Sunday, August 4, 2013

Nightlife, Slavery, Whiskey, & Group Bonding | A Journey to Scotland

The following post details my activities from 27 - 29 July. Hope you enjoy. Lots of photos, once again!

A Free Weekend - Catching up with Myself and Nightlife

We had the weekend off, and I utilized both days to simply gather myself. I enjoyed the nightlife and we were able to reconnect with our Dundee group leader Daria. It was quite nice to just do things on our own schedule. It gave me time to process everything that we have done up until now as well as think ahead a bit. I’ve been going through a lot of personal stuff while on the trip, much of it related to my identity ironically enough, so it was almost necessary to take two days to just gather my thoughts. We’ve been absorbing an immense amount of information over the past 3 weeks, and it’s good to give your brain and body a break. Experiencing the nightlife is a very important aspect of a country’s culture in my opinion. I got a good feel for Scottish nightlife on Saturday and even did the traditional walk home in the freezing, pouring rain. I’m glad to have been given this free time and I definitely took advantage of it.
Anna, Carolyn, Pedro, Daria, Chris, Jessica

Jessica, Chris 

Carolyn, Chris, Pedro

Daria, Jessica, Carolyn, Pedro, Anna, Chris

Chris, Daria, Jessica, Carolyn, Pedro, Anna

Chris and Daria, Apple Sours

Daria Getting her Yoga on at the Club

Empire, Slavery, and Development

Today’s class was on Scottish empire. We learned about the store system, which was later expounded on during the slavery tour we took afterwards. This system speaks to Scottish innovation. In Dundee, we were given a list of inventions made by Scots; new economic systems can be added to the list; however, the store system made the tobacco barons rich. During the slavery tour I couldn’t help but be reminded by the tendency of exploitation. Scotland, Europe, and the West in general became great, but not without pillaging much of the southern hemisphere. Tobacco barons became rich via “innovative processes;” however, these processes were made possible by the exploitation of slave labor. In modern times, this exploitation doesn’t stop. Cell phones, clothing, and food are all derived from inhumane industrial practices. Another note along the same lines deals with St. Andrews University. World renowned for its gorgeous setting and stellar academics, St. Andrews has been a prominent world institution of higher learning for centuries. It is certainly nice to boast this; however, the university was founded on the funds of the slave trade. I am not attempting to paint Scotland as a bad nation. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Scotland is a stunning country with much to be proud of. It is important to remember one’s roots, and whether or not we like it, our history shapes our identity.

Whiskey and Flat Party!

On a brighter note, we finished our day off with a whiskey tasting. I never realized how much thought and insight could be put into trying a glass of Scotch. We were given a geographic tour from lowland to highland, and I have to say that by the end of the night we were all feeling pretty good. Unfortunately, the bulk of us have come to discover that whiskey is a beverage that must come with an acquired taste. Nonetheless, I think that it is nice that the UKSI is allowing us to get a taste (literally) of all Scottish culture. Scotch is the “only whiskey” as far as Scots are concerned, so what would a trip to Scotland be without tasting a bit of the local drink?

After indulging in a number of 40% ABV drinks (or more), the group headed back to the flats. With no plans of going out, we decided to bring the party to James Young Hall. The entire group (minus 2 of us) had a great time with a home made deck of cards, makeshift game of Circle of Death/Kings/Ring of Fire, and of course, plenty of Nicki Minaj, to some of our group's dismay. It was a great bonding experience and ended with a two-man excursion to McDonald's. Enjoy the oh-so-beautiful photos below!
Meghan, Jessica

Meghan being Meghan

Meghan being Meghan, again!

Anna, Chris

Pedro, Jessica, Chris 

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