The Travel Bug

Signe Trewyn's blog

First Impressions

Posted by Signe Trewyn on May 24th, 2016

Even before my plane landed on May 19th 2016, I was drawn to the green patches that made up the Scottish landscape which was evident once we drove into the driveway of the house.  Once I arrived at the house, my jet lag seemed to pause when I became transfixed in taking in not just the house, but the property of 800 acres of endless green grass and trees. Patty, the Resident Director greeted me at the front door with the plaque that read “Wisconsin in Scotland” in the background. However, I was relieved to be at such an ancient house with such a large history of the people who studied there in the past.

Dalkeith house met my expectations with its overall size, when I came upon it, I thought that it was large and it reminded me of Harry Potter. The house was conveniently situated out in the country with a woods just beyond it. Early on in the program, I got a chance to explore the grounds with my friends I flew over with, we explored the woods and the paths it had to offer.

One of the first locations I explored was a large bridge overlooking a small waterfall, while walking on the path, I looked down on the grass and witnessed a slug moving quite slowly across the wet grass. I thought it was interesting to see the slug as well as bumble bees that were a different color than in the United States. Deer were also viewed with my group on the path which were must smaller than the white tailed deer of the United States.

The best surprise I got while living here is the people of the community let their children and dogs play in the yard, this shows me what a wonderful place this is, it is so fun to watch them especially in the sunshine. Seeing that makes me feel so much more welcome here and I am eager to go out and talk to them. I feel as though they are eager to talk and get to know me. It is interesting to see the different breeds of dogs. The people there turned out to be warm and welcoming to me which was one of my favourite things, feeling welcomed on an abroad trip seemed to be the gateway to adventure. The city of Dalkeith was small with coffee shops and a grocery store. The buildings were stout with a lively interior which is what I expected from looking at photos of Dalkeith.


The first town I explored with my friends from the plane was Dalkeith. Overall, it was a cute town with small shops and cobblestone streets unique to Europe. When I was eating lunch, I experienced a language barrier that I thought was a lot different. I ordered a sandwich with French fries. Upon receiving my meal, I sat frozen not because I was surprised, but rather confused. I had been given an appetizing sandwich with French fries.

What I thought I was going to receive was a bag of chips that I had received when I ordered the food. I asked the waitress for chips, she said I had already received them. I frowned and asked her again, she said the French fries were chips, I smiled and laughed at myself because I thought I would receive the same food as in America. I returned to my food ready to eat it with my friends who had taken me all around Dalkieth.This was another reason why I felt welcomed at Dalkeith house with so much positive energy from those who greeted me.

Almost every day, my friends from Whitewater who were involved in the counselling program acted as my tour guides through Edinburgh, I was excited by the fact that I got to see the city with the large buildings and unique churches. I learned that Edinburgh had a large focus on history as well as the offers for the ghost tours scattered around town. They showed me the ways of the city and continued to be my travel buddies throughout my experience in Scotland during the first week. My confidence in traveling on buses and through the sprawling city became more and more evident throughout the first week. While in Edinburgh the first week, I found a museum dedicated to the history of surgery which I found to be interesting and unique.

Edinburgh showed a passion for music did exist. There were many music bars, which painted the picture of rowdy guests as well as people being loud, I went into the bar itself and there were people who danced pleasantly while the music was playing. Me and my friends sat down at the bar and watched an elderly couple dance along to the music, I thought that was a good introduction to Edinburgh.  The previous impression I got from being in Ireland where people turned their passion toward drinking. Those seemed to be abundant throughout the city which meant the Scottish were passionate about their haunted past. Edinburgh also proved to be a sprawling city as well, abundant with busses and cars zipping through the city daily.

Walking through the city, I noticed all its beauty as well as Edinburgh castle which was shown in the photos of Scotland. Seeing the man playing bagpipes in the heart of the city with all the people walking through it was impressive to me because that is how I pictured Scotland to be. The music made me feel welcome and it showed me the Scottish relish local music.


Overall, my experience in Scotland has been quite interesting with many chances to learn about travel writing. There also have been endless opportunities to explore Edinburgh and Dalkeith in order to learn my way around with people from Whitewater who turned out to be my travel buddies. To this day, I look at the plaque and remember the day I arrived and the journeys in Scotland that are yet to come.

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