File under: Because I can

This weekend, I decided to venture out of the UK and attend a 30th birthday party in Germany for my friend, Christoph and his twin brother. Since it was something I wouldn’t be able to do if I was living in New York, I figured I should go and take advantage of the situation. I first met Christoph and our other friend, Alex when our senior studio class at Parsons did an exchange program with their school in Erfurt, Germany. We’ve been able to visit each other a few times over the years and it’s always fun to hang out with them!

My flight was on Friday night from Edinburg to Munich and I took a bus from Glasgow to Munich after class. I discovered Pimm’s in the airport and I caught a rainbow while I was waiting to board the plane. It was a very pleasant journey.





Alex and his girlfriend Franzi picked me up at the Munich airport, even though they live just outside Nuremberg (about 90 mins away). They are such awesome friends!

The next morning, I got out of the shower and was pleasantly surprised by this beautiful German breakfast!



After breakfast, we went to Nuremberg city with Alex’s sister Johanna (who I haven’t seen since she visited us in New York 1 1/2 years ago!) and her boyfriend. We checked out all of the beautiful German markets and ate curry wurst for lunch, mandatory for any trip to Germany.






We then had to get ready for the big party, about an hour away.


This is Christoph’s apartment in Naila (with our slumber party mattresses and bedding setup) Can you tell he is an architect?




The party was a few minutes away, in an empty house owned by Christoph’s boss, who will be renovating it. There were 3 kinds of delicious soup (unusual party food from what I am used to but they were all so good..I am still thinking about them) and “traditional” American red cups which had to be specially ordered for the event. (I had no idea Europeans were so fascinated with the cups but I had to inform them they were unfortunately an imposter brand i.e. “” or something like that…and not actually “solo cups”)

The party was a lot of fun and everyone had a great time and a lot of great soup.




Me, Alex and Franzi


The next morning, after breakfast, we drove back to Nuremberg, enjoyed the sun and took a nice walk around the neighborhood. It was so much warmer than in Glasgow, about 70 degrees!















Pretty soon, it was time for me to begin the journey back to Glasgow, which included 3 trains, a flight, a bus and a taxi. What could go wrong?

The train connections were pretty easy, thanks to my prepaid ticket with track numbers listed. I was also able to get a sandwich and some snacks, another big plus.





Once I finally arrived at Munich airport, I discovered my flight was delayed an hour. I also then discovered that the buses from Edinburg airport to Glasgow do not, in fact, run 24 hours as previously thought. The last one was at 11:30pm and I was going to miss it.

The next one wasn’t until 5am.

Now, the Munich airport was pretty packed and I didn’t want to freak out but I also just wanted to cry because I couldn’t believe I read the schedule wrong and was going to be stranded at EDI overnight. Even so, I decided it was my best option and that a hotel didn’t make sense since I needed to leave at 5am. Our 9:50pm scheduled flight ended up leaving at 11:25pm and we landed at EDI at 12:30 am since the timezone is one hour behind Germany. I haven’t spent a lot of time in airports overnight but it was not very fun. It was cold because the doors were stuck open and I tried sleeping on a bench but then a janitor came by because he had to MOVE the benches to clean the floor.



I decided to go for a walk, found an open coffee shop and got a cup of tea but I couldn’t stay because they were BLASTING terrible music that would have made me go insane. When I walked up, they were playing “Manic Monday”. How ironic. I’m not sure how anyone else was able to sleep around there.

Eventually, I made my way back to my original bench and fell asleep for a little while. It was still cold (and my bag was not a very comfortable pillow) but at least it was quiet. I woke up around 4:30am and decided to try to find my bus, because I knew it was a bit of a hike from the terminal. It was about 40 degrees outside and rainy but the bus showed up around 4:50 and after a cigarette break, the driver let us on.

