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Puck’s Glen, a deservedly popular walk in Argyll Forest Park. A short, leisurely, and stunning trek along the water through the woods, just off from Benmore Botanic Gardens.

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I will write what I posted to facebook:

I obviously did not get a vote on the referendum. I don’t feel qualified to decide, so I have quietly observed as an outsider and watched a country come out in full force to decide its fate. I love this country and I especially love this city, but I have seen and I am seeing so much anger and aggression—and I really, really hope people will settle and move forward as one again.”

I was in the city centre last night but passed through George Square a wee bit before the riots started. Avoided Queen St Station on the way back but heard in the pub it may have been closed off—took Central instead. I felt a bit on edge walking home but overall safe. Police were fairly spread out in the city centre by the time I left to catch the train. People in the train station asking everyone what they voted, could see a man on the train had hidden a flag in his pocket. Some people are clearly out to fight.

Personally I have no doubt that the Orange Order people that were responsible for the instigation of violence last night were waiting for any kind of provocation. I think it would have happened regardless. And yet the response has been further shit throwing. Just let me say: seriously, are people actually suggesting that 55% of the population is condoning this? Like “if you voted no, this is what you voted for”? When I first came to Glasgow and learned about the Orange walks (living in the city centre where they were held), it was pretty clear to me that the people starting fights were not indicative of anything but a vocal and violent minority.

I think people need to stop dividing on this. It adds to the problem. 

But for the question that my family has had: Yes, I am safe. I am fine, and it is good here, though I will be avoiding George Square and the city centre for this weekend.

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Also my instagram has been pretty class lately

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That pre-postgrad life

I think today is perhaps an appropriate day to update about my life in Glasgow. I should probably have done this by now, and as a result I’m probably about to cram a lot into this post. Sorry for that.

I am settled in and my classes begin Monday. This week has been freshers’ week and I had my induction + finally met other people who also get excited about medieval things. I think the lectures we’re going to be taking look amazing, but I’m not 100% sure what I’m doing for my language option yet—it’s all a bit last minute, to be honest, which I’m not quite comfortable with but am taking in stride. Glasgow Uni is lovely and close by and my flat is wonderful as well. I still feel a bit like I’m in limbo but I think that’ll pass as classes start and I get a routine on.

Coming early definitely gave me some time to adjust to and explore my new home in the West End, as well as take in some more of Scotland as a whole. Ben and I planned to walk the West Highland Way, but thanks to my leg that ended prematurely. I made it from Milngavie to Inverarnan, with the last 14 miles or so on a strained calf, and decided to call the trip and head back to Glasgow. 40 miles isn’t something to shrug at, I suppose, but I’m seriously annoyed I wasn’t able to finish. Especially since the weather was absolutely stunning! Yet, as disappointing as it was to quit, I didn’t want to do myself an actual injury, which I imagine I would have done if I had walked 56 more miles on the calf. 

(Ben and I walking on the first day, Milngavie to Drymen)

We also decided to keep our booking in Fort William and head up there for a couple days as a wee holiday instead. We took the Jacobite steam train from Fort William to Mallaig and back, which was a stunning ride, and I dgaf how tourist-y I was. 

Otherwise my life has been a combination of running errands (opening a bank account, shopping at IKEA, getting a phone plan, complying with those good ol’ visa regulations, and the like) and trying to maintain & create some sort of social life. I have old friends here, and seeing them has been nice, but I’ve also been out of touch for awhile. And I am trying to meet people in this area who are doing the whole postgrad thing as well. I have done, but I struggle with feeling overwhelmed by lots of new people and it’s unbelievable how much that can ruin my mood. 

And of course I miss people back in the states. I suppose when you spread yourself between countries there is always someone or something to miss.

