Friday, January 30, 2009

A portion of a letter to Mema and Grandaddy

January 30, 2009

I like it here in Scotland very much. The country side here is quite different than Georgia. The rolling hills are everywhere (they call the bigger hills Munros) and I can see a beautiful crag from my window. The earth here is very dark, almost black, and usually quite moist because it rains nearly daily. Many of the streets here are old cobblestone-- the sort of streets in pockets of Savannah. There is a castle quite close to where I stay. One time, the Scotts had to starve the English out...

I have found a goodly church here, titled Holy Rood Abbey (but 'Holy' is pronounced "Holly"). .. One of the best parts is "tea and biscuits" after the service. Tea is hot tea with milk and their "biscuit" is actually shortbread and cookies. During tea last Saturday I met three siblings who happened to be from a neighboring Isle to Jura. The confirmed that Buie was quite a Scottish name from those parts. This new was much to my relief for here in Edinburgh I had not come across the name of Buie yet.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When I Grow Up

When I grow up, I want to be a hippie. Yesterday, I sat taking communion in Holy Rood Abbey with the same line running again in my head: "Take it lassie, it's for sinner. " I sat with Jesus in my hand and looked up to a stained glass window. As I've just seen my first Cathedrals, I expected something pompous in Latin. Instead, in the center, were the words "God is Love." This sacrament was love. The hymn was an act of love. The tea following the sermon was an act of love. Conversations over tea were an act of love. An encounter with a person's nature can be a reflection of love and hence, of God. Then sharing the nature of God with someone can be as simple as a song or a cup of tea or a smile or a kind word.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Things I Find

Things I find similiar to UNC:
- still have students handing out flyers and graffiti buildings to get you to stop the war in Gaza. Not that I condone Israel, but how is a protest supposed to help?
-really liberal feminists. My first day of class discussion concluded that apart from sexual organs, the only real difference between men and women was learnt (notices the -t ending!) behavior.
-when going out to parties or the club, people still take cameras out and post up their pictures the next day

Things I find similar to Singapore:
- one must moderate one's shopping because one has to CARRY everything home.
-the city moves vertical rather than horizontal: buildings don't sprawl, but have 2 or 3 stories instead.
-pronounce 'H' as "haych" which even though British and "correct", still sounds completely idiotic.
-Bash US politics more than their own. Today in the inauguration they booed when president Bush entered and even threw a "We survived Bush" party. For once, I don't think the British are allowed to be included in the royal we.
-The Presbyterian church here Holy Rood Abbey is set up nearly identical to ORPC, from the arrangement of seats , the style of the ceilings to tea afterwards

Completely Different:
-serve warm drinks in real, glass mugs rather than paper cups
-The shops look tiny on the outside, but going in expand up and are really quite large. Rather like a cave.
-So old and beautiful.
-Craggy. Unpredictable and wild. It actually gets colder as the day waxes.
-They call me "Yank." Thems fightin words.
-In Edinburgh, one must explain things ending with "right," "okay," or "eh." So you go to the end of the street, right. And then you take a left, right. And then after the stoplight, right, you uh look for the pub "the royal oak" right.
-I have to turn the tap about 30 times in order for it to turn on
-Tip less, though they are less attentive
-Not graded on class participation, but on "essays" (papers) and "papers" (exams).
This is the view from my Bedroom window. Those are the Salisbury Crags.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kitchen Conversations

One of the best things here is my flat which I share with three other girls. I have particularly enjoyed our kitchen table conversations which have ranged from Obama vs. Bush (grilled on the first night!) to reasons why I am not sexually active.

Tonight they asked me about the literal interpretation of the Bible, creation being made in 7 days. I told them I don't really care, that I don't believe in science, and that God used deep magic to create the world. Not Harry Potter magic, but magic in the sense that its beyond me and my understanding and its entirely too beautiful to paste an explanation on it. I felt very much like C.S. Lewis.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Salisbury Crags

I can see the Salisbury Crags from my window and I want to climb them something awful. Hence, I've been singing this song in my head for the past few days: Solsbury Hill.

I just had my second of three classes and I have more reading in one class than all my reading at UNC for one semester. My plans for making trips is temporarily put on hold...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


The weather is beautiful! The last few days have been clear and no rain. I want to climb Salisbury Crags and watch the sun rise. I went out with the International Student Center to their pub night at Bannermans, which is literally across the street. Its very odd because the entire building is all of stone and brick, winding, and reminds me of a hobbits burrough. I witnessed karaoke for the first time. I think I may get to go see s club 7 on Friday. Ooooo.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


Just now, my first wave of intense homesickness smothered me, and the "welcome back" emails from UNC do not help.

Stories from the Flight

January 9, 2009 3.10 pm

I am in Detroit, Michigan. Our descent was covered in fog, so thick it's a wonder we did not hit another plane. All around is a thick cloud. The runway was frozen causing our landing to be very slippery. I thought of clapping on our landing, but thought it may offend in America. As I sit in A 36 boarding gate, I just saw a live bird land in a rather tall artificial tree.

January 10, 2009 12.52 am

I am arrived in Amsterdam. I have forgotten how much I despise the American tourist. A man in front of me wanted to get money off of his credit card for a casino, and was not becoming in the least. I am outraged.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I have loads of small stories to tell. As of now, I have no internet in my room, and am currently in an internet cafe. I like Edinburgh. I have gotten lost and found twice (only minorly). I can see the hills from my bedtime window in addition to a 15thc. building. Its not too cold. Just dagum windy.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Adventures Begin

On Monday I went to Chapel Hill with a friend. As I was fixing to pick her up and head home her phone died, ensuing in one and a half hours of total panic of trying to find someone in an apartment complex where I had no idea where they lived. After several phonecalls, some excellent detective work, and knocking on strangers's doors, I found my friend and went home!

Adventure number 2 happened yesterday as I was driving with Ashely Paulson around Charlotte running last minute errands. I asked her to drive (since my car had trouble), and overall we had a delightful afternoon with conversation of music, beauty, and boys! As we were driving to pick up my brother, a gust of 50 mph wind blew a large branch down onto her new car, puncturing the wind shield and shattering the glass (which stayed in place for the most part) to look like a large spide web. A wonder we weren't both killed! After calling the police, he drove by us, without bothering to stop and shouted, "This is an act of God! I can't help you," and drove away. I think that sounds like a good line for a book.

I leave tomorrow (Friday, January 9, 2009) at 12.47.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

T- 3 days and counting

I am away to the University of Edinburgh for the spring of 2009. This year is the 250th birthday of Robert Burns and I have kindly accepted Scotland's invitation for "Homecoming." Blogging is more awkward than I expected.