Nathan Nault ’11

I meant to write this post before I left St. Andrews, but due to golf, saying goodbyes, and packing, it unfortunately didn’t happen. I’m not sure why it took an entire week of being back in the States to prod me to get this done; could’ve been the unpacking and adjusting to life back here, or it could’ve been the fact that I had made my peace with leaving and I wanted to keep it that way. But either way, I figure it’s about time to write my closing post about my year abroad. Warning: this is yet again another long post, and this one is laced with multiple corny stories.

On Thursday, I played my last round of golf in St. Andrews on the Eden Course with Tony, the starter that me and the guys had become close with. We did a little match play and he beat me by 3 holes, but it had to have been one of the best rounds I’ve ever played on the Links. It actually poured from about the 7th hole to the 16th, but since it was my last round we didn’t really have any intention of going in.

You can see one of the better views of the St. Andrews coming around the back nine of the Eden and Strath, and it happened that after the rain stopped, there was a pretty awesome rainbow going right through the middle of the town as

Goodbye Old Course

we hit 16, 17, and 18. I had the chance to play another round on Friday, the day before I left, but I couldn’t have planned a better final round than the one I played on Thursday. I decided to hold off playing on Friday mostly out of fear of ruining the greatness of the round on the Eden.

I spent Friday night at the Jigger having my last pints of Jigger Ale, and watching golfers hit up the 18th one last time. It was pretty chilly out, and the cold beer didn’t exactly help, but I didn’t really care. I ended up sitting there for 3 hours until it was too cold for me to pick up the glass. I did a lot of amazing things over the course of the year – traveling, meeting new people, living the dream – but I would say more than anything, my best times abroad were spent on the golf course.

Nothing beat just waking up in the morning, rolling out of bed, grabbing some breakfast, and playing 18. I don’t know exactly how many rounds I played, but I would venture to guess I was able to play on average 3 times a week, even with the course having been closed for something like 6 weeks due to snow. I’ve repeated this story a million times, but I’ll make it a million and one: People always ask why an Asian Studies major (that would be me) chose to go to Scotland – my answer is simple, I just wanted to play some golf, and that’s what I did.

The Town from the Tower

I also spent a day or so just walking around town one last time. I finally made it up St. Rules Tower, which other than the Castle Course, gives you the best views of town, and I finally checked out the Castle. Although the Castle was a little disappointing, I had walked by both the Castle and Tower more times than I can count, and it was definitely worth the money to get into them because they were really the only part of town I hadn’t fully explored.

And of course, I spent a few hours getting some Old Course gear as you do if you’re a golfer leaving St. Andrews.

Flight home couldn’t have gone any better. I made it home right on time. I’m sure people are tired of hearing how my flights go, so I’ll end it there.

So there it is, the end of my study abroad experience. Although I won’t really be doing it justice, I can summarize the year in a few sentences to tie it all together. I went abroad simply because I wanted to travel and play golf. I was lucky enough to do more of both than I could’ve ever imagined.

I made it to 11 countries if you count the Vatican; I drank Champagne under the Eiffel Tower, chilled out in coffee houses in Amsterdam, spent nights in Rome eating gelato by the Coliseum and the Trevi, beached it in Barcelona, drank Guinness in Dublin, and did about a million other things.

For a year, I was a member of the St. Andrews Links. I am one of the few people who were lucky enough to play golf on what is considered to be the home of the game – The Old Course at St. Andrews – not to mention the other amazing courses that are part of the links. I went to one of the best schools in the UK, made friends from all over the world, and to top it off, I passed all my classes without a problem.

I wasn’t very emotional those last few days. It wasn’t because I wasn’t going to miss it because believe me I’ve only been home for a few days and I already do, but it was easy to make peace with the fact that I was leaving. Sure, there were a few things I might have changed here or there, but overall, I have zero regrets. It was everything I had wanted and more. Scotland is a great country – people are friendly, the mullet is still a stylish haircut, and both men and women wear skirts, but hey, it’s Scotland.

For one year, I got to live the dream, and I wouldn’t have done it any other way.

Just got back from Dublin yesterday. Like I said in my last post, it was great to go alone because I got to do whatever I

Part of Dublin Castle

wanted whenever I wanted to, but I don’t plan on going solo ever again.

