Sunday, December 29, 2013

July 9th - An average day

July 9th, 2012
Weather: Cloudy and sprinkling. 

Since my classes started a bit late at 2:00 P.M., I took the time to sleep and recover from my Scotland adventure. I ended up waking up at 11:30 A.M. and after showering, I ate a light lunch and headed off to Cambridge Union Society. Ended up checking my email, waiting and hanging out with a few friends before I headed off to class.

International Management and Business Ethics: Competitive advantage of regions.

Today's lesson emphasis was on the exploitation of poor countries....For example today we watched a Dole youtube advertisement in which Dole presented themselves "favorably" by saying things about quality, environment, and benefit of communities. What Dole never mentioned was its use of harmful in its crops (even though the pesticide is banned in the US). Dole never informed its workers about the pesticide even though they were aware of the consequences, causing massive sterilization. Workers tried to sue Dole. The point of this example for is to question profits and costs... when is acting out of your best interests too much and when does morality come into play. A lot of the lecture was questioning research, morality, ethics, golden rule. Personally I do believe in abiding by the golden rule and making moral ethical business decisions; however, I do find this situation to be a bit too idealistic to work in America after seeing corrupt companies like Tyco and Enron....or even more recent: Goldman Sachs and  Lehmen Brothers. After the discussion about exploitation, Rafael talked about the business plan requirements....Sigh. I am not looking forward to producing a complete business plan in 3 weeks.

For those interested in the Dole case. Watch this movie.
After classes, I read the bulletin board and saw that there was two Shakespeare plays available: Julius Caesar and Taming of the Shrew. Since I'm not a fan of Cassius's cowardice in the battlefield I opted to sign up and see Taming of the Shrew. The problem is I've never actually read Taming of the Shrew so I'm not sure what to expect. Hopefully it will be good? Additionally, I signed up for the Botanical Garden tour. Sadly, there was no punting signups due to rain :[. Hopefully the rain will stop soon so I can try punting through the River Cam.
:[ I really want to go punting down the River Cam.
Once I finished signing up for activities, I ended up walking around and exploring Cambridge more/ getting lost. ....I can't help but laugh when I see a pub every half a street. Pubs are like clubs in Vegas....there's always one in walking distance. So at 5:00 PM, I got back to my room and went through the horrendously lagging PKP website to book my London trip. Unfortunately, most things were filled so I signed up for week 5. (Hopefully it will still be amazing?)

Pub map of Cambridge: That's......a lot of pubs in Cambridge O_O;
In the evening I went to the study skill session to see what I needed to know/ how to survive Cambridge courses. Eh it wasn't the most entertaining session, but I did learn that most of the grading is focused on arguments and writing good essays. That's...surprisingly different from the tests at home. Afterwards, I went to the King's College library and did some reading with friends. Today was a eh day, but nonetheless it was still fun. Hopefully tomorrow will be better. 

Until next time, Cheers!


Monday, December 2, 2013

July 8th- Caledonia and the North Day 4

July 8th, 2012 or 8th, July 2012.

Weather: A bit cloudy and grey as usual with slight sprinkling.

After waking up, I showered and quickly packed my belongings. Afterwards I hung out with some of my friends and had my final amazing British breakfast in Edinburgh University (sadly this time breakfast wasn't free.) We compared our stories and adventures, and soon we were all off....well almost.... Only one slight problem. One of my friends slept in and almost got left behind. Me and my friend Jason freaked out and he ended up rushing to find PAs to wake her up as we boarded the coach. Luckily my friend wasn't stranded and able to wake up and hurriedly pack.
University of Edinburgh :[ I'm going to miss staying at Baird's house.

Once Jason made it on the coach, he sat next to me and proceeded to sleep. I tried sleeping, but I found my neighbors chatting behind me quite annoying to the point that I could not fall asleep =\. Instead I spent my time reading part I to Dostoyevsky's "The Idiot." I must say....Dostoyevsky's words create quite the imagery of a dreary cold Russia. Anyways, I digress. A few pit stops later, I arrived at Fountains Abbey and Studley Royal Water Garden only to unfortunately forget my camera, so I did not take amazing pictures of the beautiful Fountains Abbey; however, one of my friends Dora took a few pictures for me :) so here's one of them.

my shortness makes it hard to actually sit on the rock. Yay good awkward photos!
So some of you maybe wondering what is Fountains Abbey? Fountains Abbey is one of the largest and best preserved Cistercian (Catholic)/Bernardines monasteries in North Yorkshire England. Founded in 1132 it served for almost 400 years; however, in 1539 Henry VIII issued the Dissolution of the Monasteries. The Dissolution of the Monasteries left many abbey's and Catholic monasteries like Fountains Abbey sadly abandoned. The Dissolution of the Monasteries and the history of Tudor really complicated so here's my brief history points about it: (no not Terrifying Tudors....more like Tudor Tools to power)
I do recommend this for anyone whom wants to know more without getting bored of history btw.

