Friday, August 31, 2012

Tuition Fees and Advisor Appointment

So apparently my tuition has risen. *sigh* On Tuesday I went into campus to ask if this was correct and if it was why it had happened. The woman called the tuition department and they said that it had risen due to normal inflation and that I should have been notified when I accepted my place that this could happen. Only problem with that is that I was told I was on a fixed rate which means that I would pay the exact same thing through all four years of University. Man, someone screwed up big time there! And because I was told this I decided to check with my other Californian friend. Hers has gone up the same amount. So, I guess it's really true. But five hundred pounds seems like a lot when you think about it. I guess it's still cheaper than if I went to the University of my choice back in the states so it's really not that big of a deal. But what really gets me is that I did not receive any notification of this raise until I went into the online registration to change passwords, update personal information, and pay my tuition fees. You'd think that if they are going to raise tuition they would send out and email when it happened saying "We're sorry this has happened, but your fees have been raised." Just out of courtesy right?

All it means for me is that I have to be a little more frugal this year. I mean, I'm already very money conscious but I really don't think I can afford to have one of my fleeting and rare "spend money" moods. Especially since I'll have two or three big, expensive psychology books to buy this semester. So, it's a mild inconvenience for me and my wardrobe but I know for my friend it's a bit more. Since there was no notification she's gotta see if she can change her loan now. She's raised a little storm asking why they didn't notify he when they decided to raise the fees which is good. One of us should. Or both of us! Which is why I'm going in person today to pay the fees and tell them off a little.

But besides bitching and checking about tuition fees yesterday when I went to use the University Internet (our still wasn't set up in the afternoon but is working now!) I checked on my advisor appointment. It was finally scheduled. What a relief for me. I was beginning to get a little worried that they wouldn't give it to me until I paid my fees and I wasn't about to do that until I knew for sure that they were being raised for a legitimate reason. My advisor is the Social Psychology lecturer from first year and I remember liking his classes so I think I'll like my advisor appointment. Which is always a plus.

For the next week I am working on choosing my classes in preparation for the appointment and making posters and fliers for Fresher's Fayre!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Defnitely Back in Aberdeen

My trip home yesterday went smoothly and then not so smoothly. The first train my brother and I got on decided not to go all the way to Kastrup due to technical problems and it looked for a while we would have to wait around ten minutes or so for the next train. But they held a train there for five minutes while passengers from our train ran to get a spot on the waiting train. So, really we just lost a few minutes getting to the airport and we were able to find nice seats on the new train. And once we were there it took about five minutes to get my baggage checked and then another five or so minutes to get me through security. You know, it's funny. Every time I fly through Denmark the security people start speaking Danish to me. I could probably muddle along if they spoke Swedish to me, bu not Danish. Not at all. Of course, I knew what she was saying. They needed to re-run my bag without the Kindle in it. Happens sometimes. But I figured if I said, "Jag." and "Nej, det ar Kindle." she might get the wrong impression and start speaking more to me. So, I spoke in English. I should really wear a sign. "I may be blond, but I'm not from here." Haha!

Anyway, past security is when it started to go not so smooth. By this point I was super hungry. It was about half past one and all I could think about was food. Unfortunately for me, I had to get through passport control and there was a long line. I've decided something. I hate people when they're travelling. Why? Because they are inconsiderate to everyone else around them. I got into this line which was one line that broke into two smaller lines. And I was standing there when this couple comes up right next to me and starts pushing me out of the way. Kinda like, "We're gonna make sure that we get in the faster line before you!" I eventually just sort of gave up trying to hold my spot in the line because...well, everyone was doing something like that. After I resigned myself to being a doormat these two women came up behind me and started bumping into me. It was like they had never heard of personal space. So every time I moved a little further so they wouldn't be bumping into my bags they moved twice as much as me and were practically on top of me for the whole thing. They finally opened two more lines for EU passport holders and the lines went quicker after that. Unfortunately, I still made it through after both rude families. That's what it pays to be nice and considerate I guess.

At this point my plane was due to start boarding in twenty minutes and I still didn't have anything to eat. I figured that the flight was less that two hours so I could just wait and eat when I got home. You know what the Universe did to prove me wrong? They served a meal to those in business and economy extra class. So, this is how SAS designs their cabins. There are no curtains or anything between the cabins which I usually really like. I always hate being separated from the "rich" folk. It just feels so...classist. But yesterday I would have loved curtains instead of little signs above the seats saying, "in front of this seat economy extra". Everyone was eating and I'm sitting there with my tummy growling away. Then the guy next to me pays for a sandwich! So absolutely everyone around me was eating. I thought about ordering some tea to sort of trick my stomach into thinking it had some food. No tea on the plane. Water for Erin's grumbly tummy.

