Thursday, 11 November 2010

The Holy Grail and Guy Fawkes

The pictures will do the talking this week, so I am going to keep this post short.

Trip to Doune Castle.  This is where Monty Python and the Holy Grail was filmed. The first few pictures are of the burgh of Doune.
This looks like the door from The Christmas Carol.

Main thoroughfare into Doune.

Another church

The street view.

Almost there.

Umm...I think I was trying to look like I was riding a horse.
Arthur: "Who's Castle is this?"
Guard: "This is the castle of Our master Ruiz' du lu la Ramper"
This is where Arthur attacked (and retreated) the 'French' castle. 

The entrance to Swamp Castle.

That's me.
Changing colours of Autumn

Doune in the distance.

River Teith from the roof of the castle.

The Saltire

Knights of the Round-table room.

Front of the castle
Doune Castle

Come back in a couple of weeks for another update.

Song of the Week


Thursday, 21 October 2010

Food, Inverness and a bit of Procrastination.

     With a fortnight having passed since our last encounter, I hope I still have a few loyal readers out there sitting on edge, waiting for that next tale of heroic fortitude.  A story of bravery and brotherhood, mystery and love; an adventure so perilous only the shear power of the human spirit kept me alive. Unfortunately, that story will have to be included in another post as it has yet to actually transpire. This week I will just stick to an update.
    Well the best place to kick this thing off would be the room-mate dinner.  As you may already be aware, I share an old house with ten other postgraduate students. Since we are mostly from different nations, we decided to have a meal where we could share local cuisine with one another.  There was curry from India, Malaysian chicken, German meatballs, Chinese dumplings, Japanese tempura, Greek meatballs, lamb and potatoes, and so many other delicious dishes. I know you are all wondering what I contributed to the global culinary table, and  I think grandma would be proud when I say I brought a taste of the south into our house with my Southern style fried chicken.  But most important was the familial bond that we created.  Being able to bring a piece of home for others to share goes beyond the taste of the dish, it allows people to connect across language and cultural barriers.
    The next evening I was invited to dinner hosted by a few of my classmates from China.  I am not sure if what they served was traditional Chinese food, but it was Chinese food and very good.  I do not even know the names of the different dishes.  But all I can say is that they were spicy, very spicy.  There was chicken, shrimp, beef, vegetables and a few others.  I was definitely spoiled by the end of the weekend.
       This past weekend I had the opportunity to go to Inverness.  I had a short stay in the city, but it was well worth the trip.  The drive up was fantastic; I saw lots of sheep and pheasants.  Plus, the hills and mountains in Cairngorms National Park were spectacular.  And the weirdest thing, I meet someone from Wilmington., NC. It amazes me how you can travel to various places around the world and still manage to meet people with some geographical tie or familial bond.  As Walt Disney would say, "It is a small world after all".
     Well, I would like to say more, but I really am out of words at the moment.  Please be sure to check out the older posts if you have not seen them yet.  I have a nice trip planned for next week so be sure to come back and see the videos and pictures.  And sorry again for such a delay in my post.  I am determined that one day I will stop procrastinating.  Enjoy the photos.


Flatmate Dinner

Classmate Dinner

The A9





More of the A9

Rocky Hillside

Green Hillside


Wednesday, 29 September 2010

A Room with a View

Before I start rambling on about myself and all of the things happening in Scotland, I want to say thanks to everyone who has carved a little time out of their daily schedule to catch up with me through this blog.  Of course, there is no way for me to fully express how great of an opportunity I have been given.  I just hope my stories and thoughts about the people I meet and places I go puts a smile on your face and encourages you to try new things.

So the past week has been very busy, classes have started and due dates are quickly approaching, most of my days are spent scouring through books and journals trying to find those hidden gems of knowledge.   I have found that studying in the library is much more beneficial because I can access materials much faster and easier than sitting at home.  I have it down to a science when it comes to checking out and returning books.  I try to return the same number of books that I am checking out.  It may not sound very complicated, but I have checked out over 20 books in the last two weeks, so it is wise to figure out some kind of system to keep up with the books.  I will probably be teaching seminars by the end of the term on how to search for books.  Wow, I cannot believe I just talked that much about the library.  Of course when I am not in the library, I am in lectures or group meetings-trying to figure out how to setup surveys for research or discussing theories and questions relating to the media industry.  I can assure you, I will not talk anymore about that in this post.  

Now for the fun stuff, this week I decided to show you around my flat.  I created a short video and took a picture from my front door so that you can see what I look at in the mornings when I head off to class.  

Well that wraps up this week's post.  Tune in next week for more updates from AndrewInScotland.

Thought of the Week
We are told that wealth and riches are things that can be measured through our material possessions, that value is something that can be attached to an item.  We are made to believe that happiness is found where the sum of our material abundance equals more than the immaterial problems of our daily lives.  The wealth of this world will pass away.  The value of things will change.  However, if we identify our value and wealth through our relationship with God, who is bigger than all of the riches of this world, we will find something that is invaluable.  We will find a love that never fails, a Savior that will never leave us and friend who is always beside us.            

 From the front door, Stirling Castle.