-Pope refused to grant King Henry VIII  a divorce from crazy Bloody Mary.
- Causes King Henry VIII to advance Reformation: English church splits from Roman church.
   Basically: (King not Pope is spiritual head and yay protestantism is created!)
-King Henry VIII declared borderline absolute power under 1534 Act of Supremacy...
-spent most of his inheritance from King Henry VII by mid 1530s....needed to find way to make money without imposing taxes..
-Why? Fund wars (Scotland & France) + decrease Church's power in England./ in general be rich.
-How? Henry put Thomas Cromwell in charge. Cromwell charged monasteries and bankrupted them.
-Bankrupting monasteries unfortunately caused most if not all abbey's to close by 1540...

What can you learn from history? It's good to be the king...because you can be the biggest douchebag and get away with it........That and most abbeys are not that well preserved :[. Anyways, Fountains Abbey is gorgeous and HUGE. I did not have time to visit the abbey and garden....I spent half of my time running with my first UCI friend Charles to the halfway point. 2 hours really is not enough time to see ALL of  garden or chapel (70+ acres of land) , so unfortunately I was not able to see St. Mary's church, or Studley's Park. I was able to see a great chunk of Fountains Abbey and a small almost Romanesque temple with Ionic and Dorian columns though and Robin Hood's woods. Here are some pictures from the internet of Fountains Abbey for those of you whom can't stand reading paragraphs of text.

File:The Monks' Refectory.JPG
Monk's Refectory (place where food was stored)
Exterior of Fountains Abbey

Fountains'Abbey, Yorkshire, England
Gorgeous scenery :)
 On the coach way back, I continued to read Dostoevsky's "The Idiot." Afterwards, when we got back I proceeded to shower and do laundry. ;_; it costs .75 pounds to wash a load of laundry and 1.50 pounds to dry. Sigh. Laundry's going to be hell from now on.......After 2 hours of laundry hell, I got some Indian food with some of my fellow PKPers. Afterwards, I went back and crashed/ fell asleep because I was way too tired to do anything. Overall, I'd say it was quite the amazing 4 day journey, and while I do regret not doing a few things, I don't regret doing the things I've done either. I'm tired, but I can hardly contain my excitement for my second day of class tomorrow.  

Until next time,  Cheers!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

July 7th- Caledonia and the North Day 3

July 7th 2012

Weatherwise: It was a bit cloudy, and later rained a lot. How much? At the level that if a Southern Californian were there, he would whine, and automatically go on facebook then update his status to "OMFG IT'S POURING!" 

Anyways, today I woke up at 8:30 A.M. showered and proceeded to eat a British breakfast for champions again..(for those whom are wondering what this is. Refer to my previous blog post July 6th) only this time I ended up eating it with my close friends. After breakfast, I boarded the coach (bus) with Jason, Katharine, Sesenu etc. to the Scottish National Gallery. Needless to say I think the art geek in me fangirled and screamed in joy...not because this was my first museum trip in Europe...but .....the Scottish National Gallery has works by the greats including Tizziano Vecellio (Titian), Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt Van Rijn (Rembrandt), Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (Michelangelo for short), Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (Raphael) for short and so many more. If that wasn't enough to fangirl about here's an awesome fact about British Museums. For anyone who visits United Kingdom, it's free entrance to national museums >:) so essentially you get to see works by the greats without spending a pence (penny)! 

The cherry on top of this visit? My professor, Thomas Newbolt was going to give a tour of his favorite works, how to analyze and look at art, the spirituality of the works, and so forth. Basically a long- indepth analysis on the history of art, what techniques can you learn, how does the theoretical come into play with the technique of art....etc.

So what I learned in a nutshell at the museum because quite honestly even for me everything he said was so meta that it was a bit overwhelming to take all at once. 

