Student Blogs & Vlogs | College Study Abroad Programs, IFSA-Butler

The Sheep Farm and 15 Hawaiian Shirts

What’s up team,

Things are going spectacularly (except for class and alcohol prices) and this week has been awesome!

On Friday I finished struggling through a tough organic chemistry assignment and was heading to a buddy’s place to unwind for a little while. On my way over, I walked by a pub that was usually occupied by locals and older visitors. I happened to notice about 15 guys wearing tacky Hawaiian shirts inside the pub and one of them happened to be outside for a smoke. As a self proclaimed Hawaiian shirt connoisseur, I had to get the low-down about the shirts. I asked the gentleman outside why they all had the classy shirts and he said it was because they all planned it and it was their golf tradition. One of them was decked from head to toe in a cowboy costume, I mean badge, boots, hat, the whole shabang but that explanation is a story for another occasion… I then introduced myself and it turns out the fellow’s name was Adam too. Due to his excitement regarding this coincidence, I was invited/forced into the pub and deemed the kid from San Diego who knows his stuff about Hawaiian shirts. After a few beers on their behalf, I insisted that I need to go to my friend’s because I told him I was going to be there in 5 minutes about 40 minutes ago and I didn’t have wifi and I don’t have cell phone service because I’m a cheap bastard. I get to my friend’s and we relax for a bit and then we decide to return to my Hawaiian clad mates at the pub. After a bit more camaraderie, I learned that they were Welsh and were in St. Andrews on a golf pilgrimage. One of them was a 60 year old coal miner who was delighted by the fact that I had family from Fargo, he loved the TV series and movie. After some quality conversation, my friend, Ryan, and I decided to hit the road and said goodbye to our new mates. By this time, some of them had been escorted outside by the staff for having invested a bit too much in the bar’s services throughout the night.

Main Course:
I was fortunate enough to spend this past weekend on a sheep farm. Now, I’ve got to be honest. I wish I could tell you that I was cool enough to have just ran into some sheep farmer at the local market and got invited, but that isn’t quite the case. IFSA-Butler, my abroad organization, organizes a mandatory home stay for all of their students and we don’t have much of a say on where we go and with who. With that said, I couldn’t have gotten luckier. While other students were assigned to spend their weekend with accountants in Edinburgh, I was shipped with my good friend, Alex, to Balfron, a small village about 20 miles away from Glasgow.

Alex and I stayed with Doug, a self employed sheep farmer, and Mary Steel. They have 8-year old twin bundles of energy, James and Douglas, three dogs, two ducks, two chickens, a beautiful home, oh yeah… and about 800 sheep. We arrived at their home late Friday night , which is also right next to Doug’s brother’s dairy farm, enjoyed a delicious home cooked meal and watched rugby. I went to bed feeling a little sick and woke up with a full blown plague. Luckily, Mary knew just the trick to make me feel better and took Alex and I to Glengoyne Distillery, a picturesque whiskey distillery nestled amongst beautiful Scottish highlands with its own creek that serves as a source of fresh water during the distillation. After a few samples, I began to feel better and my throat went from throbbing to numb, a welcomed numb. After the distillery we drove along scenic, winding roads for a tour of the countryside. My sickness mysteriously returned a few hours after the distillery so I enjoyed a relatively relaxing night to recover.

I woke up on Sunday and it felt like Christmas morning, it was the day we had set aside to tour Doug’s farm and become peeps with the sheeps. We headed to the farm after a hearty breakfast that included freshly laid eggs. Doug’s land was spread out over rolling hills and a flatter lowland. From my extensive knowledge of Ovis aries (sheep), they looked pretty darn happy. Doug threw Alex and I into a sheep trailer and attached it to his ATV and we zipped around the farm. It didn’t take long for me to realize how much of a baaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhdass Doug is. It was great to have the opportunity to see him in his element. I’ve attached some photos and an impromptu compilation of video clips from the weekend for you guys to get a better idea of what I was up to, words just don’t do it justice.



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