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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Tour of Glasgow

This is a very late postings as I went on the bus tour a full week ago. But I have been busy exploring the city and misplacing my camera that I haven't actually sat down to write until now.

As part of the international student orientation, there was a bus tour around Glasgow. We saw historical sites, museums, government buildings, and pubs! I was taking the pictures through a bus window...and halfway through the tour it started to rain. Sorry for the less than amazing pictures but it's still some pretty cool sites.

First on the tour was St Andrew's building! This is where I'll be having all of my classes.There are two parts of the building in an L or T shape. You can partially see the old building in the back of the first picture. If I have classes in that part I will definitely upload pictures. Another note is that the walking tour of campus did not go past my building as it is down the street and over a bridge from the main part of campus. I still haven't decided if I will walk up and down the hill where main campus is or walk around the hill to get to this building. 

On the drive through the shopping areas there was a kiltmaker! of course because I'm in Scotland

Because of my love of films I had to take a picture of CineWorld. This is the TALLEST cinema in the world! with 18 screens over 6 stories! oh my. Glasgow also has the Glasgow Film Theatre which shows more independent films, and the Grosvenor which is around the corner from my flat. (The Grosvenor has a cafe and bar too and my roommate and I are going down to the mostly movie quiz night there after I finish this post)

Here is a square of monuments! This is George Square which has monuments to great Scottish people...unfortunately it was a week ago so I'm a little foggy on the details. The first picture though is the war memorial (big cube-ish white thing) and on the left of that, across the street you see the city council offices. The offices are operational and you can take tours of them. The tour guide said she thought they were the most beautiful public office buildings so I will have to plan a tour at some point.
 center of the square
 I don't remember at all who this guy is. I thought I could read it in the picture but I couldn't. But one thing to notice in all three pictures is the barrier around the entire square. Next summer Glasgow is hosting the Commonwealth Games! (like a mini-olympics) The city is cleaning up the square and getting all the pigeon poop off the statues. The tour guide said she had no idea the statues were black until they got cleaned!

This is the OLDEST building in Glasgow. It is apparently where Mary Queen of Scot's stayed and may have written letters to her lover!

Here is the traditional watchtower with a prison cell at the top!
Here is the People's palace and winter gardens. At one time the rulers decided the best thing for their subjects would be a palace! Now the palace is a museum depicting the struggle of the working class people throughout Glasgow's history.
 Apparently the bus was moving too fast for me to take this picture. This is the Doulton Fountain outside of the People's Palace. It is the LARGEST terracotta fountain in the world! Neato.
If you are not into history, you can visit Glasgow for the rock concerts! Here is the Hydro   the place for live entertainment like Disney on Ice, wrestling, and Michael Buble. But first what everyone is really excited for ROD STEWART starting Sept 30th!
And finally back at school. This is the main building and is WAY more confusing than it looks. It is in like a figure 8 and is on many different levels. I walked all over the building during the Fresher's Fair and still couldn't find the room I was looking for. The main problem is that there is only 1 map with all the rooms on it instead of having a map for each level. I did get to see most of the building which is gorgeous. The tour guide slightly mentioned a scene from Harry Potter was shot here so I will have to get to the bottom of that!


As for me I'm getting on quite well. I have a doctor, an eye doctor, a bank, and a library card. I got my student card, gym membership, and student loan check today, which were 3 big items on my to do list. I don't have a job yet but will search hard this weekend (Mom). BUT I did get an offer to work on rupertgrint.net!!!!!!!!!!! He's my fave and I'm excited to stalk...I mean report on him. I am working on an article about an interview in a UK magazine I picked up today and I may go to London and meet up with other staffers to see Rupert Grint in a play. but I know, mom, I have to look for a real job too.

Lots of love to everyone. In a few days I'll post about my trip to Edinburgh!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Settling In

Yesterday I found out my memory card for my camera is completely messed up. I'll try to go to another computer shop or maybe send it back to SanDisk to see if they can fix it. Luckily I had another that I popped into my camera. I have pretty much rearranged my room so I thought I'd give you a virtual tour. First you should go back to the video it the previous post so you can really see the difference.

 Here's going into my room. I moved the bed. I have these cool things to hang clothes on over the radiator, and I lined up my shoes by the door too.

