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on the weekend (what’s a weekend?) and homes away from home

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Okay, so it’s been a long time since my last update—sorry! I promise to be better in the future. For a while I had no idea what to write about, then school got quite busy, and then I began to feel like I wasn’t doing enough in terms of experiencing Edinburgh because all I do is sit in cafes and read (I can’t complain about that, though, because it’s all I ever really want to do anyway). But I feel like I’ve reached a point where I’ve figured out how to manage the work, experience this wonderful city, and socialise with everyone I care to socialise with. It’s a challenge, but one that I’m totally willing to take on. [Guaranteed this will all change when I have to start thinking about term papers, but I don’t want to think about that quite yet. I am slightly (read: majorly, immensely, entirely) terrified of the level of insanity and general mental unrest that will bring.]

Me during essay/dissertation season. I only slightly exaggerate.

Anyway, I just had a lovely weekend with friends from my program. My weekend tends to start on Wednesday as I am finished class for the week by eleven o’clock Wednesday morning. We’ve started a little tradition of going out for coffee/early lunch each week and last week around ten of us took over Elephant and Bagel, the sister café to The Elephant House, which you will remember from my first Edinburgh blog and the place where Jo wrote Philosopher’s Stone. Elephant and Bagel is right near central campus and is far more low-key and serves everything you could ever want on a bagel. At this lunch we decided to go see Midnight in Paris (2011) that night. I had already seen this film but was eager to see it again as I enjoyed it so much the first time. Although I loved seeing it with Ally and Jamie in Ottawa this summer, seeing it with 8 other Literature and Modernity students was amazing as I was no longer “that person” in the theatre laughing at all the Obscure Literary References that no one else gets. Where we come from we measure our lives in coke spoons. Enough said.

On Friday several of us decided to walk up Calton Hill. This walk is nothing compared to Arthur’s Seat (which I’ve yet to tackle) but we said we’d tell everyone that it was a strenuous hike and we felt so accomplished after climbing the stairs cliff. Despite the rather underwhelming climb to the top of Calton Hill, the view from the top is phenomenal. It was lovely to see down to Leith and to watch others crest the peak of Arthur’s Seat—let’s just say it was inspiration for my future hike up Edinburgh’s extinct volcano. Unfortunately the sky was rather overcast, so the photographs aren’t quite as I’d consider ideal, but they’re beautiful nonetheless. Have I mentioned that I am constantly amazed by this city? There was a moment atop the hill after I had just captured a photograph of the low-lying New Town, turned around and was staring at what could easily be the middle of the countryside. With some headphones and blinders it would be so easy to forget you’re in a city at all. Unbelievable.

City... Country... Seriously, how is this possible?

Following our jaunt up the hill one friend invited us over to her new flat in Stockbridge for teatime. Stockbridge is in New Town, which is the Yorkville/Notting Hill/ I won’t say Upper East, but Upper West Side of Edinburgh, if you will. It’s lovely. I mean, Old Town is far more authentic and historical and I’m so pleased I live and go to school there, but there is definitely a certain charm to New Town that I love. The city switches from the winding and multi-leveled streets of Old Town to a more familiar grid system north of Princes Street and the streets in this area are lined with lovely Georgian townhouses, boutique coffee shops, and a seemingly disproportionate number of cycling stores. On our way to her flat we stopped at an adorable cupcake shop called Bibi’s where we retrieved cupcakes for our tea. I have to say that this afternoon (and eventual night) we spent in this flat was so lovely as it just felt so homey. I can’t complain about having somewhere to live that required little-to-no hassle, but I would so love to live somewhere where I can sit somewhere other than my room to read and relax, and where I don’t have to plan my dinners around the six other people trying to use the hob. Beyond that, even the ability to cook a proper dinner in a setting that is conducive to having friends over would be a blessing. I just would love to live in a setting that makes me feel like I actually live in Edinburgh, as opposed to temporarily living here. Basically, I’m saying I’d rather freeze in a drafty, old, New Town flat than stay warm in a University-run, well-insulated, residence hall.

tea time!

I apologise for the tangent, but I guess if I were to give advice to a student who is considering studying abroad, I would suggest that you try to find private accommodation instead of settling with University accommodation. This is, of course, easier when doing postgraduate work because your programme (especially taught programmes) generally foster great friendships and you don’t necessarily need the basis of accommodation to get to know people like you do during your undergrad, in most cases. Of course, university accommodation is practical for many reasons, and definitely was/is for me, I just wish it felt a little less like halls sometimes.

