The week before the trip

So I never wrote anything between the 11th and the 20th of March. A lot of stuff happened then. And there appears to be a somewhat blank space in my journal then. Therefore, I will write about the last weekend before my trip.

So, on Friday night the 16th, I got two couchsurfers, Muriel and Alex. They’re both studying in Aberdeen, and are from Rennes (in France) and Austria, respectively. They came down to go to the Climate Action Conference, which had been on my schedule for a long time too. It was all day Saturday in the Forest Cafe. I may have written about the Forest before, but anyways it’s this really hippyish community arts venue/cafe. I had originally been weirded out by all the piercings and dreadlocks, but I went to the conference for a little while anyways. I went to a demonstration about homemade wind turbines, which was really cool. That workshop partly inspired me to start thinking about engineering as a field to potentially go into. Then I went to a workshop on Combined Heat and Power, otherwise known as cogeneration, or when cooling is included, trigeneration. It’s a way of greatly increasing the efficiency of energy production by using the waste biproducts. Anyway, after that I watched some of The End of Suburbia in the main room, then went home for a little while. Muriel and Alex stayed at the conference. Before I left, I saw a friend from FolkSoc who reminded/informed me that one of our FolkSoc friends (Morag) was playing with her band (Black Cat) in the Forest that evening. Apparently there was to be lots of music. So, when I arrived back to my room and found Muriel and Alex there after dinner, I suggested we go back to the Forest (after they ate) and see the music. Holy cow, am I glad we went back.

I saw some more friends from the ISC, and made more friends through them, all very quickly and smoothly. Alex and Muriel went off to find some friends of theirs. I sat around with my new friends waiting for this band to start playing. It took a while, and by the time they actually started, some of my other friends from FolkSoc had shown up too. Then the band started playing, and they were AMAZING!! Really good, energetic Balkan music. I was dancing. Everyone was dancing. Then another band came on, with a turntable and rapper, and they were good too. I had had a little beer earlier in the night, which I enjoyed. After the second band, my friends (the one from FolkSoc who’d tipped me off to the music, Sara, and her friends) and I went upstairs, where there was more mellow stuff going on. A guy playing electronic music on a keyboard, and people having a drum circle syncing with that. We were just lying around for a while, then danced more. I danced well that night.

After that, things started to wind down (it was about 1 or 2am). Muriel and Alex decided to stay with their other friends. I started talking to the dumbek/tarbuka-player and clarinetist from Black Cat, Adam, and he was excited that we played the same instruments (he thought when I said I played clarinet in 4th grade that I meant I played it now). People were all really chill and nice.

The next day I went back to the Forest, and saw Adam there. I asked him about Beltane, and he said that a lot of people who hang out at the Forest are involved with it. Have I not mentioned Beltane here yet? There’s a big fire festival with lots of pageantry on Calton Hill here in Edinburgh on the night of May 30th, to celebrate the Celtic holiday of Beltane. I was really excited about it before I even came to Edinburgh. And Adam now said that I might be able to perform with them! That got me really excited. I then watched the movie Clue, which I’d seen before, and which they were showing in the main room where I was just then.

On Tuesday, I had been invited to this concert which Black Cat was doing at this club. I skipped FolkSoc and went to it. It was in this club called Octopus Diamond. Turns out, it was a big thing by all the Beltane folks for the equinox. So there were numerous bands, but really it was my opportunity to network toward the goal of getting involved with Beltane. I met a lot of people, and it was really really cool. The best was the processional drummers. It was so packed, and there was so much dancing. I think I’ve found a social group that I want to get involved with, but I lament the fact that it’s taken me until this late in the semester to do so! Oh well, I’ll just have to make up for lost time is all. But wow, that night was so amazing. I staggered home, and started packing for my trip. I finished packing and moving out of my room the next morning after my class. It was tight; I almost missed my train to London. What a hectic time. Soon to be followed by three more hectic weeks. But that’s for the next bunch of entries.

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