Hello, hello! Another monthly recap for you, and what a month it has been! Every weekend has had an exciting event, sandwiched by endless hours in the Library (this month I achieved my first 12+ library marathon since HC, how nostalgic). November flew by even quicker than October did, which is scary. Now as I write this I’m blasting Michael Buble’s Christmas album and researching where to get a Christmas tree in St Andrews. I am in the holiday spirit FOR SURE. But that’s today, let’s go back in time, shall we?
Becoming a tour guide in St As
At the end of October, my cousin Caroline and her friends studying in Parma, Italy visited me for the weekend. It was such a funny feeling showing people around a place that I’m still trying to figure out myself. Crazy. Even after they left, my hostess duties we’re not done because my best friend Amber booked a last minute flight to Edinburgh to visit me! This was her first time ever travelling internationally by herself, so props to her for making it here and back in one piece. It was so nice to see yet another familiar face around here when I’m so used to not recognizing a soul on a daily basis. The night she came I took her to one of my favorite places, BrewCo (St Andrews Brewing Company or also StABCo I’ve seen it be called). This place is amazing because it’s so low-key, you can order a Thistly Cross cider and sit by the heater for hours. Sometimes the owner’s adorable dog will come in and that makes the night 600x better. We caught up on our lives abroad for the next few hours. The rest of the weekend was the traditional tour I’ve given before (strolling down the three main streets, walking through the Cathedral ruins, down to the East Sands, across the Scores and the Old Course). We experienced afternoon tea at sunset which is one of my favorite things in the world at the moment. We were lucky that Amber’s visit and a U.K. holiday coincided so I could show her how the British celebrate. Guy Fawkes’ Night is an interesting holiday (here’s more info on it to Americans like me who had zero clue what it is) which entails lots of bonfires and fireworks. My academic aunt invited me to celebrate the night with a beach bonfire. So we bundled up, wine bottles in hand (per request of course), and made the freezing trek down to Castle Sands. It was so cool to see the beach in the pitch dark while the fire roared and fireworks went off in the distance. It was a memory I will never forget and I’m so glad Amber was there to experience it with me. But just as quick as she arrived, she left and it was back to reality (and studying).
Election 2016 in Scotland
During sophomore year at Holy Cross, my roommate Caroline and I would always keep the TV on CNN because we felt every second there was a new story breaking that we needed to know about. One thing I thought living in Scotland would bring was a sort of break from the political drama that has been the last 18 months. That was not the case. Due to the massive amounts of Americans attending St As (30% was the last figure I heard but don’t quote me on that), the election was very much salient. The Democrats Abroad society rented out the Student Union for the night so people could watch the results come in at real time. (SIDENOTE: Due to the time difference, the results we’re not supposed to come in until 4 a.m. our time so keep that in mind). I opted out for a more low-key (if you haven’t noticed, low-key is kind of a personality trait I like to adhere to) night, having pizza with Casey and Taylor for a bit then hopping over to my academic mom (also American) Alexa’s flat to watch some pirated CNN. I was there until about 2 a.m. when I started to nod off so I decided to watch the rest on my laptop in my flat. Naturally I fell asleep due to sheer exhaustion of watching this all night and I woke up at 7 a.m. to see my laptop still playing CNN, recapping the results. Politics aside, it was super cool/strange to experience my first election where I could vote in another country. I wonder where I’ll be during the next one…
Visting friends and #FlorenceFriendsgivingAbroad2k16
I was so happy that I was able to travel a good amount this month. Mid-November, I visited my male BFFs Pat and Jeff in Leon, Spain. Like me, they are spending their year abroad. It was so weird/cool/actually so weird hearing them speak Spanish with the natives but it was extremely helpful when trying to buy anything or ask questions. My thesis for the weekend was that I cannot handle living la vida española but it was fun to try it for a few nights. A few weeks later, I was on another flight. This time I got off in Florence, Italy to celebrate my first real holiday away from my family- Thanksgiving. Amber (remember her?) and my other high school BFF Amanda are studying there for the semester and invited me and Samir to come and celebrate. Florence has definitely been one of my favorite cities, if not my favorite (sorry Paris – je t’aime beaucoup!!!). It has a historical feel with modern touches and it seemed like a really young spirited city. That’s not a surprise though because I feel everyone and their mother has studied/studys/will study there but that’s beside the point. Us 4 relatively inexperienced chefs took on the daunting task of cooking a real classic American Thanksgiving. I think we were pretty successful, given there were no whole turkeys or sweet potatoes in Tuscany. We found a little chicken to make our mock turkey and it came out fabulously (RIP Analise – you were a humbling sacrifice for #Friendsgiving2k16). We walked around Florence a ton and even took a day trip to Rome to see the sights in less than 8 hours. Vatican City was my favorite spot because it had such an uplifting feel to it. Most people live their lives never getting there and as a Catholic it was an honor to be in such a holy spot. After a whirlwind 5 days in Italy, I flew over to Madrid to meet up with Casey and Taylor for a few days. Madrid was also a very cool city that had rosary shops next to hipster cafes, which I thought was funny. I even took another day trip to Valencia, famous for their oranges, the largest aquarium in Europe, and paella, to visit Samir (because seeing him less than 48 hours ago is not ok with me). Finally, after 8 days of sleeping on couches, I crashed on my purple bed in my flat and slept for 12 hours straight.
“Work, work, work, work, work” – Rihanna, 2016
(DISCLAIMER: I AM NOT JUST TRAVELLING ALL THE TIME AND HANGING IN PUBS, WHEN I’M NOT TRAVELLING, 80% OF THE TIME I AM IN THE LIBRARY PROBABLY UNTIL MIDNIGHT, MOM AND DAD :-] ). November was a ton of fun, but it was also a lot of work. My Psychology classes are more paper-based rather than test-based, so I was constantly in the library writing papers. I prefer papers over tests because I feel like I’m a strong writer than test taker (hence this blog ha ha ha). What I’ve learned from talking to my professors has been that American style writing and British style writing is very different. My style is a bit more flowery while they’re looking for simple sentences that are straight to the point. So I’ve been really working to hone in my writing style which has been improving. Also, my time here at St Andrews has actually made me better at time management. I’m not a fan of procrastinating although I have my weak moments. Because I have to juggle travelling and other factors I never dealt with at HC, I’m starting papers 2-3 weeks in advance. This has been an extremely helpful way to relieve the stress of balancing work and leisure. I highly recommend it to anyone who gets really stressed about deadlines very quickly. That being said, even perfect planning still results in marathons in the library. 12 hours is my record and hopefully it won’t be broken anytime soon (actually that is a straight lie because I have 3 finals in the coming weeks so…)
Thanks so much for taking a few minutes to catch up with me. By the time of my next post, I will be free and clear of finals (:-D!!!!!) and packing up to return home for a month! Although I’m so excited to go home, the Christmas lights just got lit up in town and I don’t know how I could ever leave such a pretty place. Moments like this make me super pleased I’m returning in the spring. You can’t get rid of me that easily Scotland!!! Talk to you soon.
Pics or it didn’t happen:
Bridgette Dagher '18