The End of It All — August 7, 2015

The End of It All

“You will never be completely at home again because part of your heart will always be elsewhere. That’s the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.”

After my trip to France and Belgium, it was time for me to return to the U.S. There wasn’t much sadness the day of because, like I stated before, the Charles du Gaulle airport is a death trap. It took me almost 3 hours to get to my gate from the train, that dropped me off inside the airport. But once I got onboard, I was able to breathe and write my last journal entry of the trip.

I mentioned in my last few posts that I was struggling to return to the States. There are a few reasons for that. The first of those being that I love Europe. It is such a wonderful place, filled with so many wonderful people and history. I was simply sad to go. As a historian, I find that I am most content when I am surrounded by history and living in Indiana doesn’t do that for me.

Another reason for my struggle was my personality. I firmly believe that people spend their whole lives discovering who they are. They have a good baseline by the time they are adults, but there are events throughout your life that change you, open new doors to your personality, shall we say. This trip was one of those new doors for me. I have found that since I’ve been back, I act and think differently. I so desire to have the Scottish hospitality and kindness, as well as general patience and strong silence. Don’t get my wrong, Scottish people can be loud and rambunctious but as a whole, they have a quietness about them. The whole of Europe is like that. They just don’t see the point in yelling to communicate their points and opinions, like Americans. They just have a lower volume in general and I like that. I like that there is no need to be loud just for the purpose of being louder than another person.

My mindset about flexibility has also been altered by this trip. Having traveled to 6 countries and consequently through 6 international airports, not including the ones in my own country, I have discovered that needing to know the plan all the time and being stressed about the plan not being executed well is way more effort than it’s worth. My plans rarely worked smoothly this summer. My arriving flight into Edinburgh was 40 minutes early, I didn’t know what my boss looked like, and I was exhausted and hungry. Going to Ireland required a ridiculously early flight there and back. The flight to London from Inverness, I had to get out of line and check a bag unexpectedly. Flying to France was just a whole day of disasters. I got lost in the Paris Nord station, then got lost in the Paris St. Lazare station, couldn’t get my ticket printed and missed my train to Caen. Then I couldn’t connect to wifi to tell the people I was staying with that I was going to be late. When I did, I told them the wrong time. This all happened while carrying a 35lb backpack and a large duffle bag. Returning to the U.S., I waited for my terminal to be posted for over an hour, had to take a tram to my terminal, waited in line for a hour to check my bag and then stood in security for a hour. To be able to function in these kind of environments, I had to be willing to be flexible and let go of my controlling attitude.

Letting go of my intense desire for control was a hard thing for me. I have changed a lot since I was in high school but the thing I just haven’t been able to let go of was the control. I needed to know the plan for every day and every event that happened. My mom used to say “we need a plan because Rachel needs to know the plan”. And she was right. I just needed to know that we had some idea of what we were doing as a way of controlling what I could in my life. That need went out the window my first week in Scotland. It’s hard to control things when you have no car, you live in a valley, you don’t know anyone, and you’re 3000 miles from anything familiar. You just have to be willing to go with the flow. My mom always says (she’s a wise woman, can’t you tell?)  “There are very few hills worth dying on” and always knowing the plan and always sticking to the plan isn’t one of them. Had I created a plan and stuck strictly to it, I would have missed out on so many things during this trip. Plans are good and I still like to have a schedule, but the overpowering need to follow it to the letter of the law no longer exists and I think that has freed me up to discover, explore, and appreciate more things because I’m not so focused on planning and following.

I have done serious soul-searching about these personality changes and I’ve decided I like them. I was really afraid that when I returned to the States, my family and friends would expect me to be the same person and would be completely against the changes. But I got lucky. My family understand and even like the changes. They see how this trip and the independence it required of me has changed me into the personal I firmly believe I was always supposed to be, and they love that.

