Scotland is already a beautiful country, but the crisp feeling in the air as the leaves begin to change color enhances everything. October 2021 was my first full month living in Scotland, and it did not disappoint. It was full of beautiful scenery, afternoons in coffee shops, and nights with friends. Here are some highlights:
Viewable from many places in Stirling sits a large hill called Dumyat. Early in the month, I joined my friend, Ariëlle, with a group from my University to climb the 418m tall hill, which was an exhausting and beautiful trip! The top was super windy and cold, but we still got breathtaking views of the surrounding areas. Climbing the hill reminded me of Episode 8 of Star Wars- it was so green and felt like I was on another planet.
A local bar, Kilted Kangaroo, has karaoke nights on Thursdays, which is one of my personal favorite ways to spend an evening. I’ve gone twice with friends so far, and both nights I sang a Queen song (I can’t help myself). I’m already looking forward to future karaoke Thursdays!
Bookshop Day in Edinburgh
One weekend in October, some friends decided to take the train into Edinburgh! The day we chose to go just so happened to be “Bookshop Day” in the UK, and as Publishing students, we had to celebrate. But first, we trudged through the rain to Wanderlust Cafe, an adorable little cafe with great vegan options. Everything we ate was delicious.
Throughout the day, we went to four bookshops, three of which were local and independent. It was so fun looking at different books of every genre- especially seeing ones that we had never seen before. Ariëlle and I even purchased the limited edition tote bags to celebrate the day (pictured below in front of Golden Hare Books).
The five of us had so much fun exploring the city together! We stopped along Victoria Street for some pictures before dinner, and then we headed back to the train station and to Stirling.
Orla Gartland in Glasgow
My first concert since before Covid!! I discovered Orla Gartland about a year ago and have since fallen in love with her music. When I found out she was going to be in Glasgow, and that a couple of my friends loved her as well, I had to go! Abigail and I took a bus into the city and met up with Molly and her boyfriend, Josh. We ate delicious vegan burgers at Bread Meats Bread, got a drink from Spoons, then headed to the Garage for the show! I was a little nervous being around so many people, but everyone there was vaccinated and had recently had a negative covid test (I also kept my mask on just for my own comfort). Orla was amazing, the energy in the room was incredible, and it was such a fun night.
Pumpkin Carving Night
The Halloween spirit was really lacking in the UK, so Catherine and I decided to host a Pumpkin Carving night at our flat! We made the theme “dress as one of your favorite music artists” and invited some friends and it was a blast! We carved pumpkins, had some drinks and pizza, and spent the evening laughing at my fake mustache. Genuinely such a great time!
A Wednesday in Glasgow
After class one Wednesday, some friends took a train into Glasgow to meet up with other friends who live there! We ate lunch at a UK-version of Chipotle, then grabbed some takeaway donuts and coffee before walking through town to the river. We found a place to sit and enjoy our treats while talking and laughing. That day also marked seven years of eating disorder recovery, so it felt very celebratory and special.
Then we explored Waterstones, where I managed not to buy any books, and PlantMama, where I did buy a plant which I named Freddie.
We walked to The Ark, a super cool pub and restaurant. We met up with our other friends there and spent several hours chatting, eating, and drinking (they had vegan Mac and cheese!!). Afterwards, we did some black light mini golf, where I thought I did well but actually scored pretty close to last. It was fun, though, especially the music! Then we took the train back to Stirling, happy with our plant babies.
One of the perks of having a three-day uni week is having longer weekends to have fun (and get work done). One Friday morning, a small group of friends took a train to Balloch to hike around Loch Lomond! We gained about 300m elevation and took a few breaks to eat lunch and take in the views. The hike was gorgeous, from the view of the lake to the haunted-looking forest we climbed through. We ended the day with hot drinks and pastries before getting the train back to Stirling. It was such a fun day!
Halloween Party at Molly’s
Closer to Halloween, Molly hosted a little party at her flat! Pizza, games, and laughs with friends made it such a fun night! I dressed as my favorite movie/book character, Dr. Alan Grant, and ate half a vegan pizza- success!
As much as I love traveling and having big nights out, evenings in are my absolute favorites. From baking cookies to celebrating a graduation with pasta, simply hanging out with friends, sharing stories and memories and warm drinks makes my heart all happy inside.
As for the real reason I’m currently in Scotland, my masters program is going really well! This semester I have three classes, and each week I have three seminars to attend (one per class) and lots of readings and recorded lectures to do. Two of the weekly seminars are online, but I meet up with some friends on campus to attend lectures, work on homework, and go to the gym. We also go to coffee shops a couple times a week to get work done, drink coffee, and inevitably end up chatting.
I had some health issues this month (food poisoning, wisdom tooth pain, throat problems) but honestly those things just reminded me to give myself time to rest and relax. I also had to remember to spend time focusing on myself and loving myself, which is hard when you’re around people all the time and also experience anxiety and FOMO. But I’m learning, and it’s a daily process- one I won’t give up on! I also spent too much money this month but also I worked hard all summer so I deserve it XD
Life is moving crazy fast but I am very happy with where I’m at right now- physically, mentally, academically, relationally. I miss my cats, friends, and family back home (and also coffee creamer) but I am very content with life and thankful for Octobers 💛