Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hi from Wales!! My name is Rufio, and I'm a really cute red dragon on an adventure. I stand up about 6 inches but my ancestors were much bigger--and coincidentally, they were from Wales, too! Don't believe me? Just check out this photo of the Welsh flag:

That was my great, great, great, great, great, great Uncle Gruffydd (pronounced Griffith) who is most famous for the legend that concerns the uprising of Merlin. Yep, it's true; Merlin was from Wales!

But first, let me tell you a bit about my pilgrimage to my homeland. I met this human named Charlotte through a blind date at UNCG, and by the end of our meatballs and crackers, we found out we were going overseas together! (Talk about moving fast in a relationship...) My human is nice enough, though, so I didn't mind the idea. I will admit that I doubted her choice of location at first, though. I mean, Wales? Like, why Wales? Why not Berlin or Malta or Austria or something? The human talked about how she loved the UK, though, and something about wanting to study education in a different country, blah blah blah, and I thought, "Ok, well, I'm on board no matter what!"

And then we arrived January 24th, 2014. Little did I know that my and Charlotte's life would radically change. Since being here, my girlfriend and I (don't tell her I call her that; she'd deny it. Apparently I have "fiery breath" or whatever that means...) have met absolutely lovely people from all over the USA, Canada, and the UK, and we're smitten by them. Here's a picture of Charlotte and her flatmates. Some are from UNCG, the others from B.C. and Vancouver. Aren't they darlings?!

Charlotte and the girls and I have had the opportunity to travel to many different parts of Wales as well as different countries! That's the great thing about being in Europe. My personal favorite of the places visited (and also coincidentally the only time my human remembered to take a picture with me; that of course doesn't sway my bias) was Amsterdam, Netherlands! Biking through the streets along the canals (and almost getting hit about 30 times) and seeing all the cute little colorful houses smudged next to each other was so fun! I especially loved visiting the Anne Frank House and staying on a house boat hostel. How many dragons can say they've actually done that before? Here are some pics:

(This is me and Charlotte in front of the I Amsterdam sign in the centre of town. This is also the bike I almost died on numerous times.)
(This is me and Charlotte admiring one of the major canals in the city right after lunch at an amazing Asian restaurant, WagaMama's. That's probably why we are so happy!)

Lastly, here is a picture of Charlotte in a seaside village called Swansea with my and her favorite Welsh word: Cwtch! And we both feel that we would be terribly wrong to not teach you it.

Cwtch means cuddle. The Welsh are very kind and romantic at heart, we have found, and when they want to comfort you, they may throw their arms around you and say, "No worries, now, love, just give us a cwtch."

And on that note, I will bid you adieu. It is time for me to cwtch with my pillow.

Nos da! as the Welsh say. Good night!

Rufio (with a little help from Charlotte Pohlig)
Trinity St. David

Monday, April 14, 2014

Y Draig Goch

Croeso!!! Shwmae? [Welsh: Welcome!!! How are you?] Floyd here… the Lloyd International Honors College dragon visiting in Wales. My human, Bess, has been very busy but I am thrilled to announce that she has finally decided to let me update you on my fantastic adventures in Wales.  To begin let me introduce to you my very first known relative… This is the Welsh flag. It has been such an honor to end up in the very place where my ancestors began! Apparently, my first famous ancestor was in a wild battle fighting a white English dragon, and the historical figure Merlin, spelled Myrddin in Welsh, who was King Arthur’s advisor, convinced the king to spare my kind and thus became a forever friend to the Dragons.

Floyd and his human Bess

 This is my human and our hometown named Carmarthen [Welsh: Caerfyrdden].  Carmarthenshire is home to the highest population of Welsh speakers in the country. The land is so green and the people are incredibly considerate. The countryside takes my breath every time! I am just loving this area.

Floyd basks in the sun

Llansteffan Castle. One of Wales 642 castles/ruins. Wales possesses the highest number of castles of ANY European country and it is also one of the smallest countries. Pretty cool hey? Llansteffan is only about a 15 minute drive from my human’s campus. She seems to think that’s pretty awesome, but I mean when you can fly anywhere in the country within two minutes, something like that seems minimal. 

Floyd contemplates taking a dip!

The last thing I will share with you is a view of my ocean.  Because the UK is an island we have AMAZING beaches.  I have loved taking a few days to just enjoy the few sunny and warm days that Wales oceans have had to offer thus far.  Hope all my siblings across the world are holding down the fort.  What a pleasure to share only a small piece of this adventure with you all!

Bess Hopkins
University of Trinity St. David