Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Last post before crossing the Atlantic

The Final Countdown to Home!!!

I've only got three days left, and I'm finding it really hard to focus on work. I've completed all of my essays, and even printed them out. They just need to be handed in. At this point I'm just trying to occupy myself with possible work. Hoping to make the last push so that I can take all of next week off without feeling guilty. What I should be doing now is continuing my dissertation research, at least for the historical background part, since it will be easier to study here than at home. Instead I find myself reading fictional books and hanging out way too much at Starbucks. Considering we've got a nice sunny day outside, I will probably take a long walk today and ignore my assignments completely.

I can't wait to be home! I'm already making a list of must-do's during the April.
1. Visit RSMC and see the dinosaur exhibit
2. Visit Strong Museum and see the Lego exhibit (yes, we notice the pattern, I'm a 5 year old boy at heart)
3. Wine Tour of Seneca or Cayuga
4. Beer Tour of Seneca
5. One weekend trip somewhere, maybe Cooperstown or Philly?
6. Run a 5k (Look's like it'll be the one on April 11th, if I don't end up making b-day weekend plans)
7. Work on dissertation (okay, not fun- but necessary)
8. Paint Easter eggs (seriously, I'm not missing out on this one)
9. Have Nana teach me to make that brown bread she does at Christmas (its like crack, only healthier)
10. Spend way too much time at the cabin... the dock better be in!

Alright, now it's time to pretend to do work so that I can goof off all night and not feel guilty about it. See you all in a few days!

Monday, March 22, 2010

What an amazing weekend! One of my friends hosted a dinner of Mussels on Friday night. It was paired with amazing french bread, homemade mayonnaise, white wine sauce, and a buttery rich Macon Chardonnay. Incredible! I brought Grampa's famous NY cheesecake, and as you can see below it was quickly decimated.

Saturday was spent trying to recover from both Thursday and Friday. Did the normal farmer's market thing, got a little bit of homework done, but mainly laid around! Oh, right, I also made 48 cheddar meatballs for another food and wine party.

We had this idea to do a night of finger nibbles and favorite wines. It was like a wine tasting, only we got to eat! I brought the meatballs and a Spanish Albarino. Delicious. Everyone brought really amazing foods. It's fun hanging out with a group of foodies. Everyone really puts the effort into their food and is really proud of it. We all just made really simple delicious dishes. It doesn't hurt that everyone also brought amazing wines. We got to try wines from almost all of the big wine countries (France, Spain, Italy, Australia) and even began the night with a nice fizz.

Now I'm done with the parties and on to my last week of this semester. Only four days until I'm home! I'm actually pretty hectic with school work until then. Monday through thursday I have 9 am lectures. I also have a staff/student meeting on Wednesday and tons of little things to get done before I can head home. Also have to hand in my massive final essays (we're talking like 70 pages here for two essays).

Hopefully I will find some time to say good bye to people and enjoy myself a little. Although I think I'm going to avoid drinking wine for a little. My liver must look like a raisin at this point.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nous Allons au Champagne!!!

That's right! The University of Edinburgh Wine Tasting Team won our competition against St. Andrew's University. We won in every category: reds, whites and reserve. Huzzah! Our grand prize is a trip to Champagne, France to visit the Pol Roger vineyards.

For lunch we were lucky enough to go to The Kitchen, a Michelin starred restaurant. Honestly, the best food I've ever had. I had the amuse-bouche of a leek and fennel soup with creme fraiche and crab, ox tongue with chorizo and beans for starters, hake with gratin macaroni and veg for the main, and a cheesecake like pudding of rhubarb and goat's milk with raspberry sorbet. The whole thing was paired with an Alsatian Riesling and a Chianti Classico.

Following lunch we had a quick pint at the Bow Bar, and then headed off for more champagne. We ended the night eating takeaway Malaysian and drinking martinis and more wine and even more champagne!

For the complete story you will have to chat with me when I'm home next week. For the photos visit http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2109388&id=16504620&l=1c4bdd7287

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Quickie Update!

First off, only 8 days to go!
Here's a quickie run down of whats going on:
-Pol Roger Blind Wine Tasting competition tomorrow morning
-Handed in 1 out of 3 essays. 2 out of 3 is printed and ready, and 3 out of 3 needs some retouching and a little more research
-Loads of exciting plans for the weekend, more updates on those will follow
-Weather is fantastic! in general we're getting loads of sun with a little bit of grayness and light spit like rain in between, but warming up quite well
-Still have way to much candy.... must find way to pawn it off on others so we can all be fat together

Hopefully this weekend I will have a better update. Damn these finals taking up my precious time.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Another week down and only two left in the semester. My how time flies when you have essays due. Luckily for me I'm a very proactive person when it comes to writing papers, and I know it takes me forever. So right now I actually only have one of three papers left to complete (and its mostly done). That means that the next two weeks can be devoted to wine and soaking up the sun.

Its a beautiful sunny day here, about 50 degrees outside, and since its Saturday I am heading off to the Farmer's Market with a group of friends. Another market, another angus burger... but wait! Not this week. Sadly there was only one burger left, so I willingly let my friend have it. I ended up having the angus sausage. Just as good as the burger, although a little bit harder to eat while walking around.

After the market, we did our normal walk around the Grassmarket. Today they were having a peace rally! It was kind of fun. They were singing and cheering on a strange woman wrapped in a blanket, and even handing out sandwiches and puddings. Very odd. We couldn't even figure out what kind of peace they were hoping for.

