Wow. It's been over a year since my last post. I am totally fail.
Seems like so much has happened since last time, and not so much.
Basic rundown of the year
1. I finished my dissertation/degree
2. Went back home
3. Gone through a few temp. office jobs
4. Now have a permanent office job
5. Went to St. Lucia
6. have a new writer's group now
7. I finished a novel!
Now have to run. Will actually post something new, soon.
Today was one of the spectacularly nice days outside today. There was proper warm sunshine and it was gorgeous to be outside with everything so green. Days like to day all the granite does not seem quite so oppressive. Also, I saw a seagull snatch away some guy's sandwich, it was (wait for it) awesome. The birds here are kind of crazy, they have no issue with going right up to people and stealing their shit.
In other happy news, the bakery had stovies today. I hadn't had a stovie in ages, so this was quite exciting (a stovie for those not versed in scottish cuisine is sort of like stuffing, mashed potatoes and meat, mixed together--it's sort of like if you took a shepherds pie and blended it all up. doesn't look great but it is super tasty).
And i think that's about it for things that are shiny right now, weather and random good days at the bakery. I am in the midst of end of year angst (read: teachers tossing any work they've forgotten about until now, as well as finals, etc.). Tomorrow is my final Welsh test and I am borderline panicky, and starting to get to the point where I just don't care (which is so much worse for me). I've been trying to cram all 170 lines of Armes Prydein (that we've covered) into my memory, as well as 7 or 8 pages of Branwen Uerch Lyr. Depending on which passages the prof chooses this could either go okay, or very very badly. What is slightly alarming are the words that I am able to recognize without the use of the glossary at all. These include: stewards, blood, warriors, company/army, hosts, trinity, death and taxes. Guess what sort of stuff happens in the texts we've been reading? What's also a little sad, is i got a copy of Pwyll to read/translate for fun when I have less crazy stuff going on. Why do I hate myself so much?
My dissertation is in pretty much the same place as my last post, except my bibliography is done (not very well) and I actually have a meeting arranged. It is for tomorrow (before my test), which is going to be a wretched day (2 morning language classes, thesis meeting, final exam, creative writing book launch), but a meeting is better than no meeting. And hopefully I can get some stuff sorted out. In any case, come hell or high water, by the end of next week I am going to write out some sort of outline, and try to get to a point where i can start doing some sort of writing.
Complete and utter fail. Let's just say life has been busy. Really busy.
Am finally able to resurface, but just a bit. Papers and assignments and tests are just about over with, and now it's time to switch into full gear on my dissertation. Which would be awesome, had I any solid research together (other than just my primary sources), an outline, some sort of thesis statement, but as of right now I have 5 versions of the same folktale (yay for that, plus I think I can find maybe 2 more), a vague idea of what I think is cool about these, and what I'd like to write about. I have no idea how I am going to get 15, 000 words. Especially since I haven't actually met with my advisor in about 6 or 7 weeks. Yeah. I'm starting to get freaked out, nevermind the annotated bibliography that's due a week tomorrow (and has to be 3, 000 words). Argh.
I have developed a great love of notes at the back of books and people's bibliographies. Seriously, they are awesomeness incarnate, and the only firm hold I have on my topic right now.
At least writing has returned to me. I've been a black hole of creativity, Nothing happening, other than me muttering randomly at my flatmates about Eirik's Saga and immrama, or explaining all the permutations of Middle Welsh verbs. I have this idea for a new project that's coming together, have four poems written that actually work (for the most part), and a whole bunch of others that are just waiting to be written.
Was trying to organize my documents folder and discovered a random poem. It was slightly surreal. I have this really bad habit of giving all of my files really cryptic titles, or random and meaningless titles, so it's almost impossible to know what is what. Thus, there was a word document that I've been seeing for ages that I actually thought was perhaps one of the remnants from creative writing last year that I hadn't bothered to delete yet (yes, I am *that* lazy). So, much to my surprise, after opening it up, I realized that it was actually one of my poems. And one that I actually quite like. And I discovered that the reason why it had such a misleading title, and it took me a little ways into the poem to remember it was mine (is that bad? i guess it's just that i have been told that i have such a distinctive style and this is a big departure), was b/c it was my version of a poetic rant about all of the shit that had to be endured last year in creative writing. Does that make me a bitch? Because the poem is pretty bitchy, or caustic, or whatever. It was a nice surprise to find it.