There were a couple negatives about the trip. First, unfortunately Dublin isn’t exactly a good representation of Ireland. Other than Guinness, nothing in Dublin screams Ireland. In reality, it reminded me of every other major city I’d been to. The main part of the city is on the River Liffey, and the farther you get form the river, the more likely you are to get lost on some side street and harassed by some drunk guy who never made it home from the bar the night before. I had been told a lot of this beforehand though so it wasn’t the biggest letdown.

Second, I got stuck with some pretty crappy roommates. I booked myself in a 6 person room figuring I’d become friendly with the other 5 people in the room and everything would be peachy. Well that was kind of hard to do when the only time

Giant Spike. It was giant and useless.

I saw them was between when they stumbled into the room at 3am and left the room at 8am. Not to mention at both 3:00 and 8:00 they thought it would be fun to have naked wrestling matches – I kid you not, they were naked. This happened all three nights like clockwork. Meanwhile I stayed under my covers trying to avoid getting mooned. Did I mention they were French and didn’t speak English? I opened the door for one of them one morning and all he could say was “good”. The up side? They didn’t steal anything of mine… or wrestle me.

So negatives out of the way, I actually had a really good time. I ate most of my meals and spent Saturday and Sunday night at this place called Darkey Kelly’s. It wasn’t in the main bar district which was nice because it was filled with more locals and fewer tourists. Food was great, and the beer was cheap compared to what I saw in the rest of Dublin (Dublin is the most expensive city I’ve been to – a pint of Guinness can easily cost you 5 Euro or close to $7.50). They had this band playing there called, fittingly enough, The Darkey Kelley Gang. Between the Guinness and the Irish tunes, I was digging the culture.

Quick story about Friday night. I had only planned on having a pint or two because I’m cheap, but I ended up going to a bar and meeting this mother and daughter. Now they either A. thought I was extremely handsome (obviously) B. felt bad because I was flying solo C. knew I was a dirt poor undergrad student

Darkey Kelly's. My home in Dublin.

or D. all of the above, because they ended up buying me rounds of Jameson and Guinness for the rest of the night. Thank you ladies for saving my bank account.

I spent Saturday morning doing a tour of Dublin Castle. It’s only a castle in name really because other than one corner tower, nothing remains of the original 13th century structure. The rest was built in the 17th and 18th centuries. Cool place, well worth the 3.50 euro to get in. Then I legit spent the rest of Saturday just hiking around as much of Dublin as I could. I saw St. Patrick’s Cathedral, this giant 120 meter spike they built for the millennium, the Docklands, Temple Bar District, the Financial District, the Viking/ Medieval Area, and the like 10,000 monuments they have for all of the guys who fought for Irish independence. Took a nap on the Christ Church Cathedral lawn that afternoon, saw a cricket game at Trinity College, then did my thing at Darkey Kelly’s that night.

Guinness Brewery. 60 acres of heaven.

I went to the Guinness Storehouse on Sunday morning. I heard from a lot of people that they were disappointed in it; I thought it was bomb. The tour of the Storehouse and the Guinness displays were awesome, you learn a ton about beer, and you get a free pint at the end. What’s not to love? And the bar where you get your free pint is seven stories up and enclosed in only glass, so not only do you get good beer, but 360 degree views of Dublin as well. I went on one of those hop-on hop-off bus tours for the rest of the afternoon. I was really just too lazy to walk around anymore, but it turns out the tour takes you to places 3 miles outside of the city center which I would have never gone to other wise, so it was a good investment. So I rode that for a few hours, took a nap on St. Stephen’s Green (took a lot of naps while I was there), rode the bus for a few more hours, then, you guessed it, went back to Darkey Kelly’s for the night.

So like I said, there were a few negatives, but overall it was a great time. Definitely glad I got to go to Ireland before I came home. By the way, 4 days left in St. Andy’s..

Looking over St. Andrews from the Castle Course

I took my last final yesterday, which means all of my coursework here at St. Andrews is officially done. Unless I somehow managed to fail my finals miserably I’ve passed all of my classes. I can’t actually bring any of the course handouts and reader packs home with me due to lack of space in my suitcases (not that I’m ever going to need them anyway) so I think I’m going to have a sacrificial fire on the beach and torch all of it. If anyone has a better idea, let me know; if anyone wants in on the fire, also let me know.

