Thursday 27 November 2008

No Turkeys Were Harmed In the Making of This Post

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

I've been remiss in my blogging duties of late, and I do humbly repent and promise to begin anew with regular at-least-once-a-week posts forthwith. Please accept my sincerest apologies.

As proof that I am back on the blogging wagon, I wanted to share a little of my Scottish Thanksgiving. It's been a good day, and the first time in a couple of years that I've actually celebrated on Thanksgiving. Well, last year I celebrated-- with Pizza Hut buffet and three films at the cinema. But many of you said that just wasn't the same... so this year, I feasted. With other people. =)

I have this friend, named Paige. Actually, I only met Paige three weeks ago, when I came back to Aberdeen. But she is from Wilmore, and we graduated from Asbury the same year, and know people in common... it's a good thing, having someone who knows the same things and people you know, even if you don't know each other. She's here studying this year (and hopefully longer!), and if you've been following along, you'll know that she was the gal I went to see the fireworks with. Anyway, she volunteered to host a Thanksgiving dinner at the flat she shares with Kristianna (who, sadly, had to miss the festivities for another dinner with another friend... but we were kind enough to save her some pumpkin pie), and she did most of the cooking. Here is what we had:

~~roast chicken (I wasn't kidding in the post title; turkeys here are for Christmas, and you can't really find them this early. Bah.)
~~stuffing, from scratch, with veggies in (never had it like this, but quite liked it)
~~tatties (mashed potatoes, for the non-Scots in the audience)
~~sweet potato casserole (nuts and brown sugar, but no marshmallows. Can't really get them here, anyway.)
~~broccoli cheese casserole (mmmmm... the Southern gal in me thinks you can't go wrong with casseroles!)
~~herb bread rolls
~~cranberries (not a log, or a relish, but the whole things, cooked and syrupy and delicious)
~~wine (red and white)
~~coffee (caf and decaf, instant and brewed)
~~sweet tea (yes, you read that right... Paige made sweet tea! There were three Southern gals there, after all.)
~~pumpkin pie (with Dream Whip... my one contribution to the feast.)
~~Kentucky Bourbon pecan pie (oh my word... kind of like Derby pie, but with bourbon. Wow.)
~~homemade apple pie (with vanilla ice cream)
~~mince pies (UK-style, which means little individual tart-sized pies. My favourite Christmas tradtion here, and my other contribution to the feast. Sorry I lied earlier. =D )

I think that's all. As if that's not enough... I am so full I could hardly walk home. And it was a good thing I was walking home, after all that I ate! Wow. If there were football on here, I'd be dozing on the sofa with it in the background for sure. And Paige sent me home with a lot of leftovers, because there were a lot of leftovers. Score! =)

This is our table. We ate buffet style, because no one that I know of has a flat that is actually large enough to have people sit down around a table for a meal this size. But it was nice and cozy and worked just fine.

And see the bear there, surrounded by food? That's Inca John, and he travels all over the world, seeing new sights and taking in new experiences. Today was his first Thanksgiving, and he seemed to quite enjoy it. He belongs with my friend Liz, who came today for her second ever Thanksgiving, and she quite enjoyed it as well. Her first Thanksgiving was in Bolivia, with a group of Americans there, and the pastor of the group stole her piece of pumpkin pie when she turned her head to speak to someone. Right off her plate. Not a very pleasant experience. (Kind of reminds me of my dad, though... always have to watch your food around him. ;) ) Liz is a fellow Practical Theologian, and over the past year we have become good friends. She's English, but we don't hold that against her. =D

Also joining Paige and Liz and I were Rebecca (another American who is here for six months as an intern, cataloguing the extensive library that a retired professor is donating), Nicole (Paige's partner for class projects, who is also English but spent some time in North America) and David (Nicole's boyfriend, but I can't remember where he is from... ooops.), and Anne (a Finnish girl who has recently moved here to work, and has randomly run into Paige enough to become friendly acquaintances, at least). It was a fun crowd.

That's Paige, Liz, Nicole, David, me, Rebecca, and Anne in the middle. A good looking group, no? =D

So it's been a good day, full of food and fellowship. I hope that your day has been equally lovely, wherever you are and however you spent it. I am thankful to have people in my life here to celebrate with, and thankful to have you-- my friends and family, virtual or actual-- to share in my life from wherever you are. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Saturday 15 November 2008

'Remember, remember the 5th of November...'

