Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Reformation Day!

Yes it’s true, the Church household does not celebrate Halloween, we celebrate Reformation Day. We’d like to thank Brian Allred for initiating this and let him know the tradition continues… We’re having a get-together to watch the movie ‘Luther’, drink German beer (though we all know I won’t be drinking it – gross!) and eat German cookies together.. We’ll let you know how it goes :)

Ok, we’ll admit it.. we’re not very good about posting on the blog. We still don’t have the internet – they say we’ll have it Monday but even my optimism is having trouble believing it after all this time. We’ll see.. Anyway, we realized that in our lack of internet we’ve actually forgotten to post about a few things that we’ve done since we’ve been here. For example…

Very early on in our time here, I went with my dear friend Hannah Phillips to a little town called Broughty Ferry. While it turned out that what we were looking for was not actually in that little town, it was really fun and we got to see a castle and go into some great little charity shops.

This is a view of one of the streets, right across the street is the sea.

This is Brought Ferry castle and Hannah and I went as far up as we could possibly go inside that tower and found rooms that were meant to entertain children that entertained us very nicely. There was also an observatory with binoculars that said you could see dolphins, but sadly there were none.

Another thing we did while the Ellis’ were here was climb up in St Rule’s Tower. The tower is on the cathedral grounds and is taller than the cathedral spires.

It’s tall!

This is a picture of the stairs you had to climb – Ian’s foot is there to give you an idea of the narrowness. It was a tight squeeze and a whole lotta stairs, but totally worth it when you came out on top! The climb to the top made you feel like you were back in the 12th century when it was built – fortunately in our safe 21st century there is now a hand rail to pull yourself up with :)

a view of town from the top

Ian and Brannan found a nice person to take a picture of them at the top!

This is a picture the guys took of Katie and I while we were looking for them. We had separated to look around the cemetery and cathedral grounds and next thing we knew, we couldn’t find the husbands! Eventually they yelled loud enough that we found them and when they came down we learned that some other nice person had given them the tokens to get into the tower for free.

Finally, this is a picture of our building from waaaay far away at the tower. Way to go camera zoom! (if you follow the buildings coming our from the lower right hand corner, it's the last one sticking out - grey stone, cute, that's the one!)

I mentioned a while back too that Ian and I have begun cooking whole chickens to save money…

This was my first attempt and it was deeelicious! We served this dinner to Will and Vanessa Kynes a long time ago :) Since then I have cooked many a chicken with many different flavors and it’s our new favorite. Here is dessert..

It’s called brownie pudding.. also very good.

This is a picture from a day that we went for a walk in early October…

This is a zoomed version so you can see the SURFERS out on the water!

I just have one thing to say… insane.
I don’t care if you’re wearing a wet suit or not, it is waaaay too cold to go surfing.

I think that’s all that we did that we failed to mention previously..

We went over to some friends’ house for lunch after church on Sunday and found ourselves eating the most delicious meatloaf (yes mom, you read correctly, I LIKED, nay LOVED the meatloaf). After eating we went for a walk because they live on a farm. There was a horse out that was very friendly that Ian naturally named Uncle Jason (long story) and proceeded to feed any grass or weeds he could find. It was very amusing but sadly we didn’t think to take the camera, so you’ll just have to imagine.

If we have the internet by Monday as they say we will, I’ll be posting to show you that there are already Christmas decorations up throughout our little town and tell you about some other things going on…
Until then!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It has been a while since we have posted any updates, so I naturally have a lot to say. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time available to give a detailed account; I have over 100 pages of Thomas Reid’s Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man that I should try to have read and fully digested before tomorrow.

I have been going to class for several weeks now, and it has been pretty darn intense! I have already given a presentation of David Hume’s skepticism (scepticism), and I’ll be giving another presentation next Monday on Thomas Nagel’s chapter on knowledge in The View from Nowhere. In addition, I have constant reading and writing to occupy my time. I am sincerely having a blast! Sure there is lots of stress and busyness, but I am really enjoying it all. This last weekend, I gave my paper “Epistemic Perspectives and the Externalist approach to Peter Unger’s Certainty Requirement” at the department’s graduate student outing. The outing, called a reading weekend, was held in Raasay House on the island of Raasay, which leads me to the next section of this post.

