a video?!

 

what is this 2016?! I haven’t done a vlog in ages and this is the least I could do after shoving my camera in my friend’s faces for two weeks.  sorry not sorry. So anyway, here’s a belated mock-u-mentary about the anniversary dinner/roadtrip conveniently edited to a PG rating and under 5 minutes.

hey nerds.

Literally everything has happened but nothing of ‘ohmygodihavetotellyouallnowonthisblogwhichprobablyonlymyparentsandgrandmareadbutimgoingtopretendeveryonedoes’ note.  And, I’m not being ~dramatic.~

Since I’ve been back in Edinburgh, I’ve continued to plod on with what I do best, procrastinating and then doing everything on my procrastinated list in a 24 hour time period.  Today I spend time at the RBGE Library working on gathering resources for my dissertation on the Botanic Cottage.  I got to spend some time with archaeological reports and even some maps of the original garden on Leith Walk and architectural plans of the Cottage drawn by John Adam.  One of the maps was dated to 1777 while the architectural plans date prior to the construction of the Cottage in 1763.

Now, if you’ve been away from the blog or my loud American mouth for a hot sec… I’ll recap.  I’m writing on aspects of cultural heritage manage and architectural archaeology using the case study of the Botanic Cottage at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.  The building was constructed around 1763 and served at the gardener’s house as well as John Hope’s lecture theatre to teach botany to medical students at the University of Edinburgh.  The lecture room was rediscovered during excavations and because most of the university buildings in Edinburgh were demolished in the 18c to make way for new ones, the Cottage is arguably the oldest and only surviving purpose built lecture theatre from the Scottish Enlightenment!  Nice.  The Cottage was in use until 1820ish when the garden moved from Leith Walk to Inverleith (current location).  Okay cool fast forward.  The Cottage was basically forgotten after the garden moved and went through a lot of awkward phases including becoming an office for a van rental company!  That was until about 2007 when the building caught on fire and then was scheduled to be demolished.  The local community decided that was not going to happen and started research the building and as it turns out, the Cottage is probably one of the best documented small buildings in Scottish history!  Why?  John Hope was appointed by George III to be the King’s Botanist in 1760.  Hope’s patron Lord Bute was also named 1st Lord of the Treasury, leaving him in charge of funding a variety of projects and stuff.  To keep the funds coming for his garden in Edinburgh, Hope documented just about everything down to pillow cases and paper about the Cottage.  Cheers John!

At the moment, I have the historical side and documents concerning the construction.  I have information about how the Cottage was saved and rebuilt.  Now I just need to move more onto the theory side of the project (eg the stuff on Cultural Heritage, the meaning of place and space) and architectural archaeology.  I’m front loading on the research and gathering of stuff now that way I’m not stressed out of my mind come actual term time.

But, I have just over a week left in Edinburgh before it’s off on excavation.  The season at Bamburgh has already started but since I needed to work a bit in Edinburgh this June I’ll be joining the team down at the beginning of July for the last two weeks.   I went down just for the first day to attend a health and safety course which renews my CPR and first aid certification for another three years and a staff dinner, but I’m excited to see what they’ve been up to since!  After Bamburgh finishes it’s back to Edinburgh and then down further south to Chester for some more work at Poulton with medieval human remains.

However, before all that kicks off, my dad is coming to visit next week!  I haven’t seen any of my family since Christmas so I’m really glad to catch up with him.  I haven’t really planned anything except to go to some new restaurants and I *still* haven’t seen SOLO which is goddamn travesty and I’m sorry Obi Wan.  After Dad leaves I get another visit from the people of my past.  Betsy, one of my closest friends from Kansas!  She’s never been to Europe before so ofc she’s freaking out.  But, not to worry!   I’m meeting her in London at the beginning of July for a few days and then we we are going to take the train back to Edinburgh and spend a few days here.  Then she’s off to Paris for her amazing study abroad which I know she will absolutely slay.

So, um, yeah.  I’ve been doing that, making banana bread, getting really distressed about season 6 of Voltron on Netflix (my trash son betrayed and played me just as I was starting to trust his character), and crying over some young adult fantasy novel Caitlin loaned me.

Oh!  And before I forget and because my mom won’t answer my calls. I got all my final marks back for the year.   I finished third year with a 68.3 average which puts me in a really nice spot to graduate with either a very high 2.1 or if I play my cards right maybe a First!  I’m super happy with my final mark in Archaeological Illustration (I got a 78) because I absolutely lovvvvveeed that class and wish I could take it again.

Okay that’s all. byeeeeee.

berlin: nein/10

This weekend I went to visit some friends in Berlin.  I turned in my last submission for third year – essay for Theoretical Archaeology and then skipped town for a few days

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Gregor is currently on placement in Hamburg and Sophie is on placement in Berlin.  They’re both architecture students are are working in architectural firms to learn about careers in the field and gain work experience.  But, with weekends off, they decided to put up with me for a few days.  Thanks guys!