I came to the realization last week that there are more important things in the world besides grades. I ended up golfing 3 out of the 4 days before my exams instead of studying. I’m not saying I had any intention of failing my finals, but I knew I had good averages going into them, and we technically only have to pass the class to get credit seeing as it doesn’t affect our GPA. So, instead of worrying and studying my in my tiny room or the overcrowded library, I attempted to make the most of the 2 weeks I have left here. I’m in the home of golf, and realistically, I’ll probably never be back, so getting in those last few rounds made much more sense than striving for an



I was lucky enough to play the Castle Course on both Friday and Saturday. I feel bad for anyone who comes to St. Andrews and isn’t a golfer because I swear the best views of St. Andy’s you will ever get are from atop the Castle Course. I played the Eden on Sunday with one of the starters here, Tony, whom the guys and I have got to know pretty well. He’s been living the golfer’s dream in St. Andrews for the last 18 years. Great guy, great golfer.

All of the Holy Cross students had to present our Independent Cultural Immersion Projects last week. For the project you pick some aspect of Scottish culture (obviously I picked golf) that you want to learn more about and immerse yourself in it for a year. It’s a way to guarantee that you don’t sit in your room watching American TV online. I don’t know how seriously everyone takes it, but I could tell from the presentations that the kids who actually got out and did stuff are the ones who had the best experience here. Lesson learned; don’t

St. Andrews from the beach

complain about how much you miss home or how hard you think life is abroad (by the way, I don’t know if it could’ve been any easier) – actually get out and do something. It sounds corny but the presentations were actually a really nice way to look back on the year.

I’m doing a little solo venture to Ireland this weekend. I’m kind of pumped to be on my own. I’ll get to do whatever I want whenever I want. I don’t have too many expectations. If I see the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Castle and Trinity College I’ll be happy. And I legitimately have no work to worry about, which means I really am on vacation.

I’ll be back in America a week from Saturday. It’s depressing that people from HC are already on their way home, but it’s about that time. I think we’re all just about ready. I had some final pints with the guys from Holy Cross last night; good times. I’ve just got a few things I want to do in St. Andrews when I get back from Ireland, and then my year will be complete. I’ll try and make sure I write one more post before I head home.

I feel pretty bad that I haven’t posted in two weeks, but I have a legit excuse for my extended absence from the

View from the Eye

blogosphere. It’s been the busiest two weeks yet, with my family coming last week, classes finishing this week, and coursework due today and next Monday. And to keep the countdown going, we’re at 3 weeks and 2 days left in the land of the Scots.

So I met my family in London 2 Saturdays ago for the beginning of their trip overseas. People think it’s easy to get from London from St. Andrews seeing as we’re on the same island, but it’s actually just as hard to get to London as it is to get anywhere else on the continent. Had my family not been going there, I don’t know if I would’ve made the trek down there again, so I was happy I had the chance to go there for a second time.

When I had gone in November, I saw most places chiefly from the outside. I’m cheap and when you’re trying to get through a big city in two days, it’s not worth the time or money to go inside. This time, though, my mom bought this sweet deal called the London Pass, and for around 70 bucks, it gets you into a ton of the major attractions. So I actually got to go into the Globe Theater, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, the London Bridge, and some other cool stuff. We even sprung for a ride on the London Eye (which is that massive Ferris wheel), and unlike last time when it was raining, we were able to see the changing of the guard. So all in all, London round two was pretty successful.

Edinburgh Castle

I flew and my family took the train back to Edinburgh on Tuesday. I was glad I finally made it to Edinburgh and it’s pretty pathetic that it took me this long to get there. It’s one of those places that’s so close, you tell yourself you have plenty of time to get down there and then keep putting it off, and then its 8 months later and you still haven’t seen the capital of the country you’re studying in. We stayed in this sweet bed and breakfast called the MacDonald House – good people, really good food, and a good location. If anyone’s studying in Edinburgh next year and are planning on having visitors, I’d recommend you have them stay at this place.

