getting my toes wet

(This post continues where my previous entry left off.  Corny title, I know.)

We dropped my luggage off in my room and then headed to Joanna’s room for some proper British tea.   I met quite a few people along the way,  including my new friend Rebecca from Sarah Lawrence College.  After tea, the three of us walked to Tesco in town to buy some dinner.  Rebecca and I decided on frozen pizza (typical college student meal, I know, but we were too tired to cook properly).  As we were looking at the different options, one caught our eye because it looked like it had noodles on it.  Rebecca and I asked Joanna if it was a British thing to eat pasta on pizza and she gave us a very confused look, then looked at the pizza and started laughing at us:  it was margherita pizza.  What we thought were noodles was actually cheese!  We laughed about this the entire night.

the pizza that we mistakenly thought had noodles on it when we saw it on the shelf. that's what jet-lag does to you!

the pizza that we mistakenly thought had noodles on it when we saw it on the shelf. that’s what jet-lag does to you!

When we returned to Melville, we realized we had no plates, cutlery, or cooking utensils, so we improvised with what we could find in the kitchens.   It took us a little while, but we figured it all out on our own and the pizza was delicious!  As we were finishing up, a few guys came by to invite us across to K1 to meet people, but the group quickly became too large so we made our way to the middle common room, 1 of 3 in the hall.  (Melville has 3 kitchens, labeled K1, K2, and K3.)  There were so many people in the common room!  Everyone was incredibly kind and welcoming and I surprised myself by how many names I managed to remember.
After staying up MUCH later than anticipated, I finally left and went to sleep around 2 AM (which is 9PM for the Eastern United States).  I did not wake up until lunchtime the next day, and only then because I needed to eat.  Lunch was great though!  I spent the afternoon at an informational session for new students and then attended a reception with all of the JSAs (Junior Study Abroad students) where we had the opportunity to meet and talk with professors. I met so many people and learned a lot about the psychology department, which is the best in Britain.  I also found out that the psychology building is in one of the most beautiful locations in town.  Tough life, I know.

On Friday I managed to wake up for breakfast, which is 8-9 every day, and then I went to matriculation at 10AM.  There are a lot of JSAs here this semester!  They had a very helpful team directing us to where we needed to be and answering questions.  Staff members checked our passports and finances and advisers from each department helped us register for our course modules.  Everything worked out really well, thankfully.  Friday evening, in honor of Robbie Burns’s day, I attended my first ceilidh [pronounced Caley] with my new friend Scott (from Scotland).  If you have ever done English country dancing, it is somewhat similar.  We danced for several hours straight, and I even tried haggis for the first time; surprisingly, I really liked it!  I talked to the two callers after and they told me I should come to the weekly intermediate ceilidh lessons.  I have added that to my list of potential clubs to join!  I learned later that it is compulsory for all Scottish primary school students to learn ceilidh dancing.  A member of the Celtic society read Robbie Burns’s famous poem, Ode to a Haggis, before we ate and then we enjoyed a traditional meal of haggis and neeps & tatties.  Neeps and tatties are some kind of turnip-like food and mashed potatoes–different but good.  On the way home, Scott gave me a tour of St Andrews and told me loads of stories about the history of the uni and the town.  After dancing all night and then walking for an hour my feet were extremely sore, but it was entirely worth it!

I am standing on the Swilcan Bridge between the 1st and 18th fairways of the Old Course in St. Andrews. this bridge is at least 700 years old!

I am standing on the Swilcan Bridge between the 1st and 18th fairways of the Old Course in St. Andrews. this bridge is at least 700 years old!

When I woke up for lunch on Saturday, I met a group of JSAs who invited me to come explore the town with them.  We spent all afternoon being touristy, taking pictures, sharing stories, and getting to know each other.  It was so beautiful outside but the wind here is so cold, especially along the shore!  I shared with them all of the stories and tidbits that Scott shared with me about the town and uni the night before.  My next blog entry will be entirely photos from our adventures.

Saturday evening I finally started to unpack my suitcases!  My first couple of days were so full of excitement that I neglected to set up my room.  But it feels quite cozy now and Melville truly is like home.  I have my own sink in the room, but I have to go up- or downstairs and through about 4 doors for the toilets or shower.  Our hall is built to resemble a ship and we have 5 blocks of rooms; it’s a very interesting setup.  Melville is not very pretty but it certainly has character and the people more than make up for it!

As I have no class on Fridays, I will post pictures soon and try to write down some more stories.  Every day is filled with exciting things to talk about–the difficult part will be deciding what to share with you!  Until then, God bless and keep you and know that I am sending my love and well-wishes from Scotland. Cheers!

looking out to the North Sea and the night glow of Dundee to the north

looking out to the North Sea and the night glow of Dundee to the north