Friday, July 25, 2008

Just Breathe....

Well, it's the end of the road as we know it. And I feel fine, of course.

The date of project turn-in is upon us and I couldn't be happier as I have been twelve kinds of stressed out, and I'll tell you why. I was sure I would never get my project (and that I was being smited--smote?--) done for these reasons:

1. My video camera died throwing any and all of my original ideas out the window.
2. We did some recording that took a good few days off my life and the life of my father. It was fun but probably one of the most stressful aspects of the project.
3. While in Nashville for what was supposed to be two days, I went to renew my tags, failed emissions and took it in to the shop. It took 7 full days of missing work and $1400. Awesome.
4.I have no internet and my computer is so lovely that it only works on the third minute of every first Tuesday on alternating months ( well, that may be slightly exaggerated) and so I had to spend a full 6-8 hours a day in the computer lab when I finally returned to Chattanooga. Then, in the middle of the eight hours the power went out and I lost more ground than I care to mention because the mantra "Save, save, save" clearly means nothing to me.
5.God called. He wanted his lunch back. Salmonella tomatoes, anyone?

Anyway, needless to say I'm thrilled to be done and ready for a rockin' vacay with my mum in a little over a week!!! Rock on Florida!

Love you all!

P.S. Have you SEEN the Dark Knight yet?! Go. See It. Now. Plus, also, Once. That movie is one of the greatest things I've ever seen. Mostly 'cause I'm a big, fat sap. The End.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

"I don't eat parts. They're body parts. I don't eat body parts.

... but I did eat a rat once...."

God Bless the U.S.A. right?!

I've been back in the U.S.A. for a week now and America is so happy to have me back, it treated me to a whole fireworks show and everything! I mean, I know America loves me and all, but that was just too sweet! AND most of Nashville showed up at the Riverfront to celebrate my homecoming! I mean, how lucky am I?! Well, I guess maybe our nation's birthday may have had something to do with that, but I'd like to believe the former.

Oops, gotta run. This will have to be continued....

Saturday, June 28, 2008

I still Have Bagpipes ringing in my ears... or could that be the kitchen timer???

So, I absolutely fell down on the job this final week of the trip, but am I to blame when the public outcry for more dance was so great?! How can I blog AND give the people what they want?! And the paparazzi around here, let me tell you! It got hard for me to leave my dressing room! (Despite being from Tennessee, delusion is my favorite state...)

Anyway, I'd like to take a moment or 90 to tell you all about my final week in wee, bonny Scotland. (I'll be honest, I don't really know the proper usage of that particular word.)

Monday was a class day, so of course there were a number of very flattering blackmail photos of all of us on the internet that afternoon. (Thank you Dr. Rushing. I really do prefer photos in which I have less than six chins, but I suppose I must bend to your creative spin.) We got to hear all about everyone's fabulous free weekends, which of course meant we were in class for approximately eleventy bajillion years. This was intensified by the fact that my body chose that day to reject itself, followed by my video camera giving me the old one finger salute and then the phone not working so I could call home and bitch about all the aforemetioned disaster! Bajeez! I think perhaps God was punishing me for the "babies on spikes" comment I made in class, but I can't be sure. What I can be sure of, however, is that karma is a fickle friend. You enjoy it when other people are getting the sucky end of the stick but when you become the whipping boy, suddenly karma is no longer funny. The day began to redeem itself when we all took off to the National Museum of Scotland. We basically didn't care to see anything but Dolly the sheep and boy, did we ever! Sadly, though, Dolly is looking like she's had a little work done! She is very glassy eyed and stiff. I might go so far as to say she looks as though she may have been stuffed! That must really suck. Also she's on a rotating table in a glass box so it makes it even one MORE notch higher on the creepy meter. The Museum was pretty cool, but after a while, you realize that every piece of weird copper tableware and all the 17th century furninshings start to look the same and before you start pulling at your hair, you have to get out into the light again.

The day further redeemed itself toward the end when Jennifer and I went to the pub and ran into the fabulous Rushing-Benders and chatted for a bit and then I was introduced to the "Evolution of Dance" and the "G wiz vs. Table" videos. That was enough to turn the night around. TABLE IS VICTORIOUS!!! Also, the pub was playing some rockin' music videos, including Madonna's "Like a Prayer," Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean," and Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." I mean, the heavens opened up over Centro Bar.

