Traveling: Scotland and England

So tour is now officially over, my journal has been basically destroyed through endless packing and unpacking and I’m currently staying with my uncle and aunt before joining my parents in Nepal for a week. Here is the lowdown of the days since I last did an update.

1) We woke up fairly early the next day and ran to the shops to get some gifts for family members before leaving for Scotland. Amanda and I stopped off at Marks and Spencers to grab a to-go lunch and scrambled around the city for an hour before returning and heading onto the bus with the rest of the choir. We napped til we arrived in Belfast, where there was a small street fair going on. We got some pounds wandered through the stalls of wooden animals, goat rugs, foreign food, leather journals with creepy faces and Indian trinkets. Amanda bought some penny candy, which she shared with me on the bus ride to the ferry. As we drove up to this huge ship we saw this line of Deloreans all coming on the ferry with us. Maybe it was a Back to the Future convention, but the jokes were priceless.

Once on the ferry, I grabbed a bite to eat, and sat and talked with some friends. Since Callie and Alison were feeling ill, I tried an alternative medicine of pressure therapy on them that Alan had suggested. They started to feel better near the end of the journey, but I have to admit, the swaying of the waves was enough to make the soberest man feel a little tipsy. We drove through the beautiful Scottish countryside, past breast shaped islands, sea side cottages, rocky beaches and dark rolling hills scattered with white sheep. We dropped off the alumni at their hotel (which was right next to 3 strip clubs, and where an older man in very short but fluorescent shorts was simply sitting on a chair by the side of the road (at 9pm)) and then headed to our hostel while the tour guide told us what sounded like ghost stories of the dark history of the people who had died in Edinburgh. The hostel was alot nicer than anticipated, although the elevator was broken and the Internet cost a fortune. Since we were 8 girls to a room, I bought us Internet and we all shared my laptop to check on friends and family. Dinner was in the hostel, followed rapidly by sleep.

2) The next day, I woke up fairly early, got dressed, had breakfast and walked with Amanda and some others to Edinburgh castle. I ended up wandering around (in heels no less) with Brielle and Zach. We explored the military museum, which took an hour, then the dungeons, Scottish Crown Jewels, called the Honors, and the cathedral-like memorial for soldiers who died in WWI and WWII, among other conflicts. It’s the first time I had ever seen things like tanks and zeppelins in stained glass, and possibly the last.

After the castle, my feet aching, we went to get me a change of shoes, then walked with some more people to a small café that had just opened. Since I had been skimping on breakfast before then, I ordered a full Scottish breakfast for lunch, and a tea service. Luckily, of the many things they didn’t have on the menu, that was not one of them. We wandered past shops on the way back to the hostel, where I read for a while, and then got ready for the concert.

We were singing in this huge, freezing cold church, and there for much longer than we had initially realized. Since we were singing Evensong and a concert, we arrived at 3, and wouldn’t leave until probably 9-10. The practice kept us mostly distracted, but by 5:00 we were all frozen and hungry and unsure. We sang through Evensong and the concert with few issues, but much pain and distraction, although the patrons seemed to enjoy the show. Once back at the hostel, we went out with everyone to a vodka bar, which was expensive and unremarkable. We were there for scarcely an hour when Amanda and Tim decided they wanted to go home, and although I wasn’t all that ready to go, I had promised Amanda that we would stick together. I left happy, which I suppose is all you can ask from a night out.

3) The next day we drove to Scone Palace (skön), which is a beautiful estate near Sterling. Many explored the grounds, some going on the zip line, others to the maze, while I just stared at the peacocks and goats and highland cows (heelund coos) for a while, then had a chat with the gatekeeper. After we headed to lunch, which I had with a large group that kept getting larger at a pizza place less than a block from the next church. The people at the church were lovely. They gave us a reception, cooked us a wonderful curry dinner, and gave the choir an award. We sang the best in that warm, bright church that we had the entire tour previously. After, we drove to Blairgowrie, where the men and women ended up with different hotels. We were in the Royal, where there was tea and sausage rolls waiting, the staff took our bags to our rooms and the entire ambiance was warm and cosy. Apparently the men’s night was less pleasant.

