So last year, around this time, I spent 6 months in Glasgow, Scotland studying at Strathclyde University under an exchange program offered here at my home university, Cal Poly Pomona. I don’t want to be clique and say that it was the best experience of my life, but it really was. Instead of babbling about it with just words, I thought I would describe it using pictures.
I wanted to start with this one, which is, as you guessed, a selfie, because I took it my first day in Glasgow. I was on my own, staying in a hotel, and I saw that they had complimentary Irn Bru and tea cakes. I am a large advocate of Irn Bru – it is Scottish soda you can only find in Scotland, certain stores from England and on Amazon if you’re really desperate – that is extra fizzy, sweet and, clearly, orange. You can even collect the bottle tartans!
On my second day in Glasgow, I walked down to the infamous Buchanan Street, where malls are prevalent and cars nonexistent. Bands, singers and single pipers come out here to entertain the Scots as they walk amongst the shops, battling the cold. Ironically, the last time I had been in Glasgow had been 4 years ago for the 2012 London Olympics. I had just been passing through, but this same drummer and bagpipe band had been playing on this same street then, too. As if welcoming me back once again.
I found him during my first week as well. The Duke of Wellington, complete with traffic cone, standing guard to the GOMA, or Glasgow Museum of Modern Art. He, of course, did not start out with the cone on his head. One of the more iconic statues in Glasgow, it is famous purely for its mystery. One morning, the cone was there, and no matter how many times it is taken down, it always comes back. No one knows who does it or why. But now, the Duke of Wellington is incomplete without his cone.
Week two into my studies, some of my newer-made Scottish friends decided to invite me out on a “Pub Golf” outing. Themed accordingly, the goal was to hit nine pubs, like a small game of golf, and live to tell the tale. These sorts of adventures are very common in Scotland and end up being memorable experiences, to say the least. I didn’t win this pub crawl contest, unfortunately, but I did grow closer to the people I was with and gain new friendships as more Scots joined us throughout the night.
Part two to come later next week.