I apologize for the lack of posts this month. The past 2.5 weeks have been quite busy. I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland with Charlotte, Line and Leeor then came home to Edinburgh to greet my family who visited for a week; all the meanwhile working on two term papers, which each counted for 50% of my final grades, which were due a couple days ago. I know I know, who the heck has homework while studying abroad?
St. Patrick’s day was so much fun. It was exciting to celebrate the holiday in its homeland with the Irish, though honestly I couldn’t understand a word any of them said. Even between two Danish girls, and Australian and an American, we just could not figure out what anyone was saying to us half the time. We got by on a lot of smiling and nodding. Line and Charlotte had never celebrated St. Patty’s day before since, outside of Ireland, the U.S. and Australia, it isn’t a very popular holiday. It was nice to celebrate their first, proper St. Patty’s Day with them. I would upload some pictures of the trip, but unfortunately during the festivities, I lost my camera…
I did manage to steal this picture of the Belfast city parade from Charlotte:
The day after I returned from Ireland, my whole family including my godmother, Joan, came to Edinburgh! It was so nice to see them. I felt pretty bad that a few of the days they were here I had to work on my term papers and a math problem set and couldn’t spend too much time with them. It was a stressful week being my family’s tour guide, working on homework, planning my April Europe trip and seeing my friends. My brother, Chris, celebrated his 24th Birthday while he was here last Friday. I took him to the student union house where all of my friends were hanging out and they sang him drinking songs and bought him some very nice whiskey. Chris absolutely loved it and had an awesome birthday in Scotland.
With my family being here, I had an excuse to do some touristy things in the city. We went to pubs, tried some nice beers, visited Roslyn Chapel, went to the Scottish National Museum and had tea time almost everyday. Roslyn Chapel was my favorite part of the week. My mother, Joan and I took the number 15 bus behind the snow-covered mountains just south of Edinburgh to the small 13th century chapel. Roslyn Chapel is the most beautiful building I’ve ever seen. It’s interior is almost completely sculpted with statues, designs, symbols and stories. While there, I met the coolest cat! his name is Sir William and he’s been hanging out in the chapel every day for nine years. We weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the chapel, but they let me take pictures with Sir William.
It was sad seeing my parents go, but they took comfort in knowing that I will be back in only 2 months. Thinking about this makes me sad, cause I don’t want to leave in 2 months. I could spend forever in this city.
This week I finished all of my work for the rest of the semester, so now all there’s left to do it study for finals in May. The university’s final exam schedule was just released a week or so ago and it appears that my first exam is on the 11th of May and my last one is on the 21st of May. Indeed, the exam timetable at the University of Edinburgh spans an entire month! This is because there are no exams in December for fall (or semester 1) courses. All of the exams for every class for the whole year occur in May. I just can’t imagine taking a class in the fall then having to wait half a year to be tested on the material; and to add to the stress, throw in a few more courses in between to really screw ya up. I salute the full time students at this school, for that is some academic madness that I am happy to have no part of.
But there is hope for these students, for the whole month of April is set aside for self study and revision. This upcoming week will be my last week of lectures and practicals, then I start my April ‘study’ break, which means I will be traveling for 20 days starting Thursday. Lindsay, Sophie and I have booked the rest of our hostels, scheduled tours and are ready to backpack through Europe next month. We will start in Rome, then train it to Florence, Zurich, Munich, Prague, Berlin, Brussels, fly to London then finally home to Edinburgh. (See Map Below)
This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid and the fact that it’s finally going to happen is such an incredible feeling.
With my last exam day being the 21st, I was set to leave on the 25th of May, however, I recently received a research job to work with Dr. Esunge in the math department back at UMW this summer, and it requires me to be back on the 20th of May. It breaks my heart to do it, but I must cut my study abroad experience short by three days to make it back to Mary Washington to start my research project with the Summer Science Institute. It will be an awesome opportunity to study and practice math in a research setting… but I will be very, VERY upset to leave.