Amazing isn’t it? Its Easter and I am finally getting around to catching you up on New Years. Scary! On the bright side, as you already know, my entertaining duties have only been forsaken for school. In no uncertain terms, I have spent so many hours in front of the computer writing essays, editing essays, re-writing, re editing, and just a little bit more
writing. It is absolutely no wonder I have shuddered at the mere thought of writing anything, even addresses on envelopes. I have avoided it all!
To get out of the nebulous concepts I will tell you the essays I have written…nine, in two months, and here are the topics: Is the blocking effect found in both animals and humans? Does learned helplessness affect humans and animals similiarly? What is intelligence? (In 1200 words or less) Interaction of Nature and Nurture. Are infanticide and abandonment two sides of the same coin? Why are the symbol stones, cross slabs, and other sculptured monuments of the Picts such a valuable source for understanding Pictish society? Did World War I intensify or break down gender roles? To what extent was delinquency invented to allow middle class intervention into working class families? And a book review on a book called Forgotten Children: Parent child relations from 1500s to 1900s. Sounds like fun, huh? Yeah, well, if nothing else I learned a lot and I learned even more about writing essays.
I have one left to write and then I’m done, for this year at least. While we are in the school vicinity lets consider grades for a moment. I did receive the final grade for my biology class, which ended well before Christmas. I received an A, UK standard and while I was looking at the list I did see listed grades (They posted final grades on a bulletin board) of E, G, and H, just in case I forgot I was in a different country. As for my psychology class last term, I literally had to corner my professor and force her to tell me the results. After this grand effort I was told that I had gotten a one. That’s exactly what I said…”A one? A one what?” Alright maybe I’m being picky wanting to know my own scores in my own language and expecting a psychology professors to perhaps know the translation. She didn’t. She told me a one was “quite good.” This didn’t fly with me; I was not about to leave that office with “quite good” for a grade! With a bit more persistence we narrowed it down to a one was the highest out of a count of three, but there are different grade levels, with the one, two, three, thing going on. Again, not horribly helpful, I would be really annoyed if the grade was a C or D one. Anyway after one of those long drawn out conversations where I begin to wonder if she is in fact speaking English and she is pretty sure I’m from a different planet we narrow it down to in equivalent of one two three equalling plus, flat, minus on my grade system. Yay, progress! And finally discovering the entirety of the grade was a B one. This may sound bad, that’s because it is! The psychology department here has been amazingly useless all year, where as the history department seems entirely on the ball. Strange, but true.
Moving away from the business sector, what about the fun stuff??? Well last time I was talking about Christmas in London. Unfortunately I did forget some small details, while there we did see some cool things, even if London was unpleasant. We went to a Christmas concert in Saint Martin in the Fields, which was classical music played by candle light in a
beautiful, old and famous church. If you have never heard of it, because I never had, apparently it’s the sight for numerous recordings. That does not surprise me; the acoustics in there were incredible. We also went to see The King and I in a London theatre, which, of course, was wonderful. Alright, that covers happy moments in London over the holiday season, back to Glasgow, with the most snow in two decades and New Years eve, affectionately known as Hogmanay over here.
We didn’t get any tickets to anything, because you didn’t have to. They had free entertainment in a blocked off down town. Naturally the weather was being uncooperative. For the first part of the night it was pouring. We waited in the torrential down pour for the bus and wondered if we might just swim our way downtown. Finally the bus arrived and it was packed! We found ourselves a nook where we were promptly offered a drink. The
Scots have a thing for singing, if you ever board a horribly over crowded bus, they are bound sing. We didn’t know any of the songs, but I could have sworn one sounded like “The wheels on the bus go round and round” and something like 100 bottles of beer on the wall. Probably better off not knowing. The entire bus unloaded at one stop and it was time for
culture shock because almost every single passenger wished the driver a happy new year, or in Scots terms “all the best.” Down town they had five stages all with a different form of music or entertainment. We caught the women drum team, which was very impressive, almost forty drummers in one spot. It was enough to make the ground shake. On another stage area they were doing the cheesy Las Vegas weddings with your average over exaggerated Las Vegas host. Naturally Shawn and I hopped in line and had a shot gun Vegas wedding in Glasgow Scotland on New Years Eve. Woo Hoo! We even got the certificate, valid for 24 hours. I think that’s about as close as I’ll come to marriage
any time soon. We wandered the area and stopped where it suited us. The weather of course, rained, then snowed, and just for variety, hailed once. Right around midnight, us and about 3000 of our closest friends crowded around the main stage, some of us standing is shin deep puddles, to watch Glasgow’s newest celebrity bring in the new year as Freddy Mercury. You see, they have a show here called Stars in Their Eyes, which is an adult version of Star Search. This Glaswegian won on the show so the city of Glasgow gave him the stage show on New Years. He was lots of fun and even looked like Freddy during his younger years, that was, until he spoke. Our New Year was brought in to Bohemian Rhapsody in the rain snow and hail. It was a blast! Hugs and kisses from random men, women, and children accompanied by the Scottish, “all the best.” Now since the
Scots are such heavy partiers not only is everything closed for new years day, everything is closed for the next two days. Really sleep off those hang overs, and lots of companies stayed closed for the whole week. Why can’t the US party and sleep like the Scots?? Sheeesh.
After New Years we took the pretty much forced vacation and relaxed. Then I made an appointment with the dentist. You are probably wondering why exactly I would bore you with dentist details, well, its not boring, its actually just plain strange. I was headed for the dentist because I have been grinding my teeth away for the last couple of months and thought I might want the things later in life. I found a dentist close and made an appointment. (That’s how it works over here) The dentist was this spry and energetic older man with that lovely accent and a little more familiarity than one expects from the evil drill doctor we all love to hate. I got into his office and he took my coat, no not just from my hands, helped it off my body. Then he chatted me up a bit and finally poking into my mouth he exclaimed in a most excited fashion that I had “Lovely teeth.” Some of the best work he had ever seen. Boy my dentist back home is going to be pleased! Then he was mightily impressed with the amount of grinding I had done. After commenting on the lovely teeth a bit more, he furnished me this sexy little mouth guard to wear at night. I’m really not old enough to have a prefabed set of teeth! Apparently that’s just my opinion. Because I liked the dentist so much I had Shawn ask them questions about getting his teeth fixed while he is here. What a good idea! Turns out the dentist was fully willing to take Shawn on and the price over here out of pocket is maybe a quarter of what it would cost at home. They have a fantastic medical system. Just as long as you aren’t horribly attached to your kidneys. Don’t ask, just read the news.
Alright, well at least I have you into the right year. I’m going to stop while I’m ahead, well, actually, fairly behind, but I am catching up! No letter would be complete without the vernacular lesson. Draich is a word for the weather here, it means, like it sounds, cold, wet, dank….draich (pronounced drrrrAKe with that guttural thing on the K). That is a
singularly Scottish word as if you couldn’t tell. And manky, which is a word the dentist used to describe the mouth guard after its worn for a night. Yuck! You get the picture, lets not even discuss this.