Sunday, May 27, 2012

Tan Lines

We never thought it could happen. After writing many posts about bundling up, the whistling wind, and the freezing rain, it seemed we lived in an ice box.



Google Weather Report:

St Andrews, Scotland
19°C | °F
Wind: E at 7 mph
Humidity: 46%

A week of it. We've enjoyed our little sun room addition at the back of our flat each day after work. I made my first bath of iced tea today. And I fell asleep outside, waking up my hibernating freckles.

The locals are bearing their white, white legs, (yes that includes me), and with typical Scottish cynicism, complain it's now too hot. The shoe salesmen at Sport Direct moped to the counter with my box of New Balance tennis shoes in hand: "It's too hot! I can't wait until it cools down."


Anyway, this post is merely to say, it does get warm in St Andrews, and I have tan lines.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Scottish Short Stories

16th May, 2012: A Lucky Poop

It happened. I got pooped on by a seagull. Walking towards College Gate, a white, wet substance flew in front of my face, landing on my black jacket and tights. Stunned, I stood there, wondering what to do. My new friend, Katherine, witnessed the incident from a few yards ahead, and came to my aid with her cute little Kleenex. I've always heard this is a stroke of luck, so I'll take it.

18th May, 2012: Floridian Golfers to the Rescue

Wind swirled up underneath my over sized, royal blue umbrella. My hair blew across my face, in my mouth, and straight in the air. A misting rain soaked my leather boots. Walking in a straight line proved more possible for a drunkard. My umbrella turned inside out, jerking my arm in the air. After yanking it back down, I finally made it inside the warmth of the North Point Cafe, for my £1 latte.

Hair adjusted, latte in hand, umbrella ready to put up, I braced for the worst. Outside, my latte spilled into my lid, and I struggled to push the umbrella up into the locked position. Frustrated, I looked around for help. Two tanned Floridian golfers came to my rescue, held my latte, and put up my umbrella.

I thanked them and they noticed my not-so-Scottish accent. We chatted for a while, I learned that they planned to golf the day, (good luck!) and they asked questions about my life here and were impressed. I walked back to my office, looking like I'd been on a wild, wet roller coaster, and sipped my latte.

22nd May, 2012: North Sea Speedo Man

We laid our blanket carefully across the sand, sat down, took off our shoes, and watched the waves crash in. Peace. Romance. Serenity.

Suddenly, a very white man in an very wee speedo sprinted passed us, toward the ocean. He didn't stop until he was neck deep, and a wave crashed over his head. How privileged we were to witness this sight on our date. Shock was followed by laughter, and then brief thoughts of, "Should we steal his clothes?"

23rd May, 2012: A Gift of Live Lobsters

At 10pm, my doorbell rang. Our neighbor, John, stood at our door with a shriveled up, moving plastic Morrison's bag.

"You like Lobster?"

"I don't know...I've only had it once"

"Well do you like it?"

"I don't know. How do you cook it?"

"Do you have Google on your computer?"


"Google it."

"They won't pinch me?"

"Naw, just pick them up like this!"

(Picks one up out of the bag, claws moving.)

"Sure...I'll take them"

I carried the two black lobsters into the kitchen, peaking inside at their moving claws. I sat the bag in the corner and hoped they wouldn't escape. Garrick walked in the door and I shared my anxiety over the suffering lobsters, and that I didn't want to deal with them at 10 o'clock at night. We carried the Morrison's bag back across the pathway, and John found them a loving home.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Happy Mother's Day, Mums!

We both have pretty great Mums. (Moms for all our American readers.) In honour of 13th May, Mother's Day, we decided to write letters to the women who gave us life and continue to love and support us. ____________________________________________________________________

Julie Roesler Grantham

Mother of Garrick Vernon Allen, born 28th April, 1988.

Dear Mum,

Happy Mother's Day! I am very blessed to have you as my mom. Thank you for being so strong, giving, and full of love all these years. I will always be grateful for you and everything you've done for me. Also, thank you for going through labor on my behalf. I know you didn't have much of a choice at the time, but I'm thankful nonetheless. Seriously, it sounds like quite an ordeal...well done! I love you very much and I'm looking forward to seeing you soon.



Lori Jean Stevens

Mother of Andrea Jean Allen, born 17th February, 1988.

Dear Mum,

Happy Mother's Day from Scotland! I didn't think I would ever write that sentence, and I just did! Our relationship is truly one that I cherish every day. You are one of my closest friends. Selfless, caring, and funny are just a few of the many wonderful qualities I could use to describe you. Above all, you put God first and I have learned so much about God's love through your love. I remember spending days with you when Janelle first went to school. We had so much fun every day! When I was diagnosed with RA, you saw me at my worst and supported me through every ache and pain. Thank you! Now that I'm and adult, married, and living a few thousand miles away, your support is still a driving force in my life. Chatting with you over Skype and receiving encouraging emails brighten each day. If I can be anything close to the mother you were to me, my kids will be pretty well off. I love you!



Thursday, May 3, 2012

It's Almost Official

Garrick put his PhD offer acceptance in the post. St Andrews will be our home for the next 3-4 years, conditional on the completion of his MLitt this August.

You may have questions. We have answers:

Why get a PhD?
A PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, is a large undertaking. It's definitely not for everyone. First, Garrick is very passionate about Biblical Studies and has an idea that he would like research and write about 5 days a week for the next few years. That's commitment. Second, he'd like to teach and write, and PhD is necessary for this type of work. Third, Garrick gets on well with his advisor, and truly loves the academic culture of the University.

Why study at the University of St Andrews?
St Andrews is one of the top 100 universities in the world, and for Biblical Studies, it competes with Oxford and Cambridge. Not only does the University draw excellent academic staff, prolific scholars  often are brought in to present papers and interact with the students. Garrick has an opportunity to be exposed to an academically rigorous environment and has already adjusted very well to the system.

What will Andrea do?
Pay the bills. Well, some of them. Andrea loves working at the University and feels both challenged by and excited about her position. Had she not found a good, stable job, it would have been a difficult choice to stay in St Andrews. We're very thankful for God's provision. She may get a master's degree, as her tuition would be 98 GBP a year as an employee. For you American folk, that's $158.54.

Where will you live?
This September we're saying goodbye to our wee flat on Langlands road and will say hello to another wee flat in St Andrews, preferably one with a bath tub for Garrick. We have a place allocated to us by the University with a view of the North Sea, but are researching all of our options before committing.

Will you visit family and friends in the States?
Christmas 2012 will be our long-awaited return to the US of A. Although this is still a few months away, we have some pretty special visitors to ease the homesickness, namely Kenneth and Janelle Owings! We welcome visitors any time and recently purchased a king size, luxurious air mattress, just for you. ;)

Will you travel?
We'll try to save our pence and take some trips around Europe while we're here. We're traveling to Italy in June and would like to visit Paris next. We seen quite a bit of Scotland with our Historic Scotland Passes, but there is still much to explore. The summer months will definitely encourage more travel in this beautifully cold country. 

Any more questions? Leave a comment!