cardinals and coins


Left and Leaving

My travels have officially begun. On Thursday, August 18th I arrived at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport. I checked in a little late for my flight, so my checked luggage didn't make it to me until Friday morning. But my trip began uneventfully except for that suitcase. It was, however, as all trips home are destined to be, busy, fast and more surprising than I thought it would be when I got off that plane.

During this trip I did the following things:

Spent time with my dad and my stepmother, who are such beautiful people. We had a birthday party for me since I will be gone in October, and I got fun gifts AND cake! So that was pretty cool. We also watched many fantastic episodes of the West Wing on DVD, ate lots of ice cream, ate Mickey Mouse pancakes and more of my favorite childhood meals.

Spent time with Steven Candy, who claims the honor of being my oldest friend. (He's like 94. No, he's not. Really, he's 24 as of next week. But mostly, we've kept in touch for 7 years, despite having lived in different cities for the past 6.)

Spent time with Philip, Ben and other Minnesota friends.

Spent time with my family! I have a really cool extended family. Jake took me and Tess and their exchange student Betina out to dinner in Uptown Minneapolis. Later that first weekend, Grace turned 12, and I was very happy to be there for the celebration. It was great to see people I haven't seen since my sister's wedding in January! Good timing with that birthday, Grace.

Spent some time on Square Lake in a canoe. Despite Philip's threats to tip over said canoe, the trip was a safe one. What would a trip to Minnesota in the summertime be without a canoe?!

Things I did not do on this trip:

Alas, I did not spend any time at the State Fair. Maybe we will meet next year, giant butter sculpture of Princess Kay of the Milky Way!

I did not make it up to Grand Rapids this trip, either, and I was sad not to see some people who are still up there.

Well, that was a very full and very busy trip to the Land of 10,000 Lakes. More complicated, more educational and more fun than I anticipated. I hope to visit again next year. In the meantime, I am flying back to New York tomorrow night. I will be in my favorite city (I missed you!) until September 10th. By the way, to those of you who go to Barnard or Columbia, we still have no host for that good-bye party, people. The clock is ticking and I am now officially homeless until the 11th, so one of you New York kids will have to issue the invitations. Or there will be no shortbread and whisky for you this Christmas from me in Scotland. That's right. Scotland. I'm repeating myself to make it seem a little realer... someone pinch me. I believe I may have lost feeling in the part of my brain that senses exhaustion, fear, anticipation, and all that other stuff I need for planning.

Which reminds me, I haven't packed yet...

Good-bye for another year, beautiful state of lakes, farms and pretty trees.

Hello again, enormous, glowing, beautiful city of my heart.

Shut up, I'll get to you in two weeks, super old completely unfamiliar and scary but exciting European capital city. I can't deal with you right now, I'm too busy with two old homes to think about the new one.


Financial Aid Saints

This is a photo of Milbank Hall, the Barnard building that houses the financial aid department, among other things. The financial aid department gave me everything I need to study abroad next year--today it all became possible! They were incredibly good to me; I go to the best school in the whole world. This entry is devoted to the lovely and understanding financial aid officers of Barnard College.


very old things

I really like maps. Here are two old maps of Scotland. Aren't they pretty?

This is a painting of Anne Stuart, Queen of England, Scotland and Ireland, (1665-1714).



I am getting very excited and preparing to leave in just one month. With a passport, visa, plane ticket and sufficiently increased student loan (almost) I am ready to GO. Here are pictures of cute Scottish things to show how excited I am!

A thistle, the flower commonly associated with/used as a symbol for Scotland.

Dancing Scottish children! My favorite is the girl in blue on the right.

Scottish Pipers!

A lighthouse!


baked puffins... not just a fantastic breakfast cereal

Island life shown in exhibition
An exhibition marking 75 years since the remote Hebridean archipelago of St Kilda were evacuated is opening.

The National Trust for Scotland hopes the previously unseen photographs, diaries and cultural objects will give an insight into life on the islands.

Evidence suggests that St Kilda was inhabited as early as 3,000BC. The final 36 inhabitants abandoned their homes in August 1930.

The exhibition is being held at Wemyss House, Charlotte Square, Edinburgh.

Admission to the exhibition, which runs until 31 August, is free.

Harsh environment

It comes weeks after St Kilda was awarded Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) World Heritage Site status for its cultural significance.

The listing made it one of only 24 sites in the world to have been recognised by Unesco for both cultural and natural importance.

It now ranks alongside Ayers Rock in Australia, Mount Athos in Greece and Machu Picchu in Peru.

Despite its reputation as a harsh environment, surveys have uncovered evidence that suggests St Kilda was inhabited 5,000 years ago.

The main island, Hirta, once supported Britain's most remote community, with the inhabitants surviving for centuries on the seabird population, subsistence agriculture and eating dishes such as baked puffin.

By the 1920s the population had fallen from 200 to 36, and this decline, along with poverty and severe weather, led to them abandoning their homes on 29 August 1930 and moving to the mainland.

The National Trust for Scotland has owned St Kilda since 1957.


Robert Louis Stevenson's Edinburgh

Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes, 1879

THE ancient and famous metropolis of the North sits overlooking a windy estuary from the slope and summit of three hills. No situation could be more commanding for the head city of a kingdom; none better chosen for noble prospects. From her tall precipice and terraced gardens she looks far and wide on the sea and broad champaigns. To the east you may catch at sunset the spark of the May lighthouse, where the Firth expands into the German Ocean; and away to the west, over all the carse of Stirling, you can see the first snows upon Ben Ledi.

But Edinburgh pays cruelly for her high seat in one of the vilest climates under heaven. She is liable to be beaten upon by all the winds that blow, to be drenched with rain, to be buried in c
old sea fogs out of the east, and powdered with the snow as it comes flying southward from the Highland hills. The weather is raw and boisterous in winter, shifty and ungenial in summer, and a downright meteorological purgatory in the spring. The delicate die early, and I, as a survivor, among bleak winds and plumping rain, have been sometimes tempted to envy them their fate.

Meanwhile every hour the bell of the University rings out over the hum of the streets, and every hour a double tide of students, coming and going, fills the deep archways.
Of old, Edinburgh University was the scene of heroic snowballing; and one riot obtained the epic honours of military intervention. But the great generation, I am afraid, is at an end; and even during my own college days, the spirit appreciably declined.