So, here I sit in Glasgow, the Dear Green Place as it translates from Gaelic, there is definite truth in advertising–its green, everywhere, the trees, the bushes, the grass, and the buildings. I just got home from a pub and I’m quite sure someone’s cigarette was laced with something that was not tobacco so you will have to forgive me if my typing is slurred.
One thing is for sure, around here, alcohol is so much more than a fluid with side effects. It is a meal, a social tool, a means of survival, a friend, and of course an enemy. They drink alcohol here like we drink soda there, but then again I imagine they come over to the states and say that we drink soda like they drink alcohol, thinking us just as strange. I am rather impressed with the walking abilities of the highly intoxicated here. Standing is still complicated, they waver, but walking, they clip right down the road with no problems at all. I guess necessity breeds ability. They have to get home somehow. Appropriately, a DUI here is at least 5 years in prison and they take away your license—for life. Although they have a lot more drinking they seem to have fewer issues with DUIs. I guess putting a pub on nearly every block has its advantages.
Red Bull is immensely popular, particularly in pubs. In fact, it seems that its just another drink to the local population, they have an ale, then pour a red bull, drink that and have another ale. Must make for an interesting buzz, but I don’t envy the hangover. On the other side of the spectrum the water here is phenomenal. You can’t get water to taste that good if it’s bottled filtered and then run through a brita. Although it took a while to get used to the fact that you turn on the facet and just put the cup under it and drink…no extra steps and it’s delicious! I should bottle the stuff and send it back to the states, make my millions and live the lifestyle to which I plan to become accustomed!
I have spent the entire week trying to get the whole school thing figured out. Yes, a week, believe me, it’s no small task. You see, I needed to find some paper work, so I went to the
international students building for advice. They told me to go talk to administration, across the street and on the top floor (they don’t believe in elevators in this country). Administration told me to go to the registry, on the other side of campus and up more stairs. They told me the international students building should have my information, back to where I started. They told me to find my adviser. My adviser is the head of my department; my department is social sciences, so that’s where I went. Over the hill and up the stairs (to grandmother’s house we go) they told me that for my major my department on this side of the ocean is arts. Back over the hill and up more stairs to the art department where I was informed that I was a North American (never thought about myself in quite those terms) and I had an adviser entirely devoted to that particular continent (Don’t I feel special). This time only across the campass, but of course, up more stairs, he was on the top floor. Although a very friendly chap he said he couldn’t do a thing for me, by now I kind of figured as much. I just wanted to know how long the walk was and how many stairs were involved. Turns out he sent me back to….yep, you guessed it, international students building. This time I discovered that if I took the stairs they led to an adviser who actually knew something. Now that I know who is in the know I have become somewhat of a regular there. Of course, whenever asking what I am sure are stupid questions for the area, they all look at me in that sympathetic manner with “you’re an American, aren’t you,” painted across their face. I guess out of all the countries that attend this school, our system is the furthest from theirs making Americans the most confused, no wonder we have our own adviser!
I did have one relatively successful day, yes, only one, the rest of the week was pretty much “across the campus and up the stairs.” It was the day of matriculation. Otherwise known as the day you give them all your money. They had us show up at nine am and wait in a line that went all the way down one of those massive curled stair cases with the thick red. Only the royal treatment will do when you come bearing cash! They armed us with our information sheets and herded us slowly into this large room. Once in there you were told in which line to stand, I was directed to the shortest since I was paying the whole sum in one painful shot. I’m 22 years old and I have managed to avoid having either a checking account or a credit card my entire existence. I’m a more conventional girl, if I have extra cash its probably in my underwear drawer. However, I’ve been a starving student for a long time and cash in general is a foreign concept. So this card is brand new, and me a debit card virgin. The girl in front of me, her card was rejected and she looked as if she might burst into tears. They quieted her with those cooing Scottish accents and sent her out. I was praying that the machine wasn’t on some sort of serial rejection spree and I was its next victim. The lady snatched that card from my hand, turned around, and swiped my card. First funny printing noises from the old machine then a long tense pause, then more grunting noises from the machine and she turned a smile on me . Apparently everything was kosher. She handed me the receipt and I saw the numbers, shouldn’t have looked. I had just signed away more than I’ve made some years. That’s the kind of reality that will make your teeth sweat and your mouth go dry all at once.
The advertisements are, ummm, bold compared to the States. Naked women are everywhere, on the billboards, in newspapers, and in store windows. The really interesting thing is these are not the stick figures of the model circuit. Nope, the advertising agents have braved the wide world of women with a curve of the hip, and even, ohmigod, breasts! It’s actually very refreshing; some even have a small (still very small) pooch. Then there are the written innuendos for instance there are a bunch of signs up by the university that read, “Foreplay. You will come!” it was advertising a club. Then there has been a bunch of advertisements for something called Shag Tag, with a picture of stick figures in compromising positions, it was for a singles club. Also, a picture of a male chest with a nipple piercing and a female breast with the same and a small chain linking the two, it was advertising an email service so “you never lose touch.” This is a totally different world, but somehow I think I will adjust.