Oh hey wow. I was totally supposed to update this once a week, and have utterly failed to keep that up. I am very sorry to anyone who was waiting on news of my adventures. That elusive master's knowledge and getting in the experiences to write home about have been taking up the time and energies I had intended to reserve for writing here. I promise to try to squeeze it in more faithfully from now on.

Anyhow. So you know that song, "Auld Lang Syne?" Yeah the one everyone sings on New Year's Eve. Robert Burns totally wrote that. And about a gazillion other poems and songs.

Robert Burns resides in Dumfries, so he's pretty big here. Well okay, what's left of him resides here. In an impressive and startling white mausoleum that is always lit, smack in the middle of a beautiful, ancient-looking mazelike churchyard where all the other markers are made of dark sandstone and look old, weathered, cracked, moss-and-vine-covered, or otherwise really really neato.

Yeah we're bffs, Robert and me. I visit him now and again and he's a really good listener. He doesn't talk much, though.

Didja know that if you go over to the Globe, which is a little pub hidden down a tiny side street, you can get a really awesome coffee with Bailey's in it ask to see Burns' effects? And an obliging fellow with ancient skeleton keys will take you to the room he used to sit in by the fire? And then upstairs, to be shown Burns' own four-post bed? Cuz yeah, you can do that. And it's historiffic.

There's a museum that I'm determined to track down. Also, his house says "Burns' House" on it in huge black letters with a giant arrow and that makes me so happy.

There's a statue of him in the town center, and a statue of his wife and one of their children across from the churchyard.

Burns Burns Burnsity Burns. He's all over Dumfries! It's actually pretty cool. I like people with a bit of poetry in their souls. Dumfries has a bit of poetry kind of injected into its heart. It attracts a certain aura of romance.

Guess what I have on my desk right now? A conker! Are you asking what in the bleeding world a conker is? I sure was when someone talked about them to me. A conker is a horse chestnut. I think there are horse chestnut trees in the USA but I've never had the opportunity to see one, nor to play with a horse chestnut. THEY ARE NIFTY. They have a beautiful color and a smooth feel and I've been just kind of turning it over in my hands. It's too bad it's going to shrivel up like a bean because if I could dry it hard somehow and keep it like this I'd paint a tiny face on it and keep it on my desk. Kids play with them, tie them to strings and strike them together, have little tournaments, whoever's breaks first lost.

They apparently are said to repel spiders, but I hope not because I took an instant liking to the huge spider that lives in the corner of my window (on the outside of the pane). She spins beautiful webs all over my window for me and eats all the little bugs. I am going to be sad when she either dies or hides away for winter. I will miss my daily dewy macrame displays. Sometimes I call her Lady (don't actually know if the spider is female but I thought the big ones usually were so I guessed, also there are a couple of mini copies of her that hang about, I'm assuming either children or would-be suitors). But mostly I just call her Spider.

That's my update for today. I gotta read more about Brownies! (The household spirit kind, not the eating kind!)

From: (Anonymous)

I FINALLY figured out how to get on this site. I am so happy you are liking Scotland and your studies and it seems like everything else. I miss you tons but am so happy for you. Love, Nana


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