70 degrees Fahrenheit (21-ish Centigrade), and it was snowing earlier this week. Ah, home.

Becca has posted a few blogs, which means it is only a matter of time before I am lightly chastised for my failure to keep up.

I have been in Oklahoma since 17 December, and will be departing for the UK on the 25th. I found out, over break, that at least three of our friends – Becca, Max, and Gavin – have solid plans to come visit Tony and me in March (Max’s second visit). Much amusement will doubtless accompany them.

I was going to make a list comparing Oklahoma to St Andrews, but I got rather bored with it. Perhaps another post.

Considering I have nothing of particular interest to share with what are undoubtedly legions of followers, I invite anyone who is feeling creative (or simply not feeling productive in regards to their own tasks) to leave a comment suggesting a prompt for a post. Becca mentioned to me that some websites provide daily prompts for the lazy individual with a blog, but the people I know are much more interesting than average and, therefore, much more likely to make the idea fun.

If you have been thinking to yourself: “Wait – this is not a game! You are merely attempting to exploit your friends for their creative and original ideas” you are correct. See? I told you you were more intelligent than average.

Now you’ve been flattered.

Pat yourself on the back, kiddo.

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One Week ’til Stateside (assuming no further airport difficulties, which I tend to attract)!

Right. This blog.
Well, so far:
– Crashed a Freshman Tradition with Max Lawson, and became one of the poster-children thereof:
http://www.metro.co.uk/news/882480-st-andrews-university-welcomes-new-students-with-traditional-foam-party
– Turned 24 – and Tony turned 23 – with many fun, unique, and culturally hilarious circumstances (along with wine, chocolate, and cookies!) brought by our friends.
– With the help of Felicia, Tony and I taught everyone how to play beerpong. The geographical/cultural spread allowed for new and amusing teams, such as “New World v. Old World.”
– Received two noise complaints, somehow…  ^
–  Turned in a couple of papers, and have become a vocal participant in my classes (obligatory academic ‘accomplishment’ note seemed a good idea in the midst of the more entertaining updates)
– Narrowed the focus of my dissertation
– Volunteered to be one of the opposing team members for a debate to take place in a class next Thursday. Probably ought to figure out what I’m supposed to be arguing.
– Begun keeping track of bits of British slang that I like.
– Taken on the role of “token American” in my classes, and am having immense fun with it.
Basically, things are a blast, but I am at a loss as to how to relate the nature of this experience at the moment.
In the absence of words, here are some pictures that Max took while he was here. Enjoy!
P.S. Becca, look! I wroImagetImageeImage ImageaImagenImageoImagetImagehImageeImagerImage ImageoImagenImageeImage.Image
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I’m Missing the Apocalypse

Dear Oklahoma,
Way to be metal with the earthquake during the tornado warning during the thunderstorm. “Ooh, the St. Andrews Cathedral graveyard is all foggy and spooky” just doesn’t feel as cool now.

Dear Becca,
I said I wanted to see the first Final Destination. I did not say to reenact it, though I appreciate your dedication. Seriously, though, it sounds like that flight was a personally tailored hell for you – I hope the next one is absolutely dull.

Dear…oh dear.
Dear readers, I wish I had Brad Neely to narrate this for you, as it would add an element of humor that I simply cannot accomplish through a textual medium.
Some happenings to report. Guy Fawkes Day in the UK consists of more than listening to people quote V for Vendetta, which was fun. Tony and I went to the beach to light off fireworks. There was a gaggle of undergrads around a bonfire, and it was quite cold there by the North Sea (go figure), so I wandered over and invited Tony and myself to hang out around there. This worked out well, because most of them had forgotten lighters, though they had remembered their own fireworks, and we had a surplus. At some point, I ended up with a delicious cookie one of the nice people was passing out. This was welcome, as my bottle of wine seemed to grow empty fairly quickly once I noticed I was cold.

Aiming fireworks (of the moderately big and loud “ooh, ahh” variety) in such a way that they go off right above the water creates a lovely effect, what with the reflection and all.

Tony played with a roman candle, and members of the bonfire crowd yelled “expelliarmus!” Nerdy? Of course. Infinitely more fun to hear in a legitimate British and Scottish (we had both) accent? Hell yes.