I arrived in Berlin Friday evening after a bit of a delay in Frankfurt.  Getting to my AirBnB from Tegel was easy enough and only mildly annoying with my phone almost dying en route.  Gregor met up with me at the U-Bahn station and we joined Sophie and some of her work friends at a bar for some drinks.

Just to describe the scene a bit… the bar was located on the ground floor of an block of flats and must have been a converted shop or flat originally.  It was entirely lit by candles which cast shadows onto the red walls.  The ceiling trim was a frieze of vines and human faces.  It was a nice space of couches and chair with tall and short tables. The most incredible part was the bartender circling the room who appeared just when you finished your drink, ready to bring you another.  Not only that but he would take massive orders of drinks and bring each quickly without fault.  Incredible.  Honestly, the only explanation I could come up with was the bartender had to be Bacchus.

The next day all three of us met up for Brunch and then took the U-Bahn to see the Brandenburg Gate and the Holocaust Memorial.  Both are located in the center part of Berlin.  The Brandenburg Gate is quite famous and I’ve included a photo below.  The Holocaust Memorial consisted of raised concrete blocks which rise in height as you walk into the center of it.  The ground also rises and lowers like a wave as you walk.  It was actually really disorientating and created a true sense of claustrophobia, which I am pretty sure was the intended purpose of the memorial.

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After, we walked toward where Checkpoint Charlie would have stood (the real one was taken by the Americans and is currently housed in the Smithsonian… classic America.)  The weather was rainy in the morning on Saturday but cleared up by the afternoon.  We spend the rest of the afternoon walking about the center of the city and onto Museum Island.  Gregor pointed out the columns of the Neues Museum which still had evidence of machine gun splatter from the Second World War.

Maybe it’s just my American naivety but seeing the physical evidence of conflict really made me stop.  I grew up reading the history and I always knew about what had happened either learning from my father or in school, but I think it’s a different thing entirely to see the bullet ridden columns lining the portico of the Neues Museum in person.  However, while the scars of conflict are still there, the area around them is green with gardens and full of life and music.

On the Sunday, we visited the upstanding bits of the Berlin Wall, a few markets in the old Soviet part of Berlin, and the Altes Musuem on Museum Island.  The Berlin Wall has been turned into a canvas for public art and in one of the markets, an old Soviet storehouse and grain tower had been converted into an outdoor climbing wall and bouldering room.  Just 40 years ago, that area was blocked away and now people are creating art and climbing walls.

 

 

 

 

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Maybe it’s me being an annoying History student and reading too much into things, but I really do believe we need to understand and remember from which we came and be aware of the world around us to know what to do and where to go next.  The city also showed that from conflict can be growth, change, and education.  Gardens can grow again and walls can climbed and painted.

I am super thankful to Gregor and Sophie for putting up with me for the weekend and showing me around.

nearly done.

woah.  That’s classes for third year finished.  yikes.

I’m not totally done yet, I have my final essay due in next Friday and one exam in May.  However, I am done with set class times and lectures.  The University is officially on holiday for the coming weeks.  Haven’t figured out what I’m doing for my holiday but I have a few options and some ideas.

This semester was a little hectic with snow related university closures and a four week strike.  However, I really enjoyed my courses.  My favourite course this semester was Archaeological Illustration.  I’ve always really enjoyed art and graphic design and I loved learning how to create stuff for excavation reports as well as public outreach programs.

My only exam this semester is for Theoretical Archaeology, it’s on May 16.  After I have provisional plans to get back to the Bothy to finish works for the kitchen and such.  Hopes to get some walking in like year as well… I just will have to remember sunscreen this time so I don’t lose all the skin off my arms again.

The EUMC has a massive 75th Anniversary dinner and ceilidh coming up later in May which will be similar to last year’s dinner, camping, climbing, and walking (and drinking) road trip and party on Iona … only this time old members from the club will be coming back.  I recently spoke with an old bothy secretary from the 1960s Yummick era who was very excited to hear about the event and promised to bring friends and stories.  Should be lit.

Plans for the summer are shaping up, I have four weeks of excavation planned at the end of July into August with the rest of the summer set aside to work at the Gardens on my dissertation.  I have been focused on getting this semester done first and then I will turn focus onto research and talking to people.  Exciting.

The weather is slowly warming up and then it snowed again the other day… typical.  But, today is sunny and it wasn’t too cold this morning.

I’m just waiting for my laundry to finish and then probably going to get some coffee and cry over this essay about post-processual thought in archaeology.

