I've also been pretty much assuming that anyone reading this blog also knows about Ariane's, which is another reason I haven't felt like writing, since we do lots of things together and I don't feel like writing the same things she is. Anyway, in case I'm wrong, it's here: http://arianeinedinburgh.blogspot.com/
So the thing is that I'm done with classes. And it's still March. Weird, right? My Lexical Semantics lecturer said that he felt like we were just getting going, and I have to agree, although my other courses feel more complete. I think I may therefore continue with lexical semantics in my Div III, although pretty much every time I take a particularly interesting course I think the same about that subject. Anyway, semantics is what I'm writing in my preliminary proposal (right now).
Due to the fact that there aren't many assignments and the semester is so short, I've only gotten one assignment marked so far. I was a little annoyed because I felt that the assessment was too much like high school or standardized writing tests (emphasizing rigid, linear structure, etc.). Since coming to college (even in Smith and Mt. Holyoke classes) I've gotten used to being judged on the content of my essays, but all the comments I got on the essay were on its form. I guess I feel like as long as the essay is written clearly and fluently, it shouldn't be marked down if it fails to conform to some pedagogical standard. That was only one essay, but I feel like the university as a whole encourages this sort of marking because it gives markers very specific guidelines, ostensibly to make marking more uniform (and therefore fair), but in actuality this has the effect of emphasizing form over content, because the former (npi) is, by its nature, more straightforwardly standardizable than the latter. But anyway, though the course material is no more difficult than back home, the marking itself is, even accounting for the differences in scaling (70 is an A). So I'm don't expect to be getting as many As as usually, if any.
Apart from classes I've also been doing some things, as documented on Ariane's blog. In sum, major events include: Glasgow (slides!), Highlands, and Lily's visit last week. I still go to pubs occasionally, get ale when I can, get whisky when I can't; get lager and angry (syllepsis) when I can't get either of the first two. I decided since I'm in Scotland that I ought to develop a taste for whisky and it turned out to be not very difficult. So far I've tried the McCallan 10 year, and an Isle of Jura malt (don't remember which one). The McCallan was very strong smelling and had a lot of bite, whereas the Jura was a bit mellower and had more of an aftertaste. I won't try to describe them like a real whisky person. I also tried a well regarded blend, which was interesting. I didn't dislike it, and I can certainly see why some people like blends and some people hate them. Completely different from a malt; much more mellow and quite... earthy. Dunno. Anyway, the McCallan is my favorite so far. The only ale I've had recently was a Caledonian 80, which was excellent. It's the most popular real ale in the traditional Scottish style, and one of the mainstays of real ale pubs, along with Deuchars IPA (also brewed by Caledonian brewery). The main locally brewed lager is Tennant's, which I've also tried. It was alright, but I'm still really tired of that style. I still haven't found real cider anywhere. I think that's an English thing, mainly.
The big news is that since we now have no classes between now and our exams in mid-May, Ariane and I are doing some traveling. We're heading to Brussels on Tuesday. We'll be chilling in Belgium for the next week, staying in Brussels and Antwerp and also visiting Brugge and (possibly) Ghent. Looking forward to delicious bottles of beer and chocolate and cheese. (I really hope to eat chocolate from a bottle—a bottle made of chocolate! Likewise cheese, but most likely they will be in more usual forms.) After that we're off to Norway for five days, split between Oslo and Bergen, and then to Munich for three. We don't have any fixed plans besides the places we're sleeping, but I'm sure we'll figure it out.