A Travellerspoint blog

Post Spring Break

overcast 61 °F

This semester has been wonderful. These last two months of consisted of being busy, lots of fun with lots of friends, and of course... studying.

Some of the events include a couple of balls with the hispanic society, a couple of concerts with a Jazz band, the instatllation of the St. Andrews Rector, a campus wide university housing protest, and seeing a few plays with some friends.

My radio show has taken off more this semester and it has really been alot of fun for me (include link here https://soundcloud.com/peter-myer)

This semester has really been great because I now have a very close group of friends... from all over the world. My closest friends are from Germany, Italia, Sweden, London, Bermuda, Edinburgh, Croatia, Glasgow, and Belfast among other places.

My adventure over here has truly been wonderful. I have gained a unique persepective of the States - the place we all call home. I have a new appreciation for the standard and cost of living, the availbability of resources among other things. I have thoroughlly enjoyed my almost full academic year here. More importantly, I have made some incredible freinds that have taught me so many different things. They are so interesting and through our friendship, I have gained insight on how I approach the United States, myself, and the world, that I could not have obtained anywhere else... it just would not have been possible.

I've been failry active in the International Relations Department and I was recently in charge of a Undergradauate Wine and Cheese event. Sailing starts in April so I am excited for that.

I ran my fourth marathon in Northumnerland.. which was 27.5 miles and I ran it with a friend. It was an outdoor coastal marathon - very wet, very difficult, very long... but that was a "fun" adventure.

My dearest brother Benjamin graced me with his presence for his week of spring break. I had a great time showing him around, meeting my friends, and seeing all that is wonderful about St. Andrews. We also took a highland journey (many pictures attached) that was really great. We had a wonderful tour guide. We saw everything from the four great lochs (lake) (Loch Ness, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, and Loch Linnhe), we saw the site where Harry Potters' castle background is set, the only castle used in Monty Python, and some Highland Cows. We spent two nights in the wonderful city of Portree, Isle of Skye, which was this tiny little, beautiful harbor town (the biggest town in the Isle of Skye). The Isle of Skye, and the highlands in general is truly a majestic place. We saw everything from the Ferry Pools to Glen (valley) Coe to Ben (mountain) Nevis. We also had a wonderful tour guide who told us all the local highland stories about the history of all that we saw.

The castle tour we got was really fun... it seems that a large portion of Scotland is dedicated to sheep and castles... and rain if you aren't in St. Andrews.

Anyhow, Benjamin had a great time in Scotland (I think). Then I set off with 5 of my closest friends to Dublin. We took a ferry from Glasgow to Belfast and stayed two nights with my friend Ludo, who lives in Belfast. It was great fun to get to see his very "English Style" home, and really just to catch up on some sleep and hang out.

Then, we got to Dublin and it was incredible. It was overwhelming but incredible. We stayed there for three nights (including St. Patrick's Day) and I saw so much.

On St. Patrick's day, there were tons and tons of people in every street, the Parade filled the air, everything was so alive. They said the Guiness would taste different in Ireland, and they were right... it just tastes different in Ireland. Being an American in Dublin on St. Patrick's day was an absolutely incredible experience. I had a great time with my friends and I wouldn't trade it for the world. We got all dressed up, saw the parade, went to a few pubs, and took it all in.

Now, as April is approaching, this is the final stretch of the year. I will have some papers and tests these next couple of weeks, and then exams! I'll keep you all posted.

Much love,
Peter

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See the itinerary of this trip, and details about each destination.

Posted by PeterMyer 20:37 Archived in Scotland Comments (2)

Semester 2 Begins

36 °F

Hello all!