4) The next morning had a lovely breakfast in a tented room, and the boys were kind enough to take our stuff, so the girls decided to thank them with a rendition of “You are my Sunshine”. We drove to Glasgow in relative silence, and I read so deeply that I was shocked when we arrived at the hotel. We were in groups of 4, so Amanda and I were rooming with Katie and Alison. We hung out for a bit, watched some Big Bang Theory in our constructed mini theatre, then got ready for the show.

This church was very interesting. It was this massive cathedral, but we sang in a little church within the church, above a thrillingly creepy crypt. I was surprised that we had chosen such a dead space to sing in, considering the echoing chambers of the outer room. For the first time, we were lit with bright stage lights from every angle, and vocally recorded. The space was almost claustrophobically small, and I think no one really felt very comfortable with the situation. Even Dr Holmes seemed out of place. I spent the entire concert focusing by picturing him in a kilt, which wasn’t hard since the lights all made me see plaid. I think he was disappointed with our performance that night. We all knew we hadn’t done our best. That night I decided to stay in with Amanda while Alison and Katie went out and partied. I got woken up at 2am since Katie had no key, but other than that, it was an ok night.

5) Thursday, we drove to the airport and flew to England. The flight was mostly uneventful, and I read for most of the time. We landed in Heathrow, spent a while getting bags, then drove to the hotel, where the boys spent another 30 mins getting all the bags up one tiny elevator. That night we all walked to this lovely restaurant called Browns, with a live pianist, great food and a view of  Windsor Castle. We had pictures, voted for president for next year and then broke off into groups and explored a little. I walked with some people that went down to see the swans, before heading back to the hotel for bed.

6)Friday morning we explored Windsor castle. We got free audio guides, so i spent the whole tour wandering alone, at my own pace, just listening to the history of the castle. There was an intricate dolls house, huge rooms of swords and armor, a room of shields, a beautiful octagonal wooden room filled with golden objects, a room with golden walls and every space filled with intricate, expensive and beautiful ancient murals and paintings. The grounds were lovely, the garden breathtaking. The church was a piece of Gothic splendor, intricate stone work, wood work, stained glass, statues and spires abounding. Amanda and I left to have lunch together, then spent most of the afternoon just chilling around the hotel. I think we were both just a little tired. We got ready for the evening performance and walked together over to the church.

The performance was emotional for everyone. We sang our hearts and guts out, many cried, and had a long heart to heart about it before and afterwards. My parents and aunt and uncle were in attendance. I think they really enjoyed the show. There was a great buffet provided by the church, and many decided to go out and party and drink together that evening. I seriously considered going with them, but eventually decided to spend the evening in again.

6) Early the next morning, I said a groggy goodbye to Amanda, gave her a hug, and that was it, they were gone. I woke up renewed, had a quiet breakfast alone, although some stragglers remained, then spent the morning packing and waiting for my parents to come pick me up. We ended up having lunch in a gas station, then driving to a Nepali friends house, where we had a lovely dinner and then a walk involving a philosophical conversation, then bed.

I spent the next week at my Aunt Rose and Uncle Peter’s house, trying to recover from my cold, enjoying tea, walks, delicious food and good company. We played some board games, visited my Granny, and reconnected before heading to my Uncle Gordon’s place. I’ve been here for a few days, my parents now in India, and am admittedly getting a little stir crazy. After so much activity and people and travel, the silence has gone from peaceful to stifling. I’m just glad there are still people I can talk to.

Hope You’re all doing well.

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Traveling: Ireland

Hello All! Currently on tour with my choir in Ireland!!!! I wanted to give you an idea of where we’ve been so far and what’s happened. I’m afraid this won’t be terribly detailed as this trip involves a bunch of running around so I’ll give you the highlights so far.

1)

Plane ride was thrilling for the first 2 minutes and unconscious for the next 7 hours. Arrived in Dublin and immediately drove to Clonmel, a small town in south Ireland where the cider drink Bulmers is brewed. Big dinner, concert the next day and drinks with the locals where a priest bought us all a drink.

