Scotlandings

Family & friends… this is my blog. Enjoy.

I arrived in Scotland yesterday, flying into Edinburgh around 8:00 am. Ended up hanging out at the airport for about 2.5 hours, and surprisingly not because of customs (they didn’t even have customs officers there). St. Andrews had a welcoming party at the airport, but I hadn’t registered for it, so the earliest bus I could get on was at 10:30. At the airport there were girls walking around in dark blue uniforms with short, flat-brimmed hats with light-blue bands. I think they were security or something. Weird.

Riding in the bus to St. Andrews, you see patchwork hills covered in farms (lots of lettuce crops), grazing fields for sheep, and the occasional house. Then, all of a sudden, you are in a tiny village with houses pressing against the narrow street. Looking at the prim gardens and homes, I am reminded of the Presbyterian creed of everything being “properly and in order.” The Scottish seem to have made a way of life of this, and their tastes are minimalist and impeccable, if conservative.

My room is on the second floor of a hall (dorm) that houses only postgraduates. A twin bed, desk, and three chairs and dressers of various sizes are my only furniture; the room feels spacious but not empty. I’ve seen a couple of other rooms by now, and mine seems to be much bigger, perhaps because it’s a corner room. Being on the corner also means I have two great views, one into the stone courtyard, where there is a grated well, and the other into the hall’s garden and orchard. Some unbelievable views, but not quite as fantastical as when one steps out of the courtyard; directly across the street are the ruins of the ancient Cathedral of St. Andrews and St. Rules Tower. Hard to believe I live here!

The strangest part about being here is the way some things are only slightly different from life in America. Drivers on the opposite side of the road, in the opposite side of the car; the (white American-looking) person who asks a question with a Scottish accent; no oil and vinegar at Subway; a librarian laughing when I ask if they’re open on Sunday–these things give the perception that reality has been slightly skewed, but only slightly, so you’re apt to doubt that things really are any different.

My sleep schedule is pretty bizarre right now. Yesterday, I slept from 5:00 pm until 10:00 pm, and then from 5:00 am until noon today. I spent a lot of the time in between trying to sleep, but ended up reading and writing a bunch. Got through the first section of Stanley Hauerwas’s “Unleashing the Scripture: Freeing the Bible from Captivity to America.” That guy is amazing; he’s usually right, even when his arguments are bad. Then I tried to sleep some more but ended up thinking about my dissertation in detail. I got so involved in it that I eventually pulled out my computer and wrote a couple pages worth of thoughts and ramblings. Finally, I managed to sleep!

Today I walked around town with my new friend Derek. He’s from Oklahoma, but tells everyone he’s a Texan because he was born there (in Georgetown), and doesn’t think anyone outside of the U.S. knows anything about Oklahoma. He talks really fast, and is about the nicest guy you can imagine. We walked around the Old Course for some time (which is hallowed ground for him), and went up to a bar on the fourth floor of the Old Course Hotel (built by the Kohler family, of Kohler, WI, and Kohler faucets). There we found a beautiful view of the Course and the North Sea.

That’s about all report. It’s around 11:30 pm, and I’m going to make an effort to get on a regular sleep schedule. Bye for now.

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8 Comments »

  1. 1
    seth Says:

    rad. xie and i are gonna visit you somehow i swear. your description makes it sound alot like everything i thought scotland would be like and yet still really foreign and magical.

    miss you brother.

  2. 2
    Margaret Says:

    Try the bar on the corner up from the Old Course called Dunvegan’s–John was a fixture there when he and his friends were over last year.

    Glad to know you arrived safely and saw a bit of the countryside on the way in.

    Have you heard the bagpiper up by the monument overlooking the Old Course? Pretty magical the first time I heard it.

    We found Scotland very “Presbyterian”–in a good way, even if many of the folk are unchurched.

    We are so very thrilled for you being there–a truly thin place!!

    Much love–

  3. 3
    Christian Says:

    Love your description of your arrival — I look forward to reading more about your experiences. Good Luck with the adventures that lay ahead of you!!! Lots of love, Cousin christi p.s. – you can check out that mom blog i was telling you about at http://christiandrake.blogspot.com/ 🙂

  4. 4
    kate Says:

    jamie! —

    a blog…how the mighty have fallen.

    i look forward to reading your (hopefully somewhat censured for my tender eyes) UK adventures.

  5. 5
    wess Says:

    Glad you made it safe, and I hope you stay there, forever.

    Oh, Hi Jamie! St. Andrews huh? Sounds like a lot of fun. As soon as you get a chance hitch a ride down to edinburgh, shouldn’t be more than an hour and a half from you.

    Good to hear about your stories, I’m with kate I can’t believe the horse has fallen.

  6. 6
    Joel Says:

    hey man, I’m envious. sounds like the start to an amazing adventure / life chapter. jen is leaving today for birmingham- so be careful :). other than that I need to talk to you about some other things… be looking out for it on myspace or email or something.

    have a pint or two for me. oh, and if you make it back down to Edinburgh- check out Oliver’s Rose Street Pub… cool people and (obviously) good brew. love you man.

  7. 7
    Sue Drake Says:

    Hey, Jamie, So glad to hear from you. What a wonderful opportunity you have and how good to share it with us as it unfolds.I returned
    from Maine last night where the forests were alive with fall colors. I only saw the castles and “historic spots” in Scotland, so I can’t recommend a pub, but do try to find the monster at Ness. Love you! Gamma

  8. 8
    Molly Says:

    Dear Jamie,
    It is so gratifying to me to know that you are following your dreams and your Calling. I am truly joyful for you and will continue to lift you up in prayer. I am so distracted right now with family responsibilities (3 kids are not easy), but I continue to worship God in my art. I have sold 18 abstract oil on canvas cross paintings in the last year and a half and am pleased to honor Jesus in this way. I would like to know your thoughts on the rosary and Catholicism in general. I have been praying on Fridays at the Catholic church in front of The Blessed Sacrament, while we continue to attend the Anglican Church here. I have had my fill of “bible churches” with no apostolic accountability. What are your thoughts on Papal Succession? What about the translations of the bible from their original languages? I was astounded to read that Jesus used Aramaic as his first language.
    I do not mean to seem so weighty, but these things are at the forefront of my mind. I am interested in your thoughts, Sweet Cousin.

    Love,
    Molly
    http://www.mymollymyrick@yahoo.com


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