Long Distance Friendships

This isn’t really a post about anything, it’s just me talking out my feelings, so if you aren’t really interested in that, I suggest you leave now!

I love being abroad, and while I rarely miss home there are times that I feel like I am being left out from everything going on.

I know this sounds ridiculous because I am studying abroad in Europe and am having an incredible experience, but don’t assume that it means everything is sunshine and roses.

I looked into long distance relationships for a long time before I went abroad and while the relationship part didn’t work out, it taught me a lot about friendships abroad.

To be honest, there wasn’t a lot of good advice about staying friends with an ocean separating you. In fact a lot of it advised readers to not bother because you will change and you won’t want to hear their stories from home, and they won’t want to hear your stories from abroad. It was extremely discouraging.

I don’t have any tips on how to make it work. I just text whoever I want, when I want to, and they respond when they want to. But sometimes it’s easy to feel left out, and I’m sure people back home feel the same way occasionally.

It’s nice to have someone to talk to when it gets lonely over here, and for me it is the last person I would have ever expected. It’s not an old friend from back home, it’s not even my roommate (although I talk to her basically every other second of the day and I don’t know what I would do without her). It’s a girl I’ve only met once, but who has helped me more than anyone else on this crazy journey.

She’s studying abroad in a different country and we met through a mutual friend back in Ottawa. We met up once and we have connected ever since. We talk all the time, and I know I can go to her with any problems I have and she is always so helpful, and she is a fantastic listener.

I’m really glad to have someone that understands what I am going through, and who is going through it with me.

One day we will travel together and I cannot wait.

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Everything is soaking wet.

I was not going to write another blog post about a tour I did, but I had to write this. I went on the Student Tours Scotland Argyll Forest Tour today and I loved it. I honestly wasn’t expecting too much out of it, Gary said last week that it was a really good tour so I just went ahead and booked it. Again, I really wasn’t going to write about it – I don’t want this blog to just be recaps of tours I’ve been on, but after the day I had I couldn’tย notย write about it.

The first thing you should know is that I hate getting wet. I hate the rain, I hate water rides, I don’t even like hand cream because it makes my hands all moist and gross. If I’m going to have to be wet, it’s going to be on my own terms.

And that was not in the cards for me today.

We took a beautiful walk through some of the most gorgeous trails I have ever seen. I’ve been on many nature walks and trails and many forests in my day, but this was amazing.

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“Big Tree Walk” The walk is named after this tree because it was a Big Tree that fell in the forest. There is actually a really cool superstition behind this fallen tree.

We walked through a place called Puck’s Glen, and it was named after the character in A Midsummer’s Night Dream, by Shakespeare. If you don’t know it – I highly recommend you look it up, it’s one of my favourites. I grew up loving the story and even performed it a few times, so walking through this area with all it’s beautiful landscapes and waterfalls was really magical.

It was so hard for me to choose a picture to capture the beauty of the place. I could post all the pictures I took and it would not do it justice.

It was so hard for me to choose a picture to capture the beauty of the place. I could post all the pictures I took and it would not do it justice.

These walks very lovely, and even though it was raining, my new rain jacket was doing a pretty good job of keeping me dry. My shoes, however were soaking wet, but that was not enough to ruin this place for me.

And then came the waterfall.

At one point we had to walk through the waterfall in order to keep going on the path. Remember before, how I mentioned not liking getting wet? This was basically my worst nightmare. In all honesty, it was not that bad. I was having such a good time, and then friend that I went with was super into it and was practically dancing under the waterfall. I did not dance, but I went through and I didn’t hate it.

It may not seem like a big deal, but last year about this time I was shrieking on a roller coaster that had a little bit of mist. I’m not kidding.

We continued walking and ended up resting in a cafe until we went to our next destination. Towards.

This was a really cute little area with two castles – one very ruined, and one modern (ish) one.

The old ruins - we actually found a place where you could go under that big mound in the middle and into an old room of the castl

The old ruins – we actually found a place where you could go under that big mound in the middle and into an old room of the castle.

I totally ran into the security guard at this place and he didn't yell at me. Apparently he's not usually that friendly.

I totally ran into the security guard at this place and he didn’t yell at me. Apparently he’s not usually that friendly.

Both places were absolutely stunning. We went to the town of Dunoon which was really cute and by a loch. Because it was windy and raining all day the loch was really wavy, but it looked amazing.

We got on the ferry back and we left the bus to walk around. We were on the bus for a little bit on the ferry ride at the beginning of the day and let me tell you, being on a bus on a rocking ship is not pleasant. I very rarely get motion sickness, so I was okay but my brain could not wrap itself around the way the boat and the bus were moving. It was really frustrating.

Anyways! My flatmate on the trip with me went inside the passenger lounge, and I was going to join him, I just wanted to take a couple pictures from the boat first. I never made it into the lounge.

Remember how I said the water was getting pretty rough? It intensified 10 fold when we were on the ship. I was taking a photo, when a girl from the tour walked up to the very front of the ship – just as a giant wave came and crashed down on top of her. At this point we all ran up to the little upper floor they have for viewing. There were about 15 of us up there laughing because the waves had come that high. It got so much worse.

