I know I just posted some old pictures in a post about the Scottish referendum but since the actual referendum is today AND it’s Throwback Thursday, I realise I should’ve held off on that post until today.
So , even though you just saw them, here they are again along with a bit more of the back story on how I ended up visiting Scotland.
I’m not sure if they still do but back in the 1990’s, the U of R Faculty of Arts would pick a handful of students to send on a one semester exchange to York, England.
A couple people I know had gone in previous years so and it sounded like a great experience so I applied and was accepted as one of five students who would go in the fall of 1995. (I have a number in my head that there were 50 applicants they chose from but that could also be a made up number to make my application feel more kick-ass than it was!)
Once I was accepted in the spring of that year, fortune smiled on me again as I hooked up with a summer job where I ended up making as much per hour as I made now as a professional librarian, 20 years and two degrees later! (It was a door-to-door sales job with a *very* generous, escalating commission structure on top of a decent hourly wage AND per diem payments for hotels and meals that meant even extra money in my pocket.)
So anyhow, fast forward a bit – I travel to Paris with one of the other people on the exchange where we spend a week, Chunnel to London for another week then up to York a few days before the semester starts.
In those pre-Internet days, research was *totally* different and I was completely clueless about pretty much everything – what the school would be like to how to get around to what things cost. I did get lots of info from the students I knew who’d gone before, other English people I met (you’d be surprised how many are in rural Saskatchewan and when you’re doing door-to-door sales, you get a chance to meet most of them!) and good old fashioned books from the library.
One thing I didn’t realise until I got there was this small liberal arts & teacher’s college had exchanges with other colleges and universities all around the world – mostly the US but also Germany, Japan and the University of Regina which was the only Canadian partner.
It was a cool deal too – instead of paying crazy foreign student fees or having to arrange accommodation, we basically paid for this stuff in Canada, our five counter-parts from England arranged for room and tuition there and we swapped places.
(Oh crap – I just realised I’ve basically told the whole story of my England Exchange in a different post about a year ago - oops! Oh well – this version has some details the other doesn’t so that’s good.)
Well, let’s skip to the point of the thing – since the college had so many exchange students, they had a dedicated office for us which included planning a variety of excursions for us throughout England as well as to Scotland, Ireland and Holland.
Myself and the American friends I mentioned in that last blog post plus a bunch of others went on a weekend trip to Edinburgh.
Here’s a photo of our group at Deacon Brodie’s Pub on the Royal Mile…
Here’s me the next day re-creating the spot where some of our group members ended up hanging out after our pub crawl.
The next day, a few of us returned to the scene of the crime to (try to) re-construct what had happened the night before. Weird visions of nearly getting into bar fights with locals (why I would remember that this happened in a bar on Rose Street, I’ll never know), doing celtic/square dancing in the middle of the road with another group of revelers on the Royal Mile, a long black period of velvet darkness, and our night ending with all of playing pool with a wild-eyed Algerian round out the blurry memories.
So however the Referendum goes tonight, I’m just glad to have had a chance to visit once and hopefully again at some point in the future!