 Where the bed was I've put my dresser and wardrobe. There's a nice sport for my luggage in the corner. Those clothes are not dirty, just lightly worn but I haven't gotten a basket for those yet. The white thing is supposed to go over the light but it fell off when I opened the window and I'm not tall enough (even standing on my night stand) to put it back up.

Now behind the door is my bed. That way if Sarah comes in to do laundry she doesn't have to walk around my bed. The lamp I got at Salvation Army!

The desk is in the same spot but now it has all my papers and school stuff on it.

Here's the view out of my window! The spire thing is the main university building and the white buildings at the bottom is a little alley with bars and a movie theater.

The flat is really cool too and it has some original molding! This is in the foyer.

Not sure if these are original but they definitely aren't the plastic ones you can buy at Home Depot.

This is the one in the living room. (see how the white ball thing is over the light; that's how my room's supposed to be)

This is the molding in the living room. My room just has regular plain molding.

This is my massive from door! The door knob is in a regular spot and the mail thing is like shoulder height. 

The other flat on my floor has a half door where only the bottom center opens.

Our door opens up all the way!
 After the big door we have a little regular door. It has orignal glass! My landlord said if a thief makes it all the way up the stairs and gets through the big door, he would just break the glass. So the landlord took out the lock on the little door to like save the glass. You can't really tell in the pictures but the lock on the big door has like 4 dead bolts.

I'm on the top floor. They call it the 3rd floor, but you walk up 3 floors so we'd call it the 4th floor. My roommate and I have started planning our days carefully so we reduce the number of times we go up and down the stairs. The first day I did pretty well but yesterday my legs really started aching. I'll have some monster leg muscles after living here a year.

This is a standard plug. No it's not very cool but actually it is. Each plug has an on off switch. So I made hot water this morning so I turned on that plug but not the other one. In my room the lamp I got doesn 't have a switch on it so I just use the switch on the plug! It's actually pretty good when you remember to actually turn them on. Probably cuts down on that vampire power appliances suck up. There's even one for the water heater in the shower. If you don't turn that on you are only taking a cold shower!

Everything is going pretty well. I'm learning the area and where things are. I think I may venture into the city today on the tube! I have a super fancy phone now with the internet. You can message me on facebook and I can message you right back. My friend and I talked last night and I totally asked her some sports questions when I was at the bar. Be aware that I'm still learning the phone and it has a touch screen so my spelling won't be great. I can also read my emails but it's harder to type out long emails compared to texting. 

Lots of love to everyone back in the states!!!

Friday, September 6, 2013

School

My roommate and i went for a walk and found the main building of glasgow University!! How beautiful

Arrival!

Until I get internet either on my phone or at the flat my posts may be a bit sporadic.

I had a pretty easy travel yesterday. My flight left Chicago about 5:30pm. I flew British Airways. WOW There was NO way I could've afforded that if I hadn't had a student discount. [fyi I got the flight through studentuniverse.com not BA; wish I had know about that earlier in my life] Each seat had it's own TV that the passenger controlled. First I watched the movie Bling Ring then Side Effects [SOOO good] then episode of Downton Abbey. I tried watching Season 3 ep 3 at the end of the flight and the big event kept getting interrupted with flight announcements. I had requested a vegan meal since that is what my mother made me suffer with all summer. It was actually pretty good. The salad had fancy greens that I didn't like but overall it looked a lot better than the regular meal. In the morning we got a croissant and coffee.

I landed in London about an 40 mins early which was fine since customs was a drag. First you have to be herded like cattle from one wing to another then you get in line and wait. I did forget to have one paper out but I knew exactly in my case it was. Then I was in the UK ready to wait in another line. Before getting to security you have to have your picture taken which I thought was interesting. Then I had to go through security again. Its basically the same as the US but I had unpacked my liquids so I had to repack those. I forgot to drink my water up so I had to get my bag rechecked. Thankfully they dumped out the water and didn't take my bottle. One interesting thing is that London Heathrow doesn't announce the gate until like 30mins before the flight so I sat in a quiet area until my gate was announced. The flight out of Heathrow was about 30 mins late but that was ok. I arrived in Glasgow at noon.

