29 October 2007

Our Cup Runneth Over!

At last....we have multiple wonderful things to share! What a joyful 3 days or so it's been!

On Friday afternoon on my way to apply with another temp agency I received a call from one of the ladies who had interviewed me. She offered me the job I had interviewed for that morning, the job I wanted! I was so excited and thrilled that I actually got the job and could stop looking for another one :) We agreed I'd start next Monday the 5th. I will work 5 days a week for about 3 and a half hours a day. I will probably try to work in the mornings, although, it sounds like they are pretty flexible with when I am actually in the office.

Ever since we rented the car a few weekends ago we have been going round and round about whether or not to get a car. We finally decided we'd go ahead and look for a cheap one (cars seem to be cheaper here for some reason). Someone we had met a couple times told us about a man in their church who was a used car dealer. So we went to visit him on Saturday and bought a really cheap Ford Escort. The man actually gave the car to us for the same price he paid for it! He was a very godly man and we enjoyed more fellowship than car buying. Mark hopes to pick the car up tomorrow if we can get insurance on it today.

Our last news worthy of screaming from the rooftops is that WE HAVE A LANDLINE!!! I nearly called my parents in the States at 7am this morning our time, but I'm sure they are glad I didn't because that would have been 2am their time! I still can't figure out why one lady was able to get us a line in 2 working days (not including the weekend) when we tried for over 6 weeks. In any case, praise the Lord for this!!

"Every good and perfect gift comes down from the Father" (James 1:17) has been running through my mind since yesterday. All of these gifts have been so good to receive and we want to praise God for giving them to us!

26 October 2007

Interview and Doctor's Appointment....and Our Phone

Hi friends! I just got out of my interview with Student Recruitment and Admissions about 15 minutes ago. I think it went well and that I recovered after having to run and speed walk just to make it on time (thanks to a bus running so far behind I decided I better go by foot lest I not make it in time). There were 3 ladies that interviewed me and my heart was at ease as I answered their questions. They told me they hoped to have a decision by later today. That would be nice, but I have heard that before so I am not going to get my hopes up!

My doctor's appointment wasn't nearly as good :( Let's just say the doctor and I didn't necessarily see eye to eye about everything. We agreed I probably need to at the very least see a nutritionist and possibly an immunologist and gastroenteroligist. She was going to speak with each of those doctor's and get back to me about the best course for me to follow from here. I haven't heard from her yet. Maybe next week :)

So we had been told last Friday an engineer was supposed to hook our line up today. Then on Tuesday we were told NO, no one was coming. Surprisingly enough a lady called last night in response to our on-line complaint. She said that our request for a line was rejected....WHAT?! We can't figure these people out. She put in a new request but won't know until today if it will go through. She told us it would get hooked up Monday if the request was accepted. I'll believe that when I see it! That's the 4th date we've been given in a month. It's been so long and so ridiculous that last night I just had to laugh. There really is nothing left to do but laugh at how outrageous this whole ordeal has been!!

24 October 2007

All Is (Almost) Right With The World!

Pardon me for being a bit "tongue and cheek," but now that I (Mark) finally have an office, I do almost feel as if all is right with the world! It has been a bit frustrating working for the past month without a place of my own. The biggest weight (pardon the pun) I've had to bear is lugging a backpack around stuffed with books and my laptop. There were many times I thought I would throw my back out putting it on. It was also certainly difficult not really having a quiet place to study. Most of my time was either spent in the computer lab surrounded by undergraduates (who can certainly be rather noisy) or on the third floor of the library where the Divinity collection is located. By the way, the third floor is actually the fourth floor in "US-speak" since the bottom floor is referred to as the "ground floor" here. Needless to say, carrying my backpack up four flights of stairs was not particularly enjoyable:-)

At any rate, I now am sharing a fairly large room with another student doing something on Islam (I'll need to talk to her more about that later). I have a decent sized desk, two large book-shelves, and a computer all to myself. Since it sounds like Samantha mainly works from home, I pretty well have the whole room to myself. Also, since the front door to the building is probably opened at 7:00am, it will be much easier to begin studying around 8:00 am. Those of you who know me know that I'm very much "a morning person" and consider this an especially great blessing as the library here opens at 9:00 am. That extra hour or so should really help. The plan now is to get here around 8:00 am and work till four and then work out on the days I don't have my German reading group (Wed) or New Testament seminar (Thur).

Now if we can only get things sorted out with our phone!

