Saturday, March 17, 2012

Scotland Living with Green Garrick

Mid-fifties, breeze, sunny blue skies. Our morning walk to the grocer was pleasant and therapeutic.

We enjoyed lattes at the Morrison's cafe with most, if not all, of St Andrews' old-age pensioners. After having our groceries delivered for most the winter, pushing a cart through a grocery aisle was more fun than it should be.

On our way home, fingers white from carrying a carton of milk, I began to think of my new, green life in Scotland.

First, you should know that my husband loves scraping food out of tin cans, picking cigarette butts off the sidewalk (he was 3), and turning my hair straightener off before I use it.

At times, I can get a little annoyed when I'm cleaning the kitchen and he says from the other room, "You can recycle that!" Or, "That can go in the food waste!" For Garrick, it's a moral issue. For me, it's a way that I respect my husband. I do care for the earth, just not to the extent of washing used tin foil.

The move to the UK has been like Christmas morning for my green husband. Separate glass recycling posts and Fife Council issued food waste bins are just a few of his gifts. Creating less trash does feel good, even to me. Putting rotten spinach in the food waste doesn't mean I'm throwing my money away, because it's being "recycled." Because my marriage vows included a promise to recycle, I have adapted to a light-green lifestyle. Garrick's is more forrest green.

The other ways we live green are not only good for the environment, they save money.  We commute with our two feet and use public transportation when we leave St Andrews. Our hot water switch remains off because we have an electric shower. Washing dishes means boiling water. Clothes dry outside on the line or on our cute radiator racks.

I'll admit, walking to work in my heels and with my hair and makeup done on a rainy/windy morning does affect my mood. For once, I would like to not sport the "wind tunnel" look. But overall, I'm happy with my new lifestyle and will continue to live this way in the future.

This Seattlite is turning greener with every week spent in Scotland and every day spent with Green Garrick.

How do you live green?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

6 Month Review

Today marks 6 months of Scottish living. We thought we'd do a review.

What is the most memorable part of September 4th, 2011?

G: Flying in the morning as the sun was rising and seeing Iceland. We saw the Iron Maiden tour plane at the Reykjavik airport.

A:  I remember driving in my parents Subaru down I-5 and trying to think of the right words to communicate how much I love and appreciate them. I also can still picture Garrick and I wandering around St Andrews at around 6 PM and finding Tesco. We bought pasta, Nutella, and milk. (We'd been up for over 24 hours...)

What were your first impressions of St Andrews?

G: I thought it was very beautiful, especially the ocean and the ruins. And, I thought it was isolated because you get off the train in Leuchars and there is nothing around you besides fields.

A: The stone. Whether it be the cobble-stone streets, the stone walls, the stone buildings, all I saw was stone. Also, the East Sands. This beach was my therapist for the first few days here.

What is the most difficult adjustment to living in Scotland?

G: The adjustment of a different academic system was a difficult one. The other was the pace of life. Everything happens a lot slower.

A: Even though I love it now, walking everywhere was quite exhausting at the beginning. We had to purchase many household items and a car would have made this much easier. Also, grocery shopping for the first time was like learning a new language: Beef if minced not ground, corn is tinned not canned, and tortilla chips don't exist. (Doritos don't count.)

What is one part of Scottish culture that you will take with you when you leave?

G: Stinginess. Just kidding.  My real answer is not over-working. I really enjoy taking time to relax every day.

A: Tea. Morning, mid-morning, afternoon, and evening. Drink Tea. It's not about boiling water, steeping it, and adding cream or sugar, it's a way of life. Taking time out of your day to relax, think, and enjoy a small pleasure sums up nicely the slower pace here.

What are ways you have changed?

G: I have grown a beard. I have learned to be more patient and forgiving of others. I have also learned that I miss Seattle and being around my family.

A: I am less materialistic. I don't think I've ever been addicted to "stuff," and even if I was, my budget has never allowed it. I now value relationships, laughter, time with God, walks on the beach, and serving others far more than I ever have in the past.

What are ways your spouse has changed?

G: Andrea has become more open to traveling and living abroad. She has adjusted quite nicely to living apart from her family despite how difficult it is.

A: Garrick amazes me every day. Then he stubs his toe on the same part of the bed frame every morning and I am brought back to reality. ;) Garrick has adapted to a new educational system, excelled in his classes, and has also matured as a husband. I feel very taken care of, especially being so far away from my family. He is my family.

Describe your average day.

G: My average day is putting some bread in the toaster, walking up to my office around 8:30 and some days going to class. I read, write, and study until 5:00 and then Andrea comes and picks me up and we have dinner together, hang out with friends or relax, and then go to sleep. It's a good day.

A: Garrick and I walk to town in the morning around 8:30, I walk to my office on The Scores and work through the morning. I get an hour for lunch and I enjoy meeting friends or walking around town. At 5:00 I walk to St Mary's Quad and meet Garrick at his study space. We eat dinner and usually watch a movie together.

How is the social environment?

G: It's good. There's lots of people in our similar situation so we have much in common with other students. We also get a chance to interact with locals and it's a cool opportunity. Generally, it's a very social atmosphere.

A: Abundant! From my weekly Tuesday night Bible study, to weeknight dinners with friends, I never feel alone.I have been so blessed by the sense of community that is lived out by the students and families in St Marys. I have also made some wonderful Scottish friends!

What do you miss from the states?

G: I miss my nephews and my family and BASEBALL.

A: My family is a given. Not a day goes by where they are not in the forefront of my mind. I would love to give my two little nephews some love from Auntie!! Other than that I miss Sushi and Mexican food. I also miss driving.

What do you look forward to in the next 6 months?

G: I look forward to finishing my thesis, going to Italy, and maybe back to Paris. I am excited to have people come visit us, specifically my brothers.

A: Visitors from the states including Garrick's family and cousins. Also, traveling to Italy with friends. I am excited to learn more at my job and feel proud of what I am doing there.

We can't believe we've been here 6 months and look forward to many more!