Edinburgh’s relatively small for a major city, and the only thing I was really concerned about seeing was the Castle and the Royal Mile, which we did the first day. We took one of those hop on hop off tours which was great because not only do you get to see things you may not have known about before, you save energy because you don’t have to walk everywhere. In cities that don’t have an underground, it’s a legit

The Conan Doyle

replacement. We also spent a lot of time at this pub called the Conan Doyle up the street from where we were staying. It had the cheapest, yet best food I think I’ve honestly had since coming to Scotland, and it had a pretty sweet selection of beers to top it off.

My family spent their last few days of the vacation here in St. Andrews. I played golf with my uncle both days while my mom, aunt and sister gave themselves a little self guided tour of the town. If you’re coming to St. Andrews and you’re a golfer, it’s pretty much a sin not to play the Old Course, so I was able to get my uncle and I a tee time on Saturday morning at 7:50 (interesting story I’ll tell in detail later). After the round, we drank plenty of jigger ale and smoked some cigars, as you do when finished the Old. We went to the Anstruther Fish Bar Saturday night, creeped around the cathedral and castle ruins Sunday morning, and they were off.

My Mom and I in front of the R&A Clubhouse

My Mom and I in front of the R&A Clubhouse

Saturday morning was also May Dip (hence the interesting story about our early tee time). Basically, everyone in St. Andrews crowds down at one of the beaches at 4:00 in the morning and dives into the arctic water to wash away the sins of the year in preparation for finals. Traditionally, most people stay up all night, making sure they have a nice alcohol blanket before they head to the beach. Seeing as I had a 7:50 tee time on the Old and I wanted to be functioning, I slept til 2:30am, drank enough Tennants (our Bud Light) and Red Bull to make me forget I was running into water that had already put people into shock, got in and out by 5:45, ran back to my dorm to get the blood flowing again and to clean out the sand, and made it to the course on time ready to go at 7:20. Needless to say I passed out early that night.

This week has been pretty lame, not going to lie. I finished classes and today I handed in my last essay for Medieval Castles. I have one more essay for Anthropology due on Monday, and then other than finals, I’m done.

The countdown has really begun. My flight back to the States is on May 29, so that leaves me with roughly 5 weeksiceland left here in St. Andrews. It’s definitely going to be bittersweet. I’m anxious to get back home, but St. Andrews has become kind of like a second home after living here for 9 months. In all seriousness, I actually wonder what it’s going to be like next year, not being able to wake up any morning I want and play golf, having class more than two days a week, not jet setting to different countries on the weekends…

Without question, these next five weeks are going to be the busiest weeks of my abroad experience. I’m going to be traveling quite a bit, I’ve still got plenty of work and exams, and I still need to do anything I’ve yet to do in St. Andrews. A lot of people are actually leaving in a month or less, so I consider myself one of the luckier ones. It’s going to be a crazy five weeks, and I can guarantee it is going to be the quickest five weeks of my life.

My family is actually making the trek across the Atlantic for a visit next week. That’s if the Eyjafjallajokull volcano decides to keep its lid on for the next few days. Its insane how many people were affected by the eruption; the English Navy even sent ships to transport passengers who were stranded on the continent back to the UK. Most of the airports are back open now, so I just have to pray it stays that way.

Anyway, I’m going to meet my family in London on Saturday night and spend the next few days sightseeing with them. Since I’ve already been to London, I’m looking forward to just relaxing and letting other people do the planning for once. It’s actually going to be like a real vacation this time.  We’re going to Edinburgh on Tuesday, and staying there for two days, which is great because I have still yet to actually see Edinburgh outside of the airport. Then Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, they’ll be visiting me here in St. Andrews. Should be a great week, really looking forward to it.

In the midst of all this, I’m still trying to get plenty of golf in. I played 4 or 5 straight days right after I got back from Paris, and I’ve played a few scattered rounds over the past two weeks. I think I’m going to play the Old Course today and hopefully again when my Uncle gets here next week. Have to play it as much as I can because who knows when I’ll ever get the chance to do it again.

37 days left.

We woke up Sunday morning, grabbed a cup of coffee from this place down the street from our hotel, and then made our way to Notre Dame. We had seen it from far away the day before, but we were actually going to attempt to get into the church this morning. I say attempt because it was Easter Sunday, and the crowd that was lined up to sit in on mass in was longer than the line to get to the top of the Eiffel Tower that morning.