The bus was so nice and warm and I slept the whole hour back to Glasgow. It took me a little while to realize there was a taxi queue at the bus station (and that I wasn’t going to be able to hail a cab from anywhere else) but after a few minutes and £4.60 I was back at my flat, at 6:25am.

It was not the kind of adventure I was looking to have this weekend but in the end, it all worked out and I was totally fine. I was even able to sleep until 10:30 and make it to my noon lecture on time!

Lessons and thoughts for the next weekend trip:

– fly only out of Glasgow (OR arrive in Edinburg much earlier)

– good job with the snack supply

– good job with packing light

– read the schedules twice.

– soup at parties. Yes.

– German gingerbread generally maintains it’s shape after being slept on



Moving this out of my head. Still in progress…

Things that are more difficult in Scotland than in New York:

– accepting the fact that a GAS station can be a good, quality place to buy almost all groceries (Sainsbury’s)

– signing up for internet in our apartment (this is the one and only time Time Warner Cable ever came out ahead)

– Figuring out our combination washer/dryer

– Figuring out our Celsius/fan oven..actually figuring out anything with Celsius in general..also figuring out the metric system

– understanding the Glaswegian dialect (general Scottish is totally fine though) and having Glaswegians understand me when I talk too fast

Things that are easier in Scotland than in New York:

– Traveling to school/anywhere

– finding nice/non pretentious people

– getting a student discount almost everywhere

– finding a flat with a living room AND eat-in kitchen AND dishwasher (which, of course, we don’t use)

– waking up without an alarm clock (often I wake up before my alarm goes off. Anyone in my family or anyone who ever stayed with us in New York knows how ABSURD and out of character this is for me..kind of amazing)

Things that are cheaper in Scotland than in the United States:

– shortbread
– Philadelphia cream cheese (not sure why this is)
– whiskey (this is an assumption – I haven’t bought any yet)

Things I did not expect to find here but are plentiful and can, in fact, be bought:

– peanut butter
– dove soap
– taco seasoning/all items relating to tacos..this was a major concern before coming here

Things I expected to find here but are not here:

– Sephora (just so happens I lost my favorite lipgloss the other day too)

Things I am now obsessed with:

– Porridge (very similar to oatmeal..not sure yet how/if it is actually different but don’t want to seem ignorant to locals)

– pizza from Vic Bar..the best I’ve had in Glasgow..also conveniently located at school..

– walking up very steep hills whenever I get the chance, except if it is pouring. Great exercise!

To be continued..


This was the view out my bedroom window today – turned out to be beautiful and sunny though!


We still don’t have internet in our flat, but we finally found out why.

When we signed up for our account, I also signed up for a pay-as-you-go phone that I can use locally.  “Apparently” whenever someone signs up for home internet, a credit check is run.  Unfortunately, the sales girl forgot to mention this wee bit of information to us (that’s some Scottish lingo for you!) and since we had just arrived to the UK (and also set up our local bank accounts that day), we didn’t have any past addresses in the UK or any credit established and so our check was declined.  Also unfortunately, we were never advised that the check didn’t go through, so we were waiting for a router to come in the mail – but it was never going to arrive.  We’ve been able to setup a new account with a new company, but they won’t be able to come by and setup the internet in the flat until October 20th (!!!)

Lucky for me, I have become quite resourceful during this tough time, so I’ve been able to turn my crappy local phone into a wifi hotspot so that I can use my iphone for some apps and correspondence that I’m not able to get normally.  It is pretty cheap to “top-up” the data (about $10 for 1GB) which has been just enough to keep me from going totally crazy. Of course, there is wifi at almost every cafe and pub around, but sometimes it is such a hassle to have to leave the flat to send an email or even check the weather! (Did I mention we don’t have a tv either?)

Speaking of the weather, it finally rained! I really feel like Glasgow has this reputation of constant rain so that the tourists stay away – which is fine with me.  It rained last night and this morning quite a bit but then the clouds went away and the sun came out and it’s just beautiful! It’s getting a bit cooler and feeling more like fall but in general it’s not too bad even though we had to turn the radiators on yesterday for an hour or so – the lows at night have been in the 30s!