Instead of trying to read while my stomach growled in envy I slept. And when I woke up the captain said something about it not really being summer in Aberdeen because it was raining and only about 15 degrees. From what I saw of Swedish people this past week, they don't do rain really well. I figured it was only a little rain and some minor wind. Well, I was wrong. Landing was not a fun experience. But I'm very impressed with the pilots on SAS because he landed pretty smoothly all things considered.

I'm home now and all in one piece so I should be glad. But I have so much to do today. The joys of being an adult right? I might update about it tomorrow since what I'm doing today actually involves University. For now though, please enjoy some pictures of the animals I met in Sweden.
A white ostrich we met on the hike
These little, brown frogs were everywhere on the hike!
When we were passing by some one's field we met this pretty black and white horse
And this gorgeous brown horse with black legs, mane, and tale and a white stripe down his face. She was really curious about my brother and me.
Lucifer the kitten. Astrid's sister had kittens around and I got to play with them. They were grey tabby coloured but super fluffy!
Elvis the kitten with his arms stretched out like he's giving me a hug. He was my favourite and I would have bought him and taken him home if I could.
Chess the kitten. She pointing one paw to the camera.
James Bond the kitten. He's a chubby guy!
This is Parus the Momma cat. She was a kitten three years ago when I went to Sweden for Christmas.She was the kitty of Astrid's parents' cats Sirius and Sasha. I wanted to take her home with me if I remember correctly.
A Swedish sheep. I like sheep!
And Lyka the dog. I really like Lyka. She's big and furry and oh so sweet!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sweden in the Summer

Here I am in Sweden again. I got here last Monday and will leave this Monday. It's not a long visit, but getting to see Sweden in the summer was worth it! And, I gotta say, I really like living in a place where I can just pack up and go to Europe for a week and it not be a big deal. Flying all the way from California to Europe for only a week is kind of a waste and it causes a lot of sleep issues.

I'm sure you new readers out there (there are a few of you aren't there?) will wonder why I'm in Sweden again. Well, my brother lives here. One of my favourite things to do when I'm flying from Aberdeen to Sweden is to look at the face of the TSA agents as I tell them why I'm coming to Sweden. A typical conversation goes something like this;

Agent: Where are you travelling from?
Me: Aberdeen, Scotland
Agent: And why are you entering Denmark (I fly into Copenhagen since my brother lives in South Sweden) today?
Me: I'm visiting my brother.
Agent: *looks again at the American Passport with a confused look* ...
Me: Yes, we're both American, but I'm studying in Scotland and he's studying in Sweden
Agent: Ah, I see!

It's terribly funny. Well, at least my brother and I both get a kick out of it. I guess the rest of the world sees Americans as people who don't like to get out of their own little bubble. And, in some ways, I guess that's kind of true. But, I suppose that's a debate for another day.

This is the third time I've been to Sweden, but it's the first time I've been here over the summer. I have to say it's absolutely beautiful. I like snow and all that sort of thing, especially since I grew up in the desert, but it's lush and just brimming with life.

The plan was, since it's summer and lovely outside, for Greg and I to take a hiking trip for three days and two nights. Well, for a multiple of reasons, our backpacking trip ending up being two days and one night. I'm not complaining much as it was my first time backpacking and my hips were wondering what the hell I was doing to them. Even though we only did two days (well really about 7 hours the first day and 2 hours the second) we still walked close to 14 miles. I felt no guilt as I munched on a chocolate bar the day we got back to the apartment. And the scenery was beautiful! Just take a look!
Small trees opening up into a small clearing.
The beginning of the trail with evergreens on either side.
The remains of an old rock wall.
A little field with a rock wall. It's mostly yellowish here. This was actually someone's field. You know, with horses and cows and all that stuff.
The forest. You can see the remains of an old wall made from large rocks. Now they are covered with the greenist of mosses.
I'll be posting more pictures up tomorrow morning before I get on the plane. But the forest reminded me of something out of a fairy tale. I expected a small, gorgeous, winged humanoid to pop out behind the trees and take me away to Neverland. Or for a nasty troll to climb up from under the bridges. It was just like walking through the forests that you hear about in books like King Arthur. As we were walking through my brother said, "It makes you understand why they believed in things like dragons and trolls and fairies way back then. It's beautiful, but there's almost something sinister to it." And he's right.

