se(mess)ter 2

Se(mess)ter two is upon us.  I went to Ikea with Caitlin and Sophie and got a new plant.  It’s an aloe vera plant which I have named Poe.  Poe the Aloe.  Everyone, please say Aloe to Poe.

Pls say aloe to Poe. #newplantbaby #watchhimthrive

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Quickly, I’m taking three courses again this semester: Archaeological Theory, Archaeological Illustration, and The Crusades and Medieval Society.

I had a seminar for Archaeological Illustration today and I’m really excited.  The course teaches you how create both digital and hand drawn section drawings, artefact drawings, or more artistic renderings, etc.  There are two major projects so I’m pretty keen to get out my art supplies and ~be creative.~ I’ve also been doing some reading for the course already and there are some really interesting points about archaeological representation and how the past is shaped by how we view/study it in the present which I’m pretty ~inspired~ by.

Tomorrow I’ve got a seminar for Crusades and Medieval Society which will be looking at how the views of the Crusades have changed over time.  Again looking at the ideas of how people viewed them then and how we as historians view them today.  Out of all the history courses I have taken up to date, I’ve got to say that I’ve been the most excited for this one.

Wednesday and Thursday are EUMC related activities (avalanche and safety talk on Wednesday and Pub Climbing on Thursday).  Friday morning I’ve got a bright and early 9am a la Theoretical Archaeology which I have been dutifully in attendance and participating in all year long (mother and father are you proud of me yet?? pls.  it’s been 84 years)

Then this weekend, it’s off to Cairngorms for some snow and mountains!  I’ll post pictures, don’t fret Jean.

But anyway, things I have been doing lately include cleaning my room and then being reburied in the mess, reading some books, and swapping the placement of my wardrobe and dresser all myself by crying, pushing it along the carpet, and employing the furniture wobble dance… you know the one.  I’ve actually kept up to date on my daily calendar and I’ve found that three different alarm clocks placed in various locations around my room is the perfect solution to my habit of oversleeping.

I’ve also purchased myself a sleeping bag with arms and legs and a hot water bottle.  However, as a mere mortal, I, Kennedy Younger Dold, gave myself too much power over my own comfort.  To right this wrong, and instead of hiring a mercenary, the universe came for me directly.  One night, I naively (and snuggly) fell asleep in my sleeping bag with arms and legs with my hot water bottle and amongst my two duvets and seven pillows.  Around three o’clock in the morning, I was awoken by the terrible feeling of being boiled alive.  I struggled, in the dark, to free myself from the clutches of my own vanity.  But, I, being a stupid girl, forgot that my hands were still inside the mittens attached to my sleeping bag with arms and legs.  So there I flailed until my eyes adjusted and I was freed from the inferno.  Other than that near death experience, I would rate this product 5 stars on amazon.co.uk.

My sleeping bag with arms and legs came in the mail today and I informed my mother.

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things suck, but not entirely.

Prompted by another revolution around the sun… it’s the 2017 year in review.

Truthfully?  2017 felt like the prolonged hangover that was the entire bottle of vodka of 2016.  New year, probably not new me… but it can only go up from here.  It can’t get any worse, can it?

I’ve just got back from the Bothy.  I celebrated Hogmanay with my friends, the mountains, and fours days in my sleeping bag.  Ellie drove, plenty of shenanigans.

January

I began 2017 at the Bothy.  It was just a few days after my hero and pretty much the inspiration for my attitudes toward life, Carrie Fisher, passed away.  The following week, I traveled to London to meet up with Ellie, Caitlin, and Sophie.  Term started.  I also got a new president and the following day the US had its largest protest to date.  The Women’s March had 500,000 marchers in Washington DC, 4,600,000 in the rest of the US, and an additional 5,000,000 worldwide.  I also climbed some mountains.

Lads hit London. (Feat. Bong bong bong.)

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February 

I finalised plans for nine weeks of field work over the summer and my dad came to visit me.  We went to Bamburgh Castle were I ended up spending five weeks excavating an Anglo-Saxon industrial area.

March 

March is Women’s Month in the US and so I spammed people on Facebook with an inspirational woman everyday.  I also spent a lot of time reading and writing for courses.

happy sunday 🎇

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April 

I finished up second semester of second year.  Then I went down to Chester for the first of my excavations.  I spent two weeks working in a medieval kirkyard excavating, recording, and lifting a burial.  I returned to Edinburgh and turned twenty.  Then I began to revise for my exams.

