Bookshops, Birthdays, and Sheep
Much has happened since last I wrote, particularly 3 important events, which I will treat separately. The first of these events was my home stay, where I stayed on a farm near Falkirk with a Scottish family and one other IFSA-Butler student. The family was kind and very knowledgeable about the States and world affairs. That made for many interesting conversations and comparisons between life in the States and life in Scotland. We were taken to see the local town of Falkirk, including the Falkirk Wheel, which is a large structure for moving boats along a canal that works on the principle of the Falkirk wheel. This enables the building of a canal in which one part of the canal is far below the level of the part it is supposed to connect to. Rather than using a waterfall, as I would have done, they decided to instead use something safe that would keep the boats level. I can’t understand why they would do that. They also showed us gigantic statues of horses, called Kelpies, as well as the remnants of a wall built by the Romans. Unfortunately, the only thing left of the wall is a pit of death traps and trenches that would have prevented people from getting to the wall, had it been there. Romans shooting arrows at invaders were also absent. After this, we saw a museum called Callander House, a name that I did not misspell. There, we found the Romans who were missing from earlier. This museum contained a mix of historical artifacts from the time of the Romans to the Second World War. This led to some brief confusion when I first noticed grenades among imperial helmets and medieval swords. Also, there were sheep. These were not at the museum, of course. They lived on the farm and were very confused to see us. Overall, it was a good weekend, with good conversation and good food. The home stay has been my favorite event so far.
The second major, important thing that happened is my 21st birthday, which was on Tuesday. I celebrated with flare, drinking lots of coffee, eating a cupcake, eating a pizza, and going to see a movie. Some of my business classmates took me out to coffee and one gave me candy that may or may not be Scottish. I had never really considered the problem of time differences when it comes to responding to Facebook birthday wishes, but this was certainly something that plagued me. Some people had to wait entire hours before I was able to thank them, at which point in time they were probably asleep. That about sums up my birthday, so I shall move on to an even bigger event.
The bigger event is something that I never in a million years (or maybe just a few decades) thought would happen to me, something so incredibly shocking that I am still trying wrap my head around it. I fell in love. The other day, I met the most charming, interesting, intelligent, and diverse bookshop I have ever encountered. I have already been there four times and am beginning to worry that this addiction may have effects on my wallet. The biggest issue will be bringing the books home, as shipping costs would be incredibly high. That being said, I have found a much larger variety of books here than at any bookstore in the U.S. Part of this is due to the bookshop’s close proximity to the University of Edinburgh. It contains a lot of textbooks and other required course readings. In other words, the books here are scholarly and can be very difficult to read. Nonetheless, I shall attempt the task of reading many of these books. With classes on only two days out of the week, I’ll have plenty of time.