Saturday, January 12, 2013

Queens Park

A building near Queen's Park

I woke up on Monday feeling downright sick. My throat hurt, I had hardly slept, and my head was foggy. This is not good. I rested a bit, Skyped with Mom from the comfort of my bed, tried to force myself to do some research, and ventured out around 4 for my group meeting at the library. It was a rather pointless effort, as I knew it would be, but it didn't last long, and from there I walked the half mile to the store to get sick people stuff: cough drops, cough syrup, and more comfort food. I missed my car at this point, but then remembered that it's not easy to drive when feeling like this, and that walking was probably the safer option anyway. It was rather frustrating trying to figure out what medicines to buy because I wasn't familiar with any of the brands. After about 10 minutes of staring at the products, I grabbed a bottle of Buttercup cough syrup, a packet of cough drops, and a box of cough drops. I headed back to my flat to cook up some grilled cheese and canned soup.

Tuesday I woke up with my throat feeling a little better, but my chest felt heavy, I had a cough, and my head was still not right. I still attended my two classes and tutorial and took it easy that night. Wednesday brought more of the same, with the added bonus of congestion. I skipped my morning class so I could sleep; after our lecturer changed (as planned) halfway through the semester, I completely lost interest because I had trouble paying attention and didn't feel I was getting anything out of it. I attended my two hour afternoon class, armed with cough drops and a bottle of water. I was excited to listen to a lecturer that we had had earlier in the semester. He was just about the only lecturer who kept my attention the entire time. I couldn't stand reading his book, though. When I realized partway through his first lecture that he was the author of one of our core texts, I wondered how his book could bore me so terribly, but his lecture style kept me so interested.

About 3/4 of the way through the class, I got a tickle in my throat, you know, the kind that means you are going to wheeze on the inhale and cough hard and sloppy on the exhale while tears are streaming down your face, over and over and over again. I was sitting in the middle of the second row, so there would be no easy escape without inconveniencing people and being slightly disruptive. I desperately tried to suppress the urge to cough uncontrollably, my eyes were watering, and I didn't know what to do, so I kept drinking water and sucking on a cough drop. Thankfully, the fit passed after about 5 anxiety-filled minutes.

On our way to the park from the train station. This was a hospital, but is now flats.

Gary of Student Tours Scotland goes on Glasgow Walks every Wednesday. I have only been on one, to the Forth and Clyde Canal, and I desperately wanted to go on at least one more before I left. But, I am sick. I have a nice trip planned for the weekend and I don't want to get worse. But, I'm in Scotland. When will I ever have the chance to do this again? So, I decide to try to fix my shite boots with crazy glue, then go out for the walk, and to pay for my ticket for my last STS tour in two weeks.

Note to self: Don't be stubborn. If you think that perhaps you should get a sharp object to poke a hole in the seal on the crazy glue tube to open it, do it. Don't just keep poking the blunt end of the cap into the seal because maybe then the glue will squirt all over your hands. Or wear gloves. Right. So, I was sick so I wasn't thinking clearly and I was being lazy. Crazy glue squirted all over my left hand, and some got on my right hand. I immediately separated my fingers (good thinking, right?) and went to the sink to try to wash it off, hahaha. It was almost dry by that point, so I gave up, glued the slits in my boots, and went to meet my STS tour guide and group at the GoMA.

Two of my newer friends from the tours, one from Ukraine and the other Spain, were going on the walk also. I showed them my hand, white and yucky looking and told them about what had happened. Silly me. We headed to the train station, bought our tickets, waited a few minutes, then boarded our train. I should have taken pictures of the train station; it is really beautiful inside and very easy to navigate. We got off at the Mount Florida stop and made our way to Queen's Park.

Another view of the hospital-turned-flats building. I actually saw a man walking two Rhodesian Ridgebacks down the road in this area. I was surprised to see that breed here.

A statue of a lion outside of Queen's Park. Gary told us a story about it, but I can't remember it now. :(

I do remember him telling us that this was a church, but is now a pub, and that Glasgow doesn't let old buildings go to waste. :)

We all managed to avoid getting hit by a car at the circle, and we made it to the park.

Queen's Park is so cool, not only does it have lots of paths to walk down, but it has a lizard and reptile house too! We liked it partly because it was warm and we were cold.

There were even cacti! (Sorry, I didn't take any pictures of the lizards,snakes, turtles, chinchillas, or tarantulas. I have one too many photos from zoos, and every time I tell myself I need not take more photos because they are usually dull and uninteresting.)

Tour guide Gary and the group "Pondering at the Rock."

So, there is a Scottish poetry rock garden at Queens Park. It was unveiled in 2003 as a celebration of Scottish poets. We were trying to figure out the writing on the rock. I think it had poet's names and quotes on it.

Me and one of the rocks. My poses are getting better.

It was so cold we could see the leaves getting frosty, and the ponds were icing over. See the leaves in the background? They are white from the frost. Brrr.

You can see the frost a little better in this shot. And imagine it's probably only 3:30-4:00 in the afternoon at this point.

You can see the line behind the ducks where the pond has started to ice over.

We walked through the park, with Gary telling us stories along the way. We walked up to the highest point in the park, where the flagpole is, and we could see all of Glasgow down below, from one end of the city to the other. The sun had gone down by this point, the moon was out and almost full, and the views were just incredible. We could see the large Cineworld movie theater complex and we could figure out where our flats and schools were. It was so neat to see Glasgow from that perspective. It really is a good sized city, with so much to offer. We took it all in, then headed back down, out of the park, down a couple of blocks to the train station. 

My two dear friends were kind enough to go with me to the pharmacy at the train station, once we got back to the city centre (I was so embarrassed about my hands). A store assistant was able to sell me a bottle of acetone to help get the crazy glue off of my hands. She said something like, "Well, you won't be doing that again, will you." I'm not sure what she thought I was doing with the glue.... having fun with it? Testing it out to see just how crazy it is? Finger painting? I don't know. I wanted to say, "Lady, I was just trying to fix my shite Sperry boots!" When I got back to my flat, I scrubbed and scrubbed my hands with cotton pads soaked in acetone. Eventually I was able to get all of the glue off, and without irritating my skin which is a feat in and of itself.

The following day, I had class in the morning. The day was filled with preparation for a group presentation. That night though, was another game night! It ended up being the last game night that I threw for my friends. We all had a wonderful time, as usual, playing our hybrid Pictionary/Charades game. I am so glad that I was able to bring people together through games in an attempt to help them improve their English while having a great time. I have since passed on the Pictionary to a good friend, and I hope she continues the game night tradition. ;)

I didn't want to get to bed too late that night because I had a big day ahead of me. My local was taking me to the Borders. I was still sick, still congested and feeling unwell, so I was hoping with some good, relaxing sleep I would be ready for the day ahead of me.

Stay tuned for Melrose!

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