Saturday, 14 March 2009

Caught up in Hurricane Life

So much has happened in the past two weeks...The last time I wrote feels like so much longer than almost two weeks...

The last day I updated was also the day that catalyzed the following 12 days of madness that brings me to today...sitting home at midnight on a Saturday because I'm so exhausted and came home straight after the birthday dinner I attended earlier.

Anywho, that fateful Monday: A girl in my kitchen asked me if I was interested in having a girl come see my room who was interested in moving into our building. My answer? "Hell YES!" I have been trying to get out of my contract there for two months...this seemed like a lucky break that someone actually would WANT to move in!

So the girl came, she saw, she liked, and she told me she would let me know her decision the next day.

Tuesday: My friend Adam texts me asking if I can get out of my contract because one of his flatmates wants to move out. Oh, the coincidence! My answer? "Actually, I probably can get out, I'll let you know". (Adam happens to have a GREAT flat...good sized rooms, great kitchen and living room, cheaper than the Res...and only three people all together!) Later, the girl tells me she wants my room! YAY!

Wednesday: The girl and I do the paperwork to transfer her into my room. Only issue? She needs the room by Monday, So I have to get on it and pack my stuff and find a place to live ASAP!

Thursday/Friday/Saturday: Pack...pack happy that I'm leaving...neglect homework a LOT...attend a Dinner party my good friend hosts for a bunch of us...pack MORE (turns out I have a LOT of crap here)

Sunday: MOVING DAY! Adam and his Mom came in two cars, loaded up my ridiculous amount of stuff, and moved me over...Because the roommate who is leaving has yet to vacate the premises (she's nuts, and doesn't communicate well) I'm staying in Adam's room, and he is staying at his parent's home in Bathgate (30 minutes away). Yeah, he's kind of an amazingly generous friend. I need to bake him and his family a "thank you" cake...

Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday: get settled in as much as possible when I can't really unpack, learn to walking route to school (now a 30 minutes walk each way...nice though, and good exercise) the local grocery store, the ways of the flat, etc. I also completely cleaned and reorganized the kitchen and all cupboards and fridge/freezer...No worries, the two guys I live with seem to find my obsessive need to clean and have things organized as somewhat endearing, or maybe just as entertaining...

Thursday: Adam and I had a few people over for a vegetarian dinner. Made Eggplant stuffed with fruit couscous topped with Halloumi, roasted veggies, and vanilla ice cream toped with homemade plum compote (a new fave of mine)...I have now done little to no homework for like two weeks...need to get on that!

Friday: Sushi night for Alicia's B-day...James made homemade sushi! Yum! Also, Eamon's brother plus six other guys arrived from Ireland today for the Ireland v. Scotland Rugby game tomorrow...That's a lot of loud, sporty Irish people in one flat...

Today: The Irish guys gave me flowers and chocolate as a thank you for putting up with them this weekend! So sweet!
My Flowers

Dinner was again for Alicia's actual birthday...and I think I'm getting sick...I also planned my birthday "party" today...Appetizers, drinks, dessert, then we'll head out to a pub or two...I can't believe I'm turning 25...WEIRD!

Thing's won't be slowing down soon either...Next week I need to catch up on some work, get stuff together for the party, and start getting things together for my trip to Cali! I can't WAIT to come home for a bit! :-)

I'll post some flat pics when I actually move into my new room and there isn't luggage from a bunch of visitors all over the place!


Monday, 2 March 2009

Back to Reality...

I arrived home this morning at 2 am from our weekend trip to the Highands. No internet, no cell (well, I just chose not to use my cell), no manic city/uni/life in general events constantly overwhelming me. Just great food, great friends, AMAZING scenery, and a change of pace that was severely needed.

Adam's house is in Lochcarron, on the west coast of Scotland right next to the Isle of Skye. The landscape is so beautiful there, it's easy to see where all the great Scottish authors have found inspiration. The mountains are much lower than the ones I'm used to in California, they remind me more of the hills around Simi Valley and the Santa Monica mountains...not too tall, and not too sharp. this part of Scotland wasn't glaciated, and the landscape feels slightly less intimidating compared to the sheer rock faces found in other parts of the island (although none of the British mountains have anything on the Sierra Nevada). There is a melange of complementary life across the mountains-gorse, heather, some evergreens, some deciduous trees, a lot of exposed rock cut through with thousands of streams rushing from the peaks into the loch (lake) below. And a lot of sheep.
While hiking the Culags :-)

There are lochs everywhere. Loch Carron is a sea loch, connecting to the Atlantic/Arctic Oceans, and the Gulf Stream on the west coast of Scotland ensures a temperate environment. It was a little damp, but not overly cold or rainy while we were there. The topography reminded me a lot of the hills around Simi Valley, actually. The deep browns, the exposed rock faces, the sparse tree covering (there has been some deforestation, apparently). The view from Adam's place is amazing. Straight out over the loch to the opposite mountains, the water constantly moving with the breeze, the clouds covering the sky giving a sense of both oppression and safety (depending on you're mood at the time, I guess). The water mirrors the grey sky, but the grey/blue of the water and the sky both magnify the smooth velvet tones of the hills, making you want to reach out and touch them, caress them like the familiar face of a loved one. When random chunks of pure sunlight cut through the clouds, exposing the pure, sapphire hue of the water you receive a small jolt of warmth that cuts straight to your heart. Those small, teasing hints at the potential color the loch hides kept me staring, staring at the scene before me for countless minutes yesterday morning. watching the small changes and the overall strong stability that the Highlands does so well. You literally feel steeped in and awed by the weighty sense of history-both of humanity and nature-that the rugged, soft, safe, sweet, challenging mountains, lochs, and valleys present.

I feel I could wander those mountains, lochs, and valleys for weeks at a time, lost in my own primordial human nature and relying on my sense of wonder and desire to explore and find my own identity reflected back from a loch's depths, hear my laughter welling up from a mountain stream, my strength emanating from the deeply rooted mountains.

The highlands are a magical place, if you open yourself to the possibility of centuries of interactions and contradictions between man and nature. those contradictions and interactions have left faint paths, stirrings of old ideas and new chances to take, if you care enough to stop for a minute and feel for them. I now understand why they are still regarded by so many as such a magical place. I can't wait to go back.