Scotland: III (St. Andrews & Ceilidh Dance)

Two words: train rides. Something I never gave a second thought, or ever imagined I'd love so much. When we stepped onto the platform, I remember this feeling of truly realizing what a different world it is there. I felt like a giddy little kid; so excited to ride on a train for the first time, as if someone had just given me a puppy for Christmas. Looking around on the train, I realized that everyone outside of our group seemed so nonchalant. "Ay, I talked to him. Said we'd be visiting over the weekend when we have the time. Right. No, I'm just on the train now." I was practically molding my face into the glass of the window, and making sure I sat in the direction we'd be traveling, in the spot with the best view I could manage. Meanwhile, I hear "just on the train now" as if it's no big deal. "No big deal, Hannah. Chill. Be cool...be cool." I told myself, with a slight raise of one eyebrow and a shrug of my shoulders. Still, I stared out at the scenery passing us by as though it was composed of golden fields from a world of fantasy. Oh wait, it was. This was one of the moments where I couldn't even bother trying to quickly compose the perfect shot. As we sped down the tracks like a bird above the clouds, all I could do was wonder how I wasn't dreaming. It sounds so silly, but I might even dare to say that if I had been trapped on a train ride across the country for the rest of the trip, I wouldn't have minded. There are days when I feel overwhelmed with thoughts; my head so clouded with things I wish I could say, or feelings I wish I had ways to express. So, I drive. I drive for hours at a time, just sitting--thinking. More often than not, I arrive back where I began with a lower fuel level, and a feeling of dissatisfaction that I was still unable to put anything into words. When I sat on that train for the first time, I felt all of these thoughts and emotions race to my mind as if I was driving to clear them away back home. I reached into my backpack, pulled out my journal, and I finally trapped my worries onto the paper. Yes, maybe if I lived somewhere with trains as a means of popular transportation, they may lose their magic. But, if I could choose one thing from the entire trip to call my favorite, I would undoubtedly tell you "the trains." For the love of all things Hogwarts Express, if you ever have the chance to travel by train...do it. 

St. Andrews was our stop for the day. Sit through a lecture at St. Andrew's Cathedral, and I guarantee that you'll temporarily put aside the urge to express any personal opposition towards the material you're covering. However, travel there on a windy day, and you may just watch the material you're covering fly away into the graveyard never to be seen again. As it started to rain, I was still a little bit frustrated with myself for having somehow lost my rain jacket before even leaving Atlanta. In all honesty, how could I be bothered in a place like this? On the bright side (literally), I still had my hot-pink poncho thanks to Dr. Nelson. 

The group as we first entered St. Andrew's Cathedral. 

The group as we first entered St. Andrew's Cathedral. 

St. Andrew's Cathedral

St. Andrew's Cathedral

The shore was so beautiful

The shore was so beautiful

Melissa

Melissa

This couple was actually aggressively weirded out by me taking their photo... Oh whale.

This couple was actually aggressively weirded out by me taking their photo... Oh whale.

Kim and Dr. Muth

Kim and Dr. Muth

I'm not sure how the timing for this photo even worked out, but I'm so glad it did.

I'm not sure how the timing for this photo even worked out, but I'm so glad it did.

A few buildings near the golf course.

A few buildings near the golf course.

Later on, after we arrived back in Edinburgh, we went to a Ceilidh dance. I wanted so badly to get some great photos of everyone having a blast, but my batteries died soon after we got there. I was terrified to try and dance because I was worried I'd trip on my dress, but I'm glad I finally gave in when the sweetest old man in a kilt insisted. By the end of the dance, everyone was dripping in sweat, but they didn't stop smiling and laughing for the rest of the night. Who would have guessed that making a fool of yourself could have been this fun?

Caleb, Kat, and Katelin + everyone else that was equally as happy in this moment

Caleb, Kat, and Katelin + everyone else that was equally as happy in this moment

Michaelia and the guy whose back ended up looking like he stood in the rain for three hours by the end of the night

Michaelia and the guy whose back ended up looking like he stood in the rain for three hours by the end of the night