Anyway, the rest of Friday evening was brilliant. We ran out to Sainsbury’s to get ingredients to make Spag Bol, which basically meant several bottles of Sainsbury’s £4 wine and some 85p pasta. As we ate/drank wine we watched Downton Abbey, which is this amazing itv period drama feature Maggie Smith and Hugh Bonneville among other amazing brit actors. It’s phenomenal and a must watch. When you finish reading this blog you must go watch it. MUST, I tell you. You will not regret it.

The tail-end of my weekend was just as eventful as the first half. Saturday morning I woke up early and headed up to the castle where there’s a weekly farmers’ market. I didn’t buy anything really, as I wasn’t heading back to my flat afterwards, but it had quite the selection of locally grown/made items. I hadn’t yet eaten breakfast so I got some proper Scottish oatmeal at a cart. They had several different toppings for the oatmeal to choose from and it was a tough call between vintage marmalade and whisky and honey. I couldn’t resist trying whisky and honey, though and I have to say that it was AMAZING. Yes, it was before noon, but there was only a wee, WEE dram poured on top. WEE, I tell you. Stop looking at me like that, I can see the judgment in your glare. Yes, I had whisky for breakfast. I’M IN SCOTLAND! IT’S WHAT WE DO. [Speaking of whisky… it’s all I drink now. Well, that and red wine, but at bars it’s only whisky. It just feels like the right thing to do, plus it’s cheaper than other drinks. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t having a dram as I write this blog…stop judging]

me in a graveyard with whisky-topped porridge. yep. scotland, folks.

Following the farmer’s market, we (Caoimhe and I) walked through a graveyard next to the castle. It was quite impressive, especially in the magnificent Edinburgh sun. Changing tones completely, we went to a little teashop in New Town where we had—wait for it—a pot of tea and read Virginia Woolf for our class we had this week. Following tea we went to our friend’s flat for tea and CARROT CAKE she made that morning. Oh my god it was wonderful. We then watched more Downton and then headed back to our respective flats to continue reading our absurd amount of class material.

Sunday was another great day in Edinburgh and midday was occupied by hitting up a proper CAR BOOT SALE. It was as awesome as it sounds, I promise you. I picked up some old china teacups and saucers, and other general trinket-y things. This car boot sale occupies the lower level of a parking structure just off Princes Street and is magnificently vast. We were there for two hours and we got through just about half of the cars. I think a second trip is in order.

I loved this past weekend in Edinburgh. I finally began to feel like I properly live here, and I think that’s what any student going abroad looks for: a sense of belonging where you don’t necessarily belong, an ability to feel at home wherever you go… Although I do wish I had a “real” flat here, there are many other ways to really get a sense for living in a new place and capturing what “real life” is like (because, let’s be honest, student life isn’t really “real life”). Of course, doing the “touristy” things is necessary for experiencing a new place, but there’s so much out there that can make the place where you happen to be studying into the place where you happen to live. Good friends, local food, cheap wine, and car boot sales. That’s all it takes.


Song of the Day: “Knots” by Lisa Hannigan. You know Damien Rice? You know how a girl with a fantastic voice accompanies him on both O and 9? Yeah, that’s Lisa. She’s amazing. Very much her own style, but I frankly think she’s far more pleasant to listen to. DO IT. Downton Abbey and Lisa Hannigan. Do. It.


SIDEBAR: My blog is famous! Not really, but it’s featured on this website! (See my face? SEE IT?) I encourage you to go check out the site if you’re considering studying abroad at some point. I know most of you who read this have graduated, but if you haven’t, you should consider it. Truthfully. You won’t regret it.


A Scottish Thanksgiving

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Happy Thanksgiving, Canadian friends! As a Canadian living in Scotland (a land without a Thanksgiving celebration of any sort) with two American flatmates (who are lovely but don’t believe in Canadian Thanksgiving) I felt it necessary to attempt some sort of Thanksgiving feast on this rainy autumn Sunday. My flat’s oven is far too small for a quail let alone a turkey and my kitchen supplies are terribly limited (it’s killing me, you guys. I don’t even have MIXING BOWLS. Or a WOODEN SPOON. #firstworldproblems) so I had to improvise.

