Thursday, December 23, 2010

christmas cheer.

This Christmas is going to be quite different from any Jeremy and I have had thus far in our married lives, and before marriage no doubt as well. Our flat is not festooned with Christmas decor, there is no tree, and there are no stockings (though we do have a no-fire-allowed hearth, mantle and fireplace). We are in a country that is a thousand miles away from his immediate family, and a little less far from my own, but the distance is still uncrossable. We don't even have Cael with us this year. All of these things you'd think would make for a cheerless Christmas, if you put stock in all of those things to make Christmas eve and morning what they are. And yes, I'd love to be with the Foremans or the Barkers tomorrow and the next day. But this year will shall find our cheer in each other, in the traditions we can still uphold, in seeing Jeremy's aunt, uncle and cousins (we shan't be family-less on Christmas, and for that I am ever grateful), and also in focusing on what this time of year signifies for us. I think it's important to have Christmases like this every once in a while, to remind us that it's not the twinkle lights, stockings hung by the fire with care, stacks of perfectly wrapped presents, tinsel and garland, nor even the breakfast casserole and strawberry butter that is reserved only for Christmas morning (though I am definitely still making that this year). But it is about being with those you love, even if you cannot be with all of them, and about remembering that Christmas is about the life-giving joy that is realized in the birth of Jesus Christ and letting that emanate through your life to all those around you, not just family, nor yet just friends either, but that everyone you come into contact with can see the joy carried in your spirit with the knowledge of this season. I will try to be the bearer of that joy these next days, and hopefully carry it into the new year and beyond as well. Happy Christmas to all those who read this, and I hope yours is filled with the joy and uplifting peace of this season, regardless of your religious tendencies.

I leave you with a photo of our new city, taken yesterday as the sun was making her way to her nightly resting place illuminating the fallen snow and old stones of the city. This view is a gift in itself.

Joy to the world,


Monday, December 6, 2010

someone sure did let it snow.

It's snowing again today, covering up the already half-melted foot of snow already blanketing the city with its serene white shroud. Normally, I don't mind snow as long as I don't have to drive in it. But it's irking me a little bit because if not for it, I'd be finished by now with both my written Gaelic exam and my oral exam as well, and I'd be home free with just an essay to finish by Friday. As it is, the written exam has been canceled and rescheduled for sometime in January, and now my oral exam is postponed to Wednesday. Sigh. I suppose I'll just have to let go and enjoy the frigid beauty it brings to these old stone buildings and cobbled city streets.
Here's the view from our living room window.

Till I'm finished with this essay,


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

mid-november. really?

