Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Slushy Day

No, not the drink- the snow. The morning started off with proper snow. It was big, fluffy and brilliant. But by mid-morning it had degraded into slush, and now it's pretty much rain. Too bad.

This is a picture of the street outside of my academic building. The beautiful morning snow.

However, the rain is less bothersome when you're inside in your new hoodie and pajama pants. Check out the official Edinburgh Wine Tasting Team hoodie. That's right!

I love that new hoodie feel!!!!

Good news for today, I have gotten permission to do my dissertation study at the museum! Yay! This means I will actually get the bones I need. And I get to go to London. Always a bonus.

And now it's back to work. Sadly this week is going to be super busy. I think I have something every day. Tomorrow I have a presentation on Diet and Bioarchaeology- so no slacking today. I also have an archaeology presentation next week, which means I need to finish that up before this weekend (because I'm going away to Loch Lomond and won't be able to work).

Alright- back to the teeth and what not.

Sunday, February 21, 2010


First off, thanks to Mom for the awesome Philly Hard Rock shirt. I do love me a bright pink shirt! Too bad it arrived after valentine's day.

This week has been super busy for me. I'm trying to work away on an essay for my archaeology class, so I've had my head buried in books about the post-medieval era in London.

Luckily I'm through the research so now I just have to write the darn thing.

The weekend was pretty laid back, went for a nice walk to the farmer's market, ate good food and watched good movies.

On friday we went to an awesome restaurant, Ti Amo. I had the "Sofia Loren" pizza: mozz, asparagus, black olives, and parma ham. Yum!

Saturday we did the normal routine. Lunch at the farmer's market! It was fun, but cold. After having the jam from there last week, I decided to grab another one. This week its gooseberry (which tastes like a cross between a grape and a green apple). We also picked up the fixings for tonight's amazing feast.

These were burgers made from fresh Scottish venison and herbs. It was amazing, and suprisingly cheap!

We had them with some roasted sweet tatties and dessert was the last of the pumpkin cookies.

The weather was fairly nice these last couple days- bitter cold, but sunny. I'm hoping that we're going to start getting warmer weather soon.

It's going to be a really busy week for me, so I'm glad I rested up this weekend!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Pancake Day!

Happy Pancake Day!!!!

Today is Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, or as we will be celebrating in Edinburgh: Pancake Day. I have to say, it's much more exciting to look forward to lent when you're full of the syrupy goodness of a stack of pancakes.

We're making pumpkin pancakes in honor of the day. It was a close tie with blueberry, but since we have the pumpkin puree, and I don't think we'll be making more pie, it had to be pumpkin. Sadly I didn't get to take a photo of the beatiful pumpkin and walnut pancakes (which were declicious and should be made more), because they were too good and had to be eaten immediately.

I got a package! Huzzah for the Valentine's package. I was so excited to get back from the gym and find out that I had it waiting for me. My parents went me a shirt, and the movie "Zombieland". I haven't seen it yet, but everyone says its my kind of movie. I think I will save it for this weekend when I can really enjoy every second of it.

Spent most of my day working hard on my archaeology final, only to discover that I may have been going down the wrong pathway all day, am utterly confused, and probably just need to let it be. Don't you hate when you get started on something and realize that you're not any closer to the goal. Dang.

Attempting making microwave cookies for dessert. It turned into a chewy oatmeal raisin crepe instead. So I slathered it with my awesome jam and ate it anyway.

Tomorrow begins lent. I guess I'll give up chocolate (HA!).

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!
I must say that Valentine's in Edinburgh is quite different than that in the States, as we have discussed here. In fact- it's worse here.
Valentines at home is very commercial, with aisles at every store devoted to presents and all commercials on TV rambling on about diamonds and what to buy whom. In Edinburgh it's more simple, roses for sale and commercials about romance. In fact, the only commercials we've seen are about tasty teeth (people kissing) and romantic dinners for two.

