This week was definitely the best one yet.
I have so much to share.
Loyal audience, thank you so so much for reading. I will try to keep each description brief but I won’t leave out any key details 🙂
Monday February 10th – Phoenix
That’s right! A few friends and I bought tickets to go see the band Phoenix of Liztomania fame! Not only was it a fun night with friends, Phoenix was awesome live. I danced until I was dead tired and at the end of the concert the lead singer walked through the audience. I didn’t even need to chase him as he walked straight towards me on his way back to the stage – probably because I’m irresistible right? 😉
Tuesday February 11th
Bought tickets to the Saturday trip….foreshadowing: worth it. (stick around til the Saturday part. if you’re bored just skip to it lol)
Wednesday February 12th
I worked on my first original song since being in Scotland: my first original song of 2014! I didn’t post it until Thursday but I have to make this blog post balanced, okay?
Anyway, I got a huge wave of support on Facebook: from new friends and old. So thank you all so much for listening! and I’ll post it here if you missed it.
The song was inspired by all of the amazing sights I’ve seen so far and people I’ve met. I feel so tiny in the grand scheme of things and also so completely full of life and love.
Thursday February 13th
Tonight was an International Pub Night. Well, every Thursday is International pub night. People who are part of the International Society, or ISoc, all go to the “Grovesnor”. You always meet people from across the world plus there is free food. What more can you want?
Well, at this particular pub night, one of the leaders of ISoc asked me if I would be one of the group leaders for the Saturday trip to the Harry Potter bridge!! That’s right. Me, one month in Scotland, fearlessly leading an entire coach of international students to unknown places.
Maybe it was because I had had a few drinks, maybe it’s because I can’t resist a challenge, maybe because I’m in love with the spotlight…but I said yes.
Saying yes was the best decision I’ve ever made 🙂
Friday February 14th
I met with the ISoc leader and he reviewed all my responsibilities as group leader. The excitement was building.
Then I walked with a few friends all the way to the Glasgow Cathedral. The walk was about an hour long but the Cathedral was absolutely stunning with amazing architecture and stained glass windows.
On the way back it started rainsnowing. It was FREEZING. By the time we got home we were cold and wet and unsure whether the trek was worth it. Looking back: it totally was. At the time it was hard to see through the miserable weather.
Saturday, February 15th
Was a really, really special day in my life.
I’m allowed to be corny okay? It’s my blog and it’s my life!
I woke up bright and early to go be a group leader for an amazing trip to the Highlands of Scotland. Part of the reason that I even got such a job – besides my dashing looks and my girlish charm – was because I was paired with an amazing coach driver: Stewart Campbell.
Stewart, I’m pretty sure, knows Scottish history, geography, and folklore like the back of his hands. Because of this, we were the best team. I was a bit familiar with the most important landmarks but I let Stewart tell stories about every little thing we passed. I filled in any blanks that he may have left out and also pumped up the crowd with my enthusiasm and silly jokes. Because of this, we had the best day.
First of all because I was handing out itineraries and maps I got to meet every single person on the bus. I will now attempt to list every country that was being represented but because of how international the group was I KNOW I will forget something.
There were people from the United States, Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Norway, Finland, France, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Austria, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan, Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, China, Korea, Australia, and ,of course, Scotland (we can’t forget Stewart!). Like I said because of the sheer number of countries represented I’m sure I forgot something. It was incredible! I have never met people from some of these places. They were all amazing and Bus 3 was definitely the best bus!
Our first stop was Loch Lomond. Although I have been here once before on this day it was BEAUTIFUL. You could clearly see all the way across the Loch and the mountains in the distance. I took this picture which I didn’t think too much of at the time but is one of my favorite photographs!
From left to right the countries represented in this picture are Australia, Brazil, China, Brazil, U.S., U.S., and Poland. It’s not just my bus that represents the world, it’s the close friends I’ve made. I unintentionally took a picture with friends that extends across 5 CONTINENTS. IT’S SO COOL. It doesn’t hurt that I love all these people and we’re standing on the “Bonnie Bonnie Banks of Loch Lomond”.
When returning to the bus Stewart of course told us the whole history of the song and, again we listened to it as we drove by the lake. We repeated the song several more times across the whole day. By the end of the day I successfully got the whole bus to sing it together. It was one of the prouder moments of my life. They sounded like a choir of angels!
We continued into the Highlands of Scotland and I had the best seat in the house: right by Stewart and right in the front where the giant front window of the bus allowed me to see Scotland in all of it’s wonder.
Stick around. At the end of this post is a video I recorded of Stewart telling a brief story and many of the sights I witnessed in the front seat of the bus!
One photo stop we took was at the picturesque Loch Tulla.
Here I am with my flatmate:
It was snowy enough that I could throw some snowballs at people.
And it was also just an amazing location.
About 5 minutes past the Loch there is a Magic Tree growing out of a rock near the road. It is said to bring good luck to wave at the tree. Our entire bus waved.
Did I mention I had the best seat in the house?
Our next stopping point was Glencoe.
Glencoe is famous for being the shooting location for the most recent Bond movie Skyfall! As well as parts of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
But Stewart would say “enough of that nonsense” and instead tell the historical story of the Glencoe massacre. Unfortunately, his story is not to be trusted as the event is famous for being brought about by a rivalry between the Campbell and MacDonald clans. Stewart is a Campbell.
Either way, there were too many people to take pictures with…so I just took a lot of group photos in front of the Three Sisters (those amazing mountains you see)
We made a pit stop for lunch in the town of Fort Williams and then went to our final destination: Glenfinnan. This is the home of the Harry Potter bridge made famous in the flying car scene in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets movie. It is also right by Loch Shiel (or Black Lake near Hogwarts for those Potter fans again). The place also has a small church and a railway museum but is mostly famous for the bridge and the spectacular scenery. Here are my photos:
(by the railway museum)
(that view though)
Harry Potter Bridge!!!
It was a spectacular day.
On the drive back to Glasgow most of our coach fell asleep but I stayed up and talked with Stewart for most of the drive. He still had little tidbits of knowledge as we made the return journey. I did wake everyone up when we passed back by the magic tree – Stewart insisted that we all wave both times – no one seemed to mind me waking them up for this important reason.
When we got back to Glasgow Stewart said that this group of people was his favorite coach that he has driven (and that I am his favorite group leader but shhhhh don’t tell the ones who are more experienced!)
Either way this was not only an amazing day but an amazing opportunity. I am so thankful to the International Society for that experience and I’m looking forward to even more trips in the future! (Next weekend is Loch Ness!)
Sunday February 16th
Not much can beat yesterday.
But it’s nice to round off this blog by telling you that today was Game Day in our flat. I stayed in and played Monopoly with some flatmates and neighbors. I lost miserably – which I blame completely on my severe impatience. Either way, it was terribly fun.
Each day has something to offer here in Scotland.
Here’s the video I promised you. It shows some of the views in real time as I drove through the Highlands and also you can here the amazing Stewart tell a great story. Cheers!