In the general world of updates:
- made potato pancakes and cheesecake brownies last weekend. I just randomly felt like cooking and they turned out really good. It was quite a bit of fun--had gone into town to buy tickets to London, then stopped by HMV where I found Lost in Austen super cheap (seriously. super cheap), and then to Morrison's for groceries, and back to the flat where I, along with help from a flatmate (who had been a part of the whole adventure) made food.
- London trip pretty well sorted. We now have our train tickets AND have booked rooms at the hostel (well...hostels, could only get 2 nights at the one i had originally found, and then found another in the same area for the third night). I've been compiling a list of things that I want to see, and discovered a website that has cheap tickets for West End shows, so might be able to see We Will Rock You or Dreamboats and Petticoats (trying to decide which). For those that read this and know anything about either musical let me know any thoughts you might have.
- classes started this week, seems like it will be a good term, though crazy busy. My seminars so far have been good, today's was fantastic. There are 3 of us in the Thursday one, and we spent most of the class discussing what Mythology means, what a myth is, and how they relate to history.
- passport issues have, yet again, occurred. Apparently, they aren't able to send passports to anywhere except Canada and the US (despite what the woman at the passport office told me). And so now I have to go to Edinburgh to get my passport renewed, which apparently involves my parents sending me my birth certificate, or taking it to the passport office at home and having them fax a certified copy. Argh. This is not cool. At all. I am so beyond displeased. It also didn't help that my father's reaction was to ask if I actually need a Canadian passport. I am trying to take this in stride, however, and will see if the sibling wants to go while he's visiting and make a site-seeing trip of it (I doubt many tourists can say that they've been to the Canadian consulate in Edinburgh), or will go the week before and see if some of my friends want to go. But ARGH!!!!
Yeah, so once again it's been ages since posting. Nothing has really happened, other than general plans for future stuff. I'm back at school, but have nothing to do--or rather had, since classes start on Monday. I've been back for 3 weeks and only had one paper and assignment due the first week back, and then one exam. Needless to say I've been watching a lot of tv thanks to youtube (channel 4 has their own youtube channel!).
Plans for Easter Break are moving forward and are very exciting :) Will be going to London with one of my flatmates for 3 nights, and then onwards to visit with family for a wee bit. Am ridiculously psyched. Have found a hostel that actually seems to be really good, has seriously awesome rates (Seriously. It seems to be insanely cheap, and not even just for London), and is an all female hostel, and about 4 minutes (or so claims google maps) from the underground. Dare I say w00t? Have also been compiling a list of all the things I want to see, and seems as though we might be able to go see We Will Rock You.
Been getting back into life in the flat. Had a pretty awesome Burns Night. One of my flatmates, after having an exam decided that cooking was therapeutic, so she made a lemon cheesecake, and then made haggis, mashed tatties (with some help and instruction from me), mashed neeps (only they weren't actual turnips, but some other root vegetable that had a Scottish sticker on the label), and I made cheese toasties a la BC4. We had thought about an expedition to the Machar for a pint in honour of the Scottish bard, but that involved me putting on proper clothes (and not pyjamas) and so we decided instead to just hang around the kitchen. Four of our little flat made their way to the kitchen for some cake, and we had quite a long chat. Seriously, our kitchen is like the hallway on 3rd Gil.
'kay, so just watched the premier of Eastwick, and omfg it has Matt Dallas in it, as in Kyle from Kyle Xy! As a boy toy!!! Seriously!!! It's like watching a really sweet adorable puppy all of a sudden turn into a cougar-chasing-almost-adult. He was so sweet and clueless on Kyle XY and now he's kind of skeezy.
Show is actually kind of wonderful though.
We now have a functioning toilet! Words cannot express how nice it is to know that if you wake up at 2 am you have access to a washroom.