Tuesday we headed to the home of Bea-Pot, Original MC, more commonly known as Beatrix Potter. (She has to hide her identity, lest her street cred be denied. You know.) Although it was a neat place to visit, the trip itself was a tad... disappointing. It went really quickly and we did a lot of traveling for only a short bit of staying in one place seeing cool stuff. On the bright side, we narrowly avoided death barrelling down through the English countryside, with its tiny roads and our driver, who navigated using a GPS system. And while I appreciate that we managed to get there sans any sort of dismemberment or misdirection, I feel like a paid driver using a GPS system is cheating. That, to me, is like a literature teacher teaching Spark Notes. I mean, come on, dude. For that matter, hand the deal over to me! I can drive! Not very well, but I can(!) follow directions. Well, I can hear directions. Ok, nevermind. But that dude was still no Jimmy, that's for sure! Another happy event was the large population of sheep grazing about the Potter property. Several of the fluffy darlings had the letter "H" painted on their sides, which I was positive was a shout out (holla!) to me, but which Dr. Rushing decided actually meant "hamburger". Poor sheepy!

We finished the day by heading to the Crags for a wee drink (that time I KNOW I used it correctly! A-plus for me, right?!) and as we were enjoying our beverages, the lights went out. All I could think about was "Shadow Dancing" but I digress. The mistresses of the pub told us that due to the blackout wee had to leave so they could close the bar. We chose to stay a while longer anyway, because we are rebels... so there.

Wednesday was a perfect day. That is not even sarcasm, which I am aware is utterly shocking to anyone who reads this blog, but it really was amazering! It started with a short class-like session in the cafeteria, which was, ahem, fun... Anyway, we left and a group of the gals headed out to go to Roslin Chapel, which, in case you didn't know is fabled to be the home of the holy grail. Anyway, that's what Dan Brown says in the Da Vinci code. Or so everyone keeps telling me. Anyway, I'm pretty sure the funniest part of the whole day happened before we had even gotten out of Pollack Halls good. We head down the street and Cait, I, and Jennifer are walking shoulder to shoulder down the sidewalk. As we're walking, Jennifer is talking and I'm looking straight ahead. Suddenly, out of NOwhere a sign jumps in front of Jennifer and slams right into her! (That was in the interest of helping J save face, when in fact, Jennifer seriously ran slam into a pole.) The best part of all of it was that, as if in a cartoon, the sign literally began wobbling and making the "boioioioioing" sound as Jennifer stumbled backwards out of our formation. I was concerned of course, but sadly the uncontrollable laughter was restraining me from expressing said concern. Chalk up one more point to the hell column for me.

Anyway, once we made it to the bus, we had a lovely ride out to the Chapel, which is quite possibly one of the most amazing places I've ever seen. The architecture is stunning and it's overwhelming how much history lies in those walls. It's absolutely incredible. I was also extremely tickled by the cat who was sleeping on one of the pews and who no one could resist petting for a moment. The tour guide person said he was a regular visitor to the Chapel but that they didn't feed him, so he obviously belongs to someone as he is not a slim kitty, if you know what I'm saying. Anyway, they said they call him William because they think he is William St. Clair, who built the Chapel, reincarnated. I believe it too! I bet he's guarding the Grail!!! Oh man!

After the Chapel, Jennifer, grande Caitlin and I headed to the American Embassy to Scotland, Pizza Hut, for dinner and then joined Bekah, Beth, Emily, and Katy for the World Premiere of Dummy at the Edinburgh film festival. The movie was amazing and beautiful and absolutely heartbreaking. I will have you know, however, that I did NOT cry (much.) even though it was extremely sad at some points (Ok. So I may have been quietly sobbing and getting tears and snot all over the place, but I do not need your judgment! Don't judge me!!!). It was absolutely a wonderful experience though. The lead actors, the director and the art director were all in attendance and they held a Q&A following the film, which was just an incredible experience. How often do you get to see the world premiere of a feature film and then get to discuss it with the very people who created it? Unless you're a movie star or filthy stinkin' rich, not a whole lot! And as I am neither (yet), that was quite the experience! Also, post-film, we decided to take some real-life red carpet type photos!!!

