So first week of classes are finished! The classes were interesting and long! Two of my classes are taught by Scottish professors so it’s really cool to hear about the history and culture from someone who lives here. One of the professors talked about a couple of the reasons that Scotland has two airports that are 45 minutes away from each other. Reason no. 1 is that Glasgow and Edinburgh apparently don’t like each other. Reason no. 2 is that it is too far away. I have no idea why they don’t like each other, but I hope I can find an actual reason before I go home. I also have a career explorations class where I get to job shadow people in my field and see the differences between the US and Scotland. That’s pretty exciting because I get credit for doing something that I probably would already have tried to do. It also gives me a professor to go to if I can’t figure out how to contact someone (I also get a push to contact people and get out of my comfort zone!). On Tuesday, I will be heading to an interview with the Historical Society here in Dalkeith to talk to them about their jobs. I also hope to talk with a police officer and someone at one of the museums in Edinburgh. I’m possibly thinking of trying to volunteer at the museum as well. It would be a great way to meet people over here.
I also had my first assigned kitchen duty with the chef this week. He’s Scottish, so it is sometimes difficult to understand him, but he’s okay with people asking to repeat whatever he said. My other job here is to clean the mailroom and travel area every week. It’s not bad and since that keeps the tuition for this program down, I’m okay with it!
I’ve decided that I am going to try to walk as many paths in the park surrounding the Palace as possible. I started with the smaller looking paths that wrap around so I know that I will be able to get back on the main path. That was on Monday that I started (Tuesday was a busy day so I wasn’t able to get to walking). On Wednesday, I followed a path that looked like it would wrap around…an hour later I was still walking, and all I really know is that I was still in the park. So I decided to turn around and a couple of minutes later ran into a lady who was a little less lost than I was. So we decided to walk together and got to talking about US, Edinburgh, Glasgow and the weather. We finally made it back to the Palace (we were a lot closer than either one of us thought!) and said goodbye. One of my roommates and I went on a walk on Saturday, but we stayed on paths that we knew about because we had to get back to do homework.
Walking the paths
Starting to get lost.
Where I got lost…the trees were pretty cool!
Still lost and decided to turn back at this point…
On Friday, we went to St Andrews and the bus ride was about two hours. Thankfully we were on a coach bus so we could try to sleep, but I think that I had more room on the plane ride…We got to see a fuzzy cow on that ride, so that helped with the two hours! St Andrews (holding the 2015 British Open and also where Kate Middleton went to college) is a pretty town on the cost. It was suppose to be cold, but we got a nice day! We went to see St Andrews Castle and Cathedral (both are in ruins) and part of the golf course. We also walked along the beach and climbed some rocks. At the cathedral, we got to climb this lookout tower and some parts of are climb were done in darkness since there are no windows. That was a little scary, but the view was worth it. We got to see the whole town from up there. On our way back through town we stopped at a restaurant to get some fish and chips. The fish was huge so I only finished half of it, but someone else at the table finished the rest. It was good and came out pretty fast. After that we walked around, until it was time to go. We then hopped back on the bus and went to visit the Kelpies (mythical creatures that protect people, mostly children, from dangers in the water). The Kelpies that we saw were finished about a year ago and are these massive metal horse heads, which wasn’t what I expected. For some reason I thought they were these white statues; I have no idea why I thought that was what they looked like. They still are cool looking though.
At the top of the Tower
My fish and chips
Walking on the beach
The rocks we climbed on
Saturday was pretty quiet. I did get to meet my host family and they seem really nice. There are two others from the program that have the same host family which is nice. I believe that we are going to try to have dinner with them sometime this week. They have also said that if we want to take trips to different places close by, they would be happy to go with us to show us around. Not everyone got a host family, but they are trying to place as many people as possible.
Sunset was very pretty on Saturday, so one of my roommates and I decided to run outside and take some pictures.
Today we decided to go to Edinburgh to go shopping. One of the stores here, called Primark, is a place that everyone in this program seems to go to at least once. It has cheap prices and a lot of choices of clothing. So we went there and then to Waterstones (like Barnes and Noble) and I bought a couple of books. We then went back to Dalkeith and bought some pizza from a place in town that did take aways (to goes). It was good!
Things I have noticed:
- Roundabouts here are very interesting. Some of them have four lanes and have stop lights inside them, so you go halfway through the roundabout and then stop at a stoplight. The small ones are also interesting because everyone whips through them. I’m very glad that I don’t have to drive here!
- Stop lights are a little different. Before the light turns green, the red light and the yellow light are on. It’s sort of like a warning.
- Portions sizes are different. There are a lot less chips (fries) on the plate than in America. The main meal (burger, fish, etc) is usually pretty big portion.
- People park strangely on the road. In the US, I have only seen people park on the side of the rode that they are driving on, not facing oncoming traffic. Here people park facing oncoming traffic and not facing oncoming traffic. So it is not uncommon to see cars facing each other on the same side of the road. As someone from my group described it, if they both turned on their cars and hit the gas pedal, there would be a head on collision. They also park on the sidewalks when the streets are too narrow, so I got to walk around a couple of smart cars chilling on the sidewalk.
That’s about all that I can remember right now, other than some words being different and of course people driving on the other side of the street…thank goodness I look both ways before I cross the street!
I’m going to try to update on Sundays; feel like that will be the easiest. For those of you with a lot of snow, have fun with it and stay warm!