Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Back in JA

Sunset at Doctors Cave Beach in MoBay

Leaving Jamaica in March was one of the hardest things I've done. As the plane lifted off from Montego Bay airport I looked back at the island and cried, saddened by leaving my friends, apartment, and accomplishments (not to mention a steady pay check) behind. At the same time, though, I had mentally prepared myself to leave. Day after day, life in Jamaica had reminded me why I was ready: violence, poverty, lack of infrastructure, and witnessing 'sufferation' basically everywhere I went had began taking a toll after nearly three years. I was ready for a little comfort and the stability that living in a first world country offered. But I knew that Jamaica would always be a part of me and that I would be back several times in my lifetime. My husband was born in Kingston, and parts of his family and many of his friends live there. We would never be able to put Jamaica behind us forever, and I liked that...

I never realized that I would be back so soon. Shortly after our own wedding in September Malcolm's father told us he too would be getting married before the year was out. We booked our tickets back to Jamaica and returned to the country at the end of November. Although we would only be there for five days, Malcolm and I were determined to make the most of our short time there.

As we landed in Kingston I began to feel nostalgic for my life in JA. I said 'Lets move back here' to Malcolm, and he rolled his eyes (we had worked pretty hard to begin our new life in Scotland, and he knew I was only being half serious). Mentally I tried to put myself back into my old mindset and began remembering all of the lessons I had learned over the years. No small feat as everyday for three years I had learned something new.

We proceeded to collect our bags and make our way through customs. Unfortunately my bag had never left the UK and I was frustrated and angry. We had to wait two hours to get through customs, and enduring the heat and never ending line reminded me of the reality of this place. I realized my nostalgia on the plane was mostly fueled by memories of the good times I had, and the small irritations and annoyances of everyday life in JA had been quickly forgotten after I had left.

This lesson was basically non-stop the rest of the trip. As we made our way through Kingston and up to Malcolm's old house his father kept up a running commentary on how the latest hurricanes and tropical storms had ruined the roads and created deadly mudslides.

The next day Malcolm and I went shopping for a new wedding outfit and clothes as our airline told us that my suitcase wouldn't reach the island until after the wedding (and only two days before we were leaving). After finding some clothes and a dress that worked we drove up to the north coast where the we would all be staying, and where the wedding would be held the next day. The drive was beautiful, but we had a slow start as the gas station attendant somehow forgot the amount of gas that had been pumped into Malcolm's car, and no record is kept in the station. After a half an hour of standing around not knowing what to do the station manager took a random amount of money from us and let us leave. Another mental tick in our minds against JA and another reminder of daily life.

We finally reached the villa where we were staying for the duration of our trip, had a relaxing meal, and went to bed.

View of the ocean from our villa

The next morning I had a nice massage near the beach, took a nap, and got ready for the wedding. It took place at sunset in a gazebo overlooking the beach. The light was so pretty as the sunset and the bride and groom were very lovely, as was the ceremony. Dinner was served afterwards on the porch, and after the speeches was dancing. I went to bed early as I was still suffering from jet-lag (and a few drinks).

Wedding party, family, and friends

The next day people woke late, and Malcolm and I decided to go for a drive. We returned at lunch, and headed out again. We traveled to Montego Bay to spend the night with some of our old friends. The drive from Ocho Rios to Montego Bay was beautiful, and the highway that was under construction when I left was mostly finished. The only incomplete section was at the entrance to MoBay, and held us up quite a bit. The road had been moved about a quarter of a mile inland, and now flowed so slowly that Malcolm and I were baffled by the changes. Malcolm speculated that now the government would be able to sell the old road land, which was conveniently ocean-fronted.

We finally reached our destination in MoBay: Doctors Cave Beach. As we walked in I kept expecting to see all of the 'usual' people around every corner! Of course, most of them had left the island, but we did meet up with the few remaining ones and had drinks as we watched the sun set.

Standing on the peir at DCB

After drinks on the beach and dinner at our favorite restaurant we headed back to Drew's place for a night of Texas Hold'em on the veranda, something we had done countless times while I had lived here.