As this is probably my last blog post, because my trip has come to an end, I want to say thank you. Thank you for supporting me in this endeavor. Thank you for supporting my family. Thank you for the prayers and thoughts and encouraging posts. Thank you for enjoying this trip with me and understanding that while you will never appreciate it like I do, you appreciated the beauty of the trip and what it means to me. I am a changed woman. A woman who is confident in her singleness and ability to travel and explore alone. A woman who finally sees the beauty in differences and recognizes the small things for what they are. A woman who is more aware of her world and more understanding of exchange students and foreigners and their potential struggles. I am a woman with a deep love for Scotland and everything it represents. I am finally a woman who is truly comfortable in her own skin for the first time in her life. I am proud of what I did. I’m proud of the mark I left on New Lanark and the mark New Lanark left on me. I am proud of how I represented my family, myself, and my university. I will carry this experience close to my heart for the rest of my life. It sounds quite dramatic but I honestly believe that I have found my life direction. I aim to return to Scotland and hopefully study for my Ph.D at the University of Glasgow.

So to all of you who joined me on this adventure, thank you for the bottom of my heart. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

“She who is brave is free”

-Rachel

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Beautiful France — August 4, 2015

Beautiful France

Sorry it’s taken me so long to post this. I’ve been going nonstop for weeks and I’ve finally got to a place where I have time to post this.My week in France was amazing! I visited the cities of Caen, Lille, and Paris while I was there and it was such a unique opportunity for me to visit with my old friends, make new ones, and practice my French, which is so much harder than I thought.

I’ll be the first to say that I loathe the Charles de Gaulle airport. It’s like a Hunger Games/Maze Runner situation, but you have no weapons and no training and you’re just trying not to die. It’s horribly confusing, exhausting, and there are no signs, and mind you, that’s coming from someone who reads and speaks BOTH English and French.

Once you get over that, France is amazing. I had a bit of trouble adjusting, for several reasons. It’s hard to switch languages so quickly and without much mental preparation. I missed my first train out of Paris into Caen and I didn’t have a way to contact the people that I was staying with. The stress of traveling alone in foreign countries for 2 months finally got to me. My journey was very different from studying abroad. I didn’t really have a permanent place to lay my head. My longest stay in a place was 6 weeks. Traveling is exhausting and I didn’t have much time to acclimate to a country that didn’t speak English.

Another reason for my trouble was my sadness. My aunt had been with me for my week in London but she had just left and I was leaving the UK finally. I was able to keep my feelings about leaving Lanark at bay while I was with her but in France, I was along with my thoughts and feelings and that was hard.

Caen, however, was amazing. There’s a big castle in the middle of the city and the couple I was staying with were so kind. They took me into downtown and then they took me to the Normandy beach for dinner. I had the most wonderful time and they were unbelievably generous and hospitable.

When I got to Lille, my dear friend, Pauline welcomed me into her home and I had so much fun. She had to work my first two days so I just wandered around Lille for 2 days and sat at a fountain in the middle of town and people watched. It was wonderful to have the peace and work through my emotions.

That weekend, Pauline and I went to Paris. We walked up the Eiffel Tour, taking the stairs (mostly by accident. We didn’t know which line we were in). We also saw Notre Dame, The Invalid, Grand Palais, Champ-Élysées, Moulin Rouge, Musee du Louvre, and Montmarte. It was a ridiculously packed weekend but it completely exceeded my expectations.

Back in Lille, we relaxed, ate dinner with her precious parents and brother, all of who reminded me of my own family, and visited Belgium, which I wasn’t expecting. We drove across the border into Brugge, Belgium. Brugge is in the Flemish part of Belgium so none of us could understand what the people were saying. But the buildings were magnificent. They looked like they were straight out of a travel magazine. I was incredibly fortunate to get to visit.

My last night, when I told them all goodbye, I lost my steely control over my emotions and sobbed like a child. Being with them reminded me that I did miss my family. But more than that, it signaled the end of my adventures and that by itself was enough to make me feel crushed.

