It is snowing! And the snow is sticking!
The highlight of the last two weeks was definitely the Irate Pirate Ceilidh I went to on Wednesday. It was hilarious! A ceilidh is a traditional Scottish dance and my new favorite thing in the world. There is a band with fiddles and such, and before each dance the steps are quickly explained, then everyone does their best not to mess everything up too badly! The dances are very energetic, picture the liveliest dances from Jane Austen adaptations, and generally pretty simple. Most of them involve couples dancing around in a big circle, with a lot of twirling and kicking and such, or starting with two lines of people facing each other and people weaving in and out and skipping down the middle. Use your imagination. For traditional ceilidhs, like the one on Burns Night which I sadly couldn't get a ticket for, the men are dressed in the full kilt ensemble and the girls wear whatever Scottish garb they have, although for university ceilidhs you don't have to stress if you don't own a kilt. The ceilidh I went to was pirate themed, and was raising money to fight global warming. In case you are unaware of the correlation between pirates and global warming I included a graph in my Burns Night album. Not knowing how far people were going to take the theme I dressed pretty normally, although my pirate boots and belt did secure me the 1 pound costume discount, but most of the folks went full out. The clothing ranged from bandanas made out of plastic Tescos bags and mustaches drawn on faces, to people with full elaborate costumes and birds affixed to shoulders. My favorites were the guys who were dressed like pirates from the waist up and in full Scottish garb from the waist down. Very sexy. During a jig one of these kilt pirates got so confused that he gave up and started doing the Thriller dance. And I got a pin that says b******s to poverty, which is amusing. I really wish I had taken pictures.
When I say I'm from Seattle, I expect people to associate it with Fraser or Grey's Anatomy. Nope. I was talking to a guy at the ceilidh, and when I told him I was from Seattle he asked, "Is it still as depressing as ever?" Me: "What?" Him: "Well, Washington State has the highest suicide rate in America." Me: "Uhh...right..."
It still really amuses me that the student union serves drinks. And you never get carded, because if you're there you're a student, and all uni students are of age. One of my favorite places is the Library Bar, which used to be the old library during the Victorian Era and still has old books lining the walls. Its all dark wood and low lighting and tightly spiraling staircases. It seems so odd to look over and see the bar, but I also think its odd to have a Guinness with lunch, so what do I know. The food is really good there, and rather cheap. For 2 pounds 10 you can get a huge nacho plate (loads of mozzarella, seasoned tomatoes, and jalapeños) that will easily feed two, making it one of the best deals Ive found so far.
Burns Night was last Friday. Its a Scottish holiday to celebrate the Robert Burns, and you are supposed to have a traditional Scottish dinner and read his poetry. My suitemates and I (none of us were able to get tickets to the ceilidh it sold out ridiculously quickly) made a little Burns Night supper, complete with neeps (turnips), tatties (potatoes), and haggis. I broke my veggie-ness and ate the haggis, and it is REALLY GOOD. Seriously. And the ingredients are no more disgusting than what is in a hot dog much better really. Its cooked in a sheep's stomach, but you don't eat that. Inside is seasoned ground sheep and oatmeal and onion, and it looks like ground beef. Tastes amazing and it didn't make me sick, which was surprising. Did you know that Burns wrote an ode to haggis? Another thing I learned was that the Scots use the word pudding as we use the word dessert. If you say, Lets have pudding, you aren't referring to a specific food. This caused a great deal of confusion. We ended up having Christmas pudding, which is sort of like warm gooey fruit cake.
Classes are going well. My first essay is due on Monday, so I should really get on it. Good thing its only 1000 words. My professors are great. For my English Lit lectures we have three different professors who trade off according to what the topic is, so they just teach what they specialize in. At first that was a bit odd, but it does add an element of surprise not knowing who your prof is going to be when you walk into the hall. One of the women reminds me of Trelawney, although she is endearing instead of annoying. Leah and I think she should go into the movies she would be a perfect witch (again, in an endearing way) without even trying. Another one of the professors is absolutely hilarious! I don't know what it is, but I cant keep a straight face when he is lecturing. His jokes are actually funny, which is really surprising for a professor - sometimes they are a bit irreverent, but always very funny. I switched into Canadian Studies, and that is really interesting. There is quite a bit of material Canada is a big country after all, and tackling both politics and culture is a tall order. What I really enjoy about the class is that while I'm learning about Canada I'm also learning quite a bit about Scotland, Wales, Europe in general, and America, because Canada is constantly defined against other countries. Quebec's fight for independence is often compared to the Scottish fight, although now I know that Quebec and Wales really have more in common, and that Scotland isnt as riled up about independence as I thought they were. And I had never thought how weird it is that different US states have different criminal laws. That is really bizarre when you think about it.
What else is there? Alli had her 21st birthday party on Tuesday, which was fun. I hung out with the Scots for awhile, and accidentally insulted one of them by calling her accent British. Whoops. I have another birthday party on Monday which is 1920s fancy dress. I need to find some long strands of beads. Oh! I bought plane tickets for Granada, which was scary. I think I got a pretty good deal though Im going to London and then Granada for under 70 pounds including bus fare. My friend Sarah (who is studying in Granada) is coming to visit me the week before and we are going to go on a highland tour up to Loch Ness, and then I'm going to go see a bit of Spain and hopefully make it to at least Salzburg, Vienna, and Prague. I know, I need to get a job. I'm working on it.
I think thats about it! : )
P.S. I just noticed that offexploring is deleting some of my punctuation. Sorry about that, but nothing I can do. Also, they are the ones who edited out the word b******s, not me!