Letters from Scotland
By Jonathon Farrell
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So this week was not as eventful as others. I spent until Thursday afternoon polishing essays and getting them as close to perfect as I could.
After that, I hopped in a friend's car to Leuchars, where I boarded a train to Aberdeen. It was a really nice trip through some lovely countryside, but it was hard to relax and enjoy it. The guy sitting across from me was really messed up on some kind of drugs, and kept passing out and drooling all over the table.
But it was only about an hour until we arrived. The train station is in a shopping mall, so it took some time for me to find a taxi. Once I found one, I got some dinner at the hotel restaurant and stayed for the night.
The next morning I took a taxi to the airport, and flew to Stavanger, Norway. I met up with my host Elin from my trip in 2008, and it was just great seeing her again. We spent the afternoon in Stavanger, looking around the downtown and seeing the sights and then going to a shopping mall.
Unfortunately, I left my camera in my bag, so I have no pictures to show. Then we met up with her husband, Odd Ingvar, and drove for five hours down around the southern tip of Norway to the Risoy Folkehusetskolen. This is not spelled correctly, but it cannot possibly be, as I do not have some of the required letters on my keyboard!
Their daughter, Solveig, goes to school here, learning First Aid, Rescue, and Scuba Diving. It is a one-year school that teaches personal growth and what-not, along with handy certificates such as those ones, and is a Christian institute.
We stayed a night in a hotel (more of a cabin) with a balcony looking over the sea and all the little islands. It was really nice.
The next day was Parent's Day at the school, where they demonstrated everything they taught, from the First Aid stuff to a mime and dancing routine, complete with an MC and some comedy. It would have made a lot more sense if I spoke Norwegian!
We toured all around the facility, including a boat trip on the vessel they use for diving lessons which was about 30 minutes, and toured around several small island villages. When we were done there, we drove eight hours back to the house I stayed at in 2008 on the Island of Bomlo.
On the way, we discovered something about their new car: While it will not start unless the key is inside (it is one of those new ones with a power button instead of an ignition), it is possible to leave the key with someone in Stavanger and get one hour away to the ferry port without knowing it! But luckily we discovered it before the car got stuck on the ferry, and Odd Ingvar made it just in time to drop off the key before we had to board the ferry.
The rest of the trip was beautiful; the scenery here is world famous, right in the heart of Fjord Norway. Another thing you cannot help but notice is the infrastructure; the roads cover as much distance on massive bridges and tunnels, through mountains and under fjords as they do on flat ground.
Jonathon Farrell, son of Geoff and Sandra Farrell of Huron-Kinloss, is studying at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland this school year, through a student exchange program at Queen's University, Kingston, where he is a third-year student.
Just as it started to snow, we made it back to Bomlo. I am still there now, and it is great. This place feels as close as I can get to home without crossing the ocean; it is a farm, but very small, with a great family who are all very kind and make me feel right at home. Very relaxing.
I am really looking forward to spending Reading Week here, and not having to travel anywhere else until I head back to Scotland on Friday. Though I must say, I do already miss St Andrews a bit!
books, sports, movies ...
Sunday, November 07, 2010