A Walk in the Woods

Before we begin, I must warn you that this post will be a wee bit long. A Doozy really.

I finally got around to exploring a little bit of the Estate of the Dalkeith House. It is really large. I didn’t even touch the bulk of the estate and have more to do in regards to walking. In short, it is beautiful. It has forests, a large grassy field, a stables, and more. There are a lot of trails and it is perfect for walking or running down. I still think it is incredible that I get to live here for 3 months. It still gets to me and I don’t want to leave. There is no denying it will be a very sad day come May 11th when I have to go back to America.

Last Friday, Myself and two others got to spend time with our host mother. She is such a sweet lady and I am so glad I got paired with her. She took all three of us on a drive down to Peebles. It is a small town in the north of the borders. During the car ride I got to see the lowlands proper. They are amazing and I hear they compare nothing to the highlands. That astounds me. I guess living in Wisconsin where everything is mostly flat will make any decent sized hill/small mountain look that much more incredible. I saw dozens upon dozens of sheep everywhere as well. Just roaming. I couldn’t believe it. Not even cows have that much roam. Some were very close to the road as well. I remember during the car ride that I couldn’t help but feel inspired and amazed and dazzled all at once. It was such a wonderful feeling to have. I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing it everyday for the rest of my life.

Once we arrived in Peebles, we walked around. It was a nice cozy town that had a reasonably sized church with a clock tower and some pretty good architecture. It didn’t really feel any different from a normal small town back in the United States. Besides the fact that there are actual people on the sidewalks at all times instead of in a car. That is everywhere here though. We walked along the river and it was incredible. It isn’t even the fact that I am in Scotland, it is just that I have never even done this kind of thing before.

On our way back from Peebles we took a different route and stopped along in another town to get Ice Cream. It was FANTASTIC. It was made with fresh milk and it just doesn’t even compare to back home. It was well worth it to have stopped there. A small village called Innerleithen.

After our little road trip, which took about 3-4 hours, we went back to Sheila’s house, our host mum. She has a nice little quaint house in a town called Bonnyrigg. It is only a few miles from Dalkeith. Her granddaughter, Chloe, was there and we all had a nice chat. She made us tea and we ate biscuits. I felt so proper because it was a stereotype come true. It was really good tea as well.

It was then time for Sheila to pick up one of her past host children and bring him to dinner, which left the three of us and Chloe. We had a great time at dinner. We had this chicken soup type meal but it was rather thick and we poured it on a bed of rice. It was so fantastic. We even had wine for dinner as well. Once everything was picked up and put in the dishwasher, it was time for pancakes. We got to flip pancakes without a spatula. It was crazy and luckily I flipped mine without any accidents. We had such a fun time laughing and eating our pancakes. After another chat in the living room, we got taken back to the Dalkeith House. I had such an incredible time to really experience and spend time with an actual local.

The next day, most everyone was out of the house because it was an extended weekend and almost all of them went off on trips. Some people went to Paris, London, St. Andrews, Ireland. It left about six of us in the house. It felt like a ghost town but I quickly adjusted and was happy for alone time. I decided to go to a movie. It was quite a different experience than something in the states. Not sure if it was just the specific theatre I went to, but you didn’t have to buy your ticket before you went to buy concessions. You only needed to hand your ticket over once you were going to go into the actual theatre. The previews were great but they had no warning about turning off cell phones. It only had don’t pirate this movie warnings. Otherwise most everything was the same. At no time did I feel confused or unsure of what to do, though.

Later that night I went to a Ceilidh. It is a party/dance. With specific dances of course. It was another cultural experience so I was all for going. It turned out really fun. At first, I felt a wee out of place because my small group of 4 were the only people our age. The rest were middle age or up or small children. Once the dancing started, I joined it with enthusiasm and learned much on how the dances go. It was rather exhausting, however. I was quite impressed with all the seniors able to last for so long. Sometimes the dances would go on for six minutes or more. May not seem a lot but when constantly dancing it begins to wear you down. It was a lot of fun but by about 10:00pm I was done. No way I could dance anymore. Even the chill of the night air was not enough to cool me down. I regret nothing.

Sunday, I just spent most of my time doing homework and watching a show called Ripper Street. It is rather good. It is like Sherlock Holmes, a crime drama set in London right after the time of Jack the Ripper.

Monday, was a busy day. Met a friend in town and went to the Scottish National Museum. I really like going to history museums like this one. It lets one learn a lot about the past and it is mostly interesting things. It also creates a sense of bewilderment when you realize that the object behind a case is hundreds of years old. There was a ton of stuff to see at the museum. A lot about Scottish clans, a geological display, an Indonesia exhibit, and even animals. They had a T-Rex skeleton there! It was a fantastic day.

Finally, yesterday. I got to go to a high school dance concert. Sheila picked us up and took us to Chloe’s high school. It was quite similar to ours. Except for the greatest thing ever. Their principles are really called headmasters and they have houses AND they have Prefects. I was ecstatic. The dancing was pretty alright. The second half was a lot better than the first one, but all songs were good choices. During the break, hot tea and biscuits were served. It is fun to see those things. During the second half, they had a highland dance performance. That was spectacular! I loved it so much.

So that is all I wrote. Sorry for the essay length to this post. I just get so busy doing all of this stuff that It is hard for me to find the time to actually write it all down. This Friday I take a trip to Glasgow, so that will be quite fun I am sure. Til next time!


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