Scotland Soundtrack 16

I spent the day in watching Luke Cage on Netflix because thank God the WIFI has returned. It took a lot of frustrated screaming (mostly on my part) and threatening to destroy the router with a hammer (also on my part) but it’s fixed and working.

I’ve also been researching postgraduate studies.  I found one in Human Osteoarchaeology which looks awesome but also one in Medieval History… questions on whether I could combine them?  I really just want to be a medieval osteoarchaeologist.  I watched a documentary about the excavation of Richard III and got super inspired.

I also made this snazzy playlist (see above).

Since my last post, I’ve finished week 2 of classes, read a bunch of articles about osteology, gone for some fantastic runs around the city (YAY!), and got caught in a downpour (Nay).  Last night, I went to the infamous GBH party aka the EUMC flat party.  The theme was ‘board games’ so I dressed up as Black Widow, covered myself in 200 googly eyes and went as ‘I Spy’ – a bored game.  Unfortunately no photos survive (read: I spent too much time attaching adhesive googly eyes to myself to remember to take photos).

On Monday, I’ll have my first Archaeology lab which I’m super excited for.  We get to look at Stone Age tools! YAYAY.  Next week, I’ve got my first tutorial/lab for Osteology.  The rest of the week looks really great, I’ve got to get cracking on my first essay.  It’s for my Modern Scottish History class, a source crit due on October 17 but I’ve got another one due for Osteology a week later so I don’t want to get jammed up.  This upcoming weekend I’m going down to the Lakes District to go camping and take a trad climbing safety course.  Another reason I need to get my stuff sorted for my assignments.

It’s also October so only one month until Christmas season!!!!!111!!!  I’ve already included some Christmas jams in the playlist for extra psyche.

Enjoy.  Best wishes.

Sunday Adventures Without Wifi

The WIFI has gone down in the flat – cue screaming.

So apologies for lack of posting this week.  I’ve had to go to Starbs for WIFI and then I usually end up just reading for class because everything is online these days.

This Sunday I decided to actually be productive (read: stop moping about the WIFI).  So I wrote myself an old fashioned list and used up the rest of my cellular data to document my day.  And honestly, I’m not quite sure about the outcome…

For your viewing entertainment.

 

The WIFI returns on Thursday.  I’ll have Netflix again.  Thank God.

Anyway, it’s week 2 of classes.  This morning, I got my sorry butt out of bed and cycled to the gym for the 7:30 AM EUMC Core Work-Out.  I don’t think I’ve seen that time of day in months.  I came back to the flat and made bacon and eggs :D.  By then it was only 10 AM and it was a terrifying experience because I realized just how many hours in a day there actually are.  After a real breakfast, I went to the yarn shoppe around the corner from my flat and bought the stuff I needed to start knitting myself a blanket.  Scottish winters are cold.

I’m justing waiting for my lecture to start now and then after Tuva and I are going climbing at the Uni Gym.

I’ve got my first tutorial tomorrow morning at 9 AM (gross) but it’s for Modern Scottish History (YAY!).  Flat life is nice.  Although, I got major judgment from Erling and Gregor for making a fried PB&J sandwich for dinner.

 

End of Week 1

One week down.

I’ve been to all my introductory lectures and I’m really looking forward to this year.  My Osteology class looks really great, I had lectures on Thursday and Friday.  I’ve got my schedule of due dates planned out and ready to tackle my assignments.  Oh, I also picked up my new bike on Thursday (thanks Mom!). I love it a lot and it’s been awesome getting to class in two minutes.

Thursday night was ‘Beerienteering’ the EUMC social where three people are duct-taped together and then sent on a scavenger hunt like quest through Edinburgh to different pubs.  I competed last year and so this year I helped to marshal the race (being on committee and all #responsible).  Gregor and I ran one of the many challenges faced to the three-legged mountaineers.  After the last three-legged mountaineer gagged through our hot sauce challenge, we joined up with the rest of the club for lots and lots of drinks.  Mountaineering socials are fun.  Back at the flat, we made an entire bag of bacon.

But, I made it to class on time on Friday.  Granted, I took my new bike so it was like two minutes away. lol.

Friday afternoon, the flat took a trip to Ikea to pick up a few extra things we needed.  Gregor thankfully has a car so we all loaded up and drove the Ikea just outside of Edinburgh.  It was really fun going with my new flatmates, especially with Tuva and Erling being Norwegian they could translate some of the Swedish names in Ikea.  And spoiler guys, contrary to popular belief the names for things in Ikea have nothing to do with what the object is.  For instance, as Erling pointed out a toddler’s bed was named ‘snails.’

