I can't believe that I only have TWO days left here in England before I fly back to the US. This past week...no MONTH has literally flown by. It really is hard to believe that it's almost over. I've had an amazing experience here teaching the young minds of the UK. This past week I taught at least one lesson every day. I taught wee little year 7's all about how we need to protect our Earth and not pollute the air and sea. The year 9's also got to learn a little about the growth of key Chinese cities and how urbanization has affected the country as a whole. For year 10? We learned all about sustaining the coastal defenses to prevent us all falling into the ocean (...well maybe on a slightly less dramatic scale). And last, the year 8's continued to analyze UP, and we created a movie poster based on all that we've learned thus far. This past week was also a different one for year 9 as the school was hosting French foreign exchange students. I had FIVE of them in one of my lessons. They were only supposed to take notes on the lesson and what they learned from it, but I'm still not completely sure they understood what I was saying. Minor details. I'm sure they knew English, but they didn't volunteer to answer any questions or what not. Heh.
The weekend has also blown by in a whirlwind. It was the weekend I wish lasted the longest because I was in Scotland! I still can't believe how beautiful the city of Edinburgh is. The Old Town is exactly what I had pictured all of Europe to look like (clearly this isn't the case). All the buildings in the Old town are stone, and the streets are nothing but cobblestone. Sigh. It was lovely. Taking two tours around the city, I also learned so much about the history. On the midday ghost tour, I learned that at one point in it's history, Edinburgh made it illegal to be homeless. Therefore, all those people who were homeless were forced to live down in the vaults underneath the South Bridge. (It was already haunted at that time because the first person to ever cross it was dead...like a corpse was pulled across the bridge by a horse....). I sadly did not see any ghosts or demons or specters or orbs or anything except a few spider webs, puddles of water, and a stone circle trapping a dark entity (more about that later). The second tour was of Mary King's Close. Sorry. The REAL Mary King's Close. The tour guide said it was the real one because it was about real people...I think that either a) some people were trying to argue that it was somewhere else or b) they were trying to cover up the fact that all the stories I've heard about it say that when the Black Plague struck Edinburgh the last time, they bricked in the sick in the Close and let the die...their bodies being found hundreds of years later. Ew, but that's the story.
I also have another story...but it's not as creepy.
Story: Wee Little Archie
Once upon a time, in Ol' Reeky (nickname for Ediburgh back in the day...), some people believed that there was an underground tunnel running along the Royal Mile of the city connecting the castle to the palace. People searched and searched for it, but could never prove that the rumors were true. Terrible. Anyway, one night there was a nice party, but obviously some of the guards were not invited to the stately dinner (I'm pretty sure they were guards or something of that nature...my memory's a bit fuzzy about it). And they were down in the dumps, so they had a little too much to drink. So in this state, they decided that it would be funny to set off 1:00 cannon. (At 1pm every day, a cannon is fired even now.) However, it was 1 in the MORNING (just...hilarious...right?). Well they set it off and the cannon backfired (right wording?) so far (?) that it busted a HOLE IN THE CASTLE WALL. Well, they knew that this was the end of life as they knew it...they busted a HOLE IN THE WALL. But when they went up to inspect it, they noticed that this whole led to a tunnel! THEY FOUND THE TUNNEL TO THE PALACE! However, the hole was too small for any of them to go through to see if this was true. So cue Archie, the wee bagpiper. He was tiny enough to fit into the hole. They told Archie to follow the tunnel until it ended while continuously playing his bagpipes. This way they would be able to follow above ground and know where he was. So off goes Archie into the tunnel. Bagpipes are playing the whole way until at a certain point....they just stop. The crew figures that Archie hit a dead end and decided to go back the way he came. So they head back to the castle....
Still no Archie.
Nope. No Archie.
So the guards get another wee lad to go explore to find Archie. The wee lad pops through the hall and immediately comes back up saying that there was no tunnel. It was just a gaping hole. With no tunnel.
No tunnel at all.
Where was Archie?
Well, folks, Archie the bagpiper was never seen again.
The weirdest part of this story? If Archie fell down the hole (which he obviously should have done), why did the guards hear the bagpipes playing almost all the way down the entire Royal Mile?
Okay...it's 1 am here. I'm gonna have to hit the hay for the night - sitting on a train all day can wear you out! I will finish my weekend tomorrow. AND post pictures.