The combination of natural beauty with stimulating conversation made for a wonderful reading weekend experience. I was able to get to know many of the department’s faculty and fellow postgraduates on a much more personal level, and because I presented a paper I was able to get personal feedback on my research. Now, on to some pictures of this adventure:

In case I didn’t know what my general latitude was:

I never saw a single monkey

From the conjunction of this sign with the sheep on the cliff in the background, I think I can infer how the rocks get knocked down

This was a rough path to go on

No playing on Sundays

Cemetery Orchard?

As you might guess from the background, Dalwhinnie was nothing like Las Vegas

This was the first sheep I encountered. I named her Buster-Sue. I tried to pet her and…

This is Buster-Sue running away

These are some other sheep I found; they were just walking down the road (yes, i took lots of pictures of sheep, but that is because Corrie really likes them)

Here is a picture of me with some of my hiking cohorts

Here is a picture of me with the Raasay House dog Thom.

Here is a picture of the whole reading weekend gang (thanks to Mark W. for the picture)

And finally here are some landscape pictures:

Sunday, October 07, 2007

later... I'm always saying that...

We have some newfound (and I would say welcome) busyness with Ian being back in school so we haven't exactly been good about posting this week.. I find that funny as I have been spending most of my days irresponsibly reading books for fun instead of being productive and changing the world... It has been a nice time of reflecting (there was a danger a few days ago of me being a revolutionary epistemologist what with all my thoughts about knowing and learning.. but I got over it :) ) and leisure that I haven't known in about 15 years or so. I have struggled with feelings of "uuummmmm.. so what am i doing here?" since I am accustomed to being ridiculously busy every day of my life, but I think it has been good in the time it has given me to learn the value of being.. just being.. which I hadn't considered in a while, as well as given me good time to bake and make some Scottish mouths (and English and American mouths) very happy :) Ian has been enjoying school.. he'll post about that later. In my times of unbusyness there have been a few highlights for example.. ladies Bible study - AMAZING every week! I love it so much :) There are some really incredible women here who are so loving and welcoming (even if you break down crying just to share a simple prayer request! I'm telling you, sometimes these emotions need a straight jacket! It was SO not a big deal, and yet, there was old faithful, spurting forth when I least expected it) I also went to book club which was great as well.. Some focused, intelligent conversation is very welcome after my adios to college life (not that the people I interact with, especially not my genius husband, are unintelligent, but I think/hope you all know what I mean). Then we are hosting a Bible study on Thursday nights at our flat which was so wonderful! Matt (the intern at the Free Church) did a GREAT job leading us and we had some really great conversation about the first few verses of John.. Actually it might have been the best conversation I've ever had about those verses. It was really interesting to have all those postgrads putting in their two cents (or maybe I should say pence!) coming from their fields of study to dissect such an abstract passage. Needless to say, it was like the best candy Ian has ever had, maybe even better than Shepherd's Pie... Then to finish up the week we had dinner with the Wheaton's on Saturday evening. They hail from Massachussets and were actually in Japan for a while working on starting up a seminary before they came here. They have 5 boys under the age of 7 - whoa! They are so much fun and such smart little guys. We had a wonderful evening of Mexican food (Ian was beside himself) and uplifting conversation. Then today we had regular service this morning, Ian and I took a long, romantic walk on the beach in the afternoon :), and then we had a pot luck dinner before evening church. It was delish and following during evening church we had our first communion in Scotland. We have an even busyer (I know I'm spelling that wrong, but I didn't want it to be read as business, as in walmart is a business, so I'm spelling it wrong.. don't judge me Alex or Laura.. I'm aware..) week ahead of us with coffee dates, presentations, dinner dates, and Bible studies.. It should be fun! keep praying for that job.. I'm considering foregoing the serious search for a full time position and taking a combination of smaller things that have come to my attention in some different areas here. Should any of that come to pass I'll explain further.. until then, please just keep praying for that situation! For those of you sending us mail and packages - thank you so much! We love it and keep it coming! We are so appreciative of the thoughtfulness and keeping-in-touch that so many of you are so good at :) and we apologize for our lack thereof. Hopefully we can post some pictures soon and hopefully we will have some internet soon!! Patience is a virtue.. if you want to learn it, move to Scotland.. believe me, you'll learn :) We love Scotland! We actually really do love it here and are so excited to share our love with anyone who wants to come our way - so come on over! :) Ok.. more to come..