Light Night, Twist and Shout, and Thanksgiving: The answers to all the world’s grievances

…so with a yawn, a stretch, and a crack of the spine, I have come out of essay-induced hibernation! And what a triumphant return it has been. After successfully turning in my literature essay and a second essay on Scottish changeling legends, I emerged from my den of highlighter ink, JSTOR documents, Norton’s anthologies, and general squalor. Had civilization died out during my seclusion? Who knows how long it had been– I could have been squirreled away for years, for all I know, doomed to venture out and find all my loved ones dead, or at the very least, having forgotten me all together. I opened my door, stepped into the cold air, and– how shocking! The world had not been devoured by time and destruction, at all, but was actually  rather wonderful! In fact, there were many happies to await me in the days following my re-entry into society.

It began on Thursday, when I met up with my friends to go explore Edinburgh’s Light Night. This, for those unfamiliar, is the start of the city’s winter festival. It involves an elaborate lighting-up of the area around Princes Street, complete with the installation of a skating rink, a giant ferris wheel, numerous carnival rides, and a German Christmas market. The German market was particularly magical. It was comprised of rows upon rows of vendor huts, each piled high with sausages, fresh donuts, tin toys, nutcrackers, nesting dolls, noisemakers, cakes, and warm mugfulls of mulled beer and wine. White lights were strung like rows of pearls across the tops of the stands, and I felt like a six year old from 1910, giddy and awestruck at the plethora of toys and treats. Huddled there in the cold glow with my friends, I was just about as happy as I’d ever been. And if it weren’t already delightful enough, it stays open all month! This means I can consume nothing but bratwurst, beer, and donuts for weeks! Oh dear…

Tin Toys at the German Market
The Gang (from left top: Connor, Rebecca, Quintin. bottom left: Stewart, me, Andrew)
I stole this from Google Images. Please don’t sue me. It would really put a damper on my Holiday Cheer.

Later that night was the ever-fabulous Twist and Shout. Just to remind you, Twist and Shout is a club night that happens the third Thursday of each month in a club called Medina. It is hosted by Edinburgh Uni’s radio station Fresh Air, and is an evening of exclusively 50s and 60s music. It is essentially my favorite thing ever– I haven’t missed one yet. I swung, spun, jived, and drank cheap sparkling white wine out of a plastic champaign flute until 3 am. I am nothing if not faux-classy and slightly antiquated.

Rebecca and the Ice Bucket

On Friday I hosted a small open mic in the Olive Cafe where I work. The turnout was pretty small, but it was all friends, so still nice. I recited a poem of mine, read one of my favorite Tony Hoagland poems, and played a song on my uke.

Open Mic at Olive Cafe

In all the excitement, my American roots had to be put on hold, entirely ignoring Thanksgiving. However, that simply would not do, so on Saturday, my flatmates and I prepared a Thanksgiving feast. We had all the essentials: mashed potato, sweet potato with marshmallow, corn on the cob, roasted vegetables, stuffing, cranberry sauce, homemade gravy, and of course, a massive turkey. Seeing as my American flatmate, Sarah, and I had never prepared a Thanksgiving meal on our own, and the remaining flatmates had never celebrated Thanksgiving at all, it was a bit daunting. As we soon found out, though, everything that a Thanksgiving feast calls for is pretty darn simple to make. Even the turkey (which came with instructions to roast for 3 hours and 2 minutes. I enjoy unnecessary specificity) just involves sticking it in the oven and leaving it there. Who knew… The real challenge is timing it all to be ready simultaneously, which ended up working out perfectly. Major success.


After the amazing meal with my lovely ladies, I left to build yet another blanket fort, in which I spent the night chatting with friends and staying cozy while rain rattled the windows. Sometimes, life is pretty great.





  1. Kate says:

    hey Genna,
    Love your blog! 🙂 My name is Kate and i live in New York . I am planning to study in Scotland. But my concern is will i be able to get a part-time job, to help me out with daily expenses, in Scotland while i study?
    If so, what do students generally get paid? I really want to come here but im concerned about my expenses.

    1. ggennarose says:

      Hi Kate,

      Getting a part time job is definitely possible. I got lucky and was hired at the first place I applied, but that’s not the norm, so there really isn’t any guarantee. There is also the question of how much you will be allowed to work. I, personally, am here for a full year so I have a tier 4 student visa, which allows me to work up to 20 hours per week. However, people who are here for just a semester don’t need a visa, and thus aren’t allowed to work.

      In terms of tips for finding a job, the best I can recommend is to write up a really strong CV. For mine, I tailored it specifically to fit the place I was applying so they could see that I would be right at home in the cafe– I noticed little knitted things in the display cases, so in addition to writing about my barista experience, I also noted that I can sew, crochet, and knit. I think little personal touches like that definitely improve your chances. Also, apparently applying for jobs is much more passive in Scotland than it is back home, in that people here just drop off their applications and don’t really check back in. I think a bit of American-style forwardness could be a plus. Check back in, inquire about your application, become a familiar face in the place you want to work. That way you will stand out from other applicants. If you are a “regular” customer in a shop or cafe, that always helps too, because they already know you support the business.

      In terms pay, I get paid 5 pounds per hour, plus free lunch. I only work two shifts per week at two hours each, so it isn’t even close to enough to live off of. Instead, I worked all summer to save up, and am now living off of what I made during those months. I do have friends who are working many more hours, though, so it is possible to make more. However, I feel like if you are going to travel all the way to Scotland, you won’t want to be spending all your time working, anyway– you’ll want to be exploring and experiencing Europe. So yeah, I guess I recommend working hard while you’re home to save up, and then getting a smaller job here for some extra float money.

      Sorry for the extremely long-winded response, but I hope that helps, and let me know if you have any more questions!

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