 

im stumbling, im bumbling

Hello friends, it’s been awhile that I’ve welcomed you into the dumpster fire of my life.  So, come in.  Welcome.  Take a seat.  I’ve been stumbling around and may have actually figured out the secret to eternal youth…

Just kidding, but I did get mistaken as a child on the good ‘ole Lothian bus the other day.

The semester has been working along smoothly.  My final marks from last semester are back and I’m pretty proud.  I have the first of my assignments coming up in a few weeks.  It’s for Archaeological Illustration and I have been drawing a lot of rocks in Adobe Illustrator.  It’s actually really cool, but really time consuming.

Caitlin and I had a bit of an adventure last week.  I read about this local perfume company in Edinburgh called Reek Perfume that make scents inspired by historical women. The first of their perfumes is called ‘Damn Rebel Bitches.’  It’s inspired by the Jacobite Women. They don’t test on animals or retouch their photos, which I thought was pretty cool.  I got the address from their website and so Caitlin and I decided to go.  As it turns out, the address on the website is actually the flat of the lady (Sara Sheridan) who owns the business.  We felt a little embarrassed at first to have mixed it up, but she not to worry, a lot of people do that.  Sara invited us in and we chatted for a while about the perfume, feminism, and history.  They were actually shooting photos for their next perfume launch as well.

And as it turns out, she’s a historical novelist and written like over twenty books… including tie-in novels for the iTV Victoria series.  She said that if I ever wanted to write something for the Reek blog to just send her an email.  Which I totally think I will, I just need something catchy to write about!

On Wednesday, I was at the RBGE from 3- 9.  I helped to cook a Burns’ Dinner for about 40ish people.  The garden is hosting ERAMUS professors from Italy, Portugal, and across the UK for a weeklong workshop.  It was a lot of potato peeling and mashing, but I didn’t mind.  I joked that this was always my job during Thanksgiving as home, which was true.  I got a chance to chat with a few of people who work at the garden as well as speak with a few international professors.

Things have also been falling into place for my dissertation next year, which I hope to be able to finalize soon.  I’m looking at exploring the archaeology of the Botanic Cottage.  Think historical buildings, public engagement, social memory, etc.  I’ve had a few meeting with different professors and I’ve got another one on Wednesday.

Thursday night was the EUMC Burns’ Ceilidh and I still have bruises on my arms from popping sick moves.  Things got a bit confusing after the ceilidh when it circulated that we were all heading to Wetherspoons, but then failed to clarify which Wetherspoons out the six (6) in Edinburgh we were going to.

But, my dudes.  Never fear, the EUMC reunited and  I still made it to my 9-11am seminar.  It’s required and please don’t ask about the state I was in when I left the flat.  I made it to Starbs and when I walked in I was nearly brought to tears when the kind women behind the counter asked if, ‘I wanted the usual* and a muffin as well?’

Yes, o kind woman.  I do.

After my seminar I picked a burrito and went home.

*’the usual’ is a grande vanilla latte and a blueberry muffin

 

 

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.

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First semester done.

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week one

Sorry for the radio silence, things have been a bit busy here over the past week.

Last week was my first week back at University.  The week before that had been Freshers’ Week and was full of plenty of events to keep me busy.

Since I’m on the committee for the EUMC again this year I helped out at the Fresher’s Sports Fair and then helped out on the Cobbler meet.  It’s my third time to the Cobbler, but things were a little bit different this year.  I’ve got new knee braces and walking poles.  I looked like an absolute Grandmother, but honestly for the first time in about six years my knees didn’t cause me any problems.  If you’re new to my life, I’ve got some genetic abnormalities in how my patellas articulate which has caused tendonitis in both knees and has led to a few cases of ‘snap-back’ dislocation.  Yay.  I’ve been wearing some form of knee brace since I was fourteen and been through therapy for them multiple times, and while it’s always caused problems I’ve really tried to not let it stop me from enjoying sports etc.  So, when I only experiencing the type-2 fun of ‘why am I walking long distances for fun’ and not the type-3 fun of ‘I would rather step in a bear trap than have to use my legs’ I was pretty ecstatic.

My classes started up on Tuesday with a 9 AM lecture for History in Theory.  It’s one of my required classes and while it’s probably going to be a bit dry, I think I’m going to enjoy it.  Our lectures are over a variety of topics from Marxist History to Gender Theory.  I also had a seminar for my Conflict Archaeology class.  I am really excited for this course and I was really glad that I got a space in it as it is normally way over subscripted. Especially exciting is that during the semester Douglas D. Scott is coming to give a guest lecture!  Scott was one of the leading Conflict Archaeologists who basically 1) invented the discipline as we know it today and 2) lead major works on the Battle of Little Bighorn which basically reinvented our understanding of the battle!