With a very thankful heart,

P.S. I (Rachel) would like to add that I have a doctor's appointment in about an hour. I don't expect much to come of this appointment other than to establish a working relationship with some doctor and to see if he has any ideas for looking elsewhere for answers to my problems. I also found out I have another interview next Wed. So for now I have an interview this Friday at 10am, and two next Wed. afternoon!

Also with a thankful heart,
Rachel :)

23 October 2007

Where do we begin?

So much seems to be going on it's hard to fit it all in when I can only post a couple times a week. Let's start back at last Friday.

I noticed last Friday as I walked along the harbor
on my way to work that it smelled extra fishy. I have always been concerned about this because of the suspicions I've had of a fish/shellfish allergy that seems to be triggered by the mere smell of fish. The past two weeks of working at the harbor I have just tried to endure the slight irritation in my throat and go on since I was not outside too much. But I guess on Friday my body had had enough! Since I was the receptionist I sat by the door. They kept the door out to the harbor open and the other one closed, but the smells and fish proteins must have still been coming inside. I found out there is a fish market just across the harbor and the wind must have been blowing in the right direction to bring it all in my door! All Friday afternoon my throat was tight and irritated. I managed to stay awake after taking some Benadryl and right before it was time to leave I started to get some relief from the symptoms. But off and on all weekend I have struggled. Yesterday morning I went to work planning to work this week, but within 30 minutes I was struggling again. I decided it wasn't worth continuing to put myself in that position for the rest of the day or week. Thankfully, because it was a temp job I was able to quit. That in itself was not easy to do because I hate leaving other people to do my work. But there was no other way and I've been trusting God through this disappointment.

I have concluded that I must also be eating something that is adding to the fish overload. Allergies are like that--sometimes you can handle one thing, but then you put two, three or four allergens together and bam! you get hit and start reacting. I would appreciate your prayers as I seek out what is causing me to be in this place again. I know many of you had been asking about my health. Up until Friday I was feeling great most days. I had my usual small issues, but nothing that was going on and on. I am somewhat discouraged to find myself struggling with all this again. I am going to try to start the process of getting into various doctors here tomorrow morning. I'll keep you posted...

On a lighter note, Mark was able to enjoy (and endure?!) a culture experience on Saturday. The men of the church we've been attending went on a "hill walk." That sounds easy unless you realize that a "hill" is more like a small mountain :) They walked through a Scotch Pine forest (see pic) and Heather fields before they reached the summit (see tiny peak below)

I think they walked for over 5 hours total! He was only slightly sore and I was quite impressed he was not more so! It must be all the walking we've done since we got here has prepared him :)

Unfortunately, Sat. night he didn't get to rest because we were headed to our friends house, James and Allison. We have enjoyed hanging out with them several times but hadn't been to their house yet. They live out of the city a little bit and we discovered it is hard to find the correct bus stop in the dark! We finally found them and enjoyed a night of comparing newcomers stories (they got here a week after we did) and some Jenga fun. We were impressed we got the tower as high as we did :)
Other highlights of our week/weekend include a broken washing machine...It's been broken since Friday morning when it didn't drain properly. I had fun scooping out a bucket full of water on Sat. Our landlord decided to try another cycle with nothing in it on Sunday night. It didn't drain then either....only this time it's up past the mark where the door opens (it's a small front loader). I haven't had the desire to deal with the mess that will bring when we open the door! Since laundry is piling up and I know it could be days more before it's fixed (and days more for things to dry after that) I cleaned up the tub today and did two loads of laundry by hand. I was having flashbacks to my first mission trip to Honduras where I did laundry for two months by hand. And you think we are having fun over here!!! Just kidding, we are....with a few other humbling experiences in between :)

19 October 2007

Job & Phone Update

The good news is, I have a job interview next Friday for the job I've been wanting to hear from!! Very excited about that opportunity! The job I interviewed for last Friday has now told me it will be another 10 or so days before they make a decision.

The bad news is, after 2 more phone calls regarding our phone (and another broken promise that yesterday we'd get the line) we are now being told we have to have an engineer come out and do something to the tune of US$240!!! I am not a happy camper regarding this right now. If I didn't want to be able to talk to family on Skype I'd say forget the whole thing. I think the visit alone is more than we paid all last year for our landline phone service! To say the least, we could continue to use your prayers for perseverence in this matter. The engineer should come next Friday as well.

The good news is, it looks like I'll have all of Friday off from my temp job to have the interview (and now wait for the engineer!)