Here, Bekah and Jennifer pose like Supermodels.
After that, we headed back to Pollack Halls and the sun was shining (which is a bleedin' miracle for Scotland most of the time) and I just felt compelled to climb Arthur's Seat. So I did. And I made it up without falling (...more than once) and when I got to the halfway point, my favorite reggae protest song came on my iPod so I did a little mountain-dancing and then continued up when I realized all of Scotland could see me flailing about. When I reached the top, Doug was there!! We took a couple of photos together and then headed back down. We got back to Pollack Halls at about 1030 and headed over to the pub and spent the rest of the evening talking about musical theatre. See, it was a perfect day! (Plus, also, I heart Doug times a hundred pieces of cheesecake!)
Finally, Thursday, we began our final day by hitting up the botanical gardens which was ok, but nothing spectacular. We did climb a tree and do some posing (always fun) in front of a waterfall! Afterwards, we headed to the Vanity Fair Portrait exhibit at the National Portrait gallery which was amaaaaaazing. I love Vanity Fair's photos more than all the butter pecan Breyer's ice cream in the store. I was totally absorbed in photos of people like H.G. Wells, Claude Monet, Albert Einstein, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, Charlie Chaplin, Greta Garbo, Katharine Hepburn, Clint Eastwood, Julia Roberts and the list just goes on and on. It was such a fantastic exhibit. We finished the day by packing and heading over to the Crags for a couple of drinks and then went to sleep. We had originally planned to try and hike Artur's Seat at 3 something in the morning to watch the sun rise, but it rained and we got nervous about the safety of hiking up a slick mountain in the dark. It was ultimately a no-go. Probably a good thing though, as travelling yesterday was totally hellish.
I won't really go into detail about that now, but I may feel more chatty when my jet-lag wears off and I write my final reflection blog tomorrow. For now though, I must go before I get carpal tunnel or gangrene or something.

Peaces, y'all.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Third ring of hell: Party of one

I'm going to do a five minute recap of the last four days. Get Hyped.

Thursday: We went to the National Library of Scotland and saw some oooooold books. Tizzight. I had Dr. Rushing take a photo of me next to an autographed, first edition of Harry Potter. Y'all don't know 'bout me. Then, basically nothing. Actually, there were some other things but it would really just be superfluous and petty to talk about them on the internet. Suffice it to say, Thursday did not make me feel like clicking my heels together. So it goes. I will say however, in the interest of entertainment, that I managed to thoroughly embarrass myself (yet again) at the pub on campus. I went to order my beverage and as I was standing there I noticed the bartender had a rockin' cool belt buckle. So I tell him as much and then I start to feel a little akward and say, "not that I was looking at your... um... jesus...." I mean, seriously. Someone needs to check my diet cokes for drugs. Do people really say things like that to people?! Aparently, I do.

Friday: Jennifer and I headed to Inverness. The train ride was lovely... for about twenty minutes. Then, this family with three of the world's most obnoxious todddlers boarded the train and sat right next to us. Awesome. Screaming, throwing food on the floor, more screaming. Freaking kids! All I could think about was "Babies on spikes! Babies on spikes! Babies taste of chicken!"

 Inverness= tiny. We walked around the city, which is beautiful but took about ten full minutes. We then headed to our hostel (Rock on! We stayed in a hostel! I can check that off my life list now... and thank God because, honestly, hostels smell like feet laced with marijuana.)  We headed back out, adventurous spirit intact, and tried to find some gourmet scottish food (i.e. anything not resembling scottish food.) We landed at Pizza Express ( apparently we also became aliens and rode our space craft on down... geez) and were having a lovely dinner. Lovely, that is, until the third ring of hell opened up and spat the demon babies out AGAIN! I could not even believe it. I know God's punishing me. I'm just not sure which offense he's off on this time... 

We ultimately went back to the hostel at the late, late hour of about 7p.m. Jennifer did NOT fall asleep at 7 (read: did fall asleep at 7) and I read some of my book and fell asleep on top of it for a moment ( there may have been some drooling involved, but I will neither confirm nor deny this charge) and was rudely awakened by little miss Israeli- backpacker who asked what I was doing. I thought about responding: "the cha-cha, what does it look like?" but I refrained due to the off-chance she was packin' heat in that big-ass backpack. So I said, "well I fell asleep reading" and she says, "But you're just napping, right? You ARE going out.." And I just kind of looked at her like, "um... prob'ly not." And she got all hip-jut-huffy and made a hacking sigh sound and left the room just to be sure I understood that she disapproved. Whatever. I showed her! I fell asleep on TOP of my book, listening to Sting and still wearing my jeans! Take that!

