the bell tower

Jennie, Caroline, Bethany, and me

St Anastasia

St Donatus

water

market

Gelato with Jennie

Bridge

Beach

Forum

St. Anastasia

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The Pentlands

The day I was to leave for Croatia, Mike and I decided to go hiking in the Pentlands, which are big, sprawling hills just outside Edinburgh. We had such a nice time even though it was pretty chilly out. We saw some ponies, sheep, and met a Dalmatian doggy. It was fun to spend time together before I left on my trip. After hiking, we made dinner and I went home to pack then rushed to the train station to meet Bethany and Jennie to start our adventures across the continent!

Chickens

hills

hills

hills

me & Mike at the top

me

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Last week of school + start of Spring Break!

On Easter Monday, we had class. Don’t ask me why, but we did. I’m trying to interpret the squiggly lines on my calender that says what I did that day…. If I’m reading this correctly, it looks like I got up early, and started working on a paper that was due by the end of the week for my Classics class. I wrote on Apollonius’ Argonautica and argued that Jason is not a love hero. Good times. My LAST Monday lecture was from 4-5 and the lecture theatre was pretty empty as a lot of students went home for the holiday. In the evening, I went to Michelle’s flat to watch the last episode of Game of Thrones from the last season, and then we went to Connor’s to watch the season premier of the newest season! It was so much fun watching it all together- it took me back to watching LOST with everyone in high school. After Game of Thrones, I went to Mike’s to catch up on our day and hang out before heading home.

The LAST Tuesday… I tried to wake up early, and failed. Went to tutorial at 11, had a group meeting at noon, then did work for an hour, before my final Indigenous Religions of sub-Saharan Africa lecture from 2-4. That was such an interesting and fun class, and I’m really glad I enrolled in it because nothing comparable is offered at Queen’s. After lecture, I worked on my paper for the rest of the evening. I really wanted to finish it early before my cousin Giles and his friend Cam came into town.

The LAST Wednesday… I finished up my essay early in the morning and sent it off to my mom to proof read, then went to uni to pick up a book that I was to give a presentation on the following day. I couldn’t get the book which was suuuper frustrating and I was really fussy because I wanted to do the required work but all the books were checked out and my Prof wasn’t being too helpful. Anyways, I decided to worry about it later and went to Mike’s where he and I made eggs Benedict for us and his flatmate, Joakim. It was a little challenging, but not so bad as I had imagined. I did the Hollandaise sauce and Mike poached the eggs. Joakim said we should open a restaurant together, because it was so yummy. After lunch, we hung out for a bit and then I came home and did absolutely nothing productive and it was great.

LAST Thursday… I woke up really early, went to uni, read the article that I was presenting on in class at 9am, went to class and then it was over. Last Modern Scottish Fiction seminar donezo. After class I went to the library, re-read my Classics essay, turned it in, and then went to the grocery store and bought the entire store. Not really, but I loaded up so that I could properly feed Giles and Cam! Then it was time for my very last class… Classics again. To celebrate it’s ending, my friend Garrett and I went to the student union, Teviot, and had drinks in the Library Bar. After, I went home for dinner and then went to Mike’s to chill before heading to the AirLink to pick up the boys. I left Mike’s around 11:30pm and was expecting the boys at midnight. They were a little late, but not too bad. I was so glad when they got off the bus and were here safe and sound and that we could get out of the cold! We made the twenty-five minute treck to my house and set up camp in the little space we have for guests.

On Friday I took them on a tour of Edinburgh, through the meadows, to uni, Greyfriar’s Bobby, the Elephant House, Rose Street, the castle, Royal Mile, St. Giles Cathedral, Prices Street, the Sir Walter Scott monument, Calton Hill, New College, Old College, and down Nicholson which is where I do all my shopping. Giles had a bad rash, so we went to the doctor’s office and then to the pharmacy to get some medicine for him. Oh yeah, we also went to Camera Obscura, which was so fun! It’s a world of illusions, so like crazy eye tricks and things. We had spaghetti, garlic bread, and cesear salad for dinner, chilled for a bit, then went to Connor’s flat followed by drinks at Teviot, so they got to meet a few of my good friends, which was cool.

