Happy Friday!! You know what that means, right? Tomorrow’s the weekend! You’re nearly there! If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s post - “the beginning of the journey to the land of outlander” - you can click here to read now. Yesterday’s post was the start of this series of posts on my time spent in Scotland! So if you’re all caught up, strap in and get ready for the beginning of the Scotland virtual tour!
As I mentioned in my previous post, my first trip to Scotland was prompted by the opportunity to perform in the first-ever Edinburgh International Improv Festival (EIIF), and it was such a wonderful way to be introduced to a new city. Upon arriving in Edinburgh, I found my way to my AirBnB taking public transportation by way of a bus and then walking the remaining half-mile. As I wandered the streets to find my AirBnB, I found myself making up songs before transitioning to singing the Harry Potter theme to myself while walking alone at night. I stayed in a private room in a house owned by a lovely woman named Becky who had a wonderful tea selection and who was a warm welcome as I got settled in. We spent some time at her dining room table, drinking tea and discussing life, before I headed across the street to a small corner market to pick up a few quick things to have for dinner. As my flight was a bit later in the day, it was nearly 10 PM before I got fully unpacked and settled. I decided not to explore too much that first night since I had the next 5 days to spend time in the city.
The next morning I woke up, had some delicious tea and toast with jam, and decided to do some exploring. I grabbed my bag and jacket and headed out, opting to walk to Edinburgh City Centre. It was only a couple miles from my AirBnB to the Scottish Storytelling Centre (where the EIIF was held), so I figured I could do some sightseeing along the way. I was totally surprised that there was a nice canal I could walk along to get to my destination. It immediately felt familiar to me based on all the times I went for runs along the canals in Dublin, especially the one close to my flat in Rathmines. That walk along the canal would be one I would repeat nearly everyday I was in Edinburgh that first trip, but it was especially special that first time of discovery.
When I made it to Edinburgh the first day, I was in awe of the city streets and its various levels. I saw multiple Harry Potter-themed shops, beautiful architecture, and winding roadways and staircases. I found my way to the Scottish Storytelling Centre eventually to make sure I checked in and found out where my International Ensemble Team’s practice/first meeting would be. I made my way over to the basement of a bar/restaurant just down the street and met my new teammates and friends from all over: Luke Zwanziger from Portland, Monica Gaga and Sarah Davies from London, Robert Souders from SoCal, and Liam Webber and Emily Brady from Nottingham (which, such a small world, actually performed on a team with my friend Jack who I met two summers ago when we performed together at iO in Chicago!). And of course, our amazing coach (who I also got to see again in Ireland a few months later), Susan Harrison from London. I mention their names because performing with these people was an absolute gift. They were warm, supportive, and incredibly funny. We played together like a team that’s been performing together for years, and I became a better performer because of them. If you’re ever in their cities and have the chance to see them perform, you won’t be sorry you checked them out.
After an incredible, multiple-hour practice session together, we grabbed dinner and headed over to the EIIF Opening Night Gala featuring performances from a Harry Potter-themed improv team, as well as Abandoman. The highlight for me was most definitely Abandoman, a(n Irish) one-man musical improv rap performance with lots of audience interaction. At one point he called on me and asked me what I look for in an ideal partner (so that he could rap about it), so I told him someone who listens and someone who also sings along to Disney songs with me. He laughed and then proceeded to rap about everyone to whom he asked a question, and he totally rapped about me and my potential future Disney-singing boyfriend. It was a seriously fun show and great introduction to the weekend of comedy. After the show, I headed back to the AirBnB to get ready for a weekend full of touring Edinburgh and more comedy (and, yes, more Banshee’s Labyrinth).
So, do you love Harry Potter as much as I do? What if I told you that in an upcoming post I’ll actually talk about J.K. Rowling and her Edinburgh-Harry Potter roots? Do you know what House the Sorting Hat would put you in? Are you a Slytherin like me? Or perhaps you’re a Gryffindor? Hufflepuff? Ravenclaw? I’d love to know - especially if you’re a Slytherin like me! Even if you’re not, I’d still like to know, though! So please subscribe in the e-mail submission box below and reach out, follow me on Instagram or Twitter, or reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so happy you're here and that I’ve been getting a lot of really great, fun-to-read stories, questions, and feedback from a community all over the globe. The stories of other people’s travels that I’ve gotten to read recently bring me such smiles, and I am so grateful for all of it! Especially during this time of uncertainty and pandemic, it's important to surround yourself with good and find/do things that bring you joy; we're all in this together. I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, truly, thank you.
P.S. - If you want to catch up from the beginning on this series of adventures, here's a cheat sheet to the posts (in order in which they were published):
1. Won't you join me?
2. grateful for starbucks and sandymount strand
3. Once Upon a December in the National Gallery
4. plant a smooch for that gift of gab
5. may the 4th be with you: Dingle style
6. cinco de mayo: the best Mexican food in Dublin
7. pizza in roma
8. mussolini’s window and the philosophers’ metro stop
9. father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife
10. it's the vatican, not the vatican't
11. spoiler alert: i did not lose my hand
12. more pizza and gelato and Neptune, oh my
13. craft beer, romper season, and volcano magic
14. bus singalongs and the okey dokey karaoke origin story
15. the beginning of the journey to the land of outlander