My First Week

Alright, I have an hour, so here’s my summary of my first six days in Scotland:

I was welcomed to the city of Edinburgh by a team of lovely international students wearing bright red university sweatshirts. They helped me find a bus and a taxi and carry my luggage. But wait, before I move on to my new home, imagine this:

You’ve been on a plane all night and in an airport all morning. You get on another plane, where you are completely unable to stay awake, despite occupying the middle seat. You can only hope you didn’t drool on the women next to you. You wake up as the plane begins to descend into Edinburgh, because your ears are popping. The first thing you see when you open your eyes is a golden hill under a bright blue sky. In front of the hill, a crystal blue stretch of sea works its way inland. Below the plane, opposite the hill and south of the water, the prettiest little farms you’ve ever seen occupy the landscape. You catch your breath and think, “Oh, look at that! I live here!”

Then, you get on a bus, and the bus goes along through quaint little suburbs that look very British, until it turns a corner. What do you see when you look out your window? An enormous cliff topped by a beautiful castle. This is an up-close shot of Edinburgh castle taken later:

Those cliffs at under the castle there are crazy high.

Next, you get in a taxi where a lovely Scottish man welcomes you to your new country and tells you to be careful when crossing the street. He gets lost for a bit looking for your new flat, but you find it eventually. Guess what—it’s on a street paved with cobblestones. The first thing you see when you get out of the cab is a big hill/flat-topped mountain.

Thus, I arrived at Darroch Court, St. John’s Hill, just of the Pleasance, an important street in Edinburgh. I tried to drag my huge suitcase into the office to check in, when the site manager told me to leave it outside, it wouldn’t go anywhere. I thought, “We’re not in New York anymore, are we?” Anyway, it was pretty lonely that day, as most people had moved in on Saturday. Everyone was out doing things and shopping. It only took me a few minutes to unpack because I didn’t bring much stuff with me. This is my room as it looked that day. Aren’t the curtains terrible? Oh, well.

My flat is very nice and new and clean. We have 3 little tiny bathrooms and a kitchen/living area. This is the view from our living/dining room (that's the sea there in the distance):

I eventually met two of my flat mates, who came home while I was unpacking, Sarah and Clare. Then, I met up with Nina, from Columbia, who is also here for the year. I nearly cried when she picked up her phone. It took me forever to find a phone to call her, and it was so good to hear a familiar voice! We

I live with four lovely young women—Sarah, Clare, Annie and Marie. Sarah is Scottish, from Fife. She’s a first-year, but she’s starting later than most, at 24. She does English Language and Linguistics. Clare is 19; she’s from Portsmouth and a traditional student beginning her course in Maths. Annie is a visiting student like me, from Kansas University in Lawrence. She’s doing English Lit and Classics. Marie is a fourth-year student in Paris, visiting Edinburgh for a year to study History of Art, specifically a group of painters from Glasgow about whom, she says, her French teachers know nothing. And then there’s me, here for a year from New York. I can’t decide whether I should tell people I’m from New York or Minnesota. If they ask more questions, especially about my accent, I usually say I’m originally from Minnesota but live in New York, now. Anyway, I’m doing English Lit and French. We all spent this week doing things for Fresher’s Week and meeting with our Directors of Studies about our courses. A Director of Studies is a bit like an advisor in America, but they have more “advisees” and are really only concerned with putting you in courses as quickly as possible once a year.

My DoS is Dr. Lyn Collins, a lovely British man with white hair who is chair of something important. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences, maybe? Something like that, I don’t remember. Anyway, he helped me set up the following courses this week:

Fall Seminar—Celtic Revivals: Writing on the Periphery, 1890-1939. This course studies the nationalist movements in Ireland, Scotland and Wales in relation to the Modernist movement in literature. The names I recognize from the reading list are Yeats, Joyce and Dylan Thomas. Here is the course website: http://www.englit.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergrd/honours/3year/2005-2006/coursedesc/ak3aut.htm

Spring Seminar—Shakespeare: Modes and Genres. This course has an incredible reading list, and I’ll take any Shakespeare anyone can give me. Here is that course website: http://www.englit.ed.ac.uk/studying/undergrd/honours/3year/2005-2006/coursedesc/ds3spr.htm

French 2. This is a yearlong course taught first in English, then, in the spring, in French. We’ll read literature (not 20th century… ah! I’m nervous…) and meet for a lecture Mondays and Thursdays. I assume there is a tutorial as well, but I’ll write more when I understand Edinburgh Uni course structure better. It’s supposed to be a good course, according to students who’ve taken it, with lots of interaction and films, despite the huge lecture style.

Celtic Literature 2A and 2B. This is another yearlong course, designed for English, History and Celtic Studies students. I was told that I was only allowed to take one Honours course per semester, and my seminars took up that space. Being very interested in my seminars but not really interested in anything other than another English course, I discovered that my options included English Lit 2, Scottish Lit 2 and Celtic Lit 2. So I chose Celtic Lit. Why not, as long as I’m here?

Alright, I must go prepare for my auditions for the Edinburgh University Theater Company, now, so I will write more about the rest of my week when I get a chance…


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Anne Marie-

I'm so glad you are having such a great time! It seems like the scenery has capitvated you:) As a former linens and things employee however I must suggest that you decorate your flat! (j/k)



10:22 PM  

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