France was a whole different experience; it made me appreciate exchange students from countries that don’t speak English. My brain was exhausted when I got back. Speaking French and thinking in French was so tiring but I worked hard and learned a lot.

Until next time

-R

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Next Stop: London — July 9, 2015

Next Stop: London

Well, I’m not actually in London at the moment. I was on the move for the whole 5 days I was there and I had no time to write this blog post. Just bare with me. Traveling and keeping you people updated at the same time is hard.

After I left Lanark, I traveled to Inverness with my aunt. She came during my last week in Lanark and did some traveling on her own while I finished up working. She’s a great traveling companion because she’s laid back and willing to try just about anything. It also helped that I had been to both Inverness and London before so I sort of knew what I was doing. While in Inverness, we went to Loch Ness (obviously. Did you really go to Scotland if you didn’t show your aunt Loch Ness?), and visited Culloden Battlefield. Let me say to all the people who went on the England/Scotland trip in January of 2012, we seriously missed out when we didn’t get to see the visitors centre and use the audio guides for the actual field. It was incredible. Not to mention, the weather in June is much better than Northern Scotland in January. The weather for the whole time we were in Inverness was absolutely glorious.

London was a different story. If you follow world news at all, which you should, you uncultured swine, you will know that England had record breaking heat. And it just so happen that the record breaking heat occurred when I was there. Lovely. Seriously, it was 100 degrees Fahrenheit at 6pm. And our hostel had no air conditioning. I understand no AC in Scotland; you don’t need it. Ever. But it was over 100 DEGREES. AND WE WERE IN A ROOM WITH 16 OTHER PEOPLE. Our room was the biggest one and the bunks were three high and of course I had the very top bunk that was BEHIND the open window. In the middle of the night, I had to wet one of my socks and put it over my face because I actually thought I might die. So to my great surprise, I woke up the next morning and it was as if London decided to quit throwing a tantrum because the weather was beautiful.

I took my aunt to Baker Street, so we could look at Daunt’s Book (if you’re a book-addict and you are ever in London, you are an idiot if you miss it.)  We wandered around Piccadilly Circus, ate at the biggest Whole Food store I’ve ever seen in my life, and went to a West End show that night. We saw Les Misérable, which I wanted to see 6 years ago when I went to London with my dad and now that I’ve seen it, I’m mentally kicking myself for thinking the tickets were too expensive. It was absolutely incredible. The showmanship, the set, the costumes, the emotions, it was all there and it was all perfect. I would happily have returned to the U.S. on that note. Janine (my aunt) and I were talking about it the whole hour home.

The next day we explored the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, which are even more beautiful in the sun (have I mentioned that I’ve never been anywhere in the UK in the summer. Always winter. This summer was an new amazing experience.) The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben were cool to see again and I loved seeing London for the first time again through my aunt’s eyes.

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I did a lot of reflection in London about how lucky I am to have this experience, to see this amazing country through someone else’s eyes and to discover new things about Scotland, England, and myself. I am very different person now than I was when I left the U.S. Traveling on your own and being the foreigner has a way of changing you as a person. Things that use to bother me no longer seem important. I’ve been taught to re-prioritize the things that are important. Material stuff is not important. Sure, I love stuff. I have a lot of stuff. More than I will ever need. But it’s nothing in comparison to the memories and the experience. What good would this internship have been if I had just sat in my hostel for 6 weeks. If I had said no to manning the music at my boss’s dance show, to traveling with my friend Emily, to traveling with my aunt, to spending a week alone in a country that doesn’t speak English (that would be where I currently am, in France).

