Ceilidh + Ballet = Scottish Country Dance

My first pair of dance shoes in a very long time.

Dearest Readers,

Yesterday I learned the difference between three types of Scottish dancing, courtesy of one of the teachers of my uni’s Scottish Country Dance Club.


Ceilidh Dance: for drunk people and people that think they have two left feet. Can be taught fast, grace doesn’t matter, and as long as there aren’t any major collisions, it’s a success. Also easy to teach in any major gatherings.

Scottish Country Dance: Ceilidh Dance mixed with ballet. More graceful, uses these things called “first position” and “third position” and “step change,” and adds fancier things like many moving parts people where Ceilidh Dance wouldn’t. Also has an element called social dancing, which adds claps, spins, and other shenanigans that make the dances more interesting/fun for the dancers, especially at gatherings of dancers from different places.

Highland Dance: This, according to my country dance teacher, is more “aggressive”. It’s war and fighting dances, historically used for warriors to show their strength, speed, and agility while keeping up morale. Also, their third position is higher than in country dance.


Although I have tremendously enjoyed Ceilidh Dance and will continue to enjoy it when the opportunity presents itself, I must say I like Scottish Country Dance much better.

For one, it’s a good place to learn some basics before I have the opportunity to learn Highland Dance (because who doesn’t want to do something called a Sword Dance?). First position (and all the ballet stuff) is a foreign concept to me, and the soreness in my calves proves it. Feet are not meant to be kept heels together, toes as far apart as possible. It does, however, look super elegant.

Secondly, I gained a fond appreciation for being part of a group of people moving in perfect synchronicity to create something entertaining and/or beautiful during my twelves years of cheerleading. The dancing is one of the few things I miss about cheerleading (the other being throwing people in the air in ways that defy the laws of sanity).

Being in class yesterday doing steps in time with everyone else felt like coming home.

It’s also a really awesome way to relieve stress caused by having a pile of articles to read, reflect on, and consider as an essay topic every week.

Do you have experience with any of these dances? What differences do you think there are? Which do you prefer?

Your Bonnie Celtophile,



US to UK: The Registration Process

My registration for Glasgow was a three step process, which included academic registration and financial registration before my academic induction and registering (enrolling) in courses. I spent a couple weeks worrying that I wouldn’t be able to follow the directions and wondering why the UK and the US have to be so damn different, expecting nothing except…

registration before

…but then I got the email with instructions and it was surprisingly easy. More like…

registration after

Registration for other UK schools is similar, although the registration help sections indicated that the exact steps depend on the school, much like in the US.

Step One: Academic Registration.

This step is basically checking your details. Name, contact information, program, and the like. Mine included the opportunity to add a photo for the student ID card, although I was able to skip it.

For me, this step raised the issue that my contact information right now is different than my contact information will be, and I don’t even know what my contact information will be. However, I solved this by simply putting in my current contact details since I’ll be able to update the information later.

Step Two: Financial Registration.

This was tough for me. At this point, students need to give evidence their tuition is being paid or set up a form of payment, like direct debit.

I’m paying for the tuition entirely from student loans, enough USD to cover the cost if the exchange rate suddenly shifts significantly into the GBP’s favor (and if it’s over the cost of the tuition after it’s exchanged, I get that money in GBP there). The loans will be released after I’ve done all the registration and start classes, not before, but there wasn’t a place to put that option.

I panicked for about twenty seconds before I remembered the help request option available. I explained my issue and two days later, I was able to go in and complete the financial registration with the click of one button thanks to my Glasgow federal loan contact.

A possibly tough situation made super easy.

Step Three: Enrolling in Classes

About the same time I was diving into the academic and financial registration, I got a lovely email from my program about academic induction and enrolling in classes. They told me, and this was a bit of a relief, that I didn’t need to worry about enrolling for classes based on the list of requirements.

Instead, I should wait until after the induction, at which point I’ll have more information with which to choose my courses.

I wasn’t going to complain about a little more guidance.

I ended up enrolling in most of my classes the weekend before classes started since one of my classes met before my induction and I knew what I wanted to take. The process was simple, and it had tutorials for how to use the software.

I’m currently enrolled in all my classes with minor problems solved pretty quickly by the administration.

So, to recap:

Academic Registration + Financial Registration + Class Enrollment – Stress = Happy Student

Do you have experience studying in the UK? What was your registration process like?

Your Bonnie Celtophile,


Something Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue

For some reason, I’ve had the good old wedding tradition “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, and Something Blue” stuck in my head for a few days. That’s why I decided to base a post off of it even though there’s nothing “wedding” happening my life.

In the last week, I’ve done some prepping, some socializing, some running, and some relaxing before the official start of my courses tomorrow. Here are some of those things.

runSomething Old:

Running! It’s been interesting not having a sports team or something to look forward to for the fall, but that changed when GUHH (Glasgow University Hares and Hounds) met for the first time this year. It was wonderful to run a new part of the Kelvin Walkway with a group and to follow it up with a trip to the pub.

It was my longest run since earlier this summer, but it was relatively easy because of having the group around me chatting.

Also in this group is Runners Connect. This summer, while trying to keep the motivation to run everyday, I took up listening to Runners Connect podcasts during my runs. It was something to look forward to, it was interesting, and it kept running in my mind. I had to switch the app I use for podcasts, but having familiar voices in my ear on new routes made getting out the door easier this week.

Something New:

Knitting Group! I’ve knit for over a year now, but I have never been part of the glorious idea of a group of people coming together to work on projects. It was just as relaxing as I thought it would be, and I’m glad I will be able to join them since their meetings don’t conflict with my schedule (or timetable, as it’s called here).

Yes, there were some other new things, like the first Guinness I actually enjoyed, but this has been the biggest one from the last week since it will continue in the coming year.

Something Borrowed:

Books! I hit the library and took five books off the Celtic shelves to read while waiting for classes to start. Probably won’t be able to finish them before tomorrow, but I will certainly try! Two are for Gaelic learning, one is an Irish/Ulster epic (The Tain), another about highland myths, and the final one about literacy in Celtic societies.

The library, with its twelve floors, has been much easier to navigate since I took a tour and some time to wander.

20160917_163822Something Blue:

The Sky! (Sometimes.) Although it has been cloudy and has rained, the moments when the sun is out and the sky is blue are amazing. They’re the best to run in, and they guarantee people will be out enjoying the weather in the parks.

I took some time to read at the Botanics while it was lovely yesterday. I definitely can’t complain about the view.

Your Bonnie Celtophile,