2.29.2012

apparently it's...






































Today

Which I completely forgot about until the ever helpful Facebook posts started popping up everywhere. 

I don't have anything else to say about this day. Except that it gives me one extra day to write my paper? Which I suppose is awesome. {You better get used to it, people. The paper whining is going to continue for the next 4 weeks. Guaranteed.}

However, I can say that this movie is completely adorable. Correction: Matthew Goode is completely adorable, even when he's not blatantly photoshopped as per the above poster. But this movie makes my inner sap swoon and I'm not even ashamed to admit it

Not to mention that it makes me REALLY EXCITED to travel to Ireland during spring break.
More on that later...

But anyway, enjoy the extra day in the year, and do something out of the ordinary!

{P.S. Thanks for the get-well wishes, everyone. I am already feeling loads better. Cheers!}

2.28.2012

nooooooooo.


Stomach flu.
Want to die.
Well, not really.
But cry, definitely. 

My body is literally rebelling against this whole history-paper-writing business. I am finding new and creative ways to procrastinate, and I must say I don't like this one so much.

Seriously, remember when I wrote there was nothing I wanted to be doing less? 
{Nothing. NOTHING?Yeah, well, I totally lied and this is karma paying me back. Because I'd much rather be writing my paper than be curled up whimpering in the fetal position on my bed.

I now epitomize the useless and pathetic.

But the new procrastination technique = SUCCESS.

I'm not doing anything tonight.

2.27.2012

okay, i'm going to fangirl for a minute.


























I'm trying to figure out a way to express my verging-on-hysteric excitement for this woman's new album without being issued a restraining warrant.

But oooooooooooooohmigoodness, THIS WOMAN IS A GODDESS. Her voice makes angels dance. Her lyrics make God Himself/Herself weep fat tears of ecstasy. I want to have her children!!!!!!!!!  {This just took an extremely weird turn, didn't it?}

Sorry sorry sorry, but I'm anticipating What We Saw From the Cheap Seats almost as much as I looked forward to Codes and Keys. And that is pretty much the highest praise I could possibly give

Listen to her new song "On the Rowboats." 
It basically blew my mind.

Regina never disappoints, but this time she may far surpass my wildest imaginations.

2.26.2012

in which i have a few revelations. and one of them is kind of weird. {alternatively titled: scenes from bath}















1. I love mornings. When this happened, I don't know, because I used to curse the sun and the world and all the people in it when I was forced to wake up before 9. But I've recently discovered my love of being outside exploring before most people are even awake. I'm not sure how I'm going to deal if I become a morning person. I haven't even had coffee in a week {although this is more due to the fact that I'm horribly horribly skint and coffee is horribly horribly expensive}. What if I turn into one of those happy morning people? I hate those people. Maybe this is just a side effect of being in Europe. I'm sure once I'm back home and mornings only hold the pressure to start homework, I'll not be loving them so much anymore. But for now, I think I'll enjoy a morning scone in a cute cafe when the streets are still wet from the early rain. 

2. There isn't much of a difference between Salisbury and Kansas. It kind of looked like someone had plopped Stonehenge down on the outskirts of Lawrence. It was kind of like being home again. Except for the sheep. Can I just say that I've decided sheep are the cutest farm animals ever?

3. If life in New York City doesn't work out, I wouldn't completely hate an adorable little cottage buried under ivy and trellis flowers out in the hills somewhere. I'm just saying, it crossed my mind for a moment that I could be a country girl. Given the right incentives, of course...

4. They do serve meals in England that do not include potatoes. And they are really freaking good. Must seek these out from now on.

5. I kind of love the smell of caves. Which is really just the smell of dirt. It reminds me of my childhood. Dirt is a really safe, clean smell. And that's not even an oxymoron, so don't try to tell me it is.

6. There is such a thing as too much custard, no matter how delicious it is. 

Okay, I lied, there's more than one weird thing here.


Also, just so you Americans know, there are apparently no hard feelings over here...


2.24.2012

the little things i need most in my life right now.




















1. Breakfasts, not desserts. And I'm not talking pathetic breakfasts, like a bowl of cereal, but real, hearty, relax-and-read-the-paper-and-enjoy-the-sunrise breakfasts. Like thick, fluffy lemon-blueberry pancakes dripping with warm melting butter. A full jug of fresh orange juice on the table. Eggs of every kind: scrambled, fried {!}, poached, boiled... Slightly burnt toast and sticky marmalade. Porridge with golden syrup, which I have just discovered and with which am currently obsessed. Fruit, fruit, and more fruit. And BACON. The American kind, because I've found the British kind is simply inferior. I need more of the sort of breakfast that stays with you all day. Because really, who needs any of those "other" meals. Lunch and supper? They can never compare to a full breakfast. Nothing can make you feel as good about the start of a day as a good breakfast.