2)

Next Day, on the road again, this time to Galway, with a short stop in Limerick to get “Moody Cow” milkshakes. Stopped at a castle to see some 500 year old furniture and stones, and explored a small medieval village. Galway is apparently a wonderful party town, but we were too busy singing and running around to do any sightseeing. Fell asleep in the bath (lol) and had an early night in.

 

3)

Visited Kylemore Abbey in Connamara National Park… Sang in a miniature cathedral to tourists as they surveyed the place. The Castle was quaint, but had a sordid history of possession, going from being a man’s gift to his wife (like the Taj Mahal) to a partying gambler, to a banker, to a group of Benedictine nuns. It rained for much of the trip, but we had a great time that night watching some Irish dancing, and then singing raucously for the bar patrons and dancing to the traditional music.

4)

So far all we have done in Dublin is sing in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral (which sold merchandise in the back of the church – tut tut, sacrilegious – and where we could not find anywhere to change where someone wasn’t in the room fixing things or taking pictures), accidentally skip lunch and see the Guinness Storehouse, which I must admit was large and impressive, but made my feet hurt from all the walking. I now know more than I ever thought I would about draught stout. We navigated our way back to the rather nice arrangements on the other side of the river. Dublin is a lot smaller than it seems on a map.

I’m sorry I can’t give you the whole story… but anyways… those are the rough highlights. I’m sure many more exciting things have happened when I wasn’t around, but since I’ve been sick, I haven’t been in the mood for late night partying. Tomorrow we head to Scotland, so I’ll let you know more when I’ve lived it. Hope your summer is going well so far.

Slainte!

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78 Ways to Turn on Your Man

Ladies, you have been lied to. You have been told women can take control of their sexuality, that women can be powerful and strong and equal to men. Cosmo would tell you that you’ve achieved every goal for women’s rights and that you can do whatever you want.

This is a lie. Because the moment you wake up until the moment you go to bed at night, all you will ever be told is that your prerogative, nay, your duty, is to serve men. Magazines, sites, books all tell you that you are not worth anything unless you can find and keep a man, and keep him happy, well fed and well sexed. Movies hardly ever involve a plot where a woman is an independent, unattached female whose life does not at some point revolve around a relationship with a man. We are told over and over again that the reason we are unhappy is that we are too fat, too skinny, too prudish, too whorish, too tall, too gangly or too flat chested. We need to work like pack horses to ever be attractive enough to COMPETE FOR A MAN.

Then, once we have said man, our obligation is to love him, pleasure him and be his cook until we make the mistake of not wearing makeup one day and he leaves us for someone else.

This may not be how you all see your lives, but don’t kid yourselves, even if you don’t believe the lies they push down your throat, you’ve all felt the twinge of envy as that guy you like goes and hits on a girl you’ve convinced yourself is in some way superior to you. You’ve all shaved your legs once… or put on makeup, or wondered if you’re getting too pudgy for men to think you attractive. And thats a damn shame. Because the people you’re competing with don’t exist. They’re not any more interesting, or attractive, or intelligent than you. We all hide behind the idea that being beautiful… and to that end… having a relationship will complete us.

Here’s the problem. MEN don’t ever think about that kind of stuff. They don’t wake up in the morning and worry about whether their face needs a little something extra, or if the clothes they are wearing make them look fat. Men’s magazines and sites may touch on “getting with a girl” but mostly they have pages and pages about things that have nothing to do with women. Sports, gadgets, photography, music, and drugs… men have a schmorgasboard of interests and activities that they are sold that have absolutely nothing to do with “pleasing their woman” or “what to wear on a first date”.

So here’s my challenge for you girls. If you’re in a relationship, seriously consider whether it’s actually making you happy, or if you’re just in one because you’re afraid of being alone. Try being yourself… no makeup, no sexy lingerie, with your man and realize that he probably still thinks you’re fucking hot.

If you’re single, or even if you’re not, take the time to do things you want to do that have nothing to do with spending time trying to be pretty or attracting male attention. Go exploring, get a new hobby, take pictures, take time to find things in yourself that you can value.

