Day 3

Yes, I know, this post came much quicker than the last one, didn’t it? Anyway, à jour trois…

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So, to start, there’s something strangely magical about these guys. And no, it’s not their beards. Many years ago now, I went to the London 2012 Olympics and my family and I shot up here, to Glasgow, so we could make use of Central Station. We were heading to Edinburgh, naturally. Well — these lads were here that first time, playing in this exact same spot. Then, come the first day I’m making my way back up Buchanan Street for this second jaunt across the pond in 2015, and here they are again. Greeting me like last time. It was rather an odd coincidence, I must say. Good thing I don’t believe in coincidences.

What I would do differently? This time, I’ll make sure to buy one of their CDs. If only for aesthetic appeal because my computer no longer has a disc drive…

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I know what you’re thinking: “She’s going to say that next time she won’t be a stereotypical American and take a picture next to a telephone booth.” WRONG. This next time, I WILL take ANOTHER picture next to a telephone booth, but perhaps I’ll go to the lime green one farther down Buchanan…I used to walk by it all the time when I was headed to Central to meet Sam for riotous outings, or when I was going for a calming walk in the rain. They have free Wifi so I don’t see the point in avoiding them. I don’t care how American it looks – I’m working on embracing that side of myself again, okay? I don’t really like it but what can you do when you fall in love with an American or two…

Check it out:

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Pretty great, huh? Makes for a good, nostalgic shot, and with the banners and the rain and the lights…

Day 4 to come soon.

“A few thousand miles and an ocean away, But I see the sunrise, oh, just like the other day, Picture your eyes as I fall asleep, Tell myself it’s all right, oh, as the tears roll by.” -Oceans Away, ARIZONA

Day 2

So, as promised, here is day 2. Not that anyone is reading, but it’s good for my mental health so here we go.

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When I arrived in Scotland the first time, I, as you saw in the last post, had 5,000 bags – so, naturally, when I attempted to transport them through the airport, they weighted a ton. I didn’t realize at the time that the luggage carts had to be pushed down at the handle to carry the weight for you. Well – you can guess what I did then. Pushed the whole freakin’ load myself. All the way through the airport. I was sweaty and surely smelly and felt like an idiot. I really had to put my back into it! But I was certain I covered it well. No one commented anyway. Our old family friend Paul didn’t even look disgusted when he hugged me before escorting me into the city.

Anyway, next time, I’ll know to push the handle down before pushing the cart forward. And this next time, that is exactly what I’ll do. Maybe this next time, I’ll even hold off on scoffing at how fake the sunshine looks in this photo. (It really is a rare occurrence, folks).

 

Day 3 to be posted in the next few days!

 

“You’re dripping like a saturated sunrise, You’re spilling like an overflowing sink, You’re ripped at every edge but you’re a masterpiece, And now I’m tearing through the pages and the ink.” – Colors, Halsey

Day 1

So – I decided to do a thing. For whatever reason, I’ve been trying excessively hard to be doubtful about my upcoming adventure (aka Return To Scotland). I’ve been jealous, lost, uncertain. I know – not nearly as confident as my old Scottish self. And that’s when I realized: I should revisit that person and remember WHY I wanted to return. Because, I mean, it really was a spectacular 6 months.

To fill everyone in: I just graduated from undergrad at Cal Poly Pomona with an English Literature degree. YAY I can certifiably write and read things now! Well, that’s the thing – undergrad wasn’t enough. So I spent an entire year of my life preparing to go to graduate school (specifically the University of Glasgow in Scotland, naturally), applying to scholarships, grants, applications. And yet, when I finally got my acceptance into the Fantasy Literature Masters program, my reaction was rather shocking. I wasn’t ecstatic. I wasn’t relieved. I wasn’t even that proud of myself. Sure, it hadn’t been my initial program, but hey, it was still a similar program, one I would enjoy more and would benefit me more, in fact, and it was still at my dream school. So – what’s the problem? you’re thinking. Funny you should ask because the problem was, well, me. I had talked myself out of it. Convinced myself I could only have one home and that home was no longer in Scotland. Scared myself silly thinking my new California soulmates would abandon and forget about me as soon as I left. Or that I would immediately abandon and forget about them as soon as I got off the plane.

It was PTSD, really. Not to inappropriately use the term, but I really did have a hard time. I’d just overcome a 2-year heartbreak, after all, and I wasn’t quite in the mood to take on another. Life is tiring when you’re constantly breaking your own heart.