Here are some other things that I’ve been doing/seeing/eating:

partaking in daily coffee/tea and an “empire biscuit” from Greggs (one of my many new cravings)


Our in-progress model and the whole hot mess of models + undergrad + post grad students with everyone trying to remember where their assigned plot was




Pro library rebuilding posters in the Reid cafeteria




Tom-yum soup, homemade by my flat mate Claudia


Popular local vegan spot that we like (although I haven’t had the food yet), The 78 – they have great live jazz on Sunday nights too which we came back for last night


We have 2 friends who live around the corner from is and these pictures don’t do it justice but we went to the most fantastic international dinner at their flat on Friday with about 15 new friends. Everyone brought something different and we really had representatives from all over the world: India, Spain, Germany, Greece, Poland, another American (who brought tacos…can you imagine my delight??!), Argentina, etc. It was such a fun night and great to have so many friends so close by!

My contribution was Rice Krispie treats by the way – for some reason the Scots only sell bags of mixed pink and white marshmallows but they looked pretty and made for a nice breakfast snack the day after!





View from my kitchen on a morning when it was apparently supposed to be downpouring…all lies..


Views around town on a gorgeous sunny afternoon this past weekend – yes that is a [novelty] NYC taxi that I spotted..guess there’s no escaping them! From what I could tell, it’s available for rentals around town and I think there was a drunk middle-aged group inside which was just embarrassing on so many levels.












(I took those in my living room!)

Also this weekend, we discovered DELICIOUS MEXICAN FOOD near our flat, at The Squid and Whale. I had an amazing burrito that I am still thinking about. YUM.


(Not a great photo but they had really cool graphics inside too)

Other than all of THAT, I’ve just been keeping busy with school and miscellaneous lectures, etc. (and trying not to focus on my internetless struggle)

Today, Renfrew Street (where GSA is) was blocked off as they continue to build scaffolding around the area where the fire was – I took these from the Reid Cafeteria which looks directly at the Mackintosh Building




Another week, and still no internet! Luckily we have had a lot going on but our primal living environment is getting a little old and boring. We’re crossing our fingers we get some good news within the next few days!

This week was pretty busy with school, although our classes formally start on Wednesday. We were each paired up with one other student to do a short model project, which will wrap up on Thursday. After four years “off”, it’s been nice to make a model again and get my brain thinking in a different way from office life!

Over the weekend, I hung out with some friends around town, ate some delicious food at The Vic and Moskito, and went to the University of Glasgow on Saturday (about ten minutes walk from our flat). It is beautiful and feels like a traditional UK school!













(That’s some proof I am actually here, by the way)







Yesterday we took a daytrip out of Glasgow and went to Edinburg (or pronounced by the Scots as Edinboro). It was about an hour on the train from Glasgow and only £8.30 round trip, so around $13.50.

Edinburg is a very different city from Glasgow – it is less artsy but more ornate, academic, and touristy. First, we decided to climb the 287 steps of the Scott Monument, a decision I regretted once we reached the fourth and final platform at the top. The entire climb was on a series of stone spiral staircases that were VERY snug and claustrophobic – I’m not sure if any of my darling but 6’++ brothers could have made it very easily.

Once we were up, the views were amazing although I was much happier to be one level down where the platform was wider and less terrifying.
(Side note, I don’t like heights or small spaces. Climbing the monument seemed like a good idea beforehand but I can’t say I would do it again.)





Level three of four. If I look scared it’s because I was.


That’s the Scott Monument!

We were pretty hungry afterwards so
we ate a traditional Scottish lunch and I had cottage pie. Not sure how this is different from shepherds pie but it has been delicious every place I’ve eaten it so I don’t need to ask too many questions.





