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Scotland Day 6: Graduation!

semi-overcast 44 °F

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We got up fairly early and got ready for the graduation ceremony. Then we walked over to McEwan Hall, where graduations are usually held for the University of Edinburgh.
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Once Daniel had his gown and hood gathered for the ceremony we had the chance to take some pictures in the square in front of McEwan Hall.
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Us in front of McEwan Hall as it shines in the morning sunlight.
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In front of one of the side doors to the Hall.

Daniel got his picture taken by the photographers and then was able to enter the hall. A bagpiper and drummer were playing as the graduates walked in, and then they led a procession of university officials into the hall. It was a beautiful start to the ceremony.

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Some pictures that Catherine took inside the Hall. Daniel was not able to take pictures because he was seated with the other graduates. Two of his fellow Ancient Worlds program graduates were here, also from the United States, and so he was able to meet them in person and talk about how much "fun" they all had writing their dissertations.

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Catherine had a very good seat for watching the officials and the graduates as they moved across the stage.
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Graduates walk across the stage, their names are read, and they get bopped on the head with a hat. The hat is called the "Geneva Bonnet" and is rumored to have been made out of John Knox's breeches. This is an odd story, especially given that Knox in fact wore a Geneva bonnet. It seems more likely that if it has any connection with him that it is his hat, and not a hat made from his pants. However, it seems even more likely that it is just a hat.
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Daniel getting bopped on the head with the Geneva bonnet as he walks across the stage to collect his degree.
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A choir sang some beautiful songs and there was a short speech encouraging the graduates to continue to learn (we have yet to hear a graduation speech that exhorts the listeners to quit now while you're ahead and not try to learn anything new), and then the officials processed out, followed by the graduates.
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After we reunited outside the hall we were able to take some pictures. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful ceremony. The bagpipe, drum, and organ music, as well as the choir, made it all feel especially emotional. Two years of work, stress, and writing were beautifully rewarded with this ceremony.

Unfortunately, due to a strike among some of the professors and lecturers the reception afterwards was cancelled. It was a bit odd that it got cancelled, and when we talked to a professor later she was surprised that the strike had interfered in any way. It may have been cancelled out of "an abundance of caution" despite no real risk of any problems.
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Not going to the reception allowed us to take a nice walk and go to a little Italian restaurant for lunch.

After lunch, we went and met with Daniel's dissertation advisor. We went to a cafe for tea and scones, and talked about cats and classics and the ceremony. Then she took us on a wonderful tour of the department's offices and its small library. It is located in the former medical school, which is a beautiful old building. It was a wonderful afternoon.

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After this we went on a very different kind of tour. It was about the various dark and bizarre stories that haunt Edinburgh's history. We were hoping it would be more historical, and it was a little bit "trying to creep people out" for our tastes. However, we did get to see some interesting things and learn some stories from Edinburgh's past.
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We got the chance to tour the vaults under one of the bridges, which was interesting. These vaults were originally used by the businesses above, but were abandoned because of the lack of natural light, which necessitated the use of fish-oil candles, which made the vaults smell horrible. They may (the tour guide insisted they had) become home to a literal criminal underworld, with brothels, opium dens, and illegal taverns frequented by grave-robbers.
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After we left the vaults we were led to the graveyard in Canongate, which is outside the technical old boundaries of the city. Several interesting people were buried here, including Adam Smith and Robert Fergusson. It is also thought to be the location of the grave of Ebenezer Scroggie, who according to legend was listed on his grave as "a meal man" due to his career as a grain merchant. Charles Dickens is said to have seen the grave and misread it as "a mean man" and then written A Christmas Carol as a speculative story to explain how someone could have earned such an epitaph. However, there does not seem to be any evidence of this and the gravestone is lost.
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Toasting to Daniel's graduation with a dram of whisky, then a dinner of cullen skink (fish chowder), potato and leek soup, and then cranachan and sticky toffee pudding for dessert. It was a wonderful graduation day that we will always remember!

Posted by danielcatherine 08:03 Archived in Scotland Tagged edinburgh tea graveyard lunch graduation advisor strike dissertation vaults classics mcewan_hall cullen_skink cranachan adam_smith Comments (1)

Maui and Kaua’i Day 10: Bamboozled

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We woke up very early today to get ready to go to Kipu Ranch Adventures ATV tour. We were doing it with Daniel’s Aunt Jackie and Uncle Peter, Gretchen and Eric, Kevin and Charlotte, Robbie, and Shane. The ranch formerly belonged to Princess Ruth, Kamehameha’s granddaughter. She sold it to the Rice family, which still owns it. Several movies have been filmed there, including Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones. It has served as several other places for movies, including Africa, Costa Rica, and Vietnam.

