Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Missing this kid tons and tons. If you could mail yourself in a package that would be great.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Fancy Dress

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Every Wednesday Flatball has a social. Knox people, think senior meeting except with frisbee players. We reserve spots at a pub, hangout, socialize, and play drinking games. Last Wednesday the ladies of the team decided to do a fancy dress social. Just to remind everyone that we don't always wear sweats and a jersey. We had a pre-social ladies night that included fancy drinks and multiple rounds of "who is most likely to...". The picture above is of the DRA frisbee ladies. We decided to have pre pre social. We got ready together and made sure to be as girly as possible. This post is also to prove that I have made friends. Don't worry mom, I don't sit alone in my room all day...except when I am diligently doing homework. I've already written about how common it is to see girls dress up a lot when going out. For this reason, I did bring one pair of heels to Scotland. This was my first time wearing them. Let me tell you, it is no fun walking home in those heels. Remember, I live VERY far away from town. 
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Glasgow One Day

I spent the weekend of October 8-9 playing Ultimate Frisbee in Glasgow. Glasgow One Day has a beginners tournament and an experienced players tournament happening side by side in a gym. The beginners tournament is available only to beginners. Only one experienced handler is allowed to be on the field at a time and they are not allowed to score points. Since I have never played indoor frisbee the way they do in the U.K. I got to tag along for the fun.
For anyone that cares, indoor frisbee is different here than the way we play at Knox. The fields are the size of a basketball court and you are only allowed to play with five people on the line at a time. Since there is so much less space to play, the game becomes largely about tactics. Each player on the field has a job that they have to accomplish and, if all goes smoothly, the strategy results in a point.
There is a cool tradition here that I wish we did in the U.S. After every game both teams come together for "a call". Basically we all circle up and the experienced players compliment the other team for a good game and highlight their strengths. After that we play silly games to mingle and get to know each other (i.e. ninja). It's a great way to get know players for other universities around the country. It's especially useful for the beginners because these are the people who they will be seeing at tournaments for the next four years. Gotta love how small the Ultimate world is.
Below is a picture of the St. Andrews womens team playing the St. Andrews mens team in the experienced half of the tournament. Technically the tournament was an open tournament. This meant that there didn't have to be an even ratio of guys to girls on the field. This is also a nice way of saying that it is a guys tournament but that ladies are allowed to play.
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Monday, October 17, 2011

Meet the Academic Family

Here at St. Andrews there is the tradition of the academic family. In their third year students can adopt first years and/or study abroad students as their children. You get an academic mom and an academic dad. The role of academic parents includes passing on your parental wisdom, making dinners, encouraging family bonding, etc. Your academic parents are loving and supportive...until Raisin Weekend. But that is for another post, which I shall write after Raisin Weekend...if I make it. I got really lucky to have great brothers and sisters on both my mom and my dad's side. We have all bonded really well and make a wonderful and cohesive family. The pictures below are of my academic family on my dad's side. I am having my first family dinner with my academic mom on Friday. Yay! Both of my academic parents play frisbee, same goes for most of my academic brothers and sisters. It's nice to keep the frisbee in the family. It also means one big Raisin Weekend frisbee party.
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Friday, October 14, 2011

Just Some Thoughts

I have spent a little over a month in Scotland and I have loved every second of it. Here is a list of things I have learned or picked up while over seas.
~ When you are waiting in line it is called a queue. Example "everyone queue up" or "would you please wait in the queue".
~ Homework is compulsory, also known as mandatory or required. I was confused for awhile what "attendance is compulsory" meant. Then I realized it meant that I wasn't allowed to miss any classes. Bummer.
~ If a guy is interested in a girl and has been chatting her up and flirting but it isn't at the dating stage yet, she is called a "girl on the go". I have tried to use this phrase as often as possible.
~ If a girl or a guy is really attractive, he or she is "really fit". You should say this with an eyebrow raise and a nod.
~ If you have to get something figured out you should "get it sorted".
~ Cars drive on the other side of the road. Still getting used to this. Although I look the right way first when attempting to cross the street now. This is a step in the right direction. By the time I get home I'll have gotten it figured out.
~ Pedestrians don't have the right of way. So you better stay on the side walk. If you need to cross the street just keep repeating in your head "I am invincible, I am invincible" and pray.
~ People walking around in red capes aren't weird. They're just representing the history of our school. It's actually cool to walk around in a red cape. And you can pretend you go to Hogwarts.
~ I have figured out how to pronounce Leuchers. It's the train station here in St. Andrews.
~ Say "keen" as much as possible. Same goes for "cheers" and "brilliant".
~ If you have to pee ask where the toilet is, not the bathroom, otherwise people will ask you if you have to take a bath.
~ A grilled cheese sandwich is called a toastie.

In other exciting news I am off to another frisbee tournament for the weekend. Obviously I'm very behind on updates but I'll work on that. I have also booked tickets to Dublin, will be traveling to London for reading week and will be seeing Dirty Dancing the Musical in Glasgow in the near future. Oh, I'll also be studying, I can't forget that.




