Home Sweet Home

Where exactly is my home? I have always struggled with this question. I was born in one place (Long Beach, CA) and raised in two others (Glendale, AZ & Modesto, CA). I went to college in another (San Luis Obispo, CA) and lived and bought a home in another (Pasadena, CA) for the three years before I moved to Scotland. Which of these places is my home? I seem to consistently call home two places: 1. Where my parents live 2. Where I currently live. For the past week, I have been visiting one of my homes, Modesto, CA. It has been a good time. It has been a week full of great American things…family, friends, fast food, shopping, cars and more.

Before this trip, I had forgotten how truly great America is. It is probably because everything has been taken away from me. When it was here, I really didn’t care. I used to avoid fast food; now I want as much of it as I can get because it soon will be gone. This is the same with many other things. America is just so great! Who doesn’t love driving around in a car blasting the stereo? Going thru any number of fast food restaurants? All the big box retailers? Oh, there is just so much that America offers that I have yet to find in Scotland.

Scotland is a good place, just much different than America. Since I was raised here, I just know what to expect around every corner. When I first moved to Scotland, it was more exciting not knowing what to expect. Now that excitement has worn off…at “home” I know exactly where to find things! But, leaving this time is not nearly as hard as the last. It was just a visit, not my life. That helps. I will be returning to a house with my own possessions, a job with people I know and a few friends. Scotland isn’t that bad, just not my original home.

Below are some pictures from my time at home. Enjoy!

Ian & Riley on the way home from the airport.

Tanner playing with his new Christmas present.

Tanner & Jeremy before he (Tanner, that is) melt down.

Clive in his cool new sunglasses!

Riley in her new coat. The hood even has fur on it!

Riley in front of the Christmas tree.

My mom at the place she sells antiques.

An Evening in Edinburgh

Ever wonder what there is to do in Edinburgh? Well, there isn't much, but here are some photos of my evening out last night...

Ian came to say hi to me and my friend Josie while we were hanging out at Starbucks...a different one than we work at though.

Josie and I went on a "bike ride". It was one of those rides where someone peddles you around. It was a girl biker; I was impressed!

This is Josie and I on the ride...

Then we got crepes from some stand on the side of the road. We ate them on a park bench...I thought you might be wondering!

Ian met up with us later. By that point, Josie and I had gone to the store and I decided to buy Ian flowers. Aren't I nice?!?

Well there you have it...a night in Edinburgh. Everything closes here by 6pm and there isn't much to do. Josie and I managed to wonder around almost the whole city, no exaggeration, and entertain ourselves. Quite the night!

The Thoughts of Jessica - Life Happens

Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.

Have you ever noticed we define our lives by big events? We remember years by big events that took place in them..."Oh, that was the year that I moved to Scotland." Okay, so maybe that was just this year, but you get the point. What I am trying to say is that we define our lives thru big events, but in reality, our lives are defined by our responses to these events.

Think of big events in your life. Think of how you "responded" to them. Now think about how your life would have been different today if you had responded differently. Our responses shape our life for the good and the bad. Unfortunately, we can't change either response...that is called life.

Earlier this year, when Ian and I decided to move to Edinburgh, my life was completely focused on the "move". I spent all my time, okay, well not ALL of it, thinking about what my life was going to be like. Then I move, compare the hell out of my "new" and "old" life and think about what I miss. What gives? I do have a good life here and I am living it. But, it doesn't mean I don't miss the old one. But, I made a decision and am living with it.

As I look forward to heading home in six days (I am home for just a week) things are still going on over here. I am making friends. I am going tanning (which I have never done before). I am going to watch the big football game (supposed to be the biggest one for this "generation" in Scotland...or so I read in the paper). I am making people coffee. I am living my life...

Think about it.

Baby it's Cold Outside!

Okay, so everyone knows it is cold in Edinburgh. And, I make sure no one forgets it! But tonight when Ian and I were getting ready for the gym, the amount of clothing we put on made me laugh! You can't tell from the picture, but both Ian and I are wearing 2 pairs of workout pants. I am also wearing 4 layers on top! Ian, being the manly guy that he is, managed with only 2 and a scarf.

I know I always complain of how cold it is here, but there is a reason. When you have to stand at a bus stop for who knows how long (the busses are never on time) and it is cold and windy, it is hard to stay warm! I remember how "hard" it was on me in LA to get in my car in the garage, drive to work and run from my car to a warm building. I also remember sitting in my office, blasting the space heater year round...Julianne was on the other side of the office rocking her fan! Oh the memories! For all of you out there, whenever you are warm, think of me!

The Crazy American

Since I have been here, many a time have I been referred to as "the crazy American". What's up with that?!?

Why would people call me that?

There are a few reasons, I think...
1. I got everyone at work to make "dinosaur" sounds to relieve stress
2. Everyone thinks I am happy all the time...I have been questioned about this many times
3. I boss people around at work
4. I make fun of Texans...for some reason everyone here seems to have a connection with Texas...very strange!
4. I get into whipped cream wars with people at work
5. I enjoy "hoovering" (vacuuming) due to the face they put on the vacuums over here...this was even brought up in my work's holiday meeting

Why do I care?

1. Because why does me being an American matter so much?
This is really it...Never in my life has my nationality (or as I like to refer to it, my race) matter so much. it is constantly pointed out. People always have something to say about it. Be it something about my "accent", about politics, their vacation to the states or some bad experience they have had with someone from the states before. It is just intriguing to me how much people point out that I am American.

On a side note, I really don't care about being called crazy...this has happened many a time before. It is the fact that people call me "the crazy American" that gets to me. People of America, please know, I don't want to let all of you down...I don't want the people of Scotland to think everyone in America is crazy; just me!

Giving a Shout Out...To the Parents

Today is my mom's birthday; yesterday was my dad's. I so wish I could be with them to celebrate them and make sure they know how much they are loved. For those of you that don't know my parents (well, and for those of you that do) I was extremely blessed in the parental department...they are the greatest there are! When I think about having kids and think about what my kids will think of me, I wonder how my parents did such a good job at having me and my brothers like them so much. I am not kidding, they are the best. I have great childhood memories and wonderful recent ones as well. They are just fun people to be around. Let me tell you about each one of them specifically.

My dad...
What a guy! He loves the Lord with his whole heart and isn't afraid to express it. And the cool thing is that he actually does things like Jesus did...he hangs out with sinners, loves them and accepts them as they are. I admire this. My dad loves me and my brothers with his whole heart and loves my mom even more. I love the fact that he isn't afraid to express his love to my mom. Most parents aren't very physical, but mine aren't afraid of it...I love to see them kiss and hold hands...it shows me they still love each other. My dad loves cars and gave me that love as well. He also loves naps, which is another thing I picked up from him. Him and I are both sarcastic people, both have brown hair and both will eat about anything. I love that I am like him in many ways.

My mom...
My mom is the best! She is so loving, caring and generous with me and others. Many people think she is quiet, but once you get to know her, she isn't at all. My mom has a love for God that equals my dad. She has a knowledge of scriptures that is amazing. She loves antiques and just started selling them at a store...go mom! I am so proud of her for this! My mom is always willing to do whatever I want to do and will do it with a smile on her face. She will listen to me complain and tell me when I am wrong. She is great. My mom loves "hunting" for antiques, while I don't love antiques, I love "hunting" for clothes. She also loves gardening, cleaning up after my dad (ha, ha) and talking to her kids...all three of us call her daily!

I just wanted you all to know what great parents I have. They are amazing people to know!
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