Cheers!

I keep having a difficult time figuring out what to say on this blog, and have thus said practically nothing. I think the issue I’m having is that there is SO MUCH to say, about what I’ve seen, done, smelled, thought, felt, and experienced since coming here that it’s like trying to start a story but not knowing where to begin. So I have made the decision that I will try my best to summarize these past few days, then commit myself to choosing about one or two key experiences per week to talk about so as not to become overwhelmed.

A quick summary of the past ten days…

Well I’ve always hated summarizing but here goes. I left Sea-Tac Airport on a KLM flight Friday, September 9th bound for Amsterdam with my traveling/exploring/studying companion Sophie. (We met because of this exchange and have since quickly become friends.) After a 9 1/2 hour flight and a quick layover we were on our way to Edinburgh. After landing we caught a taxi (<– definite summarizing….this was a story in itself!) and arrived at our new home for the next 9-10 months: Hermit’s Croft. (LOVE the name…we now refer to ourselves as the hermits muaha.) We took off almost immediately for Ikea which was a bus ride away and some 3 hours later emerged with shopping carts literally filled with stuff for us to furnish and decorate our barren yet surprisingly large rooms with. (We are staying in student housing, which is set up with 4-5 bedrooms and shared bathrooms/kitchen in each flat. Sophie is in Flat 1 on the bottom floor and I am in Flat 8 on the top.) There was then a bit of panic as we realized that first, there was noo way we were going to fit all our stuff back onto a bus and second, we still had no cell phones to call a taxi with. We tried asking a woman if she would let us use her phone to call one but she didn’t have one either so we ended up sitting on a bench and laughing for about five straight minutes. At this point neither of us had really slept in about 36 hours and I think we were finally crashing at the point where everything is funny and really if we didn’t laugh, we would cry. Eventually I made my way to one of the counters to ask an Ikea worker if we could use one of their phones to call a taxi and she pointed across the store to a “Taxi Phone” that was conveniently set up on the wall…just pick it up and it dials one for you. The rest is history, although I wish I could show you a picture of the taxi driver’s face when he pulled up and realized that not only was he getting the two of us, but also the entire contents of the two carts behind us. This experience is what we refer to as “Dumb American Move #1” — many of which have followed.

Some pictures of my bedroom, Ikea furnishings included…

Well that was just the first day – told you I’m incapable of summarizing. But I’ll keep this last bit short. The rest of the days have been a blur of wandering the streets of Edinburgh, getting lost, finding cool new spots, visiting pub after pub after pub, getting sick, nursing ourselves back to health, taxi rides but mostly walking, shopping for school supplies, cooking for ourselves, climbing small mountains (Arthur’s Seat), and having the time of our lives. Class started today but I’ll save that for another post another time. I can see already though that this is going to be quite a year.

Pictures from climbing Arthur’s Seat, including a view of Edinburgh Castle…

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