Posted by: Elizabeth Jordan | January 31, 2009

Scotland!

Hello everyone!

Everything is going fantastic! The flat is wonderful and much bigger than I expected (I will post pictures when I get it cleaned up a bit) and the people are amazing!

The plane ride was long but not too bad as I was delighted to find that each seat had its own personal TV screen with a wide selection of new movies to choose from. The lady that set next to me had an accent I couldn’t quite put my finger on, but was very informative on European living and gave me a few helpful tips. She had the habit of eating pieces of lettuce throughout the entire flight, which she pulled out of a Christmas gift bag she stuffed below the chair in front of her. She would often talk while chomping on the green stuff, sometimes causing chunks to spew out of her mouth. Mainly they would land on her sweater covered arm and she wouldn’t seem to notice their presence for quite some time. I of course did, and was very distracted by it, sometimes finding it difficult to pay attention to what she was saying over the giant piece of partially chewed lettuce that seemed to be screaming at me from her arm. It was kind of like those Stain Pen commercials where the stain talks over everything the person says, but I mean aside from that the flight was fine.

The longest part of my journey was the 7 hour layover in Amsterdam and I’m not really even sure what I did to pass the time there. I went to McDonalds once, played games on my computer until it died, watched the 3 episodes I had of Mad Men (which were terrific by the way, and I hate myself for not making time to get the entire first season on my iPod before I left). I wandered until I found a spot where a bunch of people had laid out and gone to sleep and attempted to do the same but regardless of how tired I was (and by that time I was TIRED); I couldn’t bring myself to nap. Paranoia I guess…didn’t want to sleep through my flight or allow anyone to steal anything.

Finally I got on my flight to Edinburgh, completely exhausted and not looking forward to the 4 hours I would spend waiting to be picked up from the airport, but excited none the less. I’ll spare you the details of the next couple of hours, but after waiting at the Costa coffee bar for 4 hours and not having slept in over 30 hours, the meet and greet bus came to pick up me along with a few other international students to take us to Dundee.

The bus ride was rather nice and I made friends with a girl from Missouri named Deborah and another from Romania called Raluna. I was actually the only one that night to be dropped off at the Belmont flats, which is where I am living, so we pulled into the parking lot and I went to get my key from two older Scottish men who had the night shift. I have no idea what their names are but they were absolutely hilarious. The older one, who looked like he belonged on a fishing boat somewhere, was barely understandable and at one point said something I couldn’t interpret and then began to do a little jig on the sidewalk, to which I had no response other than laughter. The other man, I bit younger, kept asking me questions about US presidents and talked a great deal about how he had been invited to the States many times but was desperately afraid of flying. After tossing my bags in the elevator (aka: the lift) he kept pressing the door open button as they both (the fisherman looking man had chimed in by now) continued to ask me trivia questions about American presidents.

Who was the only president to not be elected? I honestly wasn’t sure, but guessed Johnson because JFK had been assassinated and apparently that was right (although, and I’m not certain, I thought other vice-presidents had become president because of death and/or resignation but I let it slide 😉 ). What was the name of Johnson’s wife? They called her Ladybird. And this went on for a while until finally they let the doors close and I went up to my room. I hadn’t had time to go shopping at all so I used a towel for a pillow and passed out.

The next morning I woke up 3 times, once at 6am, again at 9:30am and then at 1:30pm when I made myself get out of bed to go out and explore and pick up some much needed items.

I had absolutely no idea where I was going, so I just began to walk until I found a girl that looked friendly enough and asked for directions to town. As I made my way there I stumbled upon a man who was also on the bus the night before and had come from Russia (and despite spending most of the day with him I honest to God cannot remember his name). I said I was looking for a place to buy a converter so I could plug in my laptop and appliances and he said he needed the same. About 2 min. after we had taken off I stopped to ask another girl for directions and turned out she too was a study abroad student, studying for the semester from Canada. Robyn, as her name turned out to be, had already done some exploring and had a much better lay of the land than Russian boy or I and joined us on our quest for supplies. We spent most of the day shopping and then stopped at a pub called Grub’s Up for dinner. By that time I was starving (I hadn’t eaten since the McDonalds in Amsterdam and had not bought any food yet) and had been feeling a little sick (thanks Jeffrey). After dinner we all went back to our respective flats (Robyn of course had to show us the way because I didn’t really know where I was) and I put in a DVD. I had a bit of trouble sleeping last night because my throat really started to hurt and I developed a headache as well, but had no medicine for either and, it being Sunday, knew all the shops were closed.

This morning however, I woke up feeling a little better and made my way to the campus store bright and early where I purchased and internet cable, water, Pringles, a baguette and some PB&J. I still need to buy a comforter, get my phone situation figured out and do some real grocery shopping, but I feel confident I can get all of that done sometime today or tomorrow. At 2pm I am meeting some people to go on a campus tour and am really starting to feel comfortable with spending the next 5 months here. The town is bigger than I expected, but quaint none the less and the people here have been nothing but sweet and helpful.

That is all I have for now, but I will write again soon!

Love!

~EJ

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