Friday, September 29, 2006

New Favorite Song...

Or maybe just one line...

Je ne veux pas travailler

It's a song that's played at work. Our French barista translated it for me. Who knows what it means? I know Steph does.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A Bit Frayed...

I haven't been spending as much time online lately. Work has been very stressful. It doesn't seem to be letting up. Please pray about that. I am feeling a bit frayed at the edges. Please pray for the job search for Josh, as well. Thanks.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

You know you've been living in Scotland when...

1. You think it's a lovely day because it's not raining.
2. You have a cemetary of inside-out brollies.
3. A baked potato sounds like a good meal.
4. You THOUGHT you knew how to dress in layers, but now you REALLY know how.
5. You have experienced four seasons in one day.
6. You don't even notice the piper down the street anymore.
7. You giggle when an American says, "pants."
8. 75 degrees feels like a heatwave.
9. You wont even think of having tea without milk.
10. You no longer step out of the way of someone on the sidewalk. It's every man for himself!
11. You commonly use words like wee, bletherin, knackered.
12. You're looked at like you are an alien when you say you haven't got a mobile number.
13. You wonder how you ever got by without a hot water bottle.
14. You wonder how you ever managed to fill an American sized fridge.
15. Taxes takes on a whole new meaning: income tax, national insurance tax, road tax, council tax, TV license, VAT tax, a (possible) new dining out tax??
16. You can interpret a wee bit of Scots: "The war ance a man an a wife that didna hae ony bairns sae lang as thay wis rich, but whan thay becam puir, thay haed a wee laddie." Brither's Grimm

Monday, September 11, 2006

Do you remember?

When I was little I would hear the adults talk about how well they remembered where they were, what they were doing when they heard about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Now I know the feeling. My generation can say the same thing about the 9/11 attacks. It has been five years and I still get the same gut-wrentching feeling I had that day.

It was one month before our wedding. I was living with Grace and Josh had recently moved into what would be our first apartment together. Josh picked me up and we headed downtown for work. Neither one of us watched TV or listened to the radio, so we had no idea what was going on at that time in New York.

We walked into our office like a normal work day and prepared ourselves for a day of service. As I was at my desk, my co-worker, whose desk was butted up to the front of mine said, "Haven't you heard? A plane crashed into the World Trade Center in New York." I remember giving and astonished laugh and thinking, "What a freak accident!" I was thinking it was a little crop plane whose pilot had lost his way or something. But my co-worker was very sombre. A little later I heard the secretary on the phone saying, "Are they evacuating the Sears Tower?" This is when I realized something was terribly wrong. I headed to the back of the office, the kitchen area. I then noticed that the office was eerily quiet because everyone was back here, glued to a TV they brought out from another room. Here I saw for the first time the smoke billowing out of the first building. I don't think the second one had been hit yet. My heart stopped. I was sad for the people in the upper levels of the building, but I figured most of the other people would be able to evacuate the building.

The sequence of the next events was a blur. The second building was hit. The first building fell. There were rumors of other planes in other cities (was Chicago a target?). The second building fell. The Pentagon was hit. Another plane crashed (shouldn't we all go home?). The other building collapsed. I don't remember in what order this all happened. There were pictures of people covered in ash running frantically from the buildings. It looked like they were filming in black and white. The crashes, the collapses were replayed over and over again. We repeatedly saw the reaction of the newscaster standing with the buildings in the background as the second building was hit. One of the ladies in the office was frantic and could not stop shouting exclamations. I was glued to the TV.

I had the thought that my parents would be trying to contact me. I returned to my desk and the eerie quite. There was a voicemail from my mom. She was concerned that Josh would be drafted to war. This was the very first time it occured to me that this would be an attack from another country. I started to tear up. I selfishly thought that we would never be able to have our wedding.

I began talking with co-workers. We were wondering, hoping that we would get sent home. Because of safety. Because we needed comfort. Because we all wanted to be with our families.

No, the day would go on. There was a rumor that a plane might be headed for the Sears Tower. Dang, we had to drive right by it! As we drove out of the downtown area and headed to the south-side we watched the tallest building in Chicago. Others were already watching it. Camera crews were stationed at bridges with their cameras poised. I remember breathing a sigh of relief as we headed south and away from the skyscrapers, and dreading coming back. I wondered if we would even see the tall tower on our way back.

At our site in Englewood our work was not so much of passing out fare cards, clothing vouchers, and referrals for mental health. Today our clients needed someone to talk to. They were scared, angry. So were we. I don't know how we did it, but we managed to bring a little bit of comfort to Holy Angels Church.