Saturday: Woke up at the crack of 7:30. We had a gourmet breakfast of McDonalds and headed out to Loch Ness. We got on a coach where our driver was one of the funniest fellows I've met yet. (Also, the man smelled like a pack of old cigarettes, but as he was funny, I forgave it.) He played a mean air guitar. The boat ride was quite lovely. It was a three-hour tour which made me a little nervous as Gilligan only took a "three-hour tour" and look how he ended up! Jennifer said at least there are no desert islands to get stranded on but with our luck we could have been eaten by Nessie or Worse (trapped in a Castle with the demon babies)! Luckily, though, we made it out alive and managed to see Urquart Castle from afar because as of now a castle is a castle is a castle is a sheep. We didn't see Nessie... wait, you don't know.... Nessie did back flips in the water!!!! We totally got a Monster Circus! Ok, well, when you see the buoy picture and I tell you it's the monster, just go along with it. 

We left a little early (read: three hours early) because Inverness is a little too rustic (read: boring) for our tastes. And I will be darned if we did not look down the train station and see the screaming children again! We were dead-set against getting on a car with them again and luckily managed to avoid the babies on spikes scenario which may ultimately have come to fruition. The ride back was lovely as I finished the book I had begun the day before. I was just hell-bent on knowing the outcome (or I'm just entirely nerdy. Your call.)! We got back and had a lovely evening in the campus pub until "Holla back girl" came on the jukebox and Jennifer had some kind of violent reaction. I understand. Sometimes the music moves you. Any good student of interpretive dance could tell you that. 

Sunday: I did some laundry, which was quite the adventure and to make a long story short, my clothes are dry but crunchy and my underwear is currently residing on any available space in my room. I bet the maids had a little shock this morning! It's ok, though, because I have one pair with scottie dogs so at least they could relate. Afterwards, I walked down the Royal Mile by myself which was less fun that a Ferris Wheel but more fun than sticking pins in your eyes. When I got back, Cait and I thought Arthur and his Seat deserved a chance to redeem themselves and we went for a little hike that led us clear to the other side of the mountain. Suddenly Cait announced that it looked as if it might rain and maybe we should head back. Without missing a beat, the sky opened up and the bottom dropped out. At least we did't have far to walk. Oh, wait. Other side of the mountain. Riiiggghhhht. So, I don't need dry clothes! And, as we were trying to get back, we see a girl running to get out of the rain and she begins dropping things all over the place and is too distracted by the rain (i.e. drunk) to notice. So, Cait runs and gets her things to take to her when she yells, "Hayley!" and I turn to see that she has saved the day(!) by retrieving the girl's fifth of Vodka. I can say one thing for the Scots: They sure know the right way to go for a hike! We once again hit the pub afterwards which was quite enjoyable as we ran into the ever-hilar Rushing-Benders and had a lovely time. Um, that's all.

I'll write about today tomorrow because I have sore fingers now. Or something.

Farewell, my darling ones!! I love you better than a fat kid loves cake! (And I looove cake!)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Arthur only sat because He couldn't figure out how to get down!

Dear my mothaaaaaa,
You are the funniest thing since sliced bread. Which isn't funny, unless you mold it into a bust of a clown or something. So, nevermind. But you are twelve kinds of hilarious!

Moving on... Yesterday was quite the adventure, I must say. It began with a trip to the Robbie Burns heritage museum. I don't mean to be ungrateful for the experience, but it was a bit anti-climactic. We drove three-ish hours on a coach to see a house, garden, mini-museum and some cool monument/bridge bits. I mean, it was cool but not as cool as Disneyland. I will say though, that Robbie Burns was rah-ther attractive. Rock on, you cheatin' dog, genius poet, you!

When we returned to the grand Pollack Halls, we ate some convenience store food (moldy bread not included) and Cait and I decided that we would likely benefit from a short walk. We headed in the direction of Arthur's Seat (read:big-ass mountain) and I suggested we go ahead and make a go of it! I should really be shot. We head up this beheamoth thing and it's going fine until we suddenly realize we have to climb on hands and feet up some rocks. Ok. We can deal with that. At this point it's gotten super windy and rather drizzly and we've been at it for a while. We reach the tip-top and the view is absolutely incredible. You can see out across the ocean and all around Edinburgh. It was one of the most beautiful scenes I'd ever seen! Despite nearly being blown off a giant rock, I was elated. Then we decided it was time to go down, and as we had not exactly stuck to the beaten path prior, we figured "Why start now?". So, Cait thinks she's found a better way down and we get started. Suddenly the trail just ends. There's a drop off and we can't go back up so we have no choice but to literally fall off this drop. Cait goes and then about five minutes later, I manage it (they cal this "being a big fat chicken") and Cait begins sliding down the rocks on her butt. Hilarious. I try to stay vertical but fairly frequently just slip and fall, bouncing like a beach ball down the side of the mountain. At one point we hit another drop off and I call down to Cait, "Is there really no way from there?" She just doesn't answer. Later she said she just didn't want to give me false hope. I thought I was going to have to just change my permanent address to: Arthurs Seat, Scotland. Hitch up your mule and drop me a line.