Yesterday ended up being pretty full, things to do keep popping up. So, I got up early to go to the bank and discovered that I had to get the first type of account (b/c i have no credit history in the UK) which was a little frustrating, but I was able to get it filled in at the bank, so not too bad. I then wandered down to the bus stop and caught (the right) bus down to Union Street where I went on a quest for a cellphone. I managed to find a few different shops, eventually deciding on Phones 4U where I managed to get a mobile and 20 pound top up for a little over 30 pounds. Thought that was pretty sweet. I then wandered a bit, eventually ending up at the grocery store where I picked up a few items and caught the bus home--was very proud of myself being able to navigate public transit.
The afternoon had me going to a skills confirmation thing to see about getting a job working with disabled students. I had to take notes while the person gave an impromptu lecture and then proof-reading a very unfortunate paragraph. Here's hoping I can get some sort of job, maybe actually be able to cover the cost of my food. I then stuck around the Macrobert building waiting for the international student meeting, I lurked around the tiki cafe there reading The Diamond Age (mum, if you read this you should tell dad that i have started to read the book). In the evening one of my flatmates and myself made our way to the creative writing society. It was pretty much what you'd expect from a roomful of writers. It seemed like a really good bunch, an interesting mix of styles and undergrad and postgrads. After the meeting we went on to another pub. We ended up staying there until closing chatting with people. Ended up bonding with some of the members over scifi, and other nerdy stuff. On the walk home (which took at least 30-40 min.) we saw bunnies hopping down a campus road. I kid you not! Bunnies! Just hopping down the middle of the road. What is with Scottish wildlife and roads?
Today was another day with an early start. I made my way over to my academic advising meeting where I finally got to choose my classes! I now have a schedule, sort of. One of my classes for this term won't start until the week after next, but the other two start on Monday, at the same time. So I have to figure out which course I'm going to go to on Monday and wait for my schedule to be sorted out.
My list of course as of now are
- First Year Gaelic (gonna see if it is beyond easy and then maybe move up to second year, but want to relearn all of the grammar)
- Medieval Welsh
- Seminar on Celtic Topics
- Trolls, Druids and the Walking Dead
- sources stuff for my dissertation
- Norse Religion and Mythology
After advising, I then went and got my id card and then had coffee with one of the other celt studies students. It's been great how I've been able to get to know people and have some people that I've met and know in different parts of campus. There's a Celtic Society meeting tonight that I would kind of like to go to, but it's a bit of a hike to get to the pub it'll be at and I'm not so sure I want to be walking around in the dark by myself. I think tonight will be a much needed rest night (Wed. night there was a wine reception thing). I'm gonna chillax, tidy my room and get some sleep. And get ready for the start of classes. I am a little scared for that.
The internet is alive!! Yay!!!
Though I did managed to get it sorted a couple of days ago, but still!! So, I went to the wifi clinic, and got the IT people there to fix my sad little computer and make the internet not broken. I then got back to my flat and spent quite a while chatting with my flatmates before we ventured off on a quest for food. We made our way to the bus stop on our street, and even checked with somebody as to whether the bus would take us where we needed to go. It was supposed to. We then rode the entire bus route waiting for some sign of the town centre and seeing nothing. We eventually waiting until we had started the loop again and then got off at the grocery store we had seen. With a little exploring, and a bit of a walk, we were then able to find our way to King's Street and then on to Union Street, the main drags. So we made a responsible effort to find a bank and do things like set-up an account, discovered that the line was packed with students and decided to go for lunch instead. After a "gourmet burger" (I keep forgetting that I don't like bacon in the UK, it's really more of a Canadian bacon) we went shopping, picking up such necessary items as carrots, yogurt, cheese, bread, Febreeze. We then waited about 20 minutes for the number 20 bus to come by and take us back to campus.
Yesterday I had a leisurely start to the day and hauled myself out of bed around 1 and then wandered over to the Old Brewery (one of the buildings on campus) where I met up with another St,FX grad who showed me a bit around campus and showed me the way to walk into town, pointing out pubs and the like. Saw the coolest bar/pub. It's a sort of Dracula/gothic themed place that is so tacky but kind of charming. It looks like it's out of some B horror movie, and you need to press on bookcases, apparently, to get to the washrooms. So anyways, we then went to a pub and had a pint and then walked back to campus. The evening was spent hanging out with my roommates, which really reminded me of my 3rd gil days, especially when we were all sitting and chatting in the hallway.
