Thursday, August 9, 2012

Paper Update

Hello all!,
Just a small update on my paper. I received the evaluation and am now in the process of revising it as I work towards my presentation in November. I plan on expanding upon some key areas now that I have been given suggested edits, etc. and now that I have a bit more time to work with. Hopefully I can finish this soon, and share it with you! Thank you for your patience and Stay tuned! ---Catherine

Monday, August 6, 2012

Hello All! Paper finished and being graded!

Hello lovely followers/readers/etc.!
I know it has been a while since I have posted anything but I just wanted to let you all know that I completed my research paper and turned it in, and I am currently awaiting my final grade. When that comes through, I will let you all know. I am doing well since coming home, and when I get back to school, I CANNOT wait to be an ambassador for study abroad/travel! I am 100% sold on the value of travel, and I hope my story can influence other students to decide to go on their own life-changing adventure. Hope everyone is doing well, and I can't wait to share my paper with you! Stay tuned!

Monday, June 25, 2012

The Hill.

Hello lovely blog followers!
I am home! It is nice to be back in the States in the warm weather and back with my family. :) I was thinking about it, and I realized I haven't actually written a dedicated New Lanark blog post. So here it is. This is my take on my 6 week internship at UNESCO World Heritage Site, New Lanark.
When I first arrived in New Lanark, I was more nervous than I have ever been in my life. I wasn't sure how I  was going to get through it and survive 5 weeks alone, after Dr. Shefveland left. Aside from that, I was so tired that first week, and I felt like I was going to fall asleep standing up 95% of the time. However, everyone there was so excited to meet me and talk to me and ask me 20 Questions, which was just so surprising and amazing. I felt like a celebrity, haha. In week 2, after Dr. Shefveland left, culture shock hit. Hard. I was still extremely tired and everything was frustrating, from eating to sleeping to traveling via public transport. I just felt so alone and uncertain of everything. Now I wasn't alone, and everyone there was so welcoming and lovely, but I felt very American, and like I didn't fit in, which is normal, according to them. People who have traveled. Them. Yeah. I experienced culture shock when I went to Turkey, but I was with my mom, so I don't think it hit as hard. So back to my story. There's an interesting thread that sort of ran throughout my entire experience, and is an awesome metaphor for what I felt and what I experienced. Jane, the heritage manager and my boss, kept telling me to walk up the hill that separates New Lanark from Lanark. Now, I had walked up twice with Dr. Shefveland, but both times proved to be extremely tiring and frustrating, and after that I refused to walk up that hill again. So Jane kept saying to me to walk up the hill, instead of taking the bus or a taxi, and my response to that was no, it's always raining, I'm not walking up the hill in the pouring rain, also I walked up twice and it almost killed me. So time went on and I started to fall into a normal routine. I would get up, go to the hotel, talk to Thomas, and then go to work at 9 am and stay until 5 pm. But all the while, I was refusing to walk up this hill. Pretty soon Jane wasn't the only one hounding me. All the search room volunteers were like "Come on it's not that bad you can do it, you're young" etc etc. Needless to say, I still refused. Now one day I had gone up the road with Annie Bell (one of the volunteers) to get some money out of the atm. She asked how I was getting back down and I said I'd just wait for the bus, and again she said that I should just walk down it's not that bad. I said no, I don't want to, it looks like rain, I'll just wait for the bus. So I went to stand and wait for the bus, which wasn't coming for another hour. And it occurred to me that everyone hounding me was starting to rub me the wrong way, and I thought I can probably make it down the hill in under an hour. So that was the day I walked down the hill. I was proud of myself. I made it down in half an hour. Now to walk up. So another day, I was heading to Edinburgh with Maureen (another volunteer) and Jane had said I should try to walk up the hill this day since it was nice out. So I did. Finally. In week 4, I walked up the hill by myself and it only took me 24 minutes. I think this is a good metaphor for my experience because all this time I'd refused walking up or down this hill, and at the same time I was reluctant to accept my current situation. I was hesitant to accept the fact that I was in this foreign country for 6 weeks and I had no choice but to figure things out and face it head on. I should note that before coming I was over the moon with excitement and joy, and still was upon arriving but I was also really, really scared about being somewhere I'd never been for 5 weeks alone. I was scared before going, but that increased tenfold when I got there. I don't know why. I'm such an independent strong willed person. But I was terrified. I think I was scared that I wouldn't do my job right or that I wouldn't represent the university in a professional manner or that I would do one tiny thing that was normal to me and gravely offend someone. Now I did have a couple of rants about the youth hostel, because I was frustrated with being alone there. I honestly think that had someone (i.e. another intern) been there with me, I wouldn't have been nearly as irritated or scared. But then again, I don't think the experience would have been as life-altering, and I don't think I would have changed as much as a person. When I got to week 6 and Jane sat down with me and made me write down all the things I'd accomplished whilst being there, I realized what a huge success this internship had been. I don't think even she understands just how much that exercise meant to me. And when she reassured me that the work I had done was brilliant and that I had represented the university just as expected, I broke down. I was so stressed out the entire time, and finally when she said that it was like reaching the top of the "hill" so to speak. Especially when she thanked me for all of my hard work. I felt as happy as someone who had reached the summit of Everest. Honestly. This has been the biggest achievement of my life to date, and I will never forget it. Everyone there was so supportive and so nice and I can never ever express enough gratitude to everyone for not only picking me to go, but also supporting me while I was there through all my frustrations and accomplishments. I really feel like I have another family in Scotland, and I miss everyone so much. You all will never know how much you mean to me. At the moment the Scottish poem, Auld Lang Syne comes to mind.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!
For auld lang syne, my jo,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne. 