So! My decision is this: From now until the day I leave for this journey and kilt-clad adventure round 2, I will post a picture or two (or three heh) from my old Scotland trip and will discuss what I did in that moment, what was special about it, etc, etc, and most importantly, what I will do differently this next time around.

Because, let’s face it, a large part of my heart is still stuck in Scotland and it would be silly to sit here and pretend that is no longer true because things have changed. In five months’ time, I will embark on a journey filled with opportunity for myself, for my writing, for my future, and I have absolutely no excuse to be a bitch about it.

To start off:

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I am going to pack WAY better than I did before. What is this shit? Come on – you’ve got to FOLD your small shirts and stuff your sweaters in the corners so they don’t take up so much space. But I guess I wasn’t savvy then. I hadn’t yet embarked on two separate backpacking trips around Europe.

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Don’t you children worry, I’ve learned from this mistake as well. It was only a few weeks ago I packed 12 different outfits into that wee duffel bag in the back. The black one? Yeah, that’s right. I did that. So clearly here, I was not that inventive. But I was excited, you know? It was a new environment, a new life, a new scene. I had to bring it all. This time around, I’m only going to bring 18 hangers and will split those between pants and sweaters. Or — trousers and jumpers. See? Already practicing.

It’s going to be a fun year, I can tell you that.

 

P.S: Some of you may recognize these photos. I swear the content is different though. Trust me. Just keep reading. It’ll be great.

 

 

“I will fly, chase the wind and touch the sky” – Brave, Touch the Sky

 

People Make Glasgow Day 6

So I’ve been out for a few weeks. The Disneys have even stopped, but that’s more because I just haven’t been in the mood, tbh. They will start up again in a few weeks when my work has quieted down. Apologies for all that! But for now – onto the necessary and rather late day 6 of my study abroad experience in Scotland.

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With my reputation for parties before me, I set out for what is known in Europe as a ‘Carnival Party’, or a Halloween-like party literally at any time of the year. With that in mind, the only catch to attend is that you MUST be dressed up. So, after fussing with myself and my roommates over what to wear all week, I decided that I could easily go as a wolf. I owned the appropriate wolf hat, the leggings, the cropped top. All that was left was the makeup. So there I was, already slightly buzzed from two pints at Bar Home with mountaineering club (first time out with them), getting ready for yet another party. As I swaggered through Birkbeck Court, someone threw open their window and howled down at me. I raised my arm, drink in hand, and wolf-howled right back. Little did I know that I would soon be howling myself into the ground and become known as the ‘Da wolf!’. Safe to say that it was a good end to week 3.

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The very next day, Friday, I already had another evening planned. I was hardly ready. Despite my eagerness, I was quite the grandmother inside and had a hard time keeping up with my own antics. Nevertheless, I dolled up just enough for a silly international pub night where I met one of the most interesting people yet. A boy, of course. One straight from France. He wasn’t someone who studied at Strathclyde, unfortunately, but was visiting one of our other French friends. Needless to say, we got along just splendidly. And stuck together like glue the rest of that very drunken, slightly blacked out, night. If you’re curious, he’s the one right below me in the picture, with his tongue sticking out.

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Well — only a few days later and I’m following this French man like a loyal Labrador. I became greatly attached to him, actually. I figured he felt the same; yet ever since that one, fateful night where I gave more of myself to him than I probably should’ve, he had been a tad cautious and hesitant around me. I tried to ignore it. But, despite my efforts, it stuck out to me very clearly. Almost as clear to me as this rainbow, which I swear was sitting right on top of us. Still couldn’t seem to spot the pot of gold though. He had invited me to Edinburgh with him and his French lads. It was a grand ol’ trip. We spent the day walking, talking, joking. Here, we hiked up Arthur’s Seat – the famous spot where Arthur himself tore the sword out of the stone. Or so the rumor goes.

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Of course, as we made our way over to the seat, I couldn’t deny myself a shot with my inspiration’s old hotspot. The French boys wouldn’t let me go inside. They were on a mission, apparently. But I was able to at least snag a photo of the outside, with a whispered promise to return to it eventually, where I would go inside and write my own novels’ notes on scraps of coffee napkins.

