Mid-term Revelations

And now I want to talk about Edinburgh at present.  (This is the super fun part of waiting forever to blog… you all get to see my split personalities! Teeehee) Let’s be real, if you know me, this is as organized as my ADD lets me get 🙂

Room Evolve Sem 2

My room has evolved… Again 🙂

I’ve been having a moment or two.  You know, one of those “sit back and look at life” moments.  I am the kind of person who has been looking forward to her life, her whole life, if you follow.  I am always looking forward to the next step, waiting for the perfect.  Subconsciously putting my life on hold because I am holding out for what the future holds.

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It still takes my breath away.

For the first time in a VERY long time, my now and my future have collided.  I am happy here not just because I am living out a personal dream and goal, but because I truly feel like God has me right where I need to be.  I am happy because I feel like I belong.  I have spent many years being the odd one out and feeling just ok with it, because I knew who I was and I knew I just needed to find where I fit.  While this might not be where I stay, this is right where I belong, right now.

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My flat mates spoiled me for my birthday!

I have great flat mates who are fast becoming my family.  I feel like their mama bear and feed them my culinary creations… No one seems to complain haha.  They take care of me when I’m to stubborn to take care of myself, and we work through our struggles together that come with living in a foreign country.  I love them, and I will be truly heartbroken when I have to say goodbye in six months.

Valentine Cookies

Valentine’s Day treats 🙂

I have amazing classmates who remind me to LIVE in this awesome place we have all moved to!  They remind me to laugh no matter how rough the classwork is, and to take time to enjoy life instead of holing up in our dungeon *cough cough* er, studio.  We are all here to learn and grow as students, but I am learning so much more from these guys, my favorite goofballs 🙂

Goofy Classmates

I love them all 😀 Nehaa and Cristina | Cecilia | Chu and Christina extricating a bowtie off Kawin 🙂

I am blessed to have found a great church community.  The college-ish folk have accepted me and care for me like I have been there for years!  My dear friend Moira has firmly lodged herself in my heart from day one, and for reasons I still haven’t figured out, spoils me ROTTEN.  She has become my Scottish Grandma, this feisty 75 year old with more spunk than anyone I know.  She offered her HOUSE to my parents and I over Hogmanay, and slept at her neighbor’s house so the three of us could stay together!!! If that ain’t generosity, I don’t know what is.

Cheerleaders

By biggest cheerleaders. The hardest two to be away from…

And always always always, I have the love of my family and friends cheer-leading from 4112 miles away.  My heart aches from missing you, but the encouragement you send keeps me going when I feel like breaking down. You are all the reasons I had the courage to go on my big adventure.

Love from Home

Love from home 🙂

I am still learning, still loving, still laughing, still making mistakes.  I look a little less like a doe-eyed tourist and still explore the crevices of this old city.  It’s weird to think back to where I was last year and to imagine what I would be doing if I hadn’t said yes to this crazy adventure.  It makes me even more thankful to the people who kicked me out the door and told me not to be afraid, to live this adventure with my coattails blazing!  Even though I don’t know where I’m headed, I just keep walking where God tells me and find joy in knowing I am where he wants me to be 🙂

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Haggis, Neeps and Tatties for Burn’s Night! That’s about as Scottish as it gets 🙂

Love and Laughs,

-Taylor

Smoke-free Amsterdam?!

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Yes, I Am-sterdammed 🙂

Ok I know It’s been awhile since I’ve done a post… I’m sorry!  Second semester hit like a ton of bricks right at the start, with a big project submission (that I COULD have worked on over break, but I went on an adventure instead) an all day field trip to our semester project site, learning new software, a week-long field trip to the Scottish Borders and Newcastle, and this week yet again more submissions.  And life in there somewhere.  So yes, I am a terrible blogger, but I’m first a mediocre student! I gotta get school done before I can play 🙂 will TRY to get a few more out there this week!

First things first! I promised trip updates!

Oh Amsterdam… Such a bizarre conundrum you are!!

