When I first saw the sun peek through the clouds to illuminate the vibrant green hues that blanket the Scottish highlands, a huge smile spread across my face. I knew that I would like Edinburgh, very much. With rooftops straight out of Harry Potter and streets made from cobblestone, Edinburgh has an indescribable charm from generations past that seeps into your soul.
It was NOT raining upon my arrival. You’re shocked, right? I know I was, because I was prepared for forty days and forty nights of torrential down pouring. Thus, I’m interpreting the favorable climate and the two kilts I’ve seen as good portents. However, I haven’t heard any live bagpipes yet (I am anxiously awaiting the bleat of the bag!).
After a delicious meal of fish and chips, which is quickly becoming a personal favorite, I settled into my lodgings for the night (I was a bit early for move-in), and had a lively and comical conversation with a riotous stag party from Liverpool that taught me the “essential” lingo of the area- certain terms such as “bollocks.”
As a visiting student from the United States, I knew fully well some things would be different, besides the accents and colloquialisms. For instance, I’ve just realized that I purchased fabric softener instead of laundry detergent. Who would have thought that a little change in packaging and marketing would skew my reading ability? Hence, I washed my clothes with fabric softener today. And they smell like lavender. Here are a few other differences observed in the first 48 hours…
WCs- When people use the term “wash closet,” they really mean closet. Our two WCs each fit one toilet and one sink into a compact little room that is separate from the shower.
Water Spigots- The sinks have one spigot/faucet for hot and one for cold. This is different from the single faucet fixture back home with two taps. My options were extreme- scalding hot or freezing cold. This morning, I couldn’t quite figure out how to get just plain old warm water. After a few minutes of mental gymnastics in the early AM., I resolved to fill up the basin with both taps. It might not be the perfect temp, but I am saving water, which is a perk!
The Loo- I get a work out flushing the toilet. Just here in my apartment, I wasn’t quite sure what to do when the bowl didn’t drain the first time. It appears to be a pumping mechanism of some sort, but you have to keep pumping and pumping until some other doohickey kicks in. So don’t be alarmed if you get a toilet that doesn’t flush. You didn’t break it! Just add some elbow grease.
Getting (and Staying) Warm- I wasn’t sure how to work the heaters at first. I figured I didn’t need to turn one on. But the nights in Edinburgh can get chilly (and it’s only September!). I thought I could “rough it” for a night without bedding. I ended up huddling under my bath towel for warmth because last night was probably the coldest slumber I’ve experienced. So I marched myself downstairs this morning, got instructions on how to use the heater properly from the helpful RAs, and promptly cranked up the temperature in my little room. I’m happy to inform you that it is now quite cozy, and there is a rather fluffy duvet atop my bed 🙂
Outfitting your flat is no trifling matter; it is an opportunity to express your individual taste and preferences. I was anxious to begin with a clean slate here in Edinburgh. As a self-proclaimed bargain shopper, I wanted to shop where my pound carried the most weight! Names like “Poundstretcher” and “Pound Saver” caught my eye, naturally. I’ll only be here for a brief period of time, and I am working with a tight student budget. I price compared at three different stores to get the best deal on home goods and other necessities. (Kitchen supplies- Tesco brought home the most bang for my buck, the Salvation Army stores had the most unique and cost effective dinnerware, and Poundstretcher came in handy for utensils Bedding- I was a bit selective in my bedding choices and splurged for some sheets from Marks & Spencers. Primark is GREAT, too!).
Activities are not for want here at the university! Edinburgh will fill whatever cup of tea you choose. The university has scheduled so much programming that you don’t know what to attend-it’s a bit overwhelming (in a good way), but the EUSA (that’s the student union) staff is working especially hard to make the week a success. And I think it has been thus far! We are currently here with just the freshers (college freshmen and women) and fellow international students. I’m excited to meet the rest of the student body next week at the official start of the academic year.
After three weeks of constant travel, it feels so nice to have a place to firmly plant my roots, and Warrender Park Crescent is just what I need. The building overlooks the Meadows, a large expanse of multi-purpose lawn. I love walking by and watching all the activity- rugby (lots of rugby), football (soccer), football (American football), ultimate Frisbee, children playing on the playground, golfers practicing their putting, owners with their dogs. I hope to one day try my hand at cricket!
After 48 hours, it is no mystery- I am so very grateful for the opportunity to live and study in Edinburgh.
Things I’m looking forward to this week:
- Exploring the historic parts of Edinburgh & surrounding area
- Getting to know my international and interesting roommates better