Tuesday, 15 April 2008

hope has a way of turning its face to you just when you least expect it.

this is not my photograph.

the study abroad group plus a couple of English girls.

yes, the fried Mars bar.

This past Thursday night at 11:00 p.m., a friend and I boarded a National Express bus headed to Edinburgh, Scotland. It was a long and tiring ride, and it was difficult to sleep. We were surrounded by cuddling couples and snorers, but we managed to get there eventually, sleep or not. The weekend was filled with fried Mars bars, ukulele playing, and haggis-eating. On a side note, haggis is the belly of a lamb with oats and spices. My friend, Graham, from Connecticut lives and goes to the University there.

On the way to his flat, we got somewhat lost, but it was worth it. We were on Princes Street and although it was in the middle of a shopping area, over to our left was a huge green mountain of a hill with Edinburgh Castle standing atop it. While of course visiting museums, galleries, the writer's museum, and a monument to Sir Walter Scott, it was not the most exciting of places. For its beauty, though, I was left in awe.

The first evening, Graham took us to a crepe party, where I met his friends from the United States, France, Denmark, Lithuania and England. It was explained to me several times that there weren't many Scots at the University. I had a crepe with Nutella and bananas, as well as one with cheese and a martini. I thoroughly enjoy meeting people from all over the world. It seems that it's easy to find many international students congregated in the largest cities. These people also tend to be more exciting, adventurous, and open than the locals (but I don't take this as a rule).

There is a story of a dog who stayed by his master's grave until his own death, and there was a statue made of him there. I was also able to see the cafe in which J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. The last night, Graham took us to Arthur's Seat, which is the main peak of a group of hills in Edinburgh. It was nighttime, and it was a serious hike, but at the summit, it was worth it. We could see out to the North Sea and to the highlands. On the way down, we saw the heather on the hill, which I have heard much about.
I have recently made friends with the daughters of the lady I am lodging with and it's been refreshing to get to know some real English people. For a while, I was spending most of my time with Americans and I strongly desired to acquaint myself with some people from other countries. I was able to bring one of the daughters, Charlotte and her friend to a friend's birthday celebration, which ended up being fantastic!

I have traveled to several places, which has been quite a blessing. A lot of the American students here did an entire tour of about 7-10 European countries, but I am content with my travels. I would rather not rush around to every country and spend money I don't have because I know that I will come back to Europe someday. Besides, I found a friend to travel with me to Paris and I have bought the tickets, so we are officially going to Paris in early May as my last traveling adventure outside of the United Kingdom. I have always wanted to go to France, and there is much anticipation to see the artwork and countryside, as well as the city. As an artist and a French speaker myself, I know that I am realizing a dream. I am going to try to go to Bath and Stonehenge, as well as Greenwich, where the Prime Meridian is, before I return to the United States. I am going home in about five weeks, which I am overjoyed about.

Au revoir.

No comments: