Beginnings (part two)

It feels like every day is an exploration here, but here are some further highlights of things we have done as we try to settle in, as well as some start of term fun. First off, even though it is our first year at St. Andrews University, it is the university’s 600th (!!!) year of existing. Baffling to think about when you come from a country less than half that old. Anyways, they have been celebrating this 600-year anniversary for the past year from what it sounds like, but they did have a special celebration/graduation ceremony a couple of weeks ago. There were bagpipes, fireworks, parades of academics in full regalia, and, of course, Hilary Clinton and other foreign dignitaries receiving honorary degrees. Here are some shots:

ImageWe couldn’t get tickets to see her live, but we did see the live video-feed.

ImageAlmost the whole town (including bagpipers in kilts) turned out for the fireworks display.

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We were a bit hesitant about the fireworks display at first, coming from Southern California where you not only have amazing 4th of July shows, but also Disneyland’s nightly show, but these really turned out to be quite spectacular and impressive.

Start of term also meant lots of receptions and orientations, including this one where Debara (Isaac’s advisor’s wife) and I got matching St. Mary’s (the divinity school of St. Andrews) sweatshirts to support our husbands! I already mentioned her briefly, but she is an exceptionally kind and beautiful woman who, along with her husband, has definitely made our transition here easier. Image

Speaking of kindness, there have been so many students over here who have welcomed us into their homes and shown us around town. We have been so thankful for (and impressed by) the community here. Friendships obviously take time to build, but I imagine there is not many better places to find it in a postgraduate community than here. We are being well taken care of, that’s for sure!

DSCN7378We also bought bikes and have taken a few rides outside of town. We decided to name them El Relampago and Mr. Narwhal, or Lamp-y and Nari for short.

We also visited a few small fishing villages where we had the, purported “best fish and chips in the UK” (they were good) and caught a lift with a random old man back from the plant nursery in Pittenweem (I love the name!) because he felt bad for us carrying several large pots. Having never hitchhiked before, I found this rather exciting–though I did feel perfectly safe since we are in a small country-ish type town.

Since we are in Scotland, we also have been trying out some whisky (they don’t spell it with an e, apparently). One couple who had us over explained some of the distilling process to us, and then we went to a whisky tasting at another St. Mary’s postgrad’s home. He was quite the expert, with detailed explanations, tips, and a map of all the distilleries.

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There’s a bit of our “beginnings”–more to come tomorrow as I try to catch you up on everything that has been happening! Cheers!

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