Saturday, January 31, 2009

1/31/9 :: Conclusions

I concluded January and my first month here with David Bowie and a wasted day.  I'm still afraid of the washing machine.  I'm probably starting to smell.

1/30/9 :: Hat Boy and Other Tales

Today was a pretty awesome day.  I slept in, got some great work done in the studio, took a nap, cut myself some bangs, and then went for drinks with Joe.  What an amazing boy.  

Afterward, we went to Shannon's for a drinking game before heading out to a party.  I was a little nervous about being at another big party, but Shonagh and Shannon stuck to me like glue, and I had the most ridiculously wonderful time.  I got a chance to get to know Tom Carlile and Dan Buxton a bit better.  Not to mention, I kissed a great looking boy in a hat!  : D

Afterward, I went back to Shonagh's for the night.  I'm not sure if she remembers because I think she was quite drunker than I realized at the time, but we had a nice chat before going to sleep.  I'm really loving it here.  I'm so grateful for all the people I'm meeting.

And since I didn't have a camera at the party, look at this hilarious plate that is on display in our kitchen.

1/29/9 :: Typographic Revelation

Today was a pretty productive day in the studio.  I made some headway on my logo.  This guy named Tim (who I later found out is a student teacher) walked over to me and told me I needed to take my idea further.  He loved my cardboard monster, but he said when I got it onto the computer, I was "losing the funk."

After a few minutes of pouting, I realized he was right.  I added some texture and restacked the type.  I've also made it into a pretty cool pattern for the back of my letterhead.  I'll show the entire project when it's finished.  It's due Tuesday, so it won't be long, chickens.

1/28/9 :: Smoking Kills

Thanks for the reminder, but if you're going to tell me how to treat my body, you better learn how to spell.

1/27/9 :: Analogue Fetish

I was only in the studio for a short bit today before I decided to head into town.  I went back to my favorite bookstore here, Analogue, and bought two new design books-- including the one above.  When I walked in the store, the store owner was listening to Jens Lekman.  I told him he had great taste.  I've gone in about twice a week since I arrived in this city.  I think he thinks I'm a creep.

  I'm going to be designing a website as part of my corporate identity project, and considering the company is an ecommerce site, the web portion of the project is vital.  The book was only 5 pounds, and it's pretty good.  Thumbs up.

Monday, January 26, 2009

1/26/9 :: No Pain in Barcelona

I booked a train ticket to London for the end of February.  I also booked trips to Glasgow, London (again), and Barcelona for the end of March.  I'm thinking about joining a gym.  I haven't felt beautiful for a long, long time.  

Wonder if I'll ever find my yellow bird.

I only have one pink cigarette left.  I'm going to go smoke it to my favorite Rufus song and then go to sleep.  

1/25/9 :: Burn's Day

I slept in today, and then had the most lovely day.  I planned some activities for myself, starting with going to The Royal Museum of Scotland.  I took pictures from the terrace on top of the building, including the one above.  The views from up there are aaaamazing, but unfortunately, they keep you gated so far from the edge that it's hard to get a picture without a load of concrete at the bottom.  Also, it helps if you take notice that you've set your camera on manual focus.  Most of my pictures were blurry-- I'm such a turd.

Today was Burn's day, a holiday in celebration of the Scottish poet, Robert Burns.  It's tradition to read his poetry and eat the national dish, haggis.  I didn't have any haggis today though-- for shame.  The museum was packed because of it, so I didn't stay long.  I bought some postcards for everyone back home, and took myself grocery shopping.  I made myself a proper lunch and just relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.

In the evening, I joined Joe, Shonagh, Sarah, Kirtsen, and Anna at a gorrrrgeous italian restaurant on George Street called Gusto.  I ordered the most delicious pasta with salmon and lots of cocktails!  Afterward, we went to my favorite pub, The Tron.  I don't think I've ever laughed so much.  I love it here.  I don't think I'm ever going to want to leave.