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While the waves were still calm I managed to get this picture

We were all crammed in the corner about 3 bus lengths away from the front of the ship and the waves were hitting us full force. We couldn’t get down because the stairs led us right into the waves, and the other way was blocked so we were all huddled together trying not to fall over or be drowned. It was so intense. But amazing. I’m a huge fan of crazy weather so I was absolutely loving this. I didn’t even care that I was being soaked.

And I don’t mean like we got splashed a little, I’m talking it felt like we were in a giant wave pool. There was so little time between waves all we could do was breathe and try not to drink any of the water. We also did a fair bit of looking around and laughing. It was crazy, but we couldn’t go anywhere! We got back to the bus as we docked and everyone was half shocked half amused with out state. Apparently the bus (which was further back than we were) had gotten hit with quite a few waves itself.

Me on the bus, after being soaked to the bone. It's hard to tell, but I literally looked like I just just stepped out of the shower

Me on the bus, after being soaked to the bone. It’s hard to tell, but I literally looked like I just just stepped out of the shower

We did and saw a lot of amazing things today, but that was 100% a highlight. It was so much fun and probably a little bit dangerous, which made it even better. The only bad part of today was breaking two of my nails. There are worst things that could happen. Even though I am exhausted, I had an amazing day and would do it all over again.

Arthur’s Seat

This is another post about Edinburgh guys. I hope you aren’t sick of Edinburgh, because I’m not and I plan to go back there on at least one more occasion.

So I went on an official tour of Edinburgh today. I went with Student Tours Scotland, and if any of you are in Scotland and can get to Glasgow where his tours leave from, go on these tours. They run on weekends, and go all through Scotland. The tour guide Gary, is absolutely amazing and his first priority is to make sure everyone has the best time possible. He also has really cool stories and recommendations for things to do no matter what stuff you’re into. Also he is ginger.

Some guy on a horse and our tour guide Gary

Some guy on a horse and our tour guide Gary

So I was really excited for this tour, because I’d already been to Edinburgh, but Gary gives great tours and brings you to places you wouldn’t necessarily find if you were a tourist. Plus Arthur’s Seat. I will talk waaaaay more about this later.

Gorgeous park in the city

Gorgeous park in the city

But this morning actually started out like shite. We were meeting on the bus for 8:45, so not very early but I set my alarm for 6:45 so I could be up and ready to go with plenty of time. I got up at 8:30. I don’t know what happened, but I was not pleased. I managed to get out the door in 6 minutes and still be on time.

We did a walk around Edinburgh in the morning which was fascinating before we broke for lunch. After lunch it was time for Arthur’s Seat.

Plus I got to go here. Every Harry Potter fan's dream.

Plus I got to go here. Every Harry Potter fan’s dream.

Arthur’s Seat is on top of a volcano (dormant, obviously) and is generally associated with King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Arthurian legend is actually really special to me, and is a big part of my life. I grew up loving it, and when I moved to university I met people who loved it (and BBC’s Merlin) just as much as I did. It brought us all really close together and is probably one of the main reasons we are all friends today. In second year, that group of people all moved into a house together and it’s actually been named Camelot. So I was extremely excited when I got to climb up to the point where many people believe this round table was actually held.

This is about halfway down, that little point at the top is Arthur's Seat

This is about halfway down, that little point at the top is Arthur’s Seat

The hike up was intense. It had been raining ten minutes earlier (thank God it didn’t rain while we were there) so it was so muddy. The path we took up was relatively steep and was more long patches of mud and rock stairs than a proper path. It was not easy and I actually don’t think I could have done it without walking the Escarpment stairs with my dad over Christmas. Huge shoutout to my dad who invited (read: guilt tripped) me into walking the stairs with him. The first few times I did the stairs I seriously thought I was going to throw up or pass out. Maybe both. But it definitely prepared me for this climb.

Gorgeous view about 3/4 of the way there

Gorgeous view about 3/4 of the way there

Unfortunately there are no actual ruins there (how amazing would that be), but it’s an incredible view of Edinburgh and the lochs surrounding it. Pictures don’t even begin to show how stunning and moving it actually was. I’m not one to be ‘moved’ by going to places and seeing things – usually I think it’s quite a weird thing for people to say, but I was slightly emotional being there. Totally worth the torture to get up there.

The very top! I had to wedge my feet between rocks so I wouldn't fall over when taking this picture

The very top! I had to wedge my feet between rocks so I wouldn’t fall over when taking this picture

It was crazy windy. Taking pictures was really hard because I could barely stand still or hold my phone. I managed to get some good pictures, but it involved a lot of securing myself to the ground and someone quickly grabbing a shot of me. And to top off me being blown around this giant volcano, my hair was a giant mess. I could barely see, and walking on a very rocky surface was a total challenge.

Even with the wind, we did catch fantastic weather and stayed away from the rain most of the time we were outside. It was a fantastic trip and I can’t wait to go to Edinburgh again.