Can anyone else really believe that we're half way through November yet? And that Thanksgiving is next week? Does it seem to anyone else that the older you get, the quicker time slips by without you noticing, and the next thing you know you're a year later and you're not sure how you got there? At this time last year I was just settling into the insanity that is the Christmas season at Biltmore--yes, it starts about a week into November. Our plans were still for Jeremy to be the one in school and perhaps maybe we would go to Scotland, but for now we'll just worry about the usual: money, jobs, and what the heck we're doing with our lives. And now, a year later, I am the one in school, and we really are in Scotland, in Edinburgh, and I'm getting a degree in Highland Studies and learning to play the fiddle. Really?
It does feel a bit more tangibly real now that we're in a long-term rental and can finally settle in and make a home. But still, sometime I have to stop, look around at the beautifully old Georgian architecture of the main square of my campus, or out my door, through the buildings to the craggy mount of Arthur's Seat sitting just yonder in Holyrood Park, a stone's throw away from my front door. (Okay, so I'd have to have a really good arm for it to be an actual stone's throw, but still, it's right there.) But it's all true, we really are here, I'm really doing this degree--though don't bother asking what my dissertation is on, because I still have no idea--Jeremy has a good job, and we're living here, in Edinburgh, where we wanted to be. I know I am incredibly blessed to be here, and I am so thankful that things worked out just so for it all to happen. But sometimes--sometimes I still wonder what I really am doing here. Yes, yes I'm going to school and Jeremy and I are on an adventure and what have you. But really, why am I here, what will the future bring us on this path that we're on? Regardless of what you may think, I know I am here for a reason, and that there's a purpose for all that we're encountering and experiencing here, but I can't help letting my so-human mind wander and question and honestly, sometimes just despair at not understanding a distinct purpose for my time and studies here. I know I should just sit back and enjoy it, and take it as it comes, but if any of you know me at all, you'll know that that's not how I do things. I have a hard time not having a framed plan complete with bullet points and a checklist. There's nothing I like more than revising a plan and checking things off a list and experiencing the satisfaction that comes from the accomplishment of a well-laid plan come to fruition. And nothing I hate more than uncertainty and stress from loose ends.
But you know what? Maybe that's why I'm here. Maybe I need to tone the control-freak in my brain down, and maybe kick her out all together. Because the truth is, as long as I am doing what I love and finding my real purpose in the only thing that matters, then what can truly go wrong? Lots of little things might snag here and there, but what are those but flavours that make life that much more brilliantly complex and beautiful?
I am here. I am learning Scottish Gaelic. I am learning to play the fiddle. I am getting a Master's Degree in Highland Studies. I am living in a city that is older and more full of history than anywhere I have ever lived. I will relish all of that in the here and now, and not fret about what will come of it in the future. For if I focus too much on what is to come, I'll miss out on all the loveliness and flavour that will make what comes that much better.

I hope my words can encourage you other control-freaks and future-worriers, and maybe we can all help keep each other accountable to really letting go. Yes?

Here's to the unknown.


Oh, and photos of the new flat coming soon. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

an old favourite: cider stew.

As Jeremy and I have 'smart' phones now (I put that in quotes because I'm not entirely convinced by the concept, especially now that I have one and it seems downright stupid A LOT), ahem, now that we have these seemingly intelligent cellular devices I have been able to take and easily post photos to my facebook, which means I have been taking many photos of food I have been making. The most recent of these is the Cider Stew I made the other day. (Sam, the Scottish Stew is coming, I just want to make it again so I can take some proper photos, never fear.) This recipe is one that I have loved for many, many years as my mother used to make it for us on crisp autumn days when the weather is just right for a sweater and thick socks and on icy winter nights when the frost on the windows creeps up the panes like it's dying to get in and share in the memories being made. Not to be confused with 'Spider Stew,' which is what a friend of my mum's thought she was being served when she first heard the name. Gross! My mum sent me this recipe a year or so again at my request when the weather began to cool and the leaves began their yearly performance, and it's been a cold weather staple with Jeremy and I since then. I made a few tweaks to her original recipe to make it my own and that is what I am giving you tonight.

Cider Stew
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 pounds pork loin steaks, cubed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups apple cider
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 carrots, chopped
6-8 baby new potatoes, chopped
2 onions, sliced
1 package mushrooms, quartered
2 Granny Smith apples, chunked (do not peel)
1/2 cup cold water and
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Salt and pepper

Note: I usually go more by feeling than by exact measurements, just do what feels right, and what your crock pot has room for.

Combine flour, salt, pepper, and thyme and toss with meat to coat. Brown in skillet with oil on medium-high until sides are brown, but not cooked through. Place chopped veggies in slow cooker, then add apples and meat (I usually add whatever juices have culminated in the skillet as well). Combine cider and vinegar; do not add water, and pour over meat and veggies. Cover and cook on low setting for 10 to 12 hours. After allotted time, turn cooker on high. Blend the half cup cold water with the fourth cup flour and stir into stew. Cover and cook until thickened, about fifteen to twenty minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Makes eight to ten servings.

Notes: If you're reading this from the UK, by cider I don't mean alcoholic cider, but really strong, yummy, cloudy apple 'juice'. I used Copella English apple juice this time and the flavour was really nice.