All the players around the table

Me and my chips

This night, for me, had been the highlight of my trip. Not only did I get to spend some time with my friends back in my favorite city in JA, but Drew and Jenny had surprised me with a birthday cake!

Happy Birthday to me!

The next day Malcolm and I had lunch at Drew and Jenny's then headed back to the Villa in Ochi. We relaxed, shopped for souvenirs, and enjoyed a quiet dinner.

As we were all getting ready to watch a slide show of pictures from the wedding there was a commotion near the front door. Malcolm came upstairs to where we were waiting for the pictures and whispered in my ear 'Go pack your suitcase, I'll be in to tell you why in a few minutes'. I went to the room and began to throw things in my bag (which had arrived the day before), and waited for the mystery to be explained. Finally Malcolm came into the room and explained what had happened. Apparently a car had driven in the gate of the Villa (after it had been opened for the photographer so he could drop off a CD of pictures from the wedding), the two men in the back of the car got out and had asked for someone. When one of the villa staff had told them no-one of that name was at the villa, the men changed their story and said they were looking for a villa to rent (this was around 8pm on a Sunday night) and began looking through the door into the house. Finally they left, but they had frightened some of the guests and staff of the villa. The men had been dressed in a very 'ghetto-ish' style, and one of the men had his hand under his shirt the whole time. After the men left the police were called, came to get the details of the men and the car, and left.

We all gathered upstairs to discus what to do. The consensus was the men had been 'casing' the house and would be back later to rob us. This was bad... in Jamaica recently violence had escalated, especially violent robberies resulting in the murder of the victims. We all decided to drive back to Jamaica in a convoy (there were four carloads of family and friends of the bride and groom staying at the house, including Malcolm's grandmother). As we drove slowly back to Kingston we kept the cars and SUVs together in a small pack, with Malcolm and his father alternating leading the group. Anyone that knows Malcolm will know that driving slow while people drive slower behind him is not one of his favorite things. But he delivered us safely to Kingston with no incidents. We all fell into bed as it was now the middle of the night.

The next day we left Jamaica, after we had lunch with Malcolm friend who lived in Kingston. As we were waiting in the airport Malcolm and I discussed the reality of living in Jamaica compared to our whitewashed and time altered nostalgia. We were both glad we had returned, if only for a few days, but we were also looking forward to returning to our lives in Scotland.

Enjoying cracking some nuts. Bowl and nuts birthday presents from Malcolm.

Monday, 12 November 2007

Remember, Remember.... to bring some gloves

...And a hat, and a scarf.

Recently it was the 5th of November, and here in the UK that can only mean one thing: Guy Fawkes Day! People celebrate by shooting off fireworks and going to bonfires. Around the middle of October all of the grocery stores started selling all kinds of fireworks and soon after every night was punctuated by little Pop Pop's and flashes of light. Malcolm and I felt like we were back in Jamaica, except the gunshots had been replaced by harmless lights in the sky. We decided to get in on the action and bought two shopping bags worth of fireworks.

Once Guy Fawkes Day arrived I was excited to shoot off our very own fireworks on the beach near our house. First, though, we decided to go to a bonfire in a community near our house. We arrived around 7:15 and the bonfire was finally lit around 7:45. Now, half an hour may not seem like a long time to wait, but it was FREEZING! I said to Malcolm 'now I appreciate that America's big firework holiday is in the summer!'. We waited and waited, huddled together outside the barrier that was keeping people about 50 feet away from the actual bonfire. It was a huge pile of pallets and wood about 20 feet high with an effigy of Guy on top. There were about a thousand people waiting for the fire to start. Slowly we began hearing bagpipes, and eventually the pipers walked past us and the fire started. Hearing the pipes and watching the bonfire burn was very cool; it was a totally authentic Scottish moment.

As we watched the fire burn everyone around us was commenting on it: 'Oh, Guy is on fire now' 'There goes Guy!' 'He's done for now!'. I realized that years ago people would have stood around a similar fire and watched a real person burn! Maybe even right where we were standing! Bizarre.