Luckily, we found a glimmer of hope of a trail that was lined with prickle bushes that we happily held onto to slide down the hill. At some point they just didn't hurt anymore. I was over caring, really. When we finally get to the bottom, we look up and it's nothing but a crack-lookin' deal. It's not even a friggin' trail! We hit the bottom and start walking, relieved to finally be done and realize we've walked past the dorms and have to turn and go back. Completely insane.

It was quite an adventure. I mean, despite it being a bit scary (read: totally freaked me out) we totally rocked that bad boy! We kicked that mountain's butt! Rock on us!! Yahhooooooo!!

Welp, moving on. Today is the National Library of Scotland. We'll see some rare editions of children's books. Rock and roll.

Love y'all!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Buses, Fart Whistles, and Police, Oh MY!!! (Thanks to Cait for the title!)

Ok. Let me begin by expressing my supreme love of the art of interpretive dance. Every now and again, I get a divine inspiration and there is but one medium of expression. It can't be stopped. It is spontaneous and wild and I think that ultimately, if you don't love it, you can learn to appreciate it. I think it will grow on Doris, despite her scrunched nose at the site of it. Otherwise, I feel as though my dance interpretation of the land of Scot has gone off like gang busters. I concur. ("Sweet," says Cait.)

Monday was a longish day, although fairly enjoyable. We began by taking the bus to the Writer's museum. It was in a great old house in a close along the Royal Mile. I was really fascinated by all the art in the building as well as the history there. We followed that with a trip to the museum of childhood. I embraced this idea by reclaiming my youth. I put my hair in pigtails and spent about half an hour making a cootie catcher in the "Make your own art room". Ultimately, we left and walked around forever and I started feeling sick and had to head back.

When I returned, I hit my second wind and I suddenly couldn't contain myself. My Ipod hit "Levon" by Elton John and I suddenly had an explosion of desire to bust a sweet move. I probably danced for a good twenty minutes. And by "danced," I mean flailed around in the dark. It was pretty much amazing, although I did have a nervous moment where I was afraid that there may be cameras in my room.

Today was kind of long. I wasn't feeling so great but I figured it would pass, so I hopped the train to Glasgow with the rest of the class. Photography is apparently not allowed in the Edinburgh train station, which we learned the hard way. I must say, at the risk of offending someone, I think that cop was a total jackass. Love, Hayley.

Glasgow is cool, but much less picturesque than Edinburgh. We visited the Art School, which I loved, and to which Dr. Rushing told me I looked like I belonged, which I absolutely took as a compliment. We followed it with a trip to a neat tea room and I had an amazing mocha and a croissant. It was lovely. By then, though, I was completely exhausted and had to stop. We headed back on the train and then, of course, we got lost on the city bus. Navigation be damned! I was sitting down though, so I minded way less than I probably should have. We finally got back and Cait and Beth partook of moldy sandwiches and we had a hilarious conversation. It may just be delirium, but I'm ok with that.

Tomorrow is Robbie Burns. Rock on!

Love y'all! xoxoxo

P.S. Ketchup flavored chips = rockin'!!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Man! This land is High!

First of all, I have decided that Scotland's most hilarious attribute is the signage. Seriously, in America, even the instructional signage is lazy. Not Scotland! In Scotland, there are Action Androgenous Sign People! It's absolutely rad! Just wait until you see the photos. I mean, have you ever seen a small androgenous character being struck by lightening? Because after that, I would be SURE not to touch the electrical wiring, whereas before... I can't be sure! Right on, Scotland!