©♓️📧⚡️🌱📧®

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graffiti? art¿ idk but i like it.

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May 

I revised for sometime.  I took my exams. I skipped down and went north.

hi mom! i forgot sun screen.

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June 

I travelled around with my friends across the UK on the annual EUMC road trip.  We went to the Lake District and then up to Iona.  The EUMC held its dinner meet on the island so after a week of travelling and climbing, we all cleaned up, ate a meal, and had a bonfire on the beach.  I began excavations at Bamburgh Castle the following week.

sound on.

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July 

Still at Bamburgh Castle.  I really loved it there and I learned a lot.  Mallory, a friend from home, came to stay with me for a week.  Then it was off to Italy for my last excavation of the summer.  I flew into Naples to study human remains from the Roman period at Aeclanum.

living the tent life day 32. #archaeology

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spooky haunts with the bestie from the westie.

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August 

It was back to America.  I flew into Florida to meet my family for vacation.  Then I helped my kid sister move into college in Iowa.

Update: local star trash found the droid she was looking for.

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September 

The start of third year.  I helped out with Freshers’ Events for the EUMC.

October 

I climbed some more mountains and revisited a Roman fort.  I was also very stressed.

Kennedy in granario est. #classicsismypassion #spqr5ever #iwalked20kmforthis

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November 

I was very stressed.  Wrote three essays in four weeks and went to Christmas dinner.

December 

I finished early in the month.  My mom came over to visit me.  Then it was back to America for Christmas.  My parent’s adopted another cat.  I saw Star Wars three times.  Then it was back to Scotland for New Years.  I cried at multiple airports.

So what did I learn from 2017? Things suck, but not entirely. 

Had I wished things had gone differently in the 2016 Election.  Everyday.  But, am I glad that the silver lining is that people are becoming active again in politics?  Everyday.  Am i hopeful for the 2018 by-elections?  Hecka.  Am I proud of Alabama in the monumental election of Doug Jones? Yea boiii.

As stressed as I get during the semester am I proud to be a student at a top world university? Duh.  It’s part of the contract.  As Britney would say, ‘You gotta work bitch.’

The summer excavations may have been cold and rainy and then hotter than the sun… but I was still excavating.  And I was loving it.

I may have missed a flight and cried in front of an American airlines employee… but I still made it.

Carrie Fisher might not be around anymore… but her performance in The Last Jedi was everything.

Things suck, but not entirely.  It’s really easy for me to forget that sometimes and only look at what’s gone wrong and not what’s gone right.  I worked a lot on that in 2017, trying to find positive things in what seemed like an awful year long hangover.

So, here’s 2018.

 

i. am. traumatised.

‘Could you describe your bag and its contents?’

‘Yeah, it’s pink.  Northface.’ Contains my will to live.

This was me yesterday at the Edinburgh Airport after my baggage had been left planeside in Chicago.  2017 has a little over 24 hours left to live and, I swear, it has tried it’s hardest to take me down with it.

And because this is my blog, I’m going to whine.

My flights back were an absolute nightmare.  It all started in Kansas City when all the of the baggage had to be taken off the plane and reloaded… twice.  Arriving in Chicago, I mad a quick dash to my gate only to find that my fight from Chicago to London had already closed.  This was at 4.37 when it was not due to depart until 5.23 (as my boarding pass said)  However, I was informed this was a misprint and it was actually departing at 5.05.  Another passenger on this flight and myself were told this at the British Airways help desk.  I have never felt true comradie until this moment when this unknown dude trying to get to Manchester and I to Edinburgh looked at at each and shouted expletives in unison at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

Then it was back to Terminal 3 to rebook through American Airlines because BA couldn’t help.  I waited in the queue, seething.  But, I realised that being grumpy at a customer service employee just trying to do their job amidst the panic of New Year travel wasn’t going to get me what I needed.  I’m not proud, but I thought of dead puppies and could have won an Oscar for the performance of ‘sad, lost, female traveller trying to get back to her friends and family.’

Khloe (god bless her and I hope she has a wonderful New Years), the American Airlines employee, rebooked me onto a later flight.  Regardless, I had a seat.  I wasn’t getting stuck in Chicago.

