okay, one last time. promise.

If you’re fed up with me using my blog to promote the 2018 Mid-term elections, rest assured… this is the last time.

Today is Election Day and if you haven’t voted yet – shame on you.  Honestly, that’s not meant as a joke either civic negligence isn’t cute.  Your vote matters, not just for yourself but for everyone around you.  I’m going to sleep early tonight with an alarm set for even earlier tomorrow morning to watch the results come in on boring as C-SPAN unless I can find a way to watch something else.  Yay, time zones.

But. Just one last thing I’d thought I’d say before this election.  America, I believe in you.  I believe you because you’ve seen this before and you’ve seen worse.  And, while it might knock you down a few times you’ll get back up.

America, I know you will.

While I was thinking about how to write this post I stumbled across this:

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This is the Columbus and its register. It was built in 1924 by Schichau Shipyard in Danzig, Germany.  It weighed 32,581 gross tons.  Measured 775 (bp) feet long and 83 feet wide.  Featured steam turbine engines with twin screw. Service speed was 23 knots. It held 1,725 passengers (479 first class, 644 second class, 602 third class) and on January 1, 1926 it arrived to Ellis Island.

Herman Meiwes, my great-grandfather, was the 21st passenger on the Columbus.  He was 24 years old.  From New York, he traveled to Chicago were he met my great-grandmother, Elizabeth Thumann.

In 1929, Elizabeth had traveled from her home in Germany to the United States of America.  She left behind her family, her friends, and the memories of her fiancée who had been killed during WWI.  Everything she owned was placed in a single wooden trunk.  In her bag was a letter from a man in Nebraska who was seeking a German wife. Like Herman, Elizabeth was also seeking a new life for herself – one away from the dangers rising in her home country.

As it turns out, the man in Nebraska had already found a wife by the time Elizabeth arrived in New York.  She moved to Chicago and worked as a nurse and housemaid.  An honest job for a clever, independent woman with limited English.  That was where Elizabeth met Herman.  The two married and moved to Kansas where they had two daughters – Annie and Sue.

grandma_family

My Great-Grandparents, Great-Aunt, and Grandmother.  1946.

In 1952, Sue married Clete.  In 1958, my grandparents had their first son, Mark, in England while they were stationed there with the US Air Force .  Back in Kansas, in 1961, their second son was born, Scott – my dad.

clete:sue

My Grandparents on their wedding day.  1952.

family

My mom, me, my dad, my sister, and my grandmother. 2014. (Side note: if you want to see me in the future look no further than this picture).

My great-grandparents arrived in the United States with nothing to their names but hope of a better future than the one unfolding in Germany… and through the kindness of the Americans they met along the way and their own hard work – I am here able to write this now.

And, that’s the truth.

I think about my family a lot this time of year this close to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  As their great-granddaughter, I hope to uphold the faith they had.  The faith that America would be the place to welcome them with open arms and do its best to give them the future they deserve.  The place where through hard work, they could make something.  The hope that America will continue to welcome each and every one of us with open arms and do its best to give us all the futures we deserve.  The hope that if we continue to stretch just that bit further with love and support for those around us – we can all make America the place Herman Meiwes first saw from the deck of the Columbus.

So, that’s my last election post.

I’ll see you all on the other side.

 

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.)

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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.

 

 

 

Seven Essays Later

It’s week 11.  Don’t forget to vote so I can sled dogs.

This semester has been picked up by Millenium Falcon and thrown into a hyper-jump.  Or at least that’s how it feels.

But! Seven essays later, here I am.  I just submitted my last Archaeology Report on the Traprain Law Treasure (a giant collection of Roman hacksilver discovered on Traprain Law… east of Edinburgh … in 1919) and what it tells us about Roman Scotland in the 5c.  This is probably my favourite essay I’ve written this year because it’s at the beginning of the time period I really love – the (not really/the name is product of Victorian antiquarians simplifying history) Dark Ages.