I know it's been a while since I posted but there has been a lot going on. I had a fantastic first semester. I made excellent grades and I was fortunate enough to go to Germany with my friend Friedrich. He lives in Hamburg and we spent three or four days touring the various Christmas markets. It was absolutely wonderful. I had a long 4 and a half week break at home. I got to see all of my friends, spend time with my family, and relax a bit. It was really nice. However, it is nice to be back in St. Andrews. I'm back on the busy schedule, which I do enjoy. This week is the first week it's actually gotten pretty cold. I have to wear a bunch of layers. I had my first history lecture this semester and it was very interesting to learn about the American Revolution from a British teacher. For many of my peers, their first Super Bowl Experience was last night. They, like the Americans coming here to get a cultural experience, are getting their own slice of culture and taste. This first week has been good to get back into the swing of things.

I'm very excited also, because the new Radio Studio above the Union goes live on Wednesday, so starting next Monday at 10 am, "At a Glance" will be back at it.

Semester 2 here we go!

Also, I was able to get into the Royal and Ancient Clubhouse on St. Andrews Day (November 30th, 2014). There was a town in Germany that was called Luneburg and it was traditionally a salt town. Look carefully at some of the photos - the buildings are sinking!

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Posted by PeterMyer 02:45 Archived in Scotland Comments (2)

Still Warmer than Atlanta

sunny 41 °F

Everything is still beautiful here in St. Andrews. Raisin Sunday was a blast and my picture from the foam fight made it into the New York Times (see below). So these are all thing things I had to get for my academic parents 1. A single egg 2. A stolen item from my mom's house (candy) 3. An article of clothing from a stranger 4. A beach related item 5. A picture of a fish (any two pictures of the same species of fish is not acceptable) 6. I have to play a game of rock, paper, scissors with a stranger 7. Corn flakes and 8. Courage, honor, and family spirit. Raisin was such a fun experience. Fortunately, I didn't have to get up that early. Some of my friends had to get up before 5 o'clock. We had to meet my academic mom at 10:59 am at the end of the pier and she told us to bring a towel so I thought we were going to have to jump into the water - I wasn't feeling good so there was no way I was doing that, but anyway our mom taped us together and we had to walk the length of the bridge (Me, Douglas, Christine, and Sabrina) - it was difficult but so much fun. Then we were on the beach and we had to jump in paper bags. However, it started to rain and it was a little miserable.

I feel bad for the tourists visiting because they must have thought St. Andrews was such a strange place with all the different costumes that they saw. We were dressed up as the seven dwarves, and since I had been sick previously, I was named "Sneezy." On Raisin Monday the entire town watched as the strangely dressed students went in for one of St. Andrew's biggest traditions, the foam fight. What a wonderful time.

Halloween was also lots of fun. I was "Where's Waldo" or, as the British say "Where's Wally." Every day, I still notice little differences in speech. My radio show is well underway and you can listen to my previous shows here: https://soundcloud.com/peter-myer

We are currently in the process of moving the studio to the top floor of the Union which is going to have a wonderful view of Market Street, but that is why I haven't had an interview in a few weeks. Most likely, we will be set and rolling at the beginning of next semester (as of right now, the Radio station is not "on air")

Some of my friends and I went to Glasgow last weekend to tour the city and watch "Interstellar" at the largest IMAX in Scotland (60" x 80" feet). It was a lot of fun, but I prefer St. Andrews to Glasgow. One of the wonderful things, that I still can't get over, is the fact that anyone can get anywhere in Scotland in basically three hours.

I also volunteered with Teddy Bear Hospital - it is mostly the medical students at St. Andrews, but I got involved. They go out into the community and teach kids at local schools about the importance of different health related issues. They focus a lot on education. So we each had a system or a station and I was assigned cleaning hands... Of course... (if you know my mom, you know I know how to wash my hands). I showed the students how to properly wash their hands. Then, I showed them the pictures of the "bad" germs. Next, the students put on this special cream that glows when they put their hands in the special box and I shine my light on their hands. All the "glowing" dots are germs, so they could essentially see their germs. After that, they washed their hands the way I showed them and then reinspected their hands. And alas, their hands were much cleaner afterwards. The shoebox below was the special box.