To be fair, the seats were decently comfortable.  AA had an absolute shit ton of movies which included a channel entirely dedicated to Star Wars.  Inspirational.  Unfortunately, I watched nearly the entirety of Empire Strikes Back before we took off.

And when we did take off, the small infant in front of me decided it was time to scream.  In a cruel twist of fate, the dude in front of the infant was offered a free upgrade to business class… with full recliners etc.  Offered is the key word here.  My dudes, I have seen some shit on airplanes, (figurative and literal) but I have never once seen a person decline to be upgraded for free.  My only conclusion is that the American male has a desire to suffer.

Finally after 7.5 hours of screaming and the wine cart passing me eight times (However, because this was an American operated flight, and me being not yet 21 I couldn’t have a glass to numb my pain), we arrived in the London airspace.  We attempted to land… three times.  Finally after nine hours, I was free with less than an hour to catch my connecting flight to Edinburgh.

Heathrow actually moved much quicker than the past few times I have flown through, which was a blessing.  I filed through security while my flight was boarding so had to race through the terminal with one shoe and my belt in my hand.  I was sweating on the plane and it was really gross and I’m really sorry.

I arrived in Edinburgh just a little before 1 pm.  I was supposed to have arrived at 9.20 am.  I waited for my baggage to arrive when it didn’t I moved to the baggage claim desk only to discover my baggage had been pulled and left in Chicago when I had failed to make my first flight to London.  Why tho cruel world?

I returned to my flat around 2 pm. I made the rookie mistake of sleeping all afternoon and woke up at 10 pm.  Ellie came over and we ordered pizza and watched the Victoria Christmas Special.  We had plans to leave for the Bothy today, but as you can infer from reading this now… that has been postponed until tomorrow.

This morning, my baggage was still reporting as missing and I was getting really worried because I needed the bag to pack for the Bothy… that and my aunt had made me popcorn balls and I feared they had been squashed.

Ellie and I went to brunch and I became increasingly aware I had picked up a stomach bug from the airplane.  (@god y tho).  It was my fault.  I knew not to eat the chicken on the plane but I did it anyway and @my poor body I am so sorry.

A final stroke of luck, my baggage was found and I called to check delivery times.  Not very helpful, the soonest they could deliver my bag would be tomorrow when I would have already left.  Instead I said fuck it and went to the airport of collect my baggage.  Now reunited with my jumpers and popcorn balls I can cry into my peppermint tea.

Beside all the dramatics, I can say that I am back in Scotland.  I’m happy to be here and thankful that I will not be boarding another transatlantic flight until August.

pls console me – i have suffered.

 

 

 

merry christmas ya filthy animals

Heyyo it’s me.  Cha girl.  You know, the author of this blog… who for the past 20ish days has neglected her duty to tell you every minute detail of her life.  Sry.

Anyway.  To back track… I finished my semester earlier this month and spent the next few days not moving and or going up to the National Museum or the Royal Botanical Gardens where I have really sick volunteering jobs.

My mother came to visit me with plans to go to the Bothy, but Scottish weather had other ideas.  We stuck around Edinburgh for a few extra days and took a day trip to St Andrews.  I went to go see Star Wars with Tuva and Gregor and was not prepared.

I flew back to America with mom.  We woke up early, got to the airport on time, etc only to have our flight to Newark delayed for two hours.  This decreased our three hour layover in Newark from three hours to one and increased the panic as we landed in Terminal C, had to get through customs, over to Terminal B, through security, and to our gate in about an hour.  A friend of mine once said that if she ‘believed in Purgatory the Newark Airport would be it’ as well as my father famously saying, ‘I would rather experience Soviet-style security again than ever have to fly through Newark.’

And my dudes, I wholeheartedly concur with these statements.

Just quickly, I’d like to discuss how airports are in general the worst.  I mean this with full sincerity.  Airports are the absolute worst.  William Golding could have easily increased the drama and conflict of Lord of the Flies had he set his novel around being stranded in an airport versus being stranded on a island.  Airports are a terrible liminal space which cause primordial instincts to kick in.  They turn people into animals.  I have seen some shit.

(If you need food you find a Starbucks.  And because there are never enough chairs you sit on the ground and stare blankly at the 80s geometric carpet which is probably harboring all sorts of pathogens while you drink lukewarm coffee and eat a brownie purely for the calories because you slept through all the food services.  Then you have to protect your belongings by lugging everything you own into a tiny bathroom cubicle (which you would think would be designed to be able to accommodate at least a small carry on?).  And then after finding empty soap dispensers and no towels you return to find your spot on the cold hard ground taken by some other eye-glazed human who knows what they did and won’t make eye contact with you.)