Story time:  When the Roman army left Britain c. 410 CE Rome itself didn’t leave.  Roman silver (like the Traprain Treasure) was used to pay off local elites and establish proxy governments to govern in the name of Rome.  These proxies didn’t work because … seriously who, after being handed over a ton of silver, would go ‘Ah yes.’ *rubs hands together manically* ‘I am know the sole powerful elite in the area.  I have all this money to buy shit and do stuff.  The Roman army is no longer here to harass me… but I’m still going to govern for them.’ lol no one.

The local elites, took advantage of the power vacuum created by the retreat of Roman and established the early petty kingdoms of the EMP (early medieval period).  This is most clearly see in England (where there was a larger Roman influence than in Scotland) with the establishment of the Northumbrian Heptarchy and later Saxon kingdoms.  HOWEVER, in Scotland we do see the rise of the Kingdoms of the Old North: The Gododdin, Strathclyde, and Rheged.

The Traprain Treasure is a huge give away to the weakening of Rome on the fringes of the Empire, especially given Traprain’s location on the fluctuating frontier.  Fun Fact: It’s located between the Antonine and Hadrian’s Wall, in a sort of liminal semi-DMZ, so depending on what part of the 1-3c you’re talking it could either be considered Roman or Caledonian.

Anyway, as you can see, I get really excited about the Dark Ages.  To be honest, it’s probably because in order to understand the period you have to look at the archaeology and the historical records.  In order to find the archaeology you need to look at the records.  Albeit, the records were often written 200-300 after the events… so you need to look back at the archaeology to see what parts of the records you can trust.  It’s like a puzzle.

The Dark Ages are also really cool to study in Britain because the island is a model of shifting political and cultural activity.  The new kingdoms are drawn up on the borders of the old Roman governances and the people continue the uses of a lot of Roman goods and centres.  It’s almost like a dystopian history, especially during the 5-6c where the memory of Rome was still very fresh in people’s memory.

There were some recent excavations at Crammond (south of Edinburgh) where they discovered multiple 6/7c burials in an old Roman bath complex.  Clearly the baths were not in use anymore… but the people still held them in high regard, enough to bury their elites there.  Contemporary writers such as St. Patrick and Gildas also look back at Rome really fondly… it’s fun to see how the views of Rome shift.

So that was my last assignment before exams!

I’m a little tired today because of uni work but also staying up a lot later than I intended playing Tomb Raider.  My Dad, while pretty cool, is also incredibly evil.  He gave me my Christmas present early JUST so that he could be here to see the moral dilemma.  Spoiler alert: It’s an Xbox with the new Tomb Raider. As he said, ‘It’s a gift from me to you… but also a gift from you to yourself.  May you learn discipline and time management.’  …. great.     

So apologies for lack of posting, frankly I’ve been terribly busy.  Things got a little hectic this week with general exam freaking out and essay finishing.  I have a bad habit of underestimating what I actually know.  While I do know a lot, I feel, at times, I know very little… so I’ve stress read a few books over the past couple of days and watched plenty of supplemental documentaries.

I went for a run today through the Meadows to Holyrood Park and up the Crags just before sunset.  It was really pretty and gave me sometime just to chill out.  Between the Election and four essays due this month… things have been really crazy.  I haven’t had time just to decompress.  Which really isn’t good for people who struggle with anxiety like myself. If I’m not given time to decompress I find myself getting overwhelmed really quickly.  So, I sat for a while at the top of the Crags, listened to some music, and just looked out to the city… and guys I know I want to be a Medievalist so I’m really biased, but Edinburgh castle is a stunner.  And the fact it’s been here for so long made me feel better about things in the present… and if I’m going to be brutally honest, I’m nervous about returning to the States following this election.

Tomorrow is the EUMC Christmas dinner, it’s always nice to get the entire club together for a big social event and force them to not talk about climbing… which is easier than it sounds.  Friday, Moana comes out here in the UK and I haven’t gone to see a film in a while so I figured I’d go to that.  On Saturday, my flat is throwing a Christmas Party.  Next week I’m pent up to revision for my first exam… on Saturday.  By this time in 2 weeks, I’ll be done with this semester of university and headed back to Kansas for Christmas.

