Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Yep...some more news from Scotland

I have been wracking my brain thinking of fun, cute, whitty, clever ways to explain what I am about to...but I just can't. My brain power just seems to be washed away these days. Mainly with thinking of fun activities for Andrew. Which makes me think...any suggestions of fun things to do with toddlers if your stuck in the house?

Anyway, so the reason I am writing this post is to say that we are super excited to report that I just had a doctors appointment today (because I have been feeling extremely ill, etc.) and it turns out that everything is going great with BABY # 2! HAH! That is right, I am not joking, turns out I am pregnant! We will be having a wee Scottish bairn and I decided that if it's a boy his first name will be William and his middle name Wallace. Mike doesn't like that idea so much...

YAY! We are surely excited and it does explain a lot of things for me...uncontrollable, ravenous cravings for things like Wendy's hamburgers and cheetos for one. Well, that is it. Although I do want to say that Andrew was super cute about it. Today, after the appointment I told him that he is going to be a brother and that mom has a baby in her belly as I patted my stomach and he look up at me and put his hand on my tummy and said, "ahhh, baby!" So cute! He will make such a great big brother!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010


Oh hi! Glad you could stop by and see our flat. Come on in, I'll give you the grand tour. (These photos are in no particular order)

This is our wee kitchen complete with turquoise walls!

This is Andrew's room. It's probably my favorite room in the flat.

This is one view of our bedroom.

And here is the other. We managed to cram a little desk in the corner to create a sort of quasi office for Mike to study. So far it's working great!

Here is our lovely bathroom. Oh! Don't worry we do have a shower and tub, it's just hiding behind the door.

Our living/dining room. Used to have a lot to be desired. However, we found that couch on a website called Gumtree (like craigslist) and bought it for £70 from a super cool girl named Claire and her boyfriend. Best thing about it is that it folds down into a bed! And, Claire and I got along so well as we emailed back and forth about the couch that we are now friends and plan to get together one of these days! Who knew you could make friends off of silly websites?!?

Here is our washer...

...and here is our dryer! HAH! That's right we hang our clothes to dry. Right now since the weather is rainy and snowy we hang them on dry racks within the flat, when the weather gets nice there is a clothes line out in the back garden. Sometimes I laugh so hard because I honestly feel like such a domestic wonder, drying my clothes without a dryer (haven forbid) but it really isn't that bad. A little annoying at times, but not too bad...surprisingly! (P.S. it is actually pretty rare to find flats equipped with dryers here...they like the fresh smell of the open air on their clothes, why not?!?!)

Alright, sure it's a little small...a little outdated, mmmm...maybe even a little ghetto but we love it and are grateful and happy to have it!

P.S. I don't think I mentioned how we even came to find this flat so for those who wish to read, I will explain because I actually think it's a good story.

Mike's dad came to check out the ward and see what areas were nice to live about three months before we actually arrived. While he was in Aberdeen, he spoke to the bishop and mentioned that Mike and I would be coming and were looking for a place to rent. Well...in the meantime, Mike and I had been pouring over websites trying to find something within our budget that was near enough to campus. (FYI: Aberdeen is a VERY expensive place to live, probably equivalent to the heart of San Francisco or even London which makes it a bit tricky on a grad student budget) Anyway, well, about a month before we had to leave I got an email from a FANTASTIC woman named Charla who explained that she and her family were moving back to Canada and they were looking for someone to rent out their flat, because they had been unable to sell it. She was a member of the ward and remembered hearing from Mike's dad that we were looking for a place. Well, they offered us a REALLY good deal on rent AND even offered to sell us their car and leave some furnishings (bed, crib, TV, dry racks, table, chairs, bean bag, plates, pots/pans etc). Well, this seemed like a great deal, the rent was a lot lower than we thought we were going to have to pay and we wouldn't need to worry about a lot of furnishings. The only issues were that it was small and a bit further from campus than we wanted. Well...after many talks and thinking and figuring we decided to go for it so here we are. The Schneider's (the family we now rent from)have been so helpful and I must say it is sooo great to have landlords that we trust and feel like we are friends with. Anyway, the distance hasn't been too bad and it is really quite nice because we live in the country rather than the city and the benefits from that far outweigh the fact that it's small. So we are happy here. So far it looks like we will be here for a year. We will see what happens after that, but at least for the next 11 months this is home!!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010


A few weeks ago I got my first real taste of Scottish culture and..ahem..retch...haggis! Um...yes, I did!

On January 25th Scotland holds this dinner festival called the Burns Supper in celebration of a man named Robert Burns. I guess you could say he was like the Scottish Shakespeare. He is known as, "Scotland's favourite son", the "Ploughman Poet", the "Bard of Ayrshire" and/or simply, just the "Bard". In fact I am certain you have heard at least one of his poems, it goes like this, "Should auld acquaintance be forgot,and never brought to mind ? Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?" WHAT?!? What is that? It sounds familiar but...what?! That's right he wrote that song that everyone sings at New Years but no one really knows the words or else you make them up...yep, that's the one. Anyway, now that you are all nodding your head in realization and saying, "OH...." you can understand who Robert Burns was.

So, our ward put together a nice Burns celebration and Mike and I bought our tickets and were planning to go. Unfortunately, we were not supposed to take Andrew (no kids allowed, this is a serious supper!) and due to a long story our sitter fell threw. Well, Mike being the nice and awesome husband that he is said he would stay home with Andrew so that I could go (at this point due to the weather I had been stuck in the flat for about three days straight and he recognized I needed to get out) so I called my friend Camille, whose husband was also staying home with he kids, and we went together.

We were ready! All dressed up in our tartan (plaid skirts). When we walked in it was super cool! There was a bagpiper playing and all the men wore their kilts and there was tartan all over the walls and it just felt so...Scottish, it was fun! We took a seat and got ready for the celebration. There were some lovely songs, some Scottish dancing, lots of bagpipes, and then the food. 90% of the food was great! It started with some Scottish broth which was basically chicken stock soup with vegetables, very good, and then it went into the main even...gulp...we knew it was coming...the haggis.

Quick refresher--Haggis contains sheep's 'pluck' (heart, liver and lungs), minced with onion, oatmeal, suet, spices, and salt, mixed with stock, and traditionally simmered in a sheep's stomach for approximately three hours.

It was the poor mans meal and it really is a staple in Scottish history and culture, therefore I knew I was going to have to try it, based on principle. If I'm going to live in Scotland, I need to try haggis. So, when it was coming I prepared myself. And when it came out it was, well...quite and event!!!

First of all a bagpiper plays the haggis song and marches around the whole room while the chef carries the haggis behind and they proceed to deliver it to the honored guests seated at the front of the room. (Meanwhile we all stare in awe at the wonderful haggis) The person at the head of the table then does this reading TO the haggis all said in Scottish and, sadly, I couldn't understand a word except for, 'delicious', haggis' and 'knife' (pronounced 'neef') which the lady then waved around the stakes presidents head and then slashed the haggis open and put the stuff in her hands and smelled it. MMMMMMMMMMMM! After that then the bagpiper and the chef pick up where they left off and march it out to the kitchen to be served up.

I knew it was time. So when I was presented with my plate I decided to take no hesitations. Just dig in. I asked Camille if she was going to try (Camille is a fellow American) and she looked at me like I was crazy and replied, "no". Very well...so I picked up my fork and took a bite. (Bear in mind I was seated at a table with Scottish people, and I was so nervous I would offend them if I didn't like it). But no worries, one of the girls at the table confessed she hated it and made her husband eat hers so when I put that spicey bit of sheep stomach in my mouth and nearly wretched, no one cared! Honestly it wasn't the worst thing I have ever tasted, in fact if I didn't know what was in it, it wouldn't be too bad, but the texture...well you can tell what it is by the texture so that was enough for me.

After that Camille and I left to get back to our kids and had a little adventure getting out of the church parking lot. It had gotten so icy that her van couldn't make it up the little hill to get out. After multiple attempts and sliding back down the Elders came up and helped push us. THANK YOU ELDERS! It was actually kind of hard but my favorite part was when Camille asked one of the Elders if they could try driving it out and he responded, "We can't...it's against the rules, but we HAVE FAITH in you , sister!" Well, the faith worked and we did eventually get out of that ice pit.

I did manage to brings Mike some haggis. So when we got home he tried some. Let's just say his reaction was similar to mine. YUCK! But so fun that we finally got to experience such a great Scottish past time.

I loved the the culture, and the atmosphere and really everything about it except the haggis itself. I just wish everyone could experience it!!!

Scottish broth


Bringing out the Haggis!!

Reading to the Haggis!

Here it is! YUMMO!!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Recovering fast food addict?!?!

I have never wanted a Wendy's hamburger more than I do this very second. The smell of the pickles and the onion (even though I HATE onions), the cheap imitation cheese, the square patty of american beef, nestled between a soggy tomotoe and crunchy lettuce. The squishy, fortified white bun is smeared in kethcup, mustard and mayo...mmmmmmmmmm! I can almost taste it, I can almost smell it...I can almost hear the crinkly sound of me unwrapping it from its greasy red and white paper while I take in the comforting aroma of warm burger goodness. I want it so bad right now it hurts. I want it with fries and a soda and a mini frosty. I want to gobble it down in a matter of minutes and feel that amazing satisfied relief the can only come when a craving of this magnitude is relieved. It's gnawing at me. It's making me crazy!!!! I have NOTHING in the house that comes remotely close. I tried cooking a frozen egg roll. Discusting. I tried eating a peice of chocolate. Insulting. I tried making a ham sandwhich. My stomach churned. I have no beef in this house! There are NO, repeat...NO hamburger joints in my village and I don't have a car. The closest thing is the "Ploughman...A real pub!" down the street. They serve mutton chops.

There is a McDonalds in the city, but I don't have a way there....beleive me I would drive the 35 minutes if I could! I feel so lonely and gnawingly depraved of my comfort food. Curse you Scotland! I just want a cheap American hamburger!

Ok, Scotland, I take that back, I don't curse you. But I do curse the fact that I have this incredibly overcoming craving that will not go away! I feel like a drug addict without his heroine...this is beyond sad. I know.

SIGH....for now you will remain a fond dream.