After lunch we went to the massive National Museum of Scotland, where the undeniable highlight was their roof deck. The weather yesterday was incredible: no rain but very dramatic clouds so the roof was definitely the place to be!









Once we finished the museum we decided to tackle the Edinburg Castle!
It makes sense that the castle would be at the highest point of the city but the hills in Edinburg are just. so. steep. As if the Scott Monument wasn’t enough vertical movement for us, we got another workout just hiking up to castle and around the grounds.












After THAT we went to a brief whiskey (informative session?) tasting at the Scottish Whiskey Experience which incorporated a 10 minute ride in a giant barrel around some very basic special effects and video screens – it was very educational though. Afterwards we were able to have a whiskey of our choice in a room filled with thousands of bottles which made for a very nice photo op.


(That’s supposed to be yeast)





When we left and began to head back to the train station, we caught the last fleeting moments of this amazing sunset!




All in all it was a long day, and we were happy to be back in Glasgow at the end of it!

ps – looks like my photos are still uploading slightly out of order! So much for my captions!

sun and fun

It’s been a few days but we still don’t have internet in our flat although hopefully that will change soon!

On Sunday I ventured into Kelvingrove Park, conveniently located right across the street from our flat. The park is beautiful and will be especially nice once the leaves start to change colors. I was in the middle of taking photos when a dog came up to me, sat by my feet and invited me to play fetch. How could I turn down a face like that! We played fetch for about ten minutes while it’s owners sat on a nearby bench.

For dinner, Claudia and I went to Dram, also right down the street from us. It was delicious BBQ, another thing I didn’t expect I would find here. +1, Glasgow!





I’ve been somewhat busy at school this week, with more induction activities and workshops, and a small project that is due next week. I’ve had quite a bit of free time and even went to a beginner salsa class at school one night (my dear friend Alicia, I’m sure you are thrilled but our lack of Internet access has made some things more appealing than normal) The weather overall is sunny and cool, with still only a little bit of rain.

The other night, I tried to order a takeout cheeseburger at a nearby pub and was surprised to learn they “don’t do take out”. The bartender said I could order a cheeseburger but that I would have to sign a form if I wanted to take it home. I thought he was kidding – he was not!



(They obviously didn’t have any takeout-appropriate boxes either)

Here are a few more shots from around my neighborhood:







Glasgow says yes! Scotland says no thanks!

The night before the referendum vote, we went over to our product designer friends’ flat for some homemade sushi. There were several other international students from Italy, Portugal and Japan and not surprisingly, the sushi making became quite the photo op. I also really liked the wallpaper in the flat.

On Thursday night, we ventured across the Clyde River (not as intense as that may sound) to O2 Academy for the alt-j concert which was really sweaty but really fun. We decided to take the subway back and I was surprised at how small and compact the cars are!

SO. Maybe it was because the vote was “NO”, but I have to say I was disappointed by the lack of excitement after the results were announced. Our neighborhood, which had many YES supporters (evident by the flags and signs in windows all around) was very quiet the morning after. We wandered to school and ended up at a sustainability day terrarium workshop, which was fun and is a nice addition to my bedroom. We also took the terrariums to get Mexican food at Driftwood on our way home, because why not? We decided to take the terrariums home before going down to George Square and saw crowds of people from the YES camp, but no one from the NO side celebrating. People were revved up and optimistic that more change would be coming to Scotland now, but no one was violent or even very angry. (A good thing of course, but still surprising)

Today, it poured in the morning but became really nice and sunny! We walked all the way to the east side of Glasgow to a large market area called The Barras. It kind of reminded me of the Pennsauken Mart – perhaps some treasures to be found but mostly random stuff (cheap DVDs, books, packets of vinegar for 1p, etc)

Tonight, our M Arch class is going out with some recent grads from the program to bond and apparently learn some traditional Scottish dances.
Should be interesting..(?)

ps – somehow my photos uploaded slightly out of order below..hope it all makes sense!