26 November 2008

Full of Gratitude

To share a few things I (and we) are thankful for, I thought I'd express it in not just words, but also photos (since I am such a fan of photos). They are in no particular order, and are of course not complete....just a few things that have been important to us while being here. I will say our families aren't listed, but we are incredibly thankful for them. They have been and continue to be supportive of our time here, and we couldn't do it without them. May you have very thankful Thanksgivings!

We/I am thankful for....

And lastly....

...who has arrived safely back from the US!

22 November 2008

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas...

The snow we've gotten yesterday and today have made it seem like Christmas is near! I was surprised to find 3-4 inches of snow on my car this afternoon when I cleaned it off. Too bad our street is one huge sheet of ice! Thankfully, the busy streets were well cleaned, but the granite sidewalks I walked on (where the sun hadn't melted the snow) were also quite icy.
I'm also happy to report that in one small way it is also beginning to look like Christmas in our flat! I was able to cross "put up Christmas tree" off my to-do list! I have never put up a tree before Thanksgiving and usually have pretty strict (internal) rules about such matters. But given that Thanksgiving is late this year and we leave for London/America only 2 weeks after Thanksgiving, I figured an extra week to enjoy it was a good thing! (Not to mention one less thing to do during those busy two weeks.)
I knew we had a Christmas tree stashed on the top shelf of our hall closet (that is apparently part of the flat's furnishings!), but I was delighted to also find a wide array of "baubles" (as they are called here) and garland. Coupled with a few items we already owned we have some basic decorations. Being unsure what to top the poor tree with, I happily discovered this wee angel that I think we must have been given for Christmas last year as a gift from my Grandma (and I had forgotten about). So while it doesn't exactly make the best tree-topper, it'll do for 3 weeks.I was delighted to find several of these cute snowmen in the bauble spread. (And if you look closely you can see me dressed in my layers taking the photo!)Perhaps the most fascinating part of the Christmas decorations is the base of the tree. I have known since we moved in there was a tree, but never checked to see about a base. So I lugged all the Christmas stuff out (well, that was one tree, two bags, and one shoebox...not so much, really!) and said "huh, where's the base?" Yeah, no base to be found. It was upon closer inspection I discovered our tree must be the top part of a larger artificial tree, meaning, no base. I was determined to get this item off my to-do list and was not to be deterred by no base. Quick ingenuity including two shoe boxes, a pair of scissors and a carton of apple juice (for weight), along with two silver garlands for a "skirt" and my tree was upright and decent looking! Couldn't have been more pleased with the quick and cheap outcome!
And lastly, a shot of King's quad sporting the snow

21 November 2008

Update on MO

Just a quick update on Mark. We were finally able to talk on the phone briefly a few minutes ago. He is completely worn out and battling a cold/laryngitis-type thing. He thankfully made it through his paper presentation yesterday and thought it went well, though due to a weakening voice I didn't get many details from him.

He thought of coming home early, but I checked on that possibility for him and there aren't any seats available on several of the flights, so I think he'll have to stick it out until Tuesday. Please pray he can get the rest he needs today and will start feeling better soon! So hard to hear him sounding so pathetic when I can't help.

A Lovely Accent....

...that's what I was told today that I had. A lovely accent. ME?! During our time here I have been told repeatedly by various people that they love my accent. I am always surprised as I always thought the British didn't like American accents. Not sure why I thought this, but I did.

When discussing this with other American friends living here, not everyone has had the same experience as me. It must be the lingering hint of a southern accent (thanks to 6 years in NC) that draws them in :)

18 November 2008

MO on the GO

Hi all. Just a quick note to ask you to please be in prayer for Mark this week. He flew out early this morning for Providence, RI to attend the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) conference tomorrow thru Saturday. Prayers on Thursday especially would be appreciated as he presents his first paper. He'll then be headed to Boston to take part in the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) conference. Will you pray with me that both will be beneficial to him academically, spiritually, emotionally (a break from writing that has been much needed!), etc, etc. Pray he also stays healthy. You can of course also pray for me as I hang out here in Aberdeen. Don't worry, I've got a long to-do list with fun things like "put up Christmas tree" and "write Christmas cards" and "clean those things you never really spend time cleaning, but oh so need them every now and then!" I also have a few social outings planned so I think the time should go quickly. As always, thanks for your prayers and support as we live life here!

16 November 2008

Sunset at Slain's

After a fun couple hours with some friends during a 2 year old's birthday party, Mark and I headed north about 40 minutes to take a trip to Slain's Castle. You may remember we went there last year, but didn't actually walk out to it because it was too cold/muddy. This time around it was definitely warmer (though still cold with a strong, cutting wind) and full of sunshine, though our boots and pant legs will tell you it was still very muddy!

I asked Mark if we could take the scenic route on the way there (i.e. the longer, more treacherous route). He agreed and we set off for some great views of the cliffs.
Don't look down! There are no railings anywhere and tons of places where you could easily plunge over the edge if you weren't careful.
Thankfully, the path wasn't extremely close to these dangerous areas.
Where we came from -- looking back as we neared the castle. As you can tell, you can't see much of a path. It was very small, mostly a trench (where other hikers had walked) filled with water/mud giving us no choice but to straddle the deep gulf and walk on the uneven, thick grass. That was a little rough on the ankles!

The backside of the castle ruins (at least, it seemed to be more the back)
Light shining through the doorway.
Front of the castle, or maybe the side?
On the way back we opted for the more level, safer, quicker route....though it was full of huge puddles making it look like a stream in some places, as seen below.
The sunset was brilliant as we walked away. It was the perfect ending to a fun hour and a half excursion.
Slain's at Sunset...photo taken about 3:35pm. How sad!