After some browsing of foodie-blogs I found a recipe for Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie that I decided to alter a bit to make it more Thanksgiving-esque. The pie incorporates many aspects of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner (turkey, carrots, turnip, peas, sweet potato etc.) and–served with dressing, cranberry sauce, and gravy–made an excellent alternative to the typical feast, and is excellent substitute for anyone who is short on time and/or kitchen supplies!

I desperately need to read more T.S. Eliot before bed, so without further ado, the recipe!

Thanksgiving Cottage Pie


  • 2 lb extra-lean ground turkey
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce (preferably unsweetened. Trust me, it’s delicious)
  • 3 ribs celery, finely chopped
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 turnip, (about 8 oz/225 g) peeled and diced
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sodium-reduced chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-1/2 tsp Worstershire Sauce
  • 4 lb sweet potatoes, (about 3) peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp butter


In Dutch oven, cook turkey and garlic over medium heat, breaking up with spoon, until browned, about 10 minutes. Stir in apple sauce; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
Stir in celery, onions, carrots, turnip, green peas, bay leaves, 3/4 tsp of the salt, the thyme, pepper and nutmeg. Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.

Stir in flour; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in broth, water and Worcestershire sauce; simmer for 3 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Spread in large rectangular baking dish.

Meanwhile, in large pot of boiling salted water, cook sweet potatoes until tender, about 12 minutes. Drain and return to pot over medium heat; cook, stirring, until dry, about 1 minute. Stir in milk, butter and remaining sa< mash until smooth. Spread evenly over turkey mixture.

Bake the pies in 350°F (180°C) oven until bubbly, about 35 minutes.

Serve with Newfoundland Dressing, Cranberry Sauce and Gravy for the full Thanksgiving Effect.
Adapted from Canadian Living


my journey, my first week, and endless love

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I’m just over a week into living in Edinburgh and I’m loving it so far. Last week was insanely busy with moving into my flat, endless Freshers’ events, and just generally getting settled. I thought I’d be starting class this week, but it turns out that my actual classes don’t start until the week of the 26th, so I have this week to continue to get settled and attend a couple lectures on “Research Methods” before really getting into my coursework. I’m a little anxious to get started but I think, in the long run, I’ll appreciate the extended “summer” as it gives me a little extra time to really get my bearings here.

Anyway, Freshers’ mostly consisted of multiple “wine and cheese” events which, in Uni standards, means cheap wine from Tesco (often from a box) and a hunk of cheddar with a grape on a toothpick. However, I cannot complain about free wine (and cheese…cheese is awesome) so yeah… It’s been quite alright. I’ve gone “out” almost every night with a couple of my flatmates and/or people from my program or people I’ve randomly met at some of these events that involve free wine. What I’ve loved about my postgrad experience so far is that everyone’s in the same boat here. Most students who are doing their postgrad degrees here aren’t here with people they know like many students are in their first year of undergrad–no one knows each other from “high school” or what have you so everyone really wants to meet people, which makes all of the wine-networking events so much easier; it’s no longer “awkward” to just approach someone you don’t know and say “hi, I’m Samantha.” It sounds so simple, but it’s such a valuable life-skill to have. Of course, I do know a couple people here from Queen’s (*cough* Fraser and Caoimhe *cough*) so it’s been nice to have a little bit of home here (though I didn’t know either of them actually at Queen’s, but when you meet a fellow Queen’s student outside of K-town you essentially become insta-bffs… I exaggerate but you know what I mean. It’s a special thing to be a Queen’s student, whether you’re there for four years or only one.). Overall, though, this week has been great and I’m looking forward to the rest of the school year; it’s going to be incredible. 

This is a relatively short post, but I have one more thing to share! On my trip over here I used my wonderful Nikon D3100 (from some lovely relatives who gave me such generous graduation gifts–thank you, by the way) to film some of the journey. Excuse me why I go all “hipster” on you and share from travel footage I cut together, set to Wolfmother and The Wooden Sky, and uploaded to Vimeo (I know, I’m sorry). Without further ado?


Things I learned this week: Do NOT (I repeat: do NOT) watch videos like this and this and THIS (thanks, Jamie) when you come home from the bar. *cries* I LOVE YOU, QUEEN’S. I may finally be in the UK at one of the Top 20 Universities in the world (it’s true), but I will NEVER trade my time at Queen’s for anything. You got me here.