18 October 2007

More Pictures from our Trip

The town of Stonehaven as you drive down to the coast to it

Mark walking on the cliffs next to the ocean on our way to Stonehaven

Path that goes along the cliffs

Where we are headed for the stay, Dunnotar Castle on the left in the background and the war memorial on the top right.
Dunnotar as you walk down to it from the "car park"

If you remember from the pic on the other post, the ruins are actually set on a large rock slightly away from the rest. You have to go down a lot of stairs (and come back up when you are done!) to get to the bottom of the entrance to the ruins. The scenery is so breath-taking, though, you hardly realize you are going up or down!

We went through a small tunnel and on the other side you could look up the cliff and see part of the ruins. The other side was a big bay with a huge cliff and a beach, but the sun was glaring so bad I couldn't get a picture of it. Maybe next time!

Door to one of the old rooms of the fort that you could walk into. I thought the grass hanging down was fun!

Here is the cove/beach area that part of the ruins looked onto. I couldn't keep my eyes off of this! It seemed the closer we got or each new view of it seemed better than before.

A good view of one part of the ruins of this fortress.

As you will see in the pics to follow there were all sorts of windows and doors to take pictures of and I enjoyed having fun with the camera to see what good shots I could come up with.

I took this picture in the room where 150 or so men, women and children were placed without proper sanitation and no beds and essentially starving to death for not renouncing Christianity and aligning with the the ruling government instead.

This was taken in the same room. I wonder if those left dying were encouraged by this view outside as well.

Here's another view of the cove/bay area looking through a doorway.

More ruins. The door on the right is a small tunnel that leads you to the entrance of the main part of the ruins.

Lots of fun windows and doors and trying out black and white photography!

I like the sillouette of the ruins and the clouds in the sky :)

View out the window of a tower with a small, winding staircase you can climb. It was great minus all the pigeon poop and feathers lying around!

View of the fortress ruins from the mainland. It's a long way down!

Just a closer view of the cliffs and rocks.

At lunch we went into Stonehaven and at on the wall that lines the beach and sidewalk.

We had fun trying to photograph the segulls as they dove into the waves looking for their lunch!

After lunch we returned to Dunnotar Castle because I realized my purse was missing. We figured out where it was left and while Mark kindly went all the way back down the path and steep steps and then back up without me because we figured he could go quicker without me! So I sat in the car and while sitting there I saw this potential good pic and snapped a few shots. Glad I did because I really like it! So out of the trip back we got a good pic, but no purse :( Thankfully my ID/wallet were not in there, however, I did lose one Epi-Pen for my emergency allergy use (good thing I have another!) and also the keys to our flat (which we were able to duplicate from Mark's keys). I was using the purse to hold my camera, so I'm glad the camera wasn't in there at the time.

Church steeple in Stonehaven's town square.

Fly fishing place we found in Banchory.

Bigger view of the river where the salmon try to jump upstream.

Just practicing photography again....with fall leaves :)

Not sure if you can see this or not, but we watched this bird from the bridge eat the small fish in his mouth.

Path down to the River Dee near Crathes Castle.

The River Dee

Me still having fun with the camera.

Clock on tower at Crathes Castle

I thought it was great that there four gentlemen actually playing crouquet!

One of the doors at Crathes Castle that looked so like something you'd find on adventures with Frodo and Pippen! :)

More black and white fun

17 October 2007

Wait, wait, wait

Waiting. That's the theme of our lives right now.

I'm waiting to hear back about the interview I had on Friday. I was told then I'd hear something by early this week. Still waiting...

I'm still waiting to find out whether or not I'm on the short-list to interview at the other university job I'm interested in. Praying that I might at least get another interview.

(A side note about jobs, I did get invited for an interview at another job on the 31st and have turned in two more job apps today. I will stay here at my temp job through the end of next week full-time and maybe part-time beyond that, but only on a temp basis. I've decided that I'd rather not stay at this position permenantly. Several factors involved, not the least of which is being asked to lie for various people to people who call in for them.)

Mark is waiting ever so patiently to get an office on campus. The school is in the midst of moving a bunch of offices around and I think new PhD students won't get their new home-away-from-home until everyone else is settled. Until then, the library is his second home and he waits...

Unfortunately, my name somehow managed to not make it on our lease agreement for our flat. This is one way to prove where you live. I need this before I can be put on our banking account (and a few other less important things). I am trying to get the leasing agency to amend our lease to ad me on, but they've had our lease for nearly 2 weeks and we don't have a new lease yet...

We also still wait for a phone line. Another 10 business days has passed us by so if there is no working phone tonight when we get home (and we aren't holding our breath for this!) then we'll wait for another hour on hold and then wait for another few weeks and then maybe then we will be hooked up!