Malcolm and I left as the fireworks show began. We both had frozen feet, and we were ready to light our own fireworks. After a quick stop home to warm up we headed down to the beach. As we got there we noticed a bunch of Neds (Non Educated Delinquents) standing around their own 'bonfire' (really a pallet that gasoline had been poured on). We picked our spot well away from them and headed down to the beach. Instantly we were frozen again, and it was so windy we couldn't get anything lit. We moved back by the car and decided to light things in the parking lot. Meanwhile all the Neds had left and the fire department had come to extinguish the pallet. We set up and began shooting off fireworks. It was lots of fun, but I couldn't feel my fingers after a few minutes.

After shooting off most of our fireworks we decided to call it a night and go home. We drove past a few other people shooting off their own stash.

Once home we turned up the heat and huddled under blankets. All night we heard fireworks, and it hasn't stopped since. Every night I hear a few pop's....

Friday, 2 November 2007

Up North

And I mean really far north!

Last weekend Malcolm and I took a trip to Inverness and Aberdeen. For those of you who don't feel like looking at a map I'll just tell you that Inverness is at a similar latitude to Anchorage Alaska. So this trip officially pushed my borders, and I have a new record for the farthest north I've ever been in the world. Now I've almost conquered the Northern Hemisphere. Years ago when I was on a cruise with my family I achieved my southernmost point, the island chain of Kiribati (pronounced Kirabas) which is only a few hundred miles north of the equator. Maybe one day I'll make it to the Southern Hemisphere...

But I digress. Our first stop was at Urquhart Castle, some beautiful ruins on the banks of Loch Ness. I can't tell which I enjoyed more... looking at the castle or searching for Nessie. A few times I would say 'There's the monster! Disguised as a swan!' or some other foolishness. People started looking at me funny after awhile, but I was enjoying myself and have long grown accustomed to people's weird looks.

After the castle Malcolm and I continued to drive up the shores of Loch Ness. We stopped at one touristy place that had a 'monster exhibition', but we found it a bit overpriced, so we just bought a souvenir and left.

Next stop was Culloden. Any one familiar with Diana Gabaldon's 'Outlander' series or Scottish history in general will know the significance of Culloden. Here's an explanation for the rest of you: There once was a guy who thought he should be the king of Scotland, and he did have a direct bloodline to royalty, but the evil English king didn't want to give up half of his island to someone else. The 'pretender' (called Bonnie Prince Charlie) decided to round up some Scottish Highlanders and try and recapture the Scottish throne. After many years of struggle and a few battles here and there the final conflict between the Pretender and the English Regimentals took place at Culloden. It was a landslide victory for the English, and most of Bonnie Prince Charlies forces were slaughtered either on the battle field or as they lay wounded after the battle. There are some pretty horrific stories of the English setting fires to barns where the wounded Scottish hid, or killing women and children indiscriminately. The battle field was very somber to wander through, and very very cold. Anyone who loved the Outlander books as much as I did will appreciate this picture:

After Culloden we went to Clava Cairns. This place also figured prominently in the book series above. Yes, I feel like a dork, but I also found it pretty cool to go to these places that I had read about.

Clava Cairns are 4000 year old stone circles. They are similar to Stonehenge in feeling, but different in construction.

Below: I imitate a character in the book who 'falls' through the rock here and goes back in time...

Our day concluded with driving to Aberdeen and meeting up with one of Malcolm's old friends. We had a very pleasant evening in the pub.

The next day we continued our tour of the area's historical sites. We saw more old stones and a really cool stone circle:

We also drove past Balmoral, the Queens' Scottish castle. It was closed so we only got to see the gate. It was quite pretty.

Overall our trip was fun, informative, geeky (for me), and beautiful. The trees had all turned fall colors, and it was a treat just to look out the window at the world passing by...

Here is a picture of Malcolm and I at Clava Cairns, just to prove that he was there too:

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Not like 'environmental', but like the 'color'...

That's right.... green.

Recently I got a new car. Yea! And a new winter coat. Yea! And they are both green.