1/24/9 :: Practical Matters

Today was a lazy day.  I was meant to go out with some of the girls, but I spent the day in recovery from the past few nights.  I walked up to Princes Street (above), but I convinced myself not to buy anything.  The shops on Princes Street are lethal, especially this great paper shop called Paper Chase.  I spent 50 quid (the equivalent of 75 dollars) there the other day.  I might be developing a bit of a paper problem.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

1/23/9 :: Headache

Today was Friday-- and I started the morning off by going to my photography lesson completely hung over.  I took a shower, ate a quick meal, and set to work on my work for critique in the afternoon.  We're still working on that same corporate identity project.  Insane, right?  It allows for lots of playtime at least.

Anyway, by the time Derek got around to my desk, my head was pounding so violently that I barely had the energy to talk about my work.  He didn't say much beyond, "Keep working."  I rushed home to bed, took a nap, and when I woke up, my headache hadn't left me alone.  I decided to skip out on the partying tonight, and I went to Joe's for movies and homework.  He's always a good laugh, and so it was just a nice, relaxing night.  Talks about trips to Dublin, London, and Glasgow are all in the works.  It's making the decision on which to choose...

1/22/9 :: The Exhibition Opening

Tonight was the opening of ECA's third year exhibition, featuring the work of the design majors at the junior level.  All of my classmates have been working on their pieces since before break, so it was fun to finally get to see them in their finished state.  Neeti, the other exchange in my department (from India), and I walked around the exhibition for a bit before I ran into Lindsey.  We chatted about whether or not we wanted to go out later, and I decided to go home and get some work done so I could see our plans through.  The exhibition was a gorgeous set up, but not much of the graphic design work was as graphic as I would've thought it should be.  My favorite piece was done by a classmate named Tom Carlile-- he hand-coded an entire sheet of 24x36 paper in tiny, tiny print, and then silk-screened type over it.  

Later on, I met up with Lindsey, Sara, and Marianna, and we went for drinks at Vodka Rev on Chambers Street.  We ordered large pitchers of cocktails and got 24 shots to split between us.  My favorite of the night was called birthday cake!   It was a great night, but it ended too soon.  I snuck out to the chippy with Chris for 30 minutes, and when I returned, every one was ready to go home.  I pouted the entire walk back.  My first (successful) attempt at shots, and I had nothing to show for it.

1/21/9 :: Quid Drinks At The Tron

Tonight was Quid drinks at The Tron, which is one of my favourite pubs here.  For $1.50, a giant pint of Strongbow will do you right.  Above I'm with Phillip (taking a sip, an exchange student from Louisiana), Marcus (flicking you off, a local), and Sara (another exchange student from Canada).  On this night, I tried my damnedest to get myself a man, but to no avail.  It was the drunkest I've ever been in Edinburgh, and I spent a bit of the night being sick once I got home. 

It's fun to order and drink pints, but I don't think I'll be doing it again for a long, long time.   Definitely a fun night though.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

1/20/9 :: Quiet

Amidst all the noise that comes with being tossed into a new world comes the stark contrast of lots and lots of quiet.  I spend so many hours every day experiencing things alone with myself, contemplating new feelings, and replaying moments over in my head.  At night, when I'm alone in my room, I think until I pass out of exhaustion from it.  A lot of times I feel guilty for having this opportunity-- like I'm going to somehow blow it.  Who am I to have such a gift?  My parents have never been beyond Niagra Falls.  They deny me nothing.

Most of all, I guess, I just want this to mean something later on down the line.  I'm enjoying my time here, but beyond the pub nights and big meals, I want something to really capture me.  I want to really learn something about myself.  Back in the states, I was always wrestling between my tendencies to be overly introspective and outwardly...  a social explosion.  But I suppose it's one of those things-- I won't know the change has happened until after the fact.  I just want to walk away and know that I've tasted it.  

