Friday, July 30, 2010

Scotland! Really!?

I was asked by one of you readers how I chose Scotland. I get asked this a lot when people find out that I'm going to Scotland for college. It's always the same thing. "Scotland! Really!? Now, why Scotland?" I generally make a little joke first. It's usually something along the lines of, "Well, I wanted to get as far away from home as possible and Scotland accepted me." That's only part of the reason. It will be nice to be completely independent and not have to worry about going to see my parents on weekends when all I really want to do is create my own life and hang with my friends. Assuming that I make friends. :) The other reason is that I am mostly Scottish. My mother is MacGregor and my dad is Campbell (no wonder why that marriage didn't last right). I've always been interested in where I came from and I don't mean the childish question of "where do babies come from?" I'm just fascinated by my heritage and since I'm more than 1/2 Scottish it made since for me to go there to learn more about my family. There's also the fact that I love history. I've been learning American history for years and after years of "George Washington was the first president, but he didn't want to be..." and " 1692 Columbus sailed the ocean blue..." you get bored. That's why I'm doing Celtic Studies. I not only get to learn more about me (I'm sure there is going to be a little section on the MacGregors), but I get to learn new history as well.

That's the basic reason why I chose Scotland. How did I find out about it? Well, I really only had one school where I really wanted to apply so she told me to get a Fiske College Guide. It lists colleges, what majors are most common there, how much they cost, and so on. I flipped to UK colleges quite by accident and it fell open to Scotland. I knew that if I had a chance of going to Scotland for college I would do it. So, that's how this adventure started.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Visa Arrived and Account Up

My Visa just arrived! I have my passport back and there's a shiny new Tier 4: Student Visa in it! YAY! And my checking account that allows me access to my college fund is up and running. Double YAY! This means that I'm going to start trying to find flight times that work for me. I'd like to stay until the 17th so I can go to the 16th puppy meeting, but we'll see if that actually happens. I've made the request to stay here until at least after September 11. That's when the garage sale is and I'd love to help out and say good bye to everyone. But, I am definitely allowed into the country now and that makes me very happy.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Question for You

Ok guys! I've been working on my shelves this morning. Now, I have a lot of decorative things such as ceramic dogs, cats, and bunnies. I've decided to keep the ceramic cats and bunnies because if I ever have a daughter I hope she'll love them. I also have a lot of Pooh Bear stuff because I love Pooh Bear. Anyway I'm going to ask you guys if you think I should keep a few of these things for my future kids.

The Medieval Pooh Bear Set. Keep or Sell?
The Spring Time Set. Keep or Sell?

The Three Musketeers Set. Keep or Sell?

Should I Keep or Sell these two dogs. The yellow lab is missing a paw and I was going to glue it back on, but the leg got lost in the move.
The ceramic things I am keeping.

Another ceramic thing I'm keeping.
This is my Angel Bunny. I've decided that she's coming with me. She's old. She's dirty. But she doesn't take up much room and I can't imagine putting her in a box.
The box of things that I'm keeping. These are all things that I want for my kids. This is going to my mom's house where I will entrust her to keep them safe and sound until I give her grand kids. If I keep them here I'm afraid they'll get sold.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Packing: Day 2

No, I haven't just been packing for 2 days, but this is the second day that I'm blogging about it, so hence the title. Anyway, I've been really trying to figure out what I should take, what I should leave, and what I should give away. I've already got a ton to give to my club's fundraiser garage sale, but I'm not even half way done. I know I'll probably get rid of most of my stuffed animals, but I don't want those to go until last. One of my leaders, Candie, has a niece. I have a soft spot for the almost 9-year-old girl (she told us constantly that her birthday was soon when she accompanied us to the Jelly Belly Fun Day) and I've decided that she is the perfect candidate for most of my stuffed animals. I've decided to give her a little stuffed dog, blue bear, and a white bunny wearing a pink dress. I called her Tea Time Bunny. Hopefully I will see her again so I can give them to her in person. As for things that I'm keeping here, I have a box. There are four rabbits in there. Two are baby toys that I've held on to all this time and the other two are toys, but they're for big kids too. :) I'm saving those for my future kids. In the box I also have some wooden letters that spell out the word L-O-V-E. On them there are brown bunnies. I'm probably going to stick my porcelain rabbits in there too. HAHA! You think I like rabbits? I do, but my favourite animal is the Panda not bunnies. Anyway, I've also put my nutcracker in there. He's a gorgeous doll. I begged my parents to get me a nutcracker when I was 6 or something right after I saw the Nutcracker Ballet. Hopefully my future kids will enjoy him as much as I have.