Coincidence? Maybe... Do I just like the color green? Yeah. Is Malcolm going to tell me that I spelt the word 'color' wrong? You bet.

Here is a picture of me enjoying my new green stuff....

Friday, 19 October 2007

It's official...

Found this on a blog... I felt compelled to fill it out, as I am now officially a Stay-At-Home Wife.


Aprons- Y/N? No, but I do wash my hands a lot while cooking

Baking- Favorite thing to bake? Cake from a box... easy and delicious.

Clothesline- Y/N? No, but I do dry things on a clothes-horse type dryer.

Donuts- Ever made them? No, I don't really eat donuts.

Everyday- One homemaking thing you do everyday? Dishes, or clean the cats box.... yuck.

Freezer- Do you have a separate deep freezer? Technically, yes. The fridge is separate from the freezer, but we want to get ANOTHER freezer (to hold all of the frozen meat for Malcolm)

Garbage Disposal- Y/N? No, never had one, so I don't know what it would even be like.

Ironing- Love it or hate it? Since I don't have a job I don't really iron anything. I'm a bad housewife because I make Malcolm iron all of his own shirts.

Junk Drawer- Where is it? We mostly have junk 'piles', at least one in every room.

Kitchen- Design and decorating? Well, since we're renting and Malcolm is paranoid about me just putting ONE nail in the wall for a picture, I daren't touch anything in the kitchen. Except the horrid light fixture that was in there when we moved in. It made this weird dim red glow, not the kind of lighting that is practical in the kitchen. That thing is gone gone gone.

Love- What is your favorite part of homemaking? Eating bon bons while drinking champagne and petting the cat. Oh, I crack myself up... Probably sleeping in.

Mop- Y/N? Yes, we own a mop. No we've never used it.

Nylons- Wash them by hand or in the washer? Well, lets see... I live in a country that's freezing even in the middle of summer, and I try to avoid showing my legs, so lets say N/A.

Oven- Do you use the window or open it to check? Both, Opening the oven to check makes my contacts dry out...

Pizza- What do you put on yours? Pepperoni and black olive.

Quiet- What do you do during the day when you get a quiet moment? They're pretty much all quiet since the only pittier patter of little feet comes from the cat, and he likes to sleep more than I do. I mostly tidy the house so Malcolm can come home and mess it up again.

Recipe card box- Y/N? I have acquired several books since I've gotten married. My fav is one that my aunt made with all of the family recipes.

Style of house- Converted house... it's a typical flat.

Tablecloths and napkins- Y/N? Umm, no

Under the kitchen sink- Cleaning stuff, and not surprisingly, pipes

Vacuum- How many times a week? We have hardwood floors, so I don't vacuum. But I do dust bust on our one rug. It only takes getting down on my knees and scraping out all of the cat hair with my fingers to get it clean. That cat is lucky that he's so cute...

Wash- How many loads do you do a week? 4? Maybe more?

X’s- Do you keep a list of things to do and cross them off? Yes, of course the last thing on the list is 'Throw this list away'

Yard- Who does what? Our 'yard' consists of a parking lot and paving stones.

ZZZ’s- What is your last homemaking task of the day? Cooking dinner, after that I'm done for the day. All of the dishes and whatever can be done the next day, ensuring a never ending cycle....

That's it. Maybe one day I'll actually find a job and I can fill out a survey about that side of my life... here's hoping!

Friday, 12 October 2007

Home again...

Here I am, back in Scotland. Actually I've been here for a few weeks, but it takes me about that long to get jet lag totally out of my system...

Since I've been back I've been to IKEA twice, spent a lot of money buying furniture, and have just generally enjoyed setting up house. My parents have sent us FIVE boxes of wedding presents, so I'm hoping that everything will arrive safely.

When I first arrived in Scotland I was really depressed. I guess it all came down to wedding let down. I've spent the last million months planning for this thing, then it comes, and it only last less than a day! Think about it... half a day is really really short in the grand scheme of things. I wish that the party could have lasted a few days more.