2. Long walks when I have nowhere to go and nothing to do but stare at the colourful flower buds sprouting on every corner. I need more sun and less clouds, which is something I never in my life thought I would say. And I need warmth. It's funny how my love of each of the seasons increases with their approach. I suppose I enjoy the constant change. Right now my very bones are aching for spring, for new life and new growth and a whole world of adventures very quickly approaching.



3. This song. On repeat. As it has been for the last 3 days...

4. Motivation to work on the 5 papers I have due by the end of March. Because right now, there is nothing I want to less

Nothing.

NOTHING.

2.23.2012

can you believe it?

As of today, I've been here for a month. An entire month! It's all going so quickly, which is a little scary. But at the same it's as if I've been here forever.  There is just so much to look forward to.

In one more month, I'll be getting ready to be a real world travelerItaly, Prague, Switzerland, France and Ireland.

Ready or not, here I come.

That is, if I can get through the massive amounts of papers due before then...

and yet again, more mountains. or, well, mountain singular, as the case may be. {or part 3 of my wild and sexy haggis adventure}


So we weren't going to climb the mountain. We weren't. On the first day, the woman at the front desk of our hostel had told us we could hike to the top of Arthur's Seat if we were feeling adventurous, but she warned us that it was a hard trip. When we saw the sheer size of Arthur's Seat, we chuckled and said "no way, maybe next time" with the excuse of not having our hiking shoes and not having enough time {when really it was the excuse of not wanting to exert the effort it would take to get to the top...}We'd decided to get up early on the last day and climb to the top of Calton Hill instead, which has a beautiful view of the city and a beautiful view of the sunrise peaking up over said mountain, or at least the plateau that juts out from the mountain. The part we thought was Arthur's Seat. 

It was not.




But there was something about that Sunday morning. The sun was bright and heavy, the sky was clear, the birds were singing and we were still on a high from the highlands the day before. As we stood on Calton Hill that morning, Arthur's Seat was bathed in golden light. It seemed to be standing guard over the still sleeping city. It was too inspiring to pass up. So we all looked at each other, shrugged and what-the-hell'ed and made our way across the city to the base of the mountain.




It was a hard, steep climb up to the flat table-top of the plateau. I had a cold, and my lungs were full of liquid {too much info there?}, but I was driven on by the thought of the amazing pictures I would have once I reached the top. And then we crested the plateau.

Only to see that some people were continuing up the rest of the mountain via a set of steep, haphazardous steps that suspiciously resembled the climb into Mordor. 

But as we stood at the base of the mountain pass, we knew we couldn't stop then. We had to keep going. After coming this far, our honor was now at stake

So we started to climb.


And climb. And climb. And climb.

About halfway up the steps, my entire body was spent with exhaustion and I had to rest a few times. I would like to blame this completely on my cold, but who am I kidding? It was also too much fish and chips.

 England, you're killing me here.


So what we'd originally thought was the "mountain" turned out to be the wimp-ledge... But that's okay, because the real mountain was so, soooo much better.

The higher we climbed, the more the liquid seemed to clear from my lungs {still too much?} and soon the top of the mountain became an actual, attainable goal. Those last few meters may have been the easiest steps I've ever taken, even though I was climbing almost vertically, because i was no longer running on energy but instead pure exhilaration.  


And as I climbed the last of the mountain face and stood at the very top, that overwhelming wash of joy came rushing back and I suddenly realized that that exact moment was not only one of the best moments of my life but would go on to become a defining moment of my life and my sense of self. Edinburgh lay spread out below me, with the mountains of the highlands to the north and the horizon of the northern sea to my west. From the top of that mountain, I may as well have been watching over the whole world.

It was awe-inspiring.

It was humbling.

But most of all, it was empowering.

I finally understood myself. I was strong.

I was doing what I was meant to do, what I had always meant to do but never knew if I could. And I was doing it fearlessly and whole-heartedly and without regrets.

I will be without regrets. 


I wish I could describe the multitude of emotions battling through me there at what seemed like the beginning and end of all things. However, any words I use would just be a mockery of the true experience. All I can say is that the top of that mountain held a complete purity of self

I have spent so much of my life feeling like something was missing. But here's the thing I've discovered: Nothing ever was. It just took a life-altering experience to finally show me that I have become everything I've always wanted to be and more. I am the person I want to be. My life is the life I want it to be.

On this day, on top of the world, I was changed.
I may have always been whole and fulfilled. 
But for the first time in my life, I felt it.