I've thrown away a lot of school papers that I should have thrown out long ago. I'm taking most of my binders with me because my dad told me that those things are really expensive over there. That means I'll take lined paper too of which I have a lot.

Right now my room is a disaster area. Hopefully it'll get better in the next few days.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Packing: Day 1

My Guide Dog Puppy Raising Group, PWAP, is having our annual garage sale fundraiser. With the money we make at the garage sale we pay for bus rides and ferry rides and things like that that will better prepare our puppies to become Guide Dog for blind people. So, what does this mean for me? A great place to get rid of all my extra stuff. I'm starting slowly, but I'm definitely making a dent in the junk in my room. I didn't think I'd ever have to get rid of my monkey tea candle holder, it looks like I might have to. This makes me sad. But all of my decorations and stuffed animals and books aren't going until I've actually started to pack up my room. That makes me happy.

2 months until the first day of classes. YIKES!

Saturday, July 17, 2010


One thing I will not miss is driving. I really don't like it. It makes me stressed and I can't handle all the cars and the people who can't drive. I am looking forward to the day that I don't have to drive everywhere. I mean, right down the street from the the main campus is a nice little pub. I won't be frequenting that very often because they don't have a lot of vegetarian options, but there's also a cafe. I haven't found a Costa(equivalent to our Starbucks) there yet but I'm sure I will once I can spend more time than 2 days there. Anyway, back to driving. I was cut off the other day and I was mad for a second then I saw the person who was driving. He couldn't have been more than 16. He obviously had just gotten his licence so I sort of just waved it off. I said out loud to calm my nerves, "Oh, he's just a kid. He'll learn." JUST A KID! JUST A KID!!! What was I thinking?! I mean, aren't I still just a kid?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

15 Business Days

I got this handy little email telling me that my application was received and "thank you for using the British Consulate in LA". At least I know that my visa application is being reviewed and processed. The email also stated that PB (points based) application usually take 15 business days from the date of the email to fully process. It also said that due to the amount of applications they receive I am unable to ask for updates. Pooh. 15 business days from yesterday? What would that make the date I should expect an email telling me that I was granted a visa or not? Around the 5th of August right? Well, there isn't much I can do but hope and work on other things like packing and bank stuff.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Visa Sent Away

Yesterday I finally mailed in my visa. I meant to throw it in the mail on Friday, the day after my biometrics were done, but...well I don't remember why I didn't but there you go. It did give me the weekend to make sure that I had all the proper documents though. In the large manila envelope that I sent away to the British Consulate in LA was my visa application, my CAS number (this stands for Certificate of Acceptance. for those of you who have never applied for a long visa I need a sponsor to apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa, which is what I applied for, and the University of Aberdeen is my sponsor), a bank statement so they know I have money to live over there for at least a year (Thank you Grandmother Marge and Granddaddy Ed for my college fund hope you guys are having fun in heaven), my proof of residence (which was just my signed lease and copy of the receipt for my down payment for my single study bedroom), and my passport.

I hate mailing off my passport. Why? Well, because I've had one since I was 2 and I feel a little lost without the little book that really proves I'm an American citizen. Not that I ever have to prove that seeing as I was born in Texas and all I have to do is show them a copy of my BC and everything is fine. Anyway, I guess I'm just nervous that it'll get lost. I mean I trust the consulate and everything, but just what happens if it gets lost? I'd have to apply for another one and who knows how long that could take and I need it to get to the UK and if I don't have it I don't get to go to school. Remember when all you needed was to be up to date on all of your shots to go to school?