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Who am I to disagree? Annie Lennox for the win!

After Belgium I caught the bus to Amsterdam, or what I thought was Amsterdam!  Listen up kids- take out your earplugs when the bus driver is talking, or you may get off where you don’t want to!  I got off the bus and wandered to the train station, then asked the info desk man where Marnixsraat was… he told me Amsterdam.

Me: “Um… does that mean I’m not in Amsterdam??”

Info desk man: “Yes.  You’re in Utrecht.”

Me: “Oh… How do I get to Amsterdam??”

Info desk man: “Get a ticket and catch the train behind you.”

Awesome.  One hour after my expected arrival I made it to Amsterdam!  The tram took me straight to Marnixstraat (Marnix Street) and I settled into my dorm, just me and 14 empty beds!  Sounds ok to me 🙂

Here’s the big kicker: what do you do in Amsterdam, the city of pot and prostitution, if you have no interest in getting high or -well- other stuff??  Amsterdam really has an amazing history and beautiful beautiful architecture, so I started there.  I KNEW I wanted to see Anne Frank Haus, and that’s exactly what I did on my first morning.

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Anne Frank Haus. You would never know there were eight people hiding the back rooms of the house.

Everybody!  Yes, you too!  I need your attention!! Go to Anne Frank Haus.  Today.  Your life will never be the same.  If you have read her diary it’s just fantastic to see the pages come to life.  If you haven’t read it- what are you waiting for?!? Go read it, then go to her house!!

But in all seriousness, Anne Frank Haus left a mark on my memory I hope never fades.  The sheer perseverance a human is capable of, and the ability to stay human, to still love, in the face of all adversity.  She was not a hero.  She was not a perfect, happy little girl.  She was a nervous, anxious, extremely perceptive young woman who had no one to talk to except her diary, and she spoke of life with insight well beyond her fourteen years.  She dreamed of being a famous journalist, and her father ensured the world would know her name.

Anne is a wonderful reminder to live your life, to live each day with love and laughter, and to cherish what you have while you have it.  You never know when your world could unravel.  Emma Thompson said in a speech that circulates through the main floor- “her ‘what-ifs’ are our opportunities” and Emma is right.  We can learn from the heartache of the past by taking the opportunity to change our lives.

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Cool modern art set against beautiful old architecture 🙂 This non-architect can not tell you ANYTHING about it…

Moving along, I kept at it trying to keep myself busy.  Another solution to not being interested in the, er, ‘major attractions,’ is to walk.  A lot.  It was about this point in my journey I started crunching numbers and realized I REALLY didn’t need to see all the museums and attractions, because I REALLY didn’t want to spend money on them.  I made a decision to see ONE major attraction in each city, and spend the rest of the time just seeing the city itself.

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Love the canals 🙂

Amsterdam was a great place to start this practice because the ONE other place I wanted to see was the Van Gogh museum, and it wasn’t cheap.  I’m super glad I went though!  My perception of Van Gogh before visiting the museum was that he was a moody, eccentric, mentally troubled man who happened to paint really well.  I couldn’t have been more wrong!  (Even though he DOES paint really well).Van Gogh, as soon as he realized he wanted to paint, spent the rest of his life pursuing perfection.  He studied and studied and sketched and inquired and tried new things.  He moved to Paris because he knew it was where all the best painters were.  He painted until the day he died, still working towards his perfect ideal for himself.

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Starting to get the hang of this world travelling stuff!

The rest of my time and most of the last day of the trip was spent window shopping and writing my paper!  I’m really starting to make progress and getting some good points down.  The hotel staff think I’m insane for sitting on my tablet instead of exploring the city… But I’m saving my money for the rest of the trip 🙂

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This backpack has officially reached full-on champ status.

An easy bus, a delayed plane (and a chatty German who looks JUST like my old roommate Becca’s brother… The perfect doppleganger!) and I was jumping into yet another country!  My first German adventure is coming up next!

Keep smiling!

Love and Laughs,

-Taylor