This poem really touches my heart every time I hear it and I hope someday I can really go back and have a "cuppa" with everyone for auld lang syne. :)

Thanks to everyone who has been following my blog these past 6 weeks. You all have been lovely. This experience has been one that has changed my life and me, and I never want to forget it or any of the people who were part of it. This is me signing off. -----Catherine

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

What I've been up to for six, not mischief.

It's my last few days here and I'm so happy to be heading home, but so sad at the same time that this incredible journey has ended. Today, Jane asked me to type up everything I've done while I've been here so I can see all the exciting and important things I really have achieved whilst on this internship. I will post the list here and they're not in any particular order:

What I’ve done on my six week internship in New Lanark, Scotland:

1. Visited London, the British Museum, and the Tower of London.
2. Visited Edinburgh twice- Edinburgh Castle, Mary King’s Close, The National Museum of Scotland, The National Portrait Gallery, St. Giles Cathedral, the old Scottish Parliament buildings, the Royal Commission.
3. Visited Glasgow twice- St. Mungo’s Museum, Glasgow Cathedral (with Jane), Glasgow University Business Archives (with Aynsley).
4. Went to National Museums Association Conference with Jane.
5. Went to a meeting about a local historic park, Castlebank Park with Jane.
6. Visited Lanark Library.
7. Made a list of materials available at Lanark Library.
8. Visited Stirling Castle, Loch Lomond, and Glencoe.
9. Did SCRAN and e-Hive Training.
10. Visited International Co-Operative Conference at New Lanark Institute for the Formation of Character, and sat in on a workshop educating young people about budgeting their money.
11. Helped with Midsummer on the Roof Garden Event.
12. Scottish Wildlife Trust Badger Watch with Jane.
13. Went to New Lanark Trustees Meeting.
14. Went to Dress Rehearsal of Jane’s Dancing Show and helped with the music.
15. Went to Jane’s Dancing Show.
16. Attended Robert Owen Commemoration Lecture.
17. Visited Hamilton Low Parks Museum with Jane.
18. Going out to dinner with Hotel Staff.
19. Informal Leaving Dinner with New Lanark Staff.
20. Walked up the Nature Reserve with Dr. Shefveland.
21. Walked up the hill 3 times and down the hill twice.
22. Wrote a blurb about the Birkmyre family for a publication on paintings.
23. Helped Jane create a standard cataloging manual for future search room volunteers.
24. Helped Jane decide on materials needed in the search room.
25. Helped Jane decide where/how to store archival documents, photos, and slides.
26. Helped Graeme and Kira with Robert Owen Book Launch Flyer.
27. Started a successful blog.
28. Survived 5 weeks alone!
29. Attended a staff catch-up meeting.

That's a ton of stuff! I didn't really realize the scope of all that I'd achieved until I sat down and really had to think about it. And I am proud of myself. I have survived on my own and managed to visit some amazing places, not to mention all the important work and training I've done regarding the search room, and I've managed to make some life-long connections that I'll never forget. What a wonderful thing. And now I'm heading home and I am going to write what will hopefully be the centerpiece paper of my college career. On a much different note, the Hotel Manager John who has graciously given me dinner, volunteered to take a picture with me so I will post that here. Stay tuned lovelies!---Catherine

