Lunar New Year and Dumfries Trip

Hello readers! I apologize for the tardiness of this post; this past week I was in Spain, which you can read about here. In this post, I talk about what I did two weeks ago.

On February 4, Edinburgh University Students’ Association (EUSA) hosted a free Lunar New Year celebration.  I went to the event and had a great time!  I am interested in Chinese culture but know very little about it, so this was a wonderful chance for me to get a taste of it.  There were several performances by very talented students; my favorite was a duo who performed a sword dance. It was the first sword dance I have ever seen and I loved it.  Here is a photo I took:

At the celebration, there was a table where anyone could write a Chinese calligraphy character on a piece of special red paper – this paper is then hung upside down on your door and is supposed to bring good fortune.  I was very humbled by the incredible difficulty of calligraphy.  I was aware of how highly valued precision and artistry is in calligraphy (admittedly, I only knew this from having read Amy Tan’s The Bonesetter’s Daughter in high school – a great book, I must add)… but to really try it was certainly an altogether different experience.  The student working at the table helped me with my technique, but my paper did not even hold a candle to the example paper.  She (the student) worked on one at the same time as me and then generously gave me hers!! Hers was perfect, of course.  Here I am with my friend Carla, who is holding the paper with the very talented student’s calligraphy (I am holding the paper I wrote on… I did not intend for it to be in the picture, 😆 ).

As if it could not get better, there was also an impressive array of Chinese food: young chow fried rice, egg fried rice, Singapore noodles, plain noodles, chicken and cashew nuts in char siu sauce, sweet and sour pork, Szechuan vegetables, vegetable spring rolls, chicken wings, prawn crackers, and rice crackers.  I ate more than my fill of food 🙂  It was a great night and I am so grateful EUSA hosted this event and that I went!

On February 6, I went on a day trip to Dumfries, a town in Scotland which is a former royal burgh.  I went on this trip with the ISC as a volunteer, so I did research on the town and helped make the itinerary! The famous Scottish poet Robert Burns lived there for several years of his life, so a great deal of the city attractions are focused on him.

First, we visited the Caerlaverock Castle, a very unique and interesting medieval castle – it is triangular and surrounded by a moat!  Much of it was destroyed, but the parts that still stand are pretty magnificent.  Here are two photos I took:

Castle exterior (the hills are hiding the moat, but you can see it a bit in the next picture)

Castle interior (notice the moat on the left side)

After visiting the castle, we drove into the main area of the town of Dumfries.  I ate lunch at The Globe Inn, Robert Burns’ favorite pub, with a few friends.  We then walked around, took photos by the river, and went to the Burns Centre and the Dumfries Museum.  I had a great time on the trip, even in the pouring rain and freezing cold 🙂 . The Dumfries Museum was my favorite part of the day, so if you ever happen to find yourself in Dumfries, go to the museum! It’s free!

I took this photo by the river; unfortunately, the grey skies exude a gloomy feeling, but the town really was quite lovely.

On Tuesday, February 9, Alex and I went to Mary’s Milk Bar, located on Grassmarket in Edinburgh. We got hot chocolate floats to celebrate Mardi Gras and the re-opening of Mary’s! The milk bar was closed for about a month while Mary traveled so this was our first opportunity to go since arriving in Edinburgh. Here is a photo of our floats:

So yummy. New favorite spot in Edinburgh.


Thanks for reading!

– Tori

Ms. Victoria J. Malstrom

Welcome to my blog! My name is Tori Malstrom and I am from Baltimore, Maryland. I am a junior at the University of Scranton. I am majoring in Mathematics and Philosophy and minoring in Criminology. I am in SJLA, which is the Special Jesuit Liberal Arts Honors Program. Currently, I am studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. In my free time I love reading, cooking, listening to music, and playing piano and guitar. I love animals, especially my dog Molly :) If you have any questions or comments, feel free to comment directly on my blog posts. Thanks for stopping by, and please stay as long as you'd like!

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