So I come back here and I'm feel like 'that's it? that's what I've been looking forward to and planning for so long? It was great, awesome, but now it's over'. I'm over it now, but it was hard for a few days.

But, like I said, I'm feeling better. I've applied for a few jobs, one that I really really really want, and Malcolm and I picked out a new car for me today! Woo Hoo! Take that Matt! I finally have my own car. And it's green!

So, keep your fingers crossed that I get a job, make some friends, and generally find 'normal' life again soon. I can't wait!

Friday, 28 September 2007

Mrs. Fowles, but still Ms. Carlson

So I'm married. It all happened last Sunday afternoon, on a beautiful day, about 30 miles from Chicago. The rehearsal was Thursday, with dinner following. After a great dinner almost everyone came back to my parents house and proceeded to drink a lot (or maybe it was just me). My maid of honour and myself were pushed on the worlds tallest swing for a good half an hour, then we got to return the favor. Good times.

Friday Malcolm and I decided to go out in Chicago with some of our good friends. We proceeded to drink a lot. Good times.

Saturday my bridesmaids and I got our nails done and spent the night at the Hilton. No drinking, thank god!

Sunday we all got ready at the Hilton, then headed to Danada house for the wedding and reception. I was so glad to finally be able to put on my wedding dress and have it mean something. The ceremony was sweet; my Aunt, his Father, and my Father all did readings. After the ceremony the bridal party took formal and informal photos, and I got so irritated because I just wanted to get it over with but people kept walking away!! After pictures we finally got to start dinner. The best part of dinner was when Malcolm ate half of his vegetables (usually he avoids them like the plague!). We danced and drank the rest of the night away. Some Jamaican Dancehall was enjoyed by all (my Mom is now in love with "Stookie", a song that involves a lot of dropping and hopping). After the reception was over a select few went back to the Hilton for some more drinking and card playing. Malcolm and I finally kicked everyone out around 3am. Good times.

Overall I have had such a great time. Although there have been a fair few hangovers, and some wedding hook-ups gone bad I think everyone enjoyed themselves.

Pictures will be posted as soon as I get back to Scotland, in a few days time.

Sunday, 16 September 2007

But wait! Tomorrow is Monday, November 28th!!

No, of course it isn't. But that famous line was uttered by my good friend Brian way back in 2002. We were parking semi-illegaly in Chicago and Brian noticed a sign. We eagerly scaned the paper to see if it said anything about our parking space. It told us that as of Monday, November 28th it was illegal to park where Brian's car was located, and that offenders would be towed. Brian, after reading the sign, cried out "Oh, no! Tomorrow is Monday, November 28th!" worried that he would get toed (for the millionth time). I also fretted, but then realized that it was only June.

After a good laugh, we left the car where it was and continued on our merry way. But that quote reminds me of the transience of time and date. When Malcolm and I got engaged in January I felt that our wedding date was miles in the future. Now, though, the wedding is only a WEEK (!) away. I feel like saying "(I can't believe) Tomorrow is Sunday, September 23rd!".

I arrived back in Chicago on September 3rd. After a very very long flight and a very very annoying screaming child I was glad to be back in the USA. From the moment I set foot in Naperville to this very second I have been either: running errands, making calls, planning wedding details, thinking about wedding details, watching wedding shows, or dreaming about the wedding. I know, I'm going wedding crazy. I don't think this is understandable to anyone but other brides. I'm very excited and not nervous at all (although I think I will be when the day arrives), but slightly anxious that all goes smoothly.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

The castle in my backyard

Yesterday Malcolm and I went to our new apartment to take measurments of all the rooms. We are planning on slowly furnishing the rooms, but want to make sure our dream couches fit before we buy them.

I also wanted to spend some time exploring the area around our new home. We started by having lunch at a pub near our apartment. After lunch we went to the park half a block from our new place. Although it wasn't a very nice day (typical Scottish weather: cold rain) I could tell that the park was very nice... it had a very large green space, a spaceous playground, some pretty flowers, and paths throughout. It also had a path to Ravenscraig castle, which Malcolm and I decided to walk to. As we were walking to the castle I was suprised that we were actually walking behind our apartments parking lot. When we reached the Castle I realized that it's only about 100 feet from where we'll be living! The castle is open to the public and free to enter, there is no one there 'operating' it.

