Thursday, February 26, 2009

Horsies and Sheepses

So this is actually from last Wednesday, when we had our horse and sheep practical revision, but I just got the high res pics from Anik, so here they are! I was very glad we had this revision, as I missed the horse session the first time around back in August, and it was nice to practice on the sheepies.

Our group was first with the sheepsies, and we had lots of fun remembering how to do various things such as:
  • remembering general husbandry practices
Free range lamb - it was born early, so it gets to roam around with the ewes!
  • flip them over and general handling and restraint
Anik remembers how to handle angry sheep.. "Baahhh Rammm Eeeweee!"
  • check their age by their teeth (baby teeth are called "milk teeth"; the first pair of adult teeth coming in at 1 year 3 months, then another pair come in every 6 months after that. There are 4 pairs in all, so if it's got all 4 pairs of adult teeth you know it's over 2 years 9 months.
After looking at his teeth. The old man was not happy.
  • guestimating their weight (always a fun task since I'm not used to kgs) (most adult ewes are between 70-80 kgs, rams are 100-120kgs)
  • checking to see if they're male or female (harder than it may seem, specially when you factor in castrations and whatnot, but which will earn you an instant fail if you get it wrong, eek!)
  • assessing body condition and overall health
Bahh Bahh Black Sheep! So cute!

Next we switched with the other group, and got to play with horsies. We learned how to:
  • go into the stable and haltering the horse
At first the horses seemed curious, but the one we used 'Flint' (not this guy) quickly got tired of being led in and out of the stable by 8 separate people.
  • walk the horse up and down to assess gait and lameness issues
Anik coaxes 'Flint' out of the stable
  • trot the horse (or trying to)

A video of me trying to get the old man horse to trot. He was not pleased and wouldn't trot for me. Grr.

  • We also learned about all the different types of brushes used on horses (which led me to believe that horse people are somewhat anal retentive and OCD about their horses, as you have like 9 different types of brushes that can only be used in certain ways, and while some are intuitive, some are not at all)
  • We learned how to lift up the front and back feet, which is useful for checking for rocks or bad shoeing, etc.
  • we also learned how to put a stable bandage a leg, the purpose of which is to add stability to the legs of a horse if it has hurt one of it's legs (contrary to what you'd think, you bandage the other legs because if one leg hurts, the horse will be shifting weight onto the other legs, and as horses are not particularly well-designed animals, they can injure other legs unless you give them stable bandages.
  • Finally we learned how to put on and take off a horse blanket
All in all, it was very fun, and for once I wasn't too unhappy about coming home smelling like animals. Sheep and horses don't smell nearly as bad as cows or pigs. My only problem was that I once again had to suffer a cold shower because the plumbing in my flat stinks.

But that's okay, because I'm moving in 3 days! I may not be living there full time for awhile yet, but I will be there to study, shower, and possibly sleep. Ok that's pretty much everything I would need to do, so basically I'm going to try and get in there as quickly as possible, as the fire alarm that some silly young'un set off at 5am this morning. I can't wait to not live in a dorm!

Tomorrow I'm going shopping with Anik for new flat stuff, and then the rest of the weekend is devoted to studying and more studying (and getting extremely psyched and a little bit packed to move!)

Anyway, so long story short. Animals are fun, I can't wait to move, and my life is going pretty well right now! :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A jam-packed weekend

It is time for the mystery date to be revealed! :) But he reads this, so I have to be nice, heehee (just joking, Stu!)

So we'll start with Friday night, which was very fun. It was Stu's birthday, so I took him out to dinner at Suruchi, a really delicious Indian restaurant that I'd been to once with Pookish, Anik and Jessica. I had I think the same thing as last time (Almond Lamb Curry), and it was just as delicious. I also ordered what I thought was a small amount of Nan bread for us to share, and they brought out this HUGE basket full of Nan. But we just took it away in a doggie bag for later.

