Posts Tagged ‘British life’

I got to Scotland ‘afore ye

11 March 2009

Yes yes yes I am very behind in blog-update-age. Please accept my profuse apologies.

So anyway, rewinding to the last weekend in February, I went to Scotland!

I like to imagine the whole thing in the frame of Harry Potter. As previously mentioned, everything in England is either exactly like Narnia or Harry Potter, and this was DUH Harry Potter.

We went on a train. From Kings Cross Station. With a group of students. To a mysterious and unknowable location in Scotland.

Aka, Hogwarts.


There was a snack trolley and everything. And some annoying gits who kept trying to intrude on our compartment. By compartment, I mean group of 4 seats near each other.

Our tour guide wore a kilt and had crazy Scottish hair. He knew SO MUCH and talked pretty much the whole time we were in the Highlands on the bus. We saw Loch Lomond (that is a sad sad song if you know the meaning) and Loch Lochey and Loch Lochey Lochey Lochey Loch (ok that’s not real, but the 1st one is) and Loch Ness and part of the train tracks the Hogwarts express goes on and the hillside where Hagrid’s hut is and lots of clan territory and THE LOCH NESS MONSTER.


That’s right. I saw Nessie. I know you’re jealous.

The guide told us some of the leading theories about the identity of the LNM, and one of my friends slept through it, so I filled her in while we walked around some castle ruins on the banks of the Loch.

FRIEND: So what’s the deal with this monster?
ME: Um well, sonar, blah blah blah, ancient tunnels to the sea. One of the leading theories, though, is that it’s actually a giant cactus.
FRIEND: Oh cool.
WIND: blows.
FRIEND: Wait. What?
ME: Yeah a giant cactus from when the Loch was connected to the ocean.
FRIEND: I think this treacherous bus trip has damaged your brain like a shaken baby.
ME: What? Giant catfish. Isn’t that what I said?
FRIEND: Not at all. I shall…go over here now…kthxbye.

We also learned about clan wars and the Jacobite rebellion and whisky (no “e”) and hostels and rugby fans and the best bridge in the world and how the scottish mountains used to be higher than the Himalayas.

It was SO. Beautiful. A lot of bits reminded me of the Dixie Hicks tour around Colorado.


Pretty epic, right??

It felt like there was a much greater sense of identity and pride in Scotland (as opposed to England). Maybe that’s because of all the years of oppression and having to stand up to The Man (england).

And finally, I’m proud to announce that this was a 2 album trip! Scotland could not be contained in one measley 60 photo facebook album (though some people no longer seem to have this limit, and I don’t understand why) so please checkout this AND this!!

So that was brief, and I’m probably leaving out lots of good bits, but I’ve got to get to bed before I fall asleep on the keyboard. 

Hey East Coast: good news! I’m only 4 hours ahead of you from now until March 29.

More soon about this weekend’s Ireland trip and tomorrow’s little jaunt to Oxford.


Days 7 & 8: Digestive Biscuits

16 January 2009

I’ve been here for a week!

There’s someone I’d like you to meet.

Everyone, these are digestive biscuits:day-7-0041

Digestive biscuits, this is everyone. Say hi.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Digestive biscuits?? Sounds like something you give your dog to help with, well, you know.” But you’re wrong. They are delightful little cookies that come in approximately a jillion different varieties. I personally am a big fan of the chocolate covered

Can we all be friends now?

Ok good.

In other news, I finally got my classes all sorted out. Yay! I switched from 3rd Year Victorian fiction (which I “would be at a disadvantage” in because it’s continuing the sequence from the 19th century novel class I’m taking now) to 2nd year Women Writers of the Romantic Period. The bad news is that I missed the 1st class. Also that I have class from 10-4 on Tuesdays…with…erm…no break. But the good news is that I have Wednesdays through Sundays completely free. Minus my minimum recommended 32 hours of studying.

Unfortunately, I can only check out 10 books at a time from the library, so I’ve already maxed out my allotment in the 1st week. I was greatly saddened when the magical radiation electron scanning check out machine (you just put the books in this compartment, up to 10 at a time, and it KNOWS what they are) cut me off. I suppose I’ll be better off in the long run if I go ahead and buy some so there won’t be any worries around exam/essay time about them being available in the libs.