Malcolm and I walked into the castle. It was basically ruins of a smallish stone building. Once we were walking through the castle we realized that it was sitting on a cliff over looking the ocean. There were a set of stairs leading down to a lower cliff, and Malcom and I wanted to get down to the big sandy beach. We saw a very steep grassy hill that would lead us all the way down. Malcolm started to walk down, but I hesitated. It was still raining and I wasn't wearing shoes with a lot of traction. Despite my better judgement, I started down... and down and down and down. My third step downhill turned into a tumble, then a wet, muddy slide. Malcolm tried to get uphill and help me back to the top, but then HE fell, and I fell again! After a few tries we both got to the top, and were covered in mud. It was gross, and we still had our appointment with the realtor to view our apartment.

The good news, though, is that we live very close to a beautiful castle and a sandy beach. I can't wait to move in and explore further!

Saturday, 18 August 2007

It's serious this time

Just when I thought Jamaica was safe again, along came Dean. The summer of 2005 was notable for the number of named Atlantic storms. Scientist predicted that 2006 would be worse... wrong! Although I had left Jamaica before the 2007 hurricance season began, Malcolm and I still kept an eye on it... after all, I still had a bunch of Peace Corps friends there, and Malcolm's father, friends, and childhood was in Jamaica.

We saw that Dean was going to become a threat earlier this week. I was skeptical, most hurricanes that look like they're going straight for Jamaica end up turning at the 11th hour (which Jamaicans atribute to the power of their collective prayer). My tenure in Jamaica had been filled with false warnings, and more boozy hurricane parties (because we knew we really had nothing to worry about), than real hurricane damage. The worst I experienced was Ivan in 2004. Even Ivan barely brushed the south and west coast, causing damage but not catastrophe.

Dean looks differnt, though. Malcolm likens it to Hurricane Gilbert, the most infamous hurricane to hit Jamaica in the last 50 years. Much like Gilbert, Dean looks poised to sweep from Kingston to Montego Bay, touching almost every parish with it's winds and rains. Also, Dean is projected to become a Category 5 (worst) when it hits the island. Yikes....

Malcolm and I phoned one of our friends who is still in Jamaica. The US embassy has choosen to consolidate all volunteers in Kingston, deviating from the Peace Corps plan of consolidations in Kingston and Montego Bay. It may not seem that different, but remember that it is so hard for Volunteers to 'abandon' their communities during the hurricane. Volunteers that are living in Montego Bay and west may also be leaving behind Jamaican friends, pets, and loved ones. I'm sending all my positive energy to my friends and collegues in Jamaica...

On a happier note, Malcolm and I adopted a cat last week. Last Friday Malcolm and I went to the Cat Protection agency to pick up Fizz, a ginger and white cat who is of indiscriminate age (probably between 1 and 2 years old). He slipped quite nicely into our lives, and has quickly wrapped his little white paw around our hearts. Welcome to the family, Fizz!

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

New Beginings

This past weekend Malcolm and I continued our search for our first UK apartment. Earlier we had seen seven different properties in Fife county, where Malcolm works. Two or three of those properties had caught our eye, but for one reason or another we decided to wait and continue our search.

Fast forward to last Saturday... We had an appointment to see one apartment right on the Firth of Forth, the waterway that connects Edinburgh to the ocean. When we arrived, the realtor recognized us from our previous viewings. She was extreemly helpful, and queued up two more viewings for us that afternoon. The second place was furnished beautifully, but had bad feng shui (and was a fourth floor walk up, ug!). The third place was unfurnished, with nice wood floors; open and airy. It was also the largest of the three, with three double bedrooms, a utility room with a washing machine, a large kitchen and bathroom, and a good sized living room. We could have lived in any of the three apartments.

