There is a lot to catch up on since I last wrote. It has been a busy 8 days here in Edinburgh. After working last Thursday and Friday I had Christmas Eve off and really enjoyed it. All the volunteers that were in Edinburgh came to our flat and we made some food and then went to the city center for a candlelight service at midnight. It was a really traditional service at one of the old churches. We took communion, sang some songs, and then walked back to our flat into the early part of Christmas Day. On Christmas Day all the volunteers had to work, so in the morning I opened up my packages and cards! Thanks to everyone who sent me something in the mail, it was a blessing and made it feel like Christmas.
Around 2 pm Nick and I headed to work where we ate plenty of turkey, ham, stuffing, cake, potatoes, cranberries, and more! There were only about 7 guys in the House and the mood was fairly melancholy. A lot of the guys got emotional when we went around the flat and handed out the gifts we had bought them. It was even more difficult to turn some guys away from the Hostel when they came back drunk. They struggle at the Holidays because it reminds them of the things they don't have or have lost.
We have tried to make this past week special for the guys by holding an "activities week." I have led trips to the cinema, theatre, and held game nights. Of course another bonus of this job is the free stuff I get to do! I didn't work yesterday but I went along with staff and some of the residents for some go-carting! These go-carts got upwards of 35 mph and the track was pretty intense! I can say I represented my country well by taking first place in the second race! All that Chicago driving is paying dividends.
On Tuesday I went to go see the Edinburgh capitals, which is the professional hockey team here. But it is about equivalent to college hockey in the states, although I'm convinced MSU or Boston College would dominate.
Last night was the torchlight processional through the city center. Loads of people marched through the city with torches up Calton Hill where they shot off fireworks. There are about 4 other volunteers staying up here right now for hogmanay so we watched the procession and then went and listened to some Polish Music at a little coffee house.
Tonight there is a huge Cedhli out in the city center with a parade and dancers. Edinburgh goes to the extreme for the new year so I can't say that I have been bored of late! Here's a good link if you want to see what is going on here....http://www.edinburghshogmanay.org/
Beside that I am looking forward to doing some traveling soon. I am going down to London on Jan 16th for a conference and hopefully I'll get a chance to travel in February. It is starting to ice over here in the city and the snow is now sticking to the ground. Take care.