Sunday, 6 March 2011

St Andrew's Adventures

This weekend I had another great weekend exploring some new areas of the UK.  On Friday Christine and Betsey came in to the city to meet me after my photo class, where I successfully developed 5 more black and white photos:) We headed to the Peoples Palace, a museum we hadn't seen yet but had received great reviews.  It was wonderful! The museum is a complete history of Glasgow, with a set up of what a tenement would have looked like in the 1930s and information and displays from each decade.  After looking through the museum we headed to the cafe, which was in a giant garden! It was so peaceful in there, and we each got ice cream and promised to come back there to study and hang out. It was a great find and wasn't too far from our house.

Saturday morning I woke up early and decided to go on an adventure and head to St Andrews on my own.  After a 2 hour bus ride through beautiful rolling hills and sheep, we arrived in the center of St Andrews.  I explored the area to the fullest, checking out the University, the museum of the University of St Andrews, the beach, the castle, the cathedral, the botanic gardens and of course, the golfing.  It was a beautiful city and really nice to be on the coast again, made me feel like home! I will be going back to St Andrew's for a longer visit soon, either with my friends or if Stephen is able to come over for Easter break.  I checked out all the museums and which ones would be good to go in .  After my day of exploring I got back on the bus to write some postcards and get back in time to celebrate my friend Ian's birthday on Saturday night.  Then this morning, I went for a run and then to the library, because I have a paper due next week, and am going away again this weekend to Loch Ness with my BC advisor, Rhona,  and the two boys from BC here with me.  It should be a great weekend, with a ferry tour of the lake (questing to find Nessy the monster of course), a walking tour of the city and a brewery tour while we are there.  So now back to the paper for me so I can finish it before the trip. But first, here are some pictures from St Andrews!

the beach:)

the Castle ruins on the coast

Golfing at St Andrews!

The cathedral yard

Part of the University

The botanic garden where I had a picnic lunch

A Tale of my trip to Canterbury (and London and Leeds Castle)

So last weekend, February 25th, was one that I had been looking forward to for a while.  I was flying out to visit Kati, my best friend from high school, who is spending the semester studying in London! It had been 2 1/2 months since I last saw Kati, so I was very excited to spend the weekend with her, and explore England of course.  On Friday morning I took my hiking backpacked filled with weekend clothes and supplies to my three hour photo class, and then headed to straight to the bus station from class.  I was nervous about getting from my class at 1pm to my flight at 4 25, but since I am my father's daughter, this stress was unneccisary and I made it to the airport 2 hours early haha.  After a very short flight I landed in London and hopped on a bus headed to central london, where Kati was waiting for me.  On the bus I met a very nice older British man, named Stephen, who told me some must see sights on my weekend there.  It was lovely having some one to chat with on the bus, and he even gave me his email telling me to contact him if I wanted to stay with him and his wife this summer to watch Wimbledon and eat strawberries and cream! I don't think I'll be able to fly back here for Wimbledon this summer, but it was a very sweet welcome to London.

Kati met me at the bus stop, and after our very happy hugs and catching up we headed back to her apartment, where she lives with about 60 other BU students.  There she cooked me a delicious dinner of salmon, pasta with pesto and spinach, while I met a bunch of her friends in the communal kitchen.  We went out with them for a little bit to a karaoke bar, but had to head home early since our alarms were set for 7 the next morning!  Kati and I woke up and headed to a bus, where her school was offering a tour to Leeds Castle and the town of Stirling.  After a 2 hour bus ride, we arrived on the grounds of Leeds Castle.  It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL.  Unlike the other castles I have seen so far in the UK, this one actually had a huge grounds area, with gardens, pathways, a golf course and a very large maze.  The walk to the castle reminded me of the setting of Pride and Predjudice or Jane Eyre.  There were peacocks and swans everywhere, and adorable flower arrangements.  After touring the castle, which was really interesting because people have lived there until the 1930s, so there was some modern stuff in the rooms, Kati and I tried to do the maze.  It was really fun, but we almost got trapped! Luckily we made it out in time to catch the bus and head to Canterbury.
the Castle grounds

the moat

Me and Kati lost in the maze haha

The maze

Outside of leeds castle

the Queen's bedroom
After about a 30 minute bus ride we arrived in Canterbury, and adorable little town and the setting of the Canterbury tales.  Kati and I walked around, grabbed some lunch and explored the different cathedrals there.  We found this delicious fudge store where we could watch them making the fudge fresh, so of course we had to invest in a bit of that as well. 

the town of canterbury

An adorable little area we found!

