Week 4 Comes to a Close

Well, I just wrapped up my fourth week of classes here. I’m sitting in a café on Nicolson Street called Kilimanjaro, sipping on a beautiful cappuccino and enjoying the people watching.. as usual. My weekends start each week on Thursdays at 1 pm – I don’t have classes on Wednesdays or Fridays! When I found this out at first I was delighted – only  three days of classes?! And to be honest, it’s been great. The only problem is that it’s almost too much time off. I work better when I’m busy and under pressure, like back home when I’m balancing tough classes with work and being active in my sorority. Here though I don’t have a job, the societies I’ve joined are minimally time consuming, and I only have class for three hours on Mondays, four hours on Tuesdays, and two hours on Thursdays. So much time off! Quickly though I’ve learned to keep myself busy, and I’ve tried my hardest to make plans with friends as much as possible, make myself wake up early(-ish..) on days off, and get out of my flat even on days when really I don’t need to. Running around here is amazing – on one run I went up into the hills and right past some ruins (probably an old tower?)…only regret was not having my camera. You never know when you’re going to stumble across something amazing here.

Standing outside one of my lecture halls –

On the positive side though, I’ve been learning a lot of new things. Since I am a vegetarian and meat-substitute products are not nearly as plentiful here as in Seattle my meals have often been quite creative. I’m slowly but surely learning to cook, and after having two frozen pizzas in the first week alone I promised myself I would make at least one real meal that involved a recipe each week…and hopefully enough of it to have leftovers! Mostly though I’d say my diet has overwhelmingly involved hummus, cheese, bread, and lots of fruits and veggies. Definitely still pretty basic, but I’m trying. I’ve hardly eaten out since coming here, so when people ask me how the local food is I don’t really know what to say. Plus Edinburgh is such an international city that many of the restaurants are similar to what someone might find in an American city. I will say though, the Brits do love kebabs and curries!

I love having my own room and space, cooking for myself and the complete independence of living here…but I’ve definitely noticed the trade-off you make for these luxuries when (compared to living in a house of 80+ girls as I do back home..) you can no longer walk one door down and find five of your best friends in one room, or eat dinner with a dozen girls with whom you are close. I’m used to always having someone to do things with, whether it’s go to the library or the gym, walk to a class or even just go shopping on the Ave. This is definitely not something I had mentally prepared myself for before coming here, and it’s been a real adjustment. I’m still getting used to the idea of being a foreigner here, especially since I have finally started to feel like I actually belong. I had to make a presentation in my archaeology class on Tuesday and afterward a British girl came up to ask me where I am from. Of course she could probably tell by my accent that I am American, but people always want to know where you are from in America because I think they (like us) associate different areas with certain stereotypes. So far Seattle has been pretty popular – every time I’ve answered that I am from Seattle on the west coast if the person knows where I am talking about they tell me they’ve heard it’s beautiful there and want to visit someday. When I say Washington though I am always careful to specify that I am talking about the state – not DC. People definitely have a different image of DC, as you can imagine haha.

I haven’t done much traveling around since returning from Munich, but the upcoming weeks are going to be ridiculously busy for me, including a day tour of some beautiful  castles on the borders, and trips to visit friends in Newcastle (England), Munich & Salzburg, then Dublin for Thanksgiving! I also just made plans to visit my family in Norway for the Christmas holidays, which I couldn’t be more excited about. In short though, this means that I think I will finally be busy enough to be feeling the pressure in school! I have three essays to do this semester and a test coming up in my Islam class on Halloween. The fun all begins next week, so hopefully I’ll have some great stories to share soon.