Monday, January 19, 2009

1/19/9 :: Sick Day

Today was a lazy sick day. I went to the studio for about 20 minutes today before I decided to turn around and go back to bed.  I slept away most of the afternoon, but popped back in for another hour or so to see everyone.  I really can't say I'm feeling any better, but talking to Josh on ichat makes being sick slightly more fun.
I miss my big-haired brown mess of a friend.  No one sings brown diva motown like you, Josh.  No one.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

1/18/9 :: Mucinex

Look out.  It's not a pretty picture in Edinburgh today.  Although last night was beyond amazing, today was a day of recovery.  Surprisingly, however, it was not a hangover I'm recovering from-- it's a head cold from hell.

On my way home from Joe and Shonagh's this morning, I crossed the meadows.  I was smoking a cigarette, despite my terrible congestion, and I was thinking how I wished I had my camera to take pictures of all of the little boys practicing rugby.  Then, all of a sudden, they all started coughing.  Then, they started shouting at me, "Smoking kills!" and making a bunch of faces.  For the rest of the walk home, I fantasized about how I would kill them.  Is that wrong?  Ha.

I went grocery shopping, fixed myself a big lunch, and then landed face down in bed.  I took some Mucinex, but I'm still feeling like complete shit.
I'd hate my life if it became one of those colds that seems to last for the entire winter.

1/17/9 :: Shopping and The One Below

Today was probably my best day in Edinburgh to date. Couldn't possibly just choose one, so I chose two pictures for today:  the bottom picture is me and two of my classmates at the club "The One Below."  Shonagh (left) and Shannon (right).  The top one is of me and Joe, who you've already heard loads about.

During the day, Shonagh took me shopping around Princes Street and George Street.  I got a great dress, a pair of heels, a tank, and a belt.  I'm so glad that Shonagh was with me because they take fashion here seriously, and I haven't got a clue.

Afterward, again, there was another fabulous meal prepared by Joe, getting ready, and then drinks.  Not as many people showed up to go out as we'd expected, but for me, it was just right.  We drank at home because the bar was going to be very expensive.  When we got there, we piled into this little glowing booth, hooked my ipod into the wall, and played my music.  (Haley, that mix you made for me came in especially handy!)  Every one kept complimenting me on my dress, which made me feel great, and Joe gave me encouragement about wearing heels when drunk throughout the night.  I almost made it the whole way home in them, but changed them just before we left the bar.  I'm glad I remembered to stash a pair of flats in my purse. 

After a bit of dancing and many, many photos, I headed back to Joe's flat to pass out on the sofa.  I fell asleep just after the 'Sweet Transvestite' portion of Rocky Horror.  Perfect end to any night.

1/16/9 :: Escape

When you are little, the best days are the ones where you wake up, flip on the tv, and see glorious news that school has been cancelled.  Well, as you get older, the novelty of getting out of school never really wears off.  Today, after our morning crit, Joe and I escaped the studio for a day of shopping and relaxing.  We decided early on that we owed ourselves a night out.

We paraded around Princes Street and got properly cold and wet in the gorgeous Edinburgh weather.  I tried on some clothes at a really fun shop here called Top Shop.  I bought the shirt-dress that I'm wearing in the picture above.  Also, feel free to squint and perv on Joe's room. 

When we got back to Joe's flat, he made me a wonderful dinner followed by drinks.  We went over to Jesse and Tamsyn's  flat, and I think this was my first night out with friends where I never felt uncomfortable or excluded.  It was woooonderful.  I am, however, coming down with what seems to be an awful cold.  Euro germs!  

Thursday, January 15, 2009

1/15/9 :: Lazy Day

My street.  Check out those cobblestones.  You're jealous, I know.  Talk to my ankles though-- they are saddened by it.

I should be honest and say that I did pretty much nothing today, ha.  I struggled to get out bed, and I stumbled into the studio for about an hour this morning before I realized I really didn't have anything to do.  I took a nap, watched a movie, and ate some pizza.  I took some time to clean my room and go for a short walk as well.  

