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I’ll Take the Low Road (Downhill is easier, right?)

It is just about halfway through May and I have just under a month left in London until I’m on a plane back home.  It’s an odd feeling. I’m kind of torn between being excited to see everyone at home and knowing that once I leave I might never return, or if I do get a chance to come back I’ll just be a tourist.  At this point I just want to move everyone over the ocean so I can see them more often and still live here. But I’m being a little bit unfair. I do love living in the States, being an American and I certainly wouldn’t have chosen a different life than the one I’ve been blessed with. But the change and new perspective has certainly been nice. The relationship between England and the US fascinates me. The difference in perspectives about the home country and the other is very interesting and I’m not sure I’d be able to explain it. But it certainly does make good fodder for a lot of the standup shows here.  That is one thing they’re good at here, humor. There’s 3 or 4 comedy news shows that I’ve gotten into here that have similar styles and yet are all still different and really funny. I think they all keep a good balance and keep both countries at equal standing. If you can find them 10 O’clock Live and Stand Up for the Week are two that I’ve been watching here though the shorter tv seasons here mean there aren’t’ as many episodes as I’d like.

Television addictions aside, the title of my blog today actually comes from a song that pops into my head whenever I think of Scotland. It’s called “The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond” and it’s one of those songs where I’ve known part of the chorus forever, but I have no idea where I learned it. Anyway it’s only relation to this post is that I did finally get to visit my friend in Edinburgh and while I didn’t get to go up to the highlands or search for Nessie, I did have a great time in a beautiful city. Every time I leave London and go any considerable distance into the surrounding country I’m always amazed at how beautiful it is (and how many sheep there are). Edinburgh is a beautiful old city very close to nature it seemed. Though this may have been because I spent most of my time in the old part of the city and not in the newer built up areas. The city definitely had a different feel from London, but it wasn’t the small town I was expecting (I probably should have done some research first). It’s definitely smaller than London, but Edinburgh is still pretty big and there’s a lot to see though if you’re keen to do a lot of walking you can probably see a good portion of it in a day or so. I was only there for 3 days, but I felt like I really got a feel for the place. That being said, I definitely could have used more time to get a better feel for Scottish culture. As it was I couldn’t spot too many differences between Scottish and English culture besides different bank notes (though British pounds are accepted too), a slightly different accent, and that the top selling soda is Irn Bru and not Coca Cola. It’s a very interesting drink; it’s bright orange and has a sweet taste that’s like bubblegum but also kind of orange. I can’t explain it. It’s not bad, but definitely very sweet. Probably a little too sweet for me.

I wasn’t ambitious enough to try and climb Arthur’s Seat, a large hill/mountain overlooking the city, but I still got a work out going up and down all the hills in the city. Definitely a different landscape than here in London. I did get to see my first working palace in my time here (since I never did get to go into Windsor and they don’t give tours of Buckingham). I visited Holyroodhouse which is where the Queen stays when she visits Scotland. It was an interesting visit, very informative. My favorite part was probably the grounds though. There were so many beautiful plants and there were the ruins of an old Abbey which was still pretty despite being, well ruins. I also visited the National Gallery while I was in Edinburgh which was very nice. It was set up similarly to the National Gallery here in London, but it was smaller which I kind of liked because I got to enjoy everything whereas every time I visit here in London I get lost and feel like I’m missing important paintings. Anyway the trip was very nice and I had a lot of fun hanging out with my friend. She showed me all the best places to eat. While it wasn’t all Scottish, it was all very good and it was definitely nice to have a tour guide (and a free place to sleep).

This post is almost 900 words already. I wish my essays had been this easy to write. I did finish them though in case I didn’t mention that.  It was a very stressful week. But that’s all behind me and I am officially a senior. Now that’s a scary thought. I’m trying to stay focused on what I need to do to make my independent study happen next semester and all the prep I need to do for grad school applications, but it’s really hard when all I want to do is relax and enjoy the rest of my time here. It really is coming to a close. Butler had a farewell burrito dinner Tuesday night for all of us London students. It was delicious, but just another reminder that I don’t have much time left here. I have a lot to look forward to at home, but part of me just isn’t ready to give this up. I don’t have much choice though; they will kick me out of this room on June 17th. That’s just something I’ll have to face when it gets closer.

 

Cheers for now

Alyssa

 

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