Also, my Symphony Orchestra concert was wonderful. We played Dvorak and Rachmaninov. Here is the link to our Youtube channel if you care to listen (Unfortunately, they had to take the Rach video down for licensing reasons, but I will be able to get my hands on it shortly): https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaXp9FIn9SQrdaaDRaK8XPg

There was a very nice ceremony on Veteran's Day for all of the War Veteran's from WWI and WWII. There was an official military and candlelight service with bagpipes at the Pier.

I have the St. Andrews Fife and Community Orchestra Christmas Concert in about a week so I am looking forward to that.

I also went to the Nobel Ball, put on by the Scandinavian Society which was loads of fun.

I have been working hard lately and having a wonderful time. Today marks the beginning of Week 11. My, oh my has time flown by. The next thing I know I am going to be home again.

Some fellow American friends and myself have planned a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. We will see how that turns out.

These next couple of weeks will include lots of festivities, lights, and of course studying. I hope everyone is doing well and have a wonderful week!

Peter

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Posted by PeterMyer 01:19 Archived in Scotland Comments (3)

Busy Busy Busy

sunny 61 °F

Good afternoon everybody :)

I hope you are all doing well. Right off the bat, one of the things I want to say is that there are so many people here who have a wonderful intellectual curiosity - it's contagious and I love it. Week 3 started with more craziness. On Monday I went to my lectures and enjoyed a "Wine and Cheese" event with distinguished faculty members - it was very nice. I also started volunteering with an organization called the "Teddy Bear Hospital" which is a charity with which I will participate. Basically, I will spend some time going out into the community hospitals and teaching children about medicine and what one does at the doctor with a Teddy Bear as the surrogate patient. Tuesday is my crazy day. I went to two lectures. My English lecture on Charles Dickens' "Great Expectations" was fantastic. I then had my IR tutorial. I started my Jazz piano lessons with Richard Michael, who is famous for his Jazz abilities all over the UK. The work and deadlines are really starting to get on everybody's mind. Wednesday we had the first "sinners" night, which is once a month when all the sports dress up in their respective sports attire and go out. So I went to my Orchestra rehearsals in my sailing attire and then proceeded to hang out with them.

The Dunhill golfing competition was here and I managed to see Bill Murray (although I didn't get a picture) and Rory Mcllroy. Overall, my classes are going well. There is very much an independent mind set, but I am finding my place accordingly. Friday I spent all day at the library working on IR and I did my econ problems. It was raining for the first time since I have been here... everyone says "welcome to Scotland."

We had the Kate Kennedy Opening Ball on October 4th. That was so much fun. Everyone was dressed up and it was such a fantastic time. There were fireworks because of the Dunhill competition as well. On Sunday I worked most of the day and went sailing. The town club sails every Sunday until the end of the October, and then they close up until late March/Early April. I had dinner with my academic family and then got ready for the week.

Week 4 started very rainy.... it truly is starting to feel like Scotland. This week was extremely busy. I managed to see a movie during this week at the little theatre - it reminded me of phantom of the opera theatre. Unfortunately Wednesday and Thursday I was sick and had to get antibiotics.... never fun stuff. But I was also elected the first year representative for the Hispanic Society and I am on the committee for the Surgical Society. I really am going to keep my Spanish up while I'm here as much as possible.

On Wednesday I conducted my first interview for my radio show! The description is as follows. The show is called "At A Glance" with Peter Myer. The purpose of the show is to gather a glance into people’s lives – from all over the world – from ‘up and comings’ to seasoned (and sometimes famous) veterans. I want this show to be a talk show where I interview people of various categories (Politics, Music, Sports, Medical, Religious, Ecology) and share it with the people at St Andrews and the world. My first interview was with a good friend of mine back home. His name is AB and he is in Benjamin's grade (11th grade). We talked about his music career and I played some of his songs. It was a lot of fun and if you care to listen to it, I record all of my shows and put them on a podcast. Here is the link: https://soundcloud.com/peter-myer

That category was Music and my next category will be education with Mr. Terry Tucker.