Waiting is good and has its purpose in our lives, but doesn't it seem to take so long when you are in the midst of it?!! Thanks for waiting with us :)

11 October 2007

For a Good Laugh

If you are in need of a good laugh today, maybe I can help. This job has required a certain amount of humor in it. I answer and transfer many calls a day. For all of you who love the Scottish accent I think you should have a go at this job! I find Scottish accents "lovely" when I am not trying to make out their name or what they want, and especially not when they are talking to one another! I can tell, though, that after 5 days on the phones I am slowly getting used to how they pronounce names and ships (that our company operates). It helps that many of the same people call, too. It does not, however, help that we deal with seaman, folks from rural parts of Scotland, and other countries.

When one man first called last week I thought his name was "Margord," which, if you think of it, is a rather interesting name. But how am I to know if that isn't some great famous Scottish name?! After asking multiple times how to spell that, etc and trying desperately to understand him (during which time he was a bit frustrated with me), I came up with "Mark Ward" which was close enough to what his real name is for someone to know who he was. Since then I've been told his name is "Mark Ord" or at least that is how it's pronounced. I have no idea how to spell it!

Today something similar happened. On my way to the shop around the corner to pick up milk (one of duties is to buy milk every morning for the office...that's for all the tea!) my supervisor asked me to buy some breakfast for her as she hadn't had any yet. I readily agreed and she gave me money and said, just ask for "two butter-drolls." I must have had a blank stare on my face as I tried to register what those were. She said, oh, the bakery will know, they are Aberdeen rolls, so just ask for "two butter-drolls." Okay, I can manage that. So I go to the shop and ask exactly how I heard it for "two butter-drolls." Thankfully, the lady understood me. As I looked at what she put in the bag I started laughing to myself. It looked exactly like two rolls (butteries, I think they are called--Mark loves them!) with butter in between them. I then deduced that she must have said "two buttered rolls!!" Something so simple, but they slur every syllable and word together so that you have to stop and make out exactly where the breaks are supposed to be! I am not good at this :) At least I am enjoying a good laugh out of it afterwards and hope you are too!

10 October 2007

The pictures are here!

I have uploaded pictures, finally. Still trying to tweak them a little, but most of them are there. Excuse the layout until I can get it right.

I am enjoying my temp job, especially the internet use they've given me permission for when it is quiet and I have nothing else to do! As I told my parents, God provided internet in an interesting way :) It's been helpful to be able to manage our personal lives (esp. some of the new things we have had to do on-line for our moving here) and just to have access to e-mail/blog, etc.

I have an interview this Friday at one of the part-time positions on the University's campus. I am excited about the opportunity to at least interview and am still praying I will be offered an interview for the position I am most interested in. I'll keep you posted!

08 October 2007

Weekend Wanderings

This past weekend we enjoyed the use of a (tiny!) rental car. We stocked up on items that are heavy to carry (canned goods, laundry detergent, etc), enjoyed a nice dinner out for Mark's birthday and also escaped for two separate day trips.

First we headed to Stonehaven/Dunnotar Castle about 30 minutes or so outside of Aberdeen (well, where we live in Aberdeen). We are blessed to have such a gorgeous place only minutes from us! If you come see us we'll have to take you to this magnificent location! God gave us great weather for our exploration of the ruins of this old fortress set atop a mountain/cliff on the sea. I got to practice my photography skills with the camera Mark got me for my birthday. As he said, this place was "a photographers heaven!"

Sunday we visited a different church closer to our flat. While it was not a bad church we think the other church (Gilcomston South) is more what we are looking for while we are here. It is weird that we have only been to this church 3 Sundays but already feel a part of it. Maybe it's because we've been to 5 services and had lunch with 12 church members on two separate Sundays. Plus, we really value the tradition the church family has of talking for up to an hour after both morning and evening services. We hope to meet with the pastor of Gilc (as they refer to it as) this week or next.

After church we ate lunch back at the flat and headed off to Banchory. We enjoyed another drive through the countryside and decent weather again. We stumbled upon a trout fishery (much to Mark's delight!) and then headed to the River Dee (I believe) to see the salmon jumping upstream. That was a neat thing to see! They have a bridge over the river just for looking at the salmon. I again got to have fun with my camera trying to capture the quick movement of the fish.

We left the salmon and headed to Crathes Castle a few miles up the road. This was more of an estate castle. We chose not to go in to the castle or magnificent gardens because of the cost, but maybe some day. Despite that, we were still impressed with the grounds, especially with the fall leaves.
Crathes Castle

Gardens behind castle that you could see without paying

Two beautiful views from the castle grounds
Do you think this little guy knows he might be your 100% Angus burger someday?