Thursday, September 12, 2013

Sorry I haven't had to time to write all week!

The sad reality is that I might not be able to keep up with blogging like I did during the Italy adventure. I'm not going to be doing anything terribly exciting to tell you all about anyways. Probably not very many cool trips or anything.

So far my week has been filled with the start of my classes and such. This has been very exciting and I am constantly reassured that I am in the right place! After getting more information on what types of coursework I will be doing this year, I am so happy to find that all of the little things I did before coming here have prepared me in such diverse ways. Things like taking random classes like Psych & Law, Digital Media and Culture and Sociology, working in the costume shop doing makeup art. I love it when things start coming together. Yay for liberal arts education!! Hooray!

So half of my coursework will involve anatomy, and the other half will involve art. My first official class for the art portion was just a typical figure drawing session with the medical art students (me) and the forensic art students. Our two groups will be working on the same things for most of the first semester, and we split off a bit more later on. There are only about 10-12 of us in total. The figure drawing class is great because we have very few guidelines or instructions. We have a model coming in every week and we spend 3.5 hours doing timed poses of various lengths, and we can use whatever medium we want.

Later on yesterday I began my anatomy coursework. This course will involve a lot of human dissection and outside studying and self-teaching. For homework we have videos of our professor doing lectures. Therefore, instead of attending a traditional lecture class, we do this part on our own time, and then we can spend our time in the classroom either doing our dissection studies or other workshops. I like this because I can sit in my bed with a cup of tea as I listen and take notes.

I am not allowed to talk to much about the dissection process (not sure if anyone wants to hear about it anyways!) I was definitely a bit hesitant, but still excited to have the opportunity to work with real human cadavers. Dundee is one of the leading institutions where bodies are embalmed with a fairly new method called the Thiel method. This is a process that was invented by a guy (Thiel) and it turns out it is MUCH better than traditional formalin embalmed bodies. This process involves the body being submerged in a specific cocktail of chemicals for 6 months until it is finished and ready for dissections or whatever else. This method allows the body to maintain its original color and flexibility. I looked at the Thiel embalmed body next to a traditional formalin embalmed body and there was a huge difference in texture, color and flexibility! This is really amazing, and allows medical students to practice procedures much more effectively. Yes, it is pretty gross, but I think I will get over it and it will be a great way to learn about the human body. I am not ready to touch anything yet, and for now I am content to watch, but I will definitely have the opportunity to perform my own dissection if I choose to.

In other news, everything in my flat is just fine. My flatmates are great, and today Lynn (my Chinese flatmate) made me Chinese noodles for lunch and we watched Bones, and I stopped the show about every 5 minutes to explain to her what was happening, she's so nice and cute!

I took a dance class last night and it was a lot of fun! There were a lot of people there, mostly undergraduates. I will definitely be going back just for fun, but don't want to make a huge commitment, since I am sure I will get very busy with my courses. I also bought a gym membership, because that's how they do it over here. Not everyone goes to the gym like SLU, so you have to pay. Also, nobody lifts weight here really unless you're a very committed athlete. I guess I will be the only girl in dundee that lifts weights!

That is all for now!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Scotland Beginnings

I am going on my fourth day in Dundee already! So far my journey can be summed up in one word- Jet-lag.

I assumed that having an overnight flight from Toronto to Edinburgh would be perfect, because I could sleep on the plane and land in Scotland early in the morning without a hitch. Unfortunately I forgot how difficult it is to sleep on planes, and only got about 1 hour of sleep...

I had a rough day on Sunday, after losing an entire night of sleep. I stepped off the plane I had to go through customs, and of course there was a problem with the documents I brought. I was missing some version of my acceptance letter, and was almost not allowed to go through. I clearly had my visa, so they ended up letting me go through. The guy at the border was actually very nice, and could probably sense my panic, and decided to be merciful! Afterward, I met my driver and two other students, and we made our way to Dundee. It was about an hour drive through cloudy, misty farmland. It actually looked quite similar to upstate NY!

I collected my keys when I arrived at my building, and then had to drag my 72 pound suitcase up four flights of stairs. When I made it to my room I took a quick shower, but had to make do without a towel...which was difficult. I then made a quick bed out of scarves and sweaters, and planned to pass out...

However, as I was about to drift off I heard noises in the hallway, so I decided to meet my flatmates instead of sleeping.

I have 5 flatmates, and they are all wonderful and very friendly. There is Matthew from England, Lynn from China, Mael from France, Manu from Greece, and another girl from China who has a difficult name. It is very interesting to be living with so many different people. Everyone is studying different things besides me and Manu, who are both in the Medical Art Programme. It was very exciting to finally meet someone who wants to do the same thing as me! I have waited for that moment for a long time.

In the past several days I have been battling a cold (no doubt due to my body's confusion and lack of proper sleep). I have also done a lot of walking around the city, and have also been getting some items for my room and for the kitchen. I have not attempted to explore night life yet, because my body needs to catch up first!

Nothing else terribly exciting has happened yet! But so far I like the looks of things!

Best Desk Ever! 

Day 3: finally got myself a pillow! Oh the luxury...

My new building! 

Kilt Rental Store, obviously

Apparently the sunniest day Dundee has ever seen


River in my backyard that leads right to the sea!

Streets of Dundee

Really cool old cemetery!