Archive for the ‘life in edinburgh’ Category

the clan gathering: a celebration of scottish culture and history

July 25, 2009


If you’re around Edinburgh this weekend, be sure to attend the Clan Gathering, a two-day festival celebrating the culture and history of Scotland. This year’s Gathering features a slew of various events all over city, including a parade, Scottish country dancing, and the World Highland Games.

I am hoping to check out The Gathering after I get some reading done for my dissertation. In the meantime, I’ll just enjoy the festivities from my kitchen window.


snapshots of edinburgh: route 75

April 26, 2009

Andrew and I just went for a phenomenal bike ride around New Haven and Leith. This was our first time cycling together in Edinburgh and we had a blast exploring the city by bike. The trails by the harbours are especially scenic.


Hurray for cycling!


Western Harbour


Western Harbour

the joyful bewilderment part deux at analogue books

March 24, 2009


If you’re in Edinburgh this weekend, make sure to attend the opening of The Joyful Bewilderment Part Deux at Analogue Books. Here are the details:

7-9pm, Saturday — March 28, 2009

Analogue Books 102 West Bow Edinburgh EH1 2H

Here’s a description of the exhibition by The Joyful Bewilderment:

“The Joyful Bewilderment is an international group exhibition showcasing the outpourings of a group of like minded image-makers. This exhibition can be seen as an expression of these artists compulsion to create. Fundamentally, the artists in the show all share an essential motivation to explore the possibilities of enhancing everyday life by making magic from the mundane.”


“[I]n various ways, the works offer a subconscious social commentary on the uncertainty of the times we are all living in. Specifically, what comes to the fore are common concerns and a positive interest with dipping into the past and championing seemingly long-forgotten notions such as thriftyness and a delight in the ordinary everyday detritus of life in order to counteract the context of a world today brimming with unwanted junk and jumble that has been manufactured for the transitory ‘now’.”

Super excited to check out the show! Thanks for the tip, Common Folk!

[via Mumble and The Joyful Bewilderment]

the edinburgh doc(umentary)scene

February 24, 2009


One of the things I love about being back in uni is having the time to attend free lectures outside of my regular course schedule. On Friday, I attended a Documentary Master class featuring Kazakh filmmaker Sergey Dvortsevoy at the Edinburgh College of Art. The talk was quite fascinating, and if you’re at all interested in documentary, I highly suggest you get involved with the Scottish Documentary Institute, also known as Docscene. This documentary research centre not only organizes talks and lectures by internationally renowned filmmakers, but also, provides funding, training, and equipment for both amateurs and veterans. Docscene is a great resource for anyone interested in documentary.

Be sure to sign up for their mailing list to be the first to know about upcoming events and opportunities!

Photo by Flickr user jennifer buehrer

snapshots of edinburgh: holyrood in white

February 2, 2009

Today was the first snow of the year! Here’s a photo of Holyrood Park from our kitchen window.


This is what the park looked like on a sunny day in September.


I love the snow, but am definitely looking forward to the spring.

here we go!

January 14, 2009

Just kicked off the first week of the second semester. It’s weird, but good being back in school. I haven’t quite switched out of vacation mode, but I’m sure I’ll get into grad school mode in no time.

This semester I’m taking Culture and Criticism II: The Practice of Culture Studies, a core course whose purpose is “to provide students with basic critical skills for understanding contemporary culture across its numerous manifestations and texts.” The course themes sound really interesting, and include: Cultural Conceptions of the Body, Digital Practices in Contemporary Music, Everyday Life and Culture, and Mobility, Spatiality, and Visuality. In addition to this core course, I am also taking Research Methods and Problems in Cultural Studies, which starts next Friday.

I’m also shopping around for an optional course. On Monday, I audited The City and Its Others, a course that “tracks the shifting character of urban theory in its attempt to account for and explain the emergence of these ‘other’ urbanisms in the context of globalization.” Tomorrow, I plan to audit Cinema: Time, Space, and Memory and next week, I plan to sit in The Holocaust and Representation and Culture of Display, a course that “introduces the theory and practice of museology/museum studies.” This last class especially interests me because it involves visits to galleries and museums and seems a lot more practice-based than the other classes.

In addition to school, I am also working. Today I started my temporary position as a Telephone Interviewer at the Careers Service. Basically, my job is to call alumni to see what they are doing. It’s not the most glamorous job, but one can’t be too picky in the UK. Plus, cold calling isn’t so bad if you’re not asking for money or donations. Most of the people I talked to were pretty friendly and receptive to my questions.

Today, I also signed up for the university’s gym. The membership fee for one semester is £60, a bit too steep for my budget, but the facilities are top-notch and I really do want to get in shape. Tomorrow, I plan to hop on a bike and maybe a treadmill. I’m hoping to hit the gym a few times a week this semester.