I turned 19 on the 10th of October. Unlike 18, where I truly felt as if I had aged significantly for the first time in my life, 19 hasn't felt that much different than 18. I decided to treat myself on my birthday and I slept in and after I did a little work, I played golf with a friend. It was wonderful and I had a few presents from friends and family - it is amazing that even though I am still across an ocean that my family and friends still make it feel special. I shared a cake with my friends and it couldn't have been a better birthday.

That Friday and that weekend I packed up and went to Galloway Activity Center which is all the way across Scotland (four hours by bus) which is Loch Ken in Castle Douglas, Scotland. It's amazing that you can get anywhere in Scotland in basically four hours.

On Saturday and Sunday we all went sailing all day. It was meant to be a sailing trip for beginners or for more experienced sailers to sail around. There wasn't a ton of wind but it was beautiful and I still had a wonderful time. The water is unfortunately getting very cold...

Sunday was even more beautiful than Saturday as there wasn't fog in the morning like there was the previous day when we went sailing.

Monday of week 5 I turned in my first essay and it felt incredible - like the world was lifted off my back... momentarily anyway.. until I start the next essay.

Once every two weeks, we have hall sports in which we compete against other freshman halls among the university... we went to play basketball on Tuesday and let's just say we can only do better now....

Hopefully, some friends and I will be going to the Berlin Christmas Markets in December. Wednesday, I went to a talk in Edinburgh about the counter-culture climbing movement in Yosemite National Park in California in the 1970s with the Mountaineering group.

Anyway, the work is really piling up and this weekend I have been working in anticipation for Raisin weekend. This is one of the traditions at St. Andrews. We are called upon by our academic mother and father on Sunday to bring them interesting objects (including but not limited to an egg, cornflakes, some beach article, an article of clothing from a stranger, and others). We will spend all day with them tomorrow and then Monday, or Raisin Monday is the foam fight - this is famous - at 11 am on Monday the University will gather in Lower College Lawn for the biggest foam fight - the pictures are iconic... and oh yeah... our acadademic mom's get to dress us up in a costume - I've simply been instructed to wear purple at this point... that's all i know..

Until next time,

P.S. I did make the yachting team :)

Peter

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Posted by PeterMyer 06:30 Archived in Scotland Comments (4)

Life is Good

semi-overcast 66 °F

It's been a busy two weeks... let's just start with that. First of all, I love being an international student. I love everything about it, from talking about different cultures, to trying haggis (it's gross, but it tastes like stuffing), to simply having a UK telephone number.... I just absolutely love it. This semester I'm taking Intro to International Relations, Microeconomics, and an English course called the "19th and 20th Century Novel." I really like my classes so far, although they are quite big. They are in big lecture halls and for English and IR (International Relations) they have a different lecturer each week. For example, this past week we had one lecturer on Realism in Theory in IR and we had an expert on "Wuthering Heights" in English class. Next week it will be someone different. We have tutorials once a week for each class where we are put into small groups and discuss/have any questions answered. International Relations is my favorite course, and we are looking it through an interesting lens - the theoretical side and so far I am really enjoying the English course (lots of reading - so far we've read "Wuthering Heights" and "Great Expectations").

The weather had been nice up until the first day of classes. It rained a lot for the first week but cleared up very nicely this past week. I had lots of auditions this week. I auditioned and was accepted in the St. Andrews Symphony Orchestra. I also joined the St. Andrews Community Chamber Orchestra which is students and residents around the town. The Symphony Orchestra is pretty intense but it's a challenge, I like it. On Friday September 19th I went with the St. Andrews Adventure Group (STAAG) to Loch (Lake) Lomond. We drove about two hours (the incredible thing is that Scotland isn't that big so you can get most places in a few hours) and we camped out. The next morning, it was perfect weather and we climbed for four miles up Ben (Mt) Nevis. It was a very tiring hike but I got some beautiful pictures and the weather could not have been more perfect. I got back Saturday night and attended a "family" dinner at my moms house. I have also managed to gain two more parents - so it will be that much more fun. On Raisin weekend, which I believe is the weekend of October 17th, we will have a huge foam fight and the campus will be crazy. I feel bad for whoever visits St. Andrews that weekend. Raisin weekend is one of those traditions, along with the academic families and May dip, that I love about St. Andrews. I have made some very close friends in my short time here. Everyone is so friendly and the halls make it conducive to meeting and getting to know people very well. I just need to point this out. No one in the UK actually ever says the time. If it is 3:30 they will say "half three" and if it is 4:55, they will say 5 till 5. I just thought that was incredibly weird. Anyway, that dinner with my family was very nice - I have a bunch of siblings (even a few are postgrads) - it was actually like a real family dinner with lots of laughs and fun.

