2k16: wtf

Hello and welcome to my … drum roll please … ‘Year in Review’ post.

And it’s early, but I won’t really have time to write it later.

2k16 was definitely ‘the year of realizing stuff.‘ Thanks Kylie Jenner.

*cracks knuckles* click play on the playlist above of wow! 12 songs corresponding to the 12 months of the year! *refrains from cracking neck* leggo.

January

I spent New Years with my Mom’s side of the family in Hays, Kansas.  Then I traveled back to Edinburgh to start the second semester of my first year.  I traveled to the Cairngorms for some choice winter walking and cried about how much I loved the Dark Ages for a solid twenty minutes.

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February  

I booked my place for my first archaeological excavation and cried about how I’m actually going on an archaeological excavation.  Then, I cried some more at medieval castles.  Slept in a bog for a weekend… and then won a photo contest from Historic Scotland… and then cried some more about my new lovely historical city.  Also I got really angry at the state of Kansas for being stupid.

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March

Essays.  Essays.  Essays.  I wrote a really cool paper about Anglo-Saxons. I joined the Young Demonstrators at the NMS and complained about being busy and tired all the time. I finished up lectures at classes at the end of the month.

April

I finished with my classes for the year and started Spring Break. I traveled to Spain for rock climbing and camping.  This was an amazing time away where I got to practice my new climbing skills and be in sunny, warm weather.  Then I came back to Edinburgh, signed a lease with three stelar flatmates, and learned that uno tequila shot does not equate to one bottle of beer when determining how much one should drink.  I got my tattoo for my 19th Birthday and the next day I had my Archaeology 2B Exam.

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May  

And that was first year.  I packed up and moved out of Pollock and into the new flat… and then it was off to Romania.  I spent three weeks in Schela Cladovei excavating a neolithic settlement.  It was awesome is an understatement.  I sound like a broken record, I’m aware, but I love everything about archaeology.  I love the history.  I love the physicality of unearthing artifacts that haven’t seen the light of the sun in hundreds or thousands of years.  It’s an incredible link across time and space that I would argue not a lot of other disciplines get to have.  In Romania I excavated small sample of human remains and it was a really sombering moment.  There I was was, 6,000 years later bringing this young person back into the sun, into archaeological relevance.  I am so excited for my future in the field.

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June 

I finished up my excavation in Romania and traveled back to Edinburgh for a short layover to do laundry and repack for America.  I arrived in Kansas for the summer and it was really, really hot.

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July

(Sorry no blog posts to link back to.) I spent the summer in America and celebrated the Fourth of July with my family and friends on our farm.  I got to hang out with my lovely cat, Rory (who is sitting with me now while I write this).  Kansas gets really hot in the summer so I spent a lot of my time either hiding from the heat inside or out by my pool… could be worse.

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I found my tricorn hat.

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August 

My family and I drove to Florida for our annual family vacation to Disney World.  My sister started her senior year of High School and all my friends from Lawrence went back to uni.  I stuck around for the rest of the month a little bored but glad for the peace and quiet in the house with Crosby back at school.  I also decided to grow out my fringe.

September 

And I hit the ground running.  Second Year.  My mom came with me to Scotland to help me move into my new home.  We then took a quick trip out to Ireland… well it was a business trip for her, I just got to see some cool medieval stuff.  The flat didn’t have wifi for a week and everyone nearly died.

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October 

I went on some cool mountain trips where I saw some Neolithic Rock art and went climbing near Bamburgh Castle (which fingers crossed, I’m working at this summer 2k17). I rant more about Archaeology and cry about Henry V for the 601st time.

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November

Essays almost killed me and it was not okay. I had seven essays all due all within five weeks… well it was a little okay, I did well on them (a 75 and 64 in Modern Scottish History, 70 and 75 in Osteology, and 60, 64, and 68 in Archaeology).  November was the roughest month this year.  Between school work and the election I didn’t really know how to function or move forward.  I ran away from humanity for a weekend and went to the Bothy to collect my thoughts.  November was also when my Dad and sister came to visit me and to be fair that was probably the best thing that could have happened.  Talking with my Dad always has helped me to figure out my life and I really needed a good chat.  I realised that I can be sad but I can’t allow that sadness to keep me down.  In a burst of light in the bleakest of hours, Young Justice was brought back from the TV show graveyard for a season 3 and things finally started to look up.

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December 

And here we are.  I took all three of my exams within a day of each other, spent the next two days sleeping and Christmas shopping, boarded a plane back to America, nearly got stuck in Newark, but then finally made it back to Kansas.  I went to go see Rogue One with my family and got absolutely rekt’d.  Yesterday was Christmas and I got some really awesome presents.  I’ll be flying back to Edinburgh in two days to pack for the Bothy.

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So it snowed on the farm.