We ended up meeting with a few friends who were studying in Dijon, France, before mass, and after battling the locals and dedicated church goers, we finally made it inside. I’ve been to a ton of churches and cathedrals in every country I’ve been to so far, and after a while, they all start to look the same. I have to say though; Notre Dame was like nothing I’d ever seen. The detail in all of the stained glass windows and the architectural elements of the church itself is incredible, especially when you take into account that it was built in the 12th century. I can see why people call it one of the finest examples of French architecture not only in France, but in the whole of Europe (learned that while I was there).

Mass at Notre Dame

After about half an hour of staring and picture taking, we made our way out of the cathedral with the other hundreds of tourists who more concerned with our cameras than with mass. Go figure, I’m not even religious and I spent Easter in one of the most recognizable religious institutions in the world. Oh the wonders of studying abroad.

After mass, we headed to the Saint Michel area to snag some lunch. Saint Michel has this massive fountain (kind of a miniature version of the Trevi on Rome) where there are always street performers, and streets that are packed with restaurants and kebab stands. They offered us a free glass of wine at the first place we walked past – obviously we ate there. We met the owner of the restaurant who happened to be from right outside Boston, so we chatted it up with him during the meal. Pretty crazy meeting someone from Boston in the heart of Paris. I tried some escargot while we were there. It’s not that bad – really just tastes like the butter and garlic they drown it in – but like the frog legs, I’ll probably never order it again.

We headed to the Louvre after lunch. I don’t care that much about art, but you can’t go to Paris without seeing the

Battling to get to the Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa, and admission’s free on the first Sunday of every month, so I was game to go. We actually got in quickly because our friends that came up from Dijon knew about some underground entrance that you can get to from the metro. First and only stop in the Louvre: Mona herself. Everyone talks about how small it is, and how far way you have to stand, so I was pleasantly surprised when I saw that the painting is larger than a post card and you can get about 10 feet away if you’re not afraid to put on the boxing gloves and fight your way to the front of the crowd. We saw a few more paintings, realized we were to tired and/ or uninterested to keep going around the museum, and headed out to the courtyard with the giant glass pyramids to hang for a while.

We went out for dinner and drinks that night and that was about the gist of Sunday.


We woke up a little late on Sunday and headed to the Palace of Versailles. It’s about a half hour train ride out of the city, and of course we got on the wrong train at first, so it took over an hour to get there. To top it off, you couldn’t get into the actual Palace because it was Easter Monday. Luckily, you were allowed to walk around the gardens, so it wasn’t a complete loss. The gardens are massive, and although nothing had really bloomed, it was still nice to walk around, and you could get some great shots of the Palace. We relaxed there for the afternoon, and then headed back into the city later on, this time on the right train.

That night, we hung out in the park next to the Eiffel tower drinking wine and champagne until 1:30 in the morning. It was just as cool on the third night as it was on the first. And of course we had to get some crepes while we were there. Honestly, what’s more French than chilling under the Eiffel Tower with a bottle of champagne in one hand and a crepe in the other. That was probably my favorite experience in Paris; talk about living the dream.

Paris from the Eiffel Tower

My flight on Tuesday was at 3:30, but I had to make inside the Eiffel Tower before I left. It took two hours of waiting in line while being harassed by guys trying to sell tower key chains, but I finally made it to the tower elevators. Unfortunately I could only make it to the second level because it would’ve taken another hour to get to the top, but it was good enough for me. Still got some great pictures of the city and the skyline, and I can now say I’ve been into the Eiffel Tower.

Paris was easily my favorite trip so far, and it’s one of the few places I’d like to get back to someday.

Speaks for itself

Finally made it to Paris this past weekend. I met a few guys from Holy Cross on Friday night and we came back to St. Andrews yesterday. I’m actually pretty impressed that we met up with no problem seeing as two of the guys were coming from Copenhagen, one from London, and of course me from Scotland. We’re getting good at this traveling thing.

I flew Air France, which is pretty appropriate I guess. It’s actually funny – the stewardess came by asking me what type of sandwich and drink I wanted and I had to check to make sure they were free. I was so used to Ryanair and EasyJet, which practically make you pay to use the bathroom (exaggeration), that I had forgotten real airlines don’t charge you for a cup of water and a small sandwich. It was one of those small planes that’s propeller driven and of course I was sitting right next to one – loudest and most turbulent flight of my life, but there was a lot of free alcohol on the flight so that made up for it.