We got home at around 6 that night and we were exhausted.  So we made another delicious dinner that night, and spent a few hours just hanging out, drinking hot chocolate and relaxing.  Then we went out for a little bit to a late night cafe with some of her friends where we got some delicious Greek food and fresh juices.  Then we headed to bed since Sunday was going to be another early morning.
We woke up at around 8 on sunday and I packed up my bag to go.  Kati and I walked to Hyde Park, which is a huge park in the middle of London.  There we rented bikes and rode around the park for about two hours, which was wonderful! It was a sunny day out and the park was full of people, dogs and other animals. We rode to the center of the park where there is the Orangery, a famous tea room.  Kati and I both got cups of tea with scones, and it was the perfect way to end my weekend in England. I rushed to my bus, and said goodbye to Kati and headed to the airport.  It was a wonderful weekend and I really can't wait to go back to London and explore more at the end of this month, as the beginning of our three week tour of Europe:)
Me and Kati riding through Hyde park

it was a beautiful day! the Garden outside the orangery

Me about to enjoy some delicious tea and scone

So cute! inside the Orangery

My tea and scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Lauren visits Glasgow!

Hello, so I have lots to update you all on before I head out to a pub to watch the Superbowl! Since we have a 5 hour time difference, I will be starting to watch the kickoff at 11pm, but hopefully it will be fun, and I will be able to stay awake.

Tuesday January 25th was a holiday in Scotland called Burn's Night, celebrating the life of Robert Burns.  None of my friends here had tried haggis, the national dish yet, so we decided to go to an event the University was putting on in celebration of Burns night and try it out.  They had a very formal ceremony with a poem by Robert Burns read in Gaelic, a bagpipe played, and a ceremonial stabbing of the haggis.  After this we all got to try the haggis with tatties and turnips, which really wasn't as bad as I was expecting, based on the fact that it is sheep intestines.  After finishing our meal, we did some more Caelieh, the traditional Scottish dance, before we headed home.  It was quite an experience and a very Scottish one at that:)
The ceremony

Betsey, Erika, Nicole and Sam enjoying their haggis!

So last Wednesday, Lauren arrived safely from China, and we met up after my morning literature class at a coffee shop.  After chatting for a bit and looking at some of her pictures from China, we dropped off her stuff at my apartment and headed into City Centre.  I showed her around, and then went to my first one-on-one bagpipe lesson.  Playing the chanter was harder than I thought it was going to be, but my teacher is really great.  We did some basic scales and talked about the instrument.  Then I met up with Lauren again and we went to a delicious cafe for lunch.  We both got the same thing, spicy pumpkin squash lentil soup with a half of a hummus, brie and red pepper sandwich.  It was one of the most delicious things I have had so far!  Then, after dropping Lauren off at a book store where you could "read"/recover from her jet lag, I went to my 2 hour bag piping lesson.  After learning about all the different kinds of bagpipes from all around the world (who knew they came from anywhere other than Scotland?) I went with my two friends Sam and Ian to pick up Lauren.  The four of us walked back to my house, where we quickly ate a light dinner and then headed to my friend Christine's room.  There Lauren got to meet four of my other girl friends, Nicole Betsey and Christine from the US and Hanna who is from Germany.  After hanging out for a little bit we went to Pub night at the Grovensor Cafe, which we go to every week.  Lauren and I took advantage of the free food so ate some delicious pasta and pizza, while turning away the haggis that was offered to us.  After chatting with many of the international students who were at the pub, Lauren and I decided to turn in early to get ready for the next day.