Anyway, so after dinner we took the train to Polmont to drop stuff off at meet his parents, then hurried to the train station to catch the Dunblane train to Falkirk. As we got to the platform, a train was already there and we sprinted up the stairs and across to the opposite platform to just barely make the train, and as the doors closed, we realized we'd gotten the wrong one. Oops! Fortunately it was still going to Falkirk, it was just that it was going to the wrong station. So we got a taxi from one station to the other (much to the amusement of the taxi driver), and eventually ended up at Argyl's Pub (not sure if I spelled that properly, but whatever). A bunch of Stu's friends were there, different from the bunch from last weekend, and they were also very nice, and hilarious as well.

I also got to experience my first "Lock-in," which is basically when, if you know the right people (a.k.a. the owner of the pub), the bartenders let you stay in after hours, so no one else can get in, but you get to keep buying drinks even after last call. The bar officially closed about 1 I think, but we were there till half 2. I can't keep up with Scottish drinkers, so I mostly drank water :)

On Saturday, the reception was at this really nice hotel near the Edinburgh airport, set back a ways from the main road, so you felt like you were out in the countryside. The bride, Louise, looked absolutely gorgeous; her dress was something like out of Cinderella, all chiffon and she had a tiara on. I didn't take a pic of her because I thought that'd be a little odd since I don't know her, but she was very nice in the 10 seconds I met her for. Her new husband Lee also seemed very nice, though I only met him as we were leaving. When they had their first dance together they were so adorable together.

Anyway, so now I've kept you all in suspense, meet Stu (and you already know me, of course):

Gotta love the kilt ;)
Sadly I forgot to take that silly scarf-ish thing off before the picture, so you can't fully appreciate my dress, but I'm sure I'll wear it again sometime. Also, I have to mention that there was another girl wearing the EXACT same outfit. Same dress, same shoes. She didn't have a shawl as far as I could tell, but it was very ironic. She was very nice though, I bumped into her in the bathroom and we laughed about what great taste we have :)

I also took some artsy pictures because, well, I didn't want to take random pictures of the party itself, because I didn't know anyone, but I decided I needed more to show of the evening than just the one photo :)
Stu's sporran! Made of seal fur, I think Stu said, though not a baby one, an old dead one :-P
My little clutch bag, and some table confetti.
Closeup of my fantastic shoes because, well, I'm a girl and despite the fact that high heels were clearly designed to torture women, I still love a good high heeled shoe :-P

Annywho, so the reception was very nice, they picked a great band, and they played good music all night long, and there was a buffet with yummy food. I haven't had a good excuse to dress up in awhile, so it was all-in-all a great evening, despite being exhausted from Friday night. We did get up to dance for the last dance, which I think is traditional. Everyone stands in a circle around the bride and groom while they dance. It was a bit cramped cause the dance floor was tiny, but still fun.

On a sidenote, for some reason I'm much less nervous about meeting new people. I'm not quite sure why, but I'm hoping this means I am getting over being so incredibly shy. It also helps that everyone here is extremely nice and welcoming. The only thing I still get nervous about is understanding accents. I'm pretty sure I'm partly deaf or something, because if there's any background noise at all I have a really hard time hearing people talking in general, and combine that with the Scottish accents (which are nonetheless fantastic) makes me feel like a parrot, squawking "WHAT??!" all the time. I'm trying to say "sorry?" or "pardon me?" instead of "what?" because I feel it's less obnoxious, but it's hard to break that habit. I'm getting better at the accents on the whole, especially now that I'm interacting with 'real' Scottish people (as in, not professors who are consciously talking slowly because of all the international students), but I feel like I look like an idiot from time to time because it takes me a few seconds to puzzle out what people are saying to me, haha.

Anyway, I need to get back to studying! Bye all!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

It's been awhile!

It has been a crazy, hectic, roller-coaster ride of a few weeks, but I am back. This will be shortish because I really have to get to studying.

