Wrapped Up In Books


Now you know that the time has come [And they said it would never come for you]

Done my Master’s. I don’t even know what to do with myself now. Granted, it’s been just over 48 hours since I submitted my thesis, it’s all I poured my time into – without it, I’ve felt just a bit lost.

Went out last night though to celebrate (was way too tired on Thursday) and have been sick all afternoon – I will not even look at Jagermeister again in my life. I feel wretched.

Now I need to pack (quickly) and get on a train to Edinburgh so I can sleep in the airport and fly to Berlin tomorrow. Back in a week-ish.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.

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‘It is so funny where words, love, and experience can end up in time.’ [Postcards & time travel]
July 12, 2009, 8:18 pm
Filed under: A, Paying homage, Travelogue | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

My friend, J, is something of a world-traveler. Most recently she was in Poland, and sent me a postcard. It came in an envelope, which was a bit unorthodox. Once I opened it, I realised why:

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While in Łódź, she came across this postcard in an antiques shop. It’s from Niagara Falls (the Canadian side, which is the prettier one) and dates from 1969. To quote her note accompanying it, ‘It is so funny where words, love, and experience can end up in time.’ It was so incredibly thoughtful of her to have sent it.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.



Do what you want, when you want [Glasgow]

Off to Glasgow tomorrow with my friend, M, before she goes back to Ancaster. (We’re not gonnae get stabbed, if we can help it.)



Isn’t it a lovely day (for now)? [Wales]

I’m a wonder for traveling – a wonder in that I can guarantee that my flight, no matter where to or on what airline, will be delayed. Now, I can add a second ‘skill’ to the list; I have a penchant (or gift) to nearly miss my flights. I got on the plane on Friday the 15th and we left five minutes later, but at least they didn’t have to hold the plane for me (which is always a sure way to make friends!).

Landing at Cardiff Airport is amazing – our little prop plane made a wonky landing, but you fly over the cliffs near the Bristol Channel and it’s just this gorgeous water meeting the lush green above it. It was an amazing taste of what I’d see the rest of the weekend.

The nightlife in Swansea, which is where my friend, S, was studying, is amazing. Similar to Aberdeen’s Belmont Street, they have a stretch that is nearly dedicated to drinking yourself to oblivion.

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When I'm (L) drunk, I have no idea how to smile like a regular person.

S also showed me around the campus of her school, the University of Swansea.

Singleton Abbey

Singleton Abbey

On Saturday we headed to The Gower, which boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in all of the UK (and Catherine Zeta-Jones doesn’t live too far!). Specifically we went to Oxwich Bay, which in 2007 was hailed by The Times as the most beautiful beach in Britain and it lived up to its award. Despite this, it wasn’t full of people; a few were sitting in lawn chairs on the massive beach, other people were heading out to meet people already in the surf. The beach’s parabolic curve headed around so far into the distance that the farthest parts looked like something from a painting.

Dog hog

Dog hog

Unmarred beach

Unmarred beach

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On Sunday I needed to catch a 12.22pm train in order to get back to Cardiff, then take a bus that connected to the airport to catch my 3pm flight. By the time I thought to check the time it was already nearly 1pm, and I managed to miss the train and a different bus that went all the way to Cardiff Airport. S’s amazing flatmate, A, ponied up and offered to drive straight to the airport as I’d likely have to rebook a ticket to get back to the Deen. I gave her some money for gas (petrol, yeah, yeah, I know) and offered her my thanks as she drove the 45 minutes with a terrible hangover. It was a quick, but extremely memorable visit.

Pronunciation is beyond me.

Pronunciation is beyond me.

[Also, I recently became a fan of Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, a Welsh band recommended to me by my musically-inclined friend, P, so get a load of this song. The first time I heard it I had no idea the second half was Welsh – the language blows my mind.]

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.



Finding latent beauty in Birmingham; the future.
April 27, 2009, 7:39 pm
Filed under: A, Travelogue | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
This past weekend I flew down to Birmingham to visit my friend, M, who is in the hospital there. He’s my age but has already undergone chemotherapy and three major surgeries (two within the past four weeks, and scheduled for a fourth in a couple of days) and now is on his second prosthetic hip. Whenever I’m tempted to complain about anything I’m reminded that there are people who have endured much worse than I’ve ever known and ever want to know. I am seriously grateful that I have nearly completed my first quarter-century of life physically unscathed.
Just one of the beauts along Milk St

Just one of the beauts along Milk St

The building on the left is the hostel.

The building on the left is the hostel.

Birmingham, while it has marvelous shopping, is a bit of a frightful and industrial place to be. The hostel I stayed at (Birmingham Central Backpackers) felt as if it were located on a rape alley – Milk Street was scary enough in the daytime with the auto collision storing its disfigured and ruined cars along the street, which just became terrifying outright upon nightfall. I’ll give credit though, that if you look hard enough you’ll find beauty in the small things (‘Make peace’ on a building’s frieze, the oversized-golf ballish Selfridges, and every old three-storey house and boulevard along Bristol Road en route to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital). Still, I do not particularly want to go back there.
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Selfridges is in here somewhere

Selfridges is in here somewhere

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I haven’t mentioned it yet, but I am aiming to stay at Aberdeen for a PhD in epidemiology. I applied the day between returning to Aberdeen from Dublin and going home to Toronto, and I have a funding interview in a couple of weeks. M is going to have a telephone interview the same day and is also hoping to do a similar PhD programme. Should we both be allotted funding, we’ll live together along with my current flatmate, L, place yet to be determined. I’ve already started to daydream about the daily logistics: I will be the designated cleaner, tidier, and baker, M will play chef, and L will be the house cheerleader to enlighten the very Statler & Waldorf M and me. And I will not have a twin-sized bed!

