Monday, April 30, 2007

Day 1

Yeah! I finally have my pictures. Unfortunately all of the first days' and part of the second days' pictures were overwritten by photos I took before I realised my pictures were gone. So I will be using my dad's pictures for that.

So, after all of the last minute hoovering, dishes, and general tidying, we hopped on the bus to meet my parents at Edinburgh airport. They ended up being about 25 minutes late. After our hugs the first thing they talked about was Heathrow. :) We have never had to go through Heathrow and we hope we never have to. They said their flight from Chicago was delayed by 1 1/2 hours because of a snow storm. The plane was waiting for a flight to arrive from Texas. This delay caused them to be late for their flight from Heathrow. They were obviously in a rush once they got to customs. The officer took his time chatting with them and looking over their passports. When my parents asked, "Aren't we going to miss our fight?" the officer said, "Probably." Then when they asked someone else, "Will they hold our flight?" (since they remembered that their flight had been delayed waiting for another flight), the person responded, "No, because you flew in on American Airlines. If you flew in on British Airlines they would have waited for you."

Appearantly the travel agent told them they wouldn't have much of a walk at all from the the gate they arrive at to the one they depart from at Heathrow. This was far from the truth. They had to book it from one end of the airport to the other. Thankfully their flight was delayed and they made it just a few minutes before take off.

Other than that, they loved the flight. My dad even took some video of take-off and landing. He loved that part. That is the part of the flight I dislike the most. We are so glad that their first experience flying was a good experience (other than Heathrow).

After all of that we knew we would have to try to keep them up as long as possible, otherwise they would never get on our time schedule. So after the initial resting up and opening their suitcases full of goodies for us, we took them on a walk around our neighborhood.

It was such a lovely day. We walked down the River Leith. This is one of our favourite places to walk. We took them to explore a bit of Dean Village.
And my dad got his first photo of a red phone booth. :)

Josh was pretty tired by this time so we had to stop and rest so he could catch his breath.
Mom does not look like she just survived a long flight and a quick jog through the airport, does she?

On our way home we had to stop by my place of work. Ya know, just so they could see where I work. Ok, we got a little treat, too. :)
We went back home to get some dinner, but first my dad wanted to take a wee kip. It ended up being a not-so-wee kip as he slept through the rest of the evening. He woke up for a couple of hours just as we were going to bed, but then slept through the night.
While mom was still up Josh ran out to the chippie for some good ol' Scottish food. He brought back some battered and fried sausages, battered and fried hamburgers, and of course, some chips. We all tried Branston pickle for the first time. We decided that it had a good flavour and would have been good without the chunks of vegetable. We couldn't stand much more than a bite of it. Sam happily took it off our hands the next time we saw her. :)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Google satellite

I was wanting to share this. Have you ever looked at the satellite images on Google maps? Just go to Click on maps. To the left is a button for satellite. It will come up with a satellite image of North America. You can just zoom in and zoom out or type in a certain address. I could see the top of my parents' house! :) I think the area we live in looks pretty cool from the sky. The design of the roads is well, sort of boring yet interesting. It is boring especially if you are on the ground because everything looks the same, but it is interesting's Edinburgh! So if you know where I live, type in the road and see what my neighborhood looks like.

Also, here's a fun little excersise that someone gave me (was it you, Casey?). Go to directions. Type in London, UK to NY, NY. Scroll down and look at #37. Too funny!


It's difficult for me not to be jealous or discontent. Imagine that! I have had the opportunity to do something that not many folks get to do. I am living in another country, a beautiful one at that! There might be people who are jealous of ME! While I do really like it here - sometimes love, sometimes just feel fondly towards :) - I do get tired of being a transient. I am looking forward to finally putting down some roots - getting our own place, having some property where I can have a garden to sit outside and have a place to barbecue, establishing ourselves in a community, and not have to think that I am going to be leaving whatever friends I make in 1, 2, 3, 4 years.

I was thinking of what my friend Erin said in one of her comments on her blog that she has to forcus on the positives of wherever they live. I really need to do that more often because there are SO many positives here. Many negatives, too, but I should stop focusing on them. I mean, really. Look at how beautiful this place it!

My dad's picture

And how cool that we used to live literally 100 yards from a castle! (Well, from the esplenade)

Dad's picture again

And I get to hear that Scottish accent that all you Americans drool over EVERY DAY! Believe me, you get used to it. I hardly notice it anymore.