First of all, the weather is beginning to warm up. And by that I mean that it is just very cold, instead of extremely cold. But the crocuses just popped up this last week, so I consider that a good sign as to the coming of spring! I love walking by and seeing thousands of croci all over the place. And when they bloom the smell is just fantastic! I love springtime!
Pretty yellow crocuses (croci?). There were also pretty light purply-blue ones, dark purple ones, white ones, and some purple and yellow ones (which remind me of irises--my favorite flowers!).
So anyway, what's been going on is mainly flat-hunting, and figuring out logistics for next year, on top of classes. Anik and I will be living together starting in 2 weeks, since we found a gorgeous flat right near to uni. Originally we were going to wait till later like everyone else, but we decided to move early in order to avoid the rush as every first year throughout the entire university will be searching for flats at roughly the same time.

Our new flat is about a 2 minute walk from uni, has 2 large bedrooms, a kitchen, living room, 2 showers, a separate bathroom with tub, and all the closet space a girl could ask for! Here are some pics!
Our door is the white one, but we could also use the brown one if we wanted. That little porch out front is ours too I believe.
Gigantic living room to the left as you walk in. TV, stereo, and furniture is all included!
Kitchen off the living room. It's got a washer and dishwasher, a wine rack, and all the pots and pans we could ever need!
I think we decided this was Anik's bedroom. Bed included.
I don't have a picture of the room that is to be my bedroom, but suffice it to say, it is also awesome. Each bedroom has a shower attached (I think they used to be walk-in closets). I am so excited, not only to move out of the flat I'm in now, but also to live with Anik. It's going to be awesome. I cannot wait!

Other than the flat hunt coming to an exciting and wonderful close, I've just been trying to learn the crazy amount of info we're supposed to know. I'm getting more and more overwhelmed with it, but so is everyone else, so we're all in the same boat.

I also had a fantastic Valentine's Day, which involved getting treated to brunch (a full Scottish breakfast with haggis and black pudding and baked beans, etc. Yum!), then to a pub in Falkirk at around 2 with a bunch of people whom I'd never met before, but it was fun nonetheless. Then a film was had, called Serendipity, which I had never seen before. While a very predictable and sappy chick-flick, it was also very cute, and left me smiling.

In upcoming news, on Friday I am taking my Valentine for a birthday dinner, then heading back to Falkirk to go birthday pubbing. Then on Saturday I am going to a Scottish wedding reception. I will be posting lots of pictures, as my date will be wearing full highland dress, and I will be wearing a superbly fabulous dress that will hopefully leave the bride infinitely jealous. :-P Needless to say I am excited. Also it will be fun to see how wedding receptions differ from America. We're not going to the actual wedding, as it's a more intimate wedding, but the wedding reception should be a fun party.

And now, back to studying!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Reminiscing and Planning

I really miss Colby College. I absolutely love it here, but I really miss the lifestyle and friends I had at Colby. When you were bored you could prop your door open and chat with the people that walk by, or go to the next dorm over to be with your friends, or go to pretty much any dorm on campus and there'd be a party going on. This school is just too big, and spread out all across the city, so it makes it difficult to be close to your friends. I'm discovering that more and more I am becoming a person that needs to be surrounded by my friends. I don't know how this bodes for my fantasy of living in a quiet suburb with my future family and multitude of pets, but maybe living in a city is something I could actually do.

I can't wait until this summer, when I can move into a flat with and near my friends (and nearer to school as well). That will make this experience infinitely more enjoyable. I can't wait to have a room I can make my own without having to worry about packing it all up at the end of the year, and I can't wait to get a pet! I've already begun looking for flats, mostly in the Sciennes / Newington area, and am becoming increasingly excited about it.
The blue is the ideal area we're looking to live. The little marker is Summerhall. I live wayyyy the heck out to the left. Much too far away, despite that it's a really great area.
We haven't figured out the logistics of living yet (i.e. who is living with whom, how much we want to pay, etc.), but it has been decided that, at the very least, I will be living with Anik, our ratties (Scabbers, Ratikus and Ezekial Rage), and my future (hopefully cream-coloured) kitten to be named Chai. :)