First Impressions

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Days until Edinburgh: 0


The subtitle of my blog is finally relevant! As of  around 18:00 BST yesterday I am officially blogging on “life in Edinburgh” and—I have to say—I already love it. When I arrived at Edinburgh Waverly train station it was a tad chilly (I was so glad) but it was surprisingly not raining! However, in the time it took me to get my bags from the luggage car and get a cab it started to pour. As much as the rain may dampen one’s visit to any other city in the world, I don’t think anyone should see Edinburgh for the first time in the sun. As I rode in the cab for that brief five minutes in the rain, I couldn’t believe how stunning the city was and how instantly felt like living here could be so incredibly simple.

The hostel I am staying at (Castle Rock Hostel) is, as you can tell by the name, is right at the base of Edinburgh Castle, which is nestled so comfortably on top of a rock it looks as if it was carved out of the rock itself. I quickly got settled at the Hostel and then changed before heading out. I didn’t have rainboots or even an umbrella with me as they were too difficult to pack, but I was willing to “granny-it” for a bit until I could pick up an over-priced umbrella from one of the touristy shops on the Royal Mile. Funnily enough—and in true Edinburgh fashion—the rain ended just as I stepped out of the front door. I turned right to head toward the Royal Mile and saw a church steeple just basked in Edinburgh’s last-minute sunset and thought that I couldn’t possibly be going to school in this town.

What I saw as I stepped out of Castle Rock Hostel.

Since the rain miraculously stopped I decided to make the most of it and take a stroll down the High Street as it was nearly empty after the sudden storm I somehow managed to avoid. This city is just stunning—have I said that already? I mean, I knew it was beautiful but any expectations I had in my mind were instantly outdone by the city in front of me.  How a city can outdo itself is beyond me.

I veered off the Royal Mile when I got to the strange and wonderful Scottish Parliament and somehow (and when I say somehow, I mean somehow…I was totally lost) ended up on Princes Street where I hoped to find a Boots to get some stuff to shower with. However everything, including Boots, closes quite early so that mission was a complete failure. (Full disclosure: I haven’t showered with soap since Tuesday afternoon. Yes, I am a dirty kid, but I didn’t have a choice!) [Editor’s note: I acquired toiletries on Thursday morning and will shower after I return from writing this blog post. I apologise for sharing with you this interference with my hygiene maintenance.] By the end of my walk down a completely shuttered Princes Street I was exhausted after hardly sleeping in the past twenty-four hours that I headed back to the hostel, but not without having a quick supper of sausage and mash and a large glass of red wine at the pub next door.

After a surprisingly great sleep on Wednesday night, I got up around 9:30 this morning and dressed for a rainy day in Edinburgh as the forecast said it would inevitably be rainy today. When I stepped outside, though, it was beautiful and sunny out! My goal this morning was to find out how to unlock my iPhone to set up a SIM plan so I climbed a massive set of stairs across the street of my hostel that brought me to the very top of the Royal Mile and the entrance to Edinburgh castle and found my way, yet again, to Princes Street. Eventually the clerks at several phone companies directed me to a little place on North Bridge that would do it for me. Twenty quid and an hour’s wait and my phone is successfully unlocked. I can’t set up a plan until I have a bank account, so it may be a week until I have regular phone service, but I will have unlimited internet starting Saturday, so hurrah for that!

Following that task I set out to find where I am sitting right now writing this blog. It’s just this little café where this little-known author wrote this obscure book about an orphan-boy who lives with his horrible aunt and uncle until he finds out he’s a wizard and goes away to a magical boarding school called Hogwarts. Have you heard of it?

Too excited to even think about taking a second picture without a barrier and a car in the way...

Of course you have. I am definitely sitting in The Elephant House right now, eating a smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich and drinking an extremely large pot of Darjeeling tea. I am sitting in the same place where J.K. freaking Rowling sat when she was writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. WHAT IS MY LIFE? My original plan for this little pilgrimage was to FINALLY log-on to Pottermore as a symbolic/ceremonial gesture (oh, yeah I didn’t mention it on here yet but I RECEIVED MY POTTERMORE EMAIL ON TUESDAY! HURRAH! However, I haven’t had solid WiFi  since I left so I haven’t logged on yet… I know it’s killing me too.) but they don’t have a WiFi network here so, I just have to wait even LONGER. However, that discovery has officially made this an excellent study/writing spot as the internet cannot distract me here! Plus, it’s across the street from the National Library of Scotland, so its location is quite intuitive for me! After I finish my tea I think I’ll head over there and get a library card and maybe hook into their WiFi to log-on to Pottermore.