Also, if you're wondering what sort of mushrooms to use I've used two different types, normal button mushrooms which are always nice, and this time I used chestnut mushrooms which have a nuttier flavour which complements the cider.

My mother usually used just normal vinegar in her recipe where I used apple cider vinegar, I don't think it really makes that much of a difference so if you just have regular vinegar that should be fine. I'm just an apple maniac and used anything apple whenever I can.

Now go enjoy your delicious, slow-cooked, autumnal stew and if you make it, come back and let me know how it turned out. We enjoyed ours with a buttered slice of oatmeal bread and a glass of apple cider (yes, the real stuff, you British folk), but white wine would probably be nice as well. Slàinte mhath! 


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

the pup.

My Cael.
I wanted to write a post about this because it seems that I am at a loss at what to do next, and perhaps with the advice or ideas of my beloved readers I might come across a way to remedy the situation.
Our Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Cael, is sadly not with us here in Edinburgh yet. And unfortunately I'm not sure when we'll be able to get him here. It was the original plan to have him shipped over after us in October sometime, but with our housing situation being unstable--in a temporary flat because there wasn't anything available when we got here in September--and with the expense of shipping him we wanted to be sure we would be here for a while before we invest in sending him, as well as the logistical nightmare of actually getting him here with paperwork in order and avoiding quarantine. On the bright side, the huge stress of what to do with him until we could ship him was graciously solved by my older brother, Drew, and his wife, Kelsey, who offered to take him for us until we could get him to us here in Scotland. They've been great in helping us out with that, but now that it looks like Cael's going to have to be staying Stateside for longer than expected they can no longer keep him. They're quite busy with their jobs and having a dog for a month or so is quite different from having him for three or four or more months. So unfortunately their jobs just aren't conducive to having an animal relying on them being home and around for attention or time for adequate walks and other such things as dogs require. So though they have been an absolute Godsend for keeping Cael until now, it is time for him to move on to someone who's life is a bit more suitable to keep a dog.
It looks like right now, since the long-term flat we just got doesn't allow pets, and I'll need some time to either convince the landlord to let me have Cael, or finagle a way to have him there without the landlord knowing, so it looks like January would be the earliest we could realistically get him here. It sucks. And I'd like to have already had him here now and avoided all this, but things don't always work out the way you plan, and we have to deal with things as they happen. So while this is not at all how I planned this going, this is what I have to deal with, so I am.
Here's the rundown. Cael is a spaniel, like I said, a small breed but he's bigger than most Cavaliers--maybe about twenty-eight or so pounds. He's almost three years old, so he's right about at the end of the puppy stage, though he can still get a little hyper. He's fixed, and that seemed to calm him down a bit and make him a lot less dominating, but it really wasn't a huge problem before we had it done. He's a sweet heart, and just wants to be around people and interact with them. Wherever you are, that's where he wants to be. He's a companion first and foremost, but he knows how to be on his own as well. Jeremy and I both worked nearly everyday, so he was used to being by himself for five, six, or seven hours at a time, and sometimes more.. He loves being outside and going on walks. He has a backyard right now at my brother's house and it seems like even though he can be out on his own, that he needs someone out with him to make sure he does his business and not just sniff around and chase leaves across the yard. Though he's fine just being put outside on occasion in the backyard to just be there instead of inside. I think that's where walks would come in the best, to take him out and tell him to go 'potty' helps him remember why he's out there amidst all the sights and smells that make him forget what he needs to do. He's also not a very vocal dog. In our experience, the only time he barked was when we left for work, and even then he'd only bark for maybe four or five minutes then go on to chewing a bone or playing with his toys. I think he'd be best with a family, and even with a family that already has a dog, because he's quite social and likes the company, and I think a family atmosphere would be good because there's always so much going on and people coming and going to keep him company.
Anyway, I won't go on and on, but he is a good dog, and as with all dogs, he needs the proper attention and work that comes with being a dependent animal. I can give anyone more information who wants it. If you guys have any ideas of someone who would be willing to keep him for us for a time, until we can get him over here with us, let me know. And those that will, please pray that this is resolved quickly and smoothly as it quite stressful for all involved--for me, trying to coordinate this an ocean away, and for my brother I'm sure as well, who wants to give Cael everything he needs, but just can't do it all right now because of his busy schedule. Thank you all for praying and thinking of us. Things here are going well, but I can't believe that this semester is almost over--I still have so much to do! I hope all who read this are quite well.