We did not know anyone personally in the World Trade Center, but they say that everyone 'knew someone who knew someone' and we did. We were also effected simply by living in Chicago and working downtown. It brought fear that other large cities, tall buildings would be attacked. Would there be another attack the next day during rush hour in another large city? Then next month at the same time?

We got married one month and two days after the attacks. We heard word from many who were invited that they were afraid to come into the city. We are so greatful for those who did come to witness our vows and to celebrate with us. It was a joyful occassion in the wake of a very frightening event.

While we were on our honeymoon we decided to shield ourselves from the outside world during this tender and special part of our lives. Near the end of our retreat we switched the TV on to hear the word ANTHRAX plastered over all of the stations. I had no idea what anthrax was. We watched the news for 10 minutes and switched the TV off to enjoy the rest of our sheltered time together before returning to the real world.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Birthday and anniversary

Today is my brother's birthday. Happy birthday, Stevie!

It is also our one year anniversary of arriving in the UK. It doesn't seem that long ago, yet some parts really seemed to drag on. It has been a good year and we feel at home here. We still miss our friends, though, and we would love to hear from you!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Prayers/thoughts, please

Josh has an interview on Tuesday for what looks like would be a very good job. It is similar to what he did in Chicago but it also looks like it would be somewhat supervisory. The office is close to home, as well. He is required to do a 10 minute presentation on his 6-month stratigic plan, which is intimidating as he does not know a lot about the program or social work in the UK.

Portrait Gallery

We went to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery a couple of weeks ago. One of the vestibules was covered in murals and elaborate decorations.

Friday, September 08, 2006

All moved in and unpacked

I don't remember what I said in the last post and I am too lazy to pull up another browser to look at it, so sorry if I repeat myself.

We are really enjoying our new flat. It is just a few minutes to work in one direction, and about 8 minutes to the grocery store in the other direction. The grocery store is large, too, so better selection. And I don't have to go uphill to either!!! In fact, I do what I can to avoid every going up the Mound again! :) There is a library just around the corner, and fantastic chippy and cafe down the street. We are close to quite a few good charity shops, the Botanics, the River Leith Walk, and a big park. Our road is a dead end, so very quiet, except for the neighbor who likes to blast his music, such as now.

About the flat itself. It is very sunny. We have a window and french doors that open to the outdoors in the living room and a big window in the kitchen, all of these facing south, and two big windows in our bedroom and a big windown in the spare bedroom, these facing north. So we are covered in winter when the sun is largely in the south, and summer when the sun is largely in the north. YEAH! We have more closets than we have ever had which we have already filled up because, unfortunately, we do not have under-the-bed storage, which I have always capitalized on. Our bedroom is good-sized, with a nice large desk. Josh is glad that I no longer have excuse to us the kitchen table as a desk. We have a tub again!! I have used it twice already, but I have to plan because I have to turn on the immersion heater about an hour before hand if I want hot water. The kitchen is teeny-tiny, which you who know me will know that is a difficult thing for me to cope with. But I am coping. We have moved some things around and made some IKEA purchases to deal with the small space. We have made a closet in the 'dining' area into a pantry with shelves we picked up at IKEA. Yeah! I have a pantry! We also bought a large chopping block to put over the hob (stove) when I am not cooking for extra counter space. Oh, and the cooker is so much better than our last one! Rather than needing to cook things twice and long and still having the risk of being undercooked, but now run the risk of burning things. It is still electric, but it has a fan in it to circulate the air. And the hob is gas. I am so happy to finally have a gas hob! All such trivial things, but nice to have. There is also a washing machine in the kitchen. This is where it is commonly put in the UK. I am happy to have it there. I thought it was hard having to go down one flight of stairs in Chicago to do the laundry, but in our last flat I had to take an elevator and 4 flights of stairs. Now I will be complaining about having to drag the laundry from our bedroom to the kitchen. :) No drier, though, so we have to hang our laundry in the spare room. If I do it early enough I can hang it in the sun in the front room (if the sun is out). It gets quite warm in there. Let's see, what else. Oh yes, there is a cat in our building, so on occassion I can pet him as I leave/enter.

Well, I wont bore you any longer. But I do want to say thank you to Sam and Peter for helping us move. They came after work one day and helped us with a couple of runs, then Sam used a holiday the next day to help us move the rest of our things. Thank you so much for the help! You can call on us when you move. Maybe you'll move near a great cafe, too! :)

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

We're back!!

We got a nice little parcel from Orange today. We decided to splurge on broadband. After having it in our previous accommodation we were spoiled. It really wasn't much more than dial-up, anyways, and we can call the States for cheaper.

So, just letting you know that we are back online now. I have some catching up to do. I will fill you in a little more on the move, later.