Letters from Scotland
By Jonathon Farrell



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Jonathon Farrell (seated) enjoys his birthday dinner surrounded by a group of friends at the Old Course Hotel. photo courtesy of Jonathon Farrell


This week got off to a boring start - I spent the first three days writing an essay. Got it all finished, though - 3,300 words about why the Dutch were the top traders in Asia in the 17th and 18th Centuries. Exciting stuff.

Shortly after that, on Thursday, things picked up considerably. I turned 20 that day, and my friends here did not let it pass by quietly. In fact, I have not really done any schoolwork since then! I had class on Thursday morning, and then after that, began the good part. 

My friends had made a reservation for dinner at the Old Course Hotel - a 4.5-star restaurant. The reservation was for 16 people, and 14 managed to come. As it was so large, we had to book it through the Events Manager, who is the same guy who would deal with things like the banquets for the British Open golf tournament! 

So I moved up a social class just by having this reservation made in my name, and then we all got gussied up in our suits and ties and headed off to dinner, which lasted three hours. Mmmm, it was one of the best meals I have ever had. Steak, baked potato, rolls, all the important things. 

It would have cost me 30 pounds (around $50!) for dinner, but my friends refused to let me pay for it. Then the restaurant threw in a birthday cake for me too, which I enjoyed as my friends had competitions to see who could propose the best toast to me. The winner was about the diversity in my life since coming to Scotland - the new things I have tried, the people I have met, etc.

This was very true - I had been warned not to fall into a group of Americans and Canadians who excluded all others. And looking around the table, I was the only Canadian - there were several Scots, some English, some Americans, and others from Finland, Portugal, Hong Kong, and Spain. 

What an experience! I did not need to eat again until lunch on Sunday, I had so much great food. But I did not have the most - one friend had 76 pounds (about $130) worth of food, and overate so much that he was sick to his stomach. He was not upset - just commented that that was the most expensive thing he had ever lost like that!

Friday, I enjoyed hanging out with friends and then went out for a smaller birthday event with some Canadian friends. On my way back to do work I wound up with another group of friends, and we ended up watching a movie in my room. 



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.

Sunday, I went to a church that dates back to before the Reformation, so it still had the ornate stained glass, etc. A little bit more elaborate than Kincardine Baptist Church at home!

Now, I need to get to work - I have another essay to write!


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Tuesday, October 26, 2010