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!


Friday, September 10, 2010

grey and rainy--a day for writing and wonder.

I am watching the rain fall over New Town from my third floor open and unscreened window with a cup of tea in hand. I am also listening to it fall softly, rhythmically, upon the neatly rowed Georgian houses and on the trees in the walled gardens behind them. I can also smell that rain, and it is a smell that never fails to put me at ease.
I can faintly hear the noises of the city around me, but the sights and sounds of the rain are far too captivating for me to really notice.
I find it rather humorous that of the almost ten days we've been here I chose to write here or in my journal on the only two days on which it has rained. So looking back to this time it might seem that it was raining nonstop from the time we arrived. But that is so far from the truth, it has been sunny and warm for every other day, and even cleared up to such conditions on the other day that it rained this week. I suppose it is safe to infer that I prefer to write on rainy grey days than on warm sunny ones.
This city truly is amazingly beautiful. I wish I could post photos, but I cannot until we find a flat and I can get my other computer set up. But photos there most certainly will be once we find a place. We looked at another flat yesterday, and we're really praying we get it. It's literally only about a minute's walk to my school, and wonderfully located for everything else in the city centre. We found a little coffee shop called the Beanscene just round the corner from this flat, and we sat there about about an hour the other morning just taking everything in--it was perfect. I'm so excited for our time here, and feel so blessed to be able to have an opportunity like this. I am ready for us to have a place and school to start, because it still feels a bit like we're on vacation, and I feel a bit displaced without a place to call my own.
But regardless, we're loving it here and really enjoying exploring our new home.


Friday, September 3, 2010

in edinburgh.

We're here! It's beautiful and quite lovely here, for the second day it has been sunny all day. I can't post photos yet because we don't have our iMac set up yet, but I will as soon as I can. Just know that we're here, and we're happy, and we're absolutely loving this city.