Friday, September 13, 2013

First Week in Edinburgh

HelloOOOoooOOO! Today is day 6 of being in Edinburgh, which means so much has happened since I last posted, and since I got here- so I'll just go ahead and start rambling about all the living and stuff I've done.

My last few days at home were mostly spent in the sun (and in Bodos), neglecting all the clothes, chargers and shoes that needed to be packed. I didn't really start packing until Friday, the day I left, which was a terrible decision, but I somehow managed to shove most of my belongings into two suitcases (one that was purchased only hours before I left- thanks mom), each less than 50 lbs! My parents drove me to Dulles- and I must say that flying at night is truly the way to go. Dulles at 10 pm was freakishly calm, which allowed time for a fruit bowl and some chatting before I found myself tearfully blowing kisses to my parents from the other side of the security gate and officially, finally, on my own.
As flying is one of my biggest fears, going it alone was the most terrifying thing to embark on. I know it's something people do daily and it's the safest mode of transportation yadda yadda- I was still horrified. But thanks to Mozart and a letter from one of my best friends, I was a lot less panicked than expected.
I slept little on the plane, missed my connecting flight from Heathrow to Edinburgh, spent the day in a busy airport waiting to get on the next plane, and eventually boarded my flight (at 5pm.. 6 hours later than my original flight.. it's still a sore subject). Despite how exhausted I was, it was impossible to not appreciate how beautiful the flight from London to Edinburgh was, and I remember thinking that the stressful day I'd had really didn't matter so much because it put me above this view.

Once we landed, I got into taxi with two other girls I'd met on the plane, and somehow found myself on a throne of suitcases staring at the Edinburgh castle. I wish I'd taken a picture, because it was the best welcoming I could've asked for.

Although it's only been 6 days since I got here, it feels like weeks. I don't know why time does that. All the days sort of blend together into a blur of porridge and free pizza and asking questions and getting lost and trying to summarize in casual conversation what America is really like. My flat is essentially in the Arctic, but I got ridiculously lucky with my flatmates- one is from Cambridge, one from about an hour north of Edinburgh, and the third from China- they're outrageously kind and I'm so grateful to live with them. We live on a main street, so thankfully we don't have to venture out too far for food or shopping.

Something that I didn't really begin to consider before coming here is the fact that I'd be living alone, for the most part. Which means that I have to cook my own food, and things that I'm so used to just having at home, like olive oil and pasta drainers, I now have to purchase. It sounds superficial, sorry- I simply never thought of it. That being said, I'm drowning in lists of things to buy so hopefully I'll have everything set and settled in soon.

So, right, Edinburgh. The city itself is absolutely breathtaking. It says a lot that this city can be so majestic and beautiful even in its cold clouds. As far as Edinburgh's landmarks go, I live close to Arthurs Seat, which I still gawk at every time I see it. I don't know if it's because of the time of year or if it's always like this, but the grass on Arthur's Seat has large yellow patches which make it look like the sun is always shining on it. I haven't been on a tour of the Edinburgh castle yet, but it's near where I have two of my classes, so I'll get a nice view of it most days. I hope I never get used to it.

Speaking of, those two courses are in the School of Divinity, which looks like this:

It's also a 30 minute walk away from my flat, during which I always manage to get lost. Classes start on Monday, so hopefully I'll have it memorized by then. It's on a street called The Mound and looks so historic and gothic that I feel like I'm in the wrong time period.

Because this week is Induction week (or better known as Freshers Week), there's been a ridiculous amount of activities going on that simply reading them makes me feel like I need to catch my breath. It's weird to have so many First Impressions packed into one day, but it's such a diverse area and University that I'm constantly fascinated by everyone's life story. The other night, I attended a International Student Potluck in which I was the only American, but everyone there spoke in English to each other. It really blew my mind at how brilliant they were, while I sat there only knowing two semesters of Spanish and some common French words. I think when I go back home I'll take learning languages much more seriously, because it'd be a shame to miss out on seeing different parts of the world just because I don't how to speak in them.

Every time I walk outside or meet somebody new, I feel so fortunate to be here. It's weird knowing that something is going to impact my life greatly before I even get into it, but I think that might be the best thing about this whole experience. In just this week, I feel like I've already surprised the hell out of myself and learned more than I have most weeks, which is all quite surreal. I wish I could adequately describe how wonderfully different it feels to be here and how grateful I am for all of this. I'm looking forward to classes starting and getting into some sort of routine- but hopefully nothing too predictable as I like seeing things everyday that are new to me.

Sorry this post has been pretty scattered- I kept putting off writing on here for so long that there was too much to say and I knew I couldn't pile it all up. Plus, there's more I want to write but not enough time or words to write it all. Anyway, I hope you've all had a wonderful week, and I'll try to post more regularly! Here are some of the pictures I've taken while trying to look as least tourist-y as possible:

An extraordinarily poor quality picture of the Edinburgh Castle! It was much cooler in real life. Think I might move in there. 

On a stroll after a meeting

Today I ate lunch in The Elephant House- for those Harry Potter fans out there, this is where JK Rowling (allegedly) first began writing Harry Potter. And after seeing the view this little cafe has of the castle, I completely understood why she was so inspired.

From inside The Elephant Cafe

Talk soon!


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