After getting back from the wilderness, we've been doing a grab bag of other things. I'm sure there'll be a post about our visit to Lund yesterday. But today is going to be a lazy day. It's Sunday and there isn't much to do in my brother's little town on Sundays.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

A Wet Walk Home

I've been pretty busy these past two weeks I've been back in my home of Aberdeen. Besides moving, which is a story all in itself, I had my home visit with Guide Dogs for the Blind and have been to the doctor's twice. My home visit included having a puppy stay with me for a few days and both doctor's appointments were pretty exhausting.

So, when I woke up yesterday morning at half past four in the morning and couldn't get back to sleep I decided to take the day off...from everything. There was no taking things to the charity shop, no errands to run, and no responsibilities. Yesterday's relaxation included seeing the film Brave, eating dinner out, and then going to the pub quiz. It was a pretty good day, but by the time the scores were announced I was so, so tired. Luckily, everyone wanted to leave then because the pub was so warm.

Now, in these past two weeks I have forgotten why I keep telling people that Aberdeen has horrible weather. There have been very few days where I actually have to wear a sweater of any kind and a few where I was uncomfortably warm in jeans. So, when we stepped out into the misting summer night my body was a little shocked. It wasn't particularly cold, but I was chilly. But at least it wasn't raining.

I really should have knocked on wood.

We were outside for about five minutes before the rain started coming down in ernest. I really, really hate wet feet and this is the one time that I didn't wear my boots. As I was slowly and cautiously manuevering my way around puddles the men fold decided to be about six years old again. They stomped in any puddle they could find and started splashing about with no other intention that to get themselves and everyone else as wet as they possibly could get. I was able to stay out of the way when the whole group was still walking because I hung out in back, but when we got closer to home I started feeling the splashing rage.

AND when someone kicks a puddle in my general direction is it any wonder that I would kick the puddle right back? So...I got home very, very wet. Peeling off your socks and shoes and jeans is never fun. We actually had to turn on the heaters for a little last night so that some of the soaked items would kinda sorta dry by morning. And I'm still trying to fix a book that, whilst being in the safest part of my bag that would not have normally gotten wet, got hit full force with puddle and rain water.

But at least I had fun right? Also, today is absolutely gorgeous.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I'm Done Moving!

I think I've decided that I'm not going to move again. Well, at least not while I am here in Scotland. This last one really took it out of me. I guess you don't really realize how much stuff you have until you have to move it all down hill. At least that's what made me finally realize how much useless stuff I had laying around. To make things a little more difficult for me, I didn't really have anyone in town that could help with their car. So, I trekked up and down the hill about six or seven times with fairly heavy bags in tow. Luckily for me, my roommate Lisa's friend who was helping move all of her stuff with his car offered to take the last bit for me. Which was really nice of him because it involved a box of clothes, the kennel, and the outdoor run. And due to their size they each would have needed a trip to their own if I had walked them by hand. I'm definitely grateful at how nice he was in my hour of need.

I say my hour of need because I picked up a stomach bug on the plane back from the states to here. I didn't get any sleep the night before we moved and decided it was probably a good idea not to eat anything the day of. To say the least, I was bushed when he offered to get the last few heavy items.

Then, of course, there was the organizing of my new room. If I hadn't realized how much stuff there was by the time all of it was toted down the hill I was definitely made aware of the fact when I started putting things away. I think it took me three days to get everything thrown away (something which I vow to do before packing from now on) and sorted. And I'm still unsure of this current arrangement. Within the next week I'll probably end up reorganizing.

It's such a bothersome task. Moving that is. I mean, I really like where we are now. There are so many pluses to it. But, it was tiring. It was probably made even more tiring because of the way the state the previous tenants left it. I won't go into too much detail on the internet, but I don't think we should have had to clean the baking trays the day we moved in. I keep thinking, "Gosh! I know we cleaned the flat before left. And we cleaned it pretty damn good too! But I really, really hope we didn't leave it in this kind of condition." I know we didn't leave our old flat in less than a wonderful condition, but it just keeps coming to me in my nightmares. Yes, I know. Cleanliness isn't something a normal person has nightmares about. Ask my roommates. I'm terrible sometimes.

I'll leave this post by saying that, while it is taking some work, we've lived in this house for a week tomorrow and I think this will be a great place to spend my next two years in Scotland.