I have had a fascination with Glasgow for a little while and wanted to go there so it was a good experience to actually be in the city.
Places visited and what I did
The ship docked in Greenock and we took a bus from there into Glasgow. The city seems like it has a younger population and felt hip with lots of cute trendy looking cafes and thrift shops which the tour guide said most of the kids get their clothing from.
We drove by theUniversity of Glasgow which looks like something straight out of Harry Potter. It was used for filming the show Outlander.
The tour took us toKelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. The building itself was unlike any other I have seen. The museum was very diverse, rooms filled with artefacts from Ancient Egypt, another room with things from the Vikings, the halls were filled with paintings and statues/sculptures. Downstairs also had a natural history area with many animals.
The cruise ship we were on had a population almost the size (or maybe even bigger) of all of Kirkwall, which is the main city in Orkney.
Places visited and what I did
I took a bus tour to one of the beaches. Orkney has a very empty feeling to it. It’s not very populated, it’s very windy so there are no trees, there aren’t very many buildings. It’s sort of peaceful. The beach is sandy but there are also rocky cliffs. Some of the very small islands have sidewalks between them and people get caught when the tide is in.
After visiting the coast, the tour headed into the town of Stromness. It was very cute and had a little harbour.
From Stromness, we went to Neolithic Orkney. The bus drove by The Standing Stones Streness and we stopped at the Ring of Brodgar. It was crazy to stand there by the ring of stones and see how vast the sky is at that point and imagine how long they’ve been there. On one side of the Ring the water is from the sea and on the other side, it is fresh water. This place was very purposeful. It’s crazy. There was also wild cotton in the fields which looked like pompoms.
After the tours, we ventured out into Kirkwall for free wifi at the library. There was a church from 1100 AD that we couldn’t go in because a concert was taking place. The town is very well kept and filled with small shops.
Loch Ness & Inverness
This day was spent looking for Nessie on the lake. It was also very cold and I wasn’t prepared for that.
Places visited and what I did
We drove through a little town and the countryside to get to Loch Ness. It was so lush and the colours of everything very intense. Again, it was a great day for weather besides being a bit chilly.
At Loch Ness, there is a little inn and gift shops. As part of the tour, we boarded a boat to take us along the Loch. The lake itself is very deep (and dark, it’s easy to see how they don’t know if Nessie is there or not) about 750 feet at its deepest point. It’s also very foggy, making it super mysterious looking.
The boat went to Urquhart Castle. Some passengers got off here but we took the ride back to the inn.
Next stop was Inverness. It was very pretty. There were flowers everywhere and the River Ness runs through the city. We went into the Inverness Cathedral which seemed so modern compared to the previous cathedrals on the trip. Still, it was very old.
Edinburgh is everyone who is on Amazing Race’s worst fear. It is like one giant maze. I could spend much more than a day in Edinburgh. The city looked stereotypically medieval.
Places visited and what I did
The ship had to dock in South Queensferry so it was a bit of a drive out to Edinburgh. It was much darker than other cities, not because of the weather but the difference in architecture. It was more ominous than London or the other bigger cities.
We went down the Royal Mile which runs from Edinburgh Castle to Holyrood Palace where the Queen stays when she’s visiting. They were setting up for the Queen’s garden party so it was difficult to get photos of Holyrood. The Mile is filled with cashmere, sweets and other little shops like that for tourists.
In what seems like the middle of the city there is suddenly mountains and a park? Where people were rock climbing, hiking and walking their dogs.
After the drive around the city, we stopped at the National Museum of Scotland. A. Great. Museum. It was super diverse, ranging from animals to furniture. It’s also the home to the first cloned animal, Dolly the sheep. There was a fashion exhibit on so that’s where my time was spent. The museum itself is also very beautiful.
Next post will be the last day of the trip which was spent in France.