But anyway, we landed with one hour to get through all the annoying gate checks.  Mom took my carry on and instructed me to run and ‘hold the plane because I am not fucking staying at another hotel and I want to go the fuck home.’ Cheers mom.

And like I’m surrrrreee there are worst situations but running through an airport is pretty horrid.  I’d like to formally apologise to the lady whose baggage chart I vaulted over… but my dude you gotta stay to the left.

We made it to the plane, I don’t want to relay any more of the trauma.  I took my seat and for 3 hours and 55 minutes the row behind me was occupied by a man and his pet parakeet.  This is not an innuendo, this man brought a live bird on this flight and even had the audacity to give this already horrid animal a squeaky toy.

Additionally, within the first hour the pilot had to make an announcement to the entire plane to remind us all that toilets in the lavatories, ‘do flush.’

But everything wasn’t all bad.  By the time we arrived to Kansas City my dad was waiting at the arrival gate with the pack of salami and cheese I had requested.  We waited for our checked baggage.

But eh, I’m back in Lawrence now.

I spent time with some friends from home and then time not leaving my house.  My parents adopted another kitten… this one my dad found abandoned and nearly dead on the front porch.  We named her Rey.

Christmas day was yesterday and Crosby woke me up way too early.  Crosby and I went to see Star Wars again.  Today was my Grandmother’s birthday.  Tomorrow I’m going to go see Star Wars again with the entire family.  Mom and Dad still haven’t seen it and I personally don’t think they’re ready.  On Thursday, I’m headed back to Scotland.

 

 

 

 

end of semester

Because I hate exams and, as exhibited previously, do not perform as well on them as I do on assessed work… I played the classic ‘what courses am I interested in that also don’t have exams.’  It worked out brilliantly.

So that’s the end of the semester for me.  I’m done early… just in time to catch up on my Christmas knitting and yarn shopping.  Sorry everyone, you’re all getting knitwear.  Yay!

I really enjoyed this semester.  My favourite course was Conflict Archeology because we got to study different aspects of conflict including human remains, battlefields, and military strategy.  We took a field trip to Edinburgh Castle and submitted a poster.  It was my first time making an academic poster so I didn’t really know what to expect.  What I didn’t expect was to cry at a uCreate computer in the Edinburgh Uni Library for three hours, but eh.  I ended up with a first on it so I was pretty chuffed.

B073641_ConflictArchaePosterFinal   (that’s the link if you want to check it out)

I also really enjoyed Archaeology in Practice because each week we had a lecture from a different type of archaeologist and it helped to think a lot about my future career and different jobs in archaeology.  My third course was History in Theory, and it was pretty dry not gonna lie.  I enjoyed a few of the lectures, but it was a required course.  I’ve learned I’m a much more practical than theoretical person.

Other great things that happened this semester including increasing the scope of my volunteering at NMS and also starting to help out at the Botanical Cottage at the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh.  It’s all very official – I’ve even got a pass.  I’m just trying to widen my experience and see what all sorts of jobs are out there.  As an American, it’s already a narrowfield for me to work in the UK on a work visa… so I may have to get creative.

The EUMC had it’s Christmas Dinner the other week.  It was a great time with all my friends and we all got a chance to get dressed up.  Honestly, with mountaineers sometimes you don’t really recognise people out of muddy kit.

I would say that more exciting things have happened this semester, but truthfully it’s been about the normal level of frantic panic and reassuring ‘it’ll be finnnneeeee’ … maybe with just a higher intake of coffee.

First semester done.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Today’s my first Thanksgiving completely away from my family.  Or to clarify: it’s year 3, so this isn’t *technically* my first Thanksgiving away… but it is without at least one member of my family.  My mom came over in first year and my dad and sister came over last year.

This year, they’re all back in Kansas and my sister has just returned home for the first time from University.  And me?  I’m writing this from a coffee shop.  But, just because I’m alone this Thanksgiving doesn’t mean that I’m lonely.

I actually find it pretty hard to be lonely in Edinburgh… and that’s not because there are probably more skeletal remains buried beneath the city than living inhabitants.  No, I find it hard to be lonely in Edinburgh because of the history and stories surrounding everything.  That, and of course, my friends… who are truly wonderful people and I probably don’t tell them that enough.