Friday, October 22, 2010

goings-on and my yearly autumn revelry.

On any given day in Edinburgh you can have weather from grey with good Scottish rain that falls slightly to the side-like, to bright, shining sun, to blustery wind that eddies and swirls amongst the fallen leaves and back again. This wreaks havoc on a compulsive planner's nerves. Take today for example: While I was quite thankful for my black wellies as I trudged through the rain this morning on my way to class, I felt rather silly walking home three hours later in beautiful, golden sunlight, the traces of the earlier torrent nearly vanished and here I am trudging again because it's actually really difficult to get full range of movement in knee-high rubber boots. Who trudges when it's beautiful and sunny outside? This girl, the planner, the one who coordinates her umbrella and rain boots--they're just both black, so really I'm not that bad. Living in Edinburgh has been teaching me, among many other things, that you've got to roll with the punches; that you can't control everything and sometimes you might wear your rain boots when it's gorgeous outside. Hint, hint, so is everyone else who left their flats at 11AM and saw the downpour in progress before they got dressed--you're not alone.
But then there are other days, like yesterday, when everything about it is perfect. And when I say perfect I mean perfectly autumn, which is what heaven will be like in my opinion. I noticed it as I rushed to class, having dressed for the weather that had encompassed the previous two, i.e. flipping cold, and when I got to class and stripped off my scarf, glovies, coat and sweater I was still steaming up my glasses. After a good hour of Gaelic, however, my internal temperature had balanced itself, and as I stepped out of 19 George Square I couldn't help but to wander into the fenced garden that is in the centre of the square. An escape of nature amid the studious stone Georgian buildings of the square. On a crisp and sun-laden day such as it was yesterday an escape like that is a necessary part of the day. I found a bench in the center of the garden which has a surrounding wall of tree and bush that shields someone within from the constant reminder of the city, and I sat and wrote and reveled. The wind blew through the boughs, sending a flurry of autumnal color  raining down on the solitary benches and winding paths. It was one of those days when you can smell the intoxicating scent of autumn on the breath of the wind, and undeniably feel it in the crisp air. The white wisps of cloud moved swiftly overhead and the sun revealed its face through the veil of autumn cloud. Every once in a while, a fellow reveler would walk by, and the telltale crunch of the fallen leaves beneath their steps was ever-so satisfying to the ear. You know, there's something about the richness of color in the autumn leaves, the golden-brown, tawny-yellow and the occasional flourish of crimson or sugary-orange, it all makes my senses palpitate with joy and fervor for the season. Yet still, even among the richness of the autumn color there was the evergreen of the holly bush--that stalwart plant--which is one of all seasons, yet it invokes the promise of winter and Boreas' arrival, fast and fair, into this ancient stone city. As I sat, the other benches were acquiring occupants, those who, like me, cannot resist a day like yesterday and must revel in its loveliness. I did not linger there too long though, moments such as those are fleeting and someone else surely desired my place there, my reveling bench, before the colors fade and that beauty dies away.
The path I followed to my reveling bench.
Besides sitting around, slack-jawed, staring at pretty leaves, I really have been getting an education. My classes are going well and I'm learning a lot. I still feel a bit like I'm in over my head, but I know that will pass and I will conquer my fears of not being good enough or whatever other silly thoughts are forcing their way into my mind. Gaelic, or Gàidhlig, as it is in it's own language is going quite well. It's difficult, but I can feel it getting easier and the words and pronunciations coming into my mind quicker and quicker. I mean how counter-intuitive for an English speaker to pronounce pigheid like "pee-atch"? I mean really. Now that is one of the more difficult ones, and it means parrot (and possibly sometimes magpie as well) but still. It's rough on the brain. Or here's one, more of a crazy Gaelic construction than just a word, but, in Gaelic, there is no verb "to have" (why? I have no idea, we all know the Highlanders knew the idea of possession), so in order to contribute possession they say "at." Here's an example, if I wanted to say 'I have a dog' (I miss you, Cael!), I would say 'Tha cù agam' which literally means 'A dog is at me.' Of course, that sentence also employs the use of a prepositional pronoun, using 'at' and 'me', aig (the word for 'at') + mi (pretty obviously the word for 'me') becomes agam. If I were to say 'Mary has a dog,' it would be Tha cù aig Màiri, 'a dog is at Mary.' Fun, isn't it? And we learned this within the first week, so that just indicates how difficult the actual difficult stuff is. But I am enjoying it, really. It's quite different learning something because you have to, and learning something because you want to. And I want to learn Gaelic, so I have proper motivation to get through the propositional pronouns and lenition (I'm not going into that here, sorry).
My other class, The Supernatural World, is quite interesting. It explores the traditional superstitions and magical thinking that is so latent within Scottish culture, from divination to changelings and the fairies, witchcraft to the second sight among Scottish families. It's really neat to look at the folklore that comes from this area and the Highlands. I'm also doing a Approaches and Methods in Gaidhealtacht Studies which is basically seminars each week on different topics within Highland Studies that I'm interested in given by the expert in that field to give me an idea of what I might be more interested in with relation to my dissertation. I have to write essays for both of those classes then an exam for Gaelic at the end of the semester.
Jeremy is enjoying his Arthurian Scotland class that meets in Edinburgh Castle, and he's job-hunting as well. Were still enjoying being slightly touristy with sight-seeing and exploring this gorgeous city. Tonight we're going to Sandy Bells, a pub that has live traditional music every night and was the hub of the folk music revival here in the 60s, which is pretty brilliant.
Sorry I've written a novel here, I hope to update sooner next time--we'll see how that goes. I hope this post finds all who read it quite well. Until next time.

