Sunday, July 14, 2013

Are we there yet?

Track 7/14: Lana Del Rey: "Ride"

Saturday was spent with a local trip over to Camden to shop the Stables Market as packing for Scotland had to occur in the evening. We had to move out of our rooms completely so this was more of an ordeal than I anticipated as everything needed to be packed, either stuff to make the trek to Scotland or stuff to be stored in a designated room of each of our flats at the dorm. Luckily we decided to have a little floor dinner the night before in our kitchen to use up some of the goods we had left in our refrigerators, but completely packing up in the middle of our program was still a nightmare.

This Sunday was the journey to Edinburgh... and it was a long one. I believe it ended up being an 11 hour travel day, all told, and it seemed like we would never arrive. There was also an incident at our second rest stop involving a women's bathroom with 3 stalls and exactly zero rolls of toilet paper. Several Cadbury bars were required to keep my mood leveled out during this day-long trial of patience. Ultimately we made it, and are now in Dalkeith, Midlothian, about 7 miles from Edinburgh. We are staying at Dalkeith Palace, which was the home of the Duke of Buccleuch (pronounced 'buh-CLOO').

The 'palace' was built in 1702, and every wall in the house is covered in 300 year old oak, so it's lucky the whole place hasn't been consumed by fire. The ceiling heights are like nothing I've ever seen in a private residence, and the grounds are stunning as the home sits on an 800 acre estate. Being this far North, the sun doesn't really set and there's always at least some light on the horizon 24 hours a day. I walked around the grounds at 10:30 at night and was able to take photographs without any special settings.

While I'm glad to be in Scotland, this program did not exactly cater to acceptable living conditions for older graduate students, let alone my only-child-syndome self. While we knew the rooms would be assigned to hold 2-6 people, wishful thinking let us believe as grad students we would be in the 2-person rooms. Contrary to this hope, the undergrads who also came on this trip from the psych and Shakespeare classes were given all of these rooms (OUTRAGEOUS) and we were assigned the group rooms. The 6-person limit was also a LIE as I was put in the one room that was assigned SEVEN people. I have enough trouble sleeping under my preferred conditions let alone sleep in a room with that many bodies, so I will be spending the night in the computer lab. Also, there are like 8 wardrobes in the room and I'm pretty sure one of them probably leads to Narnia, and I don't want to fall through accidentally trying to move around at night.

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