¡Si, puta! ¡Sciencia!
look at the stars
look how they shine for you
and everything you do
west · coast · best · coast · ©

Alright, so I’ve been stalking other people’s travel blogs (Hi Matt & Rachel/Hannah! If you’re reading this, I’ve been reading your blogs because I have no idea how to do this one. If you’re not reading this, I’ve just proven myself very self-absorbed for thinking you would be reading my blog.) And I’ve come to the realization that my first post on this blog isn’t exactly how I was supposed to write it.

Oh well. I like to be introspective pretentious. You may notice that there are posts on this blog that have nothing to do with my trip to Europe and are even dated a year back. That’s because this is a side blog that I run and keep because I like to hoard urls on tumblr. Which is why the url of the blog, which refers to Wally West, has nothing to do with Europe.

Which is why I’m writing this. Now that the awkward and frankly horrible introduction has been written, let’s get into it.

Edinburgh in the summer. Unbeknownst to myself, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival is kind of a huge deal. It’s a month-long arts and culture festival that runs in Edinburgh every August. (Un)luckily for me, I arrived on August 12, smack in the middle of the action. It’s bad because it meant that most of the locals leave Edinburgh during August and rent out their flats to people willing to pay exorbitant amounts of money so that they can be here during the Fringe, leaving people like myself without a semi-permanent flat. It’s amazing because the streets are buzzing and there are people from all over the world who come for the Fringe.

There’s dance, comedy, art, and a plethora of street performers. I’ve gone to my share of comedy shows with mixed luck—the shows I aim to see are never good, but the shows I just happen to walk into are always great. Life lesson: pay attention to the people on the street who are handing out flyers. But today is August 26th (or as they do it here, 26 August), and the Fringe has largely come to an end. Which is really quite sad. Edinburgh during the Fringe is the only way I know Edinburgh, really. It’ll be weird not seeing crowds of people looking for clubs on Cowgate and hoards of people on the Royal Mile watching the street performers.

Speaking of the Royal Mile, my hostel is located in the Grassmarket, which is a very central location. Imagine the Haight, but closer to downtown. And downtown here is called the “city centre”. (Grammar joke! In the US, quotations are used “after the period.” But in the UK, quotations are used “before the period”. Middle school grammar lessons are important, kids.) My new apartment is a ten minute walk from here, which means I’ll still be in a really central location for the next four months. Which can only mean… I’ll still be able to buy a shit ton of chips when I get hungry.

I’ve been eating tayyyyyyytoooooooos most days. Sometimes by choice, mostly not. The canteen at work always serves potatoes in one way or another, and I always end up with some on my plate before I even think about it. But mostly, I’ve been going to this fish and chips shop on Grassmarket because they do takeaway (another cultural difference! Takeaway vs. take-out). I also eat a lot of pies. Like, for dinner. Like, a lot. And the candy! There is so much more variety for candy at the grocery stores, especially chocolate. I’ve been trying out different candies, but my favorite so far? Kinder’s Bueno in milk and hazelnut. It tastes like Ferrero Rocher, but without the stupid nuts.

Lastly, work. So I have a badge which allows me to enter through the restricted entrances. I’m like, a big deal. I work 10-4 Mondays, and 9-5 Tuesday through Thursday. I might have to go in on Fridays, but I also might not? My MSP is Colin Beattie. He represents Midlothian and Musselburgh. He’s not in the office much, but he seems like a chill dude. I refer to him by his first name. I know. Scottish politics, amirite? Graeme (the chief-of-staff-equivalent) is on vacation, and Iain (the parliamentary researcher) is chill, so I don’t think I have to go in on Fridays. We’ll see. I still have class on Fridays from 10 to 12 though. 

The one thing I’ve learned about politics is that there’s a lot of work, but it’s never your work. Whether it be motions, congratulatory letters, press releases, or even research, you don’t actually have to put in any work. It’s all just paraphrasing whatever someone else sent you. They do the work. All I do is paraphrase.

I miss being a student. I have to wake up super super early to get to work, and I’m there for hours. I will never complain about class again because I go to class like, what, three hours a day? And it’s actual riveting, stimulating stuff. And the rest of the day I do nothing. It’s great. And I don’t have to worry about when I’m going to cook dinner because I have so much goddamn time to cook dinner. Now when I get back from work, I’m super tired and I don’t even feel like cooking dinner. Damn, I miss SB (HI JIMMY/SHAWN/KENNY. YOU’RE TOTALLY NOT READING THIS, JERKS.) God, I miss that California sun. I can physically feel myself losing my tan.

Anyway, this was a good introductory post to my life, yes?

Before I go, some miscellaneous bits of information:

  • still having trouble with the accent sometimes
  • still don’t know which way to look when crossing the street
  • I’m moving into my flat on Saturday!
  • the soda here is gross. there’s like, no sugar in it. like, i bought a fanta. it was horrible. the soda smells good but just tastes fizzy
  • one of the most popular sodas in Scotland is called Irn Bru (Iron Brew)—the name is not intended to fool you: it indeed does taste like metal. it tastes like orange, cream soda, and iron
  • it rains at least once every day. except for the past two days, in which it’s actually been somewhat sunny. this worries me.

I suck at taking pictures.

Today was the first time I’ve been here that I’ve gone and done touristy things. It’s hard because I wanted to get everything done before I started my real adventure.

When I first arrived in Edinburgh, I thought I was walking in a fairytale. The buildings and the architecture here is amazing, and all of it is juxtaposed with modernity.

There are old, campy Scottish shops selling deep friend mars bars and kilts right next to McDonald’s—the cleanest and most technologically advanced one I’ve ever seen. The big chain stores are ridiculously high-tech and the older stores are the same as they have been for the past twenty years.

It’s such a huge difference going on the Royal Mile and Princes Street. Princes Street is home to all the big shopping stores and the high tech places, while the Royal Mile maintains a certain rainy, distinctly Scottish vibe to it. Even when it’s sunny on the Royal Mile you’ll think it’s raining.

No matter how hard I try to position my camera, I just can’t seem to capture the juxtaposition of old and new that dominates so much of the city. There are old, historical buildings with glass-lined buildings right in between. There are statues everywhere that are surrounded by contemporary restaurants.

My hostel is in Grassmarket, right across from Edinburgh castle. The hills and the stairs here are gnarly. Walking up to the Castle is a workout in itself. People say Edinburgh is the San Francisco of Europe, but I don’t feel at home at all.

Edinburgh is way scarier and way bigger than I can even imagine. It might be because I’m situated right in the middle of all the action, but the city scares me a lot. I’m still staying in a hostel waiting to move into my apartment, but I moved from the short stay hostel to the long stay hostel. Staying in the long stay hostel is the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life.

I’d never been so reminded of my privilege before. I couldn’t even do it. I had to move out the next morning. I consider that night the low point of my trip. And though this is only day ten of my five month journey, I really hope that sentence remains true.

I’m a twenty year old kid (nineteen when I flew over) living alone in a foreign country. I really hope I’m not in way over my head.

(I’m also not as independent and badass as I would like to admit. I miss my friends and I miss home. I’m scared people will go on with their lives and forget about me. And I never thought I’d say this, but I miss the warmth of that California sun.)

Edinburgh, Scotland.

Posted on January 28, 2014  ·  with 7532 notes · via / source



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Massimo Vitali, Piscinão de Ramos 

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BROVEMBER 2012 - 2

Joel McHale, my favorite bro. Pic based on that time he wore this shirt and it looked like he was wearing nothing at all.

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