Tea and I (I sacrificed the rhyme of "Tea and Me" for grammar) in The Elephant House

Anyway, The Elephant House is amazing and I feel like its a place I will definitely frequent. The tea is brilliant (£2 for a GIANT pot), they have smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches, they’re playing Bon Iver’s, For Emma, Forever Ago and I will always be connected to Harry here (Ally, you and I should just live here, seriously.). They also have an Elephant House mug for sale, which I may just have to buy because you all know I have a thing for mugs and I also don’t have a mug to drink tea out of once I get to my flat! It’s red and pretty…  I’m totally doing it. The café is just lovely and it’s actually not that busy here. I mean, I’m sitting in the window so I think I’m in about 50 different people’s travel photographs, but otherwise it doesn’t get too much traffic inside. It’s also next to this adorable little bookshop where—I will not lie—I purchased a beautiful used edition of The Oxford Book of Scottish Verse. It has a thistle on the cover and the shop was so lovely and the owner was the cutest and kindest little old man you’ll ever meet and—yeah. I’ve been here less than twenty-four hours and I’ve already purchased a book… typical.

Lastly, I miss you all, but I definitely love it here! I can’t wait to get to know the city better and show you all around when you come to visit me. 🙂

This post is getting a little lengthy so I will end it here (also, my tea is getting cold). Since I’m not counting down until Edinburgh anymore, I need something new to throw at the end of my posts. Any suggestions?  I think, for today at least, I’ll pick a song to share with you all.

Today’s Song: Such Great Heights – Iron and Wine (this was playing when I first walked into The Elephant House… it reminds me of high school when I first earned the reputation as “Harry Potter Girl” so it’s fitting…)

[A blog post (and possibly a video!) about my journey to Edinburgh coming later…]


A Conversation

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Me (rational): “You are going to Edinburgh, Sam. Do not feel sad about not being at Queen’s.”

Me (bleeding tricolour): “But…QUEEN’S! QP and Alfie’s and the Gaels and Tams and the Oil Thigh and Ba-”

Me (rational): “There are bagpipes in Edinburgh. A lot of them. You are going to the home of bagpipes.”

Me (bleeding tricolour): “But…”

Me (rational): “No.”

Me (bleeding tricolour): “Queen’s?”

Me (rational): “Well, always… but you’re going to Edinburgh! In two days!”

Me (bleeding tricolour): “Alright… just one more thing?”

Me (rational): “Yeah?”

Me (bleeding tricolour): “OOOOOOOOOOOOO!”


Oilthigh na Banrighinn a’ Bhanrighinn gu bràth!

Oilthigh na Banrighinn a’ Bhanrighinn gu bràth!

Oilthigh na Banrighinn a’ Bhanrighinn gu bràth!

Cha ghèill! Cha ghèill! Cha ghèill!


Half-time at Fauxcoming, 2010. Cha Gheill!

Days until AC 848: pretty much 1 (holy crap)

Days until Edinburgh: 2

For recent Queen’s Alumni in the comments: What are you going to miss most about Queen’s during this, our first year away from K-town?

What am I going to miss? Being around all of you, of course! …and QP Cheesy Breadsticks. But seriously, just all of you.

Space Bags

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This is just a brief post to let you know that I am busy packing away my life and attempting to fit it all into one suitcase and one backpack. Over the past couple days I have taken an inventory of my clothes (see fig. 1) and now I am starting to fill my newly acquired Space Bags with said clothes to help aid the “one suitcase” situation. I have confidence that everything will fit, but we’ll see how I feel come Monday afternoon when I start to enter my panic mode.

Fig. 1. My wardrobe inventory. I evidently have a lot of clothes...

I think the worst part about packing is knowing exactly what I’m going to wear in my first few days in Edinburgh so I can pack those clothes in my backpack so I don’t have to even bother with my suitcase at the hostel. As most of you know, I have clothing ADD and I can hardly maintain one outfit for a whole day, let alone plan my outfits days in advance. At least the forecast is consistent, so I don’t have to pack for several seasons.

Fig. 2. Consistently cloudy with a definite chance of rain. Welcome to Edinburgh, Sam!

Anyway, I must be off; I’m going to go have fun with a vacuum cleaner and my Space Bags.

Days until AC848: 2
Days until Edinburgh: 3

[note: upon reading this post back I realize I have to add a giant #FirstWorldProblems hashtag. Good god, Porter.]