We left Edinburgh to head for the highlands at 845 in the morning on Friday. We made our first stop in St. Andrews, which is incredibly beautiful and is definitely one of my favorite places so far. It reminds me a lot of the Hamptons, as it is on the water and has a lot of quaint shops and homes and is just entirely beautiful. There were quite a few golf courses, although I can hardly understand it. It's not as if golf is significant in St. Andrews. We just pretended not to notice the blatant silliness of it all. We wandered throught the cathedral and castle ruins and took approximately a bazillion photos (That's a rough estimate. I'll count and get back to you all.) Bekah and I ran into Heather in the castle and she was trying to find a siege tunnel, which we were game for so we were ladies on a mission. When we ultimately found it, it was well worth the hunt. I felt like a secret agent crawling into that dank little hole in the ground. We crawled around and took the obligatory silly face photos and crawled out. It was a highlight, honestly. Who gets to crawl through a siege tunnel?!

Following our secret tunnel adventure and a short stop at the garden where Beatrix Potter vacationed as a child and dreamed of all her woodland friends, we headed out to Pitlocherie, which was an interesting place. We walked all around and as we passed a pub along the way a lovely gentleman who appeared to have enjoyed perhaps a beer or two (read: was totally sloshed) is flailing his arms and yelling at all who would listen that he would "bite your face off! I'll bite all your faces off!!!" Wouldn't that suck?! I of course cannot wait to use this particular phrase and found my opportunity almost immediately. Dr. Rushing, our fearless leader, enters the lobby of the hotel as we're all assembled doing nothing of note, to be sure, and says something that was jokingly threatening regarding something like being on time (which I have absolutely no issue with, of course) and I turn, seizing my opportunity and say " Watch out, or I'll bite your face off!!"
... It's really a wonder I haven't been sent home yet.
Our dinner that evening was in the hotel and was, ladies and gents, lovely. I felt entremely fancy, which I usually do, but especially as there were at least two pieces of the place setting that I was unsure of how to use. Just kidding. Well, probably just kidding. It was pretty fair taste-wise, but it was extremely enjoyable if only for the company, conversation and odd foods to experience. Finally, Beth (my roomie) and I watched some hysterical British sitcoms. I must say, I am ten kinds of obsessed with the BBC. If I had been drinking milk, it would have shot out my nose to be sure. (I hope you appreciate my keen use of imagery!)
Saturday was exciting as we were introduced to the wild and wonderful world of midges (a.k.a. the demon man-eating bug)! At a quick photo-op stop, we exited the bus only to be attacked by the most irritating creature in all of Scotland. Seriously, if you ever need a really good insult, call them a midge. It will invariably lead to a good slap in the face.
We then stopped in Glenfidditch (?) which is the landing place of Bonnie Prince Charlie on his return to the country. More importantly, it's in view of a bridge used in the filming of the Harry Potter movies. Although, Charlie seems to be the bonniest Prince I've met of late. Bravo, sir. Bravo.
We stayed the night in Oban, which is incredibly beautiful. It's on the water and has such an expansive and breathtaking view, gorgeous houses and a marina. We took off up a large hill to try and find this Coliseum we could seee from the ground. When we made it (a feat to be sure!) we were so incredibly impressed by the view. It was absolutely unreal. Wehad dinner in this little Italian restaurant in the marina overlooking the water. The view was fabulous and the atmosphere was fantastic. Also, my trip-mates are some of the funniest people I've ever met. A+ for that, y'all!
When we returned to the hotel after a drink or two at the pub, we ran into the bride and groom from the wedding being held there. The groom had a good long chat with us and was incredibly entertaining. He had also had a beer or twelve and was yukkin' it up with all his might. I must say, the lot of the Scots so far are pretty cool. I'm a fan.
This morning, we woke up and headed down to breakfast. I had breakfast with Dr. Rushing, Dr. Bender and Lindsay. I love being around Dr. Rushing and Dr. Bender because they have the funniest interactions. My favorite quote of the morning was when Dr. Rushing asked if we thought people would laugh at him if he wore a kilt to school. Without missing a beat, Dr. Bender says, "Yes. W-E-I-R-D." Dr. Rushing just looked off like he was contemplating the revelation he had just been handed and I thought I was going to choke on my cereal. They are hilarious.
I will be sure to post again soon, but my money is now at it's internet limit. I love you all. I mean, unless I don't. Sorry 'bout that.
P.S. Lots of sheep. No Sean Connery. Nuts.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

I feel the Earth move under my feet

Update: Not dead or arrested. So, all is well.