No classes this week, as it is reading week for the undergrads, who have finals. I wish I knew what any of my papers were to be about so I could pretend I was going to work on them. I think we plan to go to Edinburgh tomorrow, which will be nice. I have not gotten to explore outside of St. Andrews yet.

It’s getting cold – legitimately cold, not “I’m whiny and 50 degrees doesn’t feel warm with a wind” cold. This would get me down were it not for the fact that I cannot walk for 10 minutes without stumbling into old city ruins, castle-looking things, cobblestone streets, and a generally awesome atmosphere.
Not that I’m saying “suck it, Oklahoma,” but..well…you enjoy your little earthquakes. It’s sad, really – such a cry for attention.

Oh, and one more thing: the street musicians around here are badasses. I’ve not heard the faint strains of a guitar once, but I think I’ll take the talented accordion player, the flautist, a’ phiob mhòr, and such.

I have postcards, and a couple of letters written, but I really need to go find some stamps and envelopes. This ‘post office’ place I’ve heard so much about could probably help me.

If anyone besides Becca and Eli read this (although they are certainly included), and would like a postcard or a letter, send your address to sugarmagnoliasandscotch@gmail.com, and I will really try to remember to attempt to actually get around to it – I promise.

Too many words to say too little

Hmm. I’m sick – which is normally a negative – but I now have zero excuse not to play Pokemon (white version) to my heart’s content – which is very much a positive. Power of Pokemon-induced joy > power of a stupid cold or something.

Let’s see. There’s really not a hell of a lot of new stuff on which to update.

The Indian food here is good. No surprise there.

I’ve started slipping into an accent when tired or drunk. … No surprise there.

I still like it here. It’s starting to feel a little more like home. Even so, I am very much looking forward to December and seeing those who I am missing, or at least most of them.

And now – I am going to reheat my Indian food and play Pokemon, possibly slipping into an accent in the process.

No surprise there.

P.S. Hey, Becca? I’ve decided to be obnoxious (no surpr-ok, ok) and mention you in every post since you are just under 99% of the reason I update this at all. Feel loved, dammit!

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand Scotland. Finally.

Hey, Becca? Rebecca Blackmore? I’m finally posting something. Just so you know, since, you know, you’re probably the only one who is going to read this, and my disinclination to “blog” has caused you some distress.

😛

Now. Here’s what happened.

In case someone besides Becca wishes insight into my oh-so-fascinating life, a quick review: I was supposed to leave for Scotland on 7 September. To be precise, I did leave for Scotland, but I did not make it past Heathrow. However, I did get to spend 9.5 hours in a detention area there since I had only been accepted to study at St Andrews six days prior, and so did not yet have a student visa. Evidently, it was too much of a high-risk situation to admit me as a visitor with Tony, since I had no return ticket and – therefore – no means to guarantee that I did not plan to just amble about the United Kingdom indefinitely. I was returned to the States, along with Tony, who could have gone on but preferred not to send me back alone. My visa took longer to receive than did Tony’s, and so he finally headed over (thankfully, with Gareth in tow to assist him [read: drink and explore with him]). A couple of weeks and several thousand dollars in flight change fees later, I entered Tulsa International airport – with visa in hand – to begin the first leg of my flight to Edinburgh.

Now. Here’s where it gets complicated.

Those who know me well – presumably, anyone who is reading this – know that while I have a tendency to misplace cigarettes, lighters, phone chargers, and the like with alarming regularity, I am downright obnoxious when it comes to compulsively checking to ensure that I (and any fellow travelers, especially Tony) have all important materials under careful watch. The walk through the airport, through security, and on my way to the gate went something like this:

Ok – passport, money, tickets. Are there three tickets? I had better check my purse one more time, just to make sure. Cool – everything is there. Passport? Back pocket. My money is not in my back pocket. Did I put it in my purse? Ah, yes, there it is. Ok. Passport in pocket, pounds and ticket in purse.

Repeat that every minute or two, and you will have a generally accurate picture of what I am like in an airport. I was therefore quite surprised when the inner dialogue changed while I was waiting at the gate for my flight, and they called my boarding group.

Ok – passport, money, tickets. Everything is still in my purse. Excellent. I should probably go ahead and get my boarding pass out now. And passport… Passport…not in my back pocket. Is it in my purse? No. I haven’t opened my backpack, but I’ll check anyway. Nothing. Last call for boarding? Son of a bitch! I had it at security, and after! Have them call security and check. Ok. Nothing. … …. Well. This will be a long flight.

