Sunday marked the start of Freshers week and along with it came much inconvenience and excitement for me. With the huge influx of students moving into Brighton campuses on Sunday it was nearly impossible to get anywhere on the bus system. In an attempt to meet up with friends to watch a football match at a pub I ended up riding and/or waiting for the bus for almost 3 hours in the rain only to get fed up and head home without finding anyone. I was so close to just calling it a day and cuddling up in bed when some other USACers invited me to their flat where their new English flatmates had just moved in and were planning to attend the night-time Freshers events. I couldn’t pass up the chance to experience Freshers week with actual English Freshers. After meeting a handful of other students we headed to a club that was hosting a Freshers event. It was packed with students and I was finally catching the vibe that Brighton was the quintessential college town I had heard so much about!
On Monday evening, I left for Edinburgh, Scotland. After such a crazy night at the first Freshers event I was a little disappointed to be missing the rest of the week. But I knew Scotland had plenty of fun in store as well. The airport was a bit of an adventure as they didn’t assign a gate for my flight until 5 minutes before boarding and I experienced my first ever body pat down at security which was quite alarming. I safely arrived in Edinburgh where my camp friend Danielle and her roommate Lucy picked me up. They go to school (British: “Uni”) in Stirling and we hit the town running. Monday nights are student nights at the local clubs and we went out for a night of cheap cover charge and drinks. One of the great things about being a student in the UK is there are discounts for students everywhere! On attractions, at clubs and restaurants, on buses… Some clothing stores even give students up 20% off! I know I get a free pop at Qdoba in Grand Forks if I show my student ID but that’s all I’ve ever gotten! The next few days we took advantage of the discount even more and headed to the Stirling Castle, Edinburgh bus tours, Edinburgh Castle, Edinburgh Dungeons, and the William Wallace Monument in Stirling. Stirling is filled with Scottish history as at times it was one of the main places to cross to the Highlands. My favorite part of the Stirling castle was a set of tapestries they are working on recreating called “The Hunt of the Unicorn.” You could watch as expert weavers put together tapestries that they work on for years at a time to be precise replicas of tapestries from 100’s of years ago! The city of Edinburgh is also a site to see and the most memorable part of our day there was definitely the Edinburgh Dungeons. Although the dungeon walls are obviously painted to appear to be hundreds of years old and the tour guides know more about acting than history, this tourist hotspot sure had Danielle and I clinging to each other in fear! The Dungeons mixed a bit of historical information with a lot of exaggerated characters to create a super creepy experience.With all the site seeing I think the best part of my trip to Scotland was just hanging out with Danielle and Lucy. It was great to catch up with an old friend but also to see a little bit of how my friends live everyday in another culture too. The girls got me hooked on some British television shows and I was amazed at how many different accents their friends had (Some I could barely understand)! My trip home was kind of a struggle (delayed flight, missing the last train, having to take 2 buses both of which were late etc.) and after my experience on Sunday I am beginning to have huge doubts about relying on public transportation! It was good to be back in Brighton and today, although incredibly rainy, was very relaxing.
Things I’m loving: Bannaffee Pie (Banana Toffee Pie), Student discounts everywhere, Finally getting my Skype working, Don’t Tell the Bride TV show, Scottish street performers singing Johnny Cash, Shopping (and sometimes getting mega-discounts) at Top Shop and Republic, Getting hot cocoa and a chocolate stir stick at Costa,
Things I’m not quite loving: Not having a car and an unreliable bus system, Still missing events at home and UND,
Things I’m learning: To cook meat (I’ve seriously never done it!)
Tomorrow we’re taking a field trip to East Sussex (it’s supposed to rain.. eek!), Sunday my best friend from camp, Becy, is coming to visit, and Monday classes finally start! I am signed up to take Women Writers, Social Policy, Social Inequality, and a beginning French class. Also on Monday a few of us girls are gonna try out for cheerleading! I cheered a bit in high school but I’m definitely rusty and have no idea if it’s the same here so wish me luck! I’m pretty excited for what is to come the next couple days! Its gonna be an exciting and busy week!
Peace, Love, Banaffee Pie and First Day of School.
The Unicorn is Found Tapestry at Stirling Castle.
Danielle and I at Edinburgh Castle.
After climbing the 246 steps of the Wallace Monument.