Slàinte mhath,


Sunday, October 3, 2010

An seo ann an Dùn Èideann. [Here in Edinburgh]

It was a month yesterday that we have been here in Edinburgh, and I can hardly believe it. The time is already flying by and I'm about to enter into my third week of classes. After a bit of a rough start, just lack of confidence and things being so different, I'm settling down well into my classes. Gaelic is difficult, but I'm motivated and have an awesome encourager in Jeremy. I have Gaelic everyday, and each morning about fifteen minutes before 11:10 I leave and enjoy a walk through the Meadows, a huge public park with tree-lined paths and open green meadows between them. It really is gorgeous, and the leaves are beginning to change which makes it that much better. That being said, seeing the changing leaves makes me remember what I'm missing in the North Carolina mountains right now--my favorite season, autumn, and the crispness of air, and the sight and smell of autumn in the mountains. Everyone who reads this and is there right now, please give my love to the sugar maples and yellow birch trees, okay? So here are some photos of my daily walk through the park.

Needless to say, it's a walk that never really gets old, there's something different to notice each time I walk through it. The trees lining the path are nice because they give a semblance of shelter to walk through when it's raining. They don't keep out the rain entirely, but they do help a bit. All the classes I have are in the same building, and in fact the same room as well. The building used to belong to a bloke who was apparently friends with Robert Burns, so it's entirely possible that the room in which I sit each day may have a past that includes long nights of conversation and poetry in the company of the great Scottish poet, which is pretty cool. Here's a photo of my building in George Square.