Friday morning I had my photography class, and I left Lauren behind to do laundry from her trip (and mine since she is such a sweet sister) and make lunch.  After a full three hours of dealing with chemicals to process our film, I came home to meet Lauren for the afternoon.  We headed over to the Kelvinhaugh Museum, which is a museum right across the street from my apartment that has an assortment of exhibits.  After exploring the animals of Glasgow, Egypt and art sections, Lauren and I met with my friend Christine to walk to city centre and see a free open stage show called "Celtic Connections".  We got there just on time, and got to see about 6 different acts of local Glasgow bands.  We saw fiddles, folk music, husband and wife duets and a young band with pipe, fiddle and accordion.  It was all great music, and a good way for Lauren to get a taste of Scotland! The three of us headed back to the most highly recommended Indian restaurant in the area, Mother India Cafe, to get dinner with Betsey and Nicole.  You cannot make reservations at this place, and since it was a Friday we ended up waiting quite a while.  The host felt so bad, that after some confusion, he gave us a free bottle of wine with our meal! We got about 9 different types of Indian food to share, and it was a delicious, and very filling meal! We had plans to go out after, but the 5 of us were in such a food coma that we just went back to my room to watch a movie and go to bed early.
Lauren at the Kelvinhaugh Museum carefully wrapping a mummy, just like 5th grade

our delicious Indian dinner 
the fiddlers at Celtic Connection

Lauren and I woke up earlyish on Saturday, but took our time getting ready, making a delicious breakfast of french toast, scrambled eggs and bananas.  After breakfast we packed up some snacks and headed to the train station to meet my friend Ian and head into Edinburgh for the day.  We took the train, which gave us a great view of the grassy hills of Scotland, and were in Edinburgh within a half an hour. We walked around the royal mile, checking out the castle, the cathedral and many of the shops along the way.  Lauren, Ian and I even invested in a very small sampling of whisky since that is what Scotland is known for, but when we tried it later in the night none of us particularly enjoyed it.  After touring around, the three of us stopped for Lunch at one of the cafes labelled as where JK
Our french toast, eggs and bananas

Lauren writing the next harry potter, on a napkin of course
Lauren and Ian "enjoying" the whisky

Lauren, my roommate Kristin, Hanna and Christine at the lane

Sunday morning Lauren had to pack up all of her things to catch the bus.  Betsey Nicole and Christine woke up and met us at a restaurant near our house called "the neighbourhood"  There we each got a delicious brunch, Lauren even got a "traditional" Scottish breakfast, but the vegetarian version so she missed on out the black pudding usually served.  We had wanted to try high tea, but they were already booked, so this brunch was just as delicious! Then I walked Lauren to the bus stop and we said our goodbyes after a wonderful visit! I miss her already, but was so happy that she got to come out and see where I will be for the rest of this semester!

This past week in my photography class I was able to develop some of my photos.  It is so cool how we get to do it, making test strips first with the projector to see what filter to use and how long to expose the image for, and then creating 8 by 10 black and white prints! Hopefully, if the class goes well, I will come home with many beautiful memories and maybe even gifts for people if they would like any of the pictures!
After my photography class last week I played squash with a friend of mine which was really fun, and then came home to get ready to go out with a few of my friends.  On Saturday my friend Betsey and I agreed to check out some of the adorable cafes we walk past on our way to city centre every week, and to bring the essay we are both working on for our Scottish Literature class.  Betsey is gluten-free since she has a slight case of ciliacs, so we found Black Vanilla, a gluten free bakery.  It was a dangerous place to find out about.  We stayed there for at least 6 hours, working on our papers, chatting, and enjoying tea, brie and chicken paninis and the delicious cake.  Betsey got an orange and chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, and I got a piece of a cinnamon, banana, walnut, polenta cake with cream cheese frosting.  We were SO full, but everything was delicious and it was such a relaxing way to get work done we are definitely going back to a different cafe this weekend.
That night, we met up with Nicole who had two of her friends visiting from England, and we all went to a place called Driftwood for dinner.  Then our friend Hanna was having friends over, so we went to her house for a little party.  There I got to meet many new friends from France, Germany, Scotland and Belgium.  It was a great party, and the group of us headed out to a club near by for a little bit after to dance and hang out.  
On Sunday morning I woke up and went to Church with my roommate Ani.  In Scotland nearly all the churches are either "church of Scotland" or Protestant.  This was a Protestant mass, which was very different than what I am used to, but everyone was very friendly and welcoming.  After church the girls and I went into the city to run some errands.  We came across a place called Sloans, which hold open fair markets every Saturday and Sunday.  We also found out that they play free movies in the upstairs of the pub every Tuesday! So I am very excited about that, and we made plans to go every week.  Yesterday we saw Heathers, which was a strange 1980s movie, but the place where the movie was held was so adorable that we will definitely be back.  In future weeks they are playing movies like Pretty in Pink and Rebel without a Cause, so I am looking forward to that.
Hard at work at Black Vanilla

