Yes, that’s right, in all countries and at all universities around the world, Sunday is the day that you atone for your procrastination on Saturday… and throughout the entire week. That means that this catch-up post can’t be too long, but I’ll write something to inform you all of my adventures the past couple of weeks. On Monday, we start week 7 of classes. That’s crazy! What’s even crazier is that we are now officially more than halfway through with class… That means we deserve Spring Break now, right? 🙂 I forget if I’ve explained this, but I’ll do a quick re-cap: classes last 11 weeks, then a 3 week Easter break, then finals/reading period are spread out over the course of about 5 weeks, from April 20th – May 28th. I will have 2 finals during that time, but the finals schedule hasn’t been released yet. Where is the semester going? In one sense, it seems like I just got here; I remember my departure form Portland like it was yesterday. On the other hand, I can’t believe how much I’ve learned and experienced in only 6 weeks. It makes you wonder what the remaining 13 have left in store!
Since my last post, I went to Lindisfarne on the 13th. It wasn’t as cool as I had expected (mostly because almost every shop on the island was closed), and the Lindisfarne Gospels have actually been moved to the British Library in London, so we weren’t able to see those, either. The scenery, however, was great. Here are a couple of pictures:
On Sunday, of course, we celebrated Valentines Day. The Brits don’t really do anything very different for the holiday, so we just had a nice potluck in my friends’ flat to celebrate our collective single-dom and temporarily long-distance relationships. Then Tuesday was Mardi Gras. In Scotland, it’s called Shrove Tuesday, and the tradition is to eat lots and lots of pancakes (although British pancakes are much more like crepes) before the Ash Wednesday fast. I didn’t know of this tradition until after the fact, though, so, unfortunately, I didn’t participate. Maybe I’ll bring the practice back to Tacoma next spring!
On Friday (the 19th), I went to Queensferry with 3 of my friends. It’s a quick bus ride from Edinburgh, so it made for a perfect mini-adventure after finishing class for the week on Friday morning. The most notable part of the little town is that you can see the Forth Rail Bridge from the coastline. It’s certainly one of Scotland’s best known piece of architecture, and since my mom’s a civil engineer, I have been raised to appreciate bridges. It is only used for trains (the bus/car bridge is down the water a little bit), and is used to cross from the Edinburgh area into Fife. It’s quite stupendous:
We were also able to catch a beautiful sunset after arriving back into Edinburgh. By the way, the sun sets around 5:30p now… and it’s getting about 2 minutes later every day. It’s SO nice to finally have normal-ish days and nights now, and it will only get better as the semester goes on. According to the sunrise/sunset timetables I just checked, the sun will be up from 4:40am to 9:45pm by the time I leave in May!
Yesterday, I went to Newcastle Upon Tyne in Northeast England. Six friends and I rode the train about 1.5 hours to reach Newcastle, and from there we just explored the city… mostly on foot. We saw the Newcastle United Football (Soccer) Stadium, the old city walls, lots of shopping opportunities, the Tyne River (and the bridges that cross it), the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (another FREE museum… gosh, I love that about the UK), the Angel of the North, a couple of beautiful cathedrals, and of course did lots of people watching. It was neat to visit another substantial city after sticking mostly to ancient ruins the past few weeks. It was also the longest day trip we’ve taken so far; we left Edinburgh at 9:05am, and didn’t return until about 10:30pm. We were all quite tired by the time we got back to our flats, but the adventure was well worth it!! Here are just a couple of the 111 pictures I took that day (YIKES!):
Well, that’s about it for the past couple of weeks. I apologize for my spread out posts; life is getting busier around here, but I’m not complaining. It feels good to get papers and presentations out of the way. I am also working on my Puget Sound summer research proposal, which is very exciting!
I hope all is well in Tacoma. To everyone that has e-mailed me about reading this blog… I’m glad you are enjoying reading about my adventures as much as I enjoy experiencing them! Studying Abroad has truly been an incredible experience that I recommend to anyone, no matter where it is you want to go. Again, if you have questions about studying abroad or Scotland or anything, my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next time! — Alayna