Fresher’s Week – Part 1

Hello, and happy Friday the 13th! For the superstitious among us, I hope your day has been black cat and broken mirror free! This past week has been quite a whirlwind, so please forgive me for not posting sooner upon arrival. Now it’s time to backtrack to one week ago and move into the present.

Last Friday I said my farewells to my family, my boyfriend, my neighbors, and my country. My family was completely composed throughout the whole affair (okay, we MAY have made a scene at the airport… and there may have been people staring). I had never been on a long-distance flight before, but I wasn’t able to sleep much. Maybe I didn’t have enough blankets (I adore blankets) or maybe it was just the adrenaline of finally going to Scotland, but I ended up staying awake for the duration. I couldn’t have slept if I tried on the final leg because there was massive turbulence! But I made it to Edinburgh at last, after many delays and scary moments, and was surprisingly all in one piece.

The week before classes start is called Fresher’s Week here, and it’s basically an orientation period. There are a TON of really awesome events that you can go to in order to see the city. However, being an international student I had a lot of business to take care of, so the first half of the week was spent largely doing incredibly boring things and going to lots of meetings. At last, I became a fully registered student with my attendance confirmed, classes finalized, a UK phone, and my very own Scottish bank account, and I was FINALLY able to partake in the fun!

The very first “touristy” thing I did was to climb up the Sir Walter Scott Monument. I was waiting for my phone (they RAN OUT of Sim cards. Can you believe that?) and it happened to be nearby so, knowing nothing about it, I decided it might be fun. Well… in a way it was, but it was more terrifying than anything!

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The Sir Walter Scott monument is this giant Gothic spire in the middle of Edinburgh with 287 steps… narrow, spiraling steps… with no handrail for a good portion of it. This means that if anyone is coming down while you’re going up, you have to press yourself against the wall and pray that they can get by. I will say, though, having committed myself to it I think the views were worth it:

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For a slightly less terrifying trip, I hiked up Arthur’s Seat just yesterday. I say slightly because parts of the path are nonexistent, so you basically have to scramble up the rocks in order to get to the summit. It’s not bad, but when a rock slips out from under your boots you do jump a bit! Despite all that, it was an absolutely beautiful hike up the famous (extinct) volcano. The weather has been unseasonably nice, and we had blue skies and warm weather the whole time. And come on, how many times can you hike up a volcano in the middle of a city?

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