I feel like there will be more times that I don’t post for a while and need to update, thus the #1. Today marks the last day of the first week of classes, and I am really happy. My first class, Nationalism and Unionism in Modern Scotland, was on Tuesday and is taught by Professor Colin Kidd who is crazy in the best possible way. He is so funny and interesting and had fun little anecdotes throughout the class, thus spending pretty much the entire 2 hour class on attendance and going through the course handbook (syllabus). My second class is The American Metropolis which I have on Thursdays. The Professor, Dr. Emma Hart, is really sweet and her focus is 18th century American Urban History, so I think we will get along quite well. In fact, she is giving a talk at Penn in January that I may go to. I already have loads of reading and a presentation on Monday, but despite the work I think it is going to be a lot of fun.
Beyond classes, I went to Rosh Hashana services on Monday with my friend Stacy from Penn and it was really interesting. There were a relatively small number of people with an Orthodox style service, although more relaxed. It was unlike anything I had ever been to before, and was a cool experience. I got to meet a bunch of people from the Jewish Society at that and the apples and honey event later that night and I am definitely going to join that group. They were so welcoming and I have a feeling that their weekly Shabbat dinners will help me find a real community (I missed the one this week to save money, but I will hopefully go to one soon).
Also, on Wednesday Dudley (another friend from Penn) and I spent the day in Edinburgh. Unfortunately, my camera was broken so I couldn’t take pictures, but that just gives me an excuse to go back. It was about 2 hours away by bus and pretty much all we saw were quaint towns and farms until we got to Edinburgh. Honestly, Edinburgh is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. The history is everywhere and just walking around the University area was amazing. I want to go back to see shows and visit museums, especially the free museum attached to Edinburgh Castle that houses exhibits about the 1st of Foot Royal Scots, the unit that we represent in F&I. Once I have a camera again, that will be one of the first things on my list.
Next week I have class on Monday and Tuesday (Thursday class is moved to Monday for the week because Dr. Hart has a conference in the US) and Yom Kippur on Wednesday. Thursday I am going to Glasgow to celebrate Rachel’s birthday with her for the weekend. I am excited to spend a solid 4-5 days in a new place with such a good friend and can’t wait to try some new things and explore again with Rachel.
I think that is all for now. If anyone is following this, thank you for sticking with me during my depression stage and I promise (well, hope) that the entries will be happier from now on.
Finally I am starting to feel at home in St. Andrews. Some things are still weird, but today I was reminded how lucky I am to be studying here and why I wanted to come here in the first place. I went for a walk on The Scores, the street right along the water, in search of the Museum to go on what is scheduled as a “highlight tour”. Needless to say, I passed it without realizing it and, when I finally found it, I couldn’t tell if there were still tours available. It didn’t matter though. In my passing it I ended up walking through the main quad and then over to where the ruins of the Castle are. This area looks right over the water and, I have to say, with the sun casting shadows and the blue sky with big white clouds in the background, it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. Of course, I forgot my camera in the room, like I always do, but I will try to get pictures soon and post them. Nevertheless, seeing this made everything click for me and made me realize how, even though I miss my home, my family, and my friends, I am truly fortunate to be here, studying in a place so rich with history and beauty.
I don’t know if it is jet lag or just me worrying and thinking too much but, once again, I find myself unable to sleep at 6:33am. This week has been so odd so far. Having been through Orientation once, I am not quite so enthusiastic the second time around. I am just ready for classes to start. I love the town and the view, but every interaction I have seems so superficial. At Penn I never talk to most of the people who I hung out with during NSO, and I wonder how many of the people I am meeting I am going to spend time with. My guess is not many. As always, I miss my family and wish that it was easier to talk to them. I know I have only been here for a few days, but a common theme in my head has been “it is only for 4 months” which isn’t great. I don’t really know what it is, but I just kind of feel like I don’t belong. Maybe once academics start I will feel differently but I am not really into this going out and getting drunk every night thing and most of the time I end up in my room watching shows or browsing the internet. I guess that I have never really been good at change and, while I think it will be sad to leave the town, I am not sure I will miss the school culture. Then again, I have only been here for a few days and I still have 4 months.
As I lay on the bed in my dorm room at 5:14 am I am filled with questions about what this semester has in store. Will I fit in? How hard will the classes be? How am I going to get by without seeing my family for 4 months? I hope that once classes start, I will get into a routine and become more comfortable, but at the moment I am wondering if this was a mistake.
A week before I leave, I am visiting Penn to say goodbye before my trip. Today is the second day of my three day visit and already I feel like I am back at home. I went to see the NSO show (Zanna Don’t) last night and it was awesome. I can’t believe that I am going to spend four months without the amazing and talented people of Penn theatre. Still, it was the perfect way to see everyone again. Today I went to Load-in for Small Fall and I am exhausted, but happy to help. I am also going to help with strike tonight for Zanna Don’t because I don’t have anything better to do and it is another chance to hang out with friends. Tomorrow is an easier day, the only thing I have to do being a Stim meeting. I go home tomorrow night, which is kind of sad, but it will be good to spend the time at home before I leave (plus I still have things to pack). Basically, it has been a theatre filled weekend, but what is my Penn experience without theatre? This weekend has reminded me of all the reasons why I love Penn, Penn theatre, and my amazing and wonderful friends. You guys have no idea how much I will miss you and I know you will all have an amazing semester with the new Freshmen. I can’t wait to hear all your stories when I get back! ❤