 

 

 

 

Family Visit 2k16 + Scotland Soundtrack 20

This week my dad and sister came to visit me.  It was really great to see them before exams get crazy.

They flew in early on Saturday morning and I met up with them for coffee.  I always enjoy talking history with my dad (he’s basically the reason I study history now) and while I can talk over the phone, it’s a lot nicer talking to someone in person.  Since Dad’s been retired he’s started a whole slue of building projects on the farm.  My sister, Crosby, was pretty excited to come over as well.  She’s just finishing up her Senior Year of High School and next September she’ll be starting University at Cornell College in Iowa.  She’ll be majoring in Musical Theatre and Gender Studies.

I took them to see my flat and Crosby replies with, ‘Wow your room here is just as messy as your room at home!  It even smells the same!’  Thanks Crob.

The rest of the week we tried new restaurants and coffeeshops I hadn’t been to yet.  I found some really awesome coffee shops that I’m definitely going back too.  Crosby said she drank enough hot chocolate to last the year.  We don’t let her have coffee… for good reason.

On Wednesday, I took Crob dress shopping for her Winter Formal because she ‘want[ed] to have a Winter Formal dress from Scotland that no one else will have.’ Typical.  Then we had a sisterly shopping trip aka I gave Dad a reprieve from traveling.

On Thursday, I balanced class with spending time with them.  But, I think they entertained themselves in the city… it’s hard not being able to find at least something to do here.  That evening we went shopping for Thanksgiving.  Similar to last year, when my Mom came over and cooked dinner, my Dad took up the mantle this year.

Friday we spend all day cooking and it was honestly really nice… well Dad and Crosby cooked and I peeled potatoes, played music, and hung Christmas lights.  Friday night we had a few friends over for a nice dinner.  It was really nice.

This morning while I was still passed out in a food coma, Dad and Crosby boarded their flight back to America.  I’ll see them all in three weeks when I’m home for Christmas.  My Grandmother will also be moved into the house which I’m really excited about.

So that’s a quick update about my life.  I’ve got a cold right now (typical).  And, I’m working on finishing up my last essay.  I just submitted my Human Skeleton essay on: ‘Archaeological human remains are not just another artefact’: Discuss.  Funky fresh topic I know.  The other is for Archaeology about the Traprain Law treasure and what it tells us about Roman Scotland… but that’s the last one.  Finally.  Then it’s on to revision.

My exams for the year are on the 10th, 12th, and 14th of December so probably going to freak out soon.  But then I’m back to the States on the 17th and back here by the 28th. Short visit but that’s because I’m out to the EUMC Bothy for New Years!

Anyway, it was really lovely to get to see my family in the ‘calm before the storm.’ It’s always great to see my Dad and discuss history.  Crosby is so excited for University and I’m really excited for her.

 

 

Bothy Work Party 2k16 + Scotland Soundtrack 19

It’s Monday.  Here’s a playlist and some words.

This weekend I traveled northward to the lovely Glen Licht House in Kintail aka the EUMC club bothy.  Map below.

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As a lot of you know already know, I’m the Bothy Apprentice for this year.  Next year I’ll take over as Bothy Secretary.  While the rest of the club was tasked with various renovation projects including cleaning the tiled floor, fitting the new kitchen, or building a boot rack to keep mud off of the previously mentioned new tiled floor.  As Bothy Apprentice, I was tasked with feeding the hungry masses.

I decided on mass production of potato corn chowder.  Ellie (my sous-chef for the weekend) and I started early around 10:30.  We had a lot of help from other members of the club, including Eilidh and Caitlin, to chop all the vegetables needed for the soup.  Guys we brought a metric fuck ton of potatoes with us.

And that’s how my day was spent.  We set up shop outside in the gorgeous Highlands, turned on some music (spoiler alert: it’s the playlist above), and set to make four giant vats of soup.