This weekend we went to the Bothy for the last EUMC meet of the year.  We cooked up a big meal aka about 40L of vegetable soup.  We started early on Saturday morning and served up around 8pm.  It was a few days early, but being at the Bothy, cooking, and drinking mulled wine in front of the fire felt a little bit like own little Thanksgiving.  I wasn’t related to anyone there, but it felt like a little family nonetheless.  (And, yeah, sure, maybe I’m a little sentimental… but being a long way from your family around this time of year makes anyone sentimental.)

mountains, soup, whisky, and bagpipes … fair bothy weekend¿?¿

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Happy Thanksgiving.

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I was grateful for this weekend.  I had been very stressed and I was grateful for that beautiful place in the mountains.  How the sun hit the snowy peaks and how the clear the river was.  I was grateful for the stars, and how you could see Orion overhead – the first constellation my dad ever taught me.  But, most importantly, I was grateful for the stories from the people milling about and the laughter they brought with them – for the singing and the dancing and the fireworks and even the bagpipes.

If living abroad has taught me anything, it’s that the world may seem pretty big… but it’s also pretty small as well.  The places and the people may be different but the feeling of the holidays remain the same.

Thanksgiving has been and will be a day for stopping and looking at the wonderful life around you.  It’s for realising that things aren’t as bad as they seem.  It’s about giving thanks for the places you’ve been and will go and the people you’ve met and will meet along the way.

lol what is a blog ???

ope.

Sorry, Mom, for the absence.

Things have been a little crazy.  I’ve turned in four essays so far.  Deadlines were very close together with one on 1 Nov, 2 on Nov, and 1 on 7 Nov… hence the radio silence.

I’ve still got to design a poster and start on my final three big essays for the semester.  SCREAMS.

But, if any consolation… I don’t have any exams this semester so that’s nice.  Just death essays.

This week has been pretty great so far…

On Monday, I have a meeting at the National Museum to help discuss what sort of things young people would be interested in.  The NMS just got a huge grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Since I volunteer at the museum with the youth engagement team, we all got called in for a consultation with museum staff and Young Scot staff.  We talked about ‘what is heritage’ and what we should expect from future museum programs.  They also gave me food and unlimited coffee so I was pretty happy.

Tuesday. I woke up late and barely made it to class on time and then was locked into academia from 9-1 and because I was running late didn’t have time for food and nearly starved to death and then one of my pins fell off my jacket and I still haven’t found it and I’m still crying about it.

TODAY! I also got up late and had to run out the door to be at the Royal Botanical Garden for 10.30 to get my pass photo taken because surprise! cha girl is also volunteering there now! I’ll be working at the Garden Cottage which hosts a lot of educational events.  They brought me into help plan events for teens and students!  I attended the interdepartmental meeting today which was a bit overwhelming for my first day but they gave me free food so it was okay. (It was pumpkin soup made from stuff grown in the garden FYI.)  I’ve got another meeting there next week Wednesday to talk more with the education department.  I’m v excited.

But, yeah.  I came home after the meeting and drank a lot of coffee.  I talked shit with my dad over the phone for liiikkkee an hour or so until my phone died.  Then I actually had to get to work and so I read the entire publication about the mass graves at Towton (a battle during the war of the roses (1461) which pretty much paved the way for bby edward iv to become king of england… which im still really conflicted about because eddie 4 was fighting against henry ‘son of bae’ vi and while i’m like eddie iv is the better candidate my loyalty to henry v really causes a lot of internal strife and turmoil and it all comes down to the fact that if bae hadn’t died of dysentery in 1422 we wouldnt have this problem.)  for my Conflict Archaeology class.

And, now I have to somehow try to condense all that information to a poster and write three essays by December 5. Which is, as much as I cry about it, actually quite doable and I just have to stop whining about it and ‘getter done.’

yIkEs.

 

 

 

screaming into the void

It’s been about a week since my last post and while, I’d admit nothing of spectacular note has happened, I’d figure I’d update you about my meager life existence.

Things have been busy here (duh).  I’m hurtling quickly down the path to Essay City.  Deadlines are coming up fast on the 1, 6, and 7.  After that it’s pretty consistent until I finish in early December.  No exams, just a dense compaction of shit.