I was wary about wanting to go to university initially because it can cost so. Much. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to start your adult life in debt or with very little money in general. But, often what you get out of university you can’t get anywhere else. In my case of wanting to be in healthcare, it is hard to get a job where you haven’t been to post-secondary school.
Because of this, I have made it my goal to get through debt-free. This will encourage me to get real-life work experience, allow me to justify school more, begin adult life more financially stable and be able to also afford graduate studies if that’s the path I choose.
How I’m working on getting through school debt free
Currently, I have implemented a few plans.
Scholarships – I talked about scholarships in a previous post. I have also read that it’s a good idea to apply for at least 3 a year. So, in future years I will continue to apply for more scholarships.
The blog – I have set up ads on the blog which provide a small income. Every little thing helps! And as the blog grows, so does the income.
Staying at home – Instead of moving out for school, I will be staying at home. Then I don’t have to buy food, furniture or anything for decorating, or pay rent or extra fees for residence.
Choosing a school near home – This way I can bike or take public transportation into school as opposed to getting a car.
A cheaper school program – Completely accidental, but I chose one of the cheapest programs that the university offers.
Working part-time during school – I work when school is out to make more money to pay for school and save for the future.
More work experience – In the school program there are terms special for just working and getting experience. This will help in the future for getting a better job as well as bring in extra income.
Saving money is definitely key and lots of opportunities for a little income all add up.
After starting online school courses, I found out that made me eligible for automatic entrance scholarships at schools. These are awarded upon admission when your average grade is 85% or higher. Usually, they are one time awards that will be taken off of tuition pricing. At the school I applied for, they range from $1,000 to $2,000 plus money off if you do a semester abroad. These awards are great because you don’t have to do anything extra to apply for them.
Thankfully, my grades were high enough to qualify for one of these entrance scholarships! I still haven’t found any others to apply to but that’s not going to stop me in future years.
Coming up soon will be a post on how I am trying to get through university debt free!
In order to fully complete my online courses, I had to take final exams.
The experience & what was required
I had never taken an official exam before this, besides the SATs but it turns out those were different. The SATs had set studying (Khan Academy SAT Practice) so I didn’t have to figure out how to study. All I needed to do was go through the SAT Practice. This time I was rather unprepared even though they provided a practice exam. The stress to finish fast and effectively took over in the first exam. Luckily by the last exam, it was not half as nervewracking.
The exam took place at a library with a proctor. Some online school exams can be proctored through a program and completed online, or with an in-person proctor you provide but still taken online. There were other students there taking other exams. You had to show photo ID to ensure you didn’t just get someone else to write the test (a very smart identical twin would be handy) and sign that you had taken the test. Each test was 2 hours. After the tests were completed they were sent to the ILC’s main office and it took about a week until I got my grades back.
Eventually, after several of the tests, I figured out a study method that seemed to work well.
If the practice exam is given, go through the questions and the answers to figure out what kind of questions are going to be asked and where you may struggle.
Review every lesson, concept, practice questions in the lesson and assignments. Especially the questions that are similar to the practice exam ones.
Ask yourself questions, Google to find extra questions on those topics, do questions out of the textbook. This ensures you know the topics. You could also teach concepts to someone else.
Take the practice exam mimicking the conditions you’ll be taking the real exam in.
Final review of everything before taking the test. Plus remain calm before the test, you’re almost finished!
I have learnt exam taking is not my strongest skill and I am working to get better at it! Do you have any study method that works best for you?
In June I went on a 2 week trip around the British Isles starting with England!
We spent 2 days in London before boarding the cruise ship (more on this later!) to adjust to the time zone and explore London.
Food eaten, places visited and what I did
Flew into Heathrow Airport and took the Heathrow Express into London close to the Gresham Hotel where we stayed for 2 nights. The Express took us to Paddington Station which was beautiful and hard to get around. We couldn’t figure out how to get out of the station for the longest time.
