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.



bookishme said...

wish we could have been there too! Sounds like a great time! Thanks for sharing....

mollyrice said...

Looks wonderful and makes me "homesick". However, when I saw the pic of you in jumper and jeans with hair pulled back ... I felt the wind, wet, and cold (something that I don't miss). Jeremy looks like a right celt! I wish we could visit :( Miss you guys being stateside.

Amethyst said...

I miss you guys so much. I totally am crying in the middle of the library right now. I pray SO DEARLY that we'll be able to come and visit you. I can't make it a whole year without the two of you...
On a happier note, I mailed you a letter today! I can't wait to hear back from you.
Much love,