I'm looking forward to watching the inauguration, but I'm not sure whether I'm going to attempt to watch it streaming or see it via the UK coverage on someone's television.  I'm almost a little sad not to be in the states for the big day.  Tomorrow is "final crit" on our logo, but my logo has been done for about a week.  I'm trying to come up with some sort of personal project that I can occupy my time with.  If I don't, I fear I might start shopping.  And that really has the potential to be unwise.

1/14/9 :: 1st Exchange Party

Today was kind of a bummed-out day.  I got into the studio late, and once I was there, it was kind of obvious I wasn't going to accomplish much.  I left early and headed back home.

In the evening, Lindsey, another exchange student in the illustration department, invited me out for drinks with her and some of the other international students.  I met them at The Last Drop, a pub in the Grassmarket around 9pm.  At first, it was really quite great-- between Sara, Philip, Lindsey, and I-- we had a lot to talk about.  I was wondering why I had been so hesitant to go out with the other exchanges before.  

We moved to The Advocate, another pub just a ways down Cowgate.  There, more people started showing up-- Sara's roommates, other students from ECA, and some girls that I had no idea who they were to be honest.  For a while, I did fine, but after a bit, I was feeling sort of awkward.  I do horribly in large groups of strangers.  I seriously become a ridiculous wallflower.  I can't explain it.  It's like I'm convinced that no one likes me.  Anyway, around 1am, I decided to call it a night just as every one was ready to go dancing.  

I did the drunken walk home along Cowgate-- probably the forth or fifth time since I've been here that I've done this walk.  The length of two cigarettes.  
I can't decide what exactly is causing my moods to move the way they do.  I never know if I'm ecstatic, content, depressed-- whatever.  Being here has been beyond what my hormones can handle apparently.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

1/13/9 :: It Ain't Me Babe

Today was a nice day.  It was our first pin-up for the corporate identity project.  In the morning we had a  short lecture, and once it was over, I rushed right home to keep working.  I had stayed up the night before with a good playlist, some cigarettes, and construction paper-- making monsters.  I presented my monsters today, and I think they went over pretty well.

After school, I went and picked myself up the most delicious jalapeno pizza and my new favorite alcohol, Magners.  I pigged out and watched Rushmore on my bed.  It was so relaxing.

If nothing else, I really think this experience is going to remind me how to appreciate simple pleasures-- a good meal, a nice walk, or an excellent puddle reflection.  Since I've been here, I've found myself the happiest when alone and experiencing some sort of quiet pleasantness.  

Also, on the way across the ocean, I watched Walk The Line.  I've been a huge Johnny Cash fan since I was little, and although it's not the same-- I love that movie to death anyway.  I've been walking all over Edinburgh humming this tune.

Till tomorrow,

Ps.  I planted my petunia.  : )

Monday, January 12, 2009

1/12/9 :: Eggling

I left the studio early today because I was feeling quite tired and antisocial.  I convinced myself to hold off on the nap and go for a walk while there was a sun in the sky.  I walked down Lauriston and over to Castle Terrace then up Princes Street-- all without getting lost!  This is Lothian Road-- a 2 minute walk from my flat, and it is where I go to get my groceries.

I stopped at Paper Tiger and had a cute-paper orgasm.  I bought a pantone mug and an adorable little egg that if I crack it open and pour water in... supposedly a petunia will sprout.  : D

I stopped for groceries on the way home and made myself a proper dinner.  I ate nearly an entire carton of grapes that were meant to last me the week.  Unfortunately, my American appetite hasn't adjusted to the entire concept of "you can only buy what you can carry."  I'm craving cheeseburgers.

Afterward, I took a short nap, and I actually woke myself up from laughing in my sleep.  I had a dream that Josh and I were lost on our way home from Blockbuster.  I have no idea what was so funny though.

