Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Glasgow Adventures

I've been exploring around Glasgow these past couple weekends. Here's some of the stuff I did!

Glasgow Cathedral and the Necropolis

My favorite stained glass; it's actually made up of words, I think for the donors of the cathedral

The view from the Necropolis, of the cathedral

The Glasgow cathedral was started in 1136. Just typing that is unreal; it doesn't look like a real date. Since then, there have been various additions by different priests. It actually is still a working church. The Necropolis, which is basically a graveyard, overlooks the cathedral and the Royal Infirmary, which is right next to it. I went to the cathedral twice, and the second time I went to St. Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art, which is right next to it (and has free admission!)

St. Mungo

The Zen garden outside

Tying my ribbon on the tree

Aboriginal religious art

View from the museum 
St. Mungo Museum is really cool. He is the patron saint of Glasgow, but the museum itself was all about different religious. So I learned about six religions, with input from Glaswegians that practiced that certain religion. I also really liked their room on religious art, which had a huge variety of art dedicated to different religions, from the main religions to pieces from Native American and Aboriginal artists.

Willow Tea Rooms

Afternoon tea with Jasmine

All the necessary ingredients for a proper tea

It doesn't look like it, but it was a lot of food! 

Jasmine and I got afternoon tea at the Willow Tea Rooms, which is a famous tea room in city center that was designed by the famous Charles Rennie Mackintosh. I hadn't heard of him before coming, but he is a well known Glaswegian designer- architecture as well as interior design. We had small tea sandwiches, a huge scone each, a cake each, and shortbread. We both had their Willow Tea Room blend of tea. Yum!

Merchant City & Glasgow Green

I was on my way to the People's Palace, which is a museum about life in Glasgow, in the East End, and happened to get to see a lot more the of the city than I anticipated! I walked through Merchant City, a part of Glasgow so named for newly rich traders' huge houses they built to show off their wealth. (Many of them got rich off of tobacco and slave trade with the U.S.). Now a lot of their old houses are used for businesses and shops. I got to see a little of the East End- definitely not as sketchy as I've heard it is.
Merchant City

Just like the cover of my Glasgow guide book

East End of Glasgow
 The People's Palace is a museum, inside Glasgow Green, a big park for people, kids and dogs to run around in. It's still legal for people to dry their laundry out here, as it was used for historically. I brought my camera for photography, and thankfully it wasn't raining, so I could use two hands to adjust all the settings!! I tried the other day to take pictures, in the rain, while holding an umbrella, and it was a struggle. The green was a great place to take pictures, and there was more to see than I expected!
Glasgow Green 

More Glasgow Green

And here are pictures of the main reason I went out there. The museum itself is pretty small, covering things like living in Glasgow during World War II and dealing with German bombing, Glasgow housing history, and bits of modern life. The fountain outside of the building is the largest terra cotta fountain in the world and shows the crown jewels of Victorian Britain: Australia, India, Canada, and South Africa.
Winter Gardens

People's Palace

 Random parts of Glasgow

Street art on Argyle St
Cathedral St
Glasgow Botanic Gardens which I walk through every day to get to and from class
And finally, happy (inter?)national cat day!!!

Wednesday, 15 October 2014


Besides getting to go on amazing weekend trips, day to day life here can be really interesting. I've met a lot of Scots in my community development class, who are all really friendly and talkative. Some of the cool things I've learned from them or about them:

Some of the specifics of the education system- Scottish people can go to university for free. (!!!!) In this case of the community development program, there's different ways you can get into the program for free. You basically have to show your commitment to community development or organization. Many of the older people in my class have done this by working in something like a non-profit or non-governmental organization working to tackle community problems for 2 years or more. Others have come in from a year at college (basically community college), others have a kind of certificate of some practical schooling, and I think some people do come in straight from high school.

Uni here is so cool- I feel like people come from a much more diverse background than people at Chapman. Part of that has to do that Chapman is a private school and expensive, and uni here is free. I think it opens it up to a lot more experiences and opportunities to widen your world.

The world is so big- Europeans and the British people I've met seem to have a much better grasp on that fact than Americans do.

