Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's the Holiday Season ...

Sorry to be so absent on the blog during this holiday season! Matt and I have been in a whirlwind of festive activity, and it isn't slowing down! We're headed to Knoxville to see Matt's grandparents and then to the Arbo Family Farm for the weekend.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Our Journey Home

We have arrived in Nashville safely! However, Matthew and I rarely do anything without extra adventure, and our trip home is no exception. We left our Edinburgh flat at 4:45 am (Greenwich time) ... which is probably when most of you were going to bed Sunday night... and finally arrived in Nashville Tuesday afternoon a bit after 2:30 pm.

After running to board our plane in Frankfurt (yes- we had to run because our first flight was delayed on the runway and the German security officials were painfully slow letting us through our second round of security), we found our seats only to sit on the plane for three hours and then have the flight cancelled. Then there was waiting in another line, and another line, and then another line ... just to find out we would be staying the night in the Frankfurt Sheraton and flying out in the morning.

I was so glad to arrive on American soul. Living abroad in Europe can be pretty fantastic, but all the little things that constitute America make me happy -- it's simply home. Because we were a day late, mom had patients to see but dad was there at the airport to welcome us with open arms and a $20 dollar bill! After only receiving two of our three pieces of luggage and getting all of that paperwork figured out, we were off and soon driving through Chick-fil-a for some chicken nuggets and a sweet tea!

Upon arriving at the house, my Gram and Stan greeted us which was a sweet surprise! Soon my mom was at home and we were sitting around the family table eating homemade lasagna -- one of my favorites. At that point, I couldn't have imagined being any happier! We celebrated my dad's birthday, ate cake, and he opened a few of his presents -- one of which was our wedding album! Yay!

Then, mom and Gram told me that Gram had a little gift for me. They said it was for graduation, passing the bar, Hannakuh, Christmas, and birthday -- and then I saw the blue bag -- the blue Tiffany's bag. (What a way to be welcomed home!) Gram and Stan gave me the most stunning strand of pearls I have ever seen! What a sweet, sweet little treasure to remember all the good and exciting events this year has brought. Thank you Gram and Stan!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Hearing Antonin Scalia

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia once wrote the following for First Things:

Before proceeding to discuss the morality of capital punishment, I want to make clear that my views on the subject have nothing to do with how I vote in capital cases that come before the Supreme Court.

Interesting statement by one who is considered to be so influential in such current, hot topic cases. While some believe Scalia to impose and read his values into the cases brought before his court (as deduced by writers interested in Scalia's personal beliefs on capital punishment, sodomy, abortion, etc.), Scalia strongly disapproves of such activism.

While the hosts of the lecture the other night continually referred to Scalia as "provocative," I thought he was nothing of the such! His modest address merely stated that moral decisions on items such as capital punishment, sodomy, and abortion should be left to the people and not to a select, tenured group of judges. He believes dialogue and debate of the people is the mark of true democracy.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Notice anything strange about this picture?

A Few of Weaver's Thoughts

''The spoiling of man seems always to begin when urban living predominates over rural. After man has left the countryside to shut himself up in vast piles of stone, after he has lost what Sir Thomas Browne called pudor rusticus, after he has come to depend on a complicated system of human exchange for his survival, he becomes forgetful of the overriding mystery of creation.''

So what solution does Weaver offer to the city-dweller?

''If he could continue to realize the presence of something greater than self and see the virtue of subordinating self to communal enterprise -- that is, see the virtue and not simply respond to coercion -- he might remain unspoiled even in the city.''

Richard Weaver from Ideas Have Consequences

Sunday, December 9, 2007


This evening we attended a small Christmas soiree at our neighbors' flat upstairs. We had an interesting discussion about cultural differences between the east and west and then between the US and UK. Moving to a new country and new culture brings with it a set of linguistic problems to overcome even if everyone is speaking English! Here are a few language differences:

1. Cilantro = Coriander (It seems to be a bit milder here -- however, this was a fantastic discovery :)

2. Line (as in waiting in line for a dressing room or to get on the bus) = Queue (How different is that!)

3. How are you doing? = How are you getting on? (After being asked this, I was curious as to where I was getting on to... what desination?!?!!? I'm confused!)

4. Thanks/Appreciate It = Cheers (This word is used for everything!)

5. Herbs (Silent 'H') = Herb (pronounced with the 'H' like Her-b)

6. Watch Out = Mind (as in 'Mind the Step' or 'Mind the Low Ceiling')

7. Five = Fiver (Say it with a Scottish accent!)

Isn't it a wonderful world???

Funny Story

As of this past Friday night, I had only had Indian food once in my entire life. During a snow storm in Lynchburg, my friend Colleen (she's the brave northerner from New Jersey) picked my snow-trapped self up and since we were already being adventurous (driving in snow), we thought we should continue the adventure with Indian food. (Colleen is my friend who I've even had Peruvian food with -- who else has had Peruvian food?).