Today the results of the indyref were announced. Glasgow voted Yes but Scotland voted No. Having only lived in Glasgow, the majority of people I know voted yes, but not all. I maintain no bias—I am vote-less anyway. However, it was interesting to observe as an outsider and watch a country become so politically alive. I am wary of posting any opinions: I mean, I think if I am going to tackle the topic, it deserves its own post, and regardless I don’t think I know enough to weigh in. It’s been an exciting place to be, though.

(On my street—that’s the way it’s going, then. Also, dem window details.)

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Some shots of the architecture at my new uni! I just went for a quick stroll through the main building today so I snapped a few shots!

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Rush Lake

In the first week of August I visited Rush Lake, MN.

My grandparents used to own a resort on this lake called Limmer’s Resort. My father and his siblings grew up there, until my grandparents sold the resort and moved the family to Iowa. However, they continued to spend their summers at the lake in a more leisurely setting, leaving a camper year round at Wild Walleye Resort, where they—and eventually all of us—became good friends with the owners of that resort. My whole family started spending their summers there, and some of my happiest and most vivid childhood memories were made there. 

When I was in my teens, my parents divorced and due to financial strains I wasn’t able to return during those summers. Similarly, my dad’s other siblings slowly stopped going up there, and my grandmother’s health declined to the point that she was no longer able to make the trip. They sold their camper.

The summer before my final year of high school my dad, his then-girlfriend, my sister, and I all returned to stay there. I had a bit of a shock returning and realizing how much smaller things were than I thought they were. Mostly, it felt very strange not to see my grandmother on the porch of her camper, drinking beer and reminding us to put on our life jackets. But I love that place just the same.

Back to the first week of August: the whole family returned for the first, and probably the last, time in a very long time. My grandmother passed away what is now several years ago. My grandfather’s health started declining, and he too passed away just this spring. The reason for our trip was to memorialize them and lay them to rest together in the place where they built their family. 

We all gathered together on the lake to say our final words, then sank a stone with “Jack & Maisie” written on it. 

This was a trip like no other, but I am so grateful to have so many memories on this lake. As I wrote elsewhere, “My grandparents built a legacy of lasting memories here; they built and nurtured a family here, and I know that we are all grateful for what they did for us. I don’t believe in any after life, of course, but all the same it’s nice to imagine my Grandma Maisie and Grandpa Jack together again, sitting on the shore of this lake, drinking beer, and talking with their friends. And I’ll keep going back to join them.”

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Rush Lake, MN

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Grad School Update

(What a crooked old photo that I am too lazy to fix…)

Well, I told Iceland ‘no’ fairly soon after I received the acceptance, since their funding had been cut. I said ‘yes’ to Nottingham while still awaiting a response from Glasgow, and then ‘yes’ to Glasgow immediately after receiving their offer. I applied for funding at both unis and I have just started to hear back (I applied for 3 at Nottingham and received 2, was put on the reserve for 1). However, yesterday I firmly declined Nottingham and will be going to Glasgow! I am hoping that Glasgow is as keen on me as Nottingham appeared to have been, because I would appreciate the funding, since… y’know, I’m paying in loans. 

In other news, Ben and I found a flat! It’s a nice wee flat in the west end that I’m absolutely in love with. It’s about halfway between Glasgow Uni and the train station Ben will use, in a nice residential area, and has a lovely lounge and large kitchen. I am so excited! Here’s the street view…

I’ve booked my ticket and I’ll be moving to Glasgow in August. Unfortunately I wasn’t really willing to pay twice the cost to get there in time for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, so I’ll be missing that. However, I’ll be there for awhile so I’ll just go next summer. :)

Right now, I’m just working and waiting for Iowa to get my diploma back to me! I won’t get an unconditional offer until I’ve sent it to Glasgow. Iowa’s website says to expect the diploma 8 weeks after graduation (May 17th) so I have a while to wait still. I don’t know why it takes so long since my grades have been up since the week after graduation, and I really just want to secure my offer! Then it’s visa application time, something I haven’t had to do before.

Anyway, that’s my update! Glasgow Uni… here I come! Eventually.

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*screaming*

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And, Offer #2 is official!