Saturday, February 25, 2012

Why Con Panna Coffee Made Me Cry

I ordered my mocha and stared across the table at my handsome husband this morning. Saturday is the light at the end of my 9-5 work week. I truly enjoy my job, but a day to sleep in and have a late morning coffee with my best friend can't be beat.

"This is aweful." The brown liquid had barely hit my lips and this Seattlelite knew what it was: an old shot mixed with luke warm milk, and way too much chocolate. Garrick's Americano wasn't much better.

Two dogs lay outside in the sun with their old man, one brown, one black. "I would love a dog," I tell Garrick. Suddenly, large tears swell in my eyes and it's all I can do to keep from crying in the busy coffee shop. (Why coffee like that brings customers, I'll never know.)

Suddenly, the truth escapes: I'm a little down. The terrible mocha and the cute dogs bring out feelings that are more deep rooted.

I like lists so here we go:

1) I need to play with my nephews and hang out with my family. And go to Jimmy John's. I miss home. I feel that I've been absent at a very difficult time for the rest of my family. I know that none of them resent me for being away and I feel very supported, but still, I feel guilty at times.

2) When you move across the world for a year, and then it turns in to potentially four, it's an adjustment. I'm beyond proud of Garrick for his accomplishments and grateful for my new position at the university, but I need to give myself time to be okay with calling St Andrews home for a few more years. In just 5 months, it has wedged its way into my heart with its quaint cobble-stoned streets, cute shops, and historic beauty, and I know that I will love it even more as time goes by.

3) I'm the new girl. In just a short time, a new person will be hired in the Registry office and more students will arrive in the Fall, but having an accent and meeting several new people a week can get overwhelming. I wish I could make a shirt that says, "Yes,  I am American. Yes, I know that 20 is young to get married. Yes, I go to church."

4) Quid. It stresses me out.

Because I can articulate my feelings well and have two little ears that listen intently to everything I say, we left Con Panna holding hands and smiling, and vowed to never go back.

 Brighter days are ahead.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Banana Pancakes

Friday is usually the winner of the "Best Day of the Week" prize. Not in St Andrews.

Our church, Trinity, begins at noon every Sunday, and we walk out of the stone, curved doorway at about 1:30. Then we would go to Janetta's for soup of the day with our friends. (Note: Cafe in the Square is far superior, but closed on Sundays.)

Lindsay had the bright idea of eating breakfast together before church instead of lunch afterward so as to give us more time in the afternoon. Three breakfasts later, it's a hit. This morning we ate chocolate chip & banana pancakes, and I lived Jack Johnson's lyrics. It just needed to rain. The french press coffee, fellowship, and seeing how many people can cram around or tiny table were also highlights.

Trinity is a fairly new gathering that meets at Holy Trinity Church. We have been warmly welcomed and integrated very quickly to the unique community. We enjoy the relaxed atmosphere as well as the straight forward, scripture based teaching. On Friday morning we're going to a prayer meeting at 7:15 complete with bacon rolls. I don't think there's a better combination!

This Sunday was more special than most. We played Ultimate Frisbee with friends on the beach. I wore sweats and a fleece and was the perfect temperature, running around on the sun kissed sand. To conclude our day, we threw together a "barbecue" and got to know some new friends. Broiled hot dogs wrapped in pitas with mustard = our Scottish attempt at an American classic. And boy, was it good! (I'll admit a little weird, but good.)

And for these reasons, Sundays in St Andrews are without question, my favorite day of the week. But with wonderful new job, Mondays doesn't seem so bad either.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

PhD & CSA: Our Favorite Acronyms

It's official. Garrick and I have both had our short term dreams come true. Read on and find out about our new opportunities!

CSA (Collaborations & Study Abroad)

I said "farewell" to the Meerkats and "nice to meet you" to a wonderful new job! I am a Registry Administrator on the Collaborations & Study Abroad team at the University of St Andrews. My desk sits under a US map, I help St Andrews students on their journey to study in universities all around the world, and tea and coffee flow freely! :) The 9-5 lifestyle suits me well and practically mirrors Garrick's study hours. Being an American, I am stunned at the benefits offered to employees! If you'd like to know more, check out our web page:

PhD (Doctor in Philosophy)

In the last 5 months, Garrick adapted to a new educational system, got honours in his modules, and managed to write a PhD proposal in his spare time. Yesterday, he walked into my new office and shared the exciting news: He got in to PhD at the University of St Andrews! His proposal in a nut shell (if that's possible) looks at the reuse of the Old Testament book of Zechariah in the New Testament book of Revelation. You can comment on this blog if you'd like to ask the man himself!

I think February has set high expectations for March. We could not be more thankful and recognize God's faithfulness above all else.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Travels and Visitors in January!

January has a bad reputation. Its days are short, darkness looms, and Christmas is another year away. I took all of this into consideration and planned two family-filled holidays. And now, January's gone and it's February, the month of love and my birthday!

St Ives & Cambridge

Before moving to Scotland, I was comforted in knowing that we would have family near, just a few hours south in England. So, at our first opportunity we booked an Easy Jet flight to visit some special people!

For the first part of our trip we stayed with Joan, Martin and Lisa, and their adorable son Sam. We visited St Ives on our honeymoon, and the town was just as we remember. We spent our days drinking lattes at the Golden Lion, strolling through the market, and dancing with little Sam.

As a special treat, Steve and Helen came to St Ives and took us to a fantastic Indian restaurant. Aside from the yummy cuisine, we had great conversation and truly enjoyed spending time with them.

For the last part of our holiday we traveled down to Cambridge to stay with Audrey. She has a charming flat near town and we enjoyed many cups of tea and games of Cribbage. We wandered around the historic town for an entire day. The highlights included steaming lattes and powdered sugar covered pastries, the Fitzwilliam Museum, and a beautiful walk through a treed park.

St Andrews, Dundee, Edinburgh, Anstruther, & Pittenweem

My mom and dad walked up to our flat after a full day of traveling and looked as young and beautiful as ever! It will be one of my fondest memories. They stayed at the Castlemount B&B and had 5 star service. And the location, right across from the St Andrews Castle, was breathtaking!

They spent their days eating fudge donuts from Fischer & Donaldson, climbing up St Rule's Tower, and exploring the castle ruins. They got to live our lives for a week and meet all of our new friends! On Sunday we attended our church, Trinity, and then had lunch at one of our favorite soup spots.

The Royal Mile is where we ended our special time together. To keep from freezing we spent lots of time at Cafe Nero and tasting many of the pubs around town. We watched the cannon go off at the Edinburgh Castle and gazed at the beauty of St Gile's Cathedral. Too soon their trip was over and we had a tearful goodbye outside of the Holiday Inn Express.

Walking away, I realized that I should consider sad goodbyes a blessing. It's never a bad thing to have people to miss. I look forward to them coming again soon!

Here are some photos of our travels: