Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Always back up the Back Up: Edinburgh Scotland

To have a backup is to be certain that if you lose something that not all is lost. You have a sure fire second option that will work out, right? You have a hard drive for your computer to back up your files but what if your back up fails?

I thought I didn’t put all my eggs in one basket. I didn’t just come to this continent for the chance with one guy. I had myself a sure fire back up. I felt a bit bad at first because every time English boy pissed me off in my pre trip preparation I thought well screw you and wrote to my backup. I wrote to him asking if he wanted to come away to India with me for a few weeks during my travels. I thought England would be a perfect jumping off point and he had been before. He immediately responded and loved the idea; that’s the thing about backups they are pretty much a sure bet they are there when you need them. However when English boy finally responded and was slightly cute and sweet with me I forgot about Back Up Boy and the idea to hang out in India for a few weeks. Then English Boy failed to e-mail me back for two weeks! Two weeks! So back to Back Up Boy I went. This pattern continued for a while even when I got over to England and especially when he was an arsehole in Germany. Although once I got to Scotland I learned a few hard lessons.

1. Do not get completely wasted with your cousin before meeting up with long time crush A.K.A Back Up boy at 1:00am

2. Don’t take your back up for granted

3. And most importantly; always back up your back up

Need I continue with what else went wrong?! Do you really want me to bore you with the rest of the humiliating details? I think we have already learned the moral to this posting haven’t we?


Ok so I thought things were working out perfectly with the backup plan. I had told my back up when I was arriving to Scotland and that I would be staying longer (omitted the part of the English Knob). He responded very excitedly and said he had the week off work to take me around and be my tour guide. I couldn’t believe it! He took a week off work to be with me! What a fantastic back up! Good on me! I informed English Boy that I was staying in Scotland for longer and that my Scottish friend took a week off work just to hang out with me and that was really sweet of him. Thought I would rub that in a bit ba ha ha ha ha!! Who needs you English! Then it all back fired on me.

He didn’t actually take the week off to be with me he actually took it off for several friends’ birthdays. He asked me where I was when I arrived to Scotland which I thought, "wow he is that excited to see me!" but he was actually getting stoned and hammered in Amsterdam, so quite pointless to ask me where in Scotland I was.

That was fine my cousin had plans for me to hang out with her friends. We had pizza and beers and met her friends at a pub called the Brass Monkey, apparently her friends got the time wrong and were there two hours before us and in proper Scottish fashion while waiting they got right shit faced. At first it was great entertainment and a good laugh to witness their antics especially when my cousin asked one of her engaged friends to see her ring and she attempted to pull up her skirt, “Wrong ring! Wrong ring! The one on your hand!”

Yes, they were a good laugh until the alcohol caught up with me as it does quite quickly. My cousin took her drunken boyfriend home and I decided it was my best opportunity to scoot off and see Back Up Boy who was at yet another friend’s birthday party in a posher bar. At this point the night gets very blurry.

I know I drank more beer and had quite a few shots and made quite good friends with a random girl that sat down at our large table. Now I do apologize to this lovely couple who were just starting to date but I seemed to think it was really funny that his name was Gary. For anyone who isn’t from the UK, Gary isn’t really a nice name to have (think trailer trash). I know I was laughing out loud at his name and saying it quite often. I also thought it was a great idea to give this girl dating advice…like I am in any position to give dating advice normally let alone in a drunken state. I believe we entered a few other drinking establishments and at one point while walking down the street I saw a guy running with a pizza box and his friends cashing after him to get a slice. I politely asked for one even though I wasn’t hungry I just wanted the satisfaction that I could get one which I succeed in doing and gave the slice to my Back Up Boy to the anger of all the pizza boy’s friends.

That’s right fans Disgracie had entered the building!

I woke up with a throbbing head and not a clue where I was the next day, although Back Up Boy doing his back up boy duties still wanted to hang out. I couldn’t move though so I rescheduled for a personal tour of Edinburgh the next day.