US valentine's is about spending enough money to show someone you care. Edinburgh valentine's is actually about love. Which sucks for those of us that are without it.

On a good note I've been told by the parents that I'm getting a v-day present... so that's awesome.
My valentine's is consisting of these two things:

That's right. Homemade french bread pizza and Adam Sandler movies. It's gonna be a girl's night in to forget v-day and rest up for another week. Before the relaxation however I need to do more research/studying. Back to the books.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Markets and Meat Eating

There is nothing more relaxing than Saturday when your only goal is to write one page on vitamin D, and you finish that goal by 11am. With that sense of accomplishment, I can honestly say that I feel 100% alright with spending the rest of the day goofing around.

Last night I had one of my weekly tasting team practices. We had an amazing German reisling. If there is one thing I miss about NY, its the wine. However, German reislings taste like home. The wine we had was from Mosel, and reminded me of Love Reisling from Imagine-Moore Winery. Yum.

This morning, as I already said- was quite productive. Laundry- cleaned, Emails- replied, Trauma articles- read, Essay section- written. Since the weather is fairly nice out today, my friend and I ended up doing our favorite saturday activity: the Edinburgh Farmer's market.
The market is literally below the castle, which makes for a nice walk and a nice break from studying. Every time we go we've been trying a different type of burger since the market coincides perfectly with lunch time. The first time was buffalo, the second was ostrich, and this week was angus aberdeen (mine with onion, hers without). I love that they put huge fresh slices of cheddar on every burger, and fresh carmelized onions.
Its simply divine. And this is why I am a bad vegetarian. I admit it- I LOVE meat. Of course, I only want to eat happy meat, so the farmer's market is perfect. We are literally getting the meat straight from the source. Okay- not straight from the source, but close enough. And I've seen photos of the farms. The cow looked pretty happy. Stop judging me!
The plan for the rest of the afternoon, once I finish my cup of tea, is to continue onto the next section of my research. Tonight we have our saturday night dinner plan of watching Total Wipeout (think MXC British Style), and eating dinner. Then it's off to a birthday party.
Oh my god! Sunlight outside! Must bask in window before it goes away!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dealing with the Omnivore's Dilemma

This week has been a pretty normal week for me. Classes on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. But there are two exciting things that happened today.

The first was the return of my grades from my first semester essays. I wrote about 90 pages for the first semester, and I just got back 2/3rds of it. Now- grading here goes a little differently. It actual happens the way that it probably should. C is an average grade that in a bell curve most people will get. At home a C is about a 75. Here a C is a 50. Makes sense right? So I had already prepared myself for getting a lower grade than normal. The grading scheme is as follows:

A= 70+

B= 60 to 69

C= 50 to 59

D= 40 to 49

So... without further adieu, I received a 74 and 75! If I get 70+ on all of my courses and dissertation I will graduate with distinction. So I'm on my way.

We had a post-grad wine and cheese party tonight. It was fun and we got free mugs! Afterwards, we met up with some friends to go out for Malaysian, but it was closed for Chinese new year.

So the other big news: we had to go to a different restaurant and ended up at the Green Mantle which is known for their buffalo burgers.

Yes, I've broken my vegetarian spree since the New Year. I've been reading the Omnivore's Dilemma (actually just finished it on Monday) and from this I've decided that vegetarianism is not a good choice. However, I don't want to eat anything that itself has eaten poorly. So grass-fed buffalo burgers is good. Wild caught salmon is great. So I'm veggie unless I can get awesome grass-fed farm raised happy meat.
Back to work on the dissertation and essays. Mmmmm- burger feels gooooooood.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Weekend Update

Ahh Sunday morning. There is something relaxing about a Sunday morning. My Fridays through Sundays don't really have anything different- no classes, nothing planned during the days, pretty much I do the same thing each day. But for some reason Sunday just feels better. Maybe its because of the better crosswords, or maybe its just conditioning. What I do miss about Sundays is having someone make me pancakes and reading a paper. Sigh.

