Nessie, Plus Things I Actually Saw

November was the most exhausting month I’ve ever had in my life. I lived almost exclusively out of a suitcase, because when you’re in six different countries in four weeks you don’t really have time for folding and cleaning and stuff.

Every time I write that it shocks me again. Since 1 November, I have been in London, Paris, Tel Aviv, Warsaw, Glasgow and (obviously) Cardiff — six different countries. I was only physically in my dorm for four days last month. I went to exactly two days of classes (God bless understanding professors and online coursework). I am broke and exhausted and mildly sick and every time I look at the pictures I took I don’t care in the slightest about how I feel now.

The two trips I haven’t written about yet were pretty much spur-of-the-moment decisions. Haley, Grainne and I knew we wanted to travel together, but deciding on Warsaw was a whim. We were lucky to have picked so well.

From Old Town, where every other building was a church —

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Old Town

— to the Copernicus Museum, where Haley got in touch with her science-enthusiast inner five-year-old —

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Water. It’s fascinating.

— it was so cool to have five days to wander a city I never considered visiting. Our home base was a tiny studio apartment with two twin beds and a cot, where (since the sun set at 3:30 every day) we watched movies, heard all about Grainne’s bodily functions, and I learned that apparently I snore and talk and grunt and sigh in my sleep. Every night. Sorry guys.

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I booked Scotland the same night I booked my flights to go see Olga. Meaning before I knew how broke I would be by the time I actually got to Scotland. I’ll never say it again, but I’m grateful that I blew the money when I did.

IMG_1430Scotland clicked in a way that no other country did. I spent 12 hours on a bus traveling around the entire country — 350 miles — because I only had one day and I had to see as much as possible.

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On the banks of Loch Ness…

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….and cruising across it.

I said a total of about 15 words during my trip. Ten of those were asking for directions. Mountain views and liquid-mirror lakes and crumbling castles don’t require any comment from me.

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But the highland cows did. They look a lot  like my little brother Gordon circa the bowl-cut skater-boy era.

Throwback to freshman year and bad hair all around.

Throwback to freshman year and bad hair all around.

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Two weeks from today I’ll be starting to make my way home. I’m in major denial. It’s been a crazy, up-and-down, exhausting, nonstop month. I haven’t left my room today. It’s a nice change of pace. But I go back and forth on whether I’m ready to go home. I haven’t seen it all yet.

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