The realtor asked us which one we liked the best. Before we could make a decision, though, we asked which property would let us have a cat. She told us she would make inquiries, then get back to us. So we held our decision until she got back to us.

After our apartment hunt it was time to begin our kitty hunt. Malcolm and I have been talking about getting a pet cat for some time. We both agreed that now was the time to do it. Even though we're not in our new apartment yet, I'm not working, so I'll be home during the day to help the cat adjust to its new family. We started our search at the local Cat Protection agency. This agency recieves stray cats, rescued kittens, and cats that are no longer wanted by their owners.

Malcolm and I walked into the chaos of the cat enclosures and immediatly saw a frisky black kitten. We both looked at each other nodded. We queued up to discus our choice with the agency volunteer. Once she aknowledged us we asked about the black kitten. Sorry, she said, it has just been spoken for. She then told us which kittens were still available. All of the domesticated kittens had been spoken for, but there were some semi-feral kittens that were still skittish, but would make excellent housecats with some kindness and patient handeling. She said that she also had an older kitten that the agency guessed was somewhere between six and eight months old. It had to be recovered from its former owner becasue she couldn't afford to feed it, and it had been starved. The cat had also been let outside to look for food, but had gotten into fights and was a little scratched up.

We decided to look at the older kitten first. The cat protection agency had run out of cage space and had put the kitten in the bathroom with another cat. We walked in and were greeted by an orange a white kitty that was almost full grown. The cat was very skinny and had some scratches on its face. I started petting it, and Malcolm picked it up; it started purring very loudly. After a few minutes with this docile animal I told Malcolm that I liked the idea of giving this cat a new home and lots of love to help it recover from its early life. He agreed. We went back to the lady that was helping us, and she told us that we couldn't have it if we wanted a housecat, as the cat had been used to going outside. Dejected, Malcolm and I tried playing with the feral kittens to see if any of them were friendly or social enough for us. After some scraches (on both of us), some hissing, and a lot of skittishness we decided not to get any of them...

As we were leaving the agency Malcolm wondered aloud if the orange and white kitten really needed to go outside, as it seemed content in the small bathroom. I agreed. All night we talked about how we really liked the orange cat....

The next day we went back and told the lady that we really wanted the orange cat, and would be flexible with its needs. She said okay, and told us we could pick it up next Saturday, as it was scheduled to get nuetered on Wednesday. WooHoo!

On Monday the Realtor contacted us to say that the two of the three apartments would let us have a cat. We decided to go for the unfurnished three bedroom.

Now we get to buy furniture, and plan for our new cat! His shelter name is Fizz, but we're not sure if we'll keep that name or change it to Hobbes. Malcolm and I are both excited about our new cat and our new Apartment!

Tuesday, 31 July 2007

The adventure continues....

Here I am... once again living outside of my home country, America. This isn't my first adventure living abroad; I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jamaica. I lived in Montego Bay for almost three years and had some wild and crazy adventures all over the island. To read about my life in Jamaica you can visit Living in Jamaica was life changing. Not only did I meet and befriend some of the coolest people on the planet, but I learned things about myself that are invaluable. I also met one special guy: Malcolm. He is Scottish by ancestory, but Jamaican by birth. He was born and raised in Kingston, the capital of Jamaica, and was living in Montego Bay while I was living and working there. One thing (eventually) lead to another and we're engaged.

But we're not living in Jamaica anymore. As sad as it was to leave, we decided that our life together would have a better start in Scotland. Currently we're living in central Scotland with Malcolm's mother. I spend the days reading, exploring the surrounding hills, and doing wedding chores. Once we're married (Sept 23rd) and I have a spouse Visa I will be able to work, but until then I'm trying to enjoy my many hours of leisure... Which isn't always easy for me.

Who am I? My name is Robin and I am a 25 year old Chicagoan living with my Jamaican fiancee in Scotland. I love traveling, reading, old movies, Pink Floyd, bright, colorful spaces, high energy/thinking people, and witty reporte. I'm excited for my new life in Scotland, and have hight hopes that it will be just as fulfiling and satisfying as my old life in Chicago, and Jamaica!