Thursday, October 13, 2011

Edinburgh Part 2

After a wonderful night in the hostile that included a guy leaving at 2am for a smoke, forgetting the room key and knocking on the door to be let in for the next hour, we continued our site seeing in Edinburgh. Also, sorry in advance if my historical descriptions are not quite accurate. There was a lot of information and I just can't remember all of it in detail.
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This lovely lady can be found in St. Giles' Cathedral. The Cathedral is not actually a cathedral, it is a church because it does not have a bishop. It is a presbyterian church. That is all I can remember of the history because this was when the scary tour guide was telling us about the ways the government tortured traitors during the haunted ghost tour. It was gross.
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We continued our day with a walking tour of Edinburgh. The tour was pretty neat because it was free and you paid in tips at the end so you could be as generous or as stingy as you wanted to be. This is the place where the people of Edinburgh used to have to pay taxes. It is the only place in all of Edinburgh where it is legal to spit. The historical connection is that way back when, people would spit on the door of the tax building after having to pay taxes, so people just keep doing it now.
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 I don't remember who this guy was but he is important and it is lucky to rub his toe. I just wish it wasn't so high up. I was also thinking about how many people had touched the toe before me and how unsanitary that was.
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Here is the story of Greyfriar's Bobby. Bobby was the dog of a night watchman. This watchman got sick and died. Bobby sat on his owner's grave for twelve years waiting for him to return. When he died he was buried in Greyfriar's graveyard and honored for his loyalty. 
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It's time for some Harry Potter trivia. So anybody who is a fan of Harry Potter would know that J. K. Rowling lived in Edinburgh while she was writing the first Harry Potter. Well, apparently she enjoyed walking around Greyfriar's Graveyard in order to get some inspiration for the story. Recognize the last name on the gravestone? Yup, that is our very own Professor McGonagall. She also got Tom Riddle's name from a gravestone here, too.
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This is a private school for the very wealthy of Edinburgh. It is also one of the many buildings where J.K. Rowling got her inspiration for Hogwarts from.
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This is The Elephant House. It is the place where J.K. began writing Harry Potter on that napkin all those years ago. There's even a huge sign that says "the birthplace of Harry Potter" in the window but there were too many tourists milling about for me to get a good picture. That coffee shop is super lucky to have that particular starving artist choose that particular coffee shop to write about some wizard kid some rainy day. 
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This statue was made in honor of Greyfriar's Bobby and his loyalty. On Sunday we went to a free art museum, wandered around a bit and then went home. We were super tired from the weekend of traveling so it was nice to be able to sleep on the bus ride home. And that was my trip to Edinburgh.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

"I'm on this strict health regimen where I have to drink 8 pints of water a day. With the 12 pints of beer, I have set myself quite a challenge" - My professor.
This is why I look forward to class everyday.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Edinburgh Part 1

I took so many pictures in Edinburgh that I decided to split this up into two posts. I'll start with Friday and then do Saturday and Sunday in my next post.
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The trip started out with an hour long bus ride. Everything would have been fine except that the bus had no ventilation and Scotland was having somewhat of a heat wave (the 70's counts as a heat wave here). We all thought we were going to melt.
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Off to find our hostel. Little did we know that it would be full of smelly boys. And I mean SMELLY. But it was fine. There were clean beds, a clean bathroom and even a kitchen. It was also right on the Royal Mile which was very convenient. 
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Our first stop was the National Museum of Scotland. It was basically like the Milwaukee Public Museum. Now, anyone who knows me well will know that I am not a fan of wax figures or taxidermy. But I went into the dead animal room anyway. This picture is proof. Aren't you proud Mom?
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Anna's future pet.
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Meet Dolly. She was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell. She was cloned in Edinburgh and lived for six years until she died on Valentine's day in 2003 from numerous health problems. She was named after Dolly Parton because she was cloned from a mammary gland cell and the scientists couldn't think of a better set of glands than Dolly Parton. She is also call Disco Dolly because the museum set her up on a rotating platform with all sorts of lighting.
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After the museum we headed over to Arthur's Seat for a quick hike. Yup, I climbed all the way to the top of that. Arthur's Seat was a place that a lot of royals went for recreational hunting. It is also one of the possible locations for Camelot. 
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Edinburgh is also beautiful at night. I ended my day with a haunted ghost tour of Damnation Alley. Apparently Edinburgh is one of the most haunted places in the world with the most reports of paranormal activity. It has both the poltergeist of Greyfriars Graveyard and the South Bridge Entity. I chose not to go through a graveyard at 10pm so Libby and I went on the City of the Dead Underground tour. This tour took us through a bunch of caverns underground that the South Bridge Entity is said to haunt. The story was that during the time when Edinburgh was having over population problems (this was hundreds of years ago, sorry I don't remember the exact dates, I was a little frightened at the time) the poor people of the city were forced to live in these caverns underground. Awful things happened and none of them had long life spans after they were forced underground. From all of this misery came the South Bridge Entity which haunts the caverns to this day. The part of the tunnels we went through is called Damnation Alley because that is where the paranormal activity is the strongest. But to be honest, every tour goes through different parts of the tunnels, so I'm sure they say theirs is the most haunted. Anyway, the history of the place was neat but the whole thing was a little staged. They even had jumper in the last cavern. But it was an interesting story and I can promise you that I was efficiently scared. The silly part thing was Anna and Libby told the tour guide that I was super scared, so he kinda picked on me the whole time. Not cool.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

