Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Still going..

Well, I may have officially left Taylor as a student, but it seems I just can't fully pull myself away (not that I would want to anyway!). A few weeks ago I was asked to write a little something about some paintings that I did that are hanging in the admissions office and they have featured them on the Taylor website! I am super excited (mostly because I got to see my paintings that I haven't seen in MONTHS! - you really start to miss those babies). And anyone that is interested can just go here to check it out. Enjoy!

p.s. I don't want to jinx this or anything, but we may actually have the internet by Friday! Oh boy!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!!! (and some other things…)

Well during “Reading Week” (although from the people I talked to, it seemed like Ian may have been the only one that read), we decided we needed to do some site seeing. We went with the Kynes (who you met in the last post) for the day to visit Edinburgh. We left fairly early in the morning and had a nice train ride into the Big E. When we arrived, we pulled out the map to help orient ourselves and came across this large and impressive memorial to Sir Walter Scott..

We found our way over to the Royal Mile and got a fun view of the castle. We got a little sidetracked as we walked past ‘The Scotch Whisky Experience’. We went in and found out we could get a double discount for doing the tour before noon and because Will and Ian are students. Vanessa and I decided we didn’t really want to learn about the history of Scotch Whisky, so we took a short tour of the Royal Mile while the guys took a tour, tasting, and barrel ride..

They had a great time and got to take home their own special whisky glasses and filled us in on all the things to pay attention to when tasting Scotch Whisky.

From there we went on to the castle (If you’d like some quick castle facts, visit this site), which was really cool, and because we are Historic Scotland members we didn’t have to pay the GBP 22.00 it cost to go in! Here is a picture of the entrance to the castle.

We are standing on what we think would’ve been the drawbridge over the moat (we didn’t get the guided tour because you had to pay extra, so we’re probably just making things up). A view from the top..

We found some amusement in this, and yet, reflecting on the loyalty of dogs, I could believe it.. I bet there were some brave poochies.

This is Ian’s head with Mons Meg, a HUGE cannon that was given to one of the kings.

Some perspective on the crazy big cannonballs used with it..

We went in to see the Honours of Scotland (the crown jewels, the scepter and a sword) and they had a history lesson on the way. We may not have paid as close attention as we should have because we were a little distracted..

You can see the baby Mary Queen of Scots really took a liking to Ian.

We took a walk with the guys down the Royal Mile so Ian could stand next to this statue of David Hume.

Part of Ian’s goal for out time in the Big E was to find David Hume’s grave. After much asking, we finally found it around dusk.

Also amongst the graves we found a statue of… you guessed it – Honest Abe! He tops a memorial dedicated to things like freedom and equality in the Old Calton Burial Ground.

We then took some time to enjoy Princes Street where there are lots of shops. We went into a few stores and then realized that we were really tired and ready to go home! So we left the Big E for now, but it surely won’t be our last trip..

Also, I’ve been working with some boys from our church on making Christmas present for their grandparents. We did crayons with watercolor paintings and as I was making the examples, Ian was overcome with the desire to exercise his creativity as well.. He did a great job and it was even his first attempt at watercolors!

Here’s a picture of my first chicken pot pie ever! The second one I made was way prettier and tastier too, but I forgot to take a picture.. Yummy! Great on a cold, hungry day

While I’m at it, I’m going to go ahead and tell you about our Thanksgiving meal in Aberdeen! We got to video chat with some of my family who were gathered for the holiday because some people in Scotland actually have the internet… It was wonderful but hard to know we missed it. We actually celebrated our T-day on Saturday and enjoyed the company of two other couples aside from the Ellis’s and us. We each pitched in and made various dishes and had a great spread of food. We started with an array of cheese and crackers, artichoke dip, and devilled eggs. Then moved on to the main event..

We had a delicious turkey, green beans, rolls, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, carrots, potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and then a pumpkin and a pecan pie for dessert. It was super yummy and all the ladies did an excellent job preparing it in a Scottish size kitchen with a Scottish size oven :) Kate even made a cornucopia..

We had a wonderful time eating and followed up with several hours of good conversation, some episodes of The Office (US version), and more U-tube videos than I have ever watched at one time. It was a great day for giving thanks :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Here goes...

I’m sure this comes as no surprise to any of you, but we still don’t have the internet. Ian has spent a large number of hours calling our ‘provider’ – IF you can really call them that – to find out what the problem is. We have been told at least 5 times that we will have the internet in 10-15 days and always to no avail. One guy told us he wouldn’t even estimate how long it would be because he didn’t want to lie to us.. Seems like he’s the only one concerned about that. But as of yesterday, we have been told yet again that we will have the internet in 10-15 days. Do we believe them? Not really. Are my hopes up anyway? Definitely.

