Wednesday, September 30, 2009

I knew it was going too smoothly.

To make up for signing for a decent flat on the first day in Scotland, everything else is going terribly awry.

I haven't opened a bank account because most banks that should be working with my school, according to my school's bank letter, do not work with my school. Mostly, they've been telling me to piss off. That's getting old, fast.

I don't have internet access. After being told broadband via cable was available, we were told some ghost was already using an account in our flat. And the provider wouldn't cut the ghost off for a week. Now the provider's realized that, in fact, we do not have an active line in our flat so they've booked us for installation on October 9, a week and a half away, on a day when my roommate and I are both in class all day. Wonderful.

Fortunately, I've gotten a decent cell phone that has Skype built in, making calling the US much, much easier.

I'm eating well, downing a banana almost every day while cutting back on the junk food. Alcohol is cheap and plentiful but I've been avoiding it as well. I haven't gone running yet, but that doesn't bother me much since I've been walking 3 or 4 miles a day, going into the city center, trying to sort all of the rubbish out.

The class schedule changes weekly, which is odd. We have a field trip to a team-building camp called BlueSky Experience during the last week of October. Have any teams ever been built or solidified during one of these? Not from my experience. Finals are immediately after Christmas break followed by another week off. Odd.

The toilet is flushed by revving the handle, like revving a motorcycle. The water is heated by a little electrical box inside the shower that has two temperatures: mediocre and scalding. Clothes are washed in a washer but dried by hanging them on a folding rack in front of a radiator.

What else would you folks like to know?

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Internet is strictly rationed.

Well, not THAT strictly rationed, but it's scarce. I should have it in my flat early next week.

I was just told by the head of the Marketing programs that we're going to... Persia? Prussia? I can't quite make out through his brogue, but he did let us know that in addition to our official University of Strathclyde backpacks, we'll also be given official University of Strathclyde sleeping bags.

You may be asking yourself, "Why?" I'm asking myself, "Why?" He followed up by admitting the trip we'll be taking has us sleeping inside buildings, on beds, so who knows.

If that didn't tip it off, I'm sitting in orientation at the moment. Out of 65 or 70 people, it seems like a full third is from Taiwan or China. A lot of people from India and Greece. Individual representatives from Italy, Iran, Switzerland, the U.S. (me!), and I'm fairly sure I only heard Luxembourg once.

There's going to be a ceilidh, a big Scottish dance. The first speaker mentioned it, suggesting some local Scots wear their kilts. Only about 4 or 5 Scots in the program, but I digress. I know I'll be wearing my kilt.

So, an open shoutout, who has questions? What are they? Post in the comments and I'll try to answer whatever I can.

Edit: Okay, not Persia or Prussia, but Perthshire. A follow-up speaker mentioned the trip and we're apparently heading up to Perthshire, about an hour northeast from here. Rob, his wife, and I've been there already, having circled the island once this past week. Seems like a nice enough area; curious to see what it's like with 70 foreigners.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It begins!

I arrived in Scotland this morning. The Internet access at the hotel is weak, so I dare not type much more, but suffice, I'll explain my trip across the Atlantic, and the rollercoasters it involved, later.