Monday, 8 September 2008

Dust off that keyboard...

And my blog was going so nicely...

You know how sometimes months will pass and even though individual days will feel long time in general just slips by? Yeah, that happened....

You may be wondering what motivated me to post today, this minute, right now. Hilariously, it's this...

I just had to share this link with everyone and anyone that visits my blog. Obviously someone out there worked very hard on this, and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Anyway, what else have I been up to lately? Well, I still have the same job (even though I'm looking to change that), still live in the same place (not looking to change that), and have added several countries to my 'Visited' list.

My parents arrived in London mid-June. Malcolm and I met up with them there and spent the day seeing the sites along the Thames. The next two weeks were a blur of oceans, ports, bus rides, priceless art pieces, meals, and drinks. There were some bad times, but I'll just list the highlights:
-Seeing the 'Sacred Family' cathedral in Barcelona

-All of Florence
-Touching the Colosseum

-Walking through the Vatican and Sistine Chapel
-Laocoon Statue

-Pieta by Michelangelo

-Walking through the market in Nice
-Seeing Pilgrims arrive at Santiago De Compestella

(One pilgrim left their shoes tied to the church fence)

-Leaving Gibraltar
-Spending two weeks in a penthouse suite overlooking the back of the ship (and having our own butler)

Once we returned to dry land we drove up from the south coast of England to central Scotland.

My parents spent a week in our flat, and the last day we had an awesome Fourth of July party at my mother-in-law's house. Overall I loved (almost) every minute of the trip, but was glad to get back to real life.

My next traveling adventure is planned for next month. I will be returning to Chicago to visit with my parents, brother, sister-in-law, and nephew.

More recently I spent a day at the Zoo (fun), and am in the middle of getting my UK licence (tedious). I feel like I really do live in the UK, whereas before I felt like I was just waiting to go home again. Yea for permanance (or as close as I've come in a while)!

Wish me luck with finding a new job, and being more motivated with keeping up the blog. Don't forget to see all of my pictures here. Yes, I know you have to create a username (ug), but just do it. It's worth it to see the literally million pictures.

Thursday, 27 March 2008

Just Ordinary Life

Dunfermline Museum

I've been working for about a month now, and I feel like life has finally gotten into a steady, happy routine. I work every day Monday - Friday before school and after. This means I have get up earlier than I have in years (since I was in High School, acutally) and drive half an hour to the school to draw sleepy pictures with sleepy children. Once the bell has rung the kids run off to class I drive home, cook breakfast, check e-mail, then go back to bed for a few hours. Around 2pm I drive back to school where the children have been binging on sugar all day and are ready to destroy, torment, and deconstruct everything in sight. They're lovely....

The worst part of the job (other than the unholy wake up call) is the environment destroying commute. I have to drive two hours everyday for four hours of work. To remedy this situation Malcolm and I have decided to move closer to Dunfermline, the town we both work in. Last weekend we went house-hunting, and viewed only three properties before we found our new home. The first rental was a detached house that was a charming bungalow on the outside and a dated, ugly mess on the inside. I've wanted to live in a 'bungalow' ever since visiting my Aunt and staying in her perfect Pasadena bungalow. The property we viewed lacked the charm and character of it's SoCal counterpart, so we moved on. The next property was much more modern, but tiny. It had a nice back garden, but one that looked onto the adjacent 17 houses. No thanks. Lastly we looked at a new flat only minutes away from my school. It wasn't a house (what I really wanted) but it was spacious, modern, and had an en-suite master bath (something both Malcolm and I really really wanted). We move in next month, and I really look forward to the shorter commute but am dreading moving all our furniture up three flights of stairs.

Also, my parents are coming for their first 'European Vacation' in June. We've just booked a cruise that'll take us through Spain, Portugal, France, and Italy and I'm SO excited. June come quickly!!!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Welcome to the world, Brayden West!

Snow in the backyard, Naperville

Recently my brother and his wife brought another little life into the world. And they called him Brayden... I was so excited to meet the little boy that I flew back to Chicago for 10 days.

Of course I relish any trip 'back home'. After a long long long flight from Glasgow (via London) I felt like applauding when the plane finally landed. That night as I moved throught a fog of jet-lag I finally got to hold little Brayden for the first time. Not having held a baby since my own brother was little (about 20 years ago) I was quite unsure of exactly how to do it. Eventually I got the hang of it and the baby fell asleep in my arms. Just in time to watch the next episode of Lost; can you believe Aaron is with Kate? Me neither!

Two days later my parents held a party for Matt and Jacqui and Brayden. We were celebrating their wedding, the birth of Brayden, and saying goodbye to Matt who will be leaving for Navy basic training at the end of this month. My uncle flew in from DC for the occasion, and a good time was had by all.