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Daniel drove for most of it.
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But Catherine also drove for a bit.
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Tree tunnels in Hawaii are designations of royal lands. There is a famous one outside Poipu and Koloa made of eucalyptus. This one, designating Princess Ruth’s lands, was made of pine.
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Some pictures as we began the journey.
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Peafowl as we began driving.
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We saw such beautiful views as we drove through the ranch.
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There were several stops to see sights.
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More pictures.
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Some of the group that was there.
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Daniel did the rope swing.
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Catherine also held the rope swing.
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The swimming holes were too muddy for us to swim.
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More pictures around the ranch.
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Us with Daniel’s Aunt Jackie.
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We walked to a waterfall and were able to go behind it. Again, the water was too muddy to swim.
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We had lunch at tables near the waterfall. There were a lot of chickens nearby who scavenged for food there.
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Next we drove to another waterfall.
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There was a great deal of bamboo around the waterfall, giving us our title for today’s entry.
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A picture of the whole group, and of just us.
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This pool was clean enough to swim in according to the guides, but it didn’t seem too pleasant so we didn’t decide to swim.
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The Kipu Ranch Adventure was a great experience! We highly recommend it!
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When we got back we rested for a while, then went to Costco and Safeway to get ready for our party. We went with Daniel’s mom and bought all the supplies we will need.
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Daniel’s mom found a ukulele at Costco. We didn’t buy one but she did play it for a moment.
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When we got home we went to dinner with Daniel’s sister Hilary. It was a very fun dinner at Brennecke’s, and are looking forward to our party tomorrow!

Posted by danielcatherine 04:17 Archived in USA Tagged dinner lunch movies ranch atv rope costco kipu brennecke’s Comments (0)

Ireland Day 7: Knock, Turlough, and Westport

overcast 66 °F

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Our day started with breakfast: Catherine's treacle bread was delicious!
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After breakfast, we went to Knock for Mass with Mary Kathleen, and did a little shopping for souvenirs. It was a very pleasant morning. On our way back to Kilkelly we stopped to see Mary Kathleen's husband John's grave. Catherine never met John, but Daniel knew him eleven years ago when he went to college in Ireland.
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The graveyard is named for St. Celsius, who Kilkelly is also named for. There is a monument to Irish people buried far away right next to John's grave.
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We stopped to visit Michelle (Mary Kathleen's daughter-in-law, Ciarán's wife) and their children. Ciarán's house has a nice view of the fields nearby.
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Then we went to a late lunch at Attracta's house, where we saw Attracta's husband Michael and their daughter Ciara. Ciara is planning to be a math teacher, so we had a nice talk with her about teaching. We also watched some Gaelic football, which Catherine had not seen before.
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Old family pictures on Mary Kathleen's table.
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When we put "Achill Island" in our GPS, it took us to this tiny road. The GPS directions voice said "you are on the fastest route" right as we turned here.
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We stopped to see a ruined church and round tower in Turlough. Daniel had been here before with his grandparents and John and Mary Kathleen. It is a beautiful tower, and very impressively preserved. Incidentally, the city of Turlock in California is named after Turlough, Co. Mayo: the founder of Turlock was from Turlough.
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Stopped for a late dinner in Westport and tried a beer called Mescan. Mescan was the name of St. Patrick's personal brewer, and the brewery makes their beer at the foot of Croagh Patrick, Ireland's holy mountain where St. Patrick fasted for forty days and forty nights. The beer was good. We got to Achill Island very late, and almost got lost finding the place with directions telling us to go "past the green boat" and "down the boreen."

Posted by danielcatherine 11:34 Archived in Ireland Tagged tower dinner lunch mary michael michelle kathleen ciaran's knock westport ciara attracta turlough achill mescan croagh_patrick round_tower Comments (1)

Day 19 - Around the Bend

76 °F

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Some pictures from the town of Hood River, which is very nice and fun. The downtown area is very small, but has quite a variety of businesses and restaurants.

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After that, we went to Catherine's uncle Dooley and aunt Greta's house. They recently built it, and it is very similar to their previous house in Porterville, California.

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The fire pit at their house.

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One of their horses. Put a bird on it! (Note the bird on the horse's back).

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After this, we went to lunch at Full Sail Brewing Company. Michael, Dooley, and Greta all recommended it. We went with Catherine's parents, her mom's cousin Pam and Pam's husband Robert, and their daughters, the aforementioned Kendra and Kaitlyn. It was a very nice lunch: we had great food and great conversations.

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Catherine's parents are staying in Oregon for the next week, at a timeshare in Redmond (near Bend). We were able to stay with them in Redmond for the night.

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The town of Redmond is small, but has a very cute downtown. We had a delicious meal at Diego's, a local restaurant, and then got to bed early so we would be ready for our adventure at Crater Lake tomorrow.

Posted by danielcatherine 21:08 Archived in USA Tagged house lunch bend cascades hood_river full_sail redmond high_desert Comments (0)

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