You hear young people talk about seeing the world but I actually am. World travel seems like no big deal to me for several reasons. One, I’ve done it before. Two, my dad does it for a living. I’ve grown up listening to his tales of travel. Three, my sister is Korean. Living with her is like having a Korean community living inside an American one. And it’s glorious. Four, so many of my friends have been blessed with opportunities to travel. But as I sat in my hostel in London, listening to a raging thunderstorm, I was suddenly reminded of what a privilege it was to be there. Just because lots of people in my life are world travelers certainly does not mean that most people are. I had a life-changing experience that I would not trade for anything. I am sitting in my French friend’s living room, listening to the bustling life of Lille, France, thinking that I am the luckiest 21 year old on the planet. Because my parents aren’t guilt-tripping me into coming home. Because my friends aren’t moaning about how much they miss me. Because my host friend isn’t making me feel like a bother. A lot of people that I know think that the world is a big, bad place. And it is, I think. But there are so many beautiful qualities of people.

This whole experience, living in Scotland, being in London, traveling around France, has taught me many things but I think the most blatantly obvious thing that it has taught me is this: that hospitality, love, good manners, kindness, and laughter transcend all culture and language barriers.

Until next time,

-R

Saying Goodbye — June 29, 2015

Saying Goodbye

My internship has come to an end. I’ve finished my 6 weeks in Lanark. I can honestly say that I am heartbroken. I have worked really hard to keep this blog as emotion free as possible in an attempt to give you a look into my life without having to wade through all the emotions attached to it. But this time is different. I don’t have anything but my emotions and my memories. I’ll be the first to admit, I couldn’t keep my eyes dry.

I was invited to a goodbye dinner with my co-workers to celebrate the end of my time with them. They are the sweetest people. I think setting aside the traditions that I love and the history that draws my heart in, I will miss the people the most. They are a tiny piece of my heart now. They have imprinted on my life and I will miss them terribly. That’s the downside to being such an emotional person: you get attached too quickly and the pain of separation can be crushing. The people that I’ve meet working and living in New Lanark will be in my heart and mind always. They are a special bunch of humans.

I finished up my work by helping to run the Live at New Lanark event, which is a live music festival in the gardens of New Lanark. It was a smashing hit and I had a blast working it. Afterwards, we went to the pub for a final farewell, as my train left the next morning. I had to leave abruptly because I knew that if I didn’t, I would find a way to stay forever. I’ve traveled north to Inverness, Scotland and then will fly south to London for a few days, and finish up my trip in France for a week. So don’t fear, my blogging days aren’t over quite yet. I just feel like my farewell to Lanark deserves it’s own post. I will miss this small little town that has captured my heart. It has changed my life, changed my career path, changed my perspective of the world, and changed my vocabulary. I wish everyone there the best and hopefully, I’ll see you next September, when my acceptance letter from University of Glasgow’s post-graudate programme arrives in the mail.

To Lanark and all my precious memories. xx

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Until next time,

-R

Lanimer Week 2015 — June 16, 2015

Lanimer Week 2015

So last Saturday, I kicked off Lanimer Week (which I’ll explain later on) with Champagne Day. Yes, you read that right. A day dedicated to the beautifully delicious bubbly drink. My boss’s parents have been helping to host Champagne day for years. It is basically a day in June where all of her parents’ and their friends, plus their children and grandchildren get together and spend all day just snacking and drinking champagne. We started at 2pm with little snackies and champagne at Alison and Douglas’s home. The food was delicious and I love champagne so what’s not to like? After a while there, we ventured on to Tom and Isabelle’s house for dinner and more champagne. (They also have 2 labradors so I was beyond thrilled. I didn’t even care that it was so cold I didn’t take my coat off all day). It was just a great day of socializing and meeting people. Everyone was so kind to me and incredibly generous. It’s things like that that make it really hard for me to leave next week.