Later in the week my parents, grandma, and I all went to see Wicked, a play about the Wicked Witch in Oz. I was so excited to go to a play, and have a fun and fabulous night out in Chicago. Having read the book the play was based on I kind of knew the basic story, but I was blown away by the production. The songs, costumes, and sets were just amazing, and I recomend Wicked to everyone. My grandma loved it as well, and raved about it the whole trip home!

My last few days in the US were mostly spent relaxing, hangin out with Matt, Jacqui, and Brayden, and shopping. Every time I come to the States I end up carriying an extra suitcase home full of 'American' stuff I miss or is too expensive in the UK.

I was sad to finally leave but excited to get back to Scotland. I had found a job in December and was just waiting to start. Three days after I got back from the US I started my new job as a 'Playworker'. Basically day-care at a school in the mornings and afternoons. As of today I've been there a week, and I really enjoy all of the staff and kids that I work with. The hardest part is waking up at 6am after months and months of sleeping till noon! Oh, well. I'm happy to finally be a productive member of society who is earning a paycheck (or cheque). Woo Hoo!!!

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Let it snow...

The road to GlenShee

One of the great things about living at the same latitude as Alaska is the great winter weather. Malcolm, true to his Jamaican heritage, has rarely seen snow and gets very excited about it. A few times he has walked in the door from work with a snowball in his hands because he loves playing with it. When he heard that there had been a great snowfall just a few hours north of us he started to plan for the following weekend. Off we went to GlenShee for a day of skiing.

I should stop here to mention that Malcolm had never been skiing on real snow before. Once, he kept mentioning, he had skied on a 'dry slope' whatever that was. I, on the other hand, had began skiing in childhood, and had traveled to Colorado to ski every winter for about ten years. We were definitely at different levels. I told Malcolm that he didn't need to take a lesson as I would teach him the basics of skiing.

The day arrived and we woke very early. We drove mile after mile anticipating snow on the ground (where we were living it was just frosty, but no snow). After about an hour and a half we crossed a bridge and it was like we had entered a magical winter wonderland. One side of the bridge was bare ground and on the other there was snow two feet deep! We had arrived in winter.

We rented some equipment and bought our lift tickets and headed to the flattest beginner slope we could find. After I told Malcolm the mysteries of proper skiing (weight on the downhill ski, shifting his weight to turn, and so on) he looked properly confused. What followed was two hours of frustration, exhaustion, both of us falling, and finally a light bulb moment for Malcolm (after he had stated he would just wait in the car for me, but I wasn't having any of that).

Malcom the skiier

We practiced again and again, and he was improving every time. After an over priced lunch (of course) we headed to the real skiing. A few hours later Malcolm was confident and I was challenging him to harder and harder runs.

By the end of the day we were sweaty and tired, but happy. We decided to call it a day and walked the mile back to our car.

Me on the mountian

We finally got back to the car sore and exhausted, but satisfied that we had a new hobby to explore together.

Exhsausted at the end of the day, but happy to take the ski boots off!

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Holiday Season

Our holidays really began when Darius, my old Peace Corps friend, came to visit for a few days. He's an American also living abroad, but just a little further south. Lets all wish him luck as he works towards his Masters degree in central England. He arrived in Edinburgh just a few days before Christmas, and stayed until Christmas Eve day. We had a lovely time playing poker, watching movies, and talking a long walk through the park near our house.

Malcolm and Darius sporting Christmas Crowns

After our house guest departed Malcolm really started eyeing all of the presents under our tree. Earlier in the month my parents had sent a huge box full of wrapped presents. We also had been receiving packages they had sent from Amazon. When we had added our presents to each other to the pile became substantial. Malcolm had asked me for several nights in a row 'can I open the presents now?' and I finally let him open one on Christmas Eve.

After the brief satisfaction of one present we went to bed, only to be woken up again by the sunrise on Christmas morning. Malcolm and I opened the rest of the presents, and had a nice breakfast while playing with our new toys.

Opening the present with a spoon

Malcolm opening his new helicopter

After breakfast we headed over to Malcolm's mom's house, where we opened even MORE presents. Then we all went over to his Aunt's house where we had MORE presents. We spent the rest of the day at his Aunt's house eating a delicious dinner and spending quality time with family.

New Years Eve followed quickly and this time we were headed to the house of a family friend. Malcolm drew the short straw and was the designated driver while I got to ring in the New Year with a glass (or three) of Champagne. We lit off fireworks, played games, and generally had a good time.

Best wishes to everyone for 2008....