Finding the hotel (that’s right – hotel – not hostel) was quite the adventure. We thought it was about 600 yards from the main train station, and we were even more pumped because we thought it was in the direction of the Eiffel Tower. An hour and a half of walking later and we realized our hotel was nowhere near the Tower, and in fact, it wasn’t even in Paris. In order to get to the hotel, we had to find a cab that was willing to leave the city limits. Anyways, we finally made it to the hotel, which was ten times better than most hostels we’ve stayed at. Not to mention we figured out the next morning that we were only 100 feet away from a metro stop which makes life a lot easier.

One of the guys I was with had a family friend who grew up in Paris so she took us around on Saturday

Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus of Paris a.k.a. Sacré-Cœur Basilica

morning and part of the afternoon. Our first stop was this area called Monmartre (may or may not be the correct spelling) and the Sacre Coeur. Monmartre is this rustic little area of Paris that still has the old time feel. Plenty of street artists, flower vendors, bakeries, and all that good stuff. The Sacre Coeur is this massive church that you climb a miles’ worth of steps to get to, but it’s worth it because from the church, you get a view of the whole Paris skyline (it was raining when we were at the top, but still impressive none the less).

We spent the rest of the morning making our way around different parts of Paris, mostly the smaller parts that I can’t spell or remember the name of. We hit up this restaurant for lunch that had a deal where you get three courses for 10 Euro (come to find out, that’s how most places in Paris work for lunch). I was just pumped because I’m cheap and that was a great deal. Patricia, the woman showing us around, ordered frog legs for us to try. I’m not big on eating amphibians, but when in Paris… They weren’t that bad, they basically tasted like fishy chicken. Didn’t hate them, but definitely wouldn’t order them again.

We checked out some of the better known areas in the afternoon. We hung out in front of the Louvre for a little while – the glass pyramids are as cool as they look in the Da Vinci Code – walked past the Presidential Paris and the American Embassy (which apparently you’re not supposed to take pictures of), and started making our way towards

The Arc de Triomphe

The Arc de Triomphe

the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc is at the end of the Avenue des Champs Elysees, which is this never ending (but prestigious) street where a lot of the luxury cafes, shops, and cinemas are located. The walk was actually so long that we had to take a break half way up and get a crepe.

I could go on for a long time about how awesome crepes are, but I’ll just leave it as this – a crepe with Nutella is the closest thing you will ever get to heaven for less than 4 Euro.

We finally made it to the Arc which as just as impressive as you would think. It’s literally this massive arc in the middle of a 7 lane roundabout (with no actual lanes). I can’t put my finger on why I liked it so much, but it was definitely worth the hike up the Champs Elysees. We didn’t make it under the Arc because we didn’t want to die crossing the chaotic oncoming traffic that had no regard for other human lives, but if I ever get back there and the traffic doesn’t look deadly, I’ll try and go underneath it.

We had some dinner that night, nothing too special then headed over to the Eiffel Tower. Let me tell you, it totally lives up to all the hype, and it’s easily my favorite attraction in Europe so far. It’s awesome to look at, even in the daytime when you are basically staring at a tangled web of brown steel, but at night when it’s all lit up, it’s really unbelievable.

We walked underneath it and then crossed the Seine River to look at it from the Palais de Chaillot. We watched it flash at 10, and we were so amazed (it is legitimately mesmerizing), we ended up staying there for another hour just so we could watch it again at 11 (there are thousands of strobe lights that flash every hour on the hour). It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever witnessed, not even exaggerating. It was one of those moments which makes me really appreciate this whole experience.

That’s only about half the trip, but I think it’s enough for now. I’ll put the rest up in the coming days, along with a new photo album or two.

It’s officially spring break, and we have two weeks off from class. Not going to lie, it won’t be much different than any

The Jigger in all its glory

other point during this semester, except for the fact that I don’t have my usual 4 hours of class a week.