At Ikea, I picked up some more plants for my room – a ficus and a peace lily which I named Benjamin and Emile respectively. (Benjamin because I like the name and Emile after Remy’s brother from the Disney/Pixar film Ratatouille.  fave film.)  Mavis, my orchid, was glad to have some company. (side note: Mavis is growing rapidly and it’s a little terrifying, the ones I had at home did not do this.)   I also got a bag of Ikea meatballs.

Today, as I was cycling home, I passed the flower shop by my flat.  I noticed they had a tray of sunflowers outside and I knew I had to get one.  The sunflower is the Kansas state flower.  I named my new sunflower Naismith after James Naismith the inventor of basketball and one of the first coaches at KU (hometown represent!).  The last thing I’m looking for now is some lavender for my window box.  Lavender is pretty hardy so would be able to survive quite well in the window box.  Plus, it’ll make everything smell a lot nicer.  Especially with everyone airing out sleeping bags and tents.

It’s a little thing I guess, but I like having plants in the flat.  Both my grandmothers use to garden and my mom always tries to have a big garden at home.  My dad’s been in charge of the houseplants – so it’s a practical jungle in the kitchen.  It just feels a bit more like home now, I guess.

Today, I spent the day with my friends I lived with last year in Pollock.  We watched both the first and second Bridget Jones films last night and then today we went to see the new one in the cinema.  I really enjoyed it.  Really fun, nice film.

The weather today was definitely colder than it has been in last week and it was pretty cloudy all day.  I need to stop by the yarn shop to get another skein to finish my scarf.  I got a little ambitious and decided to double my stitches to make a nice chunky knit.

Other than that, life’s been pretty chill.  I’ve been running, going climbing, biking to class, drinking lots of tea, and reading lots of books.  I’ve been throwing together some new recipes with what we have in the kitchen.  I made a big vat of potato corn chowder the other week, and macaroni and cheese casserole with green peppers, onion, and bacon last night for dinner.  Putting broken cream crackers on top and then popping it in the oven was a big hit.  There’s two fresh fruit and veg places around the corner and a smaller grocer with the basics.  Oh!  And my World Archaeology magazine came in the mail today so I’ve got some new things to read.

It’s been nice.

Tutorials for my classes start up next week and the following week so I’ll be in the labs more this year.  I’m quite excited for that.  Other than that, I’ll just take things as they go and just continue to enjoy my time in Edinburgh.  I like getting my independence back this year after living in halls last year.  It feels more like home now – which is nice.

 

‘Twas the Night Before Classes (+ Scotland Soundtrack 15)

And here we are.  Fresher’s Week has officially ended (thank God).

The last part of this week has been a bit busy, we went to The Cobbler yesterday for the EUMC Fresher day hike.  It was actually a wonderful day out, the visibility was great and I think I actually got a bit of a sunburn.  Knees/asthma are sucky as usual so I’m not going to be the first one to the top … but I won’t be the last!

Since I’m on Committee this year, I helped move the Fresher’s up and down the mountain while answering any questions they might have about the club.  It was honestly a really enjoyable day.  It was nice going back to The Cobbler after last year’s trek up and see how much I’ve improved on the mountaineering front! (Fun with writing this blog is being able to look back things I wrote about.  I’ll try to link the repeats, if nothing but for the embarrassment of Fresher Kennedy.)

I’ll include some photos below of the trip.

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Today, I had another busy day at the National Museum of Scotland.  I’m part of their youth volunteer team and we are currently working on putting together a tour for the museum.  Our general idea for the tour is to present the history of young people to today’s young people.  For instance, most Roman soldiers were actually a lot younger (15-20 years old) than what is depicted in films like Gladiator.  Russell Crowe was 52 at the time of filming.  (Now side tangent: I think aging him up made a better film bc tbh I don’t really want to watch a gritty history film about a whiny 15 yr old boy.)  We’re also looking at The Teen Queen Sensation Mary Queen of Scots and The Mid-Twenties Crisis’ Bonnie Prince Charlies.

But, tomorrow! Classes.  Well… a class.  All I’ve got tomorrow is my Archaeology 2A Lecture. And honestly, that’s how my entire week is.  I’ve got on average two hour long lectures a day with some bi-weekly hour and half long practicals and tutorials mixed in.  I do have three 9ams so that’s gross.  And Tuesdays will be a little gross with a 9am Archaeology practical and then nothing until my Modern Scottish History lecture at 3pm.  Not complaining though, because I mean I don’t have any room to complain. I’m in Scotland studying archaeology.

I sound like a broken record, but I am so glad to be back to classes.  I want to learn more things and study more cool stuff.  I can’t wait to see what sort of stuff I’ll get to do with my Osteology class!

So yay.  Second Year! Enjoy the jams.

Re-Fresher’s Week 2016

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Yesterday I opened Facebook to see this.

This week has been Fresher’s Week and I’ve been quite busy.  My mom left about a week ago and since then I’ve been running about the city getting things together for the start of term.  My classes are sorted, my attendance is confirmed, and I’m all moved into my flat.