Ate at Pret a Manger for the first time which is the best place. We need them in Canada. They have prepared, healthy foods that you can just grab and eat. And good coffee!
Walked around Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens. Saw The Peter Pan Statue and Italian Gardens. Beautiful gardens, lots of people walking around, dogs kept jumping in the Italian Garden fountain (??), chairs were set out for people to sunbathe in. It was quite a nice place and I could walk around there for a while.
After walking around, we had dinner at a little cafe down the road from the hotel. I had an omelette and salad since after travelling I wanted something not too fancy.
The next day we were surprised with an English Breakfast at the hotel, then headed out on the Hop On, Hop Off tour.
We saw all the major landmarks of London (Big Ben though it was being renovated, London Eye, Parliment, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London etc.) and got off of the bus at Buckingham, Trafalgar Square/National Gallery, and Tower of London to go on a cruise down the Thames. It was a long day but we saw so much and it was crazy to take in.
Ate at Pret (of course) and had dinner at a little Greek restaurant close to the hotel. They surprised us with fruit after dinner. A day full of surprise food.
The Hop on, Hop Off tour is great. We rode the full route through once to see everything and decide where we wanted to get off. They sometimes come with extras, like this one had the Thames River cruise included.
The tap water was pretty gross. I brought a water bottle filter and you could still taste it. So hydrate lots when you can and bottled water is probably better.
The Galleries admission was free but special exhibits were more.
Southampton & Guernsey
In order to board the cruise ship, we had to meet at the airport and then take a bus down to Southampton. The first full day we spent in St. Peter Port, Guernsey.
Places visited and what I did
We only drove around Southampton a bit, but it was a cute city. There were ancient ruins of the Town Wall built in with the more modern parts of the city. The city has a rich history since it is a port. It was where the Titanic departed, not comforting when you’re about to board a cruise ship.
Most of the day was spent waiting to board the ship, then exploring the ship and unpacking once our luggage arrived.
The next morning we boarded tenders to take us into St. Peter Port. It is the definition of quaint. The town is colourful and looks straight out of a painting.
We took a bus from the port, through the island and to the Little Chapel. The Chapel is made up of bits of old broken china and shells. It sits in a pretty garden up a hill. You can go downstairs in the chapel so it’s almost two levels? There are many little alters in the chapel.
We went back to the ship where it was the first formal night. We had dinner (which I forgot to take pictures of, so I forgot what I ate that night) and saw a show onboard.
Always be prepared for rain! Even if it says it’s not going to rain, it probably will because it’s Britain. Luckily we were very fortunate and it only sprinkled a little rain. It was still cooler outside than in Canada at the same time of year so I would’ve dressed more warmly if I had known.
If you’ve noticed I’ve been a little M.I.A on the blog this is the explanation why. I’ve been in Colorado and it’s time for the second (read the first travel-ish post here!) travel post here! I’m still a newbie for writing travel so eventually, it’ll find its grove.
I haven’t been on a plane in 9 years and was a little too freaked out by the fact that I was flying (and it wasn’t a pleasant flight in general then) to actually appreciate how cool airports and flying are. Airports early in the morning are especially cool because it’s very quiet and people are sleeping on benches and reality feels altered. And with flying, YOU ARE IN THE SKY!! That’s crazy.
Food eaten, places visited and what I did
Between the 9 days (I think?) of travel, I have been to Toronto, Denver and Boulder. Also between the 9-ish days, food was eaten, things were done or not done at all I did lay on the floor staring at the ceiling for a bit. So I will condense it all down into points to avoid this post going on forever.
Stayed in an Airbnb. Benefits of this are that we had a kitchen, (didn’t have to eat out every meal), felt more local and had a backyard which seemed to be a lure to wild animals and a random poodle.
Went up Flagstaff Mountain. The mountains are just *there* and they’re beautiful. It makes you feel very small when something so big exists. Travelling up the mountain was slightly terrifying because heights, but spectacular to see the views from so high up.