On Saturday we planned to go to St Andrews, and made the walk to the train station where we met Andrea, but then realized that tickets were may more expensive at the station than online, so we decided to reschedule that trip and stayed in Edinburgh. We climbed up Arthur’s Seat which was sooo nice as it was a pretty warm day. Then we came home for lunch and met up with Michael before going to the Edinburgh Dungeons! It was spooky and fun, but the guys kept jumping out at me and being scary so that wasn’t nice of them! After the dungeons, the four of us went to this really yummy Mexican place for dinner and margaritas. The boys very kindly paid for me- they were great guests! After dinner, we went to Grassmarket which is filled with pubs, so we got drinks and dessert and hung out for a bit before heading home for a nap. The boys stayed up uber late to watch March Madness, which resulted in another late morning on Sunday.

So Sunday morning Mike came over and we made a big French toast and bacon breakfast for everyone with the delicious Canadian maple syrup that Giles brought over for me. It was so so yummy! We debated going to St Andrews, but by the time we would get there, the attractions would shortly be closing, so we decided to have a relaxing day here, and it was such a nice day. We lounged around the flat then Mike left and the other boys and I went into the Meadows for a work out, and my arms are still sore! We came home for lunch then went to Princes Street, where I introduced them to the beauty of Primark… a very affordable, yet very cute store because Cam wanted cheap shoes and socks. We then went to Elephant House and got drinks and food and had a nice time talking there with a pretty view of the castle outside the window. We came home for our daily nap, and I didn’t wake up till 11pm. Cam was up but Giles kept sleeping, so Cam and I fixed a very random dinner of sandwiches, garlic bread, potatoes, and broccoli. We stayed up talking for a bit then it was time for bed.

Monday morning Mike came over, and we cleaned up the flat while the boys packed. We walked to the AirLink together which would take them to the airport. It was really sad to see them go 😦 We had a really nice time, and it was great to see my cousin and meet Cam. Mike and I spent the rest of the day together, picking up his new glasses and other chores. It was warm so we got ice cream and found a neat market to stroll through then went home and watched some tv before heading home and sleeping for ten long, wonderful hours after a crazy last week of finishing up school and having guests.

On Tuesday, I did a bit of research in the morning for my trip and checked out the Lord of the Rings trilogy to read while on vacation. Went to Mike’s for lunch, then we watched Despicable Me, which is such a cute movie. I fell asleep though and had an unintentional nap until dinner time. We came to mine for dinner and made enchiladas. yum. After dinner, I went to my favorite pub, the Brass Monkey, where I met my good friend Ryan and his mom and grandpa who are visiting from Canada! It was so fun to meet them and to see Ryan again. I ran into Andrea and Rio at the pub, so when Ryan and his family left for the night, I joined the girls for a bit, and it was really nice to see them before leaving on my trip tomorrow!

Today, Wednesday, I have been doing lots of chores, and have a ton of research to do for hostels and trains and things to do/see in Liverpool, Croatia, and Italy! I leave tomorrow for two weeks of travelling, and am totally unprepared but kinda ok with it. It will be an adventure. Later today, Mike and I are going to make banana bread and then I need to pack and get ready for vacation. I am a little nervous, but am sure it will be lots of fun. But I will be absent from the blogging world for a couple weeks until I get back on the 23rd, so shortly thereafter I’ll post about my travels!

p.s. Giles has all the pics of us from when he was here, so I will have to add those later when I get my hands on them! Here’s one of Ryan and me though. Cheers! with Ryan at Brass Monkey

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Weeks 10 & 11

Monday of week 7 I was still in Ireland, but got back very late that night! Thankfully, the grocery store is open till 1am so I got my food for the week, came home, unpacked, and got some much needed sleep after a fun weekend away! Tuesday was a very busy day filled with classes and chores. In the evening, my good friend, Jennie, and her friend came into town from Glasgow for the night. It was really nice to see Jennie and catch up and to meet her friend. Jennie and I are going on a trip together soon, and so we did a bit of planning for that! They had an early flight, so as they went to bed, I went out to my friend, Garrett’s, birthday party! It was a lot of fun even though I got there late and I met some new people including a guy who goes to Vanderbilt in Nashville, so we reminisced about Tennessee together! By Wednesday, I was going into my second or third week of being sick, so I had a very easy day of reading from home and then went to Mike’s to chill some more. Thursday was filled with classes and doctor’s appointments. My flatmate and one of my best friends has mononucleosis, and we suspected that I did as well, so I spoke to the doctor and came back later to have blood taken for a sample. I found out a few days later that I don’t have mono! That was very good news, and I’ve gotten much better in the past week. On Thursday I also Skyped my parents, and gave them a hard time for choosing to go to Myrtle Beach instead of to Scotland. Friday was a really really nice day. As part of Michael’s birthday, I bought us tickets to the Scotland v Wales World Cup Qualifying match in Glasgow. We spent the day exploring Glasgow, shopping, seeing the uni, and went to a burger joint called Ketchup for dinner. I was very sneaky and had them surprise him with a “happy birthday” song and a HUGE ice cream sundae. After dinner, we went to the match and had a really great time despite the snow! Wales won 2-1, but it was a really close game, the details of which I won’t go into. We got home to Edinburgh around 1:30am and were very very tired, so I slept in Saturday and then did some work from home. Andrea came over for a bit for tea and then I skyped John. It was really nice to see both of them! On Sunday night, Michael came over for dinner and we made chick-fil-a copy cat nuggets, and it was sooo good. I am having to re-create all my favorite Southern food here!

