Now that we have internet at home, I have been able to start catching up with other people's blogs. That has been fun and I'm now inspired to write!
We enjoyed our pumpkin and pecan pies. Pictured (by request) is the wheat free, gluten free, dairy free, corn free, soy free, and nut free (just kidding!) pecan pie I made for me - well,I did share it :-) Not too shabby, huh? I was bummed the inside didn't set up completely, but it was still the same sickly sweet treat we all know and love at Thanksgiving. The pumpkin pie wasn't quite so pretty to look at but I hear it tasted just fine.
I forgot to take a picture of our friends who came over, Jack and Ann. We were rather amazed to hear them describe their missionary experiences in the remote mountains of Mexico and middle of nowhere Sierra Leone (think Blood Diamond and worse). Talk about missionary stories! I know I was personally convicted of complaining about no internet and other minor inconveniences here when they had no electricity or running water in Sierra Leone and most of the time no fresh meat (their diet regularly consisted of canned tuna, twice a day)! Can't even fathom. They arrived here about 5 weeks before we did so we were able to relate to their settling in stories as well. I think we all feel our paths have crossed for a reason and we are excited to see what the Lord will do with us all during our time in Aberdeen and at Gilc (our church).
Darkness is setting in earlier every day. This picture was taken at 4pm today. Sigh. I noticed yesterday on the web that the sun is already setting here at 3:45pm. Are you kidding me?!
We've been wanting to share some pics and stories from when Mark's sister, Kim, came to visit us. She flew up from Reading (near London) where she's getting her Master's, two weekends ago. We enjoyed seeing her again!
On Friday afternoon we ventured out to the Maritime Museum in the City Centre. It was surprisingly large and well put together. In the middle of 4 stories was a model of an oil rig. Aberdeen is a huge oil center (comparable to Houston) so we learned a lot about the oil industry, as well as the history of the harbor.
Part of the building was built in the 1700's...this is Mark going through one of the doorways of the original building. The sign above his head says "Mind Your Head" and is the first in our series of fun signs in Scotland (see below for more). Seems to me they might also want to include in that "Mind Your Elbows and Other Limbs."
Saturday, we ventured an hour and a half west to Balmoral Castle (the Royal Family's holiday home). The day was dreary, but cleared a little once we got to the actual castle. We were sad that the only part of the castle they let you see is the ballroom. That was neat to see, but I wanted to see more of the actual residence. Oh well. Here is Kim and me outside the part of the castle where the Royal Family resides when they are there. Interesting side note, they can't tell you which is the Queen's room for security purposes. Even the tour guides don't know!
The disappointment with the actual castle tour was made up in the spectacular scenery (despite the rain). The drive to get to the Balmoral Estate takes you through the beginnings of the Cairngorm Mountains . The roads were rather curvy, with no shoulder and would at random times drop down to one lane. We were glad there weren't many cars on the road!
If you have seen the movie "The Queen" you will remember the Larder House (or something like that?) where they store the stags they have killed. This was the original one on the property, but is no longer used because it isn't "up to code" any longer. We were trying to figure out if it was the one they used in the movie (it sure looks like it). We also saw several green Land Rovers like the Queen drove. Kinda funny to think of the Queen driving a Land Rover!
And finally, my two favorite parts of the trip: 1. The hysterical signs and 2. The Christmas Sheep.
There are "No Dog Fouling" signs many places here. I am not quite sure where the dogs can foul, but on this golf course near the castle is not one of them. All I know is that I need to put up a sign like this in our shared garden area because our neighbor always leaves his dog's foul out there for me to step in when I put the laundry on the line...
I also burst out laughing when I saw this sign. I didn't get it at first other than it was funny. I said "What in the world is a naked light?!" Mark had to explain it was things like matches, lighters, etc. That made sense, but do they have to call it a "Naked" light? I think not.
Perhaps my favorite part were sheep already donned in their Christmas attire. It was so good of them to show their Christmas spirit early :)