A List of Things I Love About St. Andrews

1. My classes. I am taking 20th Century British and Irish Drama and 20th Century American Drama. I love them both. I have the same professor for both classes and he is brilliant. I'll be honest and say I know embarrassingly little about European drama so this class is the perfect crash course. There's lots of reading and ridiculously long essays but it is totally worth it. I know much more about American drama but there are still a couple of dramatists on the reading list I haven't read yet. It was comforting to hear my professor go on about how great it is that Americans are taking this class because it will give us so much insight. The other nice thing about my classes is that we have to write play reviews for them. We can write up to three per class. He said I only had to write two per class though considering six plays is a lot. I like that this is forcing me to go out and see some European theater (or theatre). He said we could see anything we fancied so I've decided I'm going to see whatever is playing in the Globe Theater.
2. Flatball. When Knox asked me how I would beat the culture shock and immerse myself in the culture of my study abroad experience I basically wrote "I will join the frisbee team at St. Andrews and they will be my friends." This was met with some skeptical questions but when I got here I joined the frisbee team and they have become my friends. I have this theory that wherever you are in the world the people to find are the frisbee players. They tend to be the chill, welcoming kind of people. This theory was proven right in the case of St. Andrews. Frisbee here is much more intense than at Knox. I have frisbee practice almost everyday. On Tuesdays I even wake up for a 7:15am practice. And I love it. If anyone from Knox is reading this, be ready to learn new drills. Woohoo!
3. The town. I have already said that St. Andrews is basically the size of Galesburg. But I will say that it is probably cleaner and much safer. The town is so little and cute and full of history. The building for my classes is on the Scores which is right across the street from the old castle and the sea. I always get a lovely view on my way to classes. I also get to dodge around the tourists/golfers taking in the local history. It's pretty obvious that St. Andrews has played into the whole "Home of Golf" touristy thing. There are tons of little gift shops and everything is overpriced. But, it means that it is an entertaining walk to school everyday. Or Uni, as they call it here (that's short for university).
4. Cooking for myself. I have to admit, I was a little worried about being off board for the first time abroad. I've never had to shop for myself or plan meals or budget time to cook. It has turned out to be wonderful. Making my meal is the perfect study break and I get to control my diet, which means no awkward "I'm a vegetarian" incidents. Also, the food in the cafeterias at St. Andrews is pretty bad. It makes me appreciate the amount of choices Knox gives us. Also, things here really don't have a huge amount of flavor, this means I've gotten really good at using spices. I also make some great Mac n' Cheese (although I miss American Mac n' Cheese, the stuff here just isn't the same).
5. My housing. Yes, I live about a mile away from everything else but as long as I plan ahead this isn't much of a problem. I have a single, and it's pretty large. I have my own double bed (that's bigger than my bed in my apartment!) and my own ensuite bathroom. That means toilet, sink and shower, all to myself. The downside is that I also have to clean all of these things, but still, talk about privacy. The kitchen is great as well. The flat came equipped with pots and pans and we all have plenty of space to store our food. The hub (stove top) is a little temperamental, but if you talk to it nicely your food turns out just fine. I feel like I should post pictures of where I live or something but honestly, decorating was not on the top of the architect's list when creating David Russell Apartments. It's functional and spacious, not pretty.
There are more than five things that I love about St. Andrews, but this is already a pretty long post. Also, I still have to post everything from my trip to Edinburgh. I'll get on that. I'll leave you with a picture of me with a wall. Please, don't judge my hair. It is very windy here so I have taken to working some big hair.
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Sunday, October 2, 2011

Day Trip to Dundee

I did not realize it would be this difficult keeping up to date with my blog. So, let's go back a week to the last day of Fresher's week. My friends and I decided to take a day trip to Dundee. Dundee is about a fifteen minute bus ride from St. Andrews. It does not have any historical sites or anything like that. It does have two shopping malls. Stores in St. Andrews like to rip the students off with really expensive prices so it is popular to go to Dundee to do your shopping. Dundee is also a bit bigger than St. Andrews so it was nice to walk around more of a city for the day. Sometimes I feel like St. Andrews is the safer, European version of Galesburg. Not that I'm complaining. I love the small town charm and history. Dundee really only has one street of interest. It houses the shopping malls, restaurants, a small square and some street art. Beyond that it seems to be a pretty depressed city or it is full of big business buildings.
Below are some pictures of the square and other fun things around Dundee. It was a loverly way to spend my final day of freedom before classes started. Although, I absolutely love my classes and my professor. But that is for a different post.
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