Last weekend, Jeremy and I had an excursion to Cairnpapple Hill which is an ancient Celtic site west of Edinburgh. We took the train to Bathgate and from there, after quite an experience trying to find the bus stop and know which bus to take, got a bus to Torphichen, and from there walked the quoted 'fifteen minutes' to Cairnpapple. It was more of a forty-five minute walk, but since Cairnpapple was admittedly a bit of a let down, the gorgeous walk there through the countryside made up completely for it. It was nice to get to know the train station and bus system a bit as well. Not quite what we expected, but a wonderful first excursion outside the city nonetheless.
We walked right through a herd of cows to get to Cairnpapple.

This weekend was a bit different because my brother Stephen and his wife Meghan came to visit Edinburgh and us. They'd been planning to come here for a while, but decided to put it off until we got here so they could see us too. I'm so glad they did, it's always wonderful to spend time with them and catch up on the life and times of Steve and Megh. We walked round Edinburgh, hit a number of great pubs, went on a Ghost Tour on Friday night (which wasn't that scary) and Jeremy, Stephen and I climbed Arthur's Seat yesterday. Again, having Holyrood Park and Arthur's Seat right in the middle of the city and like having a little taste of the Highlands within walking distance. It's a great escape and a fantastic way to walk off the many pints you inevitably have when you're here as well. While we were climbing, at about halfway up, someone at the top of began to play the pipes. They began with Scotland the Brave and it was so perfect. We hear the pipes easily even as far down as we were, and it was brilliant hear as we traversed to the top of this historic mount.

See the piper up there? Perfect.

My brother, Stephen, and me.

Great day. The sun went down over the Old City, gorgeously, as it often does. Stephen and Jeremy did another Ghost Tour into the underground vaults beneath the city, while Megh and I opted to stay behind and have a few more drinks where ghosts were less likely to be seen. On the way back to our flat we stopped for a late night snack at Franco's for fish and chips, which hit the spot after a night of pub crawling like nothing I've ever had before. Delicious.

Obviously taken in daylight, not when we typically frequent it.
So there's your update for now, hopefully I'll be able to update a bit more often now that I'm getting into the swing of things. We're doing well, enjoying all things new, but we do miss our family and friends back in North Carolina. Love to you all.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

still new.

Everything is still trying to settle down. I'm through my first two days of classes and I think I'm going to have a really excellent albeit challenging year. Jeremy's now been registered to take an open class through the University called "Arthurian Scotland," which will be once a week for ten weeks--the class meets in Edinburgh Castle! How cool is that? Jeremy's been writing and reading a lot, and is planning on finding work soon, but is enjoying some much deserved time off. I've just begun reading George MacDonald's Phantastes and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I'm only about six chapters in and I can already recommend it. MacDonald is brilliant with his descriptions and word usage, the images he creates are stirring. It really is wonderful. Well, I'm off to study Gaelic till bedtime.
Oidhche mhath!


Friday, September 17, 2010

the inordinately large photo blog.

   We've finally gotten some internet at our new place so I can finally catch you all up from the last two or so weeks. Hopefully this will all format correctly to the actual post, but let's not hold our breath.
First of all, it was with a heavy heart that we had to leave Cael behind, but when he looks like this and he's in the care of such wonderful family we have to be glad and just miss him for a little while. (Thanks, Drew and Kelsey!) This is him in his very exciting new backyard in Greensboro, NC.
Cael in his new habitat. :)
When we arrived in Edinburgh, we were greeted by Tessa, Jeremy's aunt, and she took us back to their home in New Town, which is row after row of gorgeous Georgian architecture. They were wonderful  hosts to us as we settled into our new city and looked round for a flat of our own. Thanks so much to Paul and Tessa Clowney for putting us up, feeding us, and letting us put our own weight a bit round the flat! Here are some photos from our stay there.
Front door to Paul and Tessa's
The lovely architecture of New Town.

