September

September 29, 2006

Hi everyone!

I’ve been here almost two weeks and am settling in very well. Strathclyde is right in the centre of Glasgow, which is a beautiful city. It’s pretty small too, excellent for walking around. The buildings are old and big and all made of stone – its cool to be surrounded by, and have classes in buildings that are older than Vancouver!
My flat is small but cosy, and so is my room. (They must have gotten a deal on the blue paint – its EVERYWHERE!)

I have 5 flatmates, from France, Poland, China, Czech Republic, and Inverness. They are all really great and we get along well – lots of laughs and making fun of each other. We have been out more than a few times as well. The nightlife in the city is amazing! Drinks are often only £1 (about $2.15) and that includes beer, mixers and shots! There are so many places to go that you can leave your flat at 1 am and still get in – with no cover! Vancouver could take a lesson or two from Glasgow in that respect for sure.

Classes here just started on Tuesday. So far all seem to be going well. Right now I’m taking 5: Victorian and Gothic Lit, Italian Renaissance (Honours), Irish Society (Honours), How and Why Does Language Change, and Geography 101 (to get my certificate in Liberal Arts). It may seem like a lot, but I think it will be manageable – Geography and History tutorials are only every second week.

Strathclyde has a huge number of international students, and ‘we’ have a pub night every week (Wednesday) that is organized for us by the international office. So far I’ve met people from France, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Germany, Austria, Canada, the US, and Denmark. We had a ceilidh (kay-lee) last night, which is a traditional Scottish party. We learned all sorts of traditional dances and had a great time. I think the band (who were also trying to teach us the dances) got a bit frustrated as English (and especially Glaswegian) is not everyone’s first language!

There are also day trips organized for the international students. On Saturday I went to the Isle of Arran. It was an amazing day and I spent time with Scott and Sean from Canada and Paul from Australia. They are flatmates and I met Sean on Wednesday night at the bar. We hit it off right away and all went tromping around forests and fields for the day – and saw the hairy highland cows!!

After we got back home, we hung out at their flat, 16D, and had a wee flat party (throwing of knives and breaking of glasses ensued) . . . if this is an indication of my semester to come, I think I like it here! Tomorrow we are going to a castle and in October we are going to St. Andrews – rain or shine, which it does a lot of here, especially rain.

If you thought the weather was unpredictable in Vancouver, you should come to Scotland. This morning I woke up at 8’ish – raining. Went back to sleep, woke up at 9:30 to bright sunshine! Didn’t have to be at class till noon, by the time I left the flat it was cloudy, but still kind of warm. Went to class, then walked home at 1 – and it started to sprinkle . . . left for class again at 2, still sprinkling. Left class at 3 – torrential downpour. Now its 5 and the sun is starting to peek through the clouds again.

Its not too different from home: Tesco and Sainsbury’s are like Save-on and Safeway, ASDA is Wal-Mart, and there is even a Costco and an IKEA! Cell phones are mobiles, lifts are elevators, and if you have a class on M 408 – it actually means you need to go up four flights of stairs!! (since the ground level is ‘ground level’ and then it’s the first floor) *sigh* those crazy Scots.

Hope everything is good back home!

Talk to you soon,

-Michelle

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