On Staples and Tights

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Today is a beautiful, sunny day in Toronto. I would estimate it is near thirty degrees outside with only a slight haze; a perfect day for strolls in the beach, a cute sundress, and ice cream from Ed’s. But, as I sit in my freezing cold office doing everything that I am not supposed to do while at work, all I can think about is eighteen degree highs, rain, tea, and my fall wardrobe. I feel like this every year at this time because late August always meant back-to-school shopping. Like many love the smell of lilacs in June or sunscreen in July; I love the smell of Staples in August.

Yes, I’m serious.

I truly cannot be the only one who feels this way. I mean, walking into that overly air conditioned store that is in every strip mall across North America each August to pick out your binders, notebooks, duotangs (remember duotangs?), the perfect pen, a new and totally unnecessary pencil case (spacemakers, anyone?), and yet another geometry set was possibly the most satisfying, not to mention most successful, shopping trip of the year. If you were like me, you went into Staples with a colour scheme in mind and everything would coordinate perfectly. If you were lucky, you left with a new set of pencil crayons or, from about 1999-2003, a pack of gel pens in various glittery or metallic colours that you loved but your teachers loathed entirely. Remember the year of those clear, frosted plastic binders with the coloured spines, designed to resemble the new macbooks? By mid-August that year those binders had status akin to Cabbage Patch Kids, the original Iggy the Iguana, or a holographic Charizard card. Maybe it is only me that felt that way about those binders, but man, I wanted them so badly. My back-to-school shopping trips of late have been less epic , less flashy, and more expensive (the Staples trip has been replaced by an annual trip to the campus bookstore), but this time of year still sends me into the back-to-school zone: craving class and longing for fall.

Fall is definitely my favourite season. Well, there are things I love about each season; the feeling when you can finally leave the house without your winter jacket on that first real day of spring, lying lakeside in the sun sipping Pimm’s in the summer, and Christmas—need I say more? But there’s something about fall that symbolizes some sort of rebirth. Yes, I know that fall is technically when everything begins to die but, for me anyway, fall is more of a beginning than any other season. Maybe it’s because I have yet to break out of the school-cycle, but even still, there’s nothing like a fresh start in the fall. It’s also a season of anticipation; there’s a lot of holidays in fall and into December that are just so magnificent in so many ways. There’s Thanksgiving (both Canadian and American, though Canada’s is obviously the more real of the Thanksgivings), my Birthday, Halloween, then the two-month long anticipation of Christmas and the other winter holidays. I just love it. Another thing I love about fall is  the food; pumpkin and other squash, everything is nutty. creamy, spicy, delicious and warm in the brilliant warm colours one can imagine. Finally—and excuse me while I get a little bit girly here—but the clothes. Tweed, and suede, and leather, and wool, oh my! If I could, I  would live my whole life in my fall clothes. I live for fall weather. Remember in elementary school when you’d get a back-to-school outfit that usually consisted of wool sweater, a long sleeve shirt and cords of some variety? Then you would go to school that Tuesday after Labour day all enthusiastic about school and your new fall outfit and then you would absolutely boil at recess because, in Toronto, just because you are back at school doesn’t mean summer is over? I would have given anything for it to be seasonably appropriate to wear a pointedly fall-inspired outfit on the first day of school. Well, apparently that “anything” I’d give is an international student’s tuition at the University of Edinburgh.

Edinburgh has the perfect weather for me. Yes, it rains all the time. But I hear the temperature rarely goes over twenty degrees! And even in winter it rarely falls below minus five! This summer I came across a personal/fashion blog of a girl living in Edinburgh and from her pictures it seems like it is seasonably appropriate to wear tights in the summer. TIGHTS! They’re my favourite thing! I tried this last week because I really wanted to wear this dress I have, but it is totally not work appropriate without tights.; let me just say that it was a terrible idea. At work it was not horrible because, as I said, it is freezing here. However, wearing tights on the streetcar after work? Merlin, help me, it was awful. Long story short, I am thrilled to be arriving in Edinburgh oh, so soon, so I can enthusiastically embrace its fall weather.

I hereby raise my invisible dram of whiskey to fall, school supplies and tights… because they rock.


Days until Edinburgh: 19


Some questions for the comments!

What was your favourite school supply growing up? Mini-stapler? Mr. Sketch Scented Markers? Were you a Five-Star or a Hilroy kid? Let me know!

Now that’s we are “all grown up” is there something you are longing for as we head into fall? Clothing, school supplies, a certain book or reference text? Personally, I’m lusting after this bag from Fossil. I can haz?