Burns Night (Among Other Things)
The past seven days have been quite uneventful, and it’s really been the first week that I’m fully settled in and completely in a routine. Though last week was the first week of classes, it was still part of that getting oriented with the university and figuring out what my time in Edinburgh will look like on a normal basis. This was the first week I experienced my normal life in Edinburgh. It really just involves classes and studying, trips to the grocery store, laundry (for some reason I had been putting off doing laundry until today but it’s exactly the same as doing laundry in the U.S.), exploring, and going on outings with friends. I finally set up my Scottish bank account to avoid international fees every time I need to withdraw money, I hunted down more books, I got coffee from the cart outside one of my classes, I cleaned my room, I met with my autonomous learning groups – all really mundane stuff, but it feels oddly good to be doing it. I’m getting to the point where I feel like I belong here; I’m just constantly incredibly content and I’ve started half-joking to my parents that I’m never leaving (I mean my visa expires after 6 months so I don’t really have a choice). And when I do go back home, I can already tell that I’m going to be the obnoxious stereotypical returned study abroad student who never stops talking about their time oversees. Of course there are moments when I’m homesick or anxious, but they seem secondary to the experience that is studying abroad in Edinburgh.
I also did a few vaguely more exciting things this week. Friday, Morgan, Karen, and I went to Mums, a restaurant near Potterrow, for dinner and had the traditional British meal of bangers (sausages – though mine were vegetarian sausages, which I understand is slightly paradoxical) and mash (mashed potatoes). The combination of the delicious food and the great company made it seem almost like a home-cooked meal, which is one thing I have kind of been missing. After dinner, we hit up Sainsbury’s for alcoholic beverages (namely Tennent’s and Strongbow) and Scottish candy and then watched Mulan together, which is actually kind of my ideal night. So it was a great Friday.
On Saturday we met up again and got breakfast at Elephants and Bagels before heading over to the university to do some work. Though I was less academically productive than I had hoped, the three of us did start talking about and planning trips we want to take, particularly over spring break. One of the reasons I chose to study abroad in Europe is the opportunity for travel within the continent, so during spring break I hope to take advantage of that. My problem is that I want to go everywhere and see everything, but that also means that I’ll be happy no matter where I end up visiting. I’d also love to do shorter excursions, like day trips to Glasgow and weekend trips to places like London and Dublin. I still haven’t climbed Arthur’s Seat, I’d love to go to a rugby or football match, there’s an endless list of places I’d still like to go to within Edinburgh itself, and I still have to be able to actually get all my academic work taken care of. Though six months may sound like a long time, it’s already starting to fly by and it’s going to have to be jam-packed with activities and adventures in order to fit everything in, but I’m looking forward to every second of it.
Saturday evening, my flatmates threw a Burns Night celebration. For those of you who don’t know, Robert Burns is an 18th century poet (the national poet of Scotland) who’s loved and celebrated by the Scottish people. You might know him for the poem/song “Auld Lang Syne.” People celebrate his birthday (January 25) every year, mostly by having haggis, neeps, and tatties and reciting his “Address to a Haggis.” My flatmates and I (but mostly my flatmates) made dinner for the five of us and a few other friends who joined. It was just an all-around lovely evening.
Today I mostly just cleaned and did some reading for class, but I ended the day by going to Teviot for pub night with Karen and Morgan. It was our chance to redeem ourselves as Let’s Get Down to Quizness, and we did actually improve from last week. Instead of being in last place, we were in second-to-last place. So progress. We got dinner and drinks and tried to remember things like the capital of Greenland (Nuuk) and who hosted the first FIFA World Cup (Uruguay). It really is one of the best ways to end the weekend.
This coming week is once again fairly straightforward, but next weekend I will be in Shap, England for my IFSA-Butler homestay, which I will be sure to carefully document. Next week, I’ll also be uploading a video summary of my first month in Edinburgh. It’s not quite a vlog; it’s more of a collection of clips from the month of January and a version of the Document Your Life Project. Until then, have a great week!