Now.... the referendum.... that was crazy.... If you aren't aware, on September 18th, Scotland voted for Independence from the United Kingdom. This town was going crazy. I was messaging a good friend of mine and the PR representative at Holy Innocents' the whole time (Mrs. Peggy Shaw). I stayed up all night to watch the outcome and it was actually so much fun to be here during that exciting time. How many students can say they studied in Scotland during the referendum? If you want to see all that information, Mrs. Shaw posted it on the HIES website (http://www.hies.org/page/News-Detail?pk=933511&fromId=194660). There, is basically the summation of that experience.

This past Monday was good, but tiring. My entire week is quite busy but I had classes, saw a presentation on the economy in Africa with a special guest, Mthuli Ncubeand (who went to Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, and former Chief Economist and Vice President of the African Development Bank), then I went to the "Fine Chocolate Society" event which was oh so good. Then Monday night I went to the observatory to view the "Dumbell Nebula" because it was a clear night with the Astronomy Society - clear nights are apparently not that common - although it has been pretty clear so far. We were not able to look through it, but a fun fact is that St. Andrews is home to the largest operational optical telescope in the UK (The Gregory Telescope). It is 37 inches in diameter. Later in the week I also saw a presentation with Julian Barnes who wrote the "Sense of an Ending" - this book was given to every freshman. I played piano at Jazz night and like I said, the Symphony Orchestra Rehearsal was intense, but I like the challenge.

I'm taking advantage of all the extra workshops in each of my classes. Unlike high school, we only have a few papers/tests for each course so I need to prepare accordingly. I had another dinner with my new academic dad (his name is Xander and he lives in Ann-Arbor and is currently about to get his dual citizenship). They have a flat right near the pier, which is absolutely beautiful. Thus far, I spend my mornings playing tennis with some friends and then working, then I proceed to class and Mondays and Tuesdays are very busy. Wednesdays I have a lecture and a tutorial, and Wednesday nights are reserved for going out with your respective sport and I usually go with the sailing group - they are all incredibly nice. Friday I spent all day at the library and cranked some work out. This past Saturday, myself and 9 others made our way to Port Edgar for the Yachting Sailing team trials. It was about an hour south of St. Andrews. So fingers crossed that I made the team. The weather could not have been more perfect. One new thing that may be happening is it is possible that I will be having a radio show - more info on that next time.

I have also been able to find many Spanish speakers so that I can keep my Spanish up. Next week, me and 4 other Spanish speakers (two from Spain, one from Ecuador, and one from Uruguay) are all going to have dinner together so I'm very excited about that. That is another thing that I love about St. Andrews. You meet the most interesting people. You can't go anywhere without meeting someone that is from another country, speaking 4 languages, or has a unique experience.

As I go into week 3, I am excited, and I know the work is about to get quite intense, but I am having a wonderful time and the weather is still nice! I'm not cold at all yet.

Last exciting thing that is happening is the Dunhill Cup at the St. Andrews Old Course this week. Rory Mcllroy will be here and students get in free! There has supposedly been a spotting of a helicopter landing on top of the Old Course Hotel and that Hugh Grant was coming out of it. Never a dull moment here.....

Next weekend is the huge opening ball for St. Andrews. Everyone is very excited and it will be black tie event. Until next time...

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Posted by PeterMyer 06:59 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

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