The next day I waited, yes I actually waited for a boy to call. I don’t remember doing that since grade 10 when a boy from my science class said he would take me to a party but he forgot me and didn’t call. That was the last time I waited for someone to call me but there I was in the Edinburgh flat looking out the window down to the Bohemian neighborhood waiting. Nothing! I decided to go for a walk; I walked to the royal mile with all its souvenir shops, kilt and whiskey shops. I walked passed people trying to get you to sign up for the ghost tours and the cathedrals and churches, pub after pub until late in the day I get a message telling me he had just woken up and he was too hung over to meet me…another friend’s birthday. I was beginning to think this was just like the Mexicans and their sick mother excuse that they all use!

He felt bad but asked if we could hang out on Wednesday; my birthday. I wasn’t a fan of this idea. I didn’t want a failed back up to ruin my birthday, it is the most joyous occasion of the year! This was the exact moment that I knew from now on I need to back up my back up.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cumbernauld, Scotland

It had been almost 10 years since my last visit to Scotland which I am ashamed to say but new European cities and warm locals in the south always called my name, “pssst! Tracy don’t go to Scotland it’s rainy. Come on, come to Mexico we will give you tequila and sun”

However even though most of the motive behind my U.K. adventure was to see a certain English boy I knew I had to go to Scotland from mid-summer. My Grandmother fell ill and I knew I really wanted to go to her homeland and then when she passed away in September it became even more important to me. She was without a doubt my favourite person in the world. She personified the word Grandma with her warm baking and hugs. She was stern and kept me in line as a child threating to give me a licking but as I got older we shared a lot of the same interests and I would love hearing her stories from the past. Grandmothers are important; they are like a second mother that you always get along with. They are always cool no matter how ridiculous they are. Whereas a mother when you are a teenager is just uncool no matter what she does. I still feel a hole in my heart and something important missing in my life without her. I see old people on the street, in malls and coffee shops yearning for the love of one of them. I know this sounds odd and honestly I do not stalk seniors but if you have felt the love of a Grandma and lost that you will know what I mean.

I was going to Scotland to see my family, to stay with my mom’s cousin who she calls sister and my great Aunt who was closest to my Grandma. My Grandma lived in Kenoway, Fife before the war broke out but the family I was going to see now lives in another town in between Glasgow and Edinburgh called Cumbernauld or how my one cousin calls it, Scumbernald. I am going to assume pretty much all of the U.K. uses the same reference hearing the responses after having told several people where I was staying in Scotland.

It really isn’t that bad but there isn’t much too it. Cumbernauld is quiet and family friendly, mostly residential with a very industrial building which they call the town centre that houses a few shops and where you can hop on a bus to Glasgow or surrounding neighborhoods and villages. On one side of the motorway from the town centre is Asada (one UK supermarket) on the other side is Tesco (another UK supermarket). There is an elementary school, high school, nursery, police but I don’t think too much else, or else my family has been hiding the rest from me but if the town centre is any indication of what the rest looks like then fair enough. Other than the industrial looking bits the town is quite pretty with lots of green. It is in a nice location close-ish to both Glasgow; amazing for shopping and night life and Edinburgh; amazing for culture, arts and pubs.

I was back with my Scottish surrogate family and it felt nice. I could laze around all day watching tele, go to the city to do some shopping and come home to nice home cooking at the dinner table and have tea and a chat with my Scottish mom (Mum). On one such day of sleeping in I was disturbed by someone at the door. They had found me in yet another country; Jehovah’s!! I had my pyjamas on, my hair was dishevelled and I was wearing my glasses. After listening to their rant about what was going to happen when Armageddon came, I politely told me I didn’t actually live there I am just visiting. The two older women exclaimed, “Oh you have an accent! Where are you from?” I told them Canada. “Yes, yes you do look Canadian! Yes, yes she looks like Kate Middleton! Welcome enjoy your visit.” I was happy to get rid of them but confused, Kate Middleton isn’t Canadian.

Now I didn’t spend my entire time in Scotland watching Top Gear and listening to BBC Radio 2 and that wasn’t my only somewhat funny antidote. I did have a packed social schedule with cousins to attend to and backup boy. Don’t get bored and sleepy just yet with me. The fun is yet to come.

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