our DELICIOUS cakes

Betsey reading and eating:)

The girls at our dinner out at Driftwood

The open air market
The adorable street sloans is on

Well, I have my first presentation due tomorrow morning in Scottish Literature on my interpretation of the novel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie so I am going to go practice that one more time before bed.  But hopefully this weekend I will have some exciting updates for you all, and won't wait so long before making my next post!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Oban and Isle of Mull

So sorry it has been so long since I last posted! Things have been very busy, which I guess is a good thing, but I am sorry I haven't been keeping you updated on what I have been up to!

So this past weekend about 12 of us went on a weekend trip with the International Society into the highlands.  We left bright and early Saturday morning and took the 3 hour bus ride to the town of Oban.  Oban is an adorable little seaside town, with great views, and it was a beautiful sunny day.  The only disappointment was that apparently most places in the highlands take January as a holiday, so the museums, chocolate factory and brewery we were supposed to tour were closed.  But we made the most of it and explored the city, took lots of pictures and hiked up to a huge monument on top of the city.  I even brought my new black and white film camera that I have for my photography class, and started trying out the setting for the 36 pictures I have due on Friday.  Here are some pictures from our time in Oban!
The city of Oban

Ian, Betsey, Nicole and Christine by the water

an adorable little house in the city

The monument we climbed up to

So after our long bus ride and a few hours exploring the city, all 150 or so of us returned to the hostel we were staying in for a dinner our leaders were preparing for us.  It was pasta with chili, which was delicious, and then we chatted with the hostel owner for a bit and asked for a pub in the area to meets some locals.  He ended up coming to the pub with us, and played darts and chatted with us about Scotland and the highlands for a few hours, which was a really great way to hear about the country! Then we returned to the hostel and went to bed, because we had to be up early for breakfast and our next adventure.

The next morning we woke up at 8 am to get down for the fresh baked scones the hostel had prepared for us.  Then by 9 we headed back to the bus, loaded up our bags, and walked to the ferry to go to the Isle of Mull, a 45 minute boat ride away and where some of the Harry Potter films were made!  We stayed on top of the ferry even though it was cold to take advantage of the lovely views, and were in the city by 11.  Again, sadly the Island was a bit abandoned since it was January, but it was another sunday day so we found a nature trail and started hiking.  Then 7 of us decided to find a place for lunch, so we went to the only pub open on the entire island.  The owner was kind of overwhelmed by the unexpected amount of visitors, but the food was delicious, although everything, including my veggie burger, was deep fat fried, which seems to be a trend here in Scotland.  After lunch we headed out again, this time walking in the direction of the castle.  We found a smaller castle which was privately owned, and got to explore the pastures and look at the horses and other animals.  I got some more great black and white photos here, and hopefully they will turn out well when I learn to process and develop them in the upcoming weeks!  After making it to a view of the real castle, we returned to the ferry, exhausted from our miles of walking, and then took the bus home and were safe in our apartments by 10, just in time to get ready for bed and well rested for our week.  Here are some pictures from the Isle of Mull.

Anyway, I have to cut this blog post short, because I am about to meet people to go to a traditional Burn's dinner. We will get to try haggis, hear bagpipes and some traditional scottish dancing, as well as hear some of Robert Burns poetry read.  So Happy Burn's Night to you all, and I will tell you all how haggis is soon!

