Sunday, September 27, 2009

LINK Weekend

Rotary International of Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) invited all 150 Great Britain and Ireland scholars to an event called "LINK Weekend", in Leicestershire, Southern England. RIBI are a special bunch, and the only regional faction of Rotary in the whole world. They organized this weekend full of activities so that we could make connections for the year. Each of us stayed with local Rotarians. I stayed with the lovely Kay and Roger McDermott and amazing Tanya, their Bermese Mountain Dog.

Kay, Roger and Tanya 

 As we were in England, the house had a name:

Kay and Roger did a great job touring me around their area in their Mini Cooper (what else?!) All I could keep thinking was "it's so English". We took Tanya for a walk down a misty country lane and saw the gorgeous Ashby de la Zouch Castle. They also had me taste a local favorite, pork pie, sort of like a cold, sausage based pig-in-a-blanket.

View from top of Ashby - classic backdrop to a scene in Walter Scott's Ivanhoe

Ground view

Host Mama Kay and I on top of the castle

Me on top of the castle

After getting oriented with Roger and Kay, the afternoon involved meeting many other UK scholars. Connecting with old friends, making new. We attended a dinner and watched traditional English Morris dancing, which they stole from the Spanish Moorish dancing, except that no one could pronounce it properly. At one point a Rotarian used me as an example partner to show how to "swing", which was kind of intense. Scots really know how to spin 'round.

We also went to a Science Museum and were accosted by Star Trek/Wars characters. I've never liked Sci-Fi so found that pretty irritating. But, a highlight was our high tea with the Lord Mayor of Leicestershire. He was an honorable type, dressed in regalia, knowledgeable of all things Leicester, hospitable to our crew. Here are some photos to sum up the weekend:

Robin, me and Karin (from Japan) with Star Wars clan

Me and fellow Edinburgher Maggie 

LA Represent!! Me and Cynthia Salim. We are sponsored by the same district in Los Angeles, so attended events together in the States. Cynthia is awesome! Pursuing a Master's in Global Ethics from Kings College London.

Robin, Annie and Karin

Robin, Annie and Maggie

London meets Edinburgh

Maggie and Lord Mayor!

Quite the outfit. 

Tea for everyone!

I had a good time at LINK, and really appreciate the efforts the UK Rotarians have taken to make us feel inspired and loved. But, it is Sunday night and I am happy to be back home in Edinburgh in my cosy flat, with intentions of a bubble bath and early night's sleep. 

Honestly, I missed being here in Scotland, where everything is just a little bit windier, a little rougher around the edges, a little less put together, a little more mysterious and mythological. A little more rebellious and wild and outspoken. This place is really growing on me. 

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