People kept asking if I needed any extra help but I jokingly responded with, ‘Guys, I’m from the Midwest of the United States.  If there’s one thing we do actually know how to do, it’s making enough food for a small army.’ And then when people asked about the recipe, ‘Um… well, I learned how to cook from my dad, who learned to cook from the United States Marine Corps, so I just sort of throw whatever I have in a giant pot and dump spices in until it tastes good.’

It was exactly what I needed after this hectic week.

I needed to just get away from everything for a few days.

I read a lot over the weekend.  I took two of my favourite book with me: Tomorrow is Now by Eleanor Roosevelt and Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.  I read TIN a lot when I’m upset or generally unmotivated.  It’s one of those books you don’t need to necessarily read in order either.  It’s like the Magic 8 ball of books, you can open up to any random page and find the answer you need.  Same goes for LoG. 

Some food for thought.

In a sense, nearly all great civilizations that perished did so because they had crystallized, because they were incapable of adapting themselves to new conditions, new methods, new points of view.  It is as though people would literally rather die than change.  Sometimes, seeing the stubborn resistance of large groups of Americans to accepting the existence of totally new conditions, their determination to meet the future as though it were the past, I am deeply puzzled.  How did it happen that a people with constantly developing ideas on methods of production and distribution appears unable to develop new ideas, new points of view, new solutions to the problems of adjustment to change? – ER

And.

LONG, too long America,
Traveling roads all even and peaceful you learn’d from joys and
prosperity only,
But now, ah now, to learn from crises of anguish, advancing, grap-
pling with direst fate and recoiling not,
And now to conceive and show to the world what your children
en-masse really are, – WW
By Saturday night, the soup was done and the hungry masses were happily appeased.  Sunday, I took a short walk through the rain up the valley to the waterfall.  I was soaking wet by the time I got back to the Bothy, but I was happy.  It was chance to clear my head.
This weekend was a nice break from the real world where I could get out and not have to think too deeply about things.  This week has deeply upset me. I was really fed up with a lot of aspects of humanity.  It was nice to escape everything, eff off to the mountains for 48 hours, and gather my thoughts.
One last thing.
This loss hurts but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. – HRC

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Why I’m Still 110% With Her

 

I watched the election since 9 pm last night until I went to my 9 am tutorial this morning.  I slept less than five minutes.

This morning was one of those moments when the world just stopped and slowed.  It took me a few minutes to process what had happened. America you threw a nasty punch this morning, it knocked a lot of us down. I know it knocked me down.  I physically couldn’t breath.  I couldn’t comprehend what had happened.

I was confused and lost and scared.  I panicked.  I sobbed.  It was awful.  I felt like my country didn’t care about me at all.

But, I had class at 9 am. Drying my eyes, I grabbed my backpack and walked to class.  The election knocked me down, but I refused to prevent it from keeping me from getting back up.

We have to remember Hillary’s ideas didn’t die with this election.

We’ve got to get up and keep fighting for change. We might have been defeated here but we only fail if we give up. Failure is what happens when you stop trying.  Defeat is just a growing pain of progress.

We can’t stay down.  You can cry.  I cried.  But, complaining and blaming won’t do a thing now.  We’ve got to get back up and study harder and work harder.  We have to remember what Hillary stands for, what Bernie stands for, what Obama stands.  The only way things will ever change is if we keep talking, keep writing, keep loud.  We have to move on from this election with elegance and with poise.  Most of all, we have to move on from this election with hope.

I’m upset.  But, I’m not going to let those emotions turn into despair and sadness.  I’m going to turn it into motivation, because I know this isn’t over.  I’m going to get the best education I can.  I got my first essay back for the year and I got a 75 mark on it.  That’s solidly in the First category.  I was pretty proud but I know I can’t let up now.  I’m going to keep writing this stupid blog in case it makes even a sliver of a difference.  I’m not going to lose hope for the America I know.

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: this isn’t the America I know.  It is not the America I am going to represent.  I stand for a tolerant, inclusive America – not a country fueled by fear.

We have to remember Hillary’s ideas didn’t die with this election.  

It is our job to keep them alive. 