My plan thereafter was to use my second passport (different number) to enter as a visitor, noting – if questioned – that while I originally planned to attend as a student, the fact that I was beginning the term over a month late made this seem less than feasible. I was, then, going to go visit my fiance and return to the States with him over winter break. The prospect of not being a graduate student myself was less than thrilling, but at least I would be able to keep Tony company and become acquainted with my department. Though flimsy, this may have worked had my name not been in the system from the September adventure. After I was told – again – to wait while the immigration officer checked some stuff out, I began to rethink my position. (Aside: I also met a very cool guy from LA who does color work for movies, including Iron Man, Iron Man II, Thor, the Avengers…and others not related to that story line. He had a picture of him with the guy who played Loki in Thor, and a lovely, somewhat low-set shot of Scarlett Johannson. End aside). When the immigration officer returned, I explained what had happened, and that my passport (with student visa) was back in the states somewhere. After showing a scan of the original passport, he was able to look up the number and verify that I was indeed cleared to enter as a student. He then informed me that he could have banned me from the country for not being open from the beginning (though this is what had gotten me detained last time, but I kept that bit to myself), informed me that I was unbelievably stupid, and – miraculously – admitted me to the country, still as a student.

Ughlhgh.

Now. Here’s where it gets more pleasant.

Our flat is great. 2-bedroom, washer and dryer – all kinds of good stuff. Haggis isn’t bad, actually. Cathedral ruins are very cool. So is seeing William Wallace’s gravesite. So was the whole graveyard, for that matter. Castle ruins are also neat, especially when one has the opportunity to crouch through the only siege mine (and counter-siege mine) in Britain. The weather would be nice if it were not so damn windy and prone to really cold (though light) rain. The North Sea is cold – probably because it is technically part of the Arctic Ocean. The North Sea is also one of the most beautiful things I have seen, especially when gazing at it from the aforementioned cathedral and/or castle ruins. Apparently, one usually only sees narwhals, orcas, and seals closer to spring. I have something to look forward to. Sheep-filled pens can appear anywhere, even on an otherwise commercial street leading to the grocery store. Walking everywhere makes your legs strong. My department is awesome. I’ve already read a lot of the authors we are to discuss. Simpsons fans – our upstairs neighbor (who is very Scottish) was a janitor at St Andrews and is groundskeeper for our flat area. His name – and I am 100% in earnest – is Willie. Hell. Yes. Very nice guy, too. I have not actually gotten to attend a class yet, though this ought to be remedied by Wednesday. I talked to my adviser, and will most likely focus my research on approaching volatile and – traditionally – highly politicized issues in the Middle East through an anthropological lens, primarily looking at Israel and Palestine.

Basically, things are pretty awesome. Still, I look forward to seeing friends and family in December. You are missed. I have some postcards I need to send.

Becca. Becca! ……BECCAAAAAAAAAAAA!

I blogged. Your day is now better. 😉

 

Last night in the U.S.

Well, I really ought to pack. I plan to get to that in about ten minutes. Since that’s been my mantra for a couple of weeks, it’s sure to work one of these days. Anyway, as those of you who read this probably know, Tony and I leave tomorrow. Nervous, pumped, tired, blah blah blah. Long story short, there should actually be material for a real post pretty soon. For now, suffice it to say that I will truly miss my friends and family – I’ve gotten to see quite a bit of both, lately, and it has been fantastic. Thank you for that – and sorry I sometimes had to be dragged into such excursions. It was worth it, every time.

BeccaMaxAJGarethMarkCurtisVincentElyseWillForestSamGavinAndrewDonnieandChris(topher Paul Kobayashi) – glad to spend a pretty good chunk of the summer, and most of my last few days, with you all. I’m sure I missed some people – my apologies. You still count. 😉

Also, Becca, sorry I did not call you back – I was going pretty non-stop until about half an hour ago. I’ll call you during one of the layovers or “Skype” you sometime after we arrive. I hope you’re doing well with your own big transition – pretty confident this is the case.

If anyone has Skype and wishes to add me as a contact, my name on there is allison.ann.wilson, or if searching via email address is preferable, allisonann.wilson@gmail.com (just gets more and more creative, huh?).

Behave while I’m gone, America. Make me miss you (no offense, Scotland, baby. You know I want you, too).
Now, I must pack!
…in about 10 minutes.