It’s truly Autumn in Scotland now. It reached 0 degrees Celsius today, or 32 Fahrenheit for you yanks. They’re setting up the Christmas market downtown (as thanksgiving isn’t a thing here they just skip directly from Halloween to Christmas). Snow isn’t falling, but it does seem to be raining every other day. And it’s pleasant, quite pleasant. The rain turns Edinburgh into even more of a dramatic and beautiful city than usually is.
I spent a gorgeous, proper fall day taking the train over to Durham for… you guessed it… a fencing match! It was actually a rather long rain ride, with the leaves just at the end of turning colors. We passed to Berwick (apparently a different place than North Berwick) and Newcastle Upon Tyne as well, but the end destination was the prettiest. I’m not going to go too much into detail about Durham now as I’m planning on going back in a couple of weeks. TLDR: there is a beautiful castle, a beautiful city, and traffic. Funny enough, Durham is the only place that I’ve run into traffic in my entire time in Scotland, much in contrast with Los Angeles where if you say the word “traffic” three times an accident happens on the 110 and everything is backed up past Chinatown.
The fencing salle (place for the tournament) in Durham was a bit in the middle of nowhere. But it had some beautiful trees. The photo above doesn’t actually do it justice, but it was one of the most gorgeous overlooks I’ve seen outside of a fencing area. It was a tough loss to the Durham team; we were short a few people and they were very much not, but it is what it is. The strangest thing that’s happened now that it’s Autumn is that it gets dark ridiculously early. Like 3 PM early. It’s a bit absurd, so really anything we’re doing after class these days occurs in the dark. It’s a bit wild and honestly is a major decrease in energy just because it’s hard to find motivation when it’s dark out.
Oh, and my injury in Nottingham last week caused an urgent safety reminder to be sent out by British fencing, so cheers to that. I still stand by saying an 800N glove wouldn’t have made a difference in where he hit me.
Usually, while writing this post, I would be at Caltech playing volleyball. I begin school eith preseason, which for those unfamiliar (or are planning on joining women’s volleyball, women’s soccer, men’s soccer, men’s waterpolo, or cross country) is a 5 week long period before school begins where the sports teams I listed before practice and compete. My life during preseason is basically volleyball 24/7. Two practices a day (during school only one) and game days three days a week. No school work to worry about, spending time with my teammates all day, a nice refresher before school begins.
Every year, the Caltech Society of Women Engineers attends the National SWE conference to network with other SWE Chapters and to hustle for jobs. Last year, the event was in Minneapolis, and the year before in Austin. This time around, it’s in Anaheim which is much more convenient for us. Since it is much closer, we were able to send many more delegates to attend and miss fewer classes in the process of doing so.
Almost every house at Caltech runs their own ski trip. The members of social teams choose a weekend to reserve a cabin at resorts like Big Bear or Mammoth Mountain, and offer this accomodation for their members for the weekend for people to go skiing and snowboarding at these resorts. As I’m a part of two houses, Avery and Blacker, I get the chance to go on both - which I am happy I got to do this year! Usually I have fencing tournaments scheduled over the same weekends, and so I can’t go to ski. It was extraordinarily lucky this year that I got two trips. Freshman year, I could only go to one, and last year I could go to neither.