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Stirling Uni Newsletter No.1
Saturday 13 Sep 03

8:00pm British Summer Time, University of Stirling (3:00pm Lansing, MI)

I believe I have begun the greatest adventure yet of my already full life.

As the light fades outside the window of room 2.8, Geddes Court (Hall), University of Stirling, Scotland, nestled against the foot of the Ochil Hills I conclude a grueling and thrilling day.

On Friday, 12 Sep 03, I awoke at 6:00am and finished packing by 11:00. I wish I could remember where I laid the folding keyboard for my Palm Pilot. I loaded the Tacoma and headed to Carole's. I stopped at the bank on the way and I'm pretty sure I've completed the critical steps necessary to complete my move. My two biggest regrets are; moving away from Carole and leaving the condo in such a mess.

Carole, a rare gem among women, loves me so much and has been unfailing in her support for me as I stretch my wings, took Friday off work. She followed me to Baker Auto Brokers in Holt, Mi where I sold my Tacoma then took me to Detroit Metro. When I found out that British Airways Cargo was not shipping unaccompanied baggage right now I shipped my steamer trunk UPS on Thursday and didn't need to drive the Tacoma to Detroit. Carole had concluded that the Tacoma would be more expensive to maintain than her Geo Prizm and would have resold it right away. This way was a lot simpler all round.

My plane, British Airways flight 202, departed from the Berry Terminal of Detroit Metro right on time at 6:05pm Eastern Daylight Time. We landed at London, Heathrow at 6:35am British Summer Time, that's 1:35am Eastern Daylight Time in Detroit. After taxiing nearly to Terminal 4, we shut down the engines and waited for a tug to pull us the rest of the way to the gate. The local noise ordinances prohibit jet engine operation on some parts of the airfield at certain times of the day. This is an indication of the smaller scale of things here in Britain.

After transferring to Terminal 1, by bus, and proceeding through a labyrinth of corridors I arrived at Immigration Control. The Immigration Officer (1106), after careful review of my documentation stamped "Leave to enter for/until ~ 31st October 2004 ~ (date entered by hand) No recourse to public funds Work (and any changes) must be authorized." The normal stamp for travelers is "LEAVE TO ENTER FOR SIX MONTHS EMPLOYMENT PROHIBITED."

The flight, British Airways 1476, from London Heathrow to Glasgow, departure 9:15, arrival 10:35, was mercifully short and right on schedule. The flight went even quicker with the serving of a full "english breakfast", eggs, ham, sausage, mushrooms, tomato, biscuit, and tea.

It is now 9:00pm and I can no longer keep my eyes open. Goodnight.

Sunday 14 Sep 03 - 6:00am UOS (University of Stirling)

To continue:

When I arrived at the Glasgow Airport my first thought was to collect my luggage, change my money to £ (Pounds Stirling), and then find the greeters for UOS. No, wait, first I'll change my money with only my carry-on bags to watch out for, then I'll fetch my luggage and find the greeters for UOS. For some reason the carousel where international baggage is claimed and the international gate where people usually wait for arriving family and friends, are on opposite ends of the Glasgow Airport. OH NO, could this be the first flaw in Scotland? No, wait, maybe it was designed this way to force people to stretch their legs a little before continuing their journey. I actually have know idea what I'm talking about. I guess there are some things which should remain a mystery.

I found Daniel, an international student from Germany, in a green UOS shirt, waiting with a list of names of arriving students. The next chartered bus going to campus was scheduled for 11:30. The bus was a few minutes late, for it seems this was a football (soccer) day and city traffic was bumper to bumper. It took about an hour to travel the 45 miles to the campus of the University of Stirling on the Airthrey Estate in the shadow of the Wallace Monument. Every thing is so green and there is so much more verticality to the terrain than Michigan or Ohio. On the bus I met Tom an international student from the Czech Republic studying business.

The bus stopped in front of my accommodation, Geddes Court, because that is where the Residential Services Office is. Each hall has a full time porter (manager), assistant managers, student assistants, and a cleaning staff. Everyone has been very friendly and helpful.

After starting to unpack and realizing I had forgotten a towel, needed hangers, and had forgotten to look for electrical adapters at the airport, I checked out the small shops in the Andrew Miller building (like the student commons). I found the electrical adapters but didn't see any towels or hangers so I took the opportunity to walk into Bridge of Allan. It was a little farther than I had anticipated, more like a mile and a half plus, with the pubs and shops on the far (west) end of town. After my walk I was warm and thirsty so it seemed like a good time to checkout the Crooked Arm Pub.


When I walked into the pub and asked about the "bye a friend a drink web page" the bar maid and someone I took to be the owner said they knew nothing about it. In fact the barmaid said "people bye their own drinks around here." I hope no one sent money in anticipation of my arrival. I will investigate further and let everyone know if the scheme is legit.


Not finding what I was looking for in Bridge of Allan, I took the bus directly to Stirling. I found a beautiful large Egyptian cotton towel in Marks & Spencer for £19.

Sunday 14 Sep 03 - 5:30pm UOS

The first shower of rain since arriving at UOS just fell. Even though the sky has been gray and threatening since crossing the Scottish border the rain only lasted about 2 minutes.

Today began the orientation process. We, the incoming 1st year students, where greeted warmly by the University Principal, Christine Hallett. Ms. Hallett encouraged us to be proud of earning a place at university this year because the administration has raised the entrance threshold to meet a government mandated student numbers cap. We were also greeted by Esther Kavanagh, President of the Stirling University Students Association (SUSA). Esther invited use to become involved in campus activities, especially the current campaign to stop the imposition of "top-up fees." Domestic students, after earning a place at university through grades and test scores, receive a stipend from the government to live on. Top-up fees are like a user fee for going to university paid after you graduate.

I found out who my Adviser of Studies will be. He is Dr AG Hamilton with the Computing Science & Mathematics Department room 4B58 Cottrell building. I meet with him on Monday morning at 09:35 to find out what my course schedule will be. I also learned that Dame Diana Rigg is the Chancellor of Stirling University. You may remember her as Emma Peel in a '60s television series called The Avengers.

I am not scheduled to attend the Library and IT Induction until Wednesday. I believe that is when I'll get my email account. As this newsletter grows with every passing day I'll try to find web access before then, maybe in the library.

Tuesday 16 Sep 03 - 6:30pm UOS

I've got web access again. HURRAH!!!

Yesterday all the people on my corridor, who share a kitchen, had a meeting with our hall assistant. They are all 1st year students like me self, however they are all under 25. We were briefed on some basic rules of the house keeping and noise. All common sense really. I am already helping some of my corridor mates set up their computers to access the UOS network. I think we will get on fine.

I have an international student reception shortly so I'll just attache some photographs I took around campus on Sunday and talk to you later.

Click on picture for larger image (approx. 640x480).
Residence halls from across Airthrey Loch. Geddes Court Airthrey Castle across golf course Airthrey Castle up close Dumyat
Looking NW Geddes Court Airthrey Golf Course Airthrey Castle Dumyat
1,373ft (418m) hill
NE of campus
Looking in to 2.8 Geddes Court View out the window To the left of the window. To the right of the window. Looking back toward the door
2.8 Geddes
The view To the left To the right Back toward door

Full size pictures, 1600x1200 pixels, 2 MB each, available upon request.

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