Monday 30 November 2009


One thing that I still haven't gotten used to here in Aberdeen, or in my transient student life in general, is saying goodbyes to friends.  This year there has, as usual, been some of that. 

First of all, last spring, Kristianna moved to Paris.  It was good in that it meant RitaBekah could move into the flat with Paige, and that we now have a place to visit in Paris (more on that later).  It was sad, though, because Kristianna is one of my friends who has been here the longest now.  It still feels weird for me to think of her not here in Aberdeen.  She came back to visit a few times, and the last time she moved completely to Paris (I got a lot of her shirts and stationary goodies and other random stuff).  We had a big Khyber Pass curry party to help her get rid of her stuff, and to send her off in tasty style. 

The reason Kristianna finally moved all her stuff to Paris was not just because she'd been living there for many months already, but was also because Paige was in the final stages of the Epic Stirling Move.  And RitaBekah was about to start her temporary US exile, in order to get funding and a visa to come back.  So that meant the great Orchard Place party flat is no more.  Well, it's still there-- it's just not 'ours' anymore.  Sad.

As for Paige, and the Epic Stirling Move, there'll be a post on that soon.  It actually started well before going to Stirling-- we moved her out of her flat and into Alisa's townhouse for two weeks before we moved her to Alva.  Whew.  What an adventure!  We did have to celebrate one last time in Zeste... hence the photos above.  =)

Finally, a family that had been good friends to me moved back to the States as well.  They graduated and headed home, and I was happy for them.  Sad for me, but still.  Jeremy had been in my office, and Betsy had been a friend in book club.  They have two cute kids who I had been able to see grow up a wee bit, and I miss them lots.  All four of them-- not just the kids.  =)  I went over for a big open house send-off for them, and it was so nice.  I hadn't gotten to see too much of them in the past months, with everything else going on in all of our lives, but it was nice to get to help send them off in style.  They had inherited the townhouse from other friends I had known-- from Lee and Jen to Dave and Dacia to Dave and Angela to Jeremy and Betsy-- and they passed it on to Alisa.  Keeping it all in the family, so to speak.  Although I miss them here in Aberdeen (in the office and in book club, largely), I am glad to be able to keep up with them on Facebook and know they are doing well. 

Ah, the student life.  It's got it's ups and downs, and this moving on is one of the downs.  But having known these friends?  Definitely one of the perks of my life.  =D

Saturday 28 November 2009

I'm Such a Bad Influence...

I love my tattoos.  I see them, and they make me smile.  Still.  Which is a very good thing, since they are here to stay.  I never thought of myself as a tatoo person, but they suit me, and I love them, and I'll get another... when I finish my thesis. 

Because I love mine so much, I love encouraging my friends to get their own.  Only when they've already been thinking about it, of course.  I'm not trying to force anyone to do something they aren't already interested in... but I did help convince two friends this year to get their firsts.  Because I'm a good influence that way. 

First, I went with Liz to get hers on the inside of her wrist.  It was no problem... no pain, and it turned out lovely.  It took all of ten minutes.  We celebrated by going to Costa for coffee.  It had been quite an adventure getting it scheduled and designed, but it was well worth the effort.  I loved being the designated photographer and moral support.

I got to do it again with Alisa a couple of months later.  Hers is on her foot, and she was not quite as laid back about the pain.  She did end up laughing more than screaming, but I like the painful pictures the best.  It was the same studio, and the same artist, and the same outcome-- nice.  It took all of fifteen minutes, and Paige met us after.  We decided to celebrate at Old Blackfriars from dinner and ales.  Again, well worth the effort, and thoroughly enjoyable for me.

I hope it was as enjoyable for them...  

Thursday 26 November 2009


fourth of july party in bridge of don.  kick ball.  barbeque.  deviled eggs.  sweet tea.  pudding.  potato salad. laughs.  sun. shorts.  kiddos.  fantastic.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Playing Tour Guide

abson and lara here!  edinburgh!  aberdeen!  curry!  loch ness! urquhart! exhausted!

Okay, so that's not enough detail for such a great few days.  =D  So here's the scoop. 

I was so blessed to get to see Abson and Lara again-- twice in one year!  They were back in the UK for Abson's PhD graduation (congrats, my friend!), and they took a few days to come up and visit me in Aberdeen.  It. Was. Great.  And It. Was. Exhausting.  But even that was great. 

So they came up in late June, I think... I'm all out of sorts now with my dates.  Anyway.  They flew up from London and I met them at the airport.  It was so exciting to have people coming to visit!  It's been too long since I've had visitors (hint, hint!).  The first day we just hung out in Aberdeen.  We went shopping at the beach (hence the hat-trying-on in the first photos), walked down to Footdee, and wandered back home via Castlegate and the city centre.  That evening, we went to Paige and RitaBekah's for Khyber Pass curry (the best curry in all of Scotland).  It was a really fun evening, and we had so many connections in common.  I love it when that happens.  Friends who know friends through other friends... it was like six degrees of John Wesley.  Actually, it was more like six degrees of Johnny Winkle, because we all knew him before we all knew each other. ;)  And we all were sad that Wes hadn't made it, as we all know and like Wes.  He stood us up, shame on him, and Liz was not happy about it at all.  =D  Seriously, though.  It was great to spend the evening with friends old and new, who are all somehow connected.  And to enjoy a lot of laughter and some fabulous curry. 