After collecting my bags and dragging them around a bit, I got a cart and met Gordon. He is my dad's friend's wife's cousin and very nice. He gave me a tour of the area and let me use his mobile to call my landlord. We met my landlord and took my heavy bags up to my top floor flat. I will have to cook him dinner or something as a pay back. The only thing he asked for was that I register to vote and vote for Scottish independence. [I'm not sure that's legal but my bags were heavy and went to the 4th floor so it might be even]

Once I got in the apartment and everyone left it was 3pm. so I took a nap. I'm 5hrs different from Michigan so I was awake from 8am Weds to 10am Thurs. I did wake up when an accordian started playing down on the street! I was really hungry so I walked to Greggs and then walked a few blocks to check out the neighborhood. After that I walked home and up the 3 flights of stairs without stopping! [I think all the hill programs I did on the treadmill helped] Then I made sure the windows were closed tight before going to bed.

Today I woke up about 7am and moved stuff around until 8am when I decided I NEEDED coffee. I am now at starbucks using their internet while the coffee wakes me up.

Now some fun stuff. Scotland is interesting. Everyone is very nice when I can understand them. All the signs are in English but it's like they'er speaking a different language. Unless I really listen I can't understand conversations. Hanging out at Starbucks is helping and I get to watch all the people on the street and coming out of the subway/tube. So when I go to latte places I order a 16oz soy latte. I say 16oz becasue every place is different it's either grande or tall or medium. I walked in to starbucks and placed my order and the guy gave me the weirdest look! The other girl was like we don't use ounces here. OOOOOH I know that they use the metric system but my coffee order was so ingrained it stopped meaning 16 ounces to me and just was a way of saying medium. Well now I know.

Sorry no picutes today. My memory card isn't working so I'll have to go find a computer place now. Today my roommate arrives about 1:30pm so I have to clean and arrange my stuff before then.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Nervousness overload

All day toady I've been going around with butterflies in my stomach or just a stomach ache. I did okay when I was talking to people but the epic-ness of my move would hit me when I was sitting quietly. Today I tried to get everything done but am still thinking of things as I sit here writing.

I got up at 10:30am after tossing and turning a bit last night. My dad sold his truck and we had family here this weekend. We ended up only having 1 car at our house this morning. First thing we all went out and got the big truck and the work truck. Then dropped the big truck off to get a tune up. Mom went out for lunch and I got a hair cut. Apparently the person who cut my hair before messed it up! The stylist said there were chunks that didn't get layered but then there was a spot that was chopped way short. I realized something was wrong with the cut but I didn't know what so I ended up just wearing a pony tail most summer. Then I got shallac on my nails. I figured hulling luggage and traveling would chipped up regular polish.

Once I got home, I doubled checked all of my important documents and made copies of my school stuff, visa and passport. I did some laundry too. When I checked in (less than 24hrs to go) I realized my big suitcase could only be 70lbs not 75. I had to take out a pair of shorts, a coffee mug, and some school stuff. Now one is 69.5lbs and the other is 50.5lbs. I also have my carryon and briefcase. Does it look like I missed anything haha
Tomorrow I have a gym card and library book to turn in. I'll do the final packing of my computer and toothbrush. Then we're off to Chicago at about noon so I arrive at the airport about 3hrs before the flight. Hopefully I can actually sleep tonight but I'm very very very excited.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Excitement - Premoving

AAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!
I'm leaving the US in 1.5 days! two sleeps. I thought I was ready but now it's really hitting me that I am leaving the country and my family. I've felt so excited all summer but I've recently had some "WHAT AM I DOING" thoughts. Although I'm a bit scared, I know there's no other time in my life I'll have this opportunity. It's still crazy how old my school is and how relatively close everything is! I used to drive 8hr from NE Montana to SW Montana. From Glasgow, London is 5hrs and to Paris is 11hrs. In Montana anything that is over 100yrs is historic. The University of Glasgow was started in 1450! What!?!?! that was before Columbus and Copernicus!

What have I done to prepare? I have my student visa, I ordered pounds online and got them a week ago. I bought a raincoat for obvious reasons. I'm all packed except when I change my mind on some items. I knitted myself a sweater! I didn't really follow the directions correctly but it turned out fine. It's acrylic wool and feels about 10lbs. It will be awkward to carry through the airport but very cozy on cool rainy days.

I also have an apartment. I was looking for a room on a site for flatsharing. Through that website I was contacted by Sarah. Sarah is from London and starting a Masters program at the university as well. She traveled to Glasgow one weekend and found a great flat. Here's a video my landlord took. Please tell me which room to pick :)