I started working on my identity assignment for the pin-up tomorrow, but after 6 hours, all I have managed to finish is one monster.  I'm not sure this is good enough, but my eyes are blurry.  I can't see a damn thing!  Working any more tonight seems unlikely.  Perhaps an hour nap?  I actually told myself that I refuse to pull a CCS night the entire time I'm here.  If I'm going to go to bed... I'm going to do just that.  
Buuuut, I've never been good at keeping resolutions.

Hope everyone back in the D had a good first day back to CCS!  I miss you all terribly.  We should video chat during Nelson's sometime soon.  But for now... off to bed.  Big day tomorrow.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

1/11/9 :: Lost In Translation

I've been feeling a bit like Charlotte in Lost In Translation.  Long sleepless nights countered by days in the city where I feel like I might just be eaten up by all of the unfamiliar things around me.  I've got one eye on the look out for Billy Murray in a neon yellow teeshirt.  No one will ever be able to say I wasn't ready for my sweet affair.

The wind beats on my window at night, and it sounds like a train.  I listen to it when I lie awake at night-- I try to decipher words in the moans.  I wonder what we will discuss tonight.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

1/10/9 :: The Teddy Bear Wing Ding

Nevermind the fact that I look like a complete goober-- this is one of three photos I managed to get (thanks jamie) at the massive party this evening, aka The Teddy Bear Wing Ding.  That's Piotr, a lovely boy in my class who is collecting teddies for his personal project for the exhibition.  I do believe he has close to 200.  : )

I've been excited for the party all week, but today I started to get awfully nervous.  I started drinking before I left, hoping it would loosen me up a bit.  I tend to overanalyze everything and then become like a deer in headlights in social situations.  

It started off well when we were in a smaller group, mostly made up of my classmates.  Soon, however, there were so many people you could barely move.  All the girls were so beautiful and trendy.  I thought girls in America were impressive-- these women have style!  I instantly could tell I was going to have to put a bit more effort into myself if I wanted to catch a beau.  Overall, I had fun, but I was quite uncomfortable.  I spent most of the night running about, trying to find someone to talk to as not to feel completely out of the loop.  I'd spend a moment talking to someone, then a new person would step in and hug my friend-- off they would go.  I'd be left standing there, feeling like I'd gone to a bar alone.

I could tell though, that if I was more comfortable, it would have been a great party.  It reminded me of CAID in many ways, right down to the sloppy, muddy floor.  I know six months is a long time to get to know people, and Shonagh said some really kind things to me before I left about how well I fit in.  I wish I felt that way.  Everyone is so incredibly nice that I already can tell it won't be long before it gets better.  I just don't quite feel like I have a place yet.  It's so hard going from being the loudest, extroverted party-thrower in Detroit to the quiet new girl here in Edinburgh.  It's not a role I'm particularly used to, and it makes me a bit sad.  I'm used to being the one who is dancing on people, pouring the drinks, or ripping my pants open on accident.  Standing alone is a new one (nobody puts baby in the corner).

I'm trying to keep my chin up.  I know I have a lot of time here, and I'm just getting started.  First party survived.  Now it's time for some sleep, and tomorrow is another day. 

1/9/9 :: Chippy Sauce

You are looking at probably the most delicious thing I have eaten since my arrival-- fish and chips with chippy sauce!  Chippy sauce is this delightful brown salty sauce that makes everything taste better it seems.

Anyway, today was the critique of all of my classmates' exhibition work.  The critique itself was so timid compared to what we're used to.  They make helpful, polite suggestions, but there doesn't seem to be any harsh criticism about anything.  I was very surprised.  I had some suggestions and ideas for a few of the projects, but I decided it was probably best to keep my mouth shut-- they were personal projects, and I don't know anyone well enough to go telling them what I think of their work.  The work was interesting, but I was having a hard time understanding the concept.  There seemed to be this original idea, but then what form they applied the concept to, in many cases, seemed a bit unrelated?  I can just hear Michael or Sue in my head saying, "but why?"