Saturday, June 16, 2012

National Museum of Scotland and Mary King's Close

Hello lovely blog followers!,

Wow! Only 6 days left until I arrive home! I can't hardly believe it! These past weeks have been the most valuable and exciting weeks of my life! I'm so proud to say I am the first Global Engagement Initiative Intern to New Lanark, and I hope I can be an ambassador for other students wishing to come here and experience all that New Lanark, and Scotland has to offer. I have met some wonderful people, including Jane and Aynsley, who have been so nice and helpful during these past weeks, and had several "dream come true" experiences. Graeme, the PR guy in the office, is lovely and is always up for a laugh. I enjoy eating lunch with him, because he's so funny and always in a cheerful mood. Gil, one of the girls in the office, is sweet and so knowledgeable, and welcomed me into her home for dinner one night, which I might add was absolutely superb. Maureen, one of the search room volunteers, has traveled to Edinburgh with me (to the National Museum and Mary King's Close) and invited me to her house for a proper Sunday Scottish Lunch.<--Delicious. (I encourage everyone to experience this at least once.) Annie Bell, another volunteer, who took me to see the absolutely breathtaking sights that the highlands have to offer and the beautifully restored Edinburgh Castle. Liz, another office lady, who I have had a chance to eat lunch with and also attend Jane's dancing show with, along with Kira and Gil, was so sweet and so interested in everything I had to say. I also got to know several of the hotel staff, even though I wasn't staying there. John, the general manager, is just amazing. He has fed me dinner and I greatly appreciate it. Even offered up the hotel as a possible wedding venue. ;) I don't think he could be any kinder. All the receptionists know me, as well as the bar staff, since they have served me dinner many times, plus I'm always here for wi-fi, and they're all lovely and so interested in America. I encourage anyone, future interns, lovers of travel, etc. to visit New Lanark, and really get to know the people here. They're amazing, and I know I've made some lifelong friends here. I could never thank them enough for their encouragement and wonderful hospitality. It truly brings a tear to my eye just thinking of how kind everyone has been. :) But, on to business. I visited the National Museum and Mary King's Close the other day. Both were absolutely amazing! Mary King's Close is basically what used to be the natural level of Edinburgh, until the Royal Exchange was built and then the neighborhoods below, including Mary King's Close were covered over, but left as they were. So when you go down into Mary King's Close, you're seeing the houses, workshops, etc. as they were centuries ago, dating back to the 1640s. It's a really eerie, awesome experience to be in peoples' homes and to be walking along the streets where they once walked. One of the houses you visit includes "Wee Annie"'s room. Back in 1998, a psychic visited Mary King's Close, and the story is that she went into that particular room and felt tremendous pain and sadness. As she was about to leave to escape those feelings, she saw a small child standing in the corner weeping. She asked the girl her name, to which the girl responded Annie. The psychic then asked why she was crying, and the girl said she was crying because her parents had abandoned her and she had lost her doll. The psychic immediately instructed one of the members of her entourage to go into town and buy the girl a doll. He did, and as soon as the doll was brought into the room, the feelings of pain and sadness vanished. Ever since then, hundreds of people have brought and left hundreds upon hundreds of toys and dolls for Wee Annie. I find this to be such a touching story. Even if Wee Annie doesn't exist, it makes the whole experience in the Close that much more human and real. On a different note, the National Museum offered TONS of Natural Science exhibits, Egyptian Artifacts, and many other curiosities. I took lots of pictures at the museum, but unfortunately none were allowed in Mary King's Close. I will post pictures from the museum here as well as the pictures from Hamilton Low Parks Mausoleum here, that I did not post last time. OH PLUS!! I saw the Olympic Rings!!! The torch was due to go through Edinburgh that night so they were up! Will put a picture of those too. :))) I hope everyone has been enjoying my blog. I will post more before I leave! Stay tuned!

P.S. As a small reminder, the pictures from the mausoleum are of the inside of the chapel above the mausoleum, including the bronze doors that once hung outside of it, and they are based on Ghiberti's Baptistry Doors in Florence. The rest of the photos will be from the National Museum.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Hello lovely blog followers!,
It's been a while since I blogged and I apologize. I have much to update you on. First on Wednesday the 30th of May, I went to Edinburgh Castle, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, St. Giles Cathedral, and the National Portrait Gallery. Sad to say I have no pictures from that but it was amazing! In the castle, I got to see where Mary Queen of Scots gave birth to her son James, which was pretty neat. Just before the castle, I went to the National Portrait Gallery where I saw a portrait of Mary Queen of Scots. Made. My. Day. Also saw several portraits of Stuart Kings, Princesses, and the philosopher David Hume. For those who may have watched Lost, Desmond Hume was based on the philosopher David Hume, so to see the real person was pretty awesome. St. Giles Cathedral was just a really neat medieval cathedral (on the inside) with an outside that had been restored during the Victorian Era, so it was an interesting contrast. As well, we did nip inside some of the old Parliament buildings which were gorgeous. Okay fast forward to this week on Monday. I went to Glencoe, Loch Lomond, and Stirling Castle. Glencoe and Loch Lomond afforded the most beautiful scenery I have ever seen, and I will post pictures. Stirling Castle was really awesome, especially since it has just had a major restoration to show what the Great Hall and Royal Palace would have looked like when James V was King. I will include pictures of this as well. On Wednesday, Jane, myself, Leann Howard, and one of her 3 students who had come from USI, went to Hamilton Low Parks Museum and Mausoleum. The Mausoleum was the highlight, and the chapel in the top is said to have the longest echo in the world I believe. An acoustics institute recorded something like a 30 second long echo at one point. The human ear can make out an 18 second echo there, with 9 seconds of sound and 9 seconds of vibration. Pretty neat. They also have the bronze doors on display that were once hung outside the chapel, and are based on Ghiberti's Baptistry doors in Florence. I did take pictures of the inside of the chapel and the doors so I will post those here. All in all it's been a great couple of weeks, and in the next two weeks I will start cataloging photographs for the search room and continue work on my project. Stay tuned! --Catherine