Alright everyone! Time for (the greatly anticipated) Part II!
First off, I want to apologize for the delay, I have had a quite busy week during which I had a major grade due in every class. However, it is done, I finished today. Things went well for the most part but it was very very busy. Oh I was also minorly sick (thanks to one girl on the Scotland trip who got the majority of our class sick) which didn't help anything.
So, we woke up Wednesday morning (still in Edinburgh) and walked towards the Royal Mile. The Royal Mile is a place that was introduced to us on Monday but I forgot to mention it in the earlier blog post. It is a street that has very many shops and famous buildings on it. When you guys look that the pictures of Scotland that my friend Rosemary took on facebook, you will see many pictures of me and my class walking in a street, the street was prolly the Royal Mile. It is very famous and has many things there, like a really amazing cathedral, it is very close to the Scottish parliament, has a huge stone heart (picture on facebook) that people spit on (there is a legend that if you spit on the heart then you will return to Edinburgh at some point in your life so a lot of people spit on it on Monday because we all already wanted to come back), yeah. If any of you do find yourself in Edinburgh at some point and you see that heart, don't stand on it for a picture because it is a very gross heart (many tourist couples do not know that..).
Anyway, we went to a swanky hotel near the Royal Mile where we had a meeting with Geoff Huggins who is a Scottish Government employee who works in the mental health part of the government he essentially told us about the plan for the Scottish government (I think I mentioned that earlier). He was quite cynical and informed us that the Scottish government wasn't actually doing that much with positive psychology other than funding smaller organizations (like the PlayField Institute mentioned in my last post). He also said that Martin Seligman (the father of Positive Psychology and former president of the American Psychological Association) was a not nice person and asked for a very large sum to help the Scottish government with the plan, which they said no thank you to. We had been lead to believe that Seligman had done a lot with that plan so we were shocked to learn that he was not involved and that Positive Psychology was not a big part of the plan... Anyway, he was an interesting person to see. He was quite smart and knew a ton and gave us a viewpoint of improving overall mental health from a governmental standpoint which was good for us to get. After talking to the class about it later, the visit got very mixed reviews as some people really didn't like him (found him rude and boring) while other people really enjoyed him for his honesty.
After that visit we were released onto the streets of Edinburgh to conduct street interviews. We were supposed to approach at least five Scottish people and ask them questions about well-being such as, "How do you define happiness?" and, "what are your strengths?" and, "what qualities lead to a successful positive relationship?" I personally did not like these interviews because we just approached people on the street and asked them if we could interview them. Then we blindsided them with these opened questions that were not super easy to answer without some thought. But what we generally found was that the Scottish people were content and enjoyed their lives and that many placed a large value on their relationships. Nothing too surprising.
We still had a large amount of time on our own in the city so we went to a restaurant and got some Scottish food. Apparently the Scottish love deep fried things so I got a deep fried pizza and a milkshake, which was good(ish) but interesting. My friend got deep fried haggis. If you don't know what haggis is, I suggest you do a wikipedia search. It is a very Scottish food. One thing we were unable to try which I really wanted to try (this lead to a desperate search on Friday night at midnight) was a deep fried Mars bar. I am quite bummed that I never got to try one. It is extremely unhealthy. After lunch we split up and I went with one friend on some adventures, including climbing the tower that you can see me (getting attacked by wind) at the the top of on facebook. That was a really cool tower and gave a great view of the city. We then went back to the hotel for another academic visit.
The room was horrendously hot so many people were falling asleep and having a rough time concentrating... but we got this presentation from a women who was working on improving mental health on college campuses in Scotland. The information we received there felt like it was mostly common sense but it was still interesting to think about. She worked with a program that essentially was increasing awareness and resources for students who just started college who were having difficulties with starting the college lifestyle, as can happen with many people when they first start college...
After that we went to a cafe where JK Rowling worked and like invented Harry Potter so that was neat. And the cafe was really cool and had elephants everyone. We then left when it was time and had dinner at a fairly fancy place (apparently DIS really wanted to treat us on these trips in terms of food) and that was fun. My group (when I say group I mean the people I usually hung out with) ate with one of our tour leaders so it was cool to talk to her during the meal. Afterwards we went back to our hotel. Many people were going out that night and Asa invited me but I just wanted to go to a bar (not a club). So I went with a couple people to a bar and we drank a little (not very much Mom... chill) and played spoons. We went back to the hotel with the intention of finding the rest of our class so that we could hang out with them but we had just missed them (we found out later that they really wanted to hang with us). So that was a bummer so I just hung out with people for a little while watching TV and then went back to my room.
Thursday morning was interesting as Asa was still drunk from the activities of the previous night. We had to wake up, pack quickly and bring our luggage upstairs because we were checking out. We were then going to go on a hike to Arthur's Seat but it was raining fairly heavily and we left late, so we only walked through the town to the base of the hike and turned around which made some people very grumpy (I was just happy to go on a walk). We then loaded all our stuff on the bus and went to Glasglow! It was a great bus ride because everyone was exhausted so we all slept.
Once in Glasglow we checked into our hotel and then walked (a very long walk) to lunch and then our academic visit for that day. Lunch was at the Willow Tea Rooms (not the famous one but their second restaurant) and we enjoyed some sandwiches and fancy, delicious deserts. I also just had a great time at lunch cuz everyone was at my table was in a really good mood and generally being hilarious. After that we went to the academic visit (was quite a walk), GoWell. I really enjoyed this visit because everything we had talked about in our Positive Psychology course was applicable at the individual level but GoWell was focused much more at applying Positive Psychology from a more macro, group view. The organization was studying the effects of housing developments on well-being on some populations in Glasglow. The organization studied the effects of relocation and housing improvements as it related to well-being. I found it very interesting and won't go into it in great depth here but I enjoyed the visit.
After that we had time on our own so we went back to the hotel and got our rooms. Then I went out with some friends which ended up as not super fun because they wanted to go shopping so that happened for awhile... bleh. But eventually we went to get dinner and had a Chinese buffet (we were all looking for something a little different) which was actually pretty good (and really expensive). We then went back to the hotel and ran into our group on the way back. They said they were going to go to a bar much later and we should join them (we ended up not finding them because the bar they were going to go to was closed...) So with time to kill we decided to go to a bar ourselves... which turned out to be a very interesting experience...
I'll pick up there next time for the third and final, exciting entry about Scotland!
I should post that one soon. Like tomorrow or Wednesday hopefully.