How Useful is Memrise, Really?

Dearest Readers,

Memrise is an app known for its ability to help people learn languages. Unsurprisingly, Gaidhlig is no exception. So, throughout the last year, I’ve tried it out. Here are some thoughts:


Pro: You can make your own lists to learn, which makes it really easy to make sure the words in the lessons are useful to you.

Con: That takes a long time to do.

Pro: It’s really portable. One of my classmates used it on the train all the time.

Con: Not as useful when your commutes are all walking since people need to be dodged and roads crossed.

Pro: It will repeat words until you’ve proven you know them multiple times.

Con: This means it takes a long time to get through words, especially since it only does a certain amount of new words at a time.

Pro: It has games you can play.

Con: They got boring very quickly.


I stopped using Memrise after a couple weeks, but a couple of my classmates used it all year. It’s really good if you need something available on your phone or tablet or laptop for quick, short bursts of study time. The pre-made packs of vocabulary makes learning bits of a new language pretty easy if the study style works for you, and many of the words have audio files.

So Memrise is useful….if that style of studying is your metaphorical cup of tea.

Your Bonnie Celtophile,


Becoming Scottish One Day at a Time

Dearest Readers,

One thing I can pinpoint as a goal in my life is to be able to flow seamlessly between America and Scotland, to blend within both societies as if I grew up wandering between them.

You know, without the Scottish accent (although I wouldn’t mind….).

Anyway, basically, I want to live in Scotland long enough, including work, relationships, and hobbies, that I become Scottish. Well, Scottish-American.

This is a bit of a silly goal, but given that I’m studying Celtic and learning Scottish Gaelic, it isn’t too much a surprise.

Because of this, I’ve wondered what exactly it takes to make me Scottish. It can’t be the accent. Maybe it’s becoming aware of all the regional stereotypes. Or embracing Scotland VS England. Or learning enough slang. Or seeing enough places.

Or just…being here long enough, and slowly accumulating all of the above and more.

I think the last option is most likely, and so I’ve come up with a system. It’s not scientific. It’s rather silly. It’s not in any way meant to be taken seriously. Although it does sort of match up with the visa regulations.

Anyway, my theory is that every year you spend in Scotland, you become 10% more Scottish. And if you marry someone Scottish, you get a 50% kick to your Scottishness. But every year you aren’t in Scotland, you lose 5% of your Scottishness.

How does this fit visa stuff?

Well, after ten straight years of being in Scotland on any visa (or what I’ve concluded to be any visa based on what I’ve read….), you have the ability to apply for dual citizenship, which the UK allows. (The other country might have problems with this, though). Depending on the visa with which you’re in the UK, it’s less time, in which case the percentages don’t quite fit, but that’s okay.

And if you marry someone Scottish (or generally from the UK), you can apply for dual citizenship after three to five years.

So my percentages roughly fit the length of time it would take to be able to apply for dual citizenship and literally become Scottish. has more information, because this obviously doesn’t include everything and is a general idea.

Plus, I just figure after 10 years of living in a place, dual citizenship or no, you’re pretty set to blend in as if you’ve been there most of your life.

Your Bonnie Celtophile,


PS-I don’t mean this to be an actual formula or something taken completely seriously. It’s just something I think about for fun, and so that when my program is over, I can jokingly claim to be 10% Scottish.

I’m also not any sort of expert in visa laws and dual nationality. Although I’m sure you’ve guessed that.

Some Pictures of Loch Lomond

I wonder if whoever owns this boat is an Outlander fan.

Dearest Readers,

I have more photos for you this week, this time of Loch Lomond from yesterday. My flatmate and I went out for some relaxation.

We witnessed a duck attempt to murder a moorhen chick. My flatmate was in a dog’s way when he tried to climb a wall, and soon Roger was sitting in her lap with his owner trying to get him off.

We also ignored our inner voices telling us that we were watching a storm roll in over the hills, and subsequently went running through the small thunderstorm to get to Balloch for lunch. Sure, I loved seeing a thunderstorm for the first time in a while, but getting drenched was both fun and chilly.

The person that drove through a puddle and splashed us right after the storm didn’t help so much, either.

However, lunch was good, and it was mostly a beautiful day. Once we got outside again, we finished drying in about twenty minutes with the breeze and the sun.

And I got myself a better raincoat. Now I just need to wait for a nice stretch of rain to test it out.

Anyway, the pictures of Loch Lomond are below. I hope you enjoy!

Your Bonnie Celtophile,


Part of the marina.

I thought the woman sitting in front of me on the cruise made a pretty picture.
One angle of the castle.

Somebody is carving a dragon from a fallen tree.