The next day, we rented a car and headed over to Inverness and Urquhart Castle.  This is one of my favourite places to show visitors-- it's in a gorgous setting on Loch Ness, it's a great preserved ruin, and it's just so darn cool.  It was a long day, with a long drive after a couple of nights of very little sleep (thanks to anticipation and visiting late into the night), but we had a brilliant day for it.  The weather was warm and lovely, we had a picnic on the shores of the loch, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.  I have a couple of pictures up there of our day-- see for yourself how perfect it was! 

The third day, we got up at the butt-crack of dawn to catch the Megabus to Edinburgh.  Our weather was not quite as perfect, but still it was worth it to spend time in the capital.  We explored the castle, the Royal Mile, and did a good bit of shopping.  We got rained on, but that's got to happen at least once on a visit to Scotland.  =)  When it wasn't raining, however, it was h.o.t. hot.  I mean it.  Sweaty hot.  I was dying.  Which means I am well and truly Scottish, as it was probably only the mid-70s.  Fahrenheit, of course.  Somehow I managed to not get many photos... I know Abson and Lara have some, but I don't have copies of them yet.  Perhaps I'll post them later, if I get them. 

That was the last day.  We stayed up late visiting and packing and just generally enjoying each other, before we had to part again.  The next morning we got up decently early, and I walked them to the bus stop so they could head back to the airport and London before going on home to Jamaica.  I was so sad to have them leave, but it was worth it to have them here, even for a few short days.  Thanks for coming to see me, Abson and Lara!  I love y'all!  Hopefully I'll get to return the favour and come visit y'all sometime soon!  =D 

Tuesday 24 November 2009

Countdown to Extinction

Okay, so it's not exactly extinction... it's just regeneration.  Which amounts to the same feeling in my poor heart. 

I can't wait for the next episode-- Christmas!  And yet, I'm not at all ready for it...

Just when I finally stop guarding my heart and fall head over heels... just when I realise that I am totally in love... just when I give in and let myself go...

Oh, Doctor.  Why do you do this to me?  I resisted for so long, Ten.  So, so long.  Because it broke my heart when Nine regenerated after such a short time.  My poor, poor heart.  But you.  You've been chipping away at my resolve with your personality and your good looks and your charisma and your cheekiness and your crazy hair, and you wore me down.  Won me over.  Stole my heart. 

And now?  Where does this leave me now, knowing that you are abandoning me so soon?  How can you do this to me?  It's not fair.  It's not right.  It's the beginning of the end....   :for those of you who are reading this through Facebook and can't see the embedded video. 


Monday 23 November 2009

Summer in Scotland

Warm weather!  Flip flops! Shorts! Tee shirts! Sitting in the sunshine! Yes.  Really.

 This has been the best summer since I've been here.  Consistently warm (in the 70s, which feels really hot now...), long days, lots of good stuff to do and enjoy.  The specifics are going to be in other posts, but here's just a taste of what I got to enjoy over my first summer spent exclusively in Scotland.  =D

Sunday 22 November 2009

Fabulous Friends

As I'm sure I've said before, it's been a rough year for me.  But one thing has been very, very good this year:  my friends.  Some of them have been here for a while with me, and we just hung out more this year.  Others of them are new to Aberdeen, but it feels like I've known them forever-- in a good way.  ;)  I am so blessed to have good friends here, who have loved me even when I've felt miserable and unlovable.  Here is just a taste of some of what I've done with them this spring and summer:

The Beckers (Carrie, Scot, Matthew and Adam) have been family for me-- literally.  One night a week, I go over to their flat for dinner and just hanging out.  Homemade soup and bread (Carrie is a fabulous cook), and games and conversation.   I just make myself at home, and it's been so great to have a family here again where I can just pop by anytime and who treat me like family.  I've missed that a lot since the Cornells left, and it's been so good to have that again this year.  Even if they live on the other side of town and I have to take the bus.  Which is another post in itself...

