A few days ago, I found out that a friend from WSU who graduated a year ago, Erika, was randomly coming to visit Scotland! Another reason why social media is amazing - if it hadn't been for Facebook we would never have known!
On Wednesday I went up to spend the day in Edinburgh with her. We went to the Elephant House again, partially because I love it, and partially because Erika has an obsession for elephants, so we were both happy. Really, we just kind of wandered around, did some shopping on Prince's street, and ate dinner at a cute pub below the castle. After dinner we decided to use whatever daylight we had left to walk up Arthur's Seat, this ancient volcanic plug. Basically it's a huge, rocky hill. We didn't get too far up, because it was getting dark and all I knew about Arthur's Seat was that the main detective in the British detective series "Case Histories" found a dead body up there once. I decided to wait and tell Erika about that until we were back into central Edinburgh. What we did see though, was beautiful, and I really want go back up in the daylight!
I ended up staying the night so that we could explore some of Edinburgh's pub scene together, but since I had class at 10 the next morning I had to leave at the crack of dawn. I was a little bit nervous while I walked through Edinburgh before the sun started to come up, plus a little bit grumpy from lack of sleep. All of that faded away though, when I saw the sun rise over the Scottish scenery on the train ride home. It was breathtakingly beautiful.
On Saturday morning, Erika came up to spend a few days in Stirling. It was really fun to be able to show someone else around my little town, and made me feel for the first time like Stirling is my home, or at least my safe place. Since there's not too much to see in Stirling, we went to check out Loch Lomond, which is Scotland's largest freshwater lake. Just our luck, my first day of real rain was the day we chose to do an outdoor activity! But the loch was really pretty, and it's always fun to go see something different.
We spent Sunday poking around Stirling, walking up to the castle, looking in some of the little shops, just kind of having a relaxed day in town. For dinner, I took Erika to my favorite little whole in the wall, a tiny curry take-away place. This small old man owns it, and he's the only one who ever works there. The last time I had gone, I asked for spicy, and he was really worried that it was too spicy for me, but it wasn't spicy enough! So this time, Erika and I both told him that we wanted it really spicy. Holy Moley, did we get spicy! We sat on my room floor, eating our curries, crying from the heat and laughing at the situation. It was really delicious though!
It was very odd to see Erika in Scotland. It's kind of like your brain boxes things up. The friends who I have made here, the places I've gone, everything is put into my Scotland box. And everything from home is in its own separate box. So having Erika in this other world was very, very odd and actually kind of surreal. It was so much fun though, and made me very excited to show my parents and Karl around in less than a week!