Since Thursday things have been pretty low key for me. I received my first package from my parents: hooray for the loot! They know exactly what makes me happy: oatmeal, peanut butter, kashi bars, craisins, and books.

Friday and Saturday were pretty chill. I didn't get much work done, but I think I deserve that after a week of good solid work. Made some nice meals for myself from some great fresh bread I picked up. One of the great things about food here is that I can pick up a fresh loaf of wheat bread thats only a two minute walk from my house. The bad thing is that the bread goes bad quickly so I have to eat the whole loaf in less than 48 hours. That means every meal has some incorporated into it.

Last night we went out for dinner and a flat party. This was supposed to be a big night for me: I was going to break my vegetarian streak with a buffalo burger. Sadly the burger place was full up. We ended up at a sushi place- where I remained vegetarian. Oh well.

I don't really understand sushi- especially whatever that orange stuff is. But it was tasty. Our group then headed off to the party which was in an amazing flat right off of the park. It was fun- although some of us (me included) might have partied a little too hard. Again, I think I deserved it.

Exhausted this morning (thats what happens when you don't go to bed until 2). Luckily I don't have much work- just a few dissertation things to get through.

Tonight I have a wine tasting team meeting, and of course, THE SUPERBOWL!!! To answer the burning questions:

-Will I get to watch the game? Yes, but it starts at 11pm so I'm only watching the first quarter or so.

-Will I get to have cheese sauce and chips and wings and beer? No, probably not. Again, its at 11pm and they don't have velveeta.

-Who are you rooting for? Colts. I cannot bring myself to root for Saints since the bro likes that team and as you know, siblings cannot root for the same team.

-What are you going to miss the most? I'd have to say Family party. Yum chicken wing dip. Nothing is better than having superbowl with your family all around. As much as I love watching the game itself, if I could give up the game to see my family for a night I would.

Time to go back to studying. The goals for today include reading up on joint disease, finishing my dissertation proposal, and getting ready for the week ahead which includes cleaning the room, skyping the parents and filling out the agenda.


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Lab, Lochs and Late Dinners

Some very exciting updates today and some fun meals!

This morning I had an early discussion group on the Bioarchaeology of Growth and Stature. These are two hours classes where part of the class presents on a topic and we debate it. This was one of my weeks to present. While the actual presentation is quite boring, I love the discussion section. Since I was presiding over the debate, I got to play devil's advocate and bring up interesting and contradictory points. It was fun!

After that, I set out to work on my dissertation. After banging my head against the table for an hour, I made lunch. In honor of my father it was an omelet. The first true omelet I've ever made. I acutally flipped it! It looked quite professional.

Who knew you could turn two eggs, butter, Scottish organic cheddar and broccoli into such a wonderful meal. It gave me the energy to push through my studies.

I'm working on a volunteer project for the city, so in my free time (hah!) I head into the lab and sort through animal and human bone, identifying the tiny commingled bits. From there, it was straight over to the International Student Center.

This is the exciting part. My friend and I are heading out on an amazing vacation in 3 weeks. For an entire weekend we will be roaming around central Scotland. And we get to stay over night at this place.

The intinerary includes Glengoyne distillary, a couple nature walks, Loch Lomond, and some fun meals and activities! It was cheap too. It's nice to have something like this to look forward to.

We didn't get back until 7, so it was a late dinner. I made the Katy Pasta toss, with prawns, corgettes, spinach and loads of garlic. Lauren made some garlic bread to share, and we watched an interesting Zoo show while eating.

Now its How I met Your Mother time, and then back to the books until bed!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So far this semester...

So just a quick update on what's been going on so far this semester. Last week I found out that I had made the blind wine tasting team for Edinburgh University. We will be competing against St. Andrew's on March 18th, and the grand prize is a trip to Champagne, France. Obviously I will be training myself hard!

Here is a picture from the wine society dinner that we went to while the bro was visiting.

