OH MY GOODNESS, A POST ABOUT BEING ABROAD!
Well, kind of. After a week of rushing around Boston trying to hit up all of my favorite haunts (shockingly all food related) before leaving for the semester, then packing like a madwomen and hopping on an overnight flight to Shannon and then skipping over to Edinburgh, here I am, finally not in New England.
First of all, I’d like to say Scotland is so attractive (and the country ain’t half bad to look at either). My program spent a few days in Edinburgh for a pre-orientation, where we filled out paperwork and had some presentations in a fairly swanky hotel. My group got afternoons off, so we wandered around the city, which had enough to occupy us. I completely forgot to charge my camera, so bear with me here. We explored the shops on Princes street, finally getting a hold of cellphones (oh, excuse me, mobiles). Word for the wise, if you’re not a Verizon customer, it’s entirely possible to get your phone unlocked for a small fee (instead of buying a new phone), and then just buy a sim card with your desired plan. Alas, my Android did not fair so well, so I needed to buy a new (and significantly less smart) phone and a sim card. The woman who sold it to me actually asked if I had ever used a mobile before and then very slowly walked me through using it…which kind of concerns me about how tech-savvy I’m coming off to people. Hooray for that Computer Science degree!
But besides weird mobile ladies, I also got to tour Royal Mile and the Palace (no pictures allowed!) and walked by the strangeness that is the Scottish Parliament building. It’s kind of controversial since it’s a super modern building in the middle of rather ancient area… it also apparently was designed not by a Scotsman, but a Spaniard (another sore subject and fun fact, his nick-name was “El Calapso”), and went completely over budget. We didn’t get a chance to go inside, but have been assured that despite how strange it looks, there are several nice spaces once indoors.
After our time in Edinburgh, we hopped on a bus (and a moving van) and headed to Saint Andrews. On the way, we saw just gorgeous Scottish countryside, filled with vibrant green fields and various livestock (sheep, funky goats, cows, etc.). Most of the buildings here are a kind of slate color, with some blackish spots, but they are kept lively with colorful doors and tons of blossoming flowers.
I am terrified, I will not lie about this. For those of you who haven’t been made painfully aware of this by meeting me, I can be cripplingly shy and awkward (a Computer Science major, socially awkward? Never!). But people here have been very friendly. We’re in the midst of fresher’s week, so everyone’s very excited to meet all of the new students, and there are tons of events (like Pub Trivia) to meet and greet other students.
The complete abundance of alcohol here is also very strange to experience (not that I’m complaining), since the drinking age here is 18. At many of the events there’s free booze, and a not a lot of carding going on. As someone who has been able to drink in a bar legally for almost a year, casually going to the pub or somewhere else is not a big deal. BUT, as someone who has spent the last few years splitting life between Pennsylvania and Massachusetts, it’s very strange A) going to the local grocery store and being able to buy beer, wine and even hard liquor, and B) seeing freshman also doing that (OH MY GOODNESS THEY LOOK SO YOUNG).
Well, I’m off for the night, so hopefully I’ll be able to update y’all soon on my post-freshers week adventures. And yes, there might even be a mention of golf.