When I first mentioned applying for a PhD in Aberdeen to my friends from home, the idea was not greeted with much, if any, enthusiasm. Although I have wanted to go to medical school for a long while, a PhD seems to be at the forefront of my options right now. And I have grown to love research and the prospect of contributing to the existing body of knowledge in my arena. I wasn’t hurt, but it was not the reaction I had expected. I do have hopes of going to go to medical school upon completing my doctorate (lofty goal, I know) and I realise that I won’t be young by any means upon graduating my MD. I’m only slightly fazed by this aspect, but perhaps moreso at living in Scotland for an extra three years than I had originally anticipated. One friend remarked that I wasn’t taking them into account for my life plans (the jest was not so obvious) but honestly, I need to put myself first – and why should I compromise? As much as I adore my friends, time goes on, people will change, and I will still have to fly to be where they are (all the more reason to stock up on degrees to afford the transport). Life, in this sense, can be unfair. But I am still very much willing to make the effort as long as they are.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.


Good job, FlyBe!
April 22, 2009, 10:56 am
Filed under: A, Rants, Travelogue | Tags: , , , , ,

I received an email this morning informing me that my flight details for this weekend have changed. I was scratching my head as to what they meant:

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It turns out they changed the plane on the way to Birmingham and so my seat number was altered. Good job for highlighting that on this notice!

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.



St Paddy’s in Dublin (Finally)

I meant to get around to writing about this ages ago, but unfortunately timing was against me. After much planning (read: booking flights twice back in autumn and then a place to stay, but nothing much more than me owning a Top 10 Dublin that I found in a hostel in Edinburgh), my roommate and I ventured over to Dublin for St Patrick’s Day.

It’s been a dream of mine for awhile to do this, and I’m seriously chuffed I went, but it wasn’t without its hitches.

We arrived on St Paddy’s itself, and were amazed to learn that we had booked a hotel and not a hostel for the same price. Showers you don’t have to wear flippy-floppies in are such a godsend. We weren’t directly in Temple Bar, which afforded us the ability to sleep at night, too.

While accessing Temple Bar we made the huge mistake of cutting through O’Connell Street where the parade was just finishing (1pm). People were perched on every surface in an attempt to catch a glimpse of goers-by.

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Drink counts from here on in, approximated or exact, will be in parentheses. Our first stop (2pm-ish) was the Oliver St John Gogarty pub (2 Magners) where we met a bunch of Torontonians from the King and Bathurst area, then go the Auld Dubliner (2 Magners, 1 Guinness) where we met a bunch of Aussies who we then went to a horrible dinner with at the terrible Hard Rock Cafe (blech: 1 Magners). A 60-ish year old woman fell at the Auld Dubliner and smashed her face on the floor, cutting her eyelid open. My roommate told her I was a nurse (I’m not), and I ferried her to the bathroom to stop the free-flowing-due-to-being-pissed-drunk blood pouring out. I found a random fabric band-aid in my purse and slapped that on her, and she was ok. A girl from Washington State in the bathroom told me I sounded Irish but I think she was just drunk, too.

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After dinner we all went to Buskers (some weird pub-nightclub hybrid) for a quick drink (1 Magners), then back to the Gogarty for at least a few more pints before going to The Temple Bar. Things get hazy, and I know we ended at O’Brien’s where some dude helicoptering across the dancefloor smashed my pint into the ground (retrospectively hilarious) and he gave me his ridiculous St Pat’s themed hat when he bought me a new drink. All I remember is that drinks here were 11 Euro each – f-ing robbery! At some point my roommate calls me an asshole three times in earnest. We each took out 100 Euro upon arriving in Dublin and she burnt through it before reaching O’Brien’s so I picked up her tab. Naturally, Murphy’s Law would work best in the pub with the most expensive drinks.

The next day we did a tour through the city; we saw the Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin (why does no one better advertise the Long Hall Library within it?! Most gorgeous library I think I’ve ever seen), then stopped for a sandwich on South Great George’s Street where the music shop across the street looked strangely familiar. I took a photo just in case it matched what I had in mind:

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Well, guess what! It was exactly what I thought it was (but they renovated and so I didn’t recognise the interior, hence not going in): THE MUSIC SHOP FROM ONCE! FUCKING ONCE!!! (Also known as the film that launched a bajillion tears from my eyeballs, I loved it and love it so much.)

Anyway, onwards: we hit both Christchurch and St Patrick’s Cathedrals, though money was waning so I went into only the latter. It was still mindblowingly beautiful, and I loved the quirky hand-embroidered and unique pillows for kneeling. I wondered why no one had stolen any of them then realised that each had a small chain attaching it to its respective chair.

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We also ventured to the National Museum of Ireland (unfortunately not so impressive), then, after a half-year hiatus, I tucked into some sushi at Yamamori. We went back to St Patrick’s Cathedral for a kind of crappy concert by some high schoolers flown in from somewhere in the US Midwest, left early from that, and ended with quiet(er) drinks.

North SIDER or south SIDER?

North sider or south sider?

(Thanks to T for explaining the north/south side separation to me.)

Goodbye, Dublin, I hope to come back to you soon.

Copyright © 2009 WrappedUpInBooksBlog. All rights reserved.