Just to offer a little hope yesterday:

  • Catherine Cortez Masto (Nevada) became the first Latina US Senator.
  • Kate Brown (Oregon) became the first LGBT Governor ever.
  • Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) became our first Somalian-American Muslim woman legislator.
  • Kamala Harris (California) became our first female African-American senator since 1999.

The next four years are going to be rough.  But we have two options: we can hide or we stand proudly in the streets in solidarity with our fellow Americans. We must refuse to cower in the face of hatred and bigotry.  As Michelle Obama said, ‘When they go low, we go high.’  We have to stand together and show the world that we are not a people ruled by hatred.

Watching Hillary’s concession speech showed me that while she might not be our next president, you can be damn well sure she’s going to continue to fight for us.  She hasn’t lost hope.  I haven’t either.

So today after having one of the worst panic attacks I’ve ever had, I went to my 9 am.  I grabbed a coffee and worked on an essay.  I went to my 11 am archaeology lecture.  I grabbed an afternoon pint with some friends.  Then I went home and slept for six hours.  I was tired.  I was upset.  I got knocked down, but you can be damn sure that I’m getting back up.

I remember looking at a poster at my Junior High School when I was about 13. It had all the presidents on it and I remember thinking about how one day we’d finally have a women up there. It didn’t happen this year, but Hillary’s ideas didn’t die with this election.

I am beyond saddened by the result, but I know that we need to keep moving forward. We can allow this to knock us down, but we cannot allow this outcome to keep us from getting back up. We cannot dwell in our sadness and regret. We have to channel those emotions into creating the America I know we can be. We have to keep fighting for tolerance and equality.

So, yeah, I’m still with her.

 

 

Why I’m 110% With Her

Hello again! It’s me, your friendly neighborhood expat here to talk to you about the US Presidential Elections… which is today.

I’ve thought a lot about how to write this post, because undoubtedly getting political gets people upset… but I realized that I couldn’t stay silent. I also realized I didn’t want to.

I’m not going to pretend I know everything about politics, because I don’t.  I am writing from one view in this post: the America I know we are and the America I know we can be.

I am 19. This is my first election. I was so proud to be able to vote for Hillary.  In a lot of ways she started out just like me: a young university student with the drive and desire to reach her goals and create change.  I am sitting here writing this as a second year university student hoping one day I can help future generations like Hillary has helped mine.

Not to mention she is so, so, so qualified. She’s been a Senator, First Lady, and Secretary of State. Her career spans over 40 years of public service. In those 40 years she’s faced difficulty and instead of allowing it to beat her – she rose above it.  She’s been under the political microscope of America for over 40 years. Guys seriously, they’ve examined her damn emails dozens of times and haven’t found anything.

And you know, I agree, she’s not perfect. But, people aren’t perfect. No president in our history has ever been perfect. Not Washington, not Lincoln, not FDR, not JFK, not even Obama. But, they do they best they can in the places they can, guided by a genuine desire to serve the American people.

That’s what the job is about: service. Not fame. Not fortune. It’s service.

This election goes beyond politics. This election, at its core, is about what version of the American people we want to be and how we want to present ourselves to the world.

Donald Trump is a misogynist.  He’s a racist.  He’s a bigot.  Donald Trump represents the ugliest part of our country and he’s raised his supporters on a xenophobic crusade to make ‘America Great Again.’ Great for who though?  Certainly not women, African-Americans, Latinos, the disabled, and the LBGTQA+ community just to name a few.

As a young woman, watching Donald Trump is horrifying.  He has bragged about sexually assaulting young women. Let me repeat that for the people in the back, Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for President of the United States of America, has publicly bragged about attacking women. Because that’s what sexual assault is – it is an attack meant to physically and psychologically hurt a person.   

 And, guys, seriously? Seriously?!  Tapes come out with actual audio of Donald Trump saying absolutely vulgar things about women and people are still defending him.  He’s insulted women in person, over the phone, in interviews, on live television.  When the women he’s attacked have come forward he’s called them liars.  ‘Oh, that’s just typical Donald.’ What? No. That is not a valid excuse.

