The semester is drawing to a close; this reminds me that my time in St Andrews is ending as well. And soon I shall have to return to California. This will be a bitter-sweet time, and when the time arrives I shall dwell on it more, but for now, I shall talk about what I have neglected to do so for a while.
This year, the procession took place on Saturday the 18th of April. I went to watch it with one of my friends and it was a lovely sight to see all these people dressed up in old fashioned clothes parading through the streets. There were princes and dukes, ladies and knights and monks as well. Tradition states that "Kate" is played by a bejant (first year male student) from the Kate Kennedy Club who rides in on a horse drawn carriage at the end of the procession. Among the characters was St Andrew (who lead the procession), Benjamin Franklin, who was awarded an honorary degree from the University, John Cleese, who served as rector and many many other characters who I didn't recognise.
The other thing is more personal. This past Saturday, I went hiking along the Fife Coastal Path and did the Chain walk, which consists of climbing through the rocky cliffs at the edge of the sea. I went with two guys form the scouts and guides club. It was great banter and we had a really good time. It was certainly very refreshing. A nice way to break out of the bubble and get a closer look at some Scottish coastal towns (Anstruther, Elie, Lower Largo). The scenery was splendid and of course it was good exercise.
I have actually had a large amount of work to do for my classes. I always wonder why I never learn and leave things till the last minute. I will hopefully be able to get everything done in time.
Tonight, or rather, early tomorrow morning, is the May Dip. It's a St Andrews tradition where students take a dip in the North Sea at the crack of dawn. I've heard that there are usually bonfires on the beach and loads of students. The May Dip is essential if you've stepped on the PH (initials of the martyr Patrick Hamilton set in the cobblestones on North Street), or if you've committed academic incest. Doing either of these things mean that you will fail your degree. The May Dip is the only way to redeem yourself.
I plan to stay up all night for this. I'll let you know how it goes sometime after I get back!
Last Thursday, I was invited to High Table. High Table is a St Andrews tradition where select students are invited to dine with the Warden, sub-Wardens and a special guest or two. In the Days gone by, High Table occurred at least once a week. Now a days it happens rarely, even less than once a month. There are other events where the residents get to meet the wardens, like the tea and biscuits receptions or the more formal wine and cheese receptions that take place throughout the year. These two are more common than high table.
My Easter Break has been going well so far. I had a 4 day retreat in the North of Scotland. It was held at this Benedictine Monks' Abbey in Pluscarden and was organised by the St Andrews Catholic Society. The place is lovely with a serene and prayerful atmosphere.
The boys got to stay in the abbey and eat with the monks. Us girls had rooms in a place about a five minute walk away from the abbey, and we got to cook our own meals. There were tons of pheasants all over the place and a few of us were eager to catch and eat them ;). Daffodils were springing up all over the fields and the sides of the roads, making everything look quite pretty.
The retreat was very helpful. I knew that I had been missing something crucial for a while and as I had suspected it turned out that I was missing God. The retreat helped me reconnect with Him and helped me to figure out what was important in my life. We went to prayers when the monks had them. We didn't have to go to each and every one during the day, but we went to most, especially to Mass and Compline. On the last day, I made it a point to get up at half four in the morning to go to Vigils and Lauds which starts at a quarter to 5 and goes on till a quarter past 6. I got a bit fidgety in the middle, but I don't regret going. Prayer is always good. :)
After that, I spent a few days in Aberdeen. The weather was quite lovely the whole time I was there and Aberdeen is a nice place as well. The beach is pretty and I saw the ships in the harbour which looked quite impressive.
I had a long train journey back to London from Aberdeen on which a woman who sat next to me reprimanded me for being anti-social with my laptop. I tried to explain that I really only had my laptop open to keep me from getting bored and people in today's world generally don't speak to each other on trains and planes. But she got me and the guy sitting across to shut out laptops and engage in conversation. The guy turned out to be a young physics professor. Interesting. I'd like to know what your opinion is on the issue. Should people talk to each other more on public transport? Is technology making us more antisocial? Let me know in the comments.