I hope to get my pictures soon so I can share more positives about this country.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A walk in the park

The day before yesterday Josh and I took a lovely walk to the botanics. The weather was so wonderful and everything was in bloom. It smelled so nice. It is such a treat to enjoy a bit of nature when you are living in the city, even if it is manicured.

We brought bread for the ducks and peanuts for the squirrels. The ducks are overfed right now. They were not that interested in our bread (even though it was homebaked!). The squirrels are not shy. They are so accustomed to being fed that if you stand in one spot they think you are about to feed them. They run right up to you. If you are rustling a bag, now, you better stand back! Once we heard on running about in some bushes. Josh rustled my bag of peanuts and out he popped from the bushes! Some of them will even take a peanut right from your hand. I am too chicken. I usually drop it as soon as they are close enough. Some of them were greedy. Once they got the first peanut well secured in their cheeks they would wait around for a second one. :) I got a quick video of feeding one squirrel, but for some reason I can upload it to youtube. Will have to figure that one out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Facebook. Here's mine. I also have it in my website list to the left. I head about it for the first time from my friend Josh (former co-worker who deserted us for Egypt and is going back home to Canada soon). Then Emma finally sucked me in by inviting me to her facebook. I can't remember, but I think you have to sign up in order to view someone's page, but it's a lot of fun. You will never imagine some of the people you can find on there! It will even automatically send an invite to the people in your address book who are already members, then they confirm the invite and you are friends!

I know, I know, like you need another site to keep you on the internet (that is just what I was thinking), but this is a great way to keep in touch with people in a rather non-committal way. You don't have to make posts all the time like on a blog. You can leave a quick message for someone on their "wall." You can add your work and school details and it will let you know who else from your college or place of employment are members. Cool!

Sign up and add me as your friend. Then I can finally see what you are up to rather than just knowing you are lurking on my blog and not leaving comments! :)

Oh, and if you are from American Expats just let me know who you are because I may not connect the name and the screen name. I don't want to just add any old weirdo as a friend. Just the expat ones. ;)

Monday, April 23, 2007


Why do I have to sign up for a Google account every single time I want to leave a comment on a blog? At first I just had to sign into my dashboard (twice), but now that doesn't even work!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

New Layout

A few weeks back when I tried to add a link to my sidebar, everything disappeared. I was so annoyed and I cannot figure out how to get them back. So I took this opportunity to choose a new layout, though I still like the old one. I wasn't really happy with any of the ones I had to choose from. If anyone would like to voluteer their services to create a fun layout for me I'll, um, I'll think of something. :)

I am still in the process of adding my links. I will probably leave some out and add some new.

Make absolutely certain

I'm sure we have all had those times where the cashier gives us our change and we say, "Oh, but I gave you a X." Well, I make a lot of precausions to avoid that from happening. When I am given a note I lay it down in front of me, on top of the till, until I am done giving the change. Also I say "out of." So if they ordered a grande latte I would say, "That is 2.25 out of 10."

So I was serving a lady today, doing all of these things as usual, but of course she waits until I put the money away to say, "I gave you a 20." I was pretty certain she didn't, but I looked in the spot where I place my 20s and 10s. There was a 20, but there were a few 10s on the top. I told her this, but she kept insisting, saying that she knows it was a 20 because her husband gave it to her. So I grudgingly give her an extra 10. BIG MISTAKE!!! I know that I should not have done that, but it was so busy, there was a queue going to the door and I figured I would not be able to take the time to take my till downstairs to count it. I served the next person, then consulted my coworker. The lady was sitting in, so I still had time. He told me to count my till. He would cover for me.

I took my till downstairs and counted it. Sure enough I was £10 down. I consulted my coworker again just to make sure I was figuring it right. I went to the lady, apologised, and said that I had counted my till and it was now £10 short. She huffed and puffed and rolled her eyes (she was a bit snippy to begin with, couldn't believe that we didn't have a microwave to heat up our croissants with). She said she was going to call her husband because he gave her the money, then she would come over to me.

So I had to cover bar. Ten minutes later she had not come back to me, so I went to her. She said that her husband told her that he did give her a 20, but since she didn't want to dispute it she would give me the 10 back. I then went downstairs and had a good cry. I guess it really stressed me out.