There is no excuse for sexual assault.  We should have zero tolerance for this behavior.

It is absolutely disgusting people excuse this behavior.  It is beyond me how people can find this behavior funny, charming, or the qualities of a leader. ‘But wait! He tells it like it is!’ they protest.

Do you know what excusing Trump’s behavior tells me about my country? What it tells the rest of the world? (Because guys, the US elections isn’t surprise! just an American thing!) It tells me women don’t matter. It tells me I don’t matter. What happens to me is just part of ‘like it is’ in America.  It tells me it is perfectly acceptable for men to act however they want toward me, because if Trump can do it then by extension any man who supports Trump can do and say the same things.

It’s 2016, I’ve got essays to write, lectures to attend, and mountains to climb.  I don’t want to have to waste my time also watching out for orange cheese-puff perverts.  Call me a nasty Feminist bitch for it, I don’t care.  It’s beyond inappropriate and I’m tired of this behavior being acceptable.

Someone please explain to me how you can look yourself in the mirror and morally agree with Trump?  How can you look at your mothers, grandmothers, aunts, daughters, sisters, cousins, and friends and agree with Trump?

Speaking of other completely fucked up things about this election, the Ku Klux Klan aka the white supremacist group that burnt crosses in people’s yards, brutally murdered people, and publicly lynched African-Americans endorsed Donald Trump.  In fact, just the other day the KKK set fire to an African-American church and graffitied it with ‘Vote Trump.’

I have had panic attacks thanks to this election. I can’t imagine what my country could turn into with this behavior at the helm.  I fear for my education, my access to healthcare, and my career… and that’s just thinking of myself: upper middle class, white, female.  I look at Hillary and see one of the the most qualified individuals ever to run for the Presidency and she is still in contest with a megalomaniac xenophobe.

I can’t even comprehend what thoughts are going through the minds of minorities or the LGBTQA+ communities. I don’t have the experiences and it would be inappropriate for me to even try to speak for them, but, guys, just know I’m standing beside you, behind you, wherever you need me to stand.

There are times, especially recent times, I have been so embarrassed to call myself an American.  I am embarrassed of this the version of America we are presenting to the world.  The international community is beyond floored that Trump made it this far.

This election has rocked the very core of American society.  However we move forward tomorrow will forever change the trajectory of our country.  Just a simple look back at the 20c can show what happens when a loud movement blames a minority.  This is the moment things either change for the better or for the worse.

One man isn’t the issue, Donald Trump, alone, can be ignored.  It’s the mob mentality created by Trump that is the issue.  It is the disgusting ideas about women, minorities, and the LGBTQA+ community that have spread across our country.  It’s ideas rooted in the fear of difference and intolerance and how they have become accepted by a portion of American society.  Just the other day a peaceful protester was brutally beaten at a Trump rally.  Another protester, this time at a Clinton rally, had his rights defended by none other than President Obama.

Which is why I’m with her – because I know this is not who we are.  I know this hatred and rage is not who we are.  I have faith that the American people will overcome this fear.  It’s a new different America than what people are used to, and to some that makes it scary, but to the rest, this new America is the greatest we’ve ever been.

As much as I’m afraid for the future, I am also excited because the American people I know won’t let bigotry and hatred define who they are.  So please, get out to the polls and exercise your right to vote.  Show the world who we really are: a melting pot of cultures, a land where differences are celebrated, a forum for new ideas, a community of acceptance and tolerance.

Show the world the America I know.

That’s the America I am proud to be a citizen of.

Scotland Sountrack 18

Last week in my Modern Scottish History tutorial, we were discussing Scottish migration to North America during the later parts of the 18c.  One of the documents we were looking at was written by a guy who was looking to move to Carolina.  He was asking about the land, the people, and what he would need to bring.  We were discussing it in class when the tutor asked the class, ‘Now, how would you deal with something like this?’  Everyone in the class had really great answers, but when it came to me, I realized that I sort of did the same thing this guy did in the 18c.