This past week was the celebration known as Lanimer Week. It is a celebration to honor the establishment of the Royal Burgh of Lanark by King David I of Scotland in 1140 AD. It is a week long celebration that starts on a Monday with The Marches. Basically, when King David gave out the royal charter for Lanark, there were boundary stones set up to mark where the boundaries of Lanark were. Ever since then, the people of Lanark have walked out to check the boundary stones to make sure that no one has moved them. Keep in mind, they have been doing this since 1140 AD. That’s 850 years, people. That’s some serious dedication. Additionally, the stones would require a bulldozer and heavy machinery to lift so it’s not likely that they would have been moved but the town still does it every year. I think that’s one of the most amazing parts about this country. They are so passionate about their history and their traditions. Just wait until you see a Scottish wedding. Talk about tradition. It’s amazing.

The whole week is led by a man of the town that gets elected as Lord Cornet. At the end of the week, the Lord Cornet takes home the town standard and keeps it at his house until the next year, when a new Lord Cornet is elected. So Monday, I went on the Marches with Jane’s husband, David. (Jane’s 6 months pregnant and she decided to just meet us when we were done). David is part of the Lanark Rugby Club and during the Marches, the team works as stewards to keep people from traipsing through land owners rose bushes and such, which is a tall order, considering that this year there were close to 3,000 people that came out for the Marches. I stuck with David and got to listen to the rugby team complain about the drinking ban for this year. For the 2015 Lanimer week, there was a drinking ban instituted that prevented people from drinking in the streets. That means that at some point, people could drink in the streets. I’m telling you, I’m never leaving this country. It’s the best.

The weather was glorious and the March happens in the countryside around Lanark and it was the most beautiful walk I’ve ever taken. These are two pictures from the Marches. Tell me that isn’t beautiful.

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After the Marches, we (myself, Jane, David, and the team) walked down High Street to St. Nicholas Church for the transferring of the standard from the former Lord Cornet to the Lord Cornet Elect (who is the Lord Cornet for this year. He’s the ‘Lord Cornet Elect’ until Monday night). Then everyone goes to the pub and hangs out. (Like I said, I love this country)

Tuesday, I helped serve the procession of former Lord Cornets and the current Lord Cornet when they came through New Lanark. Some of the boundary stones are too far out to walk to so they all ride horses out to them. Think 65 horses in a space the size of a cul-de-sac. It was amazing and so elegant. Wednesday, there are not events that happen because everyone is finishing up their ‘Lanimer Lorries’, which are basically parade floats, but the best parade floats I’ve ever seen.

When Friday rolled around, I put on the only dress I brought with me and started the 30 minute walk up to Jane’s house. When I got there, at 8:30 in the morning, they were eating toast and drinking champagne, so I knew it was going to be a great day. At 9am the parade started and I was blown away by the number of people involved. There were thousands and they were all ages. There were wee children dressed like gnomes to elderly veterans, in their military jackets and Tartan pants. There were also 6 or 7 pipe bands. I’ve decided that I adore bagpipes. They are absolutely breath-taking. After the parade, we went back to Jane’s home and just sat around in the sun and spend the afternoon munching and talking and relaxing. I ever got a sunburn!

In the evening ,we walked back down to the town centre for the ‘Beating of the Retreat’. In medieval times, the beating of the retreat was the retreat back to the castle. Since there is no castle in Lanark, they just beat the retreat back up High Street. The Lord Cornet gave his report that none of the stones had been moved and then the pipe bands started. I am seriously mesmerized by bagpipes. At one point, the pipes played ‘Highland Cathedral’ and the town was humming/singing in the background, along with a marching band and it made the hair on my arms stand up. It was heart-wrenching.(I will leave a link at the end to my Youtube video uploads so you all can hear the pipes)

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Friday, I messed around in Glasgow and took myself to the cinema to see Jurassic World. Everyone is arguing over whether or not it was a good film and I’m just sitting here saying “I watched it in Glasgow, SCOTLAND. I don’t even care if it was a crappy movie”, which it wasn’t.