Because more than anything, doing what you love will last longer than most relationships. And being someone you can love is more beautiful than wanting to be who you wish you looked like.

Oh… and stop reading Cosmo.

Donald Trump – Class Warfare

I don’t think most people in comfortable living situations truly have any idea what an economic crisis is. They complain about having to pay more for gas, or plane tickets, or taxes because the small things are their biggest problems.

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An economic crisis isn’t an inconvenience. It’s families struggling to feed their kids, thousands having to quit school to earn enough money to keep a roof over their heads, it’s living with 12 other people in a single room and whoring yourself out on the street just to get formula for your baby.

The classes have never been more disparate. The middle ground is disappearing as the rich get richer, and everyone earning less than 70,000 dollars a year is joining the ranks of those who earn less than 20,000. The charity of man is being weeded out, voted down and budget cut.

I can’t think of anyone better to lead the greedy, power hungry, trickle down, evolutionary economists than a man like Donald Trump. He is the god of stepping on the little guy, brutality over charity and doublespeak and distraction before any semblance of honesty. He has kicked his way to the top and has yet to advertise his own plan for the future, but rather likes to spend his time bashing the president and turning every silly little insignificant detail into a issue of massive national security.

If you truly believe that Trump is what this company…. sorry, country needs, then by all means, vote to give this corporate overlord all the power he needs to ensure that no one who needs help will ever get it again. Personally, I’d like to side with the guy who has to swim against the Republican torrential stream to get anything done, but has still fulfilled so many of his campaign promises. The man who created jobs for road workers, initiated energy changes, tried to help the disabled, the old and overworked single moms to get health insurance and basic living conditions and managed to still keep his sense of humor. But thats just me.

Back to the Future

I have been told that every senior in college goes through the same daunting fear, the same uncertainty and doubt and panic when faced with the prospect of going out into the real world and actually trying to get a job in the field they so foolishly chose.

Most get through this anxiety with friends, family and a clear goal of where they would like to be in the future. They know what they want for their future life, and so they can manage the dead end job, the long hours and the bad pay, because they know it’s an end to a means.

My future is one of two things: A black hole of doubt, without vision, promise or direction, or an adventure of experiences that will help me to both enjoy life and bring joy to other people’s lives.

When I graduate, the only plan I have is to (maybe) move to London. Which is like taking all the support bearings from under me consisting of friends, security, family, home and culture and throwing it out a very tall window. It could work out fine, but everything has to be built from the ground up again, all friendships, all skills and all dreams, and done alone. I could end up dead in a ditch somewhere, or I could end up marrying rich, or developing skills that make me wildly successful, or I could go to another foreign country and find something meaningful to do. The possibilities are literally limitless.

So fellow Internet readers, what would you do? With no plans, no fellow travellers and no money would you leave everything you know, and have an adventure?

I’m Back

Sorry I’ve been gone so long. The last semester of school was crazy busy. I was working part time at Walmart while going to school part time which gave me about 30 minutes of free time a day. Also not a whole lot happened except falling in love, ending a pseudo relationship, deciding to move to London, making a bunch of new friends and deciding that I’m really not all that great at music (I can just pull stuff out of my ass when I absolutely have to).

So yeah, gonna try and post regularly again. We’ll see how that works.

Dream Meet Weird Coincidence?

Had a dream last night about traveling in a car, using a fireman’s hose to try and find the burning building. My dream grandmother (who is not really MY grandmother) has died and I am in her house looking for something, but the house is dark, so I can’t see much. I make out a purple and green shape that I think at first is a very large gecko, until I realize it is her cat, dyed purple with green around the eyes. I then proceed to try and help my dream mother get over the death, which is oddly surreal due to the fact that we end up talking to my dream grandma again, but my dream mother thinks she is someone else.

Ok. Crazy dream, I know. But guess what picture comes up the next day when I looked up purple dyed cats? I have never seen it before, but there it is, clear as dreaming crazy day: My Dream grandmother holding up her purple and green cat. Weird.