Today has been quite an interesting one. We started with class where we heard a few literary presentations and talked about our project ideas. Then, we headed out to Edinburgh castle, which is AMAZING! It's on top of an extremely large mountainside and it has the most spectacular views! It's also an amazing place in general.

Afterwards we had lunch in the Grassmarket, which is where they used to chop peoples' heads off. They don't anymore but I was careful to check that my head was still there every now and again, just to be safe. The pub we ate at was great, which is nice because so far the food in the cafeteria has been pretty inedible. Rock on pub food!

Finally we did some wandering with Dr. Rushing and Dr. Bender who are such a fun couple! They are seriously the funniest pair of people I've met in a long time.

I have other things to say, I'm sure, but I'm getting really tired. We're going out to the highlands early tomorrow so I likely won't be able to blog again until Monday.

Have a rockin' weekend, y'all!!


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Wish ewe were here!

Bonjour mes amis!

Alright, so I'm not in France but Scots speak English and that's clearly not as fun! So, another quick one today. It's been a really rockin' awesome day! We started the morning with a bus tour of Edinburgh which was literally amazing. The city is so beautiful and has so much history. It's really hard not to gawk at everything I see. Following the tour, we had the option of going to the Palace at Holyrood House, which is the Queen's residence when she visits. It was simply astonishing. What is incredible to me is that this beautiful but rustic palace (and by rustic I mean "old relic") is still in use by a modern monarch. I think to myself, "would I ever want to live here?" and I can say with extreme certainty "No." I am not, despite what I may generally tell myself, however, the Queen, so what do I know? The thing is, it's like a giant piece of sordid history smack in modern day and it's not even a mere relic! Someone actually lives and receives guests in this place that seems so far removed from the modern world! It's bizarre but also amazing!

Finally, we did a little shopping and got the fabulous shop-keeper at the bagpipe store to play us a little tune (rock on!) and then bought some highly inappropriate t-shirts (which I ADORE) and headed for a traditional meal of Pizza Hut. Seriously, heaven after experiencing the native cuisine. :/ Then we took a fabulous trek back to campus in the rain, which was made all the more hilarious when we got lost and ultimately had to hike down the side of Arthur's Seat in the mud and finally arrived. On the bright side, this is only the first rain we've had. Otherwise the weather has been wonderful, albeit chilly. It feels really good though.

In short, ('cause I'm running out of time) I'm having a fab time already and I'm so pumped for the rest of our time here. I'll upload some pictures as soon as I figure out how to get that accomplished.

I love y'all! You're prettier than all the sheep in Scotland! And that's a LOT of sheep!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'm sorry, what?

Hello lovely people!

We have arrived (finally!) here in Edinburgh and I couldn't be happier or more exhausted. I have to make this short because I only have 10 minutes left of my internet time, but needless to say that travelling half-way across the world is quite a trying journey. I will say, however that I love flying generally. I can't help but feel so spiritually connected when the plane slices through the clouds or when it cuts through the sunrise over the horizon. It's seriously magical.

Edinburgh is beautiful. What an amazing place. We haven't seen much yet, but I am incredibly excited for the days to come. I really wish I could have all the loves of my life (i.e. people who are willingly reading this) with me as it would be 10 times the adventure.

I miss and love you all and I will post again soon!

P.S. Mom!!! I don't know your e-mail address!! eeeeeEEEE. E-mail me please! Hope you guys are having fun in Maine! Love you!

Friday, June 6, 2008

You have to remember to breathe or you'll die.

That is sound advice ladies and gentlemen. On the eve of my mother's wedding and the eve of the eve of the eve of my departure to Scotland, I am both breathing and hyperventilating all at once. It's bizarre. I am in a very "Hey, man, whatever" sort of place in regards to my trip. People keep asking if I'm excited and while I am, I am also sort of worried about it. Are you AWARE that there is a whole OCEAN you are required to cross in a flying contraption?! Sah-weet lord. I love to fly, don't get me wrong, but it's just now sinking in how a person could be mildly afraid of it. 

I feel like I'm not as prepared as I should be. I mean, I'm well aware that I have a ten-trillion hour flight to do more reading, but I feel like I'm going to totally bomb out on my project. Oh no. Let's not do this! No panicking.... ok, maybe a little panicking. It's whatever.