On the Mountaineering side of things, we’ve had our first committee meeting, social, and our first day trip is tomorrow.  We are going to the Cobbler (just north of Glasgow).  I remember that trip from last year, I was a stupidly underprepared Fresher.  But, as with all things… it’s been a year.

A year since I said my goodbyes, boxed up everything, and left my family’s farm in Kansas.  A year since I boarded my delayed flight from Kansas City to Newark and had to run across two terminals to catch my flight to Edinburgh.  A year since I first moved into Pollock Halls not knowing anyone in this new country.  A year since I went to my first archaeology lecture and finally felt like I belonged.

And guys, I was so freaking scared to move over here.  I loved archaeology and history too much to miss out on this opportunity but I couldn’t shake my anxieties of moving, making new friends, and my worst fear of all  – not being good enough/smart enough to fit in.  I was terrified, my panic attacks got worse, I actually started to dread leaving Kansas.  But I knew I needed to, I’d done enough reading and needed to go out and see the world.

And so I did.

My first semester proved I had nothing to fear.  I made wonderful new friends, experienced the beauty and history of the Scottish Highlands first hand, wrote killer essays, listened to even more killer lectures, and learned how to down a pint.  The past year feels like the exposition to my new bildungsroman of which I hope I have many more chapters yet to write.

By second semester, I gained more confidence in the city and ventured further outside my comfort zone.  I continued to push myself academically even getting a few firsts on some essays, traveled to Spain to climb mountains, and spent the summer in Romania (finally) on my first archaeological excavation.

When I went home in June, Kansas felt different.  My room was still the same, Rory recognized me, Downtown Lawrence still had it’s quirky charms but the vast prairie skies didn’t seem so limitless as before.  There’s obviously ‘no place like home’ but I know I’ve done what I can there.  I needed to leave, to experience new things, and chase my archaeological dreams.

And so in September, my family decided to get a new kitten (they named it Rick O’Connell after Brendan Fraser’s archaeologist character in The Mummy films) and I left. Basically they replaced me (their archaeologist daughter) with a new (archaeologist) cat.

Coming back to Edinburgh this year felt much more like a homecoming.  I wasn’t scared.  I didn’t have any panic attacks this year.  I am ready to tackle my classes and get back into my rapidly normalizing life here.  I am so happy here.  There is so much history in this city and for the next part of my life I get to be part of it.

Classes start next week and I am beyond excited to see what this year brings.  If it’s anything like the last … I know it’s going to be incredible.

So here’s to one year (and hopefully many more) in Scotland. ❤

 

 

Waterford

Hello everyone! I am writing this post from my lovely new flat. (Well really not new, it was built in the 1850s.)  I’m nearly moved in with just a few more things yet to arrive.  Dad, I promise I’ll post some photos when I get it done! No need to fret over messenger. ❤

Just a quick catch up:  Mom and I flew from Kansas on Saturday afternoon.  We had a short layover in Newark and then a direct flight into Edinburgh.  We arrived Sunday morning.  By Monday afternoon we were yet again at the Edinburgh airport to hop a flight to Dublin, Ireland.  We landed in Dublin and then took a car to Waterford.  Mom had an appointment to teach a few classes at the Irish branch of her company in Waterford.  I tagged along to see the Viking stuff.

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Quick history on Waterford.  Founded by the Vikings in 914 AD, Waterford is considered Ireland’s oldest city.  From then until the 12c it was ruled by various Viking kings.  The most famous of which was Ragnall ua Ímair (ruled in the 10c).  He famously built a still standing stone round tower known as Reginald’s Tower (more on that later).

In the 12c, the city was besieged by the new ruling class of England, the Anglo-Normans.  (After the battle of Hastings in 1066, William the Conqueror created a great court with a mix of Anglo-Saxon and Norman leaders.  By the 12c, the Anglo-Normans were the mix of the pre-existing Anglo-Saxons and the Normans.  The Anglo-Normans are by most part the ancestors to today’s English population.) The siege was led by Richard de Clare, 2nd Earl of Pembroke or how he was known in da clubs – Strongbow. (This nickname was in reference to the fact that his armies, like most armies of England and Wales at the time, consisted of longbowmen.)  Anyway, Strongbow with help from other Irish kings looking to get rid of the Norse outsiders took the city.  By 1171, King Henry II visited Waterford (becoming the first English monarch to do such) and gave it royal charter.  The city even got it’s very own cathedral built.   However, Waterford continued to have many cultural ties to their Viking history.  Especially in locally produced artwork which followed in the Hiberno-Norse style (a mix of Irish and Norse motifs).