Walked down Pearl Street Mall, ate at Locale, Next Door and had coffee at The Cup. I didn’t take pictures of any of the food somehow. But I took pictures of basically everything else. Pearl Street Mall had many performers and always had lots of people wandering through.
Everything is organic, everyone rides bikes (legitimately bikes EVERYWHERE), the city is super pedestrian friendly. This was good so one doesn’t require a car while staying there. It’s stereotypically hippie and healthy and it’s kind of funny. This might be why National Geographic called Boulder the Happiest City in the USA.
I was able to meet another one of my online friends on this trip which was exciting and another accomplishment! It’s one of my goals to visit as many of my friends as possible.
The weather was super dry compared to Canada. Which was nice but also not. Not nice because felt a bit like a dried up raisin and nice because it didn’t feel so hot out since there was pretty much no humidity.
Ran on trails through the mountains which was super peaceful and meditative.
Also enjoyed Amercian things like Dunkin Donuts (I hadn’t had a doughnut in 5 years), Cheez-its, Target and discount shopping. I impulse bought dresses at H&M. If you’ve read my Summer Clothes Haul you know I like H&M but the one in the US is even cheaper and has more selection.
All photos and videos were shot with my iPhone 6 S. Photos were edited in VSCO.
First vlog (ish) video!
Should I make more Youtube videos? Would you like to see vlogs of future travels and other things?
Now that the weather is warmer and school is just about finished it’s time for a summer bucket list! I’m always lost as to what to do when there’s no school so the summer bucket list is the most important season of bucket lists.
Summer 2018 bucket list
These are a few of things I’m hoping to do this summer:
Eat meals outdoors and enjoy the weather.
Roast marshmallows over the fire pit and make s’mores. I’ve actually already done this!
Enjoy the outdoors more. Go for walks, sit outside, take pictures of nature, bike rides.
Eat summer foods. Salads, fresh food from the garden, fresh fruit from the farmers’ market, homemade popsicles (a future recipe post?!), gazpacho. This is making me hungry.
Make a summer playlist.
Travel. There are two trips I’m going on. Guess where?
Pick some flowers to bring inside.
Redecorate my room.
Enjoy the free time, work on art and other things.
Make iced herbal teas.
Do yoga or meditation outside at least once.
Have a sleepover.
Help out in the garden.
Go to the park.
The goals are the less fun, more important things I would like to accomplish over the summer.
Finish all of my finals. The number one thing!
Get my drivers license and practice driving.
Clear out unwanted stuff.
Prepare for next school year by pre-studying to make sure I didn’t forget things.
Keep blogging up and hit 1,500 (maybe 2,000?) followers!
What are some of the things on your summer bucket list or summer goals you’d like to complete?
After a few setbacks and much work, I was accepted into my top choice university!!
University Number 1 only did admissions throughout the month of May. So, I was expecting to have to wait towards the end of the month or at least later on to hear back from the school. The first day of May I didn’t even check the application centre. But, the next morning I did and it read that there was an offer of admission! I thought that the school would have emailed right away, but they ended up sending an email more than a week later so I was glad I checked the application centre. Later on, the sent a letter in the mail letting me know as well as a handwritten letter from the academic advisor welcoming me to the school.
I revoked my applications to the other two schools and accepted this offer. Along with the offer of admission I was also awarded a scholarship for high marks, which will further help my goal of I debt free.
I’m so relieved that the school accepted and that they accepted early on so the suspense was finally over. Also, that I get a backpack for school for the first time.
Just because I was accepted it does not mean I’m done! The first step is to finish the coursework with marks that align with the admission offer conditions. Step 2, write the final exams for the courses. More on the experience of this later, after I actually take the exams! Exams will have to be graded and sent back to me before the school’s document deadline. Currently, I am working on studying and preparing for the finals, then I will be done!
Because of choosing to live at home during university there is less to prepare for, which is also much less stressful!