14 November 2008

I've Been Here Too Long

I am like the Scots...I like to discuss the weather. I learned this from my Dad. His favorite channel is The Weather Channel....no joke. So humour me as I relate the following.

Today was a warm day. There is no way this time last year that I would have called 55 or 57 F warm, but today I could, with my whole heart and body say, and believe, that it was a warm day. When we first arrived and we'd hear people talking about warm days like this I'd stare at them and politely disagree. They told me I'd learn to appreciate them and probably adapt. I'm scared to admit they are right. I have adapted. My body is getting a new temperature gauge, at least on the high end. Living in NC messed up the low/cold side of my internal thermometer. There (and honestly here too) "cold" is 20's and 30's. After growing up in Ohio I have forgotten (thankfully) what true cold is like....the cold that is below zero Fahrenheit, not hovering around zero degrees Celsius.

My body has learned to differentiate all 30 or 40 degrees in variation from low to high that it ever gets here. How truly amazing our bodies (maybe our minds?) do this! I was so grateful for the warmer feel of today, and grateful I felt that it felt warmer!

11 November 2008

A Few More Signs

It's been a long time since I've posted any signs. Unfortunately, I think I've found all the best ones already, so these aren't the greatest. For those of you newer to this blog or those of you wanting a refresher of all the fun signs we've found the past year, click on the new slideshow running on the right of the blog entitled "Latest Flickr Photos." Or you can go here.

Did I ever include this one? Found at a local "petrol station." They rarely say "call" here for "phone" (maybe never?) so this sign makes more sense if you know that!
It still sometimes catches me by surprise to see words like Tire and Fair spelled with a "Y"

I should have taken the sign as a whole, since I liked most of it. I particularly am fond of the photos depicting the actions.

Of all the photos on the sign, this is my fav...."Help! The water is going to touch my feet!!!"

Cotton Candy here is called Candy Floss.

This guy found on the "rubbish bin" reminded me of doing aerobics.

05 November 2008

The World is Watching

If there's been any doubt that the world has closely been watching the US elections, I can verify that this part of the world has definitely had their eyes turned to America waiting. I had two co-workers up late watching the results start to come in. I was asked multiple times today about my views on the results of the election, as well as heard an earful about their opinions. Nothing like a lively discussion about US politics across the pond. I also had a couple people comment about how cool it was that so many Americans got out to vote and were willing to wait in long "queues" just to take part. Overall opinion over here -- I think they are happy with the results of yesterday's votes and can't wait for Bush to be gone.

04 November 2008

Election Day

As previously mentioned we voted via absentee ballot about 10 days ago, so maybe you'll understand why I woke up this morning and completely forgot it was election day until I saw a co-worker on the internet reading up about it. (Hey, I remembered yesterday, just not yet today!) I said to this co-worker "I guess the polls will open in about half and hour" (it was 10:30am our time so 5:30am EST). She corrected me and said they'd been voting in New Hampshire since midnight. Okay then. Kinda sad when your non-American colleagues know more than you! Oh well, I figure we'll hear the outcome and that'll be that.

In other election happenings, Mark and I cracked up in the car this week when we heard the announcer on the radio say Barack Obama's name "Barrack (think army barracks) Obamer (think English accent putting "er" on the end of words that end in "a"). Made for a great election memory. We just wondered if the reporter knew that wasn't exactly how his name was pronounced, or if they just modified it culturally...appeared to be the latter.

01 November 2008

Heard Around the Office - Part 2

Ever since posting "Heard Around the Office" I've been collecting more fun sayings I hear at work, since I knew I missed a bunch the first time around.

We'll get it sorted = We'll get it taken care of (I know I've mentioned "sorted" on here many times, but it is a favorite of mine. One I love to use and will no doubt use the rest of my life!)

Guillotine = Paper cutter. You know the big slicer that's liable to chop fingers off (and maybe heads!)? Thankfully I've already laughed at Mark for years for using this one so I haven't laughed in my co-workers face when they ask for it.

Brill = Short for Brilliant, as in fantastic or great.

On you go = go ahead, you first.

Is that you done?/Is that you finished? = Asked of me at times when I'm leaving for the day after my shift is over.

That's me done/finished/sorted = I'm done/finished

Get messages = to run errands. From the olden days when people must have gotten actual messages when they went to town (?)

Daftie = an idiot or crazy person

Wifie/Old wifie = an woman (usually older?)

Mannie = a man (usually older?)

I'm not bothered = I'm not hungry. I hear this when ladies are discussing who will be going to lunch at what time. If someone doesn't mind waiting until the later time they say "I'm not bothered."

Do your bit = Do your part. Part of the University's ad campaign for recycling/reusing.

7:30 for 8 = Maybe they do this in US, but I'd just never heard it. They put this on invitations sometimes meaning you can start arriving around 7:30pm and things will begin at 8pm.

Ooohachno/achno (pronounced oo-ah-ck-no) = a slurring together of sounds/words to say no to something/someone. Quite endearing, really. Wish you could hear it since it is hard to put into words.

Talk(s) = Presentation(s).

Cheeky = Sassy, full of lip

Chuffed = Proud

Good on ya = Good job, well done

Zed = the letter "Z"

Hay-ch (pronounce the hhhh sound, long a) = the letter "H"

I couldn't work out = I couldn't understand.

Through the house = other side of the building, or adjacent room.

Argey bargey (pronounced ar-gee, bar-gee) = to agrue, argumentative.

And if you want to read lots more British words that differ from American ones, see this website. (I will warn you, though, it is completely unedited so there may be some offensive things, but for those of us living here, it is a good resource!)