Sunday, July 22, 2012

Good Eats: St A's

We'd like to think we're foodies. Then I looked up the Urban Dictionary definition:

 A person that spends a keen amount of attention and energy on knowing the ingredients of food, the proper preparation of food, and finds great enjoyment in top-notch ingredients and exemplary preparation.

Having watched Food Inc. and grown up in the tree-hugging Seattle area, we try to buy free-range eggs, eat grass fed beef, and try gourmet recipes. But that's the extent of our "foodie" attributes. We just like to eat good food.

So, here's some of our favourite local fare:

Mitchell Deli

Crates, chalkboards, and distressed wood tables and chairs create a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere. My favorite place to sit is the bench by the window, made entirely of sewn together suit jackets. Not only can you purchase fine meats, cheeses, and wine to go, you can grab a quick scone and cappuccino or a full meal. We ate this after church today:

Full Cooked Scottish Breakfast: Toast, sausage, bacon, haggis, fried egg, blood pudding, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Wash this down with some french press coffee, and you're one step closer to actually being Scottish. Well, probably not, but it's fun to pretend.


Their coffee is so good they don't need an actual website to promote it. (The link is to the St Andrew's Directory.)

I have to be honest, sitting inside is not my favorite. The music is bad and the large painting of a strange looking man creeps me out. But, the vanilla latte is magical. They steam the vanilla into the milk, pull each shot by hand, and even make cool foam designs. Only minutes from my office, I'm often tempted to go out for a quick caffeine fix. By far, it's the best coffee in St Andrews.

With that, I'll conclude this edition of Good Eats: St A's. Come visit and we promise to treat you to our favorite food and drink spots.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Transient Bubble

We're not new anymore! Fresh faces are arriving in St Andrews, some smiling, others anxious, tired, and expectant, just like we were 11 months ago. Already, we've met a few new friends and are excited about more people joining the St Andrews community.

But, there are some who've left who we'll greatly miss. It's not the same without the Jones' knocking on our door to borrow our less than working hoover, or seeing the Cook family on a walk along the East sands. And still to leave are more special families.

These transitions have made me feel like a transient. Our stay here is temporary. I'm here for just a short time, only a small fraction of my life. It's easy to remain unplugged and unplanted. The goal seems to be "going home." Oddly enough, the families that have left miss St Andrews. And I'm realizing that one day I'll miss it, too.

So, this week I've begun settling in. We bought sharp kitchen knives. We're getting road bikes soon.  We're having dinner with new friends on Tuesday night. I may even get my name added to our bank account (don't ask). Three more years is a long time. Too long a time to spend looking back at what we're missing and looking forward to going there again.

Garrick and I live in St Andrews, Scotland.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Scottish 4th of July!

Location: East Sands Beach.
Time: 6pm
Weather: Haary

We set out to the beach on Wednesday with a promise of a little sun peaking through the gray clouds. Within 15 minutes, wind blew those clouds to a dangerously close distance. After some discussion, we lit our grill and laid down our blankets; a little rain wouldn't ruin our 4the of July!  We enjoyed grilled pork sausages, American football and a bonfire. With a few  Canadians, French, Scottish, and English among us, it was a truly international event!  Everyone brought a dish to share and we had a feast, all precariously set on our kitchen table. Holidays always make us miss our family and friends, but also remind us of how many wonderful people we've met here! Happy Independence Day from Scotland!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

An Allen Update!

Happy July! For those who are experiencing the heat across most of the US, feel privileged. I've been wearing boots, scarves, and sweaters. In July. According to BBC Weather, rain is forcasted for the rest of the month. My friend Haley says Scotland has one season: Spring. I'm beginning to agree.

Here's what's new:

1) Visitors! Kenneth and Janelle Owings, (my sister and brother-in-law) make their debut in Scotland on 13th October! I know it's still a few months away, but we're so thrilled. I've already begun planning. By the time they arrive, we will have gone one year without seeing each other.

2) Moving! On 1st September we're moving flats. Our new location? The shores of the North Sea! It's pretty dreamy. Even better, we're inheriting the property from our friends, The Watts. Only 10 minutes from my office, we'll be in the heart of St Andrews. (Our flat is the blue door on the right.)

3) Anniversary! Our 4th Anniversary is coming up at the end of July. We've yet to make any plans, but the month of July brings back many fun memories leading up to our wedding. Lately, we've been laughing at how young we were. :)

4) Manchester! Garrick and a few other students got a grant from the University to travel to Manchester and look at Cairo Geniza manuscripts. Here's what that means: "Early medieval Jewish Biblical texts, magical amulet's, artwork, Judeo-Arabic script, and all sorts of other fun scribblings and drawings." -Garrick. If that didn't bore you enough, feel free to find out more here.

5) Book Club! Early this year I joined a Book Club. Over the summer, we aren't meeting, but are still reading. The book? "London: A Biography" by Peter Ackroyd. It's over 800 pages and packed with lots of history. I'll be lugging this around with me in order to finish by September.

6) Scholarship! Every Saturday Garrick sits down and writes to several charities, trusts, and funds. This involves sending letters, filling out applications, and writing essays. From these efforts, he's received two small grants and one substantial scholarship, called the Santander 100. Way to go, Garrick!

We'd love to hear what's new with you and thanks for reading!