Thursday, January 29, 2009

What happend to day 4?

Yesterday (day 4) was pretty lame. I woke up sometime after noon then attended class...I thought I was totally lost, but it turns out that they were just using certain terms for things that I wasn't used to (aka beta=risk and CAPM = Capitol Asset Pricing Model ). After I got that straitened out I think I followed the professor pretty well.
Scott (one of my best friends since 3rd grade and fellow Clemson student) and I went out exploring the city after dinner. It turned out to be pretty lame. There were no people in the city and my camera would not take good night photos of the buildings, of course I don't know what I expected, no point and shoot camera will take good night photos, at least not that I know of. We did accomplish finding Scott's Street though. (There were street signs in taller more prominent places but Scott insisted on a picture with the one that was "his size".)

I also recently found out and was amused that 72% of traffic accidents are caused by tourists in Glasgow. I'm pretty sure this is purely bus and taxi drivers running over the tourists that cross the road on foot. Seriously, I've been warned by many aged people to be very cautious of the traffic and crossing the street. It is a whole new ball game being sure to check the street and double check the left instead of the right. They told us that a girl(an international student) got her arm broken last year simply for standing on the sidewalk too close to the street. A bus side mirror clipped her. Respect the European roads!

Every night I've been out there has been music somewhere but for the first time we actually came up on one of the Glaswegian (that is the correct term and I like it!) street bands. I would post a video here but so far it hasn't let me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Day 3

The shepherds pie was delicious...after I added some black pepper. It was amazingly filling, I could only eat about half of it before I was totally full and had to dispose of the rest. Yesterday I had my first alcoholic beverage ever. (This is a picture of (in order) me, mike and Simprien, they live on my hall) I chose a 10 year old whiskey that was brewed in the highlands (ordered on the rocks). This so impressed one of the American girls, whom Scott and I were hanging out with at the time, that she commented on how I must have been drinking for a while to like whiskey. I stared at her rather dumbfounded, before looking at Scott who probably would have gone along with it if I had wanted to, then I decided to inform her otherwise.
My roommates(well...those here for a year) and many of their friends stayed up till 6am this morning to say goodbye to one of the foreign exchange students from last semester. He got on the train this morning then fell asleep. He was in our tv area when I got up alseep...apparently he woke up on the train to the announcement system telling him he was back at our station (he rode the train all the way around the loop and ended up back here before waking up), so he missed his flight. Also another hall mate from New Mexico left early this morning...he just decided this wasn't for him and went home. I feel bad because he seemed like a cool guy and I didn't ask him to come hang out with any of us (I'd feel more guilty if he had left his door open so we knew he was here).
Today I finally picked a "pay as you go cell phone plan". everybody should know that I made it two and a half days without a usable cell phone and I felt like a neanderthal the whole time.
Other events from today include an amazing cake that my polish hall mate Simprien (name is horribly misspelled for the time being) made. It is the first food I can remember that has caused me to have to savor it. He said that the staler it is the better. It has something to do with a rich honey flavor that comes out in the aftertaste. Simprien was also the nice roommate who got me a village office key at 7am on the beginning of day two because I had locked myself out of my room when I got up early to go the bathroom and forgot to take my room key with me. I didn't feel like running across campus in my boxers (let alone I had no idea where to run to to solve the he was a huge blessing). He also showed me how to turn the autolock on my door off to avoid needing him in the future.There was also pub night, all(at least it felt like all) the international students went to a pub in George Square. It is located in a beautiful building that used to be a bank. It was here that I bought and therefor decided I had to drink an ale. I did this in the opposite way I had handled the before mentioned cake. This was a desperate attempt to avoid the bitter aftertaste of the alcohol. I did not realize how badly people must want to get drunk to drink such nasty stuff (the worst part is that it was better than all 3 beers people have let me taste). I also ran into some pretty cool french students who were very pleasant. They are unfortunately only here for three months to improve their English (Perhaps this has something to do with the pleasantness).
Oh I also learned today that the entire city is monitored by camera all day everyday. It's kinda creepy big brother sounding, but on the safe side if someone does something the police can get there within minute ...supposedly. The international student coordinator said that if you want to test the theory to stand and stare at a camera for five minutes and it will wave at you. (I plan to test this soon)

*The pictures are all from inside the pub.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Day 2 ...Exploration Continues

