Why am I walking around my flat with a contented smile, thinking things like ‘I am a wizard’?
For one thing, I am a wizard.
For a more relevant thing, I received a lovely package in the mail this morning. Being the good little blogger I am, I didn’t even open the package this morning; I kept reviewing for my midterm. This is how I was greeted on my arrival home this evening by a pair of polar fleece pants and a navy blue polar-fleece bathrobe. With a hood.
To make you properly understand why this is important, you have to understand: I am a student. Students are poor. Or if not poor, largely without income.* My kitchen currently registers 17 degrees Celcius.** I do my homework with fingerless gloves on. (This is normal for me all winter, in any location.)
I am now a warm and happy wizard. (In case you missed it, my navy robe with a hood looks like a wizard robe.) It’s like a phial of felix felicis, but fuzzy.
Sadly, I am now even less likely to want to leave the house because I’ll have to put on less fuzzy pants. (The university is kept quite comfortably warm.) I am now contemplating the possibility of making multiple pairs of polar fleece leggings to wear under skirts instead of my normal cotton-lycra blend.
UPDATE: The local department store sells them for 10 pounds. My warmth will know no bounds. I shall be unstoppable!
o O o
In other news, I took my first and last mid-term exam of the semester this morning. It was not intended to be hard, and it mostly wasn’t. Except for the questions that involved circling all words that met certain criteria… when the said criteria are still under theoretical debate. I know I”m not the only student who wrote notes in the margin justifying her choices. It will be interesting to see how those fringe cases are graded.
I am working on my first paper: I get 1000 words (~4 pages) to answer a question that could stand as the subject for multiple dissertations. I am confident and intimidated by turns. Confidence wins. Largely because I’m too lazy to expend the brain power to be intimidated.
When I don’t feel like studying, getting ahead on my homework, or (mostly) writing said paper, I furnish the house.
Or hang out with the other linguistics students. Or accidentally spend two and a half hours at dance class instead of the intended one hour. My legs still haven’t forgiven me for that one. Going two days in a row may not have helped, either. Someday I will be a beautiful
butterfly ballerina Scottish dancer?
* Poor people are poor. Students are merely encouraged to economize.
** 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit. This post was less sad before I did the math. I will probably turn the heater up as the temperature drops.
Halloween is in the air.
To be fair, Halloween has been in my air since late September. Because it’s Halloween. It’s magical. It’s the first big holiday of the [school] year.* It’s Halloween.
I haven’t got a costume yet.** This is largely because I haven’t got a place to wear a costume yet. I haven’t decided whether I want to have a small Halloween party, and I haven’t heard of anyone else having one. And even then, I’m setting it for the weekend after Halloween, as we have a paper due the day after Halloween and I don’t want to spike my own attendance. Or my paper, though I intend to have it finished well before then, so it shouldn’t (crosses fingers) be a problem.
I finally found a nice maple tree in the park that has some of the colours I’ve been looking for, though it’s still a bit tamer than I’m used to. I was on a call last night with family who have just moved from New England to Colorado and was entertained (though also sad) to find that they’re having the same trouble I am with adjusting to the more muted tones of autumn elsewhere in the world. I hadn’t really realised how much the brilliance of autumn is the province of New England. I thought that was what normally happened in the fall! Apparently not. But the same poignant sense of transiency characterises the fall here as at home, and all is not lost.
Even NTS is getting into the holiday spirit.
And I roasted squash and squash seeds last night! I can’t bring myself to cut into the beautiful pumpkins–even though one of them is making the hollow sound that characterises a good canteloupe, so I know it’s perfect–but the squash seeds are fair game. Although I did still feel a little guilty…
As usual, the rest of the photos can be found here. My mum wishes me to point out that if you explore the FarOuterHebrides page on photobucket, there are a lot of pictures and albums that I never link to specifically from this blog. So go explore–the pics are there for you, after all.
Also, write me letters/email. I love hearing from you! If I don’t know you personally, I would still love to hear from you in the comments!
