Sunday, September 25, 2011

School, life, the works.

For those who are interested in what life is like in Scotland for the American student this will be a thrilling tell-all that is sure to shock and horrify you. Well not horrify, but you'll want to keep reading. For those of you who aren't interested, I'm very sorry you wasted these precious moments of your life, and you should navigate  away from this page immediately.

I will start with school. Student life in Edinburgh is interesting. The Master's program for social work will be difficult, there's a lot of work and self reflection that they are expecting us to do outside of class. Luckily I'm extremely self centered and probably would have done the self reflecting part any way, so that just leaves the 400 hours a week they expect me to spend in my own time thinking about social policies and ethics and research and any other social work term that exists that I don't feel like remembering (can you tell it's going well so far?)  I have been evangelized to three times. Twice by Christians and once by a Hari Krishna. The Christians invited me to a free dinner and discussion, and the other christians gave me a flyer for a free toastie. A toastie is basically a grilled cheese sandwich with other fillings. The Hari Krishna stalked me around the square (the Edinburgh version of the quad) and sang songs to me asking for money.  So the christians, though less forthcoming, win. They offered food and didn't have yellow crap smeared on their faces.  My classmates are great. Many of them very friendly, and many of them around my age. Most Masters students in Europe/UK are much younger, around 21 or 22. Many of them have the option of starting Uni at 16. My program has 67 students most my age or older, about 5 of whom are male.  I am happy to report that I have befriended 4 of the 5 boys.  I didn't even try to make it happen.  One was in my intro group and one sought me out cause he heard I was from Texas. Because there are so few of them they tend to ban together and now I'm in like flint.

My flat is in a great location. I live really near the Uni in a hip part of town, and am really near a neighborhood where there aren't any tourists. There is also a pub with a fun quiz night close by and another pub that specialises in ale.  I have found one cheap and good sandwich place and one cheap and good pizza place.  My mail usually gets delivered, though I have yet to receive my debit card which will enable me to have money and get a phone.  If anyone ever decides to move to the UK please follow this advice- If you ever want to open a bank account or get a contract phone, have 10 forms of photo ID and proof of address that is on official letterhead and signed. Also take with you a blood sample and a book, because you're going to wait in line for about 2 hours and if there is a pathway for them to not give you an account, they will take it.  The paperwork required to do anything in this country is ridiculous. They follow so blindly the rules of the bureaucratic government that all common sense is lost and they shoot themselves in the foot and get nothing done.  Example:  Picking up a parcel from the post. Should you forget your photo ID, you are fucked. It doesn't matter if you can give both your address and the return address on the package, what is in the package, what it looks like and its approximate weight.  You have to walk home, get your passport and walk back. Lots of wasted time and energy for both parties.

I went to a church service. It was very emotional and charismatic. Lots of crying, hysterical laughter, and laying hands on people.  It was basically the same as the American church though. The girl who was the head of the welcome committee was the only person to talk to me, several others gave me shy or suspicious glances. There was one pretty girl everyone was fighting over (silently of course). A few runners up as well. As always there were a couple of guys who were involved in pretty serious bromances with each other.  I'm not going back, it was all a bit much, and all what I'm trying to leave behind me.

I can't think  of anything else. if there's anything anyone wants to know facebook me and I'll get back to you.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rant about Scotland

I never in a million years thought it would be so effing difficult to give someone my money. Every effing bank in this effing city wants 12 different proofs ID, address, and attendance, and no two banks-even if they are the same company- want the same combination of proof.  I have never in my life been treated so poorly by so many people who are supposedly trying to make money. Except maybe by Golds gym who lied and stole from me. I stood in line from 1130am to 430pm and they basically told me to go fuck myself.

I am so disgusted with this entire process that I'm seriously considering just not getting a bank here in scotland, which consequently means I will also not be getting a cell phone.  I am probably more angry and upset right now than i was throughout the entire ridiculous process of getting my passport and student ID.

I'm in a real pickle. I hate being in America but it turns out I also hate being everywhere else.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

scotland and edinburgh

Well, I have arrived at my flat in edinburgh.  I have the smallest room, which is ok because it's basically the size of every room I've ever lived in.  I am taking a break from a decorating/organizing spree because I'm tired and I don't think theres much else I can do until  the daylight hours anyway.  One nice thing/kind of weird thing is the ceilings are really high. I tried to hang something from the window and I had to climb on top of my headboard and onto the window ledge because I was too short to hang it from the bed itself.  It's the first time I've ever had to climb and balance. It was weird, and refreshing. my beds also really uncomfortable. I might try and find a better mattress on gumtree (uk craigslist). It's funny how I was totally fine to sleep on a moldy futon cushion on a cement floor in Australia but in the UK, if it's not a pillowtop its not good enough.
 Well kids, since I'm technically "home" now I'll be more available on skype. Also, I think I'm getting an iphone so we can facetime chat now. 

Random travel story, while this isn't exactly south Texas, I'm still pretty much taller than every person in the country;except maybe the dutch and german tourists. The other day I had to do some online banking so I took my lap top down to the lobby (where the wifi was) and sat at a table that was so small it must be for their guests with school age children.  So I moved to the back, where some normal sized furniture was spotted. As I bent down to place my lap top on the coffee table, I hit my head so hard on the hanging lamp that the crack could be heard in the BACK room of reception. A little employee guy came running out and hand to still the lamp because the spots in my vision still hadn't cleared up. Then as I stood up to leave about 30minutes later I hit my head AGAIN.  This time, instead of rushing over with concern, he looked at me with a mixture of disbelief and disgust from behind the safety of the hotel bar while a man on a cell phone starting laughing hysterically and gesturing for me to come sit with him. I declined and didnt show my face again until breakfast.  The next day at breakfast I had the absolute pleasure of watching two asian girls in full makeup, false eyelashes and stiletto heels included share a hard boiled egg and then not finish it. They then piled onto a bus with 15 other asians and were gone for the day by 8am.

ok I'm tired. Wish me luck every body, I'm kind of nervous about this. My travels before were different, if I hated it I could leave, but I'm stuck here whether i like it or not.