Tomorrow, so help me God and the Queen, I’m going to work on reading The Iliad. If I hadn’t come abroad, I believe I would’ve escaped higher education without ever having to tackle that beast. As you might guess, I’ve been avoiding it like the plague.

Cheers: Days 4 and 5

13 January 2009

I swear I have heard people say cheers at least three times the normal amount I usually hear it (which is at New Years and special occasions). Based on my observations, it seems like you can use it to replace “thanks” when someone holds the door for you or when you’re saying something like bye/have a good day/see ya later. I will have to investigate the matter further before I come to a solid conclusion. I’ll get back to you.

Yesterday was supposed to be the day where I got organized and got the rest of the stuff I need in Egham, but alas, no. I didn’t set my alarm, so obvi I slept really late (ahem1pmahem). And then, lo and behold, practically all of Egham is closed on Sundays, except Tesco (the grocery) which closes at the nightowl hour of 4pm. It’s going to be a major adjustment a) not having the grocery less than a block away and b) EVERYTHING CLOSED when I want to be at the store.

Not all was lost, however, because I successfully remembered the short cut along the RR tracks/through the neighborhood. It’s a lot more pleasant than the hazardous Egham Hill Road route with the cars rushing by and the noise and the bushes poking over the sidewalk.

And, I got to take in the scenery along the way. Tell me, what do you think this means:day-4-001

 Is the paint just so slippery that you cannot climb it? Does it cause your limbs to decay and fall from your body, thus rendering  you physically unable to scale the fence? Or is it like those people who just have security signs in their yard but no actual security system?

Also they have what I call “power-tents”:day-4-002

See how it’s sort of draping over the houses like a giant circus tent? Work with me, people!

Woke up this morning to some jolly good English rain! It was that kind of rain where it’s definitely happening, but just not quite enough to call for the opening of ones umbrella. That was a bit troubling, to say the least.

It was also the first day of the new term (not semester). I triple checked my time table (not schedule) and made it to the right classes at the right time in the right places. Victory! The course (not class) tutor (not professor) is really nice for the ones I went to today (Gaskell, Eliot & Dickens–the lecture and the seminar). Unfortunately, we visiting int’ls did not get the memo that you’re supposed to have already done reading (in this case a whole novel) for the 1st meeting of the class. Oooops! But it was all ok and fine no worries. I just have a ton of reading to do this weekend!!

I finally finished organizing and decorating my room! Yay! Here’re some highlights: day-5-001

That’s my desk and bboard, and here’s my bed (yes, it’s a full, and that’s a AAA map of England)day-5-0022

Like I said, nicest. dorm. ever.

More pictures of town and campus and my room coming soon (via link to fb album).

And how ’bout that Prince Harry? What a charming fellow. Geez.

Day 3

11 January 2009

As my third day in England comes to a close, I thought I’d share some of the observations I’ve made over the last 72 hours.

First, I am not the only one who names my vacuum:


Found those lovely little darlings for sale in one of the shops in Egham while we were looking for Voltage converters and plug adaptors.

Second, orange juice is served at every meal, and this is apparently completely normal. Yesterday, we had orange juice with breakfast, orange juice with lunch of little sandwhiches, and orange juice with pizza for dinner (weird). Orange juice was also one of the three options at lunch in Windsor today. It’s not bad orange juice either.

Third, you apparently have to do something other than stand at a bus stop in order to get it to stop and let you on. That was very upsetting to discover when I had to carry 2 heavy bags of groceries 15 mins back up the hill in the cold to RH.

In other news, I stood on the grave/tomb of Henry VIII in Windsor. KING HENRY THE EIGHT! His bones were decaying under the floor I stood on today. IT WAS SO COOL!

In case anyone’s interested, here’s the view out my window on the one sunny day (note the castley part in the distance- that’s Founders Building)windsor-001

My room isn’t quite decorated and organized yet, but pictures of that coming soon.

For the full photographic chronicle of the previously alluded to trip to Windsor, please see the rather extensively captioned FB album: Democracy Now