New Hall has been pretty desolate so far. Most people have gone home for Easter or are traveling around Europe (which I’ll be doing come Friday – Paris, I’m coming your way). We have to make our own meals over break, but I’m too cheap and too lazy to make anything creative so I stuck with the same shopping list I’ve had for the entire year: pasta, sauce, peanut butter, bread, eggs, instant coffee, and the St. Andrews version of Red Bull that cost 40 cents. I’m assuming there’s going to be some pretty good food in Paris, so I only have to make it 3 more days.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to play much golf on my time off. I hear New England is getting a few inches of rain right now. You’re in good company. We’re getting rain, sleet and hail, mixed with 30mph winds, so needless to say, not a lot of golf to be played.

Realizing I only have 2 more months in Scotland, I’ve done a lot of reflecting on what I want to do with my time left here. It really comes down to this: whatever I haven’t done and want to do, I better do it now, because there is a very good chance I will never be back here. And if I do have the opportunity to come back, it’ll either be with a wife and kids, or I’ll be old and immobile, so I better take advantage of it now.

Since it’s about mid-way through the semester, I figure it’s a good time for an update on the progress I’ve made on my list of New Year’s resolutions. Here goes.

• I have officially played every hole on all seven courses on the St. Andrews links; however, it was almost pitch black on the last few holes of the back 9 of the Strathtyrum, so I’d like to play another round on that course one more time to make it official.

• In terms of traveling, I’ve made it to Amsterdam, Germany and Austria, and I’m heading to Paris at the end of the week. I think Dublin is going to be a little post semester vacation before finals start, and Edinburgh, well I’ll make it there one of these weekends.

• Still haven’t made it to the Bop, but it’s going to happen, I swear.

• I haven’t walked the pier on a Sunday morning yet, but I think I’ll do it the Sunday after next to cap off spring break.

• I’m doing just fine in my classes so far. I’ve only had one assignment, but I think it went pretty well, so I guess that covers “do well in my classes” and “go out more, stress about work less”.

• I’ve been to the Raisin a few times this semester, but not once have I seen the girl who worked behind the bar. I’m going to take a stab at it and say she doesn’t work there anymore. Somewhat of a letdown, but I think I’ll survive.

That brings me to my last resolution – live the dream. I think I’ve accomplished that with unequivocal success. Last Saturday, I was sitting at the Jigger Inn – which is connected to the Old Course Hotel – on the 17th hole of the Old Course with a great view of the 18th, drinking my favorite beer in St. Andrews, the Jigger Ale.

Me, Stephen, and Tris at the Jigger

Me and a couple guys had just finished a round on the Jubilee and the sun had started to go down. There I am, with the Old Course as my backyard, a place most golfers dream of getting to but rarely do, just relaxing with a beer in hand watching as people were playing up the 18th hole; probably one of the most famous, if not the most famous hole in golf. Talk about living the dream. I was sitting there without a care in the world for an hour, just soaking everything in.

There hasn’t been too many instances where I’ve been stressed out this year, but it’s moments like that that really make me appreciate this whole experience.

The rest of the semester is going to be crazy between traveling, work, golf, and whatever else pops up along the way. Of course, I won’t have to worry about any of that until after I get back from Paris on Tuesday.

I had my first assignment of the semester due this Thursday for my Medieval Castles class – a 15 minute presentation

Intense Korfball

on Ayyubid Castles, exhilarating I know. I’m just pumped because I hate public speaking, even if it’s only in front of 20 people. Not to mention, I’m pretty sure I aced that bad boy. I had the same professor and the same assignment last semester, and I completely tanked it and still got a decent grade, so due to the fact that this one was infinitely better, I’m assuming I got a pretty good grade. No more assignments for another month.

On Tuesday night I played this game called korfball for my dorm in inter-hall sports. There’s usually a different sport every week, and I hadn’t played yet this year, so I figured it was time to contribute my amazing athletic talent. Since korfball has zero following in the US, it was a good way to get a little culture for the week as well.

If you’ve never heard of korfball, don’t worry, it might be one of the most ridiculous games ever invented. It’s played in a ton of obscure countries like Belarus, Taiwan, Serbia, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, and of course all of the UK. It was played in the ’20 and ’28 Olympic games so there’s no contention about its’ status as a sport.

