Orientation: Day One

First day of IFSA-Butler Orientation. Thus my study abroad experience has begun in earnest.

We got to Edinburgh around 11:30am on Tuesday, coming in to Waverley Station (that’s the main Edinburgh train station). It was so difficult hauling my luggage up the hill, across the Royal Mile, then down the other side to get to my hotel. We got to the hotel, went up to my room, and found a girl in it! Turns out, the hotel screwed up with the room assignments, and made a lot of mixed-sex rooms. They quickly switched people around so everyone was roommates with someone of the same gender. Except I never got another roommate. So I had a room all to myself.

Anyways, Bethany and I headed out to walk her back to the station. She caught a 4:00 train, and I walked around for a bit: the Royal Mile, Cowgate, then Grassmarket (where my hotel is). Cowgate is one of the old Old Town streets, at the lower level. Both bridges go over it. Edinburgh has the Old Town and the New Town, on either side of the little depression Waverley station is in. The Royal Mile runs from the Castle down the top of the hill on the Old Town side of Waverley. Just on the other side of that hill, the ground drops down pretty dramatically again. It’s down there that Cowgate is, and Grassmarket. That’s the oldest part of the city, except maybe the Castle itself. Two bridges go over Cowgate, connecting the Royal Mile to the higher land on the other side of Cowgate.

Anyways, I was texting Catherine, a friend of my friend Heather, to see if we could meet up somewhere. We did, and went to a pub across from my hotel. She got a coffee, I got a pint; I wish I had gotten a coffee. It’s cheaper, and not alcoholic. I still don’t really like alcohol if I can avoid it, I just don’t mind it as much here. But cheaper is also an important thing.
She told me about all sorts of stuff over our drinks, including how grades translate.

I went back to the hotel for dinner, the first of several meals in the hotel’s restaurant. I met several people that time, most notably one of FRANCIE JONES’ BEST FRIENDS from Wesleyan, Janie (sp?) Stolar. I wonder if she’s related to Jake. All in all, I met about 10 people or so that night, not retaining their names, schools, hometowns, or majors very well. It was to be indicative of the way things would be going for the rest of orientation. The IFSA Butler Scotland Office staff was unimpressive; I got a bad impression of them from the start. I felt they didn’t do a good job of being warm and welcoming. One of them is talkative in a stressed-out way, and very forceful-seeming; she’s the head of the Office. Another is VERY quiet, and the third is fairly quiet too. They’re nice, and helpful, but I was underwhelmed. I got back to my room, still no roommate, and bopped around a little, then went to sleep.

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