It seems that I have been in the habit of giving change too quickly and giving 10s rather than 5s lately. This is really silly on my part because the bills are different sizes and colors. This means my till has been £5 short a few times and is starting to look suspicious. I caught it once when I glanced up as a guy was putting the note into his wallet. I saw the color and said, "Oh, did I give you a 10?" Without even looking at it he said, "Yes." My heart dropped and I thought, 'this guy knew I had given him too much change and did not even say anything.' So, as a cashier I am pleading with you, please make sure you know what you are giving the till operator and check to make sure they have given you the correct change.

And another thing, make sure you get YOUR drink. When it is busy and customers are in a rush, sometimes they will just come over and grab the first drink that appears on the bar, even if there are other customers before them. If I have a suspicion that it might not be their drink I will repeat it and they will nod and take it anyways.

Today a lady came over and grabbed the venti skimmed latte I just put on the bar. I had a feeling it wasn't hers. I made the next drink, a decaf grande latte. I put that on the bar and the poor guys standing there said, "I think that lady took my drink." I said, "Well, she is going to be suprised because she ordered a decaf, and that is not what she got." See, I clearly called the drink out, she was standing right in front of me, and it was a different size. I don't get it!

And this leads to another thing. Decaf coffee. I have heard people complain several times that they ordered a decaf and were sure it was not because they were so perky afterwards. First of all, make sure you get YOUR drink! :) Secondly, decaf is not caffeine-free. They are not able to get all of the caffeine out of the bean so there IS still just a wee bit in there. For some who are sensitive, it may effect you. Thirdly, yeah, there is the chance that they did not give you decaf. If you are getting your drink at Starbucks and they call your drink out but you did not hear "decaf" don't be afraid to ask. It is such a habit for me to hit the regular button, that I have to think hard to make sure I hit the decaf one. If I am not absolutely certain which I hit, I will remake the drink. I understand how important it can be to some people to have decaf rather than regular. Not all are this careful so just double-check. I try not to get annoyed with the customer who asks, "Is it decaf?" after I have clearly called it out as decaf. :)

Friday, April 20, 2007

On Hold

It was a good week. We had a very nice visit from my parents. We were concerned that we would wear them out, but it was the other way around! I think I am finally recovered.

I had a great disappointment on Tuesday. I had all of the pictures from the whole week on my memory card. When I went to put them on the computer I found that I only had 35 pictures. I knew that I had taken about 250. I was totally gutted. They somehow just disappeared. My dad had taken about a million pictures, but I still wanted mine. They showed the trip from my perspective. Well, my dad told me that he would take the card home and try to recover the pictures. I didn't count on it because I didn't want to get my hopes up. But guess what? He did! So they are sending us a cd of my pictures. I will have to wait until then to post about the holiday because I just can't do it without the pictures.

So just hold on! Hopefully sometime next week I can show you what we did. But I will say that I am enjoying with wonderful American goodies they brought with them. :)

Thursday, April 12, 2007


We are picking my parents up from the airport in just 2 1/2hours. I am so curious about how their flights went. This is the first time ever that they have flown. Good for them for going through such an adventure later in life!
Queen's English
We were chatting with our friend Brett from American Expats. He teaches English as a second language. He was saying how it is funny that he is an American in Scotland teaching the Queen's English. When he is teaching a word that ends with 'er' he is to pronouce it like ə (however would be pronounced howev-uh). And then we were talking about how it's funny that they just seem to switch their er's and a's at the ends of words because if a word ends in 'a' it is pronounced with an 'er' and the end of it (Emma is pronounced Emmer)

Monday, April 02, 2007

New Blog

My friend recently succumbed to the blogging craze and started a blog herself. It's a great way to keep in touch with people, especially as an expat, as she has been for a few years now.

I first met Erin online on American Expats before we moved to Edinburgh. She and her husband and their little girl were living in Edinburgh. He husband was studying at New College, where Josh was at the time planning to study (and has now finished his degree). They lived in Evanston before their move and had similar backgrounds to us. I thought "How strange!" Erin was such a huge help, allowing me to email her and ask all kinds of silly questions about Edinburgh and student housing. They invited us over for dinner our second night after our move to Edinburgh. It was so nice to already have a contact over here and to meet them. It was also very convenient because earlier that day I broke down crying because our oven did not work (well, it was all of the emotions of the move, time change, everything).

Now Erin, Eric, Kate and their newest addition, Will live in a prairie town in Canada. Erin plans to post about life in Canada and parenting (a passion of hers). Go visit her blog. She has a lot of insightful posts on our forum. I am looking forward to reading more on her blog.