Today I got up and headed over to the Society Fayre where I got some free stuff, a whole lot of hand-outs and signed up for some societies. Against my better judgement I signed up for three societies, Film, Creative Writing and Celtic. I'm hoping that they end up being a better use of time than the societies at St.FX. First meeting is tomorrow (creative writing) and is going to be held at what is apparently a sketchy old man bar, but whatever. I just can't remember what time the damn thing is supposed to be at. Argh. I hope they send out an e-mail reminder thing. I then wandered up the high street, which is the cutest thing ever. Seriously, when you think old and Europe this street is exactly what comes to mind. It has cobblestones and old stone building and charming little signs. So I walked up the high street and stopped at the Old Toon Shop (or some variation of shop) and got myself a ridiculously yummy minced meat pie and then went to sort myself out a bank account. Thanks to my British Passport it turns out I'm able to set up an account tomorrow, as opposed to having to wait three weeks. Thanks dad! :)
I wanted to check out the ghost tour this evening but found that by the time I got there to buy my ticket they were sold out *le sigh*. guess it's for the best, seeing as how I have an orientation thing this evening and a reception afterwards, as well as a bank appointment at 9:30 tomorrow. Oh, also have a skills assessment for a prospective job tomorrow. It seems like every day just keeps getting busier and busier.
Toilet update: still not fixed, though one of my flatmates went and told them that it does not work at all as of now. Here's hoping they come and fix it soon.
Wow, so I think it's been a long time since I last posted. *le sigh* It's difficult when your life consists solely of work greivances. But no more of that now! Now I am well and truly abroad, living the oh so glamorous life of a student in Aberdeen....okay, so maybe not glamorous. Yeah, it really can't be called that when the toilet in my flat hasn't worked since I arrived (I am not even kidding), but it should be fixed today! Here's hoping that maitenance actually gets stuff done following an appropriate schedule here, unlike certain Nova Scotia universities that I could name.
I had fully intended to post earlier but one of the many set backs has been an inability to get the wifi to work, at least on any of my web browswers. I can get e-mail on my itouch through one of the aps, but other than that I am stuck with school computers. It feels like there's so much to write about, and nothing at all, so I'll start from the beginning.
The trip was pretty uneventful. I read a large chunk of the way, and when it was too dark to read (fearing the anger of my fellow travellers at turning on a reading light) I watched "My Life in Ruins" and "The Hangover". Heathrow was def. interesting. I arrived there around 6:30 or so, and by the time I got to the terminal to catch a flight to Aberdeen it was 7:30. One of the "interesting" quirks of Heathrow is that with a lot of flights they don't tell you what the gate is until 30-40 min. before your flight (or so the board claims). This means that when you have several hours until your flight leaves and are severely jet-lagged and just plain exhausted you have to sit in the main terminal waiting for the stupid board to finally tell you where to go as you desperately try to stay awake. I then took a puddle-jumper of a plane on to Aberdeen where I was picked up by student union greeter people. That was pretty nice, meant that in my hyper exhausted state I didn't have to figure out how to get to campus by myself, but also meant that I was with a lot of frosh. There is nothing like being surrounded by frosh that makes you feel kind of uncomfortable. I was then dropped off at the check-in place, got my keys and then lugged my bags over to my new home (with some help). The rest of the day pretty much consisted of unpacking, battling with the wifi, and sleeping.
Yesterday I got up, determined to sort out my internet troubles, only to discover that the wifi help desk was not open on Sundays. So, I wandered around campus, getting my bearings and eventually making my way to the Hub (what I can only assume is the Aberdeen equivalent of the SUB). I discovered a Subway, which helped me put off food shopping for another day, and an internet cafe. After food and e-mail I then wandered some more. The campus is really quite pretty. Everything looks really old in a very charming way, lots of stone walls, and a surprising amount of cobblestone. Eventually made my way back to my little cave (which btw is kind of a cross between Somers, Burke and the Mount, only with carpeting). Oh, and met some roommates yesterday. So far there is one from Finland, one from Edinburgh, and one from California. I believe there is just one person who should be moving in still.
Today the big plan is to go on a quest for food, cell phones and banking with some of my roommates, one of whom will hopefully know a bit more about the busses here than I do. Oh, and I am currently lurking around the Hub waiting for the wifi thing to open so i can finally fix that.