Song of the Week


Wednesday, 22 September 2010

A few more firsts

In keeping with last week's theme, I figured it would be appropriate to share with you a few more firsts for Andrew. This is in no way comprehensive, and I am sure over the next few months I will have many more "firsts".  Here are just a few: first full week in Scotland, first day of class, first day of true Scottish weather, first ride in a UK car, first trip to historic site and first awesome picture of me in Europe.  There, that covers most of the big events that have happened.  Oh, there is one I forgot, first time I have eaten horse sausage.  Yes, you read that last sentence correctly-horse sausage-as in horse meat, Hi-yo Silver, Traveller, Seabiscuit.  Now before you say anything, I must say that it was actually quite tasty. And no, it is not a Scottish food. One of my flat-mates, from Kazakhstan, brought the delicious stallion from his home.  I was more worried about meat that had traveled 1/3 of the way across the globe in a grocery bag, but no worries, I didn't get sick.  Kazantzakis eat horse as a traditional, ceremonial food--like we enjoy turkey during the holidays.  So, if you are looking to spice up that Thanksgiving meal try horse meat.  It's not nearly as difficult to carve and you may surprise a few people with your out of the box, or should I say out of the gate thinking.
    I also went to the Wallace Monument, which stands on top of Abbey Craig overlooking central Scotland.  It is one of the most popular historical destinations in Scotland, and provides some of the best views in the whole country.  The monument was built in honor of William Wallace, one of Scotland's national heroes. Legend has it that Wallace commanded his troops from the top of Abbey Craig during the battle of Stirling Bridge.  Although the Scottish army was outnumbered nearly 5 to 1, Wallace somehow managed to lure the English across the bridge, where his army slaughtered the English knights.  This sparked the First War of Scottish Independence that would last for another 30 years.  The monument marks these accomplishments and honors the accomplishments of other famous Scots. I made a short video of my visit, which you will find at the end of the post.
I also found out that my window leaks when it rains-unfortunatly Scotland is not known for their dry seasons.

Thought of the Week
Life is like ice skating, it's a lot easier once you realize that falling is just part of it, and all the more fun when you have someone to help pick you up.

I want to do this one day.
City of Stirling
Ochil Hills
It was a bit windy!
I look good.
From the base.
Another view from the top.
Song of the Week
Growing Pains by Deas Vail

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

First Few Days...

Well it seems you found my blog, and as the title says my name is Andrew, and I am in Scotland!  Thats right, I am living in the city of Stirling for the next year while I pursue my Master's in Media Management.  Stirling is a historic place with lots of attractions and places to see.  Known primarily for Stirling Castle, The National Wallace Monument and the Battle of Stirling Bridge; the city is in the heart of Scotland and has been called by some, "Gateway to the Highlands". It's a great place to learn about the people, places, and culture of this ancient land.  The city is also home to the University of Stirling.  Founded in 1967, the university sits on the grounds of the old Airthrey estate, home to Airthrey Castle and Airthrey Loch.   
      Now for an update from me.  I arrived in Stirling on Saturday 11 September to a lovely day and very uncharacteristic Scottish weather.  It was sunny and warm, and after 18 hours of travel quite a relief. I have found that you can plan and prepare as much as you want, but until you step foot into a new place and see how things are done, you really have no clue as to the adjustments and concessions you make when living in another country.  Adjusting to a new culture and to new people presents quite a few challenges, but the experience has been very rewarding.  The people are very friendly and have been very gracious whenever I have run into any problems.   My favorite activity is crossing the road. I continually look the wrong direction and fail to realize how fast cars will get to my crossing point.  Did I mention that healthcare is free in the UK?  Something I tend to remember right before I run out in the street with a bus barreling down. But no, the drivers are very polite and regularly give way to pedestrians. It's so nice being able to walk just about anywhere you need to go within a short time.  Of course the public transit is very convenient, and after learning the different routes can be easily used to get anywhere in the city in less than ten minutes.  Shopping at the supermarket is also quite fun; the buggies, also known as shopping carts, can move in any direction, so moving down the aisles can be a bit like going through a jungle gym. On a side note, make sure you know how to pack your groceries like you are trying to break a record for grocery packing.  On Sunday I went to Destiny Stirling; it's a great church in the heart of the city and used to be an old theatre.  I missed the bus that morning so I decided to walk into town. I found the views much more pleasant since I was able to take in the city and the surrounding hills.  On my walk back from church I took a different route and ended up crossing the 500 year old Stirling Bridge.  It's surreal to stand on a rock that is that old and has been such an important part of the area for hundreds years.
   And I would be remiss if I did not write about the view from my flat.  I mentioned earlier the Wallace Monument, well make sure you follow the links and be sure to get a good view of the monument.  I live right down the hill and have a great view!  (You can see a picture I took around 9:30am at the end of this post)

 That wraps up my first few days in Stirling; make sure to check back every week or so for further updates.  I will be posting photos, videos and journal entries throughout my time here.

Thought of the Week 
We often complicate our lives by seeking complex answers for short term problems and fail to see the simple nature of a grace that surpasses our biggest problems. Freedom comes when I humble myself to my creator. He is bigger than all of my fears and anxieties and has called me to live by grace.

(And to accompany that Isaiah 40:22)  

Song of the Week
(Tried not to be to cliche, but it's a great song and very fitting. Enjoy!)


Wallace Monument from my flat!