Editor's Note: Emily Scheibe is a The Highlander staff writer and a member of the Gov. Livingston Marching Band.
It all started with one of humanity’s most hated experiences - a long airplane flight. This past July the Governor Livingston marching band traveled on their quadrennial trip to Scotland. The group consisted of 82 students, parents, teachers, chaperones, and guests. Crammed together at the airport, we turned a typical annoyingly long ticket line into a horrendous few hours for anyone unlucky enough to get stuck behind us. After a five hour flight to Iceland, where we tried the suspiciously less flavorful Doritos available at the airport, we headed onto our connecting flight and touched down in Glasgow.
Our tour started off when we met our fantastic guides, Alan and Richard - two native scotts with accents as thick as blood pudding, wearing kilts to match their clans. Scotland is five hours ahead of New Jersey, and we had all been awake for at least 30 hours, so the first day was a bit of a drag but we soon adjusted to the time difference.
The food in Scotland is not exactly known for its tastiness. Regardless, we often ate in nice places with good food such as Jamie Oliver’s restaurant and “The Birds and the Bees”. “The Birds and the Bees” was also the only restaurant to serve Haggis, which was unexpectedly received fairly well by most people on the trip. McDonalds was the first restaurant my friends ate at, simply to see what was different. Not surprisingly, it was mostly the same except for a few toffee flavored items, and some sort of delicious cheese bites served with “rich tomato sauce”
Of the many attractions, including The William Wallace monument, the Scone palace, castles, numerous abbeys and much more, a few caught my attention. During our time in Edinburgh, the Fringe, a world renowned art festival was taking place. The streets were crowded with interesting characters such as nuns, acapella groups, a man dressed as Donald Trump, and plenty of “coos”, our affectionate impersonation of the Scottish pronunciation for Highland cows, a hairier version of our own cows. We performed in our kilts in many places and caught the interest of bystanders. This strangely turned us into a tourist attraction, even though we ourselves were tourists. My favorite performance was in the village of Ancrum, where Governor Livingston’s grandfather was born, and where a plaque was recently installed in his honor. The most amazing sight was the Military Tattoo, which is a globally famous musical performance, including African dancers, American Revolution-era fifers, a mariachi band singing “Despacito” and, of course, a giant parade of dozens of the world’s best bagpipers.
It all was a sight to see, and I am thankful that I was able to share the experience with some of my closest friends and a group I see as my family. Even though we encountered 8 different types of coins, confusing accents, and a surprisingly consistent lack of drinking water at restaurants, the 2018 Scotland trip was not one you would have wanted to miss. Thanks to the hard work and dedication of Mr. O’Sullivan, Mr. Ellis, Mrs. Osborn, and others who worked tirelessly, everyone had a phenomenal time. Lastly of course, a grand thank you to Scotland, which was brave enough to host 50 American kids who came there expecting bagpipes and sheep and left with an experience they will never forget.