Well, way back when it was Reformation Day/Halloween we had a celebration that involved eating some German treats, drinking some German/monk-related beer, and watching the movie Luther with some friends.
Here is a picture of the spread that we had…

First you see the German ‘Heidesand’ cookies. They are like a butter cookie with a light sugar coating – yes they were homemade, and they were tasty! Then the pile of chocolate stuff is a plate of German no-bake cookies. I don’t know what makes the recipe German, but that’s what it was called so we went with it. They were REALLY good. I made them Scotland style, so I had to substitute a bunch of things that were supposed to be in them, but they were very delectable. Then you can see Vanessa’s hand cutting into some Stollen that Pete and Jo brought. It’s kind of like a fruit cake, but it’s soaked in rum and all kinds of other stuff and is quite popular around here.. It’s German too. And lastly you can see a little round chocolate cake. Not, as you might think, a German chocolate cake, but let me show you a close up…

If you look closely you can see this is a chocolate INDULGENCE cake – very relevant to the Reformation :) And very clever work by Pete and Jo.

Then we have the beers.. We had Augustijn (Belgian), Kapuziner (German), Warsteiner (German), Jacobite (nothing to do with the Reformation, just one Ian wanted to try), and Blackfriar (Made in Scotland, but had a monk on the front)

Ian picked out these 5 and everyone had a taste (well, not exactly everyone, but most) of a few of them. Ian’s personal fav was the Jacobite.

Then we decided to take pictures of our friends who were there to show you that they do exist, they’re not just in our imaginations!

This is Pete and Jo. They are the ones who had us over to their house where Ian fed the horse. Jo is working on her PhD and she is from Darbyshire (I think, wherever Jane Austin said was the prettiest place in England). Pete is finishing up his undergrad degree and I think he’s from Washington (you can tell I’m really good at remembering details) and wants to be a pastor. He works at a local coffee shop called Zest. They are cute little newlyweds and the newest newlyweds of the group :)

This is Will (from D.C.) and Vanessa (from Texas). Will is working on an MLitt just like Ian, but in the divinity department, not the philosophy dept. Vanessa is working at a bakery in town where you can get the very tasty, chocolateless fudge donuts. We basically lived the same life all summer preparing to come here, we both have a deep appreciation for ‘The Office’, and we spend a lot of our time with them. We went to Edinburgh with them on Wednesday, which I will post about as soon as I get the pictures on the computer. Will and Vanessa are also newlyweds. Hence this picture…

And finally, here is Kelly and Elliott. Sometimes they are called Kelliott. They used this cute little name as their email address and now we can’t get it out of our heads! I started calling them that jokingly, and now I’m often confused when talking about them and say things like ‘Elliott and Kelliott’.. Makes for some good times :)
Anyway, Elliott is from Alaska and Kelly is from Oregon. This may be surprising since you might assume they met out West somewhere, but they actually met at college in Michigan. They are both working on MLitts here and Kelly is expecting a baby in early April, just like Hope. Kelly and I often commiserate about never feeling like we have enough recipes and help each other come up with ideas. They are also newlyweds.

To sum it up, we love all of them and spend lots of time together. Ian and I are basically the old married couple of the group :) They all have some pretty great, sometimes hysterical meeting/dating/engagement stories too.
I’ll have to get pictures of some more friends so that we can introduce you to some others as well.

Oh and here is Ian and I at the party – Ian’s got his beer, his Heidesand cookie, and his girl… what more could you want?

In other news… Ian and I are officially Historic Scotland members.. How cool is that?! This deal is much like the Young Persons railcard, in that, when you buy it you feel like you just paid half your savings for it, however, it pays itself off very quickly and then saves you all kinds of money. This one applies to castles and sites, however, not to the rail. So, we paid GBP 52.00 for both of us and can now go into any Historic Scotland site we want for free! We also get a 20% discount on any silly souvenirs we want, and 20% off of some sites in England, and a bunch of other stuff. So far, by purchasing this, we have saved GBP 50.00 because of our 2 visits to St Rule’s tower and the castle here in St Andrews, and our visit to Edinburgh castle. I’m thinking it will pay for itself many times over. Also, every time you go somewhere, you get a cool stamp saying you’ve been there! That’s our favorite part :)

Finally, we are looking forward to spending Thanksgiving with our ‘Scottish Family’ The Ellis family!!!! We already have big plans thanks to Katie’s organizational skills and are going to head to Dunnottar castle while we’re there. I’m also really excited to revisit Poundland (EVERYTHING is only 1 pound) and I’m excited because when we get back I get to start decorating for Christmas! I didn’t think I would really care about it all that much, but I am so excited this year to make some decorations – should be fun!

So, I’ll work on posting about our time in Edinburgh, as well as our time with the Ellis clan, and you all just keep praying that we get the internet soon! We love you!

Monday, November 12, 2007

We win!

I think we can officially be declared the worst posters ever!!! yay! everyone cheer! :) Seriously. This is me feeling so guilty about leaving our beloved family and friends in the dark. I promise I will work on a post and put it up this week! Still no internet... In case you hadn't noticed