Overall, it’s been a good first week, but then again it’s only Wednesday…

filmhouse: independent cinema in edinburgh

November 29, 2008

Man reading a Filmhouse programme

I recently watched the documentary Citizen Havel at the Filmhouse, a cultural cinema featuring independent films from all over the world. The Filmhouse is the home of the Edinburgh International Film Festival and hosts many other festivals all year round. The documentary I watched is a part of the Winter Festival of Central and Eastern European Film, which “showcases the enormous riches, in terms of language and culture, from this part of the world. This cultural and linguistic diversity is emphasised by the film programme, which includes works from Hungary, Poland, Serbia, and the Czech Republic.” This festival runs from November 10 – December 13.

The Filmhouse has three state-of-the-art cinemas, as well as a lovely cafe and bar, which is perfect for meeting with a date or friends. Highly recommended for cinephiles.

Photo by the Filmhouse

health care in edinburgh: part 2

November 26, 2008

About a week and a half ago, I had x-rays of my vertebral column taken. In order to get the x-rays, I had to get a referral from my GP in Scotland, whom I showed a referral from my surgeons in the States. I had to take the GP referral to the Radiology Department at Chalmer’s Hospital, about a ten-minute walk from the University Health Centre.

I was able to get x-rays taken the same day I dropped off the referral. I wanted to get a copy of the x-rays to send to my surgeons in the States, but the Radiology Department told me that they normally do not release x-rays to patients and that I would need written permission from my GP. They said that a radiologist would review my x-rays and send a textual report without the x-rays to the GP, with whom I would have to schedule an appointment. This process took about a week.

Photo courtesy of flickr user eskimo_jo

By flickr user eskimo_jo

I saw the GP a couple of days ago and he informed that the radiologist did not have enough information (i.e. my other x-rays taken in the States) to make an adequate assessment of my x-rays (obviously!). The GP gave me a hand-written note requesting that the Radiology Department release my x-rays to me. I walked back to Chalmers Hospital today, just a week after my visit, only to discover that the Radiology Department had closed down! It was completely shut down, and appeared to be under re-construction for another department. They had a note on the door written in black marker advising patients to go to other health centres to get x-rays.

When I called Chalmers Hospital to inquire about my records, they told me I would have to go to the Leith Community Treatment Centre with five pounds and a written permission of release from my GP to obtain my x-rays. I am planning to head the Leith Treatment Centre sometime this week.

I am very frustrated by the bureaucracy of obtaining x-rays and the unprofessionalism of closing down a department without informing their patients. However, I’m sure things will work out in the end.

With the exception of this x-ray fiasco, my experience with the health care system in Edinburgh has been positive.

health care in edinburgh: part 1

November 25, 2008

Photo Courtesy of Memekode

One of the great things about being an international student in the UK is that you qualify for free health care through the National Health Service (NHS). When you arrive in the UK, you will have to register with a local General Practitioner’s Surgery (which means clinic in British English). I registered with the Health Centre at the University of Edinburgh. Registering was fairly quick and easy, all I had to do was fill out a registration form, and bring my student id card and proof of address.

As many of you know, I fractured my vertebral column in a serious car accident in Seattle last August, so having access to good health care was a high priority. I’ve visited the Health Centre several times since I arrived in Edinburgh, and overall, I am satisfied with the quality of service, especially considering it’s free.

One of the best things about the University Health Centre is their drop-in hours, which take place from 9:00am to 10:00am from Monday through Friday. This means you can see a doctor almost every day of the week. But keep in mind, the waits are long and the doctors are usually rushed. If you’d like more time and personalized care, I’d suggest setting up an appointment outside of drop-in hours. The wait for an appointment is usually about a week long, depending on your doctor.

Because of my accident, I had to undergo physical therapy (they call it physiotherapy in the UK) and get x-rays. To see a physiotherapist, you can either fill out a self-referral form or get a GP referral. If you self-refer, it will take about six weeks to see a therapist, but if you get GP referral, the wait should be no more than a week. I have seen the University physiotherapist once, and the quality of care and methods seems to be the same as my therapist in the States. I plan to see the physiotherapist a couple more times once I have my x-rays analyzed.

Photo by flickr user memekode


November 20, 2008

Volunteering is a great way to help and get involved in the community. I hope to start volunteering this month for LINKnet, a mentoring project dedicated to serving ethnic minorities in Scotland and the Chess Academy, an organization that gets young people involved in chess through tournaments.

I found these opportunities through the Volunteer Centre Edinburgh, which allows you to search through their fantastic database of local volunteer opportunities based on your interests, location, and availability. The Volunteer Centre has offices all over Scotland, you can find the one closest to you by going here. If you’re located in England, you can search for other opportunities through Volunteering England.

Another great resource is the Student Volunteer Centre at the University of Edinburgh. Check to see if your university has a volunteer centre.