I have also done more fun stuff with the Beckers than just eat.  I've celebrated birthdays with them, gone swimming with Carrie and the boys (which was so fun, but so exhausting!  Adam is totally fearless, in or out of the water.), and attended a Mad Hatter Tea Party at Matthew's school (it was a fundraiser, and I bought a wee mint plant.).  The 'hats' in the photo below were made by Adam at the party.  Seriously, these guys have been great to me.  It's been just what I've needed this year.  Thank you, Beckers.  I love y'all.  =)

There is also, for the first time ever since I've been in Aberdeen, a group of single girls.  Yes, you read that right-- I'm no longer the lone singleton!  Okay, so there have been a few others here and there, but this past year there is a veritable gang of us.  Liz, Paige, Kristianna, Rebekah, Alisa, Aleithia... it's a miracle.  And worth the four year wait for it to happen.  I am a bit of a social butterfly again, going out for coffee or films or food... hanging out at other people's flats ordering in curry or fish 'n chips and watching dvds... helping my British friend get over her Subway phobias by walking her through the ordering process and enjoying the free refills.  Once a week, we students meet for coffee on campus in Zeste, which is known for it's lack of hospitality and random pricing changes and loads of loud undergrads and hit-or-miss coffees.  It's always an adventure.  Also fairly often, we would gather at Paige and Kristianna/Rebekah's flat to order in the best curry in Aberdeen-- Khyber Pass.  Sometimes we'd just eat and chat;  other times we played games (see the photo below of our cut-throat game of Apples to Apples.).  Mostly I just enjoyed being with the girls.  Liz, Pagie, RitaBekah, Kristianna-- thanks.  I love y'all, too.  =D

My friend Alisa had a car for a while... I helped her practice her right-hand driving and manual shifting, and named the car: an old red Escort, named Wheezy (after Ron Weasley, of course).  Sadly, Wheezy has now passed on... but on our first outing we drove to Banchory and ate at the Falls of Feugh restaurant.  I had Lettuce Soup, which sounds terrible but was actually quite delicious.  We also have had a lot of rain this year, so when we were there, the falls were really something to behold (see the video at the end, if you want a taste of their power that day). 

We also got a group together to go see Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince on opening day.  Inca John came along, as well, and took advantage of the photo opportunity to document our outing.  Most of you who know me will know that I am not a huge fan of the films (which is putting it mildly).  Still, it was fun to go with friends, even if I hated the film.  Okay, to be fair, I hated this one less than I have three through five... but I think it's only because my expectations could not have possibly gotten any lower than they were.  That doesn't bode well for films 7A and 7B, though, because now my expectations will have been slightly raised again.  *sigh*  The book is always better.  I should just get used to that, but I can't give up my hope that one day a film will get it right.  At least my friends enjoyed it.  =) 

And finally, because a picture really is worth more than all my rambling, here are some of my friends and the fun we've had together. 

Saturday 21 November 2009

Methodist Milestone

I am a United Methodist through and through.  It's not just because I've grown up in this denomination all my life (even though I have).  It's not just because I've gone to UM-related college and seminary (although I have).  It's because it's where I find I fit.  I have been involved with other denominations, have thought through the theological and doctrinal issues, and decided that this is my church home.  Any Wesleyan-Arminian traditions are comfortable to me (I was a common-law Wesleyan for most of my time at Asbury, after all), and I don't have any problem worshipping with or serving with those of other denominations.  But for me, the United Methodist Church is home.

Except in Scotland.  Here, I'm just plain Methodist.  And here, for the first time, I'm part of a church that was actually started by and visited by John Wesley himself.  He came to Aberdeen to start the Methodist Society here.  And he visited a couple of times.  How cool is that?!  We even have a big fancy chair in our sanctuary that was made for one of his visits.  It's the John Wesley chair.  =)

This summer, we celebrated the 250th anniversary of Methodism in Aberdeen.  We at Crown Terrace got together with other churches (like the Salvation Army) to celebrate.  We had an 'Ad Hoc Choir' to perform at a special service, celebrating Methodist hymns through the ages.  I practiced with them for three weeks, and thoroughly enjoyed singing alto again, as well as learning some traditional UK hymns.  We even made the world debut of a new hymn, buy a local Methodist scholar, academic, missionary, and all-round amazing man, Andrew Walls.  I have the songs downloaded, but I don't know how to get them here to share them with you.  I'll try to figure it out, but I can't make any promises.  If you come see me, I'll play them for you to have a listen.  =)

We also had a special open-air service in the Castlegate on the Saturday.  It was both an act of celebration for our heritage in Aberdeen, as well as an act of witness to the city.  The Salvation Army band played, we sang hymns, had prayers and our pastor, Ken Morgan, shared a short sermon.  It was a very dreich day (spitting rain, cold, foggy, generally yucky) but I'm so glad I went.  We were a small crowd, but the weather didn't put a damper on our spirits.  After the service, the Salvation Army opened up their cafe to us for free coffee, tea and biscuits so that we could all fellowship together... and thaw out a wee bit.  It was really cool to be there, to stand as a witness for Christ in Aberdeen, and to share fellowship and solidarity with other Methosdists here today and going back 250 years. 

The photos are of Howard Marshall, Paul Ellingworth, the Salvation Army captain, and Ken Morgan.  The following video is probably not much to look at, but I took it to give you a little sense of my hymn-singing life here.  It never fails;  I hear a tune I know and the words are different.  Or, in this case, I see words I know, and then the tune is totally different.  *sigh*  =)

Still.  I love being a Methodist, United or otherwise.  John Wesley is the Man.  =D