* Unless you count Columbus Day. My friends and I have a tradition, going back well into college, of celebrating Columbus day with cake, homemade Mexican food, Disney movies and a pinata, but I was a little far away this year. Although, funny story: some of the other students in my program invited me to come over that weekend… for Disney movies and tacos. The tradition is spreading, and no one even knows. Maniacal laugh. Maniacal laugh.
** Well, I haven’t got a specifically Halloween costume. Renaissance garb is pretty handy that way, in that I wore my lightweight houppelande to a costume party last week instead of making a costume. I was doing schoolwork, Mum.
I hear you’ve all been missing me. That’s good. It’s good for a blogger’s ego to engender that sort of dependence. I’m like crack. Or cookie dough straight out of the bowl. Let’s start off with some quotes from the past two days, shall we?
NTS [looking at a 10-pack of folders] : Hey, it looks like there’s an extra folder in here.
Brid and NTS: Looks like this package goes to eleven!
Brid: I forgot how much I love labelling and organising my new folders at the beginning of the semester. [Pause.] Wow, I really am Hermione today.
Professor: If you’re a linguist, you think about language in the shower. Or the bath*. Or the bath**, depending on your dialect area and bathing preferences.
* Pronounced ‘bath’, with the /a/ sound in cat, for almost all American speakers
** Imagine someone with a really, really posh British accent saying ‘bah th’.***
*** If you came here because of my work on linguistics, pretend you didn’t see that. My work is a lot more cogent when I have the ability to embed IPA symbols.
Brid: I’ve never been able to get that vowel sound. We don’t say it that way in the Northeast. What did you do again?
NTS: I caught the ball.
Brid: I CAUGHT the ball.
NTS: Careful there. Any further and you’re going to sound like a Boston Brahmin.
Brid: I CAUGHT the ball.
I feel like Eliza Dolittle.
NTS: The rrrain in Spain…
o O o
I keep looking out through the sheer window curtains. All the light seems to have been sucked from the world. Then a shadowy figure appears, hooded and cloaked in black. I jump up and reach for my wand. Expecto Patronum! is on the tip of my tongue.
Then I sit down and sigh. It’s not a dementor. It’s just a rainy afternoon in Edinburgh.
For a while, my mind is on my translation. Then my gaze drifts up to the window…
On that note, guess how many dementors I saw this afternoon?
By the way, the Harry Potter Society meeting last night was great.
o O o
What I Expected When Moving to the UK:
Yessiree, once I live in Scotland, the magical things that happen every day there will be part of my life. I’ll keep you posted on that.
The first thing I was realy ecited about was to watch Doctor Who live as it comes out. Some funny things happened between when I said that and now. The first episode aired—irony of ironies—while I was still in the States. And my housemates recorded it on the DVR from BBC America.
Where was I? Well might you ask. I was making s’mores with my family at a remote house in Maine. (I may or may not have tried to get BBC America on the telly. Success < 100%. I think my family was ok with this failure.)
The second week, I was in Scotland! We had a lovely TV, too. But I was on my honeymoon. There were so many other things to do on our newly-acquired internet (we didn’t have it for a while) that I just didn’t think to catch up on the first episode until fifteen minutes before the second one aired.
So last night, in the best nerd tradition, I watched all three new episodes back-to-back on my laptop. The Yanks in the room will be jealous to note that I can do this without Uncle Bit by going to bbc.co.uk. (Don’t bother; they don’t stream to the US.) By next week, I believe I will be watching with the Pirate. There doesn’t appear to be an official Doctor Who society on campus, but ‘The Doctor’ and ‘official’ don’t really belong together anyway.
But speaking of societies, I am proud to state that the city where Harry Potter was written boast at least one proud HP Society. We even have a quidditch team, the Holyrood Hippogriffs. I have not yet been sorted, so stay tuned for more. I’m told that anyone sorted into Hufflepuff gets a free stuffed badger. New Ravenclaws get free knowledge. New Gryffindors get a free Ravenclaw.
Our first meeting of the year is this week. It’s a good year for geekery.
Note: All images are widely available in the internet, and may be traced back to the BBC or to the Harry Potter book series. They are not mine.