Missing In Philadelphia

I’ve been silent for a little bit. Apologies. Never fear – I’m still alive. Just travellin’.

En route I’ve been in Edinburgh to make use of the university-wide subscription to academic journals. I drank a lot of tea and coffee, then downloaded like crazy.

In the University of Edinburgh Library (Chemistry & Biology at Kings Building). I am becoming the eternal student…

Edinburgh was filled with tourists and the Fringe Festival, but light on students. The Darwin Library was nearly deserted, save for some postgraduates and faculty. It felt really weird – I was like a ghost in the machine. I looked like I should belong here…and yet it felt like I didn’t. It’s sad to feel as if I don’t belong in a city that I belonged to very strongly for several years and love even stronger. Maybe it will pass, maybe I will need to reinvent myself and my life if I want to carry on living here.


After a day in Edinburgh I boarded an overnight National Express bus that took me down to London. The problem was not that I didn’t sleep on the bus, it was that I did sleep but was woken mid-dream at our arrival point. I was bleary and disconnected for several hours as I drunk coffee and tried to wake up. I was looking around flats in London. At this point it doesn’t look like I’m sorted out with accommodation, but I got to explore London the city, rather than London the tourist-Olympic honey trap.

Growing up around St Andrews and studying in Edinburgh, I’ve become so accustomed to these places that I have almost forgotten how posh they are. Posh, well-off, hetereosexual, white. London isn’t like that at all: it has a grimy-ness and real mixture of people living together. There is less segregation in the neighbourhoods that I visited on the flat-hunt: in Brixton there are immigrants from all over the world living beside the students and young professionals. It surprised me…but I think I liked it. This is certainly big city living.


Day 3 of the trip featured a stop down in Oxford to have a look around the Chemistry Department there. Met a very nice Professor and chatted to some of the students down there. Funding is going to be a difficulty if I chose to apply to Oxford, but that’s much the same everywhere. The experience was an incredibly positive one (with even more positive experiences coming later) – I could see a PhD program at Oxford suiting me well.

The Radcliffe Camera.

Whilst I was in Oxford I had the time to explore a bit more (I’ve visited a couple of times already). The place charms me mercilessly.

Christ Church Meadows

And then after that I boarded a plane at Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 that took me right on over to the Eastern Seaboard of the United States of America. Oh man, there will be another lengthy blog post about how THAT went. Suffice to say…at the point of posting this article it’s going really well.

I’ve been enjoying all the holiday snaps posted by my blogger friends of their adventures in warmer climates. I hope you’re all enjoying yourself this summer!

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