Saturday, I didn’t do much until I went to a ball. A ball. A real life, honest-to-goodness ball. I borrowed a dress from Jane and shoes and went to a ball. It was amazing. There was so much dancing and so many beautiful people and so many kilts. Men in Scotland actually do wear kilts. A lot. Weddings, graduations, balls, you name it: if you could wear a suit to it, they wear kilts. It’s amazing. At the very end, the ball was closed the way most events of revelry are closed in Scotland: with ‘The Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond’. If it helps you, the Irish version of it is ‘Red is the Rose’. The chorus brought me close to tears, partly because everyone in the whole place was singing in their thick Scottish accents, but also because Lanark is near Loch Lomond and it made me think about how much I will miss this place.

O’ ye’ll take the high road and I’ll take the low road

I’ll be in Scotland afore ye

Where me and my true love will never meet again

On the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond.

I had a marvelous week, filled with so much history and tradition, food and hospitality. It has been my favorite week so far and I wish I had many more to go. Who knows, maybe I’ll have a chance to come back and make it a more permanent arrangement.

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Until next time,

-R

Two Weekends Running — June 2, 2015

Two Weekends Running

Ok. So here’s the deal. I’m super lazy and I don’t particularly want to type two separate posts about my two fabulous weekends so I’m going to lump them both together. I’ll separate them by title headings. Get ready because it’s a lot.

EDINBURGH: 

So two weekends ago (i.e. my first real weekend here), my best friend Emily came up to Lanark from Canterbury, where she had been studying for the semester. It was so great to see her and we went to Edinburgh that weekend to celebrate her 21st birthday and our decade of friendship. That’s right, folks, I said a DECADE. These days, it’s hard to imagine youths having friends longer than 10 days but I got lucky enough to have 5 friends for a decade. Well, we got up super early Saturday morning because I had to run music for my boss’s dance show Friday night, which was so much fun. Let me tell you, Scottish Highland Dancing is pretty amazing, especially when it’s being preformed by 10 year olds. So we caught a bus that was supposed to let us off in Bellshill, which is a few towns over, because on weekends, there are no trains leaving Lanark. So we were planning on catching a train in Bellshill. Our lovely bus driver, however, did not know where he was going. And I’m not just saying that to be rude; he literally asked a passenger how to get to Bellshill from Motherwell, which is just a town over. So in Bellshill, we drove through a parking lot, not stopping, and suddenly Emily and I realized that we were leaving Bellshill. So I asked a passenger what was happening and he explained that we were supposed to get off in the parking lot and walk to the train station. Well of course Emily and I didn’t know that so when we got to the stop in Uddingston, the next town, we ran to a taxis, had him drive us to the train station in Bellshill and still caught our ORIGINAL train. I have no freaking idea how we did it but it was pretty amazing.

Once we got to Edinburgh, the rest of the weekend went really smoothly. We did the Royal Mile, which was so exciting because the last time we were there, it was January and all of our photos turned out greyish. But this weekend, the sun was shining and it was absolutely glorious. We wandered around, found a craft fair and checked that out, took a Harry Potter tour around Edinburgh to the sites that inspired J.K.Rowling, which was pretty cool and eventually crashed at 9pm. We were so exhausted. The hostel we were staying at was really clean and we were in a 30 person room, which was crazy because think about it, 30 people in one room…There was some serious snoring happening. All in all, it was an amazing weekend. We climbed Calton Hill and got to see Edinburgh in all it’s sunny glory on Sunday and I fell in love with the city. It was breathtaking.