Our room.
The stairs we had to climb to get there.
The writing spot I frequented at our window, with tea, of course.
Here are some neat shots I got from our window there. The first just as the sun was beginning to set, and the second was in complete night--the light is from the city lights and if you look closely you can see the stars as well.
Dramatic clouds are an everyday occurrence here.
It's just as lovely at night, is it not?
Naturally, we did some sight-seeing during our first weeks here. Some along with some friends, Billy and Katie, who came to see us from Belfast (via vacation in Mallorca). This city is vibrant with culture, heritage, and history--we've only begun to taste all is has to offer. From St. Mary's Cathedral in the West End of Edinburgh, to Edinburgh Castle on Castle Rock, New College in Old Town and the Royal Mile, Arthur's Seat in Holyrood Park--a haven dropped right into the middle of the city, to the Scott Monument and more, Edinburgh is not a place to be seen in one day.
A cathedral we passed nearly everyday in New Town.
Inside said cathedral, St. Mary's.
Our first view of the castle, we were rather surprised by it actually.
A more composed view of castle rock and Edinburgh Castle.
New College, house of Theology at Uni of Edinburgh, right below the castle.
Right in the middle of the city actually--on the way to Arthur's Seat.
Edinburgh at night.
We caught the end of the Fringe Festival, denoted by fireworks at the castle.
I have so many more photos of things we've done and seen, but I think I would be sitting here for weeks if I uploaded and captioned all the photos I'd like to for you. To pick just a few more, Edinburgh has a number of beautiful graveyards which are a beautifully somber thing to explore here. Greyfriars is right within the Old Town, and houses a number of mentionable things--one being Greyfriar's Bobby, the loyal dog who watched over his master's grave for fourteen years. As well as Flodden Wall, a commemoration of the Scottish lives lost at the Battle of Flodden against James IV. Another graveyard I've visited is Saint Cuthbert's which is situated on the edge of New Town off Princes Street, nestled in the shadow of castle rock. Here are some photos I captured at both these yards.
Flodden Wall at Greyfriar's.
St. Cuthbert's
Shaded rows, St. Cuthbert's.
Beneath Castle Rock, St. Cuthbert's.
  Now, of course, the reason we are here is because I am going back to school. I've done a few things at the school so far, but classes don't start until this coming Monday. International Day was this past Sunday which began with a welcome ceremony in McEwan Hall; there are over 8,000 international students at the University of Edinburgh this year, both undergrad and postgrad! Jeremy and I explored the sprawling campus which melts right into the city surrounding it. Most of my classes will be in George Square which is about a five or ten minute walk from the Royal Mile. We went to Old College which is actually undergoing an archaeological dig at the moment which can be read about here. It was fun exploring the different facets of this huge school, especially when compared to the college Jeremy and I both graduated from in Montreat with it's total student population of something like five hundred. Jeremy and I ventured out and went to an indie night at Teviot House, which is one of the student unions at the Uni (it has three bars inside it!). We ended up really liking one of the bands we heard called Kid Canaveral (check 'em out!), and though we enjoyed ourselves we couldn't get over how young the people around us drinking alcohol were. They looked about twelve! We also thought that the lead singer of Kid Canaveral looked like a perfect combination of Jeremy and our friend Billy May!
McEwan Hall, the graduation hall for UoE.
Old College.
Dig at Old College.
Kid Canaveral. (Billy/Jeremy lovechild?)
So I've finally arrived at our new flat. I don't have decent photos yet, but I will leave you with the gorgeous view I have from my kitchen window. For those of you that know me, yes, it really does help me enjoy doing dishes!
Kitchen view, and CLEAN DISHES!
I will leave you with a typical sight seen anywhere around Edinburgh, though this one was particularly endearing so I snapped a photo.
Old man in a kilt!

Till next time, lovely readers! It won't be so long before another photo post that I'll have to post one like this again, never fear!