Last week was the EUMC ceilidh (for my lovely American readers, a traditional Scottish event that is part line dancing, square dancing, and cage fight) and I somehow managed to come out of the ceilidh relatively unscathed.  Minor bruising and a few scraps but everyone made it back safe and sound with 40 chicken McNuggets in tow.

On Tuesday, my conflict archaeology course took a trip to Edinburgh Castle to look the military history of the castle.  I’m really enjoying the class and getting some ideas for my dissertation.  I hadn’t been to the castle since visiting it with my family back in 2015, so it was pretty cool to go back and see new things… obviously not new because the castle is hecka old but new to me because I’VE LEARNED THINGS!  A fantastinating concept that is… when you read and learn new things about history (or the world) your views, opinions, and knowledge become more refined.  Truly fascinating.

I’ve been working on an assignment for my Archaeology course as well as a short response to a piece about intersectional feminism for my History in Theory course.  I’ve got to get started on my field trip report about Edinburgh Castle as well as another short response for History in Theory.

There’s been strange but actually pretty interesting lectures this week.  I just came from one about ‘Animals in History’ and how/can we actually write histories of animals?  The lecturer was a medievalist and kept talking about medieval heraldry and bestiaries so that was a worth getting up at 7.45 on a Thursday for.  He also showed up photos of his dog.  Another lecture, had back on Tuesday went from Poststructuralism to 16c demonic possession real fast so that was funky fresh.  I’m just along for the ride tbh.

Um… what else?  I’ve been playing a lot of Skyrim in the evenings to disassociate myself from the impending stress that I know November will bring.  You’re reading the work of the new Arch Mage of the College of Winterhold.

I’m just trying to life my best life, pls.

lakes lakes lakes

This weekend I traveled down to the Lakes District with the EUMC.  It’s my fourth time in Great Langdale, but, gosh, it’s always so pretty.  Even when it’s crap weather.

We left Edinburgh per usual on Friday night, arriving late and of course in the rain to the campsite.  I pitched my tent quickly… but of course everything got soaked anyway.  Saturday a group of us (Ellie, Tuva, myself, and some new members.  We were later joined by some veteran Yummicks as well.) walked to Pavey Ark for some good scrambling up Jack’s Rake.  The weather thankfully held out for us during the scramble which was nice.  For the laywoman, a scramble is more technical than a walk but does not require to be roped up like a pitching a climb.  Jack’s Rake was really fun with a few chimneys which required a little bit more climbing and some decent exposure down to the valley.

Here’s a photo of Pavey Ark, one of the Langdale Pikes.  I’ve drawn the green line to show our line of ascent.  This obviously it’s my photo (i stole it from wikipedia) because lol what is the sun?

Screen Shot 2017-10-10 at 10.21.37 AM.png

Here’s what it looked like for us.

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photo from Saturday's walk.

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Still nice tho.

After a long day, my feet were soaked and gross and wow am I glad I brought extra socks and talcum powder.  Tuva, Erling, and I cooked dinner at the campsite.  Then we all went to the pub.  We all love the pub.

Sunday morning was slower but just as exciting.  I took a larger group of newer members on a chilled valley walk to Ambleside to see the Roman Fort there.  I’d been there in first year, but knew the walk and it was pretty relaxing.  Wasn’t anything major but was a chance to see some of the smaller villages and valleys of the Lakes District.  It was 20km round trip, but was mostly flat and along well established trails so we kept good pace.

We stopped at the Roman fort just on the banks of Windermere, one of the larger lakes.  I showed my group the ruins of the Roman granary and we stopped for lunch.  I contained my feelings and didn’t cry this time lol.

Kennedy in granario est. #classicsismypassion #spqr5ever #iwalked20kmforthis

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We left the campsite on Sunday night a little after 6pm.  I got back to my flat around 10pm.  My feet are gross but it was a good weekend.

Yesterday, I had a volunteer meeting at the NMS and then later that night I watched the new episodes of Victoria and Outlander with Ellie, Caitlin, Sophie, and Urte.  I have never been more stressed in my entire life than I was during the last four minutes of this week’s episode of Outlander.  Then I came home and thought it was a good idea to stay up until 4.30 am to wait for the new Star Wars trailer because it was released America time.  Spoiler alert: it was completely a good idea.  I had a 9am lecture this morning and another two hour seminar coming up in a bit.

I’m v tired. l8r.

… and these are a few of my favorite things.