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Besides the rainbow and the mysteriously missing pot of gold (I suppose it isn’t Ireland, is it?), the top of Arthur’s Seat offered a view such as this one. Basically one like no other. At least in Edinburgh, that is. Here, one can see that night is falling. The unusual sun sinking below the horizon. And you know what? Despite the cold, I didn’t want to leave. I could’ve stayed up there for as long as the weather and the French boys would’ve let me…

Peace. Cheers. Love. xx

Day 7 to come next week (Promise this time)

People Make Glasgow Day 5

At this point in my stay at Strathclyde, I was getting very invested in the people. Hence the title of this whole series. I mean, Glasgow itself portrayed the banners all around the city. In the West, Center, and even the East. I was also steadily involving myself with what appeared to be the stereotypical ‘freshman experience’. But you see – I had never experienced this ridiculous, wild side of myself before. So it was quite fun to experiment with my possibilities and opportunities. Even if it had only been 2 weeks since I’d landed in the land of the brave, true, and the rain.

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The day after the wild club night where unspeakable things happened, I followed my flatmates and fellow Pomona friend to the famous Glasgow Necropolis. It was very conveniently located behind Strathclyde. This beautiful structure before you was just one part of it – we weren’t even at the graveyard yet. Just you wait. The beauty only got better.

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The snow was a day or two old, but the air was bitter cold. Though the sun was out. A decent number of names and dates were so old, that even though they were carved in stone, I couldn’t even attempt to read them. I waltzed among the trees and gravestones as my flatmates and friend engaged in a rather unnecessary snowball fight. But I didn’t let them spoil my own private fun.

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We stayed until the unveiled sunshine began to disappear beneath the hills. I particularly love this picture because of the way the fading sun cast magnificent shadows across all the tombstones, so that they looked like silhouettes. It was probably about 3.30 p.m. We were still into late January, so the sun was barely awake this far north. Up at 8 and down again at 4.

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The following week, I was invited out to what was called a Pub Golf outing. One of my newly acquired Scottish friends from Arthurian Legends, the girl on the left, in fact, was going with all of her Scottish friends and so of course, naturally, I was invited, too. The middle guy was in my Order and Nature in Renaissance Writing course as well and had been one of my first friends here. Pub Golf is a massive bar hopping event where you must dress up as a ‘golfer’ or you will automatically get points taken off. You also hit 9 pubs in one night. You know, like a small round in golf. Apparently they had even crazier events here called Sub Crawls, where you got off at every stop on the subway to get a pint. I didn’t dare try that one yet however. This night was yet another one where I surprised myself. It was a blast and I managed to survive. Didn’t even black out or anything. Though I did end up kissing yet another boy – 3 in 2 weeks. Definitely a record for me, at least.

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By the end of the second week, I had broken a boy’s heart, ditched another one, and kicked the third out of my flat without his socks. Naturally, I needed a girl’s night. So here I was – invited out for the third time with another of my newly acquired Scottish friends. She’s not pictured here because we didn’t have any good club selfies. Once again, naturally. This one was a random gem. And this girl remains an amazing individual who helped my experience foster into one I would never forget. Next time, I’ll picture the lovely lass who invited me out, considering she’s still one of my best friends. The four of us hit a pub first, where we ranted about feminism and all its glory, shared 4 pitchers of alcohol, then I proceeded to get nachos at The Counting House and impress this lovely lass here with my love of Irn Bru and finally, we hit the club. The Garage, it was called. The one I had meant to go to last Friday. Long story there. The night ended up being perfect and just what I needed.

Peace. Cheers. Love. xx

Day 6 to come next week.

 

People Make Glasgow Day 4

Ah yes – the time has come for the REAL fun to start. My dad left me to my whimsies, told me to have fun and be safe and then left me standing on the street as he drove away in a taxi for 6 months, and it was up to me to fulfill my life’s ambition and become the true Gryffindor within. I am, after all, a Gryffindor at heart.

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So here lies the outside of my flat. Birkbeck Court. It’s peaceful and quaint, isn’t it? I love the way the deadened trees somehow seem to liven the place up. It was a dreadfully sunny day. Quite the scandal, if you ask me. My window was one of the ones at the very top. Crazy, right? And you know what? I never learned to accept those 8 flights of stairs.

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And, in case you were wondering (which I’m sure you were), this is what my room looked like on the inside. It’s even cuter than the outside, I’d say. Of course it helps that I decorated it. I went a little wild while packing and brought almost everything I could find that seemed to scream ‘KRISTA!’ So – here it all is. I enjoyed it though. It became my safe haven. My cave of love, even. Though I often kicked them out without their socks the next morning. I even enjoyed the smell of it. There was an old style heater under the window and I think it gave the whole room a sort of warm, cozy smell as well as feel. I always slept well here. It was strange. I hadn’t often slept well back in Cali. I always needed some kind of white noise there, too. But not here. Here, I could keep my window open and listen to the crazy partiers coming home at 3 in the morning screaming Bulgarian songs. I could listen to the rush of taxis and large buses on the wet road. I could hear the patter of the rain on the windowsill. It was all very refreshing to me.