Yesterday, for many reasons, was sort of a sad day for me.  I was feeling a bit hung over in the morning, and I was missing my friends very much.  Especially after being at one of their critiques, I found myself missing the comforts of CCS.  I've only been here a week, and I think I might die without Josh.  For most of the day, I wanted to rush home and call him, but I know that I can't with my awful phone.  Tomorrow is the party, and I am actually very nervous.  I hope I don't become a wallflower around all of these new people.

In the evening, I went out with Chris, which was nice.  We talked about music, and I got to feel a little bit more like myself.  After a few pubs, we got the infamous fish and chips and chatted on a bench for a while.  He's so very nice, but I feel terrible that he ends up being my tour guide.  I wish I could adjust and just be like a regular friend.  Being new here is novel, but it's not exactly the best feeling.  It makes me feel more out of place than I'd like to be.

1/8/9 :: Mussels and Brew

I know that I'm cheating a bit by combining two photos, but it's my blog and I say its fine!  Today was a nice, relaxing sort of day.  I met Haley and Jamie tonight in the Grassmarket, and we went to the most delicious mussel and steak place.  I tried my first mussel!  I ordered a steak and chips, which were a bit too fancy for my pocketbook, but I tried not to think about it.  I think I was more interested in the waiter than the food anyway.

Afterward, we decided to go to a few pubs and we stopped at The Three Sisters (too expensive, but they did play a Michael Jackson tune that reminded me of Josh so much), The Advocate (a more chill, moody pub), and then finally The Tron (a hipster little hang out place).  

Parting with Haley was very sad-- she returns to the US on Saturday morning. It sort of hit me in the drunken head that I was truly going to be on my own here now.  I stumbled home alone along the Cowgate, calling Joe on the way.  I mumbled off some embarrassing things about the weather and my stupid crush.  Oh, I'm awful.

Tomorrow is everyone's critique on their exhibition projects, and I'm very excited to see what my classmates have been up to.  More on that tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

1/7/9 :: Elephant House Antics

Please excuse my poor attempt at piecing together an image of my bedroom.  It's quite difficult-- especially with all of this yellow light : )   I know my pictures have been atrocious so far.  I'll do better soon, I promise.

I've been so excited about all the social changes I've been faced with that I'm afraid the academic ones have fallen to second interest at the moment.  Today we were officially assigned our first brief-- I am to design a corporate identity for, a new ecommerce business started by graduates of Edinburgh University.  This involves a logo, stationary suite, and a website.  I do believe I am the only one in the group who has any experience in this sort of thing, so I feel a bit confident.  Just not too confident.  I haven't seen anyone's work yet really.

Every day I feel a little bit more comfortable here.  Every day it seems someone new makes a small effort to get to know me, and when you are new in a place like this, the smallest gestures mean so much.  Tom stopped to chat to me while I was outside smoking, and it made me feel very happy.  He walked off to go run an errand but came back saying he had something to show me.  He invited me to follow him down Lady Lawson.  I was so flattered and excited that I forgot to pay close attention to what he was saying (his accent is thicker and requires a lot of concentration on my part).  Suddenly, we were standing in front of a person whose face was entirely covered in piercings and tattoos-- what a sight!  Tom just smiled and crossed the street in his little kitten-ear cap.  I was delighted and wanted to run after him and walk, but I refrained.

After studio, I met Joe at The Elephant House for some coffee and work.  The work never really happened, but the talking was so nice.  It felt like I had a friend instead of just an acquaintance.  Joe has always been the most outgoing with me, so it's no surprise that he was the first that I got to connect with on a friendship level.  We joked about the differences between American and UK language, and his attempt at an American accent made me laugh until my stomach hurt.  It was the best afternoon.  Walking home, I didn't get very lost at all either.

All in all, it was a nice day.  I'm really loving it here so, so much.  The only downside is forcing myself to do design work amidst all the other excitement.  Also, it does get quite lonely in the evenings, seeing as I don't know many people yet.  I'm hoping that will change soon-- especially after the party on Saturday.  I do hope I can muster some courage to be myself around all those new people and not be a wallflower.  Joe seemed most interested when I told him about beer pong, but I do think I frightened him with my pants-ripping story, haha.  