(Confession: the photo from the hilltop with all the people in it…I was really trying to take a picture of that adorable dog and then I realized how creepy that was but I still quite like how it turned out)

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DUBLIN: 

So, this last weekend, Emily and I went to Dublin, Ireland. Our primary reason for going was that we were seeing a Hudson-Taylor concert and we’ve loved them since before they had an album so it all felt justified to fly all the way to Dublin for them. We left my hostel in New Lanark at the unrighteous hour of 5am to take a taxis to the Edinburgh Airport (remember that thing about no trains out of Lanark on weekends… it’s super irritating). We caught our flight and when we got into Dublin, the sun was shining and it was beautiful. We took a bus to our hostel and ended up getting off at the wrong stop so we had to do a bit of walking, which wouldn’t have been bad except that Emily was planning on surprising her family by coming home 6 days early so we had her huge suitcase with us, in addition to our backpacks. When we arrived at our hostel, they told us that they were too full to put her suitcase in storage until we could check in. I got my mom voice out and told them we only 21 hours in this city and I would really appreciate it if they could take just her big suitcase, we could carry our backpacks. So they did and we made a plan of places to see and started with the Guinness Storehouse, which was primarily for me, because Emily doesn’t drink Guinness. And boy, was it awesome. I learned all about the manufacturing process of the beer and even got to pour my own pint. People aren’t kidding when they say that Guinness in Dublin is the best Guinness you’ll ever have. It was delightful. Then, we went back to our hostel, checked in, and headed to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Absolutely stunning. Those are my only words for it. As a history major, I was completely overwhelmed and ecstatic to be inside such a historically important church.

After our little trip to St. Patrick’s, we planned to stop and pick up our tickets for Hudson-Taylor from will call and the man there told us that the first 130 people were going to get wrist bands to have the front rows. Well, concerts aren’t really my thing so I would have been happy anywhere but Emily really wanted front row so we lined up around the building with everyone else and stood there, in the freezing rain, for 3 hours. While I wish I had been able to see Trinity College, the wait was well worth it because we were so close, at one point, we could touch them. They were amazing seats, minus the fact that once the concert was over, we had been standing for about 7 hours.

When we left Sunday morning, we parted ways. At the Dublin airport, I was selected for a random search, left 3 things of liquids in my bag on accident and was sweating my tail off by the time I made it to my gate. Landing in Edinburgh felt like home. I really love Scotland and while I was only in Ireland for 1 day, I feel so at home in Scotland that I was thrilled to be back. I wandered around Edinburgh, bought myself a pair of boots because it’s freaking freezing here, and then caught a 10:26 train home. However, this trip home did not take me the anticipated 1 hour 30 minutes. It took me 5.3 hours to get home because I assumed I could take a bus from Bellshill (like we did the weekend before. Again, no trains into or out of Lanark on weekends.) so I stood in that stupid parking lot (I’ll use American slang for all of you. Here in Scotland, it’s called a car park so if I accidentally type that in another post, don’t panic.) for 3 hours waiting for a bus that never came. Finally, I walked to the pub across the street and everyone inside felt so bad for me (because my phone was also dead so I had no way of looking up trains or buses) that someone bought me a cup of tea, another let me use her phone charger, and the pub owner got out his computer and helped me find a way home. I’m telling you, people in Scotland are seriously the nicest people alive. Well, I eventually made it home and I crashed around 5pm; it was an exhausting, cold day. Dublin was great, but I’m so glad to be back in cold, rainy, homey Scotland.

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Until next time,

-R

My First Week — May 22, 2015

My First Week

Congratulation. You get two posts in one week. I just have so much to share that I can’t possibly wait any longer!

So my first few days at work were so exciting! I was training and working with my boss Jane on the procedures in New Lanark and I spent my first few days working through the search room, which is the archives and artifacts collection. I started cataloging the current exhibit and labeling the objects already in the search room.

Since I’ve gotten here, I’ve been to 2 meetings, attending a high school dance class, a professional talk about genealogy, and today, I went on a nature walk. It was the most beautiful nature walk I’ve ever been on and I had the most amazing time. The weather was gorgeous, the birds were out ( and reminding me of my crazy bird-loving mother) and the sunshine and breeze was perfect. I took photos that I’ve posted at the bottom. All the photos are from the New Lanark Nature Walk. It’s been my favorite thing so far.