Friday, 14 January 2011

Freshers Week

So its friday, and i'm currently waiting for my sleepyhead new friends to finally wake up so that we can head into City Center to do a little shopping and some more exploring and figuring out our way around.  Then we will be having a pretty laid back night tonight since we have to wake up early to go on our first International Society day trip to a near by town, Stirling, and see the castle there, take a whiskey tour and just enjoy a different city.  The tickets sold out before some of our friends could get them, but there are about 6 of us going together so it should be really fun!

Tuesday I didn't have class, but still had to get up early to go get my student ID.  Since we were on campus anyway, my friend Karin and I who have Scottish Literature together explored the library and found some of the books we are going to need for that class.  Then we met up with Sam and Ian and went to join the two Unions and check out the activities fair. There weren't too many clubs there, but a few of the girls and I are going to check out one of the dance clubs on Monday to see if it would something fun, and different from what we do at home, and a good way to meet some other girls from Glasgow.  Tuesday night we went to one of the unions for a pub night/dance.  This week is called "Freshers week" which means the Unions host events every night open to everyone, to try to get people to join the Union.  We all went around 9 and sat upstairs chatting and playing pool.  We were going leave at 12 since we were getting tired, but on our way out saw the dance floor, which looked like too much fun to pass up.  So we dancing to the music they listen to here, which is a lot of pop and oldies, so it is really fun to dance to! We all walked home together and were tucked into bed a little later than planned, but it was worth it.

Wednesday I had two classes, my second Scottish Literature class where we learned about the language "Scots" and then my Exploring Scottish Culture Class, which seems like its going to be awesome because I love the professor already.  After class, I invited some of our friends from orientation over for dinner.  Two of my roommates, Ani and Kristin, joined us to eat and it ended up being about 18 people. Betsey and Nicole cooked pasta in their house and brought it over, so Sam and Ian helped me cook a little more pasta and chicken with mushrooms, onions and peppers for our friends who are allergic to gluten.  It was anything fancy, but it was great to be able to have everyone over.  Most people left at around 8 30, but the girls who lived closer stayed and hung out with me, Ani and Kristin until it was time to go to bed.

Yesterday I didn't have class since my bagpiping class starts next week, so I woke up at 9 and went to the gym instead.  Its a pretty nice gym, and Kristin and Betsey also love doing classes like me, so I think we are starting next week to do some kickboxing and yoga classes together.  After the gym I met up with Sam and we practiced walking to where our photography and bagpipe classes will be next week.  Its about a 30 minute walk, but we both agreed since its in the heart of city center on thursdays we would head in a little early to hang out in the city before class anyway.  We explored and did some shopping, and found some very inexpensive football (soccer) jerseys of teams here, so if anyone wants to put in a request let me know!  Then we met up with the others and bought our tickets for the day trip saturday.  We came back to my house and had left over pasta for dinner while getting ready to go out.  We went to the Hive, another Freshers week activity, which was really fun.  It started off as another traditional Scottish dance, which end up being very silly since no one knows what they are doing.  Then we met up with the rest of our friends who arrived a little late and headed down the "the Hive" which is a dance club type place in the Union.  It was very empty at first but our little group of 20 had fun dancing with ourselves.  Apparently Scottish people are a very late night group because it didn't really get crowded until 12.  I had a ton of fun, but by the end it got a little too crowded to be comfortable and people were getting stepped on so we decided to head out.  We walked home, went to bed, and luckily got to sleep in a little bit today.

But my friends just called, so we are heading in to do some exploring.  Hopefully this weekend is fun, and I will tell you all about our trip to Stirling later this week!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Surprise Dinner Party

