Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen myself here writing to you. Meanwhile, I’ve kept quite busy. In my Master’s program, I typically have 2 classes per week which are 3 hours each. That leaves me a lot of free time which I was pretty scared I would waste. Luckily, I have learned to manage it much better than I thought. I’ve been able to keep up with school while enjoying time with friends, traveling a bit, and making time to virtually stay in touch with my biggest fans back in the States (shoutout to FaceTime and WhatsApp).
Here’s a timeline of how I’ve spent the fall in Dundee!
September 18. Explored Broughty Ferry Castle and beach. And all ideas of a beach equalling warmth were lost.
September 23. Attended the Taste of Scotland Welcome Party complete with ceilidh dancing and haggis. The haggis was….just as I expected. You can take it from there.
September 29. Celebrated our friend Ine’s birthday at Nicoll’s Bar and Restaurant. Lovely food, even better atmosphere, do yourself a favor and pop in.
October 8. Enjoyed a Catalan meal served by our very own Catalanan friend, Marta!
October 10. Celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving!
October 14. Went to The Girl on The Train at the Dundee Contemporary Arts Center. You can get a beer at the bar and take it into the movie…I mean…genius.
October 17. Submitted my first research essay as a grad student. Eek! The nerves!!
October 22. Went on the University of Dundee West Highland tour. You can read more about the fun in Ine’s blog post. (Ine, do I get friend points for this?)
October 23. Spilled coffee on my laptop and stepped back in time to the life of the ethernet cord. Buh bye wifi.
October 26. Bobbed along to lovely live music by the Peatbog Faeries with my classmates at Inchyra Arts Club. Bagpipes indoors…my ears were ringing for hours.
October 27. Went to The Girl on the Train…again! Because it was just that good, obviously.
October 31. Enjoyed a Halloween dinner with classmates and finished the night at the DUSA Halloween rave. Oh and for an appetizer we had the festively named “blood soup” which was soup made with beetroot and some spices. So good. Hearty and warm…I can taste it now!
November 2. Went to the Scottish Borders as a class. Nope, I don’t think I’ll ever be too old for field trips.
November 7. Submitted a giant research essay. And then slept for longer than I care to admit.
November 8. Hosted a ‘Potentially Lose Faith in Humanity’ party to stay up and follow the results of the United States Election. I would talk about the results but I only have one box of tissues on hand.
November 11-17. Went on a field trip to Germany, Switzerland, and Austria! Again…never going to hate a good field trip.
November 18. Found the Mexican food that I’ve been craving! If you haven’t been to Wee Mexico on Perth Road, let this little name-drop be my gift to you. Maybe they’ll sponsor me for saying that? Burritos for a year? I can only dream. Are you listening, Wee Mexico?
November 18. Lit into the Christmas spirit through Dundee’s Light Night Night Lights. Yeah, say that 12 times fast!
November 19. Went paint-balling at Delta Force outside of Edinburgh and realized the fun is truly not worth the pain of being hit.
November 19. Walked through Edinburgh’s Christmas market and ate the most delicious waffle of all time. All. Time. Just a little cinnamon and sugar and a pile of whipped cream. Yeah, you can taste it already can’t you.
And I can’t leave you without an update from today.
It began as usual with my alarm ringing and my half open eyes guiding my sleepy arm toward the snooze button. Yogurt, muesli, and chia seeds found their way into my backpack for lunch and I bundled up eagerly awaiting the moment my coffee could replace my gloves. Tonic on Perth Road, by the way…they do coffee the way I like my coffee.
I opened the door and was greeted with a friendly smile that all too clearly showed I was becoming a regular. Awkwardness rushed over me… There’s nothing wrong with having your favorite spots, don’t get me wrong, but this totally through me off guard and I immediately felt like I had to act like I don’t go there often and like I definitely don’t get the same thing every time… My plans to get my usual mocha vanished, I just couldn’t fully live up to the theme of being a regular customer. I glanced at the list of my options on the wall and quickly asked for a macchiato with absolutely no idea what a macchiato was. I learned its an espresso in teeny little cup…like what my dentist hands me mouthwash in before they begin a regular cleaning. This, sadly, but of course, doesn’t turn my teeth white…
My baby espresso and I made our way to the library and realized two very critical things. One, I hadn’t put deodorant on before leaving the flat, and two, my yogurt spilled inside my backpack (I’ll spare you the photo). As you might imagine, and sorry if you were, I was becoming a walking stink bomb. Soo, I turned around and retreated back to my flat where I filled a mug with ice, added some milk, and poured my espresso in it for a much more appetizing iced coffee. The situation was taking a happy turn.
The day moved on like days do…I did my dishes and vacuumed my floor, all in procrastination of the loads of school work to do. Later, I made my way to my Bank of Scotland appointment to set up an account like real adults do. As I waited for my name to be called, I couldn’t help but notice it was 3:30 and the sun was already beginning to peace out for the day. I’m still trying not to find that depressing. It’s more cozy than depressing, right? Tell me I’m right!
Anyway, today is Thanksgiving day back home in Iowa and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t missing my momma’s kisses, my dad’s jokes, the endless supply of mashed potatoes, and the inevitable food-coma naps. But it’s okay, I know how lucky I am to have my groupies at home supporting me while I am over here doing this Master’s thing! So even though today was full of coffee mess-ups, yogurt spills, boring bank appointments, and definitely not enough mashed potatoes, I’m still thankful for every minute. Every last one.