Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Scotland in Detail: Part 3: A Royal Day

So apologies that this didn't come sooner, but I have been taking part in a practice that is done by students all over the world called, CRAMMING! Where one tries to smash as much information in their head and go over it and over it, so they can 'brain puke' (lovely term that I created from Mr. Thomas's Economic and Government Exams back my senior year in high school) it all back out in an answer booklet. Good times :)

But I do not want to neglect you of a full detailed report, or as much as I can remember at this point with all of this other information fighting for space in my memory, of my final day in Scotland.

Mariel, Sarah Jay and I decided to slow the pace down a little bit and picked a few things we would like to see and went from there. At the top of our list was the Holyroodhouse Palace, which is the residence of the Queen herself while in Scotland, typically during the summer, its warmer. The Palace was quite fittingly at the bottom of the Royal Mile, meaning it was a nice and easy downhill 15 minute walk from our hostel. We got a small discount on admission from the tour company the previous day and set out exploring the palace with the aid of a wonderful little audio guide :) Mariel and I tried to especially take our time and soak it all in as the tour told the history of the different monarchs and the story of Mary Queen of Scots. She had a rough life and I'm not being sarcastic in the fact that she was a monarch, because she ended up spending half her life in prison and was executed. Sarah Jay seemed to fly through pretty fast, but obviously enjoyed it because she signed up for free admission for a year! Or maybe she was trying to take advantage of a good deal? Probably a couple of the most bazaar pieces on display in the Palace was a loch of Mary's hair and a casting (I think and hope) of Robert the Bruce's skull. He was another 'freedom fighter' like William Wallace, but played the political game as well as he was a noble. So some claim him not to be a true 'freedom fighter,' like William Wallace was.

The Palace was beautiful in all of its decadence, but it was the Abby that the Palace was built adjacently to that caused reverence. Even in its ruined state, one can still picture the grandeur that this place of worship used to have and for that fact, still has. It was slightly creepy as there were graves all around, but the beautiful blue sky set a beautiful backdrop to the pillars and walls still standing of the Abby.

We meandered our way back to the hostel for some light refreshment and then inquired about how to get to Leif, as the Royal Yacht Britannia has been decommissioned and is now stationed in the harbor there and set up for tours :) Once again, we had a small discount on admission to the yacht from our tour the previous day, which gave us the idea to do it in the first place. The bus was super easy and I will never get over the feeling of excitement and the giddiness I get when I climb up to the top of a double-decker bus. The view is so much better and just that fact that I'm on a double-decker bus in a major European city! I have been here for 4 months and the effect hasn't worn off yet :)

We followed the signs to the yacht and I finally stepped foot on my boat! Well, I wish it were mine. A slight name change (take out one of the "n's" and add a second "t"), a few tug-boats and some comrades in crime and I'm golden. Any takers? Once again, we were equipped with audio equipment to guide us through the different decks of the yacht. Basically, the boat was split in half, with the crew's quarters and their working areas on one half and then the rest of the space was for the Queen, her family and any guests. Seems slightly unfair when looking at the sailor's little bunk, versus the Queens bedroom, sitting room, sun deck and huge dining room! But I guess the Queen gets special attention, being the Queen and all. I got a few kicks throughout the tour taking pictures next to things that had the name "Britannia" on it and filled in some of the staff as they looked at me kind of funny, so I explained that my name was Brittania. Considering you can't hear the spelling change, everyone assumed it was the same thing and in my mind, it was close enough!

The tour of the yacht took longer than the palace believe it or not. So then we had plenty of time to comfortably go back to the hostel, pick up our luggage, finish off our food and get the airlink back to the Edinburgh Airport. While at the airport, we ran into a girl from Ohio that goes to Taylor University in Indiana, who was studying abroad with their Freshmen Irish Studies program. Eva, my brother's fiance and soon wife, went to Taylor so I heard all about this program as her brother went on it. The world seemed to keep getting smaller, as some Notre Dame students who were also studying at UCD happened to be in Edinburgh over the same days as we were over study week and had the same flight back to Dublin.

So that brings me back to Dublin, with a mountain of finals standing between me and going home. But there was one big perk left- my article for the Irish Field came out!!!! It is such a cool feeling to see my name in print and the article turned out really good. I have gotten facebook messages and congratulations from my Irish friends over here. I bought two copies and plan on bringing them home to have mom laminate :)

So finals update:
I thought my econ exam was yesterday, but I got it confused with the "Intermediate Macroeconimcs" exam instead. So I showed up all studied and 'ready' for an exam that is worth 100% of my grade, only to realize that it is next Tuesday at 3! So I see it as time just miss-allocated and not time lost spent studying for it. It turned out ok though because it is still on before my flight home and the final that I put off studying for this morning turned out to be really good. I fudged up slightly on one of the ratios, but overall, I feel that my brain puke was adequate enough to maintain an 'A' for my Business Management class.

But here is where the coolest thing happened. As I was about halfway through, feeling pretty good as I had my little outline done for all of the questions and was now in the process of actually writing out my answers, I noticed something flying around. It turns out it was a butterfly. Our finals are at the Royal Dublin Society in two huge halls, with 800 some desks set-up in each hall. So this butterfly decided to land on desk number 494, which was my desk and stay there for about a whole minute, just as calm as can be. Now most of you probably already know what butterflies mean to me. They're my "God-symbol" and after being all worked up last night about the mistaken time on my final and the stresses of the rest of my finals and just wanting to be home, I took a moment to say some thank you's to God and to take a deep breath and I then knew its all good! It wasn't like Micheal or Gabriel coming down from Heaven, but close enough for me and especially now!!!!

Tomorrow afternoon is Farm Management, then Saturday Equine Industries, Monday Equine Health and Husbandry, then next Tuesday finally Intermediate Microeconomics!

So best of luck to everyone taking finals and I wish you the best with your cramming and brain puking! Don't forget that you're not alone while going through your exams or any of your trials in life - Yay God!


PS: Spellcheck on here always flags my name, but not the other spelling of Britannia. According to Mom, she wanted to spell it the same way, but Dad thought the double "t's" would be better as I would inevitably go by "Britt" and the double "t's" would be better suited. So thank you Dad for giving me a last name (surname) that always comes up in spell-check, I know you didn't have much choice in that matter, but when you did have a choice, you still stuck me with a weird name. Well, on the 'bright side', it just proves that I have a very 'colorful' name :)

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