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My skool is kweel. #year3

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Wednesday I had the day off and while I didn’t do much this week, I know in the coming weeks I’ll be glad to have a reading day!

Thursday I had another 9 AM lecture for History in Theory.  Thursday night was the first EUMC social of the year.  Gregor and I were marshals at one of the pubs on the crawl list and had invented a fantastic challenge of having participants eat cream crackers whilst downing a pint.  Since I had to get up early the next day for a 9-11 Archaeology seminar I planned on not staying out too terribly late. ‘Planned’ is the key word in that sentence.  And additionally, with Tuva home sick Gregor, Erling, and I had no adult supervision which learning from past experiences is never a good thing…

Friday morning I had a my Archaeology seminar about Community Archaeology at 9 AM. I made it.  I participated in the discussion.  I went home.

Saturday we celebrated Caitlin’s birthday (the fool’s real birthday was over the summer, but apparently our Facebook posts weren’t enough smh).  Saturday night I thrilled to find ‘Dirty Dancing’ had been added to Amazon Prime.

And today, I’ve spent the afternoon reading for my History in Theory lecture and then tomorrow I’ll read for my Conflict Archaeology course.  I’ll be starting in on my assignments soon as they are all due in a massive group at the end of November and I’m gonna die if I procrastinate.

out from under the rock

Coming at you live from the carpeted floor at the Chicago O’Hare Airport… it’s Year 3. 

(apologies if there’s spelling errors, I’m typing on the WordPress App and there’s no spell check. Why tho.)

After one of the hottest and busiest summers to date, I took the last 3.5 weeks to relax with my family, spend time with my one true love (my cat Rory), and binge watch the hell out of Daredevil and The Defenders.  But, it’s time to crawl out from under the rock I’ve been hiding under and get back into the world.

This morning I caught a skipper flight from Kansas City to Chicago where I am waitng for my flight back to Scotland.  I’m getting back just in time to help out the EUMC with Freshers and turn in the last of my paperwork from my excavations so the University can give me my money back.  Yay. 

Coming up this week, I’ve got a meeting with my personal tutor and the Sports Fair on Wednesday.  Thursday is the Fresher’s Preview and then on Friday, I’m back out into the Highlands for the Freshers’ Day Trip to the Cobbler.  Being so busy with excavations this summer, I didn’t get that many quality mountian days in so I am excited to get back out.  

Courses this year look pretty great as well.  First semester, I have two required classes (History in Theory and Archaeology in Practice).  My third course for the semester is ‘Here Comes the War: Conflict Archaeology and Forensic Science.’  I’m actually really excited for this one as it’s going to look at battlefield archaeology, ethics, etc.  Second semester, I only have one required course (Theory Archaeology).  The other two are ‘Crusades and Medieval Society’ and ‘Archaeological Illustration.’  

And that’s enough with the logisitical stuff.  It goes without saying that I’m excited to go back.  Year 3 is the first of the final two honours years, so I will begin to start thinking about what I’m going to write my disseration on and I’ll continue to research Masters programs.  I’m really leaning toward writing my diseration about Museum work and getting a Masters in Museum Studies.  

I’ve been volunteering at the NMS for nearly two years now and I’ve really learned a lot about how musuems run and the variety of jobs in the museum sector.  I love working with artifacts and creating displays, but honestly, my favorite is teaching people and learn new things myself.  So far I’ve worked mostly with the NMS’s youth team to plan events and help out when local schools visit, but I’d like to get into the wider educational side of museum work as well. 

I really think musuems have a unique opportunity to engage with the general public in a different way than a university.  If anything, many people only get to university to study History or Archaeology because they were inspired by a museum or a teacher.  And also, I mean, hell, we’ve got to invest in today’s youth if we have any chance of fixing things.  I remember a few times, when I was younger, being written off or been talked down to by older professionals.  On the flip side, I’ve met amazing academics who took the time to explain things to me and answer my questions instead of just treating me like an annoying kid (and, I mean, I’m not denying that I wasn’t an annoying kid…) and it made all the difference.  Because, if you don’t engage with them, if you talk down to them, and if you treat them like they’re stupid… there goes your next generation of historians, archaeologists, teachers, politicians, inventors, writers, artists… you get the idea. 

Young people who are interested in History aren’t stupid and sometimes they actually know a lot more so, eh, I really hope that in some small way I can work to fix that through museum work.  And I’d love to continue to work with that at the NMS because I honestly really love it there and I think they’ve got a lot of great stuff coming up.  

But, that’s me off my soap box.  Thanks for reading. 

I’ll try to keep this blog updated over the semester with the (cool?) stuff I’m doing.  I’ve only got a bit of time left before I board my plane and I still have to download enough Daredevil comics to last 7.5 hours.