So yesterday, after running errands in city center with my roommate Kristin and friends Nicole, Betsey and Christine, Kristin and I came home to our apartment to make dinner.  She had invited about 5 friends over for dinner, and invited me to eat with them which was SO nice of her, so of course I said yes.  I was chatting with Kristin and four of her friends, from China, Portugal and India nonetheless so quite a diverse group, and we were waiting on just one person, her friend Sneha.  So the pasta and salad we had made was just about finished when Sneha arrived....with 6 other friends we weren't expecting! She brought 2 of her friends who, like her, were from India and three of the vet students in the masters program at our University from Italy who she had just met.  Right as Kristin and I were whispering about how to make enough food, the pulled grocery bags out of their backpacks, these unexpected guests were cooking for us! So they got to work in our kitchen making a delicious risotto with pear and blue cheese, and a delicious, spicy Indian chicken dish, all while sharing some wine they had brought, and recipe tips for us all.  All of the food was SO delicious and by the end of the night we were all too full for dessert.  Everyone stayed until about 10 or 10:30, teaching us how to play poker while helping us to clean up the kitchen.  Before they left, all 13 of us were exchanging numbers and making plans of the next time we would do a big group dinner. It was definitely not the sunday night I was expecting, it was much more fun, friendly and filling that I could have even imagined.

Today was my first day of classes.  I had one class today, Scottish Literature, which is at 10am Mondays Wednesdays with a discussion that I have not been assigned yet. For the week this is what my schedule looks like as of now:
Monday: 10 am Scottish Literature
Tuesday: 10 am  Literature discussion  
Wednesday: 10 am Scottish Literature, 2-4pm Exploring Scottish Culture
Thursday: 4pm-6pm Bagpiping
Friday: 10am-1pm Black and White Photography

So the classes I ended up taking are all very focused on the Scottish culture, since I figured, where else can I take anything like these? My class today was super interesting, we learned all about the different books we will be reading and the papers and projects that will be due throughout the semester.  It is a class of about 100 people, but we will be broken up into smaller discussion groups once a week.  After class I met up with a few of my friends and we headed over to check out the gym and the bookstore.  I didn't buy any books yet, but will probably go back soon to get what I need.  I will also be headed back to the gym tomorrow to return my completed paperwork and hopefully get started in some kickboxing classes they have to counteract all of the potatoes and fried food they seem to love over here in Scotland. After these errands and exploring campus a little, my friend Sam came back to my apartment for lunch before he headed off to his class.  Then at 5:30 I met up with Sam and Ian, the two boys here from BC with my at Glasgow, and headed to Peperino's, an Italian restaurant to meet with our advisor from BC, Rhona.  Rhona is about 27, and works with all 150 international students, but especially closely with the three of us since BC gives her money to run a program with us.  So she took us out to dinner tonight to discuss our trips for the rest of the semester.  Over the pasta and pizza we got for dinner, we chatted about what we would do with the money BC gave our program.  We decided on: a weekend trip to the highlands of Scotland, a football game (the boys requested a Rangers game), trips to local museums and attractions, a distillery tour and a traditional Scottish dinner out at the end of the year. I am beyond excited for all of these trips.  After the dinner we said goodbye to Rhona, and the three of us headed to a near by pub to get a pint and watch the football game that was on TV.  We stayed there for quite a while and discussed our weeks plans.  I didn't really know Sam or Ian before coming to Glasgow, but we have hit it off quite well.  They tease me a lot, and often call themselves "the brothers I never wished I had", but its all in good fun and its really nice to have two people I have some ties with here with me as I settle in.

So thats it for this entry so far, its getting late and I am going to head to bed.  Tomorrow is a day full of errands and other fun things, and then we will see how the rest of my second week in Scotland goes:)

Sunday, 9 January 2011

And so it begins

So yes, I have decided to keep a blog during my semester abroad.  Creative idea right? I will try my best to keep this updated, but we will see how that goes.

Today is Sunday, and I am getting ready to head out to City Center to run a few errands with a few girls to get things we need for our room and for classes, which start TOMORROW.  At University of Glasgow I will be taking 4 classes, Bagpiping, Scottish Literature, Exploring Scottish Culture and Black and White Photography.  In case you couldn't tell, I decided to take classes that were very unique to where I am studying, since, unless things have changed since I left boston, there is no bagpiping class there that I was aware of :)
I arrived in the UK about two weeks ago, so I will do a very brief overview of what I have done since then.  After the chaos caused by the very poorly timed blizzard which cancelled our flight, we left Ipswich and arrived in London on the 28th.  The 5 of us explored the city for the next 2 days, which was so much fun.  We saw the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey and the street that JK Rowling modeled Diagon Alley as well as taking a bus tour of the city and exploring many of the famous bridges and walkways by day.  At night we went to see Wicked, which was AMAZING. It was my first real theater show, and I absolutely loved it.  I would LOVE to go to another show in London while I am here, but they might be a little bit pricy for my already dwindling travelling student bank account.  We shall see though, I will be in London quite a few times this semester, so I might just have to see another show.  Here are a few pictures of our adventures in London.

