A Student in Scotland

I think I can finally safely say I am over most of the Jet lag (Ha!). I woke up with a good nights rest and went to prepare some breakfast and green tea for myself and my roommate, Monica. We were out relatively early today, as Monica and I have a meeting at 9am with our program coordinator, to go over our finalized timetables. We were both excited and nervous on our walk to school this morning (Fun Fact: The sun really doesn’t come up here until around 9am). So, we have both learned to do most things in the dark lol! (Which also saves on electricity, thumbs up for sustainability).
 
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As we walked to the university (about a ten-minute walk from our flat), we shared our excitement and nerves regarding our upcoming semester at the University of the West of Scotland. Upon arrival, we met with our coordinator who happens to be from Greece (so he has both a Greek and Scottish accent mushed into an entirely different fraken-accent). He’s great. He was able to work out and give us our identical timetables and… guess what! We only have three classes (due to credit sizing conversion between Canada and the UK). This meaning, we only have classes on Wednesday mornings and Thursday’s. Giving us five extra days for exploring, study and whatever else we can get ourselves into, Woohoo!
 
After discussing enrolment and some paperwork; Monica and I were free for the rest of the day. I ended up buying a University sweater to show some UWS pride (and it’s a plus because it’s very warm!). We got hungry around 1pm, so we decided to go to “Malatso” (a cafe located near campus,  as they carry a vegan menu and have student discounts!).
 
I had a delicious vegan mini “Scottish breakfast”, it was very tasty! Monica also enjoyed a baked potato, which is a staple food here in Scotland. After eating, we explored the town of Paisley together and finally bought pillows for our flat!! Yay! (no more sleeping on my airplane neck pillow…lol). For the remainder of the afternoon, we took some photos together and explored the old churches in the area. The main attraction here in Paisley (the town we are staying in, near Glasgow), is “The Paisley Abbey”, which is an old church that dates back to the 12th century! It is so beautiful and we are so lucky as it can be seen from our flat window.
 
After finishing our exploring for the day, we visited Morrison’s (a UK grocery store), to do some food shopping and use their wifi. We are loving all the new and exciting products that are offered here. What an adventure it has been. When we got home, I made us some long-grain rice and vegetables for supper (alongside some trustee convenience store bananas! Which are surprisingly very good).
 
I finished packing my school bag for tomorrow and prepared myself for bed. I went to bed around 9pm. I know that seems early, but since it gets dark so early, we feel tired much quicker. Also, we did a ton of walking today.
 
Tomorrow marks the first official day of classes!! We are both so excited!
Love and Greeting from Bonnie Scotland!
 
You can continue to follow Monica and I’s adventures by following us on our Instagrams;
Melanie: @melanie_mueller5
Monica: @milamoniquemara

Off to see the world!!!

Over the weekend, I decided to go out of GuangZhou to visit other attraction areas. I went to Shen Zhen to see the Windows of the World (WOW). This is one of the attractions that I said to myself “oh my god, this is a must see!” I finally decided to go over the weekend because if I don’t then I will not have any other time to go. Since I will be returning back to Canada in 2 weeks, it will be very busy for me from now until then, so I don’t know when I’ll have the time to go see WOW. I have already made plans for the next 2 weekends so the only time I had was last weekend.

Although it was planned very last minute to go WOW with my co-worker, but we still had an amazing time! Too bad we only went for a day trip, it would be nice if I could actually stay there for 2 days, that way I can see other places in Shen Zhen as well. Unfortunately, I had to work on Sunday so we went on Sat morning and came home that night. It took about 2 hours to arrive at our destination (1.5 hour on the train from GuangZhou to ShenZhen + 30 mins on the subway). It was quite a journey getting there but I think it was worth it.

What is Windows of the World you ask? It’s essentially an attraction area that has miniature sculptures of famous places around the world such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and Pyramids from Egypt. They also had Niagara Falls and the Statue of Liberty which I did not visit because I thought at the time, since I live in Canada, there is no need for me to see them. However, after I came home, I kind of regretted that I did not go through the park thoroughly. A big factor that resulted in my decision was because the shoes I was wearing on that day were not completely comfortable so after walking for a while, my feet were hurting like crazy!

When I visited the Pyramids, I paid $20RMB to sit on a camel to take pictures. It was a well spent $20 because I got a really priceless photo! At first, I thought it was a fake camel because it was standing there so still, but afterwards, I was startled because it started moving! Anyway, there was one photo where I’m sitting on the camel and I’m “supposedly” be in “Egypt” but then the cameraman also got the “Eiffel tower” in the picture! And what’s funnier is that the camel is smiling! Well, to me it looks like its smiling because you can see the teeth! I found it quite amusing.

After coming back home, I was exhausted so I went to bed and the next day I went to work. My legs were hurting for 2 days from the combination of all the walking and the uncomfortable shoes.

Tip: When going out to somewhere that requires a lot of walking, wear comfortable shoes!!!

To see more pictures taken at the Windows of the World, visit www.photobucket.com/mchen27-wow

Things I Learned in Ghana… Day 6

Things I learned in Ghana in my first 6 days of being here…

 

Sometimes people will give you the wrong directions. I have found that the people that give you the right directions will usually tell you landmarks to look out for to know that you are going the right way.

You should not use irons that look older then you are, they will ruin your clothes (SEE PHOTO BELOW).

 

Even though you don’t see any mosquitoes, you should still wear bug repellent. They are there and ready to make a meal out of you (I have a leg full of bites to prove it).

Men pee in the streets regardless if women are walking by… no shame whatsoever!

There are almost no sidewalks here (SEE PHOTO BELOW), therefore you need to be alert anytime you are walking in the street, cars and bikes will come close to hitting you.

 

If you buy locally grown food you will save a ton of money (bananas are my new favourite food). Breakfast, lunch and dinner, yes please!

When trying to get a taxi, it is normal for taxi drivers to quote you at least double the price for a ride just because you are a foreigner. Be sure to ask locals the prices of rides to where you want to go first and negotiate with the drivers.

Ghanaians can be extremely friendly and helpful.

Don’t be alarmed when you see small animals living in the streets, I equate them to the Canadian squirl (SEE PHOTO BELOW).