A busy weekend and I’m not sure where to start. I’m still in a mild sickly fog, so I’ll try to be coherent. We left Edinburgh yesterday morning and caught the train from Waverly Station. We crossed the Firth of Forth on the train, it was cool to have the water beneath us.
After checking in and meeting Megan, the Assistant Warden, by happenstance, I mentioned my refrigerated medication. Apparently people with that need tend to live in flats, but she said she would find out what she could do for me—reassigning or something else. Unable to unpack until I heard back, my mom and I went out to explore the town. I wanted to find the English building. So we took a left at the corner of my building and saw the sea. To the left, across from the castle ruins, is the English building. So unless there’s some shortcut between Gannochy House (Gann-oh-kee), this will be the route I take, hm, every day? 😀
We ate lunch—meal deal from Boots (egg salad sandwich + sweet grapes + juice smoothie)—on a bench overlooking the sea. Feeling overwhelmed and confused and just plain tired, I was glad to just sit. Somewhere, just over the sound of the wind and the grasses and the gulls, were bagpipes, their notes both mournful and majestic, unassuming, as present as the wind or the sea. Yes, this is where I’m supposed to be, where I want to be.
So far my floor is 1/2 Chinese, at least six. I’ve met one other American, Justin, who is also an English PG (postgrad). I saw two other guys in the kitchen when I went in to get tea, but they were all in conversation so I didn’t get to introduce myself. I’ll see them around. I haven’t really used the kitchen yet as I just bought groceries today, and my mom has been here so we’ve been eating out. Tomorrow will initiate my exploration of the kitchen. The common area for our floor—eee! 🙂
(Oh, I ended up getting a mini-fridge for my room. It’s tiny. But it holds my meds and has room for a few other things if I ever need to hole up in my room to work.)
This morning explains the name for this post. I read on the Christian Union website that a group of them were going to meet at the Chaplaincy building and would walk to church together. I, as I have begun a habit of doing, got lost along the way (I was one street over) and decided to go to the Baptist Church instead, since I knew where that was. I went, and saw that for their morning services they met somewhere else… far away. I stood staring at the sign for a while and heard a girl ask, “Excuse me, are you lost?”
Two (Scottish? English? Not sure) girls stood behind me. “Well, I’m trying to get from here to there.”
“Hm,” the girl said. “Well, we’re not going there, but a friend of mine is. Let me see if she’s left yet.” She called her friend, who hadn’t left yet, and gave me directions to her flat so I could get a lift with her. I thanked them and go down to Greyfriars. I still didn’t have any names yet, so I went to this girl’s house without knowing anything other than she’s going to the church! I rung the bell and a guy answered. “Hi, I’m Jim.” Jim took me upstairs to where I met Emma and Louisa, who were not only going to the Baptist Church, but are on the Committee for the CU. We climbed into Emma’s parents’ car. After introductions, her mom asked, “So where did you meet?”
“On the street.” We say trading glances. Her mom protested. “No really,” we say. I continue, “I was lost, and then Alice found me [I knew my benefactor’s name by this point], and brought me to Emma.”
SABC meets in the gym/auditorium of the senior (high) school because their morning service doesn’t fit in the old building anymore. For some reason the school’s auditorium is decorated with new age images of various mythical creatures and gods from all over the world. It was a strange feeling to sing, “Lord you are great!” in defiance of the dead eyes looking on, worshipping instead the invisible God. Besides the odd decor, the church service was very good, with powerful teaching and a community. It was great to watch a little girl do interpretive dance in front of the band as we sang (no, it wasn’t planned). It was a lot like St Ebbe’s in Headington, except I knew the songs. Their evening service is at the location in town, which I’ll try next week. I want to plug into a church pretty quickly so I’ll see after next weekend about asking about a home group and volunteering for the next Christianity Explored course. Emma, Louisa, et al, were all very friendly and welcoming, and I look forward to seeing them at other CU events this week. They seemed genuinely excited to meet me and help me get integrated somewhere. Hooray!
There is only one grocery, Tesco. Shopping there today was an adventure but I have my basics and should hopefully be set to get into the rhythm of cooking this week. I’ll post a picture of my room once it’s all settled. My feet are sore from the cobblestone streets, so I may need to get some insole padding or just get used to it. Orientation events begin tomorrow.
Believe it or not, it’s been warm enough that I’ve left my window open. Otherwise it gets too hot in my room!