Here's a wee (great word) run down of the things I've been up to since I got here. I arrived last weds safe and sound and stayed for the night at the house of a wonderful friend of a friend named Sarah. She had been unbelievably helpful in the run up to my trip and even more so when she offered to let me crash on her couch for my first night in town. She's a UVA grad and now a veterinary student in Edinburgh. Obviously very jetlagged I didn't do much that night and spend the whole next day running errands (use of that word is solely for you, Griswald). One of the top reasons why traveling in Europe is so much better than in the states? I bought a new cell phone and a month long plan with a local Edinburgh number for 25 pounds...beautiful. Another reason? Fish and chips (see the picture up on facebook). Fish and chips from a real UK chippie for 5 pounds might be the greatest price-to-food-enjoyment ratio I've ever experienced, with a close second being a Doner Kebab at 3 am in Germany.
That evening one of my flatmates was nice enough to come pick me up so I didn't have to drag my luggage onto a city bus and took me over to the flat I'll be staying in for the next 5 weeks. Its very close to the University of Edinburgh and is right in the middle of where many of the students stay as well as being 2 blocks from one of the biggest parks in the city. The flatmates have been amazing and adopted me into their family as if I had been here for years. For your reference, here's the rundown of my roommates:
Blair: the one who picked me up, 4th year medical student, rugby player extraordinaire, and a great guy
Rae: 4th year medical student, member of the triathlon club
Craig; 4th year medical student, and ALSO an member of the triathlon club
Lisa: Law student, and ANOTHER member of the triathlon club
Linsey: Grad student in even management, tremendous ultimate player (getting the idea that, just like in Charlottesville, I'm living with a bunch of people who are much smarter, more talented, and more athletic than I am?)
I came in on a great night as many of the 4th year's had just finished their rotation and taken the equivalent of a SHELF exam and we're going out that night. We left the flat without me unpacking or even really knowing my own address and were out until 430 am. Pubs here shut down at 1 am but there are clubs open until 3 or 4, though I have yet to really understand the difference between the two. It seems like the clubs are the only places that play dance music and many of them are underground (literally, meaning requiring a flight of stairs down to them) but other than that I have no idea why one is allowed to stay open later while the other is not. You will all be proud to know that I pulled out some of the all time great american white boy dance moves with some of the medical students that I had just met, though I'm not sure many of them will speak to me ever again because of it.
Friday was spent wandering the city and finding my way out to the hospital where I am working, and I headed out Friday night with Sarah to the local vet student pub. They give discounts specifically to vet students, which leaves me wondering why there aren't medical student bars back in the states. Can we get on this? It was a great night, a bit calmer than the previous in a much needed way.
Saturday I woke up and decided to hike up Arthur's seat (the pictures up on facebook). Edinburgh is built with 7 large hills surrounding it and this is one of the biggest. The entire area around it has been turned into a park and outside of some roads that wind around it, it is unspoiled. There are few paths making it a difficult 800 m climb to the top but being in the middle of such an amazing city it provides views to challenge anything I've ever seen from Mt. Washington. It is very close to the firth of forth though and without any other mountains to cut the wind the top of it bears the full brunt of the wind off of the sea. Several times at the top I almost was blown off of my feet, and I have a video to post (as soon as my internet connection will quit timing out) that shows just how crazy it was. The trip was well worth it though, and I spent more than 2 hours at the top eating lunch and creating my masterpiece (again see the facebook photos). There is a spot about 200 yards from the top of the summit where a great number of small stones are just lying on a field, and tourists obviously come up there to leave things like their initials behind. After watching a group of college kids outline the body of one of their friends with rocks like a chalk outline in some gangster flick (including, of course, full male genitalia and a urine stream) I decided I had to leave a bit of home behind and what better way to do it than with a Steelers symbol? They responded promptly by losing this past weekend which leads me to believe it was a mistake.
Saturday night was Rae's birthday party at our flat and consisted of a tremendous pot luck dinner as well as a trip to a pub called The Three Sisters. I made chicken nachos for the dinner and was treated to some amazing cooking, as well as a never empty glass of wine. The Three Sisters is apparently a common stopping place for bachelorette and bachelor parties and is part pub part club. The outside has a huge area with tables and umbrellas, as well as a running grille (even until close) and all in all is very class. The inside was almost identical to Three on Eighties night (for the UVA kids) or a combination of Boomerangs and Cumpies (for the Pitt kids). Great times all around.
Its bed time, more to come later including my sunday shenanigans, how I met a whole group of guys to watch the NFL wit last night, and my first day at the clinic.