I’m Somewhere Else

I arrived in St Andrews, Scotland yesterday. When I took my first wee walk around yesterday, the words that kept running through my head were “Holy Fucking Shit.” Colorful language, yes, but I guess that’s the voice awe speaks in my head.

Here’s a few pics of what I know thus far.

This is my house. It’s the red tile roofed building with 4 windows. My window is the second window on the right, second floor. I’m offically housed in Dean’s Court, the oldest dwelling in the city, but there are three annexes (which means i live in a house with 6 people in instead of 50!). My common room and dining hall are still over at the main Deans Court building which is right across the street.

This is one of the tour busses that stops in front of my window multiple times daily to drop off tourists. I find this affirming rather than annoying. I live in a tourist location. My street is a destination. Solid.

This is my backyard. As far as I can tell, it’s shared by three houses, all of which are connected to the University, I think. The entrance to the garden (it is technically a garden, but also, ‘garden’ is the term for ‘lawn’ or ‘yard’ over here) is through our little kitchen. There’s a rough stone patio that drops off onto this great expanse of grass. And yes, that’s the North Sea behind the red shed.

Here’s more garden, including a little gazebo/shed.

Here’s looking at the back of my house, 3 North Street.

The back door is a bit Tardis-y, yes?

And in case you missed it, here’s the view from my window.

Shall we take a closer look at what’s across the street?
Yes, we shall.

It’s Saint Andrews Cathedral. The ruins of one of the most important pilgrimage sites in Scotland.

It’s free to wander the grounds, and I think I might have access to the museum for free as a student. Gonna investigate this week. Imagine, living next door to a Scottish Heritage site! With gift shop!

“I can see my house from here” literally.

Cannot wait to keep exploring here. I didn’t explore half of it yet.

I will be spending time on these benches.

Terrifying medieval pit you cannot see the bottom of.

And standing under that main front arch, you can look right and see Deans Court, where I have my meals and socializing.

Look left from the arch and you can see The Roundel, where I’ll have my research desk.

And this is St Mary’s College, the School of Divinity. I stopped by today to meet the admin person I’ve been corresponding with. Most research Phds won’t arrive until late next week, so I get some downtime to get acclimated (and not do any work).

The Divinity School librarian was in the office when I stopped by and she walked me over and up to King James Library, which is the oldest library in Scotland, founded in 1612. It’s for Divinity students. That’s me. Also, that Greek sign is St Andrews’ motto, “Ever To Excel”.

And this is Zizi’s pizza, directly across the street from St Mary’s (a block from my house), for which Shasti had a gift card awaiting me when I arrived. I know where I’ll be this Saturday! Calzone!

And this is the street entrance to Deans Court, my home base.

This is a well (ca. 1500s?) in the drive-way circle.

Here are hydrangeas that make me feel at home

Right next to the inner arch way

Which leads to this

A Secret Garden

Roses that make me feel at home

And many a magical pathway

The side of Deans Court

View from Deans Court’s arch entry to the cathedral’s arch entry.

And the moment we’ve all been waiting for…

The Deans Court dining hall, ca. 1100’s, replete with candelabras.

This is Valentina. She lives below me, is very friendly (she’s the first person I’ve made plans with), and just graduated from Wellesley in Boston, but grew up living all over Africa. She’s doing medieval studies. We have much to discuss.

Hogwarts students tucking in.

There’s about 50 of us who live in Deans Court and its annexes. I’ve met folks from El Salvador, Austria, Liverpool, and Los Angeles. Lots of biology and economics and psychology masters students. I’ve met a few Divinity MLitts but no other PhDs yet. They’ll arrive closer to the 27th.

This is my view of Deans Court from my window.

And here again is my window, center, and you can just make out the flowers from Shasti. Such a wonderful house warming gift from across the sea!

I’m here. I’m alive. I’m mostly tackling 2 or 3 matriculationy things a day. There’s a lot to do, but I’m taking my time.

Thanks for enjoying all this with me. It’s more than I can process/believe on my own.

Oh yeah, I forgot. Here’s the ruins of a castle behind my house.


Posted on Tue, Sep 11th, 2012 at 3:08 pm
Filed under Anglophilia, Bravery, Cultural Shifts, History, Lists, St Andrews.

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Comments: 17

  1. 1 | Longbrake

    September 11th, 2012 at 3:18 pm



  2. 2 | Courtney

    September 11th, 2012 at 3:24 pm


  3. 3 | Cheryl Goodwin

    September 11th, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    I have some of the same pictures! Now I really want to go back for another visit. Thanks for sharing your new experiences.

  4. 4 | Holly G

    September 11th, 2012 at 3:47 pm

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!! Oh enchanting world!! SO excited for you! Thanks for showing it to us through your eyes!

  5. 5 | Mackenzie

    September 11th, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    WOW!!!!!! So glad you have an iPhone to document everything… it looks amazing. So happy for you and your new adventure.

  6. 6 | Hilary Ann Golden

    September 11th, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Holy Fucking Shit! Those pictures are amazing! I am jealous of you! I hope you soak up every magical moment AND send us some pictures and kj reflections often!!!

  7. 7 | D Joel F

    September 11th, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    You just killed me with the ruins of a castle behind your house. And the medieval pit! Ahhh! So exciting!

  8. 8 | spiro

    September 11th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    Love love love!

  9. 9 | Jonathan Edmund

    September 11th, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I was breathless throughout this whole post. WOW! WOW WOW WOW! All I can say is see you soon!

  10. 10 | Becca

    September 11th, 2012 at 11:58 pm

    hooray for hydrangeas and roses! it’s all so so beautiful. i’m so glad you have so much time to soak it in.

  11. 11 | Shasti

    September 12th, 2012 at 12:45 am

    OMGeeeeeeee that is as articulate as I can be right now!!! It’s amazing! And you have a garden! And you’re on the top floor! Oh I am so excited for you to explore further 🙂

  12. 12 | Roberta

    September 13th, 2012 at 12:25 am

    where’s your pic of your first pint at your local?

  13. 13 | Kj

    September 13th, 2012 at 3:40 am

    Oops. too busy drinking it I guess 🙂

  14. 14 | Linda P.

    September 13th, 2012 at 11:36 am

    Thank you for sharing all these pictures!!!! I’m so excited for you as you start this new chapter! Those ruins are AMAZING!

  15. 15 | Daniel

    September 14th, 2012 at 12:24 pm


    So grateful that you found another secret garden and that you have had the time to explore and be welcomed by the place before you begin your studies. Peace, friend.

  16. 16 | Heather

    September 14th, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    just tears. so. much. story. waiting to be made–by you.

  17. 17 | spiro

    February 17th, 2013 at 12:09 pm


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