Despite the fact that he suggested that we look at a few pieces each visit rather than look at every piece.....I'm an opportunist so I will try to look at every work. Alas the problem with this is I don't have the same amount of time to appreciate the same works; thus, by the time I write this blog, I do not believe I will remember everything about all of the artworks I've seen. So while I can say I've seen the artwork, I did not truly see the paintings the way a true artist would see them :[ 

2. What Thomas said to do: look at the painting first from the far back...then walk up to it in the middle...and get closer....your perspective changes based on WHERE and HOW you look at the painting. Some paintings will seem incredibly distorted (via subject and background) and will not make sense unless you step further away. That's because some paintings were meant to be looked that way. Most of these had subjects related to god, so the idea is the painting is magnified in size to glorify aspects of holiness, and bring you the subject back into reality (aka make you realize that you're pretty much insignificant compared to the painting.). 

3. The subject is not painted (esp. during the italian renaissance or before the italian renaissance) without its relationship to the painter being understood. (goes back to point 2. making you realize you're human when you stare at the majestic nature of a painting.)

4. Cezzane used multiple eye levels to create paintings that seemed believable yet were perspective wise illogical. It's an illusion trick where you draw objects and make it look like they're coming out at you despite the fact that they're far by increasing the scale of the object closer to the viewer or decreasing the object further from the viewer.

Ok art geek moment over.....anyways my friends went to check out the rest of Edinburgh while I checked out the rest of the gallery. Afterwards, I was afraid of getting lost so I ended up following a group of random PKPers, and we ended up at The Elephant House, the cafe where J.K. Rowling first created the Harry Potter series. 

The entrance to The elephant house.
For those whom are wondering: J.K. Rowling actually started out fairly poor, like she was actually WRITING the harry potter series on napkins...although it's said that she first started the series at The Elephant House, in reality she wrote in many different cafes in Edinburgh. Still cool to see that the tagline of the place was "Birthplace of Harry Potter." I didn't buy anything at the Elephant House though I do regret not at least getting a pastry or a coffee. Oh well. 

Afterwards, we ended up at "Mum's Great Comfort Food." I was hoping this place had Haggis....sadly it did not BUT it does have great British food. So in total the group I was with got 4 meals and split them between 6 people. We ordered the Herby Pork sausage some type of mash (mash potatoes) and carmelized gravy, Venison (deer) with the Moroccan mash, and red currant pie, Pumpkin and Sage pie, and the St. Giles Ale and Steak pie. Haha this was my first time trying deer and I actually thought it was pretty good. It's quite lean. Overall I enjoyed it despite the fact that well British cuisine in general tends to be a little dry. Afterwards we walked back, and I visited a few shops ( totally the dollar tree of UK) with surprisingly decent quality, and a few other shops to get some souviners. Haha sadly I did not buy a kilt, although if I go again I will get one for some of my guy friends. On a random note I also saw a Scottish lass (man) dressed in traditional attire playing bagpipes. That was amazing! 

Cute menu

Venison stew with Morrocan mash. Amazing British comfort food :)

A Scotsman with his bagpipes making a ton of pounds from tourists.
Afterwards, I headed back and rested for a few hours. Then after that I caught up with Sesenu, Jason, Casey, and Katharine and we headed off to Royal Oak Pub because we wanted to go to a pub that had live music while we drank. Only one small problem with this. Oh my god this pub was PACKED and CRAMMED to the point that we couldn't even move once we got in so we decided to walk around and check out the other pubs in the rain. We couldn't find other pubs that weren't so packed so we went back to the Banshee's Labyrinth. I got a coke mixed with Scotch and we sat down, changed the jukebox, listened to music, and played billiards with a few Scots.  Wow I suck at Billiards to the point that I think I need to start playing Billiards at least not knock the white cue ball off the pool table...oh right I forgot that we then ended the night by dancing to more dubstep and heavy metal..

Banshee Labyrinth entrance..inside yes it is quite the labyrinth with rooms staircases etc everywhere

One of the rooms inside the Banshee Labyrinth with Casey and Katharine.
Wow needless to say even though I didn't do as much as I did the other few days, I think the day overall was amazing :). Sigh it's too bad it's my last night in Edinburgh though :[. In these few days Caledonia has grown on me as a second home, and honestly I will miss Scotland quite a lot. Caledonia, please wait for me. One day I will come back to you, and see you again. It's not a goodbye as much as a see you later.

Today, instead of ending this blog with words of looking forward tomorrow, I thought I'd end this blog about my experience of Caledonia in Dougie Mclean's words,

               "Let me tell you that I love you, and I think about you all the time. Caledonia you're calling me, now I'm coming home. But if I should become a stranger you know that would make me more than sad. Caledonia's been everything I've ever had." 

Until next time, Cheers!

Tina Lin

Monday, November 4, 2013

July 6th Caledonia and the North Day 2

July 6th 2012

Weather wise: Today was a bit grey and cloudy, I honestly thought it would rain. 

Anyways, today I woke up with sore feet and took a shower at 8AM. (Yes, this did mean that I ended up sleeping for 3 hours before waking up.) After showering, I went to get breakfast and I'm still in amazement of how I made it to the shower or to breakfast without collapsing, but somehow I did. 

Breakfast: One of the few free meals of the trip + all you can eat = awesome!

Seeing how I'm in Scotland I made it a mission to try Haggis. For those whom are wondering what the infamous Haggis is, it's basically minced sheep heart, lung, and liver mixed with onion, oatmeal, stock etc, traditionally encased in sheep stomach. Sadly it wasn't Sheep Haggis, and was Beef Haggis. I doubt it was actually encased in cow stomach, so the adventurous foodie in me is a little bit disappointed in both the fact that it wasn't made of sheep and  probably encased in a cow sausage casing rather than a cow's stomach. I'll admit though despite my disappointment I thought it was pretty good. Also today I discovered that I love Blood Pudding because it resembles a Chinese dish called Zhu Xue Gao (Pig's blood with rice) 
Traditional British breakfast of champions:
 Sunny side up egg, blood pudding (black thing on plate), bacon (what we Americans call ham), brown haggis (next to bacon), sauteed mushroom and tomatoes, two types of hash, banana, and grapefruit. Oh and of course no champion  breakfast is complete without Orange Juice >:) 

So after breakfast I wore a my water resistant jacket, then proceeded to wear my pancho OVER my jacket and proceeded to find out where I was suppose to meet for the hiking. I ran into Greg who stated that future PKPers could learn a thing or two from the way I dressed. (I wore hiking boots, thick cargo pants, shirt with water resistant jacket topped off with a waterproof pancho.) Needless to say, I think I was prepared for any terraine that Scotland would bring to me. 

So I went on the coach, and noticed my friend Corey Cherrington and met some new BYU people. We did stop by a Sainsburry to get our lunches, and I wished I bought a larger waterbottle. After an hour or two of the coach's driving, we ended up at Killin, Scotland and proceeded to hike the Sron a'Chlachain and Creag Buidhe Hill Path.

I have absolutely NO idea how to pronounce this.
Needless to say, I was not as physically as prepared as I wished I was, and was possibly one of the slowest if not the slowest hiker. When the British mean hiking...they mean HIKING. Quite literally 4.1 km to the top of the mountain. (2.5 miles + up.) Haha, I sang I'll make a man out of you as I was going up to energize myself, and needless to say I got some applause. Anyways,I will say I was awestruck by the gorgeous surroundings. I think pictures in this case pictures do justice to describing the spectacular scenery than my words, so here are a few pictures from my hike! 

The beginning: walking through the grass that is high enough that it reaches my knees.
Marco Polo anyone?
Climbing up....oooo....i'm 1/4...of the way there......this is going to be a LONG hike.
At least the scene is beautiful (minus the electric poles)
Taking a break and enjoying the breathtakingly green view.
Scotland is so lusciously green!

                        This picture is refusing to let me caption it so I'm just going to say: and higher.

and higher...but with more mountains!

                                       Halfway point: Wow, Loch Tay is certainly beautiful from up here.

Conquering the halfway point...LIKE A BOSS!
Alright so somehow I made it to the halfway point, and we had an option of not hiking to the top, but did I stop? Hell no. YOLO! so because I only live once, I had to hike to the top >:)  So, while the view isn't pretty, and yes at some point unfortunately I did step in sheep manure. EWE (bad pun.) I stubbornly dragged my body and hiked to the top!
Made it to the a boss? no. LIKE A CHAMPION! 
So afterwards, despite being the slowest to get to the top, once I made it I had a 2 minute break was going back down Sron a'Chlachain. Ok so I'm 2 times slower than everyone when it comes to hiking so hiking downwards was quite the pain. One of the PAs while waiting for me was herb hunting, and found wood sorrel. I was curious myself and asked him if I could try it. For anyone wondering what is wood sorrel and what it tastes like, wood sorrel is a weed that looks like a clover, and tastes like crisp green granny apple skins. Hiking down, I did a little bit of wood sorrel hunting myself and the foodie in me enjoyed every moment.

So after hiking down, I think I was too sore and did complain about my feet dying; however, I'm not sure what in me said let's go hike around LochTay! Somehow....I just ended up doing just that too. I liked this hike better because it didn't involve hiking UPHILL, and was munching on a carrot. (yes incredibly random) Anyways, the scenery was just as beautiful if not even more so here are some pictures!

And then there were cows..

Loch Tay is beautiful is she not?
Touristy picture of me taken by a British tourist!

This tree looked so interesting so I had to take a picture of it.

So I know in my past post and this one, I kept on mentioning sheep.
In honor of sheep, I thought I'd leave this. 
Alright so by the time I got back on the coach, it was 3PM and heading back took a little bit longer than I expected. One of my friends had to use the bathroom, so we ended up making a pitstop for him to do his business. So by the time we got back, it was 6:15 PM and there was less than an hour or so to go anywhere to eat so I ended up paying 12 pounds to eat dinner at Edinburgh University's cafeteria. By the time I paid for my food I had 15 minutes to eat so I rushed because I really wanted to make sure I could make it to the Ceilidh Dance. Turns out, I ended up coming to the location a bit early. Oh well, there were snacks and wine so it wasn't too bad waiting + I got to meet more new people and hang out with Jason, Katharine, and Sesenu. 

The Ceilidh Dance experience:

Ceilidh dancing is like country square dancing only....more gaelic. There's a dance caller whom instructs novices how to dance before the dance, and there's a live band playing in kilts. Ok girly moment, but kilts on guys are HOT! The dance is fairly simple, and for one whom wonders what it looks like, it almost resembles the dance scene in the recent Pride and Prejudice movie when Mr. Darcy asks Ms. Bennet to dance with him. Basically a lot of it is partner dancing and switching around. So how was the experience? Put 250 people in one tiny room and imagine square dancing. It's a HOT mess. I'm still surprised people didn't completely crash into each other every minute. Oh and incredibly random, but BYU PKPers can dance. I don't know what it is but every BYU person I met knew how to dance to some degree.

Tip for future guy pkpers. If you want to get the beautiful girls to dance with you, do yourself a favor and get a kilt . EVERY girl will want to dance with you because you're wearing the kilt. The proportion of girls a guy could get was much higher when he wore a kilt that night. Haha.

So overall Ceilidh Dance was so fun I wished I could repeat this night. I met a lot of people, made new friends, and learned that I can't LEAD for the life of me xD. Beyond that, dancing with Katharine, Jason, and other friends was AMAZING! I think I'm now addicted to ceilidh dance!

Carrying Katharine with Jason in the danceroom.
She is totally the queen of Ceilidh dancing. 
The Scottish band in awesome kilts whom played for us.
(The one with the violin is the caller) 

So after the night, I was asked if I wanted to go explore Edinburgh some more, and to this I had to politely decline because my feet were so sore I was actually limping to my room. I plopped on my bed, and crashed. Yep. That's how exhausted I was.

Note that day I wrote: "Overall though day 2 has been exhaustively fun, and I'm definitely looking forward to day 3." 

Until next time, Cheers!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Blog FAQs

Blog FAQs:

Alright so some people have asked me about this blog and updating / why this is updated late yada yada.

1. Why didn't you update when you were in Cambridge?
I stated this earlier but quite honestly, I got caught up in studying abroad and experiencing everything that I ended up forgetting despite the fact that I wrote many notes.

2. Will you update regularly?
Um I think I'll try updating once or twice every 2 weeks. (I will try to write more though if I have time.) I'm trying to write my blogs in an informative yet personal method because most blogs I've read are normally just personal; however, this does take a while. I want to make sure that the info on my blog can become a resource for anyone who intends to study abroad, yet show my personal journey. My last blog (Caledonia and the north part 1) took a total of 5 hours to update and write.

Doesn't it change when you write abroad vs now?
Well yes and no. Luckily I did write a lot of notes in England and I intend to write in the style as if I first experienced it. Afterall this is "Unknown girl in England"....I think it's appropriate to write the way I first experienced it; however, my memory is not perfectly clear so sometimes i will include future thoughts. I'm writing based on notes that I wrote.

3. When do you update?
I try to update on Fridays and weekends; however, I may finish the blog the latest on Wednesdays.

4. Will there be posts on "how expensive study abroad is?"
Yes there will be one coming soon.

5. Any other study abroad blogging?
Yes, expect a Scotland Parliament blog soon and I will provide the link later. This will also include resources on scholarships, interning abroad etc.

6. Got any other questions?
Feel free to leave a comment!


-Tina Lin

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

July 5th - Caledonia and the North!

In my title I mention Caledonia. For those whom are curious, Caledonia is another name for Scotland. According to Wikipedia, "Caledonia is a historical description of Northern Britain during the Roman Era pr as a romantic or poetic name for Scotland as a whole." (yes Romes at some point went into the UK and did what they did best: conquer.) Anyways, I may refer to Scotland as Caledonia in my blog because Caledonia DOES sound much more romantic than Scotland, so hopefully this blog isn't too confusing. 

Weather wise: cloudy with a hint of drizzle.

Morning involved hectic rushing to eat breakfast, double check that I packed everything, and get all of my luggage (2 totem bags and a backpack) to the back of King's College all before 9AM. Heavy luggage + short girl walking for .4 miles still = tiring. It doesn't help that I'm still weary from walking everywhere from prior days.

Anyways after that, I went to find bus 3 and to my relief and surprise I found out that Jason was on the same bus as me so he sat next to me. 

Because there are over 200 students, there are 8-9 buses. Since 200 + students is quite a lot of students, PKP has 2 different routes for Scotland. One route involves stopping by and seeing Fountain Abbey today before arriving at Scotland, and stopping by Richmond when coming back.  The other route is the exact opposite, and I was in this latter. 

Like many travelers, I was so excited that I got caught up trying to document everything.  Case and point?  I tried to get a picture of grassy scenery.

Ok bad photo but... It's soo luscious and green!
One thing I've noticed is that when you're traveling in England via bus, most of the routes don't involve seeing ugly freeways like those in America. Instead you're surrounded by gorgeous green trees and grassy green pastures.

Pit stops! There will always be someone whom wants to use the latrine or loo, so yes there were many pit stops. At the pit stops there are always some fast food restaurants, and a mini market (i.e. Tesco or Sainsburry).
Entrance with a bunch of PKPers.
Bus seat buddies!
Okay, so later we finally arrived at Richmond. Jason and I passed by a Fish and Chips specialty store, and decided to go see Richmond Castle first before getting their awesome Fish and Chips! 
It's been a long time since I saw a castle, so my first impression when I saw the castle was OH MY GOD I'M IN A MEDIEVAL FAIRYTALE! Seriously, Richmond Castle is HUGE and breathtakingly stunning. For those whom are picturing this, imagine a gigantic stone castle surrounded by a stone fortress overlooking cluttered houses in streets paved in cobblestone. Luckily PKP students didn't have to pay for the 5 pound admission to enter the castle. 

(next paragraph about the castle can be completely ignored if you don't like exaggerated purple prose and fantasy stories.)
In the castle, we ran into Katharine and proceeded to conquer the mighty castle!- I mean explore. Explore the castle. Our adventures began by entering the grassy green courtyard......through tiny stone archways...pass the narrow walls around the corner what did we spy? Treasure? The Holy grail? No- just an enclosed dead end. And turn back we did, and climbed stairs....and as our heroes journeyed to the top they landed in the attic where they found the book: A history of conquerors and weaponry past. Once they mastered the skills they could, our heroes carried on till they reached the top. There they saw the city from afar with its magnificent view! And there they stopped- realizing a journey began anew. 

Our heroes as they began their journey.

Entrapped in tiny spaces and dead ends, slowly our heroine Tina begins to lose her mind.
The skills they learned.
Mind your head! Luckily our heroine Katharine is short enough to go through the archway without a problem. Jason on the other hand.....

The magnificent view of Richmond our heroes saw from the top of Richmond Castle.

After the epic journey, I ended up falling asleep in the bus till we reached University of Edinburgh. After settling in, I proceeded to get dinner with my friends and discuss what we were going to do etc. At 7 o'clock, I met up with a few friends and PKP staff, walked down the hills and streets and began exploring Edinburgh.  We went to a pub called The Blind Poet and my friend Sesenu bought a pitcher of Pimm's Punch. Oh my god. Best alcoholic drink ever. We walked around the cities and later some of us opted out to get some sleep, while me, Katharine, Jason and John ended up exploring Edinburgh a little bit longer. 

