So, I didn’t fall off the edge of the earth or run out of stranger-than-fiction true stories of my life to share with you, I just ran out of hours in the day.
I think Scotland is down to about 7 hours of daylight now, and of those hours, the sun may or may not decide to make an appearance. Which, reminds me: Mom, for Christmas, I’d like some Vitamin D supplements in my stocking, please.
Things have been busy and crazy and beautiful. Mostly crazy. We just had our second round of exams for the Animal Body 2 module (Parasitology, Immunology, Bacteriology, Virology….a few more -ology’s….you get the idea). Revising so much material before the exams was a bit….tense…Ok, so I seriously stressed my brains out and was a total emotional slop.
I cried. A lot. Over stupid.little.things…like getting lost.
One day, I was meeting up with ma Poulette to study in a place I’d never been before. I walked around the area for 30 minutes, emailing back and forth with her, trying to cross paths before I wrote one last desperate sounding e-mail: I don’t know how to find you.
I hit send and my instincts took over: I sat down on a step and started to cry. Like a little girl. I don’t know how I thought that would solve anything, but it was all I could do. And it worked. As if on cue, ma Poulette walked up and said, “Erin, is that you!?”
I looked up, my face red and blotchy, my eyes puffy and my nose running, and I smiled. Ma Poulette asked, “Are you crying?”
As I explained to her why I was crying, we both started laughing. She gave me an empathetic nod and said, “It’s the stress.” Together, we began a 5-day-long study marathon revolving around short breaks for Indian food, pizza, chips, chocolate and soda. We briefly hated ourselves for eating so much junk food, but decided to graciously forgive our calorie transgressions – it was just the stress, after all.
As exam week continued, I stopped feeling stressed and started feeling defeated. I kept dreaming of writing I don’t know on my answer sheet as I flipped through an impossible question set. The night before our short answer exam, I had the same dream, except, instead of writing, I don’t know, I wrote, I hate you.
Fortunately, exam week came to a close and I found myself boarding a plane to Germany with my kindred spirit Jersey Fresh. We decided to get away from all things vet school for a weekend and were bound for Dusseldorf. Our goals were to drink good beer, eat good food and walk around the Christmas market. Simple goals, still, we kept our expectations low since neither one of us spoke a word of German, and life has taught us that relying solely on charm and wit doesn’t always work out as planned.
Be it charm, wit, or (no matter what the exam results say) super-human brain power, we successfully navigated Germany. We figured out buses and trains and how to politely order beer, zwei bier bitte.
We feasted on delicious meats cooked in their own fats (Germany is not for vegetarians unless you are really into whipped potatoes and cabbage) and drank gallons of beer, light beer, dark beer, all the beers – we actually never figured out how to ask for water.
Then, being masters of public transport, we gained some confidence and decided to take a train to Cologne. It was a daring endeavor, especially since we hadn’t had breakfast and no one makes good decisions when their blood glucose levels are crashing, but when Jersey Fresh figured out Köln was likely the German spelling for Cologne, we bought tickets and were on our way to Köln/Cologne. I told you we had super-human brain powers….
In Cologne, we visited Kölner Dom, the most amazing cathedral I have ever seen. I couldn’t get a good picture of it because it was too big and grand and you really should just go see it in person, but I did snap a photos of this beautiful wooden nativity:
I guess I focused more on getting a picture of all the wooden animals in the nativity rather than getting a good shot of the Holy Family, but isn’t that a fantastic wooden cow!?
Cologne also had a nice Christmas market, which meant lots of steaming mulled wine to keep us warm:
At the Christmas market, I bought gloves. As magical as Germany is at Christmastime (the Germans invented Christmas, right?), it is wildly cold. That’s why you have to maintain a constant supply of hot Glühwein into your body. And wear gloves. This picture was taken prior to me purchasing the life-saving gloves. Look how cold my thumb is.
Our last night in Dusseldorf, we ate dinner overlooking the Rhine and talked about boats. Boats? Yeah. We talked about boats. There are a lot of boats on the Rhine. I might have waxed a bit nostalgic about being underway with the Coast Guard and we may have made plans to go on a scientific expedition to Antarctica. Or, I might have totally made that up. Either way, watch out Jersey Fresh, we’re going to Antarctica sometime, I’m planning on it!
This trip to Germany was a blast. I even started to feel fully acclimated to my Scottish lifestyle since the cars driving on the right side of the road in Germany threw me for a loop and I almost got run over. Coming back to Edinburgh, I watched the city from the plane window and I felt truly at home. Then, after I got home and threw in a load of laundry, I ran to the post office where I tried to top off my gas card with a 10 Euro note and was hardcore denied, and possibly judged for being a bit of a dimwit. Curse colorful currencies!