Which is what I'm doing today, because I've been meaning to write about this since the 5th of November. Sorry... I'm a slacker. =D

Perhaps many of you aren't familiar with this little rhyme, and perhaps some of you are only familar with it from 'V for Vendetta'. But here it is in full (thanks to Wikipedia):
Remember, remember the Fifth of November,
The Gunpowder Treason and Plot,
I can think of no reason
Why the Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot.
Guy Fawkes, Guy Fawkes, t'was his intent
To blow up the King and Parli'ment.
Three-score barrels of powder below
To prove old England's overthrow;
By God's providence he was catch'd
With a dark lantern and burning match.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, let the bells ring.
Holloa boys, holloa boys, God save the King!
Hallowe'en? Not such a big deal here in the city. Guy Fawkes Day (aka Bonfire Night) on 5 November? It's huge. Traditionally there were actually bonfires, and burning of Guy in effigy. Nowadays it's mostly just fireworks. Not that I'm complaining; I LOVE fireworks. But it seems like everyone in the city goes, and I'm always on my own... and since I don't like crowds of rowdy drunks (which tends to happen, lol), I've never gone myself.

Until this year.

AND I didn't have to go on my own! My new friend, Paige, very kindly consented to go along with me for the cultural experience. And boy, was it that! We headed down to the beach esplanade around 7pm, for the start of the fireworks at 7.30. We made it to the end of Urquhart Road, and that big open grassy area just behind the hotel. It was PACKED! There were people everywhere, and music, and sparklers, and glow-in-the-dark everything.

We didn't have to wait very long for the fireworks to start... and, as Paige put it, they were like the grand finale at home-- for the full twenty minutes! It was pretty darn grand, that's for sure. And the Bond musical theme cracked me up. The heart-shaped fireworks during 'From Russia With Love' was particularly cool. ;) I got some good shots, and some not so good... there was a huge plume of thick black smoke that obscured a lot of the beauty of the fireworks. I don't know if that was because the air was so thick that night, or because of some pyrotechnic malfunction. Either way, it was a pity-- but what we did see was fantastic.

This is Paige...
and this is me.

I also took some video, but if you don't like fireworks, don't bother sitting through it. Because that's all it is. =) I have a couple of them, but I'm only posting the actual finale... although it's a little long. Sorry. I just LOVE fireworks. Did I say that already? ;)

It was chilly, but not freezing. It was crowded, but not out of control. I got to see fireworks, and go with a friend. All in all, a very good night. Even if it was in celebration of someone's execution. =)

Sunday 9 November 2008

Extreme Flat Makeover, Aberdeen Edition (aka 'Welcome Home!')

Well, no one can say life is boring here in my flat! =D

I got home last week after a quarter of a year in the States (egads! Time sure does fly...), and Kenny very kindly came to pick me up at the airport. And he waited there for me, for more than an hour, because my flight was delayed out of Manchester. Due to fog (of course... what else?!). And even though he didn't get my text letting him know because he changed mobile numbers while I was gone and I only had the old one. He's the best flatmate, I swear. (And I'm not just saying that-- I mean it!) He did, however, warn me that the flat was a mess. But that he had cleared a path to my room for me. ?!?!

I knew he had been redecorating the lounge, and that he wouldn't tell me what he had done/was doing, in order to surprise me. But thanks to a few untimely repairs in the midst of the remodel (like coming home one day to find a huge crack from one edge of the newly plastered and painted ceiling to the other), things... um... weren't quite finished. I wasn't sure what that meant, exactly: 'weren't quite finished'. But oh, I was about to find out!

Behold, the entryway:

And my room, with a lot of the stuff that should be other places...

Of course, some things never change... Dillon is always *up* to no good, among other things.

And then there's the lounge...

New flooring, new walls, new ceiling... and soon, new skirting board and finishing touches. I like it, but it's definitely different. I'll post more pictures as we go along.

Wednesday 5 November 2008

Back Again

Well, I'm back in Aberdeen, safe and sound. And exhausted, of course, but trans-atlantic travel always does that. I got in yesterday afternoon, after some delay in Manchester, and Kenny picked me up and brought me *home*. Today I had coffee with Paige and Elizabeth, and it was great to get out and to see them AND to drink coffee. Most things haven't changed in the city; a few things have. Overall, it just feels normal to be here, to be back, to be *home*. Strange how that works.

I miss my bubbee and my pumpkin pya, though. Big time.

Jen and Saum, too. =)

I'll post more soon... I have loads to share, both from my quarter of a year home (can you believe that?!) and from coming back. But right now, I just wanted to let everyone know that I made it back, and I'm trying to unpack, and I'll tell you all about it soon.

Hope you're all well! Happy Bonfire Night! =D