Oh, just a handful of people I’m going to miss dearly when I have to leave :’(
Back: Linden, Cara
Middle: Giulia, Rhianna, Freya, Erin, Ally, me
Front: Fiona, Rosie, Montana, Toni, Joe
Missing: Natasha and Richie
What did the last week of classes look like (yes, I ended on April 4th)?
And now everyone’s left for Spring Break! It’s so strange having the flat to myself. Normally it’s loud and full of people… I miss everyone! It’s all good, though, because I’m off to Paris for the second half of our break :)
Other news: it was really nice not having to wake up early for registration this year! I got into all my classes and am already getting excited for Senior year!! In case you’re interested, I’m taking Macro, Logic, HIST 248: The Soviet Union, a Tragic Colossus, and POL2 306: Revolutions.
Happy Easter, everyone! I’ve never been particularly found of Easter as a holiday… I mean I love finding my basket and eating ridiculous amounts of chocolate, but other than that it’s never been a big deal. My amazing flatmates have completely changed my opinion, though. This year was quite easily the best Easter ever! It started off nicely… I went to church at St. Patrick’s with Lauren. The church was so beautiful, and I love Easter mass so much so it was a nice way to start the day, despite the priest’s cookyness. Afterwards came the real fun. Rhianna and Natasha planned such an elaborate day for all of us! We had an egg hunt in the meadows, which Giulia and I unfortunately failed at, and then played a bunch of games including an egg-drop, which my team won! Didn’t do so hot at the three-legged race or the egg and spoon race, though, due to my lack of coordination. Oh well. We ended with a crazy egg toss and essentially just ended up throwing eggs at each other… it was a really great time :) We got so many funny looks from adults and children alike. Oh, did I mention we dressed up as bunnies…
Giulia and me after the egg hunt
The most epic picture taken of our egg toss
And the Easter Bunny herself (the lovely Rhianna)
Ally’s Birthday fell on Easter this year, and even though she’s Jewish she decided it would be fun to have an easter-themed 21st Birthday celebration. The best thing that came out of that was the food, and I’m really only blogging about this to show you what Erin made…
CAKE POPS! So darn cute and so delicious. Happy Birthday, Ally!
All the clubs here have themed nights, and on Thursday the place to be is Silk, for “Temple.” The funny thing about Silk is that they have a cameraman who goes around taking videos of the night and compiles a promotional video every week. It’s incredibly weird and awkward, but pretty funny at the same time. This week I went with my flatmates, Ally, Mollie and Erin, and made it my goal to get on the video… and was successful lol, what what! But that wasn’t even the highlight of the night. This was the Thursday before Easter, so the club had an egg hunt. We figured out that it was on the top floor at midnight, so we waited by the stairwell so we’d be the first ones up. It worked, and we got a bunch of nommie chocolate eggs, and one of the bartenders pointed us in the direction of the big ticket item: the chocolate bunny. Ecstatic doesn’t even begin to describe our emotions when we found it lol. I love free chocolate… what can I say. We were happy with just the bunny, but then we saw that there was a cash prize of 20 quid inside! It was like Christmas! Best night ever.
Back from Ireland, but that means I have all three midterms papers due in a week (more like final papers… due in week 10 out of 11). There’s not much exciting to say about this week because I haven’t done much but write and revise. I discovered the 24 hour lab, though. It’s so creepy and I never want to go back lol. I just have to share about the crazy paper submission process. All you Wellesley women don’t know how lucky we have it, getting to simply turn papers in during class or email them to our profs. The Spanish dept. here has that same policy, but with History it’s ridiculous… you have to jump through so many hoops. First off, there is a strict style guide you must follow that happens to be quite different from what I’m used to. Among other things, I had to specifically state that I was American so as not to get penalized for misspellings. Dumb. Second, the submission itself has way too many steps. You first must submit your paper online before noon so it can be run through a program to check for plagiarism. Okay, I get that. Then you have until 4pm to turn 2 hard copies into the department office. There’s a specific cover sheet you have to generate and print out to attach, and they have to be stapled and paper clipped in just the right way. What’s more, there are like 20 drop boxes for the various courses so you have to find the correct one into which you drop your paper. At 4pm sharp they’re sealed so you can’t turn your copy in late. Wouldn’t it just be easier to print off the online copy… just sayin. It was extremely stressful, but alas I got everything in. We don’t get our grades back for nearly a month, which I’m also not used to, but I guess I’ll just have to wait!
Because St. Patricks’s Day fell on a Sunday, getting back to Edinburgh from Dublin was tricky. I obviously didn’t want to leave on Sunday, but the rates for flights on Monday were crazy! I figured I’d take this opportunity to see a little bit of Northern Ireland and save some $$. I took a train to Belfast on Monday morning, and although I slept for a lot of it whenever I looked out the window it was beautiful! I wasn’t sure what to expect from Belfast, but I fell in love almost instantly. Ironically, it was so much less industrial than Dublin (although that might be because I didn’t stray far from the city centre). It actually felt like a mini-London to me. I walked around City Hall for a bit and then hopped on a bus over to the Titanic Museum.
I’ve always been captivated by the tragedy so I was really excited for this, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. It’s honestly one of the best museums I have EVER been to. It was enormous and covered everything you could think of! The first exhibit, Boomtown Belfast, explains the history of industry in Belfast. Next is the Shipyard… inside the Museum there is a Disney World-style ride that takes you down into a model of the shipyard that shows the conditions for the workers and how the ship actually came together… SO UNBELIEVABLY COOL! You also get to see the original plans for the ship and read all about the White Star Liner company and its CEO, the engineer, and the captain. After that comes the launch, which happened before the ship was fitted. The coolest part, in my opinion, is the video of the original launch, which is set up in such a way that you really feel like you are there watching! I never knew that the ship picked up passengers in France and Ireland as well as England, and actually nearly collided with its sister ship at the port in Southampton before its journey really began :O.
