Or, against stagnation.
Apologies to all those wanting to hear about the exciting times I’ve been having in Scotland. They sort of came to a stand still for a while, particularly with midterm essays wearing down on me. I also haven’t exactly felt like writing a blog post. But! I couldn’t have that last for very long, now could I?
I turned in my final essay for midterms on Monday afternoon, and, basking in my new free time (when really, I had had plenty of time before…), I decided that I was going to be more active this week. I had done yoga once already, but three essays over two weekends had kept me away for a while, and beyond that…? I’ve stuck to my room.
Ladies and gentlemen, when you study abroad, do not stick to your room. Or, as easy as it is to do so, don’t get in the habit of doing the exact same thing with the exact same people all the time. I love my friends here, but the truth is that we’re all exchange students. We’re all American exchange students. It’s fantastic to spend time with them and travel with them and hang out with them, but I can’t help but feel like I’ve only been getting a taste of what it’s like to live in Scotland with other people just like me. Also, I think maybe I’ve been spending too much time at clubs/pubs and not enough time sight-seeing. (Although again… I don’t regret for a second making the friends I’ve made!) I set a goal before going abroad to make non-American friends. I really did. And I haven’t really been meeting that goal. You can’t really meet that goal when you stick to your room and don’t make an effort to meet people, can you? So I can’t blame anyone or anything but myself.
That’s why I decided to do something about it. An offer of tea to a friend I hadn’t hung out with in a while lead to an invitation to try archery. I contemplated joining archery at the beginning of the semester but didn’t do it. I can’t even tell you why I didn’t do it. I just didn’t. But in the spirit of getting active, I went along.
<–Archery lead to this bad ass bruise over there.
(The reason for it isn’t as bad ass. Basically, when I hold my arm out, my elbow naturally points down, rather than out, so when I let the string go, it runs into my arm. I kept shooting despite the pain, and my long sleeve shirt kept anyone from noticing a correction was needed. Of course, I didn’t think to check on the state of my arm until after an hour an a half of archery. Expecting to see some large welts, I was pretty shocked when I saw that I was bleeding…)
Regardless of beating my arm up, I had a fantastic time. I really enjoy archery and I’ve already checked to see if there’s archery at my home university. There is. The best thing, however, was heading to the pub after practice for free food with the other members of the archery team. The majority of the team was of course Scottish, with a handful of Americans, so we inevitably ended up on the topic of Americanisms verses… Scottish-isms? For example, there was the usual argument over the pronunciation of “aluminum” and the spelling of color/colour. But I also learned that overalls are called dungarees. And I still haven’t thought of an American equivalent of the NEDs. Oh, and they were just as bad at doing an American accent as I am at doing a Scottish accent.
The next day would have seen more yoga, but it happened to be International Women’s Day, and there was an event in commemoration, so I had to put yoga off for another week. This, at least, was for another (awesome!) event and not out of laziness. Here, we saw comedians, ate free food, and were given a salsa lesson. Dances like this always force me to be social so I can get a male dance partner haha. I left feeling energized and excited for my second ceilidh coming the next day. (Remember this post? I freaking love ceilidhs.)
The plan for Friday was to go in for another round of archery before heading to the ceilidh, but I got a message last minute from a friend about a theatre troupe I’d been interested in at the beginning of the semester. I’d sent them an email because acting was something I definitely wanted to get involved in, but I’d never received a response. (Apparently one of the contact emails was down, so that may have been the problem.) I saw that my friend had been cast as Tituba in The Crucible and was wondering how she’d gotten involved. She messaged me that they were having rehearsal that night and had a few parts left to be assigned if I wanted to come by. I love this play and I love getting involved in the theatre, so even being cast as an extra would have sounded great to me. I stopped by, and to my surprise, I was asked to read as Mary Warren. Apparently I did well, because I left that night having been assigned the role! “It was like it was meant to be,” I was told. “We had a few people we could have cast, but they didn’t quite fit the part. And then you showed up!” So now I’ve gotten involved with something I’ve wanted to be involved with from the beginning, and this newfound activity is exactly what I needed. I danced the rest of my night away at a ceilidh. Fortunately, I remembered a good majority of what I learned before, and I had good dancing partners (one who I had met earlier, as part of the cast!).
The view of the Glasgow Cathedral as we headed over the bridge to the Necropolis.
I ended my week with an excursion to the Glasgow Cathedral and Necropolis, then out on my first trip to a chippie followed by a movie. It was a beautiful day, and just generally a beautiful week, with all my new activities fighting at the homesickness that has started to creep in. I just need to make sure not get myself stuck in a rut. I need to remember that there’s nothing to stop me from getting out of my room and doing things. It’s never too late to get involved!
Until next time, which hopefully is much sooner than it took me to get this up!
PS: That said, I haven’t forgotten about things back at Iowa. This is the time of the year when I need to be looking forward to next year’s activities. I think I’ve been on top of things. I am just about to finish up my reapplication for my student staff position, I’ve applied to be an Honors Peer Advisor, and I was just accepted today to the University of Iowa Mortar Board! Keep active while you’re abroad, but don’t forget about the deadlines at home!
PPS: The elusive bird I was hunting down while at the Necropolis. Don’t judge me. (It’s a magpie lol)
One of my victory shots!