Friday, February 15, 2008

So, sorry about my blog...

...and how it hasn't been updated for a couple of months. If you want visuals, I've kept my picture albums on myspace completely up to date. But, if you want it spelled out I will now do a brief monthly recap from what i can recall. (i'm actually looking at my calendar from last year.)

October: After 3 months being in Scotland, things start to really happen! I think this month had the highest concentration of castle-seeing. I explored Blair Atholl, Linlithgow Palace, Culzean, Glamis, and Doune. Not to mention that i got locked inside a graveyard at St. Michael's, stopped traffic to get my picture taken in front of Gretna Green, visited England for the first time for a half hour (just enough time to get a chippy) and got completely lost wandering around in Glasgow. I also got to know Edinburgh quite well, gave a speech about my roll at the House at a Friends of Ecumenism Conference and started to make my own friends here (Kelly and Emma).

November: What a difference friends make! I started aqua jogging at the Rec Centre in Stirling with Kelly and met her other friends Catherine and Leanne. Lovely wee lassies! The first weekend in November was quite fun! Had a girly night (those are quite popular) at Catherine's (she lives in Old Plean) where I met a lot of great girls and I introduced everyone to my friend Dirty Shirley (Shirley Temple with raspberry vodka) and it was a hit! Then was picked up the next day to spend the rest of the weekend with my friend Emma in Menstrie. She is married, has a wee cheeky monkey of a son named Callum, and is expecting a new baby in May. Anyway, on the 5th of November they celebrate Guy Fawkes Night with big bonfires and grand fireworks displays. We went down to Stirling where everyone gathered in field by the university to ooh and ahh at this huge pile of pallets that they set on fire with a wooden "Guy" perched on top. Also, not to go unmentioned was the singing performance of one of the ex- X Factor competitors (think American Idol, but with Dannii Minogue instead of Paula, complete with Sharon Osborne and of course Simon Cowell).

At the end of November I went to South Wales. I feel like i could write a whole other blog about this trip, so I'll save it for another time!

December: Planning, planning, and more planning for the trip with mom, Hill and Laura in Scotland/England for Christmas and New Year! Was given tickets to see the Rosenethe Singers do The Messiah in Dunblane Cathedral. One of the most moving experiences of my life. The singers were magnificent. I felt so lucky to be sitting in a medieval cathedral listening to pretty much my favorite-of-all-time peices of music. Made me think of my Oma and how much she would've loved it. I miss her. Then I finally got to see my family! Talk about a trip of a lifetime. More on this later, I promise!

January: This month started out in an interesting fashion. I didn't have to be back to work until the 7th, so I had some time to recover from the whirlwind trip with my family. I went on this sort-of date (more like a tester) with this guy who is a good friend of my friend Emily. We went out to lunch at the Lion and Unicorn in Thornhill, and it was all very nice, but we decided we'd be better as just friends (read into that what you will). Then the next week I had what i consider one of the most Scottish experiences I've had here. My good friend Kelly had her farewell party, as she has now left us here in cold Scotland for the sunny beaches of Australia for no less than two years! Well, Kelly has like 2 aunts and 3 or 4 uncles, all with tons of kids- and all with the capacity to dance, drink and have fun more than any family I have ever known. (did i mention that i work with Kelly's mom and aunt at the House?) Me and the girls (Catherine, Leanne, Emily, Carmen and Kelly) dance the night away! And did you know that Dolly Parton is legend over here. You can't go out dancing without getting down to 9 to 5, I swear! And then I ended up on the bus that the family had rented singing "Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond" and "Wheels on the Bus" all the way home- where the party continued for Kelly and I until we crashed at 3.30, only to wake up at 9.30 to find her dad and uncles still swirling their whisky! I miss my wee Kelly, but she had one hell of a farewell!

Then a couple of weeks later my friend Catherine had her 30th birthday party! By this time I am now very aware of what you'll find at a good Scottish buffet, who to call for a good DJ and the necessity of finding a venue with a big dancefloor! Catherine's party was brilliant! Loads of dancing- which i can never get enough of! Catherine's finance Stephen and my friend Emily's boyfriend Andy are both on the Bannockburn rugby team. I've now met most of the guys on the team. I love rugby.

That pretty much brings us up to date! I've been hanging out with Emily and Catherine a lot: going out to the movies, rugby club, pubs, and basically having the time of my life- when i'm not working that is!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

A Recipe for Chicken Divan

Chicken Divan
I feel like Beth from Little Women who always contributed a recipe when she didn't know what to write for the Pickwick Society newspaper she did with her sisters. I love that movie so much.

So, i pretty much don't like the group that's been here for the last two days. I've been avoiding eating with them, as i usually eat with the groups during mealtimes, but these people have been super needy and whiny and rude.

Serves 6
Preheat your oven to 340 degrees

4 cooked chicken breasts (you can use turkey instead)
1 whole head of broccoli (cooked)
2 cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 cup of mayonnaise
1 teaspoon mild curry powder
a shake of lemon juice
bread crumbs
Parmesan cheese
melted butter

1. Mix the soup, mayo, curry and lemon juice all together

2. Layer chicken on the bottom of dish

3. Layer of broccoli, but not totally covering the chicken

4. Layer sauce mixture

5. Layer a mixture of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese

6. Sprinkle with melted butter

7. Place in the oven for approx. 40 minutes

I get this dish at least once a week at the House, and it's pretty good. Try it!