My second favorite part of the museum showed the fit-out of the ship. There are models of first, second and third class rooms, as well as a simulated virtual tour of the entire ship! Not so fun fact: there were only 2 bathrooms for all of the third class passengers! You then come to the “sinking” exhibit. I had been misguided by the movie… the ship didn’t actually split until it was already underwater. The transcripts of the telegraphs from the night were horrifying. I’m glad the exhibit was dark because I was tearing up hardcore. I learned a lot about the “aftermath,” that I found pretty interesting. A massive investigation was conducted afterward and they determined that “Captain Smith’s indifference to danger was a direct cause of the disaster. More third class passengers died because they were given no warning. Loading the lifeboats was poorly organized with many not being full. Some crew did not report to their lifeboat stations and watched others drown. The lifeboats were badly crewed and ill-equipped. Wireless stations should be manned 24 hours a day. Operators’ wages should be increased to discourage them from making money out of tragedies. Captain Lord of Californian did not assist the stricken ship. Captain Rostron of Carpathia deserved an honour. Although Ismay was not to blame for Titanic’s speed, his presence on board encouraged it.” I guess I knew most of that already, apart from the fact that operators could make money off the tragedy! I also found out that extensive new safety regulations were put into place afterward that proved very effective when Titanic's sister ship was bombed during WWII.
Ending on a happier note, the final exhibit allows you to “visit and explore” the wreck. They show high definition footage of the ship remains in an enormous theatre, and even have a glass floor you can walk over with footage rolling beneath you. It was so well done! Normally, that’s it for the museum. However, the costumes from the James Cameron film are currently on loan so I got to see them before leaving! Too bad I didn’t get to see Leo and Kate…
After spending nearly 3 hours in the museum I had afternoon tea in the cafe, complete with a pot of tea made by the same company that provided tea to the passengers. I felt pretty cool ;-) Now that I knew the way back to the city centre I realized that it would be nice to walk rather than catch the bus back. On the way I stopped to look at the Big Fish, which is made up of tiles depicting the history of Belfast and contains a time capsule with information about the city and some poetry. It was really neat! During my first summer in Boston I did a lot of research on female paramilitary operations in Belfast during the Troubles, so I really wanted to see the Peace Wall before I left. I didn’t have a whole lot of time but I walked a ways down Falls Road and saw the opening of the wall. The murals were quite the site, as was the Peace Monument. It was cool to actually see what I’d heard so much about but only seen in pictures. That pretty much concludes my time in the Emerald Isle! It really was a great trip.
Well, I couldn’t be in the British Isles for St. Paddy’s Day and NOT spend the day in Dublin! I wanted to see Ireland anyways, so this was the perfect weekend to go. I don’t have Friday classes, so I flew in on Friday morning and did a few touristy things on my own before meeting up with the rest of my friends. Dublin is a really interesting city… the downtown area reminded me a lot of Edinburgh, just a lot smaller; it’s quaint, old, and full of pubs. The rest of the city is pretty industrial, though, so the aerial view of the city isn’t the most breathtaking. What they say about the weather really is true. Within the first few hours it was warm and sunny, windy, it hailing and rainy. It fluctuated similarly every day, and even snowed a little on St. Paddy’s Day itself. I’m glad I brought layers. Before meeting up with a fellow Wellesley sister who graciously offered up her couch to me for the weekend, I walked along the River Liffy and went to the National Leprechaun Museum. The museum was a lot of fun! Our guide told us all about the origins of the leprechaun and it’s depictions in pop culture, as well as about other Irish legends and folklore. My 2 favorite fun facts: 1) The seven colors of the rainbow are meant to represent the seven vices and you can only pass through each color to reach the pot of gold if you’re pure of the corresponding sin. 2) Irish faeries are actually evil. I spent the rest of the night walking around Dublin with my new Wellesley friends. We got amazing burgers, which I’d been craving since the burgers in Edinburgh are horrible, and bought hats and face paint for the parade. On Saturday I met up with Ally, Mollie and Erin (their other flatmate). Highlights of the day: the Medieval ruins of Christ Church Cathedral, taking a picture with a leprechaun, Mollie getting her Irish soda bread, St. Stephen’s Green, walking around the St. Paddy’s Day carnival, and of course going pubbing in Temple Bar at night. Temple Bar is essentially a whole neighborhood of bars in downtown Dublin, and therefore the centre of nightlife. We spent most of the night at Porterhouse drinking some Guinness and listening to the live band. Ally and I got some excellent pint glass souvenirs out of it, as well :) After that, we headed to a different part of town and ended up in a really strange bar, but it turned out to be hilarious because two incredibly intoxicated men kept coming up to our table asking us to dance. We had a great time watching them try to pick up girls and dance and sing ridiculously to rock songs. There were also a bunch of older couples there which was adorable. They were all dancing and singing to the songs of their childhood; priceless. Unfortunately, Ally, Mollie and Erin had to leave Sunday morning, but it worked out because I got to see my wonderful Agora sister Megan and some other friends from Wellesley!! It was so nice meeting up with her (FINALLY); we kept missing each other in London and Edinburgh. Highlights of Sunday (St. Paddy’s Day!):
It was easily the best St. Patrick’s Day I’ve ever had. I had a really nice walk to the train station the next morning and then headed to Belfast for a day trip before heading back to Edinburgh!