I discussed in the last post that Fall is my favorite time of year and it got me thinking about my favorite things about Edinburgh.  So here is list of some things that I like.

Coffee

I really enjoy going to Black Medicine because they make massive cups of coffee.  However, I find it more crowded in the afternoons and if I’m needing to work I’ll go to Spoon instead.  If I’m in New Town, I really enjoy Wellington’s, although I find myself at the Princes Street Starbucks more often than not.  Partly because there are plenty of tables but also because the Castle in just in view outf of the large windows and if that doesn’t inspire you then I don’t know what will.

Museums 

I’m biased but I still stand by the fact that the National Museum is the best museum in Edinburgh.  It’s got everything.  The admission is free, the bathrooms are clean, there’s water fountains, and plenty of places to hide in the ‘Early People’s Gallery.’  And there’s also the roof garden.  But, the National Gallery is also excellent and do have more (and more comfortable) places to sit down.

Green Space 

The Meadows are awesome and close.  But, Holyrood Park is gigantic and has a 15c Chapel Ruin.  Idk man all the parks are great.  Princes Street garden is very underrated and well, Calton Hill is a little overrated.  But also, the cemeteries in Edinburgh are great?  The old Calton Burial Grounds has one of my favourite tombstones in the city and a massive bronze statue to Abe Lincoln.

Pubs

Obviously.  Anything in the Grassmarket is going to be crowded. Sandy Bell’s has awesome folk music in the evening but is small and gets crowded very quickly.  Bennet’s has a fantastic wooden barback but is a little out of the way.  Dagda sells salami.  The Argyll bought out the Cellar Monkey and hosts awesome pub quizzes on Thursday night.  The Blind Poet closes and I still cry and Pear Tree went ‘firmly middle class.’ Teviot doesn’t accept foreign IDs and still frustrates me.

Castles 

It’s gotta be the one that I can see from my shower. You know that one in the center of town?  The one I still have to give directions to tourists for?  Yeah, that one.

Books

What even is reading for fun anymore?  I don’t know as I cry through another academic journal article.  But, eh. I finally finished reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt.  Timeline by Michael Crichton made me extremely jealous.  Percy Jackson will always hold a speical place in my heart.

Movies/TV

The Defenders on Netflix still really has me fucked up and and I haven’t been able to watch Rogue One again without gross sobbing.  Also, if Rey isn’t a Kenobi and turns out to be a Skywalker I will flip this table and fight someone.

Okay now that I have your attention… I’d just like to take this second to use this platform to discuss some current events happening in my home country.

If you’ve been even remotely aware of the news you’ll know that the US had the largest mass shooting in history in Las Vegas last week.  59 people lost their lives and over 500 people are injured.  The shooter was a 64 year old white male with no criminal history but a lot of guns and apparently a lot of pent up anger.  This even comes after last year’s attack against the LGBTQA+ community at the Pulse Nightclub which killed 49 people.

On a smaller scale but no less terrifying, my hometown experienced a shooting on our main street, Massachusetts.  Five people were injured and out of the five, three have died.

For my European friends, the concept of gun violence is mostly foreign with most European countries either outright banning the right to possess firearms or making it very, very, very difficult.  I’ve been the spokesperson for my country to a lot of them trying to explain just how easy and how fucked up our guns laws are in America.  How it is more difficult to get a driver’s license than it is to buy a gun.  How it is more difficult to get into university than it is to buy a gun.  How it is more difficult to adopt a pet than it is to get a gun.  How most states allow you to carry a firearm, either concealed or open into public spaces which include universities.

We have a problem.  There is nothing being done to fix it and it is only getting worse.  Legislature which would restrict firearms is continually being blocked and instead laws which allow people to carry on university campuses are being passed.

Take a minute and think this over please.  Think about what this means for the future safety of millions of people.  Think about how lucky you are when you can go to a concert and wake up the next day with a hangover instead of as a name in a long list of people who weren’t so lucky.  How you can go out for a night with your friends and how you can go and get an education all without being caught in the crossfires of a deadly piece of equipment that has no reason being there.

Take this minute and then do something about it.  Write to your local council, your state government, your national representatives, etc.  Attend gun safety courses, lectures, or just read a pamphlet.  Buy a proper gun safe if you have firearms or find a safe place to get rid of them.  If you are in the position, please donate blood.  Just don’t sit there.  Doing nothing won’t change anything.