Waterford continued to be an important port for England.  During the 14c Edward III built upper floors and established a mint in Reginald’s Tower.  Many English coins were produced there.  It also served as a sort of English embassy to Ireland in the later 14c and 15c.  It was so important that during the 15c, Waterford actually fought off two attacks from pretenders to the English throne who thought taking Waterford would win then the support the English in Ireland.  The more interesting being the one of Perkin Warbeck who claimed to be Richard, the younger son of Edward IV and Elizabeth Woodville who infamously disappeared in the Tower of London.  Many people believed he murdered by his uncle Richard III in order for him to take the throne. (Personally, I believe ‘lil Richard probably didn’t die in the tower and lived the rest of his days in comfortable exile.)

Anyway, the city resisted the attacks and Henry VII (Henry Tudor, father of Henry VIII, who won the throne from Richard III in 1485 (read: kicked his ass on the battlefield)) gave the city a cool latin catchphrase: Urbs intacta manet Waterfordia. Meaning – Waterford remains the untaken city.  Cute.

From the 16c onward the city continued to do some cool stuff like make crystal vases but it’s out of the middle ages and doesn’t include longbowmen or direct descendants of Henry V so I’m a little meh on that time period.

Whew.  Got that.  History – it’s cool.

Okay. Now here’s what I saw and did.  We flew in late Monday night and by the time we got to Waterford were very hungry.  We grabbed a pint and a meal at The Reg, the pub directly beside Reginald’s Tower.  It was awesome.  We stayed at an older hotel right on the boardwalk in the city center called the Granville.  The next morning, Mom went off to teach her class and I stayed behind in the city to look at the various sites and museums.  I ate breakfast around 9:30 and then was off.

Waterford has three major museums in what is known as the Viking triangle (the original Viking settlement was surprise! in the shape of a triangle and located surprise! were the museums are now.

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The first museum is Reginald’s Tower.  The first level was built in the 10c as part of the settlement’s defences.  The two upper floors were added in the 14c and 15c to accommodate more defences/prison in times of war and a mint in times of peace.  The tower was super awesome.  It was amazing to be able to see all the stonework and some of the artifacts found around and inside the tower were on display inside.  This included bodkin arrow tips (probs from Strongbow’s army) and Viking brooches.  You can see the later additions to the tower on the outside in the different colors of stone but also because the windows get bigger.  The later additions were added during times the tower was not used for defense purposes and as a general rule ‘you can put how ever many/big windows you want if you don’t have to worry about invaders coming in through them.’ Also can I add that I’m still not used to seeing hella old stuff in the middle of a modern city.  It’s super jarring, like I looked out of the windows of a 10c tower and saw cars.

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The second museum was the Medieval Museum.  It starts by walking down the steps of a 12c turret into in the basement which was actually a 12c storage room and wine cellar.  (And yes, I was already crying by this point.  It didn’t help that the museum had put a copy of one of my favourite paintings in the turret.)  The next level featured artifacts from Waterford’s Viking and English past.  AND!  It had the only intact longbow ever found in either Britain or Ireland.  I almost screamed in the museum.  You could actually see the worn notch and eventual crack on the side of the bow where the arrow would have been notched (the crack was honestly the reason the bow survives today because it would have been discarded before being worn out and broken in battle).  The museum also had a lot of trade charters from various kings of England including a few from my precious son, Edward IV <3.  This museum also housed ‘The Great Charter Roll of Waterford’ which is a document created with the sole purpose of keeping Waterford’s monopoly on the medieval wine trade. But, this document is supes important because it features not one but two portraits of Edward III created during his reign!  It’s rather rare to find a portrait created during a reign.  I cried a lot here.

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The third museum was located in the old Bishop’s Palace. It featured stuff from 16c to present day.  I really enjoyed looking at the collection of Waterford Crystal here – the city is rather famous for that.  Also they had a small exhibit about Thomas Francis Meagher who was born in Waterford but later emigrated to the United States and was a Brigadier General in the army during the American Civil War.

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From there it was mid-afternoon and I was starving. I walked around the city to find a place to eat and found a small cafe in People’s Park (the large park in the center of the city). I had a bowl of soup because it was getting chilly and rainy. After that I made my way back to the hotel to meet up with my mom and get a car back to Dublin for the flight back to Edinburgh.

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So, that was my day in Ireland!  I’m back in Edinburgh now and like I said continuing to move things around in my new room and get organised for this year.  I’ll post some photos of my room when I get it finished.  I’m very excited for all my classes this year – lots more history and afternoons spent in the University’s bone lab!

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view of the boardwalk in waterford.

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this gem.

 

 

 

Year 2

And Second Year is here!

Tomorrow I’ll be boarding my flight back to Edinburgh!  For as nervous and worried I was last year, I am so excited and ready to take on this year.

Enjoy the vlog feat Rory and a ‘start of the year playlist’ (favourites are 1, 2, 5, and 9).