This weekend, I’m traveling to Edinburgh with my best friend Emily, who was studying at the University of Kent this semester and has come to see me! We have a pretty full weekend so I’m sure I’ll have lots of photos to post later!

Until next time,

-R

First Few Days — May 17, 2015

First Few Days

Well, I’ve arrived! I left Thursday afternoon and arrived at Edinburgh airport on Friday morning. My boss was there to pick me up and she took me to the grocery store so I could buy food and then she brought me to my new home!

Firstly, let me say that the Newark Airport is super scary. People were yelling, I forgot to empty my water bottle before I put it through security, I cracked my brother’s iPod screen more than it already was (Sorry, Jared), and I was carrying 20+ pounds on my back so by the time I got through security (which was a long time because they closed 2 of the 3 international security points down. Everyone was funneled through the remaining one), I was pretty sure you could see my sweat marks through my backpack. I managed to choke down some food (which turned out to be pretty delicious, since I hadn’t really eaten all day). I sat at my gate, made friends with a business man who asked me to watch his stuff so he could use the restroom (good thing I’m not a thief. He had some pretty nice stuff), boarded and was seated next to a man who was traveling to Scotland to play golf at St. Andrew’s, and FINALLY took my Dramamine and slept for most of the flight (Hooray for me!)

When I got to the Edinburgh airport, our flight was 40 minutes early and I couldn’t for the life of me remember what my boss looked like so I wandered around, with my rollerboard and my 20 pound pack and figured “Eventually, I’ll find the courage to just start walking up to people”. I didn’t have to wait long because she approached me and we got all my stuff into the tiny “boot” of her car (I was starting to really feel the jet lag so even though I knew what the word “boot” meant, I still almost laughed.) and she took me home! I bought stuff at the grocery store but it wasn’t until I tried to eat it that night that I realized, in my tiredness, I had only purchased carrots, califlower, and bread. So, I ate carrots, califlower, and bread for dinner my first night in the UK. And then I slept. For hours. And it was glorious.

Yesterday (Saturday) I went on the visitors tour of New Lanark. It was self-guided and actually quite fun. There is a beautiful roof garden on the roof of the building that I will be working in. Additionally, I had met many of the the people who work at New Lanark but it had all happened the day before and because of my jet lag, I didn’t remember anyone’s name. So that a project for me on Monday.  Anyways, I went into the town of Lanark after my tour and just wandered around. I bought a Scottish sim chip for my phone (now I have a super long, oddly spaced phone number. I feel so official!), eat a sandwich while sitting on a bench, went back to Tesco’s for some real food (so basically frozen pizzas, fruit, and pasta.), drank a pint at the tiniest pub I’ve ever been to in my life, and bought myself a bouquet of flowers for my hostel room, which is super tiny and adorable, by the way.

All in all, the first 3 days have been glorious. I don’t feel the jet lag anymore (well, except at night, when I’m laying in bed thinking about stuff because my brain says that it’s still daytime), I’ve been drinking lots of water, and staring out my window a lot because it has the most perfect view of the River Clyde. I’m already in love and I’ve seen less than a third of what this place has to offer. It’s a dream come true and I intend to make the most of these 6 weeks.

Until next time,

-R


The view from the roof garden
The view from the roof garden
Hello world! — April 25, 2015

Hello world!

My name is Rachel and I’m moving to Scotland. I have an 8 week internship and I’ll be living in a student hostel all summer, working on exhibition design for New Lanark, Scotland. I’m incredibly excited to be exploring Scotland and the surrounding countries. My dream to travel the world is slowing coming true through amazing experiences like this one. This blog was created to allow my friends, family, and co-workers to keep up with me and experience my adventures with me! I live an incredibe life, so blessed by all the people that I call friends and family. They are so supportive throughout this adventure in my life. I’ll try to keep this as updated as possible and include pictures when I can. Thanks for stopping by. Hope to see you back here! -R “Blessed are the Curious, for They shall have Adventure.”