Monday, September 12, 2011

A Happy Ending

Yesterday morning I woke up with a disappointing sense of loneliness at an alarming 6:45AM.

Lorraine B&B is situated in the 'burbs of Bridge of Allan, a peaceful and quaint little town where all of the houses have names. For example, I took a walk to see the front door of my future flat, located in 'Woodview House'. I suppose 'Woodview House' sounds better than 'Woodview Collection of Flats'. Anyway, waking up on a Sunday morning in the 'burbs of a somewhat posh little village (think upper-crust Village Green without the Preservation Society, although there might be one now that I think about it) may be restful for the ordinary person. But for the person who just traveled several thousand miles away from family and friends to what seems like uncertain arrangements, peace and quiet has the opposite effect originally intended. I managed to work through the soreness from the previous day of lugging suitcases across the world to make my way down to a shower and hot breakfast. For those of you who don't know, breakfast is not something to be taken lightly in England or Scotland. The dishes are savory, potato scones, sausage, fried egg, ham, mushroom, boiled tomatoes, and oftentimes black pudding or baked beans. Baked beans are surreal to see on a breakfast plate, I know, but I've never seen them eaten anywhere else here unless it was a nice production of beans on toast. Another phenomena I am not entirely comfortable with.

After breakfast, which was served at 8, I retired to my room for a bit more of that quiet contemplation and found myself settling in for a nap. The hour I intended on napping quickly became six, and I slept from 10AM to 4PM. I woke myself up, dusted myself off,had a chat with a couple of friends back home and Misty, then popped down to Village Green for dinner at Allanwater Cafe for a nice dinner of fish, chips, and ice cream. Note to all travelers here: when eating anywhere abroad, always ask the server what they suggest. My dinner selection came with a dessert of ice cream, and at the suggestion of the waitress, I chose the raspberry ripple. What followed was probably the most delicious bowl of ice cream I have ever had the pleasure to enjoy. Swirls of red raspberry trailed delicately through a creamy, smooth confection of vanilla ice cream, leaving behind a fresh pink hue when the two blended together in a melted lake at the bottom of the bowl. Each bite brought equal parts euphoria and disappointment that another bit of ice cream had gone. I have not had the occasion to eat an entire serving of ice cream in one sitting, but I took time and due diligence to enjoy the entire offering without a hint of guilt at the added calorie intake from the delicious treat.

When I had completed my journey to Nirvana, I moved on to walk down the main street of Bridge of Allan and check out the shop fronts. Naturally, being Scotland, nothing was really open on a Sunday evening, so I ducked into the shop to buy batteries for my camera and came home to chat with my parents and a few friends. After conversation, I was feeling much better and much less lonely. It will get easier as time goes on, but the first couple of days being completely alone caught me off guard. Last time I was here, I had a chalet full of roommates to welcome me as well as a few American friends. It might take me a bit longer to gather the same crowd I had before, but I have no doubt I'll find some great people to pal around with throughout the year.

Today started with a bit less loneliness a bit more anticipation. Today I have plans to move into my new flat, then take a walk down to the university to sort out a few issues with my enrollment process. Things have been a bit sticky on that front, so the sooner I get that sorted the happier I will be. For the next week or so I'll only have internet when I am on campus, but I will be buying a phone and some credit for the necessary communications on Wednesday or Thursday. Once I'm more affluent, I'll be able to provide internet for my flat and chat with everyone online. Hit me up on my email in between now and then because I'll be anxious to talk to people back home. Until then!

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