So not only was the street full of hippies, but tonight is the six nations rugby game of Scotland versus England. So the streets are full of guys and girls in the red and blue colors. Pubs were packed already. It will be interesting to see how the game turns out. Regardless its going to be an awesome night to be out and about.

It's finally spring in Edinburgh, so we are seeing crocuses everywhere. It makes me so happy to see the purple and yellow all over the ground. We took a big walk through the Meadows since it was so sunny, and the flowers were amazing.

On the way back to our building we stopped into Starbucks to take the Via Challenge. You get a mini cup of filtered Colombian and Via instant Colombian and have to figure out which is which. They actually tasted almost the same so it was tough.... but I guessed it correctly! Yay! For taking the challenge we got a free tall coffee and a coupon for Via. To reward myself I bought myself a nice latte and picked up a pack of Via for the next couple weeks.

Tonight we're doing a big birthday party in New Town, so it's back to essay writing until then.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Candy Calories Don't Count.... right?

First off, a big THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH, to Meeps. I received my first non-parent package from him today. What a wonderful surprise. It's been a rough week, and now I can deal with everything because I have about ten pounds of candy to much on. And all my favorites too! Sour patch, sour gummy worms, reeses... and the world's most amazing white chocolate craisins. I'm trying to hold back... back everytime I look at the pile I'm forced to sample. I've already had about half of one bag of the craisin chocolate crack nuggets and a couple handfuls of gummy bears.

To add to this amazingness, mom topped up my Starbucks card so I also treated myself to a latte, and its brilliantly sunny outside.

Right now I'm only about a quarter through my last final exam- the practical exam. It's going to be a rough next couple of weeks finishing this up, but at least I'm making headway on it. Only about 16 days left before I come home, which means I just gotta put my head down and push through this.

There's no stress like good stress! Wait... I think I got that wrong.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Anatomy of the Living Pod

Currently my life has been consumed by two things: my stupid laptop and my final essays. I've been attempting to continue being social- but hey, with 3 weeks left I am just going to put my head down an focus on these essays.

So I figured I'd update on what life is like in my living pod. I often feel like I'm in some science fiction book, where space is maximized by people being forced to live in identical personality restricting pods.

In the first picture you'll see my desk, bookshelf, bulletin board and trash bin. Note the awesome Lonely planet calendar flanked by x-rays of skeletons, family photos, various cards I've received from the family, important dates and other stuff. I've also got the big stack of library books, and various papers strewn about. But that's what essay writing is all about. Also have to have the two nalgenes, blue for water and green for tea.

On the opposite side of the pod is the sleeping area. Wet towels hung on the closet, wet shirts hung on the chair. Scotty #2 sprawled on the bed. Horrible Holiday Inn type curtains. Since I don't have room I leave my alarm clock and current books on the radiator. Also, you can't see it, but the window sill has two bottles of wine and various fruit (I think kiwi and grapefruit right now). The sill is actually cold enough to function as a fridge.

And just because I felt like it... here was Friday's lunch. In honor of it being Friday, I treat myself to something Scotlandy and yum: Smoked Salmon and cream cheese on toast, with a big salad, and giant glass of V8 from my Kronenbourg glass (yes- the bro is super jealous of the glass, and no he can't have it). Note the computer screen showing an episode of "Always Sunny in Philly".

Well, now it's back to work. I have a lot to do before the weekend is over, and time is running out quick.

Oh- saw Alice in Wonderland yesterday. Brilliant. Totally Mint. Must check it out. Loved every second.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

No pictures... Just a quickie update!

Since nothing really picture worthy has happened yet... I'm just going to give the straight up text update.

1. I was awarded money to attend my field school this summer, so yay! Don't have to pay for tuition.
2. Working hard on my 2nd final essay. I've finished one, and it's under review (a.k.a. Mumsy and Daddums are reading it for mistakes)
3. Just finished my powerpoint presentation for archaeology, which means I have nothing due until the final essays (yay!)
4. Computer was sick, but now it's better. Thank you to the nerds for all their help!

That's about it. It's been a pretty average week. Back to the essay!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Loch Lomond Trip (Pronounced LaCCCK Low-mon)

This last weekend we went on a trip to Loch Lomond, the biggest loch in Scotland. We went with the international student center, so it was pretty cheap and really easy! This is a picture of our very sexy tour bus.

I'm not usually a fan of buses, but this one wasn't bad at all and they always made sure that we took frequent photo and coffee stops.

Our guide also chatted the entire time, telling jokes and stories about Scotland. I love hearing the history of the area, and its fun to see all the places that I've been reading about! We heard about William Wallace, Rob Roy, and other general historical facts.
The next photo is me with the very sexy and very Scottish- Hamish. He's a highland cow, and he's so fluffy! He also drools, a lot.

The next is a photo of the Loch itself. It was so pretty and was shockingly huge. Luckily when we took a hike around it the weather was nice and we even got a little sun. As you can see, in some of the areas we had a ton of snow- so it was pretty chilly for most of the trip. The next photo was my obligatory leg out while standing on a rock (sadly the rock didn't make the photo). The castle in the background was struck by lightning in the 18th century and abandoned. Sad.

At night we had a ceilidh (scottish square dance) and a fun talk about history and kilts and weapons. We also got to try some local beers. It was really fun to get out of Edinburgh and do some travelling.
I think my favorite part was taking a hike in the Trossachs. The sun came out and we got to wander in the woods for a bit. It was so peaceful! I love getting away and getting some time to NOT think.
For more of the photos check out my photo page on facebook