Monday was spent in the library researching for a paper. Mike and I made crepes for dinner, which is becoming a staple for us haha. In the late evening, I got together with a big group of girlfriends to go dancing. I left at about midnight, because I had to get up early Tuesday for classes! I skyped Sheila in the evening, and really wish she were still here in Edinburgh! Wednesday was a really lovely day. The girls came over and I made a big batch of pancakes for us all to enjoy for breakfast. Did a little bit of work, and then it was time to head to Mike’s for our weekly Wednesday baking session. This week we made War Cake, called so because it was coined during the war because it doesn’t contain milk, eggs, and very little butter so people could afford to make it when times were tough. Afterwards, I went to Connor’s flat for knitting night. We made a huge pot of chili, hung out, watched Easy A, and had a really nice time before heading home. Thursday was again filled with lots of school in the day. In the evening, I went to the Scottish national championship Poetry Slam competition. It was SO GOOD. Such good poetry, and fun speakers. A girl from Texas who studies here won, and will be representing Scotland in the European (or world?) championships in Paris. On Good Friday, Mike and I had lunch together at uni then went to Ellen’s for a tea party! I ended Lent two days early, which meant I could indulge in the cakes and yummies that everyone brought. My favorite was a vegan carrot cake made by Ellen. It was so much fun having a tea party and just gathering for no particular reason other than because we can. Late that night, I was to go to a ceilidh, but was making good progress on some research, so finished that and then made Mike’s birthday cake which didn’t finish till about 12:30 or 1am- yikes! Saturday I woke up really early, went to the library, finished research (!), booked flights to Croatia and Italy for spring break (!!!), then went with Mike to get his glasses lens replaced with a new prescription. After, I went to Connor’s where everyone gathered once again, this time for a bread party. What is a bread party?, you may be thinking. Well, basically, the hosts provide a bunch of bread, and the guests bring a topping, spread, cheese, meat, etc to put on top! It’s been a food-filled week! Good, but getting a little overwhelming! After the bread party, I went home and got all ready for Mike’s birthday party. Then I set off with purse, camera bag, decorations, presents, cake, ingredients, and borrowed kitchen ware, and who knows what else- I was packed like a mule, and it felt like a much longer walk than normal! We got things set up, and then it was party time! A bunch of our friends came over and it was a really nice time to hang out and celebrate Michael’s 21st birthday. We remain undefeated beer pong champions. He liked the cake I made, and his presents, so that’s obviously really good! He had a nice time and that’s what really matters. Today, Easter, is his real birthday and we’ve had a really nice day together. In the morning we went to church and they also had a lunch for students who didn’t go home for the holiday so we went to that, and had a nice time. Afterwards, we strolled around Edinburgh, going to shops, gardens, and just generally exploring before coming home and fixing some Kraft dinner that he had brought over here from Canada for birthday dinner. The fake cheese taste gave me flashbacks to eating that in middle school! After dinner, I came home and have just been doing chores and hanging out every since. It’s been a really nice past couple of weeks, and a really nice birthday weekend for Michael, and a nice Easter. I hope you are all having a nice holiday, too!

With Michelle at Mike's party

Glasgow City Hall

Glasgow Modern Art Museum

Glasgow uni

Glasgow uni

Mike at Ketchup

Scotland v Wales football

Hampden Stadium

me and Mike at the game

football match

football match

Emma, Michelle, Monika, Ziwen, Gon, and Joel at the Tea Party

Charlotta, me, Emma, and Michelle at tea party

Monika and me at tea party

Connor and me at tea party

the gang at Mike's bday

Make a wish! 21!

me and Mike

Reeses peanut butter birthday cake

Alastair, Harry, Mike, Dionisis, and Joakim at bday party

me and Charlotta

me and Ellen

so much cake!

happy birthday boy

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Belfast, Northern Ireland & Dublin, Ireland

3:30am. BRINGGG BRINGGG BRINGGG!

This is how I woke up on Friday 15 March to begin the much anticipated trip to Ireland. It was early. But exciting! I packed my bag, and left for the AirLink where I met Alex and Jordie to depart for our journey. The 7:00 flight landed in Belfast at 7:35; did we even go above the clouds? After landing, we made our way to the hostel, which was still serving breakfast, so we grabbed some free grub, put away our bags, and went on a taxi tour of the city in which the guide taught us the history of the city while driving through the city to the different murals around West Belfast, which can be kinda dangerous if you’re on your own. It was extremely interesting to learn about “the troubles” as he called them, but basically is the fighting between the Protestants and Catholics. We saw the Peace Line, which divides the two factions and wrote messages on the Protestant side which was filled with graffiti as opposed to the stark white Catholic side. After the tour, we were dropped off outside the beautiful City Hall building, which we explored and saw the staircase that inspired the iconic Titanic staircase. Next, we walked to St. Anne’s Cathedral which was not at all ornate or very pretty but still managed to hold some sort of appeal. At this point we had been awake 10 or 11 hours and decided to grab lunch at a local pub. I got a bowl of soup as I was sick during the whole trip with a sore tummy and throat; I couldn’t talk for a couple of the days, and my voice is still pretty scratchy, so the hot soup felt good.

Lunch made us sleepy, so we went back to the hostel and took a wee nap. Afterwards, we saw the First Presbyterian Church, Queen’s University of Belfast, the Grand Opera House, Victoria Square, and the Albert Memorial Clock tower. Pretty stuff. In the evening we went on a pub crawl with people at the hostel. This is where being a girl has its perks because you don’t really have to buy your own drinks in the UK. Some random Irish dude bought me a hot whiskey to help my throat, and at the next pub an Australian guy at the hostel bought me another. The heat felt really good and it helped a little bit with my voice but not too much. After hanging out for a while, it was time to head back to the hostel for a much needed sleep!

Saturday morning was another early one, because we had a 10am bus to catch to Dublin. When we arrived, Alex and Jordie left to catch another train to their hostel in Maynooth, about 35 minutes outside the city, and I walked to Trinity College to meet my friend Ryan whose friend Jenn graciously let us stay at her dorm for the weekend. Ryan also goes to Queen’s and we went to Munich together for Oktoberfest, so we are just celebrating Europe’s holidays together it seems! After walking through Trinity College, Ryan and I made our way to the Guinness Storehouse. On the way we saw the Dublin Castle, Merrian Square, Christ Church, St. Audeon’s Church, and lots and lots of green! The streets of Dublin were covered with green decorations and green people making it a very festive time. At the Storehouse, we learned all about how Guinness is created, such as the four main ingredients of water, barley, yeast, and hops. We then went up to the Gravity Bar which has a panoramic view of the city and we got a complementary pint of Guinness. The place was packed but it made it more fun. On the way back to Jenn’s flat, we walked through Temple Bar, which refers to both an area and a certain bar. We picked up groceries for the weekend, then went to the flat where a bunch of Queen’s people and Trinity people drank together and had fun. I didn’t drink on account of my throat and wanting to be in top form on Sunday. Because the others were drinking, they naturally wanted drunk food so I joined them on a mission through Grafton Street to get burritos. It was the first Mexican I’ve had in ages, and was so good. We came home, watched part of some weird Irish film, then slept.

Sunday morning we started our celebrations Queen’s University style with a pancake kegger! Ryan and I had bought a bunch of pancake ingredients, chocolate chips, and syrup, and I made a HUGE batch of pancakes. We normally would dye them green but the three stores we went to didn’t have food colouring 😦 And yes, the purpose of a pancake kegger is to eat pancakes and drink, so the kitchen was filled with a bunch of people getting their drink on at 10am (technically should have started at 9 but we were tired). After breakfast, we got all dolled up in green and tattoos and went to the big St. Patrick’s Day parade! At first it was frustrating since I’m not the tallest, but then I found a random pole that stops cars from crashing into shops and stood on that and could suddenly see everything! It was so much better after that and I took hundreds of pictures. After the parade, it started to rain a very ugly rain, but Ryan and I weren’t deterred from our mission to visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which was stunning. To escape the rain, we returned to Jenn’s flat and hung out, drank, played a board game for hours, had dinner, and then it was finally time to go out. We went to a couple bars, which was a little hard on me since I couldn’t talk to anyone without a voice, so a lot of the weekend was just smiling and sign language for me. When it was time to go dancing, I opted out in favor of sleep and went back to the flat to that end.