Oh, and:

I watched the season 4 premier of The Office on fanpop. I was alone, but I was sqeeing anyway, because this was the episode to beat all episodes! Finally, Jim and Pam are together. The world is a better place because of it.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Sunny Dunny Update #1

First off, i should mention that i am for sure living in Scotland for a year! All going well, i'll be staying through next year's workcamp at the end of July 2008.

So, i must be living in Scotland because i just made myself a Bebo account. The friends i've made over here refer to Dunblane on their profiles as Sunny Dunny, who knew?

Well, i thought i'd start with the basics, like where i am exactly. Okay, so i put a red dot right on Dunblane, so you can see i'm in a pretty central spot. Luckily for me, i'm right on the rail line. Just a hop, skip and a jump away from both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

So far i've been to Edinburgh and Glasgow the most. I went to the Highland Games in Crieff (from whence hails Ewan MacGregor). I've taken the old steam train through Aviemore, Boat of Garten and Broomhill, visited St. Andrew's, rode on a bus up through the Trossachs and down through Aberfoyle, and of course i've been to Stirling (the nearest town over) a bunch of times!

I love trains. At first it was a bit intimidating trying to learn the schedules and using the 24 hour clock which still kinda trips me up, but man, public transportation is grand! I had a rather exciting experience last weekend when i tried to catch the train to Stirling to buy a winter coat. The rails were being worked on, so they hired a bunch of busses to take people where they needed to go. There was a throng of people and people in neon vests shouting 'last call for Falkirk!' I hopped on one that promised to stop in Stirling, and that ride was pretty uneventful. I found a great winter coat! (see picture to the right. unfortch i'm in my PJs)

And then when i was done shopping, i hopped on a double-decker that said it was headed to Dunblane via Bridge of Allan. The driver was a maniac, and the experience seemed not unlike the Knight Bus one that Harry had! The guy showed a blatant disregard for pedestrians and jumped the middle of the round-abouts like it was nothing, careening through the small streets and stopping so suddenly i almost lost my packages!

I know i should have done this before now, but let me make a random list that i hope will give you a feel for my trip over here so far:

1. i sing with a Scots song troupe called The Liltin' Lassies

2. potatoes go with everything over here, and there are many ways to serve potatoes, one being baked and stuffed with cheddar cheese, tuna and coleslaw. it's good, trust me

3. it is really cold over here, a different kind of cold than we have at home

4. 'hen' and 'chickie' are common pet names that i get called over here. They're not really calling me chicken, i asked.

5. haggis is not bad, although i've only had the deep fried kind, and let's be honest, everything tastes better when fried. It's kinda spicy, which i think is weird.

6. everything closes at 5 except for the Tesco, which everyone's world centers around here in Dunblane.

7. there are 2 butcher shops on the High Street (which is like 'main' street) and one has gourmet meat pies like steak and Guinness, while the other ones has not-as-great pies, but has a cute assistant butcher with a big hoop earring and a cute smile.

8. speaking of, a lot of guys have the one lobe pierced with a herking earring. And they are still sporting haircuts with the razor details on the sides, you know like stripes and zigzags! Also, it's popular to have it cut it in what i like to call 'hedgehog' fashion which is oftentimes bleached and spiked.

9. Scottish people are super up on world politics and often say things to me like, 'i'm sorry about what's happened to your country.' That kind of comment doesn't bother me, because i agree with them, however i've heard some other not so nice things said about America, but mainly it's just about Bush. For the most part they know to differentiate between Americans in general and the American government, which i appreciate.

10. i eat lamb all the time, and i love it in stew, but i wouldn't recommend reheating it.

11. i've been doing a lot of walking over here. number one, i'm kinda forced to, not having a car and having to walk to the train station and all, but also because it just seems natural. It seems like everything is so old and beautiful over here, that it's like the best way to see things.

12. Indian food is to die for over here, my favorite is lamb biriyani and the rogni naan.

13. i miss my car, iTunes, Mexican food, 24 hour stores, my bed, a nice variety of clothing to choose from and making money. oh, and my family, friends, and my Pippin!
14. i'm a bit lonely here at the moment because we're waiting on the other volunteer to get her visa in order. Her name is Gulchehra, and she's from Tajikistan, but has to go through Kyrgyzstan to get her visa, that's what's taking so long. I'm excited just to have someone else in the flat! You should google/wikipedia Tajikistan, it's interesting.

15. Tomorrow i'm going on another hike by myself down the old Darn road which goes along the Allan Water to Bridge of Allan, which is a little town that has a nice cafe for me to have a hot chocolate and a good read in. Last time i went on a hike, i got rather ambitious and hiked up to Sheriffmuir, which was very rewarding, but quite the endeavor, and so i'm looking for something a little easier this time.

So, i promise to update more regularly now! This was fun! Peace.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Here you go!

I hope you enjoy blogging.