That's all for tonight.  Tomorrow is another day!

1/6/9 :: Second Day of Uni

The castle view from my street.  This is also what I see from my bedroom window : )

Today was my second day of Uni, and what a strange day it was.  In the morning, we had our first lecture of the term-- a woman came to speak to us about CVs, which I discovered is the UK way of saying resume.  My classmates are preparing for work placement at the beginning of the summer (a short 2-week internship), but I will be having my work experience hopefully on spring break.  The lecture was quite boring, as I've already covered resumes and the like countless times back in the states.  

Next, I met a Scottish boy I had been chatting with online for a lunch.  He met me outside one of the school's buildings, and we trotted around the city for a few hours.  He took me to this delightful book store called Analogue at the corner of Grassmarket and Victoria Street that sold only art books and prints.  We had hot chocolate (which I learned is quite different from the American version).  Theirs is quite literally... liquified chocolate.  At last, he gave me directions back to my school, and I only had to stop and ask for directions once to find my way back.  I'm improving!

At 2:30 (or half two, as they say), we had our first project brief.  The class learned what a logo was and how to create stationary.  Again, to me, it was quite redundant.  I took this as an opportunity to gaze over my classmates and decide which ones I found attractive.  There is one boy in particular that I think I have a tiny bit of a crush on.  >.<  ANYWAY.  Tomorrow 5 clients will be coming in to tell us about their new companies and we are to design a logo, stationary suite, and website for them free of charge.  3 people to each company.  Once they have chosen the winner, that person will then have the option of working as their freelance designer on future projects.  Kind of nice, eh?   My classmates seemed to be quite nervous for the project, but I am feeling confident.

After school, Joe invited me to a party (the teddy bear wingding) on Saturday that everyone will be attending.  I'm pretty excited about it.  I'm hoping that that one cute classmate is going to be there...

After class, I found my way back to that book store and bought myself a new logo book as well as a book called Stereographics, which just might be the most exciting design book I've seen in a while.  Thank god.  Being here, I certainly have noticed myself feeling motivated like I used to when I started CCS.  It's like I have to prove myself all over again.
However, I am kind of sad that there is little here to remind me of myself.  It's hard to know how much effort to put in when getting to know my classmates.  I'm trying not to be annoying, but I feel silly sitting alone.  I hope it just comes naturally-- and soon.

1/5/9 :: First Day of Uni

Today was my first day of Uni, which was exhausting to say the least.  Above is a photo of the outside of my flat, door 30, Flat 4-- which is on the top floor.  I stepped out this morning to find myself feeling quite intimidated and excited.  If you could pan around the other direction of that photo, you would find yourself staring straight at my college.  I can see into classrooms from my window.

When I got to school, I went right to registry for my orientation as a visiting student.  After filling out some forms and paying some fees, I had some time to meet the other exchange students.  There are quite a few from the US, but none in my department.  I met a girl from Traverse City who is studying costume design.  Her name is Lily, and she was quite nice.  Though, I was eager to get to my department and meet my future friends.  When I got there, I found the entire graphics department to be one large room, split into four sections-- one for each year of the program.  I was in smack in the middle with the third year kids.  They greeted me with smiles and a note on my desk that said "Kelly- Welcome :)"

The first day was a bit awkward, as all the other students were finishing up a project from last term that will be put in an exhibition in a few weeks.  Also, they had a lot to catch up with one another about, as it was their first day seeing each other after break.  The group is a very close-knit family-- they seem to do everything together.  Many of them share flats with one another.  There are probably fifteen of us in all.  

