Stephany L


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An Edinburgh Christmas

I know it’s a little early to be talking about Christmas, but I can’t help it! Christmas is a really big deal here. Starting exactly a month early (Nov 25), Edinburgh’s Christmas on Princes St begins. There’s so much to do there, from a giant ferris wheel and many other rides, an out door ice skating rink, and my favorite, a German Christmas market! As far as I know, there’s nothing like this back in California, so the idea was incredibly exciting to me. (: There were so many cool things to look at.

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Snow Days

So, when I saw the snow fall last weekend, I was really excited. Like really really excited. What was even cooler was that it stuckthat night too. It was like magically over night, the entire city transformed into a winter wonderland. Sooo corny I know, but it’s true! (: Most of my classes ended lecture last week, so with my free Monday I decided to take a little adventure to an art museum I’ve been meaning to go to, a little less than 2 miles away.

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Spectres and Snowfall

Through our entire time at Edinburgh, I realized that all of us from Caltech hadn’t really done anything together yet. All of us failed and missed a tour of Mary King’s Close on Halloween weekend, so this Friday night (as in a little while ago) we went on a ghost tour of the underground vaults! Whoo Caltech! :P

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International Receptions = Free Food

It doesn’t matter what university your’e attending- anything involving the words “international” and “food” is always guaranteed to be good. Every year at Caltech during third term, there’s an international food fair where, for a dollar, you can sample foods from all over the world. I always come back to my room completely stuffed and ready to food coma. When I heard about the international reception this week, I definitely jumped at the opportunity to get a free meal comprised of yummy exotic foods, just like any good college student. The most interesting thing I noticed that was different between the one here, and the one at tech, was the countries represented. At tech, basically everyAsianculture was represented, making up the majority of the fair, while at Edinburgh we got to try things from Poland, Slovenia and many more European countries. Meanwhile at the Korean table, I could hear the Korean Student Association club member exasperatingly explaining to everyone who walked by how they weren’t serving sushi, but kimbap, and that there wasa difference. I felt bad for him. It makes sense that the two food fairs had focuses on different continents though, considering the demographic spread of the universities themselves. Enough about that though… onto the food! (: I didn’t take too many pictures… but here’s a good one to get your mouths watering.

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A Day in Glasgow

Last weekend, completely unrelated to the Halloween festivities, I decided to go on a day trip with some friends and flatmates to Glasgow, about a one hour’s drive away from Edinburgh. None of us really planned anything for the trip, but luckily one of my flatmates transferred from Glasgow University last year, and knew the area very well. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland, with the third highest population in the UK. It’s also where all the Scots go for shopping. ;D You can imagine how excited I was when I found that last part out. So naturally, this was our first stop:

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Happy Hallowe'en!

Halloween is my favorite holiday, next to Christmas. I love dressing up and going trick or treating, carving pumpkins and bingeing on candy corn till I’m sick. Coming to Edinburgh though, I heard that Halloween wasn’t really a big deal in the UK, much to my disappointment. I learned later that it depends more on where in Scotland you are though. My flatmate told me the other day that in Glasgow, which is about an hour’s drive from Edinburgh, Halloween is even bigger than Christmas. Whatttt?! I still don’t really know what that means though. This part of the city, at least, isn’t very trick or treat friendly- most of the buildings are just student flats, uni buildings and restaurants, none of which advertised any sort of trick or treating. What sucks the most though is…. they don’t have candy corn here!!! ):

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A Stroll in the Gardens

One of my biggest reasons for wanting to study abroad was the chance to be in a city where appreciation of the arts was easily accessible. With so many museums within walking distance, it’s easily one of my favorite things about Edinburgh. The National Galleries of Scotland are spread throughout the city, and many of them are free. This weekend, I decided to visit the Royal Scottish Academy Building, where they were holding the Impressionist Gardens, an exhibit devoted to, not surpisingly, the Impressionist garden. As luck would have it, this was the last weekend of the exhibit! I’m so glad I decided to go this weekend instead of procrastinating… (:

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A Trip to the Highlands

I finally got to act like a tourist this weekend! It seems a bit odd, but turns out I spent most of my first two weeks trying to settle in and living like a normal uni student instead of going sightseeing and doing all the touristy stuff. Earlier this week a girl I befriended at the airport in London invited me on a day tour of the highlands, so I thought, sure why not? Our tour guide / driver for the day was hilarious and had a serious case of DSL aka Deep Scottish Love. You could definitely tell he knew what he was talking about, and truly loves this country. The main attraction for the day was visiting the Loch Ness, home to the mythical Loch Ness monster, Nessie. The loch itself was incredibly beautiful. The awesome part was Nessie even rose up and said hi to us while we were admiring the scenery!! … okay just kidding. We didn’t see Nessie. There are people who 100% believe she’s real though and research the loch year round trying to find her. The highlight of my day wasn’t the loch though, ironically. It was getting to see Highland Cows (or as they pronounce it, heilan coos). They are seriously the cutest cows ever. My friend and I were probably the only two people on the tour group who were extremely excited about this… but we actually got to feed Hamish and Heather, the two cows!! :D

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He Who Must Not Be Named

Between having to wake up 2 hours before my first class just to catch a bus there and freaking out over what’s going on with my course schedule this week, I was lucky enough that my Wednesdays are completely free. It’s struck me as really random at first, especially since almost all my friends also have Wednesdays off, but I see it now more as a nice little break in the middle of the week, so on this week’s “mini weekend”, my friends and I decided to do a little more exploring- this time, Harry Potter themed. Our first stop was the graveyard, Greyfriars Kirk. One of my friends read that Tom Riddle’s grave was here. I don’t mean like a fake tombstone made in honor of the Harry Potter series, but the burial place of the actual person whose name inspired JK Rowling when she was writing the books. The graveyard itself was absolutely beautiful, so we weren’t in a huge rush to find it, but eventually while scanning through all the names, I finally found it!

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Nerves of Steel

Making the connecting flight to Edinburgh was actually a lot easier than I thought (well then again, I kept thinking of the worst possible scenarios since I never flew internationally by myself before, and it was freaking me out). In fact, I ended up meeting a girl while we waited for our flight who was also studying at Edinburgh for the fall from UCSB! :D I felt a lot better after that, and a little less alone. Apparently both of us already started thinking in a British accent since I’ve only seen her once since then, but just being able to meet someone going through the same thing as me was a huge relief that day. The rest of my day, after setting foot in Edinburgh, Scotland, was tiring, very sore, and incredibly overwhelming. I got lost trying to get back to my flat from Princes Street, one of the main roads with lots of popular clothing stores etc, with my flatmate because both of us forgot to bring a map. Despite it taking us over an hour to get somewhere only 10 minutes away though, getting lost was a great way to explore everything around us. There’s so much more I could say, but it’d probably be a bore for you to read through all of it if I haven’t lost your attention already. Classes don’t start for another week, since it’s Freshers Week right now (kind of the equivalent of frosh camp). I’m sure by the end of the week I’ll have tons of more interesting things to tell you guys about, so until next time! (:

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