Back to the funny story. So, Matt's last official day of school was this past Friday. Hence, he and some of his buddies from New College were celebrating together. Since I was on my own, I decided I should treat myself to something interesting and lovely for dinner-- then hole myself inside my warm and cozy flat for a good movie or two. After unsuccessfully trying to order soup at the local Chinese restaurant, I headed back to the flat for all the take-out menus our landlord had left behind for us. Being put-out with how expensive Pizza Hut and Dominos are here (I know I can get the same thing for half the price back home), I decided to order take-out from St. John's Curry Club. This Indian restaurant is only about half a block from my flat and has won several local culinary awards. How could I go wrong?

So after my perusal of the take-out menu, I called St. Johns and placed the order. After retrieving the food from St. John's, I devoured the yummy chicken curry dish, rice, and nan bread. I felt on top of the world about my discovery (and a bit stuffed). It was so good. I even had leftovers so Matt could try it later -- which happened to be Saturday morning for breakfast, or maybe brunch :) Matt loved the curry food as well! Absolutely loved it. And I most definitely helped him eat the leftovers. Mind you -- this would be two curry meals within 24 hours.

Later on, Matt and I headed out on the town for some Christmas shopping and enjoyment of Matt's recent liberation from studies. After a few stops, Matt decided it was time to eat. As I was looking around in that area of town, I noticed an Indian restaurant that had a superb little lunch deal. It looked like a super posh restaurant, so I suggested we eat there for lunch. Hence, three meals of curry in a row. (This little posh Indian restaurant was superb as well).

After an afternoon of shopping, Matt and I headed to a friend's flat for a dinner party. Other diners included a PhD student at New College, a fund manager from London, and a local GP. The company was fantastic. Conversation was lively and interesting. We even had a mini lecture on English political structure (they still have heridtary roles in the House of Lords- who knew?). But the best part -- (are you ready?) -- they served curry for dinner!

How did I manage to have four curry/Indian meals in a row after only having it once in my entire life???

Friday, December 7, 2007

Returning to America

Upon my return, I'm looking forward to a few things:

1. Holding a crisp dollar bill in my hand (or $20) and not having to count out another currency at every check-out counter. (It can really make you feel like a 5 year old)

2. Driving a car. On the right side of the road.

3. Being able to purchase cilantro.

4. Chicken.

5. Price tags in US dollars. And being pleasantly surprised at how low the price is.

6. No draft in the shower.

7. Hot water at the kitchen sink.

8. Not having to climb three flights of stairs to arrive home.

9. Jeans and towels that have been dried in a dryer. It really makes a huge difference.

10. TV shows that are not exceedingly low budget (Scottish anything) or 7 year old re-runs from America. (There are only so many Friends, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and Frasiers one can watch)

11. A few more hours of sunlight.

12. Not having to wear my hair in a pony tail constantly due to the crazy wind. (It can be quite blinding and very dangerous when crossing the road)

13. Last but not least: spending time with my amazing family.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Why Not Have a Big Life?

I checked for tomorrow's sunrise and sunset. Depressingly, the sun will rise at 8:28 am and set by 3:40 pm. And when the sun sets here, it. is. dark! With such little sunlight, I decided I need to wake up with a new mantra.


I want a big and glorious life even if the sun doesn't join me!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Plans for Today

Matt just called and informed me that the weather outside is amazingly pleasant. Soon I will be headed out the door to galavant around the entire city, enjoying the weather, and trying to soak up the sun before it sets around 3 pm. My "to do" list today includes a little Christmas shopping at the Ethical Fayre (Edinburghers love calling things 'ethical'), the German Market, and charity shops in Stockbridge. Strangely, I did not buy one unedible item in Paris. I was too busy looking around at all the sites and trying to catch the spirit of France! I guess making a purchase in Chloe or Louis Vuitton would count as catching the spirit of France, but since that was not plausible, soaking in the sites of Notre Dame, the Louvre, and the Basilica of the Sacre Couer did the trick!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Paris J'Taime

Our friends' flat was about a two minute walk from here -- amazing!

Matt Playing with Sweet Baby Cora

On Top of the Eiffel Tower

Isn't Paris Lovely?

Notre Dame

Matt in L'etoille - a yummy little restaurant

Champs d'Elysees

Isn't she the cutest baby?

Matt and I had an absolutely fantastic time in Paris! It was lovely to visit our friends, the Helm family, and to have a break from Edinburgh. We managed to pack a ton of fun into three days! The highlights include climbing the Eiffel Tower, visitng Notre Dame, exploring the Pantheon, walking Montmarte, eating in cute little French cafes (I'm now officially addicted to au pain chocolat and intend on finding the best French bakery in Edinburgh starting tomorrow), taking pictures atop the Arch de Triomphe, perusing the shopping district, and dining in fantastic brasseries.
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