From what I gather, tutors will be popping in throughout the week, and off and on we will have various briefs, which are projects that we solely work on.  ONE PROJECT AT A TIME!  Can you believe this??  Also, no one in the group has ever really done a lot of work with the software that we all know like the back of our hands.  We seem to be polar opposites in terms of skill level.  Everything here is hand-focused.  They do a lot of screenprinting and typesetting.  In a few weeks we will be doing a litho project with an illustration student.  I am most excited to explore this new way of designing.

I went out to lunch with people from the class in the morning-- Joe and Shonagh in particular were kind to me.  It was nice to have them offering out kindness, but I still feel like a bit of an outsider, of course.  Ani will be happy to know we had coffee at The Elephant House, which is the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter.  Tomorrow I will be finding out more about the first project.  All in all it was an exhausting day, concluding by getting lost in the city.  Good fun.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

1/3&4/9 :: Depart and Arrive

I've arrived!
And man, was yesterday(today?) a long day.  

After lots of nervous waiting at airports, once I finally got on the plane to Edinburgh, I was feeling pretty good.  Six hours later, however, I was not feeling pretty good anymore.  Never have so many of my muscles ached simultaneously...  international flights are definitely a chore.

But on to the good stuff...

I landed about 7:30am Edinburgh's time, and I got through customs easily enough.  Once I got my bags and got into the taxi, I was starting to relax after 24 hours of being completely strung out.  The driver looked at my address and said it was a great central location and to sit back and enjoy the ride.  He pointed out things along the way, but it was all going by so quickly!  The city is definitely the most beautiful place I have ever seen.  It's like a storybook-- the streets are cobblestone and even the billboards don't seem to ruin the mood.    

Lea, the flat-owner, greeted me at the door with a hug.  She and Uri helped me get my suitcases up the 3 flights of stairs.  Our flat is on the top floor, and it overlooks the college of art where I'll be studying.  She showed me to my room, and I can see right in the classrooms and the castle from my window.  After a brief chat and some tea, I unpacked, took a nap, and showered.  My power converter didn't work, and my hair dryer nearly caught on fire.  That was amusing.  The not amusing part is that I'm going to have bad hair for my first night on the town.

Now I'm just waiting for Haley to come fetch me and take me out for a night in Edinburgh with her beau, Jamie.

There has been so much to process, and I'm having a hard time taking it all in.  Edinburgh seems to have been the perfect choice.  I'm so incredibly amazingly happy.  And hungry.  I haven't eaten in over 24 hours.  Rah!

Friday, January 2, 2009

1/2/09 :: Chas hates packing

It's the night before the big leap across the pond.  I've been dealing with Power of Attorney, credit cards, cell phones, and all sorts of gross stuff all day long.  The fun was topped off with lots of packing.  That disgruntled little guy you see perched on my suitcase is Chas.  He is quite excited for the trip, but you probably can't tell in this photo.  He only smokes when he is stressed-- which is all the time.  Packing is hard work, but I know he's secretly looking forward to the haggis.

It's time to sift through the paperwork one last time and double check all my lists.  I'd like to get some sleep tonight, but I don't know if that's even reasonable the night before you move to another country.  I'm really excited, but there are so many things to worry about and take care of that I'm pretty nervous too...
If Jersey's airport doesn't offer free internet, the next time I update could very well be from another country.  
So incredibly awesome.
: D

12 hours till blast-off!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

1/1/09 :: The Last Supper

For the past few weeks, I've been on edge about the trip.  It's hard work being so excited and anxious about something for so long-- results in lots of sleepless nights.  Not to mention, for the past week, we've had 8 people staying at our house (my dad's two sisters and their families), so there hasn't been much quiet time to collect myself.  

We've been having these enooormous meals every night since their arrival, and tonight was the finale with the classic turkey dinner while watching The Rose Bowl (I fell asleep).  This was my last real home-cooked meal before my big trip. Tomorrow I will be rushing around and packing, so I've just been sitting back and enjoying the relaxing evening as much as I can.  I'm going to go for a walk after dessert.  Nothing says Pennsylvania like dad's cooking and one final jaunt through the small green hills.

1.5 days till blast off.