Matriculation is different here


Today has to be one of the weirdest days of my life thus far. At 2:30 pm we gathered at this location (pictured) for the raising of the flag and then proceeded through the town, crossing streets, walking as a group in our robes to a lecture theatre where we were introduced to some people and watched a video (from the University of Dundee) on fire safety. After this, we went to the Old Court to have a group photograph taken. People snapped photos of us as we walked by. I met quite a lot of people from my college today, they all seemed very nice. At one point a group of Chinese tourists were taking pictures of us, and the Chinese Dutch guy who was walking next to me (and who I was speaking to) told me what they were saying….he said that the guide was explaining that we’re new students. 
After the picture, we went to the Dean of the Chapel’s flat where we were served tea and biscuits. I drank orange juice though. We then proceeded to one of the several libraries and then back to the lecture theatre to sign our names in on nice sheets of paper and in a big book. This event marked our official induction as members of the college. Following this ceremony, we walked to the Master’s place for drinks. I generally hate the taste of alcohol, but I had my first drink here. After this drink, we made our way over to the hall (the supposedly Hogwarts looking place with the long tables and paintings of influential people on the ornately decorated walls). The tables were beautifully set for our 5 course meal. Many different spoons, knives, forks, plates and cups were used for various purposes. I think that I handled it well considering my lack of experience with such things. By this point I had met American, Chinese, Dutch, South Korean, Canadian, Irish and Singaporean students and would later meet a Kenyan. At the table, sitting next to me were German, Greecian, Canadian, French and English people. The talk was pretty interesting. I had just about settled in to the ‘socialising’ when this loud gong sound rang out and we all had to stand up for the passing around of the ‘love-cup’ (the rare horn of an extinct animal– that is over 1000 years old I think–). 
The Dean said some words in Latin and then began passing the cup (filled again with alcohol). The cup was passed from person to person. Each person had to bow toward the person that they received the cup from, as well as toward the person they passed the cup to. I bowed at least four times I think. In between bowing, we had to sip from the large horn thing. It was some kind of alcohol mixed with ice, and apparently a bit of alcohol from the previous year is always mixed in. I have a picture of myself sipping this in the hall, but we apparently weren’t supposed to take pictures (although many people were doing so), and so I’ll reserve posting that image. We drank wine with our meal. Port and then coffee were later served as well as various fancy cheeses. My head felt a bit woozy…
After everyone drank, we had to stand and respond to a prayer in Latin. After the dinner, I was just about ready to head home, but we had yet another round of drinks to be served to us in another room. I had white wine this time and had interesting conversations with a Lithuanian girl as well as some Indian and British people. 
At around 11:30pm, after about 9 hours, the matriculation events ended. Some people definitely seemed drunk, some were singing on the streets. The majority continued on to a club for further festivities, but 5 of us went back home.

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