We had our first tasting team meeting/training session/practice last night from 8:30 to 11:30 pm. A late night, but definitely worth it. It's fun being able to argue through wines with all people my age! The debates follow the lines of "well a Sauvignon Blanc would have higher acidity" "yes, but it smells like a Sauvignon Blanc" etc.
Other than wine, it's mainly school work. The Msc requires that I do a 15,000 word dissertation, and this requires some original research, a feat that cannot be done just during the summer session only. The first part of this semester was consumed with trying to figure out what I wanted to study. Again- to my father- I am sorry for all my waffling and panicked emails during this period. I've settled on looking at a couple of London collections of sub-adults for the metabolic disease rickets.
Yes, it's that horrible wobbly bone disease that little kids who don't see the sun get. So put down that x-box controller and get outside!

Classes are going very well. I'm currently taking one on Skeletal Pathology, Bioarchaeological Topics, and Research Methods in Archaeology. When I'm not trying to catch up on all the work that I missed while being sick (like I am this week), I also attend classes on animal bones. I also am working on a volunteer project that takes up what little free time I have available.

In a typical day, here is my schedule (we can use today as an example)

7:00 am: Wake up before the alarm goes off, try rolling over, but give up and get out of bed instead.

7:10 am: Do some morning yoga and light stretching (Good Morning Body!)

7:20 am: Make breakfast, this morning it was oatmeal with a tablespoon of peanut butter, some brown sugar, handful of raisins, and a small banana. Also had some instant coffee (gag), but since I'm avoiding the market and was out of tea it was the only caffiene choice.

8:00 am: After breakfast and finishing the daily LA Times crossword I get dressed and catch up on emails. Because of the time difference I tend to get USA emails while I'm sleeping.

8:45 am: Leave for class. We had snow yesterday, so everything is really pretty! This is the little park that's right outside of my flat. Arthur's Seat is in the background.

11:00 am: Back from class, cold icy day with a little sun peeking through. Quickly throw on my gym clothes and head out again!
12:00 pm: Back from gym, stretch, shower, etc.
1:00 pm: Lunch. I had a pita pizza, and what I'm going to call "My Mom was a Hippy" Salad.

I thought it was so pretty that I took a photo. Spinach, oranges, cucumber, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and balsamic. Note the awesome dishes which almost look like my faux fiesta ware from home.
2:00 pm: Should be getting back to the lab to work on the volunteer project (updating blog instead).
4:00 pm: Normally this is when I will finally leave the lab. It's hard to sort fragmented bone for more than a couple hours straight. Upon getting home I plop down in front of the computer and start working through various articles and readings on whatever topics we will be talking about for the next week. Right now it's Infectious Disease and Growth.
6:00 pm: My friend and I meet up for dinner every night at six. Simpsons are on, and it's nice not to be alone for dinner.
7:00 pm: This is about when we get tired of the other dreadful TV shows and each go back to our own rooms. I set back to the articles for at least another couple hours.
9:00 pm: If I've done a lot of good work, I'll watch Bones or the Office. Recently I've been behind so I keep working until 10 or so.
10:00 pm: In bed, reading a book for an hour before I actually turn the lights out. I technically live in a dorm, so it's loud until 11. Right now I'm reading Omnivore's Dilemma. It's making me very happy that I'm trying out being a vegetarian right now.
So there's a typical day. Not too shabby. Some days I have wine tasting, some days we go out to dinner. On the weekend we try to do something fun, but my day is about the same (sans class).
Hopefully that helps with understanding my life here!

Comminicating Across the Atlantic

I love Edinburgh, Scotland. It's just a fact. However, I feel like I don't get the opportunity to share many of the wonderful things that happen here since by the time I make it home I've forgotten some of the little things, and am just too tired to remember.

So I'm starting this blog as a way to update the family and my friends with pictures and moments from the day or week (we'll see how much I remember to update).

Please enjoy reading about my adventures and life here, and please leave comments! And, as always, remember that I miss every one of you!!!