Anyway, it’s a coed sport where the objective is to shoot a soccer type ball into an 11.5 foot hoop with no back board. There’s plenty more rules, but I’ll leave it at that and you can Wikipedia the rest. I actually learned the game from watching Youtube clips. My team came in 5th out of 6, but it was a good time, and I learned a new sport (which I will probably never play again), so it’s all good.

I went to a friend’s 21st birthday party on Saturday night. It was in this nice hotel called the Rusacks on the 18th hole of the Old Course which I had never been to but had walked past a million times. I ended up meeting a ton of people which was great because I only knew 2 or 3 when I first walked in. Nice place, friendly people, all in all a great night.

Didn’t get a round in on the Old Course this week, but I attempted to play the Jubilee today. Pretty miserable conditions (20 mph winds right off the beach) made for a miserable score, and it didn’t help that my game was off more than usual. As always, it was just good to get out, and as an added bonus, it didn’t rain.

We booked our hotel for Paris this week, so everything is just about set for that. We’re heading over there from April 4th through the 6th and it looks like it’s going to be a solid few days.

Token sign that everyone takes a picture with

Token sign that everyone takes a picture with

Brace yourselves, this is going to be a long one – I just got back last night from my two day excursion to Amsterdam. It’s a crazy city, and even though we were only there for two days, I’m pretty sure I experienced everything Amsterdam had to offer and then some. Two days was more than enough and I don’t think my body could take any more. It’s the most tired I’ve been after a weekend trip.

For a city that’s not that cosmetically appealing, I think I can say that it has been my favorite city so far. It’s a canal city, which overall is pretty sweet, although I had a love/ hate view of them. They’re ridiculously dirty, and they’re filled with run down boats that looked like they haven’t been touched in twenty years, but at the same time, there’s a ton of decked out house boats lining the banks and seeing canals in the middle of the city in general is pretty cool.

The Heineken "Factory"

I’ve never seen so many bikes in my entire life, I kid you not. There are bike racks literally on every street corner, and at busy points they have multi layered bike rack/ parking garages for bikes only. The bike lanes on the road are bigger than those for cars. Just like some of the boats in the canals, I’m pretty sure some of the bikes on the racks haven’t been touched in a few years either – some are rusted beyond repair.

When we got into the train station, we got lost on our way to our hostel – which was in the middle of nowhere – so we decided to check out some of the coffee houses. Pretty crazy stuff. Even if you don’t plan on taking advantage of any of the amenities yourself, it’s still cool just to watch people nonchalantly buy drugs over the counter that are illegal in the US. We eventually found our hostel, checked in, and explored another coffee house.

In actuality, there are probably plenty of things to do in Amsterdam, but all we really cared about was the Heineken

Houseboats and Canals

factory, the Red-light district, and the Van Gogh Museum. So first on the list was the Heineken factory, which actually turned out to be more of a museum. It was run by guys about my age, who didn’t exactly seem like experts, but the museum itself is sick and you get two free pints of beer at the end.

Before the Heineken factory, we got some Doner kebabs for lunch. They seem to have those in every European city, which is good for us because we’re addicted at this point. Gotta love street meat.

We did a lot of walking around that afternoon, and that night, we hopped over to the Red-light district. Talk about crazy, I have never seen anything like it. It’s just straight up neon lights, fast food joints, euro rave bars, and any form of erotic entertainment you could possibly think of. I’ll leave it at that for now, if anyone wants to know more, send me a message.

The calmer part of the Red-light district

There are these fast food bar type restaurants where they sell fries in a paper cone, which most locals have with mayonnaise. A couple of the guys got some fries sans mayo, and we called it a night.

We hit up the Van Gogh Museum Sunday morning. It’s not secret I hate art, but since I haven’t paid to go into a museum since I’ve been abroad, I figured I might as well suck it up and go in. For a guy who doesn’t like art, I could appreciate it for what it was – he does actually have some pretty cool paintings. If you are into Van Gogh or know anything about art, you’d be in heaven. Anyways, we flew home Sunday night, and that was the weekend. Can’t say I’m in any rush to go back right this second, but if the opportunity did come up at some point in the future, I’d go in a heartbeat.

On another note, I played the Old Course again on Wednesday. It seems like it might just become a weekly thing. Had one of my best nine holes on the front and totally tanked in on the back, but whatever, it’s the Old Course. I just try to enjoy it.