Friday, July 25, 2008
Week 3 Update...OMG! Brandywines and Raw!
Week three has been one crazy crazy week, which you might have been able to guess from my total lack of blogage besides keeping you up to date on last weekends adventures. Since I know you're dying to know everything and since you know I love to tell all (well...mostly) I'm going to give you the majority of the week in review.
Monday...Monday, Monday, Monday. That was the day when Laura, Victoria and I officially became the black sheep of SUISS, because...we cut class. Laura and Victoria had been plotting all weekend to skip lecture and seminar that day because well for one, cutting class is always, always fun. Two, we were talking about The House With The Green Shutters (blech), and three, we were super super tired of class. But I, being the responsible one said, no, we can't cut class, because three of us missing will be far too obvious. So we went to lecture...and then at some point during coffee, I realized that the room was completely empty and we weren't the only ones who had the idea of cutting in mind.
So let's say at exactly 10:55AM, we made the decision to fly out of there and go explore some unexplored and exciting part of Edinburgh. We dashed out of there before any of the tutors could see, and we went...to the mall! I know, so teenage of us, but we couldn't help ourselves. And Monday was the first day that it was really hot here. In fact, this whole week has felt like a real summer, and I'm finally able to wear my summer dresses, and by Tuesday, had to retire, my newly acquired fake (non-leather)uggs.
After a brief shopping stint and gaining a further understanding of European fashion, which I'm really loving by the way (it's far more free, and anything goes than in America), we returned to the university, and ate lunch there (because it's free). Anyway, Marco, the Italian professor invited to be a part of the program with us along with a few others (cough, Sue, cough) were quite frequent cutters, so we didn't feel too bad. But apparently, our absence did not go unnoticed, especially since it was combined with 3 other people, literally cropping our seminar in half. OOps! But in the end, everything was cool. We had our bad day, and we could live as black sheep no problem.
Of course our badness continued later that night when we elected not to go to the SUISS scheduled program and instead went to hang out at Greyfriar Bobby's (sans the British boys trying to pick me up).
Laura and I chilling with Bobby, the most loyal dog in the history of the world.
And that...was Monday. Whew!
And onto Tuesday...
We went to class. We were going to be good kids from now on (all 3 days left of our program). After lunch (and a continued kudos to the lunch ladies at the University of Edinburgh for my special vegan meals, yum) Sue, Laura, Nora, Rach, Victoria and I headed out to see the Scottish Impressionist exhibit at the museum. It was a little funny to see Degas there since he had recently had a huge long running show in the Philadelphia Museum (which I did not see), so of course I'd have to go all the way to Scotland to see that which I could have seen at home. But so is life in a comedy of errors. Allison will be happy to know that I saw two Van Gogh's and now I'm a huge fan too. The lines and the paint up close, there really is something so moving about that, something I don't often feel with modernist art.
After our afternoon of culture, Laura, Rach and I headed down Prince's Street to Zara's my newest obsession. Zara's apparently has been around in the States for awhile, but I had never heard of them. It's a Spanish clothing store, and Laura I think owns stock with them since she has so much of their line. I bought a few minor items (mostly on clearance) and I'm hooked. When I come back, I heading straight to their Philadelphia store (after I return to work that is, and have a new paycheck to use) and I'm going to go nuts. They kind of remind me of Limited and Express, but 100 times better.
I finished the evening with a really pleasant and beatiful walk by Arthur's Seat. We found this small lake, and I crawled up on the rocks across from it and just sat there, feeling completely euphoric and totally at peace in the same moment. There was an energy in that spot that I could just sit with all day long. I'm definitely planning to go back to stay there and take pictures and maybe do some writing. All I know is, it was one of the most simple and most beautiful moments during my trip here.
And...dun du du dun! Wednesday (the day I got new batteries for my camera, hehe).
Sue, Victoria, Laura and I (the original foursome) headed off to the Botanic Gardens. Sue (master class cutter) was already in the city center before we left, and during one of the stops our bus made, who should come on to our exact bus, but Sue. Sometimes synchronicity is just too cool for words. And we explored the Botanic Gardens which were great because not only were they beautiful and peaceful...they were free!!!
The gardens were such a cool place to hang out. Everyone there was really happy and relaxed, just laying out in the cool not too sunny Scottish weather. It was definitely a great place to be. Victoria was so happy, she just threw herself on the ground and we all laid out for a bit, relaxing and being present in the moment.
My mind kept wandering over to my book, The Seven Sisters Brandywine as I was walking through the gardens. The trees in particular had this beautiful yet haunting look to them and I found myself thinking, not about the gardens behind Brandywine mansion (which is where I spent a lot of my imagination time) but in the Apple Valley woods during the first major fight scene, the portion of the story that is the catalyst for the rest of the action. I had expected to come to Scotland and get inspiration and ideas for my story, and I am...but in a surprising way, I'm seeing my story come alive before my eyes. I wrote Scotland into my book before I ever set foot in this country. It was somehow the place I'd been imagining all along, my own personal entrance into the magical world I created.
This was the moment I knew I had stepped into my story and was currently standing in some version of the Apple Valley woods when I found this well. It looks so much like I imagined it in my head and plays a very important part in one of the later chapters of the novel.
This watcher tree with the eye was great and will be finding it's way into my story in some form or another I'm sure.
The seagulls here were so cool, I wish I could have captured it on film. There were so many of them all just swooping in and out of this spot. It kind of reminded me of a fountain, with the water just continuously flowing out to the sides, except this was with seagulls.
And then...Laura and I went to the one place I'd been excited about and planning to go to ever since I realized I was coming to Scotland. We went to RED SUGAR, Scotland's first Raw Food Restaurant! It was amazing in there, and worth the wait!
I found Goji Berries!!!! :-)
My Raw Chocolate Cake...YUMMMMMMMMM!!! The texture was so smooth, it was definitely better than my own cakes at home. I talked to the owner for a while and he explained to me that they have been experimenting with recipes and techniques everyday for months and months. Their hardwork definitely paid off!
Laura's Raw Blueberry Cake...seriously good.
The smoothies were also delicious. I had one called Renew Me with some maca powder thrown in. It was so good...it was worth coming to Scotland to taste this. I don't know how else to put it. I'm going to have to beg the owners to let me see exactly how they make this smoothie, because I could be happy for the rest of my life drinking it everyday. All I know is that it had a lot to with coconut and almonds.
The owner was super nice and told Laura and I all about his raw foods journey and the effect it has had on him.
It also felt great to be back inside the raw foods culture and atmosphere since I've been almost 100% away from it for the last few weeks, eating cooked food and whatnot (though still vegan). I never thought I'd be so relieved to see a David Wolfe book in front of me, or hear someone say green smoothie. What was also exciting was they carried the raw magazine Get Fresh which I've been trying desperately to find in the states. Red Sugar had such great friendly energy and was so muh fun and so tasty to eat at. I definitely recommend whether you are raw or not, if you are in Scotland at any point, go and visit and have some Renew Me, you won't be sorry! It's amazing!!!
Though my smoothie and cake don't technically count as a full dinner, when we got back to Pollock Halls dining room...I didn't exactly have an appetite for anything there, so my meal was very meager and actually pretty raw. Sometimes you need a little push back in the direction you meant to head out in.
And then we went out to a pub with Justin, Phil, Nora, and Rach and just hung out and talked until around the time they closed (which is SO early here).
Oh yes, and Laura gave me the greatest manicure in the world. My nails haven't looked so amazing in years!!!!
And so...that brings us to....THURSDAY, the last day of SUISS session one, and a day that deserves it's own post. So hold tight, because more is on the way:-)