Its been a wet drizzly day (I'll be the sun is glad he got a break from shining for a while...seems like a lot of work to me). I finally got to go to a class ...It seems deceptively easy. We spent the whole two hours talking about the value of a cat. According to the Welsh (at least I think it was the Welsh) the value of a stolen cat (the penalty a thief had to pay) was the amount of flour it took to bury the cat while dangling from its tail. This is measured from its head which was placed on the ground to the tip of its tail. We discussed the objections a cat might have and how different flour (sticky) might bury the cat faster that other flour (clean).
So far today I have heard two people (out of many) speak with such a distinct accent that I could not understand them. One was a student in class...who supposedly answered a question but I am not sure what came out of his mouth(although the professor seemed to understand). And the other was a skinny phone company lady who must have answered my question about their phone plan in Gaelic. I think I did a good job faking that I understood because right afterwords Scott looked at me and said "what was that" to which, with a stunned expression on my face, I said "ex-actly".
Speaking of Scott, The poor guy's luggage was so lost the plane company didn't even know it existed. Apparently they finally located it though, and it should get here sometime tomorrow.
I found out today that I can't watch American TV shows online from a UK IP address. There are some work arounds though so hopefully Scott, Mike (hallmate I just met from LSU) and myself will head to a coffee shop sometime to catch up on "24".
Being in the city is a excellent change to make for a few months. Today I ended up exploring several miles of the city mostly on accident. I kept walking from ancient building to ancient building fascinated by the architecture. I got pretty far into the heart of Glasgow before I realized that I did not, in fact, personally know many of the buildings. They all started to look very similar to many other buildings. Luckily when you get here they give you so many maps you feel like you know every inch of city from osmosis (I had a city map in my pocket that I begrudgingly consulted).
Oh on my adventure I found a large microwavable Shepard's pie that I got for 1.89 pounds because it expires today. I intend to eat it tomorrow. I've noticed a cultural portion size difference. Everything in the grocery stores is a slightly smaller amount of food than most portions in the US. (hence my excitement over finding what I assume to be a good deal on a rather large Shepard's pie).

Here are pictures of my room so you can understand the depressed jail cell feeling. (I'm still unpacking...although I think the mess is helping it feel more like home). Cheers! as they say here(...I still don't know how or if I am supposed to respond)

Monday, January 26, 2009

I'm here!

Here I am! The flight over here could not have gone smoother (all my bags showed up!) . Our plane had exactly 19 people sitting in I had a row to myself plus the excellent company of three pretty girls who were also studying abroad, but in Edinburgh...which I have learned is pronounced closer to Edinbrauh. We talked excitedly about our plans in Scotland till an hour had passed, then I stayed up and watched a movie before trying to fall asleep on my row of seats. One of the girls I met turned out to be a huge blessing. I realized in flight that I had left behind a certain email detailing how to get from Edinburgh airport to Glasgow. She had been in Scotland before and was going to the train station anyway so I followed her(and helped carry one of her suitcases). We got tickets and rode on a double decker bus too the train station then parted ways on diffrent trains. The train ride was pretty, but I managed to anoy a grumpy drink sales lady because my bags decided to overflow into the isle that she needed to get her cart through.
The two depressing events of today were carrying my bags all over Glasgow and Strathclyde University for hours trying to find the people who could give me the keys to my room. I would bet money I carried all 100lbs of luggage much more than a mile in circles. Then as I finally arrived exhausted to my room I slid the key into the lock and opened the door to find a broom closet...that had apparently forgotten that it needed brooms. No joke I'm confident that this room is no bigger 10' by 12'. On the bright side there is a small kitchen and living space that those of us in the flat share.

As I had prepared to fly out of Charlotte my friend Scott had said "see you tomorrow" because we planed on seeing each other today at the 2pm meeting. However as that 2pm meeting drew to a close I relized that there was no Scott....I facebooked him as I was concerned...and just found out two hours ago that he was in fact on campus (had finally gotten here around 4pm) but that he had flight stories to tell me about. I will fill you in as I hear more (if said stories are entertaining).

Oh and I thought that this was entertaining. Apparently the scottish do not discriminate against unicycles or tricycles...all cycles are welcome aboard the train (although the obvious preference towards the two wheeled models is evident because of the picture)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It's go time!

Alright...I am mostly packed. Somehow I have managed to pack a two person tent and dress shoes in with everything else I planned (I am currently in awe of my packing ability). I've fit everything I could think to take in: a suit case, a backpacking backpack, and school/laptop backpack. I really hope that I am not blissfully unaware of something very important that I might be forgetting. To make matters even better I just located my voe(verification of enrollment) form. Which was the most recent epicenter of an "o my gosh where is it" moment.
After the Christmas escapades I have wisely chosen to bring a change of clothes and minimal(verses having no) toiletries in my carry on. I have, however, deliberately not taken a change of pants in my carry on. I figure this will bring about the highest probability of some small child throwing up on the pair I will be wearing in flight. thinking about it... I put all my pants in one suitcase...I assume that this too will lead to the greatest chance that said suitcase will decide that Scotland is not actually its final destination and that it instead would like to be someplace like Russia...which makes me wonder if the Russians would really want any of my half worn out pants anyway. I apologize for all the packing talk....I guess my excitement is finally coming out in a blogatory manner.
15 hours remain till it is go time...and for the first time flying I only have to worry about me(selfish... I know)! Anyway, my adventure hat was getting tired of hanging around so it is time to once again to don it and head off on another whirl wind adventure....although if we hit any whirl winds while flying I hope the pilot is amazing and keeps us in the sky.

I'm Bonnie Scotland Bound! (I have to pack the computer so I'll blog from the other side of the pond...or if there is a horrific layover maybe on the way)