The Westminster Abbey

The fam by a telephone booth, with big ben in the background nontheless

The 3 of us outside of the theater after Wicked

All 5 of us by the Abbey

Then on New Years Eve we took Lauren to the airport to send her to China for 3 weeks to visit Scott, before she comes back to this area to stay with me for a weekend:)  After waiting at the airport for about 7 hours since we got there SO early, the 4 of us finally boarded our flight and headed to Glasgow.  We went out to a DELICIOUS 3 course meal at a small Italian restaurant, and rang in the new year in the comfort of our adorable hotel.
Our New Year's Eve Celebration

My delicious dessert, champagne and red berrys with lemon sorbet

Happy New Year!

Hannah, me and Kennedy in 2011!

New Years Day we toured around Glasgow a bit.  This proved to be difficult since nearly everything was closed due to the holiday, but it was still great to get to walk around, and see the city center and my campus.  We took a bus tour of Glasgow, which was so much fun.  Glasgow was also the first place we experienced Dad driving on the other side of the road, which he handled very well, but was an interesting, and at time slightly stressful situation.  The next day we took a train into Edinburgh, where we went to another castle, and toured around, this time checking out the Crown Jewels.  Edinburgh was very cool, but much more touristy than Glasgow.  Then on my family's final day in Glasgow, they helped me move into my apartment, where I will be living with 4 other girls, all grad students, from the US, France and India.  One girl still has yet to move in, but they are all very nice, and one of my roommates, Kristin, is so much fun and I have been spending a lot of time with her which is awesome.  She is here studying creative writing, and has been here since September, so is full of helpful information while I am trying to find my way around.  After running errands and moving in, we went to a movie at a really quaint tiny movie theater, and then out to dinner.  After spending my last night with everyone in the hotel, my parents and Hannah dropped me off at my apartment on the 4th and I was officially in my home for the next 5 months!
The first two days I pretty much just settled in.  On Tuesday after my parents left, I moved in all my stuff, and then went to meet Ian, another study abroad student from Boston College, who was arriving that day.  We walked around the city for a little bit, and then went to meet my roommate Kristin and her friend Olivia at a restaurant near my house.  The next day Ian and I met with our advisor, toured around a bit more, and then I went to the Kelvingrove Museum, which is an awesome, free museum with art, history and animal exhibits.  I will definitely be spending some of my free time there! That night Kristin and I cooked dinner together, and then went to bed early because I had to wake up at 7 30 for orientation the next day!
My new Campus

Me on campus:)

Still campus, looks like hogwarts

JK Rowling wrote some of Harry Potter.  We eventually split up, and about 8 of us walked along the Royal Mile and explored.  Then 4 of us, me Betsey and Nicole from New York and Becky from Wisconsin, all climbed the tower which was SO cool, and I have a bunch of amazing photos from the top I will add soon. Then we headed back, and warmed up before our night time activity.  Saturday night the International Society arranged for a Celidh which is a traditional Scottish Dance.  From 8 to 12 at one of the campus unions they have live music and all of us learned how to dance in traditional Scottish style.  It was SO much fun, Kristin came with the girls and I who live down in Kelvinhaugh, and we met up with the rest of the group who all live up on the other side of campus there.  Then after the Celidh, the whole group of about 150 of us moved to Club Viper, which was a dance club near the Union that agreed to let us in for free.  We stayed out very late and had an absolute blast.  My feet were a little tired this morning, but it was definitely worth it.

So that's all for now, I'm about to go eat dinner and then get some things set up for school and try to go to bed somewhat early for class tomorrow.  I will hopefully update this soon to write about how my classes are and everything like that.