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.
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. 😉
Seriously, working with your Willie 🙂
Anyway – yay, blog! I’m glad to see all the details worked out and you are up to your gills in Scotland. I am watching your blog like a hawk now. It’s nice to be able to direct people to a blog if they want the details – that way you don’t have to repeat it for everyone. 🙂
I care about the blog!