Sunday, 28 September 2008

From Scenes Like These...

After two weeks in Edinburgh, life is starting to come together. That knitting of pattern into the framework of one's life which dictates what you do, where you go, when you go, etc. As a student, a lot of this is decided for me, but as a Grad student, a lot is left to my imagination. 

One week into school, I am jumping headfirst into my research, as I was set a 3,500 word research proposal last Thursday, due this Tuesday (yes, five days to write the whole thing, plus literature research). Turns out this isn't as daunting as I anticipated, since my pre-set research nerd skills and the passion I have for my research lend themselves quite nicely to banging out hundreds of words an hour when asked to explain what I want to do and why, exactly, it is important. All of my classes revolve around of them is actually nothing BUT work on my research proposal/Master's thesis, which is due next August. So even though some of them are redundant and boring, they all have relevance to my goals, and that makes them tolerable :-). 

Beyond class, I have met with both my PG Advisor and my direct Supervisor, and I like them both. The other students in my program (maybe 9 of us all together) are all interesting, fun, and friendly (as all good Anthropologists are, haha). One girl is a bit odd, she attacked my thesis without having any idea what it is about, and she seems like an all-around land-mine, and I'm sure all my actions will annoy her all year. Good thing I don't give a shit. HAHA!

Outside of school, I've been going to the gym when I can (less than at home, seeing as I walk EVERYWHERE) the one here is SO nice and clean...brand new equipment and such. Hanging out with friends from my residence hall (the Res), chatting to my loverly American friends when I can :-), and of course studying when needed. 

Yesterday a group of us took the bus to Glasgow, about 75 minutes from here. We went to GoMA (Glasgow Modern Art Museum...I don't get the name either), then wandered around a street festival that had AMAZING food, live music, stuff for sale, etc. We then happened upon the wonderous Primark store....think super cheap Target prices on REALLY cute clothes, shoes, accessories, house goods, etc. I bought a lot of stuff I needed for my Edinburgh life for much cheaper than anything I've actually found IN Edinburgh...totally worth the 8 pound bus ticket! 

Last night we went to Frankensteins, a mad-scientist-themed bar thats been around forEVER and Revolution, a three storied bar/club/more bars place with fun music and good deals on drinks if you buy the student card (actually, Frankie's has that too). Last week we met a fun team of rugby players there, and they literally have any type of Vodka you could think of (their Logo is I heart Vodka) So its a fun time, although we had a bit of Res drama last night that hurt the vibe of the night...I guess thats to be expected when you live with all of your friends...Ah well! I'm still involved in my e-mail flirtation with the Lebanese PhD student...oh, how random my life is...

So things just keep getting better, and I hope that they will continue that way...The juxtaposition of the wild lowland hills silent and watchful, and the ancient city buildings so alive with humanity continually enthrall me...the unexpected shot of bright green seen through a side street, or the happening upon of a building so wrought with craftsmanship the likes of the 21st century have never seen, that you know it has seen more years than you can even imagine....these things still make me smile. Although it IS getting colder, and my heater is a little less efficient than I would like. :-) I'll post some pics soon, my camera isn't working but my friends have some great pics from the last week. 

In the words of Robert Burns:

"From scenes like these old Scotia's grandeur springs."


Friday, 19 September 2008

Life in the Land of Kings and Kilts...

Although I have now been in Scotland for about a week, I have yet to gather my thoughts to write anything more than mini-blurbs in e-mails and the random message...This city is many things...In fact, it IS more than it is NOT...

Young at heart

and that is only a small sample of the things I see, feel, hear, smell, taste whenever I step out my door or look out my window onto Nicholson Street, Midlothian. 

After arriving sans luggage, walking the city, meeting many freshers and International students, bonding over beers and accents, tours, school-sponsored events, and realizing just how cool Anthropologists are all over the world, I can honestly say that I am SO unbelievably happy that I chose to come here...Edinburgh already is feeling like my third home (the first two being Simi and Seattle, respectively). 

I love walking here, just can do it for hours and never see an ugly part of this town...although my love of Classic, Victorian, Medieval, and Georgian architecture may make me a tad biased...Put on your I-pod, a good pair of shoes, and grab an umbrella and you can literally wander forever (I say umbrella as this really is a necessity here...I was literally soaked when a storm snuck up on me yesterday). Everyday can bring a new pub, new friends, new experiences. I'm sure I sound like I'm romanticizing the place, but I can't help it, I'm in love with this city!

Beyond that, I've met people from all over the world...South Africa, Lebanon, Belgium, Protugal, Croatia, Canada, China, Taiwan, India, Costa Rica, and of course the manifold Americans (even two from Ventura and Moorpark....weird!). 

Overall, this may be the beginning of the greatest love affair of my life...And I'm quite ok with that!