Paint Fight on the BEACH! (Raisin Sunday)

Last weekend I completed a photo scavenger hunt around town while tied to five other people, had a paint fight on the beach, was thrown into the sea, ate an almost an entire chocolate bar in two minutes (and had to drink an entire wineglass full of random kitchen ingredients because I did not finish on time!), and dressed up as Donald Duck to participate in a school wide shaving cream fight.

When I saw everyone participated in this foam fight, I mean EVERYONE!

When I saw everyone participated in this foam fight, I mean EVERYONE!

            Before you start wondering if I have gone mad and need to be rescued from this foreign land, let me remind you that this past weekend was Raisin Weekend at St. Andrews: one of the best and most fun traditions of the 600 year old university. The tradition goes something like this: every year new students are adopted by older (usually third year) students who become their “academic parents.” Academic dads and mums usually are not married and may have anywhere from two to fifteen children. These “academic families” usually meet several times per semester with their children to spend time hanging out, eating, and playing games. Academic families are not only fun, but a great way to make new friends! Keen students will even go around and find/meet their academic uncles/aunts/cousins/grandparents/etc. in order to build up their family tree!

I wrote a better explanation of academic families and St. Andrews traditions in this blog post 🙂

The biggest responsibility academic families have to their children to help them have a fabulous Raisin weekend. (The weekend is rumored to be called “Raisin Weekend’ because academic children would thank their parents for their hospitality by bringing them a pound of raisins.) Raisin Sunday starts as all of the academic children go over their mum’s house in the morning or early afternoon for a party. Usually they play games and have to complete challenges in order to avoid “forfeits.” (If, at any time, during Raisin weekend your parents decide you are not behaving to their standards or did not successfully complete a challenge, they can give you a drink called a forfeit which you MUST drink and can contain anything the parents decide sounds good.) After their mum’s party, children go over to their dad’s house for another party and more challenges (and forfeits!)

On Raisin Sunday we all had to be at our mum’s house at 1:11 pm. A minute early or a minute late, and we would have to drink a forfeit. Like total dorks we stood outside of their house right around the corner until exactly 1:11 (we didn’t want to start the day with a forfeit!) My academic mum, Elisabeth, had adopted five other children so she could have a family of six. She and four of her friends held their parties together so that we would all be sure to have plenty of siblings AND extended family at the party!

We started with a relay race. Members of the team had to complete challenges (eating a donut off of a string, carrying an egg around on a spoon with your mouth, smashing an egg on your forehead, etc.) Our parents then surprised us by dividing us into three teams and tying us together! Each team was given a list of fourteen things they had to find around town and photograph or film. We had to propose to strangers, dance in front of strangers, and plank in the most interesting places. After completing the checklist we had to rush back to the beach in time for a version of twister and a gigantic paint fight on the beach! After a little rest and warming up from being thrown into the sea, Tiffany and I started the process all over again with games and challenges at our academic dad’s house!

I could try to tell you all about these experiences, and how much fun they were, but everyone knows that a picture is worth a thousand words! I definitely do not think I could have asked for a better academic family, or a better Raisin Sunday!

Part of the scavenger hunt was to take pictures of yourself doing silly things around town!

Part of the scavenger hunt was to take pictures of yourself doing silly things around town!

 

Another challenge was to do a blank in the most daring place possible!

Another challenge was to do a blank in the most daring place possible!

 

For losing the relay race everyone on our team had to drink a forfeit... we decided to take it as a team....

For losing the relay race everyone on our team had to drink a forfeit… we decided to take it as a team….

 

... I think it is easy to tell how much we enjoyed this mixture! (Curdled milk, pesto, and lemon juice!)

… I think it is easy to tell how much we enjoyed this mixture! (Curdled milk, pesto, and lemon juice!)

 

 

We started the beach party with a new, food based, version of twister!

We started the beach party with a new, food based, version of twister!

 

Our mothers lined up a huge row of paint bottles along the beach!

Next, our mothers lined up a huge row of paint bottles along the beach!

 

We stood in a long line and then SPRINTED towards the paint!

We stood in a long line and then SPRINTED towards the paint!

 

War broke loose on the beach!

War broke loose on the beach!

 

Most of us took the paint fight quite seriously! :)

Most of us took the paint fight quite seriously! 🙂

 

Tiffany and I were certainly having a good time!! :)

Tiffany and I were certainly having a good time!! 🙂

 

Tiffany and I with our academic mums! :)

Tiffany and I with our academic mums! 🙂

 

We finished with a refreshing dip in the North Sea!

We finished with a refreshing dip in the North Sea!

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Little Bit of Tradition

If you hear someone talking about “tradition” in the States, it almost always comes with a negative connotation. At least in my experience it has. I am not sure if this comes from the fact that Americans want to be free from the rest of the world or if it is strangely left over from the protestant reformation or the popularity of the protestant church in the States, but people don’t really seem to value old traditions.

Coming to St. Andrews has already taught me an entirely new meaning of the word. People here love tradition and there are plenty of opportunities to participate. Since being here I have already encountered many lovely traditions that I am very excited to participate in.

Some of the traditions are quite random. They have one here called the Pier Walk. As far as I can tell, several Sundays per year students don their red gowns and meet at the pier to walk… on the pier. They start at one side of the pier and walk down and back. No one is entirely sure how this tradition originated, and yet almost everyone participates. St. Andrews also loves it, and takes hundreds of pictures for postcards and advertisements. I am very excited to participate in this tradition!

Students walking along the pier in their red robes!

Students walking along the pier in their red robes!

My favorite tradition is the St. Andrews tradition of academic families. Every year when all of the new students arrive they are each adopted by an academic mother and academic father. Students are not assigned academic parents, but when an older student meets a younger student they like they might ask if they can adopt them. Some people are academically married and adopt children together, but most parents are not. The first night Tiffany and I went out we were fortunate enough to meet some really sweet girls who quickly adopted us, and a few hours later we also met our academic father. So we have the same father but different mothers… lol 😛 Academic parents help their children not get quite so lost during their freshmen year and also throw a huge party for them halfway through the first semester (More to come on this later!!)

Another thing that is more traditional is the Scottish ceilidh. I have never been to one but… good news! In about two hours Tiffany and I will be at our very first ceilidh for the year! So very soon you will hear all about it! But I best start getting ready before it is too late….. 😛