Things to remember: 
  • Matchbooks for Twinkie
  • Well, that's really all. 
K, y'all. This gal is about to go get her mama hitched and then go make new BFFs in the form of dudes in skirts. Oh, man. They're gonna hate me over there.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A testimonial

Today I woke up to a blog from Mr. Will Hoge (for those of you who don't know, Will Hoge is a fabulous southern rocker). He is currently touring Europe and this post was about his trips to Glasgow and Edinburgh.
"Flew to Edinburgh the next day. Far and away my favorite city so far. Just
stunning in its beauty. I felt like I could live there. I really love
Scotland as a whole. The club was killer. The show was fun. "

I'm getting so pumped, y'all.


Monday, April 28, 2008

Have you SEEN our SHEEP?!

When I lived in New York, there were all these tours you could go on to see all the different places in the city that various television shows and movies shot scenes. I've started thinking about maybe trying to do the same in Scotland. How fun would that be?! I can say things like, "Mel Gibson stood right here and screamed!! How cool is that?! Hey Mel!" Or, better yet, I could gather all my groupmates together and we could re-enact those scenes in the very spot they were originally formed. Oh, Lord, I have just reached a new level of excitement. Get hyped. It's all going down.

Research: begun!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

On the Bonny Bonny banks of Loch Lomond

I'm not sure how many of you are familiar with the folk song referenced in the title, but if you aren't then it is likely that you did not have a childhood. I pity you. I think that song may have been my first real connection with the Scots. I must say, though, it always pissed me off that I had to take the low road. Mama always said it's best to take the high road. Singing this song makes me feel like a scoundrel.

Actually, that's not true. I actually don't have anything to post today, but I was in a blog-posting sort of mood and it's good to get in the habit, so I thought I would share my stunning visual representation of my new favorite mythological creature, The Lochness Monster.

So, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen. I am so excited about finally having an opportunity to come face to face with a real-life, imaginary monster. I can only hope that I may also run into Big Foot and the Easter Bunny this summer as well. One can only dream.


Friday, April 18, 2008

And I Would Walk 500 miles

Are you aware that The Proclaimers are from Scotland?! Glasgow, to be precise. That is 10 bonus points for Scotland right there. Unfortunately, they are not playing Edinburgh until July so there's not any chance for me to see them live, but it's still very cool.

It's almost the end of the semester, and I am in list-making mode. In following with the list-making tradition of the week, I have made a list of things I want to see while journeying through Scotland. They are (in Extremely particular order):
  • The Lochness Monster
  • Ewan McGregor
  • Sean Connery
  • A Scottie Dog (I am aware that I can see one of these in the States, but it will be so exciting to see a literal one!)
  • Kilts. Lots and lots of kilts.
  • Bagpipes
  • Gerard Butler

And most importantly:

  • Man-sized tissues. (Jenn, you have really given me so much to look forward to!)

So, there you have it. I get more excited by the day!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

When you read, you begin with "A-B-C"

When you blog, you begin with an "About Me." That is how the song goes, isn't it?

I'm Hayley and this is my Scottie-Blog. I'm travelling to Scotland in June with CCSA and Dr. Rushing, my Communications professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I'm a Communications major and I'll be learning to use my Communications techniques while abroad. This blog will be my mouthpiece to the world or, you know, the few people who may actually be interested in the goings on of my trip. (You know who you are, Mom.) Honestly, though, I'm counting on having a remarkable experience and I certainly won't want to forget it, so this blog will be a tool for me to remember my own stories as well as keeping in touch with my darlings here in the States.

Why am I starting this in April, you may ask. Well, because Dr. Rushing said so. Well, that's only half true. I think it's a good idea to record all my anticipatory emotions and the road leading up to the big day(s). Aren't you excited?! This means you have two whole months to read my pointless musings on the stress of making money and writing a project proposal and training for walking up hills. It's really going to be a blast.

To officially kick this thing off, I'll express my excitement about the coming months. Last night was our orientation meeting with Hugh Prevost, Dr. Rushing and his "dear wife", Dr. Bender. It probably kicked my excitement into high gear. There is so much to get done and consider before leaving for this trip, though. I found out that I'm going to have to sell my body to science or something to pay for all of this as I will be out about eleventy ba-Zillion dollars, but so it goes. Like my darling friend Jenn said, an experience like this is worth a little debt. (I may be paraphrasing there, but I'm sure the sentiment is correct.)

So, in conclusion, I am incredibly excited about this trip and as the days and weeks draw to a close and Scotland draws near, I'll probably be bursting at the seams. It may be best to keep a good five feet away at all times, really.

I love you like a fat kid loves cake. (and I DO love cake!)