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*end scene*

And that was my year… of realizing stuff.  2k16 was really a year of massive highs and crushing lows.  I’m excited for next year, I’m taking some really great courses and I’ll be back in Scotland studying what I love.  I’ve got a few excavations lined up for the summer, I’m just waiting to hear back from them.

So thank you to everyone who reads my ramblings here.  A big shout out to my family and my lovely friends without whom I would never get anything done.

Best wishes for the coming year,

A ‘Merican Thanksgiving in Scotland

I ate so much turkey and I have no regrets.

Moving to Scotland, I knew that there would some uniquely American things that I would miss out on.  I already missed the World Series, but I was not prepared to give up Thanksgiving.

Around October, my mom emailed me asking what I was planning to do for Thanksgiving.  I thought about going out to eat, or maybe even joining the North American society… but neither of those options really seemed right.  Thanksgiving was always a time back home to celebrate family and friends.  So I emailed her back saying that I didn’t have any plans and asked to see if she wanted to come over and visit.

So, typical Mom booked a ticket the next day.

Dad kept emailing me about how excited she was to see me, and truthfully I was excited as well.  The longest time, until now, that I’d been away from home had been two weeks… it’s been three months.

Before she got here we planned out a proper Thanksgiving for Friday, November 27.  I invited a small group of friends I had gotten to know really well over the semester to celebrate – none of them were American and had NEVER celebrated Thanksgiving or more importantly made hand turkeys.

My mom got here on Wednesday, November 25.  I had class at 10, but after I dropped by Starbs and grabbed two coffees and headed over to the flat she was renting for the weekend.

My mom knitted me a blanket, guys.  Like a full sized blanket brought all the way from Kansas.

And she brought me White Cheddar Cheezits.  I actually cried while eating them.  I wish was joking.

food

I had the rest of the afternoon off, so we headed out to Asda to pick up all the things that we would need to cook a proper Thanksgiving meal.  We pulled out all the stops.  Turkey.  Mashed potatoes.  Sweet potatoes. Dressing.  Kuga.  Even a batch of vintage Sleepy Jean’s caramel.

That evening I took my mom to the Boozy Cow, a great burger joint just off Princes Street in New Town.  It’s seriously LFK in a restaurant.  Everything is serves on big platters and the walls are covered in artwork.  The TVs play Marvel movies 24/7, Captain America: The Winter Solider was playing in back and Guardians of the Galaxy was playing front.  The music is 60s, 70s, and 80s Classic Rock.

Thursday I got up early and worked on the last of my six essays, an Archaeology essay on methods of dating artifacts.  It was due today and so unfortunately, I had to work on it while she was here.  That afternoon we went shopping on Princes Street (my mom is amazing and kitted me out for climbing… stay tuned) and then to the Christmas Market.

Just a bit on Edinburgh Christmas… it’s absolutely fantastic.  Princes Street Gardens turns into a huge marketplace with a ferris wheel, skating rink, and a lot of food.  My mom was really excited to see the market and all the decorations they have been putting up all over town.  There are trees and lights everywhere – and especially in New Town it looks like the typical Georgian Christmas (probably because it actually is).

christmasmarket

Friday was the big day.  I had my last 9 AM of the year and then ran back to my dorm room to grab my Christmas sweater.  I got back to the flat where my mom was already busy with the turkey.  Friends starting coming around at 1 PM to make hand turkeys, cook, and listen to Christmas music.  We even decorated a small tree.

All afternoon everyone shared stories and made hand turkeys.

decor

I didn’t really think about it until my mom mentioned it later, but just how amazing our Thanksgiving was.

Living here and living in a more globalized world, sometimes I take for granted that I can speak with and see people from all over the world every single day.  We had seven different nationalities represented Friday with 6 from England, 3 from Scotland, 2 Kansasans, 2 Norwegians, 1 Austrian, 1 Lithuanian, and 1 from the Canary Islands!

But, I didn’t even think about that, to me they were all just amazing friends that I gotten to know over the semester.  But I guess, less than 30 years ago having people from seven different countries come together to celebrate an American Thanksgiving would have been unheard of.

It gives me some hope for this world.  That people are still able to come together, share holidays, learn about each other’s cultures.

That’s what it’s really about – understanding.

To see that we all aren’t really that different.

#ThanksgivingMiracle

group

Okay now, that I’ve sufficiently explained the true meaning of Christmas… my mom and I had a great weekend.  I showed her around Edinburgh both Saturday and Sunday.  We did more Christmas shopping in the Princes Street Gardens Market, stopped at Elephants and Bagels for a snack, and went to the Doric, the oldest gastro pub in Edinburgh, for a proper pub lunch.

 

lunch

I said goodbye Sunday night.  She had an early flight Monday morning.  It was really nice to see her and show her how I’ve been living in rainy no-sun land.  Apparently, I’ve even picked up a bit of an accent??

Dad was jealous and is asking me nonstop about my free weeks in March or April.  Yes, Dad totally come visit.  Everyone is curious about peanut butter pop-tarts.