When I accepted my offer in November of 2015, I had never been to the United Kingdom.  I didn’t know anyone here.  All I knew about the country came from what I read in books and a few emails send back and forth from the International Office here.

I explained to my tutor how I could really sympathize with the guy in the source… because that was me, albeit 250 years later.  For me, it was the pull factors for my education and my future career… but by taking that path, I knew I would be leaving my family and friends.

In fact, I’ve spent more time this year away from Kansas than the amount of time I was actually there – just about 100 days this year.

For the other 266 (it’s a leap year guys) days I’ve been in Scotland, England, Spain, and Romania.  I’ve had experiences I’ll never forget from attending my first archaeological dig to rock climbing… but there’s a part of me that still misses my family (okay, mostly just my cat, tbh) and the experiences I’m missing out with them.

My kid sister just got accepted to her top University for Musical Theatre.  Despite what she might call ‘constant torture,’ I’m sort of proud of her. (Sort of. This still does not mean you can steal clothes from my closet, Crosby.)  But, because of time differences I found out about a day later from Facebook Messenger.  I also won’t be home for her High School graduation in May.  I just remember the day I got into University/Graduation and how nice it was to come home to my entire family… and realised how she won’t get that.  Which, I’m really sorry about, kiddo.

And if I’m completely honest, I’m a little jealous of my friends here that can be with their families in a few hours.  If I want to go home for my Dad’s cooking, (Sorry, Mom, but we all know who the better cook is.) I’ll have a seven hour flight to Newark, a three to six hour lay-over, a two hour flight to Chicago, another lay-over, an hour and half flight to Kansas City, and then an hours drive to Lawrence.  Same goes if my family wants to visit me.

Especially now that it’s November with the Election, Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up.  This has always been the time of year that everyone just stops what they are doing and enjoys each other’s company.  Growing up with two parents who worked full time, my sister and I had quite a few full time nannies/au pairs/babysitters however you want to put it.  The Holidays became a time when everyone was around.

So I guess to make-up for this (probably) very blatant form of homesickness I’ve been feeling I’ve been playing Christmas music in the flat to the sheer annoyance of Gregor and Erling. Naturally. Tuva seems to appreciate it, or at least refrains from joining in on the collective roast.

But this homesickness works both ways… and it’s really annoying because ew, gross emotions.

I miss Edinburgh dearly when I’m away.  Being back in Kansas over the summer felt a lot like putting my life on pause.  I love my family dearly but I remember feeling so out of place in Kansas.  I didn’t want to leave them, but I also wanted to get back to work here in Edinburgh.

I love my classes. I’ve wanted to be an archaeologist for so long it’s still surreal that I’m actually doing it.  I love volunteering at the NMS because I get the chance back to the community by helping young people learn about history and archaeology in new and exciting ways.  It’s pretty neat seeing some of the young people come through and their sheer desire to want to learn.  I love being able to get out of the city and just be in the mountains.  Being outside is one of the best stress relievers, time just slows down out there and guys, it’s so, so, so beautiful here.

In a perfect world I could be in both places: with my family and still continuing on with my future.

But, I know that if everything goes as I’ve planned: graduate, get a phD, get a nice job working with early medieval stuff at a museum or university, live in a cosy old flat with big bookshelves and my cat, who I’m naming Henry… I won’t be moving back to Kansas.  As much as I miss my family, I know there isn’t much else left for me there.  Especially, since I want to be a Medievalist.

So really, I can’t really complain too much.  I was the one who decided to pack up and move to Scotland and I don’t regret the choice.  But, I guess that choice is finally catching up with me.  The excitement of first year is over and I’m realising just what it meant when I boarded that flight last year.

So, a lot like that guy from my Modern Scottish History source, who would have boarded a ship in Scotland to take him and his family across to Carolina, I’ll always remember Kansas but I know there’s so much more out there for me.  I know I’ll continue to miss parts of that old life and I’ll always miss my family, especially during the Holidays, but there are just too many opportunities here for me to pass up.