Friday, December 18, 2009

Farewell for the present

I've always been quite good at 'goodbyes'. Partly because there are very few people that I genuinely care about and partly because I've always known that, in parting with those few, there was the inevitability of seeing them again. Another part of it may be that it's almost always been me leaving, me going somewhere new, me leaving someone behind. Was it easy to say goodbye to my family and my very best of friends knowing that it'd be at least 9 months before seeing any of them again? Easier than you would think so. Very much easier than you would think. Do I miss them? More than anything - but that doesn't change the fact that it wasn't that hard to leave in the first place.

This has been much different. Here goes good friends all of them, back to their homes all across the world, people that have occupied nearly every day of my existence in the last 4 months, people who I may not have known very long in the grand scheme of things but who nonetheless will be on my mind just as much as my oldest friends, maybe more. Here I am, left behind. Left behind in a foreign country I suppose, but still left behind. Glasgow (and the rest of the UK) gets less and less foreign every day, as things are wont to do.

John, James, Rachael are gone tonight. Ryan and Peter aren't far behind them. I'm leaving too I suppose, but only for a while. I'm coming back. They've all gone to New York, Minnesota, Georgia, Michigan, and New Zealand. There is a definitive uncertainty as to whether I'll see any of them ever again. Would I like to? Hells yes, unequivocally so. Will I? Seems really really unlikely. Which I think is what's getting to me the most right now - that disbelief in spatial seperation. How something so commonplace that it became natural and expected can be transformed into something nearly impossible, just by a thousand miles, is a bit heavy a concept for me to weigh on right now.

I have a book. I bring it with me everywhere and have gotten most all of my friends to sign it. I'd like to share what Peter wrote. Him and Ryan both are at about the same place I am right now. They leave tomorrow. Pete lives in the northernmost tip of New Zealand and that fact is dragging on him quite a bit. Compared to him, I really shouldn't complain. At any rate, here is what he wrote in my book. I think it's quite beautiful.

" This is the family we made
This is who we are
This is where we stand
Our hopes and dreams
have led us here
And may they lead us
together again

And who said that engineers couldn't be good at words?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Estoy yendo viajar a la España en tres días

Which is only slightly disconcerting. I'm not nearly as prepared as I think I ought to be. I'm rubbish at preparation. I imagine that Friday night/Saturday I'll get into looking up a whole bunch of things but right now I'm totally unprepared. I'm okay with that actually and a little excited. I've never enjoyed being prepared. Let's just go get lost in a country that doesn't speak English.

That was another thing. It was my plan to try to get back into Spanish. I know a fair bit and can understand people when they speak sometimes and can read it but I can't speak it a bit. Takes me forever to come up with a sentence. I was hoping to maybe learn a bit more, which I have, but still not as much as I'd like. I'm actually in the midst of writing a letter completely in Spanish to a friend.

Other things I should probably look into:

Where the hell I'm going to sleep
Where/what the hell I'm going to eat
Getting a tent (either here or once I get to Spain)
Transportation from various cities.
Learning useful phrases that I don't know cause I think there are a couple out there that I don't quite know.

Here's one thing I have figured out: An actual travel itinerary, rather, the places I want to and figure I have time to visit. Whether I get to them all or get distracted by something else stands to reason. I do get distracted very easily. Anyways, here's where I plan on going: Málaga, Ronda, Setenil de las Bodegas, Gibraltar, Cadíz, Sevilla, Corbóda, Granada, Albacete, Tarragona, Barcelona.

If there's time left, I'll hit up Madrid too. No Guernica unfortunately ¡Que lástima! Just not enough time I think. Three weeks, 11 cities I think is probably pushing it, especially considering the distance I need to cover.

Oh, there's also the fact that I haven't gotten a flight home yet. Might wanna look into that sometime.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Scots Wae Hae

There are times when it is quite impossible to do anything but love this country. One of my favorite things about Scotland is also one of the biggest differences from home - singing. Perhaps singing isn't exactly the right way to describe it; shouting words loudly as a group would be better. At any rate, it's something that happens here alot more than it does at home and I love it - even though I'm not enough in the know to join in.

Last time I was at King Tut's, the crowd fully sang one of Sergeant's songs, which isn't too unusual to see at concerts except - and this is the part that's amazing - they sang it before Sergeant had even stepped on stage.

As well as this, there's the countless number of times you'll pass a group of people drunk in the street/pub/hallway/flat singing (shouting?) their football team's song. Nothing even close to that even happens at home. People just don't randomly start singing and I want to know why? Why can't we all break out in song for some reason? The only time this has even came close to happening was at a flat party I was at last year. There was shit music blaring (which is a thing that happens at parties I've noticed) and then 'Wonderwall' came on and everyone stopped and sang. Except for me, I thought it was a bit ridiculous at the time. I still do actually. There's a difference between everyone singing along to a song that's playing on the stereo and everyone singing a song just because they fucking can .

Last night my roomate and his friends put on a Christmas dinner in their kitchen and my roomie invited me. Everytime someone spilled a drink, the whole kitchen (about 15 of them) sang part of 'Finland Finland Finland' and then counted down from 8 and in that time the person who spilt had to finish their drink. I don't think that's a widespread cultural thing either. They just decided that they should sing really loudly whenever someone spilled their drink. Fuckin' brilliant. I'm gonna start doing that and screw anyone who looks at me funny. Sometimes you just gotta sing loudly with a large group of people for absolutely no reason.

Also: Before we ate they did (in jest) The Robbie Burns Grace. I looked it up, it's actually called The Selkirk Grace and wasn't written by Robert Burns, he just used it lots I guess? At any rate, the grace itself is quite short but so delightfully Scottish (both linguistically and in attitude) that I'm going to share it (and probably start using it).

" Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
Sae the Lord be thankit.