A'dinnieken - Don't know crap about Scotland!
Elizabeth A
epaulettes
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Epaulettes

I'm a student at Barnard College in New York, New York. Starting on January 8th, I'll be studying abroad for the spring semester at the University of Edinburgh. This is the blog I'll be passing around for friends and family to follow my crazy travails in the dark and frozen highlands of Scotland. No doubt this blog will be filled with the kind of verbal flailing that people associate with me, it's just that my spazzing will have a more exotic backdrop!

December 2009
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Elizabeth A [userpic]
Don't know crap about Scotland!

All right, it's still December 2009, which means I am not yet in Edinburgh. I am home for the holidays! Actually right now it seems like I'm home specifically to run around spastically as I race to gather together all my "essentials" and then stuff them into a suitcase, duffel bag, and messenger bag before I leave. Running bets from onlookers seem to favor "fat chance" to win the day with "oh honey, no" trailing in a close second. Sigh. Right now it's hard to believe that all of this is leading to something amazing like traveling to a foreign country. I have been trying to get myself in the spirit of the endeavor, but in the interest of full disclosure, the ways I've been trying are strange and not entirely educational.

For instance, instead of reading the very helpful and perfectly generic Top 10 Scotland that my parents got me for Christmas, I've instead been reading Avon's Scottish Brides anthology. This is not the way to learn about Scotland, I realize, but it is very entertaining. I think Gretna Green is the only Scottish place I can name off the top of my head after Edinburgh and Glasgow. Horror and despair. If I really stop to think about what I know about Scotland off the top of my head, I start to get a little scared and a lot amused.

Top 10(ish) Things I "Know" About Scotland
1. David Tennant is Scottish! And everyone in Scotland talks like he does in Nan's Christmas Carol.
1a. John Barrowman is sort of Scottish! But mostly he is flaming.
2. Kilts! Real men wear skirts. Real men like a breeze 'round their private parts.
3. The marriage age is 16.
3a. I only know this because of Gretna Green. Which, for the record, was/is famous for English youths running away there to get married.
4. It's colder there. Depending on what fictional account you are reading, this can range from "Scottish blood is bred thicker so it won't freeze as quick" cold to just "well, it's higher latitudes than England so it's a wee bit chillier" cold.
5. In the winter, it gets dark by mid-afternoon. This means that nocturnal beings such as myself and other vampires should feel quite at home there.
6. Braveheart! Which I have never actually seen. But it is my impression that Scotland was at one point full of Russell Crowe Mel Gibson lookalikes running around in blue makeup. This is not to be confused with England which at one point was full of Keira Knightley lookalikes running around in blue makeup.
7. J. K. Rowling pretty much adopted Scotland, and Edinburgh in particular. Because it is just that awesome.
7a. Hogwarts is in Scotland! And a part of me will always believe this to be the absolute truth.
8. Haggis. Which continues to be the grossest thing ever described to me.
8a. Actually, haggamuggie gives haggis a run for its money in the gross-out department, but it's not Scotland's fault I hate fish.
9. David Hume and Robert Burns were Scottish. Of the two, it is Rabbie Burns who gets all the glory because he is the bee's knees in the world of poetry and the world of Scotland, and nobody likes to think about philosophy or economics anyway.
10. The Scottish extend New Year's and call it Hogmanay. Basically, they folk up the holiday by running around giving gifts and burning stuff in a vaguely pagan-influenced way. They do this in addition to drinking unholy amounts and singing "Auld Lang Syne," which are New Year's traditions that everybody stole from Scotland anyway.

I'm setting this list down for posterity in the hopes that when I finish up my five-ish months in Edinburgh I will have a whole new Top 10 list that will be less horrifying, more legitimate, and hopefully just as amusing.

Mood bouncyLocation New Jersey
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Tags: elizabeth is crazy, pre-departure, romance novels, scotland, scottish facts, vampires and other creatures like myself
Comments

So exciting! Scotland, population: David Tennant and you. Flame-opia, population: John Barrowman.

Russell. Crowe. lookalikes. ARE YOU HIGH? Braveheart, Elizabeth. Braveheart. Think about it.

Is that really true Burns is better known than Hume? Suspect it's only true to you and your fantasy world where people care about poetry. I'm much more familiar with Hume and you know, one they read in the Core, one they do not. I had no idea either was Scottish! lol lol lol

I think Hume has been absorbed more fully into the umbrella of British empiricism and thus does not quite get the Scottish attention he may deserve. Burns, on the other hand, is called "Scotland's Favorite Son" by the Scottish people, or, alternatively, simply "The Bard." Thus, my impression that he gets all the glory.

oic what you mean. Just in Scotland, not in the real world. This makes me feel a little sad for Scotland, because I was never really impressed by Burns, though now wiki tells me he wrote Auld Lang Syne which I do rather like, especially as interpreted by The Bards, as I like to call them, of Canada aka The Barenaked Ladies.