Monday was another early morning. I had planned to see the Book of Kells before heading off, but Monday was a holiday and I didn’t think it would be open at the hour I was needing to visit. I left a sleeping flat and walked off to the train station where I was supposed to meet Alex and Jordie…. who didn’t show up. That was a little scary, but I was confident I was in the right place, so I texted Jordie and sure enough they didn’t make it to the station on time and had to catch the next train. I was a little nervous to travel alone, and to be in Belfast for the day alone, but luckily I was already familiar with the city and had a trusty map with me. In Belfast, I walked about an hour to the Titanic Quarter, which is where the Titanic was built. It was really cool to see that area and think of all the history that was made there. Once I exhausted that area, I went to the Botanical Gardens, which were gorgeous and smelled like the best springtime ever. Then I went to the Ulster Museum which was a bunch of stuff about Northern Ireland. It sounded cooler than it was. Probably because I was exhausted and lugging all my bags with me. After the museum, I decided to head to the bus station to catch the link to the airport where I met Alex and Jordie who made it safely to Belfast by then. We flew home and landed safe and sound in a snow covered Edinburgh.

I’m really glad I got to visit Belfast. I really enjoyed the city and learning about the history of the Troubles. It was an easy city to navigate and the people were super nice. Spending St. Patrick’s in Dublin was definitely amazing too, and I’ll always remember how one year I was in Dublin for the holiday! That was something I have been waiting for and looking forward to all year, so I’m glad to have it accomplished. Now only three more weeks of school and then a three week break and then exams and I am officially coming home on May 31st, tickets bought today. WEIRD.

Belfast:
Jordie, Alex, and me outside Queen's University

Murals, west Belfast

Belfast Cathedral

inside the Cathedral

Memorial to those who died

Alex, me, Jordie on Protestant side of the Peace Line

Protestant side

Queen

City Hall

Albert Memorial Clock tower

random street

reflections

Titanic Museum

Titanic memorial and slipway

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Dublin:
Dublin

Trinity College entrance

Trinity College

Trinity College

Dublin Castle

Christ Church

Guinness Storehouse

with Ryan at the Galaxy Bar

first Guinness experience

and they're gone!

Everyone's Irish on March 17th!

Christ Church dressed up for the night

Temple Bar

Jenn and me

Lily, Ryan, Jenn and me at the parade

Ryan and me at the parade

Jenn, me, Ryan

parade

parade

parade

parade

decorations

St. Patrick's Cathedral

me outside St. Patrick's Cathedral

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I’m sorry to say…

… that nothing too interesting has happened in the past couple of weeks! So I haven’t been neglecting you, simply waiting for something exciting to occur. School started again, and along with that came the dark, ominous, domineering cloud of papers. And that pretty sums up how I’ve spent my time- being a student, studying away, hacking away at term essays and presentations one by one.

Two Fridays ago I went to a fun birthday party with Michael and met some really sweet girls who live just down the road, and last Friday it was my good friend Michelle’s birthday party, and we went out for karaoke! It was oodles of fun. Earlier in the week our flat had a bunch of people over, and Michelle and I made a huge shepard’s pie while Monika made some tasty Polish food. The big group of ten ate while watching 21 Jump Street and afterwards we played Kniffel, which is the German version of Yahtzee! It was a really nice night and a good distraction from papers, although I did make chocolate truffles for everyone and that was a struggle since I have been a good girl and not had any dessert during Lent!

This past weekend I realllllllly wanted to go to Skye, but couldn’t because of papers, so that was a bummer, but school comes first (I guess 😦 ). So instead I holed up in the library and worked. One evening I went to the Sciennes Talent Show with a few friends and that was entertaining, then I came home and Skyped the lovely Alisha back in Kingston! It was weird seeing our old house together; it seems like so long ago, and yesterday, that I lived there.