After everything I'd seen and done, leaving Scotland was one of the hardest goodbyes I've ever made. I've vowed to return someday because I can't bear the thought of saying goodbye forever. But even as I write this, I know this isn't true. Even if I am never able to return, I will always carry a piece of Scotland in my heart for the rest of my life. When an experience alters your sense of being the way Scotland has altered mine, you can never truly leave it behind. I am what Scotland has made me. Because of my time here, there is a part of me that is Scotland.

Scotland and I are one.

But that being said, time cannot keep me away forever.


I promise a less existentially wrought post soon, my dears. Because I will admit, the last couple have been fairly intense and I'm sure you are all missing my self-deprecating yet endearing sense of sarcasm. {I hope??}

Anyway, back to regularly scheduled programing.

Although I am visiting Stonehenge this weekend, so who knows what that masterpiece may tell me about my existence and the nature of the human experience?

I guess you'll just have to wait and see...


2.22.2012

at the risk of seeming redundant, here are a thousand pictures of some mountains {or part 2 of my wild and sexy haggis adventure}

{Alternatively titled: You kind of had to be there}


There is no way to even remotely describe the sheer magnificence of the highlands. There is literally no word that can completely encapsulate their resplendence. No picture either. I suppose you really just have to see them for yourself before you can understand. But, as this is my blog and as I tend to ramble and overanalyze every aspect of my life within these hallowed... webpages... I will try my best to explain how this trip changed my outlook on just about everything.





On the bus through the highlands, I just kept thinking to myself: How can this possibly be real? I usually believe that imagination is greater than any reality, but in Scotland that belief was turned on its head, because there is absolutely no way a person could imagine the full majesty of the highlands. They are more magical because they exist



All in all, it was a long and wonderful day. The weather seemed supernaturally engineered to give us a taste of all the highlands had to offer. It was sunny, then cloudy, then windy, then rainy, then foggy, then snowy, and finally the sun would peak back through the clouds and bathe the land in light again. And no matter what the weather had been like 30 seconds ago, it always mysteriously cleared up the moment we jumped off the bus to take pictures, as if the highlands themselves were welcoming us into their world.






At Urquhart Castle and Loch Ness in the afternoon, it stopped snowing and became crystal clear just in time for us to enjoy the views of the still, mysterious lake. From the castle we took a boat across the Loch to a hotel where our tour bus was parked. As the boat cut through the water leaving trails of waves in its wake, I couldn't keep my gaze away from the cold, crushing black of the loch. Being there in the middle of it all, I suddenly understood how easy it would be to believe that a giant, ancient monster lurked at its murky depths. Hell, riding across that loch, I did believe it. In fact, it almost seemed like the lake itself was alive. Alive, and almost a little sinister




And I got to dip my feet in what is quite possibly the most famous body of fresh water in the world... The whole experience was incredibly surreal, in a way.

Everyone fell asleep on the bus ride back to Edinburgh. Everyone except me, that is. I could barely blink out of fear that I'd miss something, even as darkness obscured my view of the silent, snow-covered forests and mountaintops. 

It in those waning hours of daylight, something strange happened to me. This complete sense of pure and utter joy washed through my body and settled in the pit of my stomach, and in that moment I knew I had never truly experienced joy before. Sure, I've been happy many times in my life, but I realized that joy is something completely different. It is happiness on the surface, yes, but at its core it is so, so much more. It is a feeling of absolute peace with yourself and your life, coupled with an undeniable excitement for everything you're suddenly sure will come. It is also tied to this powerful sense of inner strength that I desperately crave but so rarely feel. 

It was at that point that I realized how foolish I am. All my life I've been chasing after intelligence and power and control, and I suppose there have been times when I have actually scoffed at the idea of joy, choosing instead the misunderstood sarcasm to hide my own insecurities. But with that sense of joy came a sudden enlightenment, and I saw what I really need to live my life for. After having that taste of joy, it is now something I know I will spend my life striving to find and maintain, no matter how cheesy this sounds. Perhaps it is cheesy. But if you've ever experienced joy, you'll know what I mean.

As the highlands receeded into the blizzard and the sun slipped behind the horizon, I was filled with such a wonderful calm. I had never really had a strong desire to go to Scotland. At least, no more than my desire to go anywhere else. I had always wanted to travel, to have adventures, but these adventures were not set in any particular location. I just wanted to be free to explore the world. But seeing the highlands caused this dramatic shift in my priorities. I've always been a city girl, but Scotland brought out something in my that I thought had been buried in the woodsy forts of my childhood along with my old time capsules and treasure maps. After all this time, I forgot just how much I love the world. Not just the cities, not just the culture, not even the people, but the world itself. The pure unadulterated beauty to the world and everything in it.

Scotland changed me. It made me see my life and myself differently than I ever have before. I know I will return someday. I have to

Scotland's not done with me yet.


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