Thursday, July 8, 2010


I'm officially fingerprinted. that a word? Fingerprinted? Shows you how ready I am to get get my degree in English right? Haha. Anyway, I had to go down the application support centre (no, I'm not getting ready for the UK. I always spell words like this. Colour, get the idea) so my biometrics could be entered in the system. It was a little weird because all I had to do was take a picture and have my fingerprints scanned. They asked me when I made the appointment to bring all these documents and papers but all they looked at was my passport and my appointment confirmation. Sigh...and I cam all prepared too. I had all my proper papers in an accordion folder in the proper order. Oh well, at least that part is over and done. I have to say, it was a little awkward. Living in CA I see many different nationalities all the time. Especially here in the valley. So you can imagine that I was...different while walking into a visa help centre. I kept getting this questioning look that said, "Why are you here? What did you do?" Haha, they were also pretty surprised that I knew how to speak Spanish...well, only a little. But enough to ask a little boy who kept eyeing Rocco (Rocco, for those of you who don't know, is my Guide Dog Puppy in Training) if he wanted to pet my perrito. :) I remember this one time that my mom was in the supermarket in Tennessee and these two guys were talking about her body in derogatory ways in Spanish. She turned right around and said in perfect Spanish, "You might want to watch what you say because you're never sure who can speak what language." HAHA! It made me laugh so hard when she told me that. No one ever thinks that she's fluent in Spanish because she's whiter than I am so she surprises a lot of her classes when they walk in the first day of Spanish. She's got a wonderful accent though. And I'm thankful I'm related to her because I can roll my R's perfectly. In fact when we lived in Costa Rica the old ladies on the island kept telling me what wonderful R's I had. Anyway, off of the rambling now.

I'm getting pretty excited! All I have to do is send in my visa application to the processing centre in Los Angeles.

Monday, July 5, 2010


I've found out what I'll miss when I'm not in the States. I'm really going to miss Baseball. Last night we went to a baseball game and fireworks. I realized how much I really love the game and the feel of sitting in the stands. All last night my acid reflex was really acting up and I kept tasting those garlic fries I downed at the game, but I really didn't care. I got a shirt with my player's name and number on the back and I'll take it with me and I'm hoping to catch a foul ball this season to take too, but it's not the same.

See, I won't exactly miss watching the game because I won't be in Scotland during baseball season. But here in the states you can always find someone to talk to about the game and your team and all that jazz. I won't be able to find many people in Scotland who know much about baseball.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th!

Happy 4th of July everyone! Tonight is a night for fireworks and booze...quite a dangerous combination if you ask me. But that's the American tradition right? We barbecue while drinking beer and shooting off dangerous, flammable rockets.

Today, I can't help but think that this is a very American tradition. It also makes me think about all the things I might actually miss while I'm in Scotland. Someone asked me if I would go down to Sweden to visit my brother during Thanksgiving. I had to remind them that I won't get Thanksgiving week off like students do here in the States. At this moment that's the only holiday that I can think of that I will miss (not miss it like yearn for it, but I won't be here for it) while I'm at school. I do plan on coming home for my 3 1/2 week winter holiday, so I'll be here for both the Winter Solstice and Christmas. But I'm sure that there will be holidays that I'm not use to celebrating that I will take part in during the fall semester. I'm looking forward to experiencing other traditions and a new culture. Most people think that since they speak English in Scotland that I won't really have a culture shock. This is not true.

Everywhere is different regardless of the language they speak. Heck! Someone from California who moves to Texas or Alabama would have a culture shock. :) Even though I know I'll yearn for the traditions of America while I'm gone, I'm really looking forward to this whole culture shock thing.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Visa Picture

I went out with Rocco today to get my Visa Picture. For some reason I can't take good passport pictures (those are what goes on your visa). I always look like I'm trying to, I don't know, swallow my own tongue or something. Oh, well. No one is going to see it anyway. Except for Passport control when I get there and I'm going to look like crap anyway because I will have just spent 14 hours+ travelling. Getting close now. All I have to do visa wise is go to my appointment next Thursday and then send it in.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

First Post

Hey Everyone! Most of you probably know me as Raiser Erin who has raised Freya and is currently raising Rocco for Guide Dogs for the Blind. Most of you also know that Rocco is a "starter puppy" for me because I'm going off to school in September and he'll only be 8 months old. Since I didn't want to clutter my GDB blog with my school adventures I started this blog.

Ok, now that introductions are out of the way you probably want to know where I'm going and what I'll be doing. Even if you don't you're the one who decided to click the link on my GDB blog. ;)

I'm going off to Scotland! That's right! Across the pond I go. Needless to say I'm very excited. Where am I going? I'll be going to the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen Scotland. It's in the North. What I'll be studying there is English and Celtic Studies. Now, the Scottish schooling system is a little different than the American schooling system. In America I would have to do a GE. In Scotland I don't ever have to take math or science again. All I'll be taking are classes involving English and Celtic Studies.

Anyway, check back soon for more updates on my progress of moving and packing. Feel free to ask me any and all questions and I'll answer them to the best of my ability.