They also have a better approach to race- if you don't want it to be part of the conversation, then it doesn't have to be. I don't feel so aware that I'm Asian here. I was talking about it with Jon, and it's not that all people are racist at home, but it's a thing. It's almost tangible, and he felt that change when he moved from Canada to California too.

The U.S is so so young- I'm so humbled by these ruins I've seen that date back to the 12th century, and archeological finds in the northern islands from B.C. Even the buildings in Glasgow all seem to be pretty old. I was showing my mom my sweatshirt from University of Glasgow I just got, and it says "est. 1451".  We were joking that when I go back home, people will ask "Is that a typo? Does it mean 1951?"

Scotland is so cool in general- I did chose Scotland because it had it's own unique culture- it wasn't just English, and similar to home. But I've been learning more about it, and the mix of cultures and languages that have historically made up Scotland is really cool to learn about. Glaswegians themselves have their own unique culture too- one of the cleaning people came in today, and I swear I could not understand what she was saying in the Glaswegian accent. I'll keep on trying though! I'm also going to explore more of the city this weekend since I'll be around, as well as trying really really hard to not procrastinate on my essay. Wish me luck!

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Highlands Trip - aka I got to see puppies and Highland cows trip

This past weekend, October 4th and 5th, I went a weekend trip to the Highlands with my program provider, Arcadia (yes, it's actually called Arcadia...can't escape it!). Despite it being very cold, I survived, and saw some pretty amazing landscape and some seriously cute animals.

Our first actual stop was the Blair Athol Distillery.

So at 11am in the morning, we took a whisky (no 'e' in Scottish whisky) distillery tour, and sampled single malt whisky. Kinda early for that, but I enjoyed it. Since everyone experiences smell differently, all of us smelled different things in the whisky. I smelled the spiciness and enjoyed the very smoky aftertaste. No pictures of the inside of the distillery because there's such a high alcohol content they can't allow cameras with flash that could create fires instantly!!!

Next stop was my absolute favorite: a sheepdog demonstration. We saw probably around 12 sheepdogs listen to their personalized commands from a shepherd; one dog was actually blind and still herding them! 
There were 35 dogs total on the farm 

Once you position a sheep right, it almost goes limp and doesn't try to escape at all

We also got a chance to shear the sheep with hand shears. But the best part was the puppies. Too cute for words.
Using hand shears to shear the sheep

Last actual event of the day was going to the site of the last battle fought in Great Britain. I learned a lot about the Jacobite Rebellion, which was actually a very big deal, and got to take some black and white photos with my manual camera. We'll see next week if they actually turn out. And then my second favorite thing of the day happened, which was seeing HIGHLAND COWS. Basically my Scotland dream come true. 

"Wee Highland coo"

You're so cute ugh

We settled in a hostel in Inverness for the night, and as a first hostel experience it was pretty good! The only thing was that there was only two outlets for 6 people. I fell asleep so early; we were all exhausted. 

The next morning we drove down to Loch Ness! I wish we had more time in the gift shop- there were so many cool Nessie souvenirs that I didn't see anywhere else! 

Got to see Nessie!

We got on a boat to cross Loch Ness to go to Urquhart Castle, which was very picturesque despite being in ruins. 

Menu on the ship

Do you see Nessie Mom?

Took a gondola ride up the mountain next to Ben Nevis for lunch- it was windy and cold. 

Our last quick stop was the Glencoe Visitors Center. I only thought it was important because of the massacre that happened there. Glencoe is actually a protected area- it is absolutely gorgeous. The hills, valleys and mountain are all so mysterious looking but breathtaking. Kinda hard to describe, and pictures just don't capture their majesty.
It wasn't only this, but you were surrounded by these green hills

Tried to get all the cool rock formations as we drove past

And that was my weekend! Very busy but very worth it. :)

P.S. I did take my manual camera from the black and white photography class on the trip, and it was one of the first times I've used it, so hopefully next week when we develop them they turn out well. The negatives look like they're in focus and have the proper lighting, so maybe I'll share them on this blog when I get them!