Entrance to this awesome pub.

Sesenu pouring Pimms Punch.

US has Starbucks, Here in the UK they have a gigantic cup of Costa Express.

Anyways, I'm not a huge fan of horror, and was terrified of going on a haunted night tour of Edinburgh; however, since my friends really wanted to go I ended up going, and John paid 10-15 pounds for my experience. Thanks John! At least it comes with a mixed vodka cocktail? Anyways the tour guide and the walking tour was eerie and creepy. We entered catacombs underground, a museum of torture weapons, and other places (The Mercat Cross - where announcements were read and people were publicly shamed etc.) At some point of the tour the tourguide told us if we were paranoid and superstitious we could spit on some stone as to avoid ghosts following us back....I freaked out so I ended up spitting on the stone. Gross, I know and Too much information!

So interesting facts I learned about dreary depressing Edinburgh:
1. If you were pregnant and did not notify the authorities you could be hung.
2. People all crowded together underground to attempt to escape authorities and the lack of sanitation seriously did not help. 
3. The maiden...they're not referring to a young bonnie lassie (young pretty woman.) They're referring to an earlier form of a guillotine. 

File:The Maiden, National Museum of Scotland.jpg
This is a maiden.
So after the tour we ended up going to a pub called the Banshee Labyrinth and getting our vodka drinks. Vodka and coke is actually pretty good. We danced to dubstep and heavy metal, and I ended up teaching Jason and Katharine how to do the Pandanggo Saw Ilaw (Filipino candle dance) hand movements with our glasses. After that we pub hopped, and walked in and out of a few clubs. As we walked back it we sang Journey's "Just a Small town girl" and Beatles's "Let it Be."  By the time we got back it was wet and rainy on 4AM, July 6th. Wow what a first day, I'm so exhausted that I'm going to need a whole day week to recover from this.  

Until next time, Cheers!


Friday, October 11, 2013

Packing! (What to bring on mini trips outside of Cambridge)

Alright so before I begin my post I thought I'd clarify a few things:

1. Someone asked me why I'm updating it now not at the moment. Honestly I did intend to update this blog but I was incredibly caught up with studying abroad that I did forget to update my blog; however, I did write little notes in a journal and have multiple pictures so hopefully this makes up for my forgetfulness.

Ok this post is aimed mainly for future PKPers; however, for those wondering what exactly do you pack for a 4 day trip to Edinburgh...

Here's my Checklist and tips.

Mini luggage. Oh my god I wished how badly I knew how convenient a mini luggage was before I left California. I had trouble fitting everything into 2 tote bags and a backpack.

Note: Make sure you leave room in your luggage for a souvenir or two from Edinburgh!

1. Hiking shoes (seriously...most of the events available involve  hiking or walking to some degree.) Supposedly if you're not dressed appropriately for a hike you can't go so do have some kind of shoes for the LONG trek..
2. Rain coat or panchos. Or if you're like me Both! So a few weeks ago in the checklist of things to bring or consider it said raincoat. I'm paranoid, and when I heard that it's going to rain in Edinburgh my thought was to be super prepared.
3. Clothing you can change into (fresh laundry preferred) I haven't done laundry yet and it's almost been a week so I'm a bit worried and will probably do laundry soon. 
       - long jeans/ long pants in general because it'll be rainy and windy. 
       - something comfortable that doesn't restrict you for ceilidh dancing.
       - socks + maybe another pair of shoes (like for showering or what not.)
       - sweaters and hoodies.
       - sleepwear and enough undergarments for the trip.
4. Camera + amazing places + capturing moments. Enough said.
5. Wallet, id, and Pounds to buy souvenirs etc.
6. The little "Edinburgh pocket map and guide" that's given in the welcoming packet.

7. Other necessities (soap, shampoo, conditioner, towels etc.)
Finally 8. Your excitement to Edinburgh.

Optional but useful:
1. laptop for homework if anyone has any... (warning wifi isn't free at University of Edinburgh.) 

2. Journals for recording stories and memories.

Oh and final tip. 
    <- This.

If anyone has anything else to add to this list feel free to leave a comment, and I'll update whenever I can. 

Until then, Cheers!