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....