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Well, one week in, I woke up to this. Snow. On the roofs. In the grass. Breeding in the sky. It was the most exciting thing I had experienced so far. I had gone out the night before so I woke up kind of late, but it still seemed right on schedule. So I rushed into the shower and got ready. I had to be outside. Had to. Of course, when I get out there, the cold wind only seemed to wake me up more. I wanted to keep walking. Wanted to run. To take over the city myself. And I mean, I basically did. But I didn’t know I would do that yet. Today, all I cared about was kicking around the snow and making footprints in the grass. I didn’t even care that I was alone. None of my flatmates cared that much about it. But I did. It made me feel…alive. I was soon to find that a lot of things would make me feel that way in this dreadfully distant place.

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Look at how few people cared! Though most of them weren’t silly California girls, were they? Thank the Lords. I was already annoyed at the international orientation when a whole line of flippy-haired, blonde, San Diego girls sat down in front of me. I didn’t need more of them, that’s for sure. I had left America for a reason. Where was I headed here? I don’t even know. Everywhere. Nowhere. To the library, probably. Pay no attention to the giant crane or the lack of human life…

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And, as promised, my life truly began this week, too. Here, I have officially convinced all of my international and Scottish friends alike to attend the Harry Potter themed club party with me. We were pre-gaming in a flat before heading out to the club. Can you pick out the Scots? Hint — look for the whitest boys in the whole room. I’m hardly visible, though it is a shame. I was wearing a full-on outfit of Hufflpuff attire, socks and everything. Kind of awkward considering I’m a Ravenclaw now. This was the first real party I attended and the first time I really let go. I won’t say much more. The rest is up to one’s imagination. Let’s just say that the night ended much wilder than expected…

Peace. Cheers. Love. xx

Day 5 to come next week.

People Make Glasgow Day 3

So we progress on, yes? Onto jour trois:

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As was promised by the last post, my dad and I had managed to successfully find Strathclyde. Not only that, but we managed to take plenty of pictures on its campus. It is quite pleasant, isn’t it? Not as beautiful as the University of Glasgow, my dad said, but this campus was newer anyway. Already I was loving the different vibe that we found just walking among the buildings and old bits of grey snow. Here, I am posing by the big ol’ grand sign. You know, in case you were a lost student, too drunk to find your way home without guidance at 4 a.m.

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Dad and I wound our way through campus and found ourselves back on Buchanan. We progressed further down the street this time, only going the other way, toward what appeared to be a large concert hall. It had been a long, cold day. But it hadn’t rained on us. Even the sky itself was tired of being sunny and was winding down well before it had hit late afternoon. A typical January in Scotland apparently had the sun setting at around 3.30 p.m. Imagine that?

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Out of the setting sun shadows, we found ourselves on Sauchiehall Street. Buchanan and Sauchiehall connected at the concert hall, actually. It was like we couldn’t be stopped, stumbling here and there. It was really great fun. And of course, neither Dad nor I could help stopping and taking a well-deserved tourist shot. What American goes to ANY part of the U.K. and doesn’t come out with at least one picture of themselves next to an old phone booth? No one. Not a single, true American. Even though I was rapidly loosing all shred of my American-ness, layer by layer, I found this picture enjoyable and necessary all the same. And you know? The phone inside actually worked! It even included free WiFi. I say again – imagine that?

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At this point, Dad and I stopped in a pub for some grub. And alcohol, of course. “Drinking already”, my poor father commented as I happily and without hesitation ordered a coffee with a healthy serving of whisky included. It was quite good! Much sharper than I had expected, but I mean, what good is whisky if it isnae sharp?

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I know this is technically a repeat picture. But look — there ARE differences! The snow has officially melted completely, there are less cars on the street, and, it’s during a different time of day. I wonder if there was ever such a beautiful picture as this in California. I doubt it. When have there ever been clouds over Southern California long enough to capture a shot like this? The answer is never. But it’s okay — because when I took this picture, Southern California was long gone from my mind.

Peace. Cheers. Love. xx

Day 4 to come next week.