Beijing, is known for many things; Peking duck, the 2008 Olympics, the Great Wall and unfortunately, the toxic smog which often enshrouds the city. Having lived in a small seaside town for the majority of my life, pollution is a word which I rarely paid attention to. However, after spending the past few months breathing in hazardous fumes, I am realising the severity of air pollution in China.
And with the blink of an eye, half my year abroad in Beijing has been completed and I haven’t yet written a single sentence on here. I apologise for the silence over the past few months, I must admit, moving to the other side of the world can be slightly unsettling and it has taken me from September 2016 until March 2017, to feel comfortable and at home here. Quite pathetic really. I suppose I should explain what I am doing here, so, first, let us rewind back to the beginning.
The Digital Age is great but I must admit, it’s a shame that most of the photographs we take will remain hidden on our electronic devices, never to be seen again apart from those odd, nostalgic moments when we sit and scroll aimlessly. Of course, I (and everyone else) will continue to use digital cameras and phones but I am partial to going old skool, splashing out on a disposible camera every now and then. They remind me so much of going on school trips when I was wee child and it’s refreshing to use them up over a period of time, forget what was documented and then reminisce over all your previous antics.
Ah, I must admit I have been rather slack with this blog lately and this post is long overdue! All the way back in February, J and I flew from Edinburgh to Paris to be reunited with our wonderful ex-flatmate and Edinburgh exchange student, L, who calls Rouen, Normandy, her home. Over a few days the three of us indulged in far too much cheese and spent an alarming amount of time in front of L’s fireplace, catching up on all that has happened since we parted ways last June.
After the fun and games of Bhopal, we made a quick pitstop in Bombay for a night before moving onwards to Goa the next morning. On arrival, we were greeted by ominous grey clouds which didn’t look too promising for our next 5 days. However, Goa turned out to be the most incredible experience and is probably on par with Berlin as the favourite place I’ve travelled to. The weather there wasn’t great, we’d had visions of the 5 of us racing on jet skis across the ocean but we quickly found out that all watersporting activities were closed for the monsoon season. Naively, we had associated India with constant heat and somehow missed the crucial element of the monsoons. All in all though, the weather didn’t dampen our spirits (pun intented?) and it wasn’t even that difficult to deal with, most of the time it’d rain really heavily for about half an hour and then the sunny skies would return again.
After our whirlwind day in Agra, the next morning we packed up our bags and hopped into 2 autos, racing each other to the train station before heading southbound to Bhopal. Thanks to the kindness and wonderful hospitality of A’s family, our time in his hometown was one of luxury and comfort. As our trip to India had been planned around the wedding we were to attend in Bhopal, the five of us were very excited to see if real life Indian weddings were as grand and colourful as Bollywood had led us to believe. Although the wedding would last a week for the couple and their family, we were only planning to attend 4 days (!) of the celebrations which would start that evening with an intimate gathering at the groom’s family house.
340 days have passed since I posted anything on my sad excuse for a ‘blog’ and for this, I apologise. Since then I’ve moved 463 miles away from home, travelled to 10 different countries and somehow managed to pass my first year of university so all in all, I don’t think I’m doing too badly. So much has happened in this whirlwind of a year and it’s going to be difficult to catch up but today, I wanted to talk about my short but sweet trip to the wonderful country of India.
Over the past two years I have spent a large proportion of my time in a small, smelly room in the music department known as ‘MU3’. Filled with an interesting mixture of people, we’ve spent way too much time cooped up together and somehow, (despite everything!) I now count them as some of my closest friends. With half of us leaving come September, it seemed fitting to end the school year with a music and dance tour to Tuscany.
Summer has well and truly begun and, so far, it has been pretty darn good. With school done and dusted, we all have one last summer before packing up and starting the next chapter. Somehow it’s already been over a month since my final exam so let’s have a little catch up…