Today I got some really exciting news! I applied for a position as Gecko (Orientation Leader for new, exchange, and transfer students at Queen’s) and got the spot! So I am very much looking forward to that opportunity; it will be a great way to make new friends and stay in touch with the international culture, so I don’t feel surrounded by North Americans when I’m home 😛

Other than that, things are pretty tame and boring around here, I hate to say. My newest cooking exploits are the world’s most delicious crepes (made with help from Michael), grilled artichokes (also a team effort), fried rice (easy but delicious) and Hollandaise sauce that I am learning to make without a Cuisinart for Easter. Oh yes! That’s something I’ve been doing- getting ready for a certain someone’s birthday on Easter! What a happy double holiday it’s going to be. I still think you should come visit then, mom and dad! I recently found out that my cousin, Giles, is coming to visit at the beginning of April and I am so excited to show him around Edinburgh! It’s going to be so fun, and hopefully will have nice weather.

Tomorrow I am working on my paper and giving a presentation, and Wednesday Mike and I are going to try to make some fancy French dish that he knows the name of and I don’t. Thursday will be filled with packing and chores, and Friday I’m off to Belfast and then Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day! Should be a good time; will let you know how things go!

Oh yeah, it snowed today!

Cheers. Charlotta, Lars, and me at Electric Circus, karaoke bar

Apple cinnamon crepe... winning.

snowy Edinburgh

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Innovative Learning Week: Part 2

After we made it home safe from Portugal, my day was filled with chores, as it always is when returning home from an adventure. Bank, groceries, unpack, laundry, put up pictures, etc. And although I was running on very little sleep (4 hrs) I couldn’t take a break and catch some shuteye, because I knew I would never get myself out of bed again, and I didn’t want to miss a nice evening going out to dinner with Michael and friends. We had a really lovely night, and it was fun to meet his friends, one of whom was visiting from Queen’s! How neat-o.

Friday was a very exciting day, because my friend Rachel from Franklin was in town with her fellow Lee students who are studying at Cambridge this semester. It was such a treat to spend time with Rachey and meet her friend Liz! I met Rachel at a Starbucks on the Royal Mile (major tourist spot), and our happy reunion and giggles and hugs silenced the PACKED upper floor of the Starbucks and everyone stared as we hugged and said hello and sat down. It was pretty funny; you could tell they were happy for us. Friday evening was filled with hanging out with Michael and his friends; sadly Rachel couldn’t join us because she couldn’t get away from her group and their hostel was pretty far away. But it was a fun time nonetheless, and I got to see Rachey on Saturday! We explored St. Giles Cathedral, which is uber gorgeous, then went into one of my favorite lunch spots, Elephant and Bagels, for sandwiches, which we ate on the way to the ever fantastic Calton Hill. We then made our way down to Parliament and the Holyrood Palace, where we met her friends who were on their way to climb Arthur’s Seat. I wasn’t feeling great, and instead went home for a wee nap. It was sad to say goodbye, but such a treat to see someone from home/home in my current home.
reunion with Rachey

Sunday was a very busy day indeed! Bethany and I went on a Highland tour with a great company called The Hairy Coo, and for those who aren’t familiar with the term, “coo” is Scots for “cow”. We woke up early to snow falling and jumped on the bus. Our tour guide was really funny and informative, telling stories in between sites to make the most of our experience. We made many stops, seeing the World-famous ‘Forth Bridge’, a visit to the National Wallace Monument in Stirling, views of the stunning Stirling Castle, the beautiful Lake of Menteith, lunch in the lovely Highland village of Aberfoyle, Callander, The Lochs, Mountains and Glens of the stunning Trossachs: “Scotland in miniature”, an exclusive, ‘Hairy Coo Off-Road Safari’, feeding the ‘Hairy Coos’, and a visit to Monty Python’s Doune Castle. Once we got out of Edinburgh, the skies cleared and by the afternoon it was sunny! The countryside was incredibly beautiful and seeing the hairy coos up close was super fun!

All in all, it was a very nice, relaxing, much needed week off from school, and yet was also exhausting in its own way with all the travelling and scurrying around, but I’m glad everything worked out peachy and that I was able to see everything, and everyone, I did!

with the hairy coos

The Forth Bridge

William Wallace monument in Stirling

View of Stirling

William Wallace monument

Doune Castle from Monty Python

Callander

View of the hills overlooking Callander where we stopped for lunch

Loch Katrine

Loch Katrine

Loch Katrine

hairy coos

hairy coo

pretty sights

hairy coo

pretty view from the mountain top

pretty sky...

perfectly still waters

crazy reflections

Stirling Castle

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