A Look Back at 2007

There is something about the end of the year that causes reflection. It makes me think about the year past; the good times, the bad times, the changes, etc. It makes me think about how I want to live my life in the future, due to past triumphs and failures. 2007 has been a good year; a busy year; a year of change. Here are some of the highlights of the year past:

January - This was a busy month for me. Due to a "wonderful" idea of mine, I was still working three jobs...7 days a week, morning to night. Not the best of ideas that I have had!

February - I did a lot of traveling for work, going to both Arkansas and Nevada for a week. In Arkansas, I got to hang out with my brother Jeremy, which was nice. Binky, my dog-sister of 18 years died. That was hard on my family. You dog-haters out there wouldn't understand, but it was sad. But, Ian and I also added to our family with Riley, a Yorkshire Terrier.

March - I took my fourth trip to Cambodia with my mom and a group of ladies. It proved to be another wonderful time, playing with the kids at the orphan homes, traveling around the country and hanging with my mom. Also, Ian and I took a weekend trip up to Mammoth for a day of nice snowboarding. Riley got to hang out in the snow and go into restaurants with us in her undercover dog purse.

April - My birthday month! I turned the big 2-6! My parents, Josh, Courtney and Tanner came to Pasadena to celebrate. Ian and Josh tiled our upstairs bathroom...starting a bathroom re-finishing project that took Ian and I two months to complete! Ian and I also took an extended weekend visit to San Francisco. It was nice to be back in the city that we had many a dates together before we were married.

May - May brought the huge decision of moving to Scotland. At the time, I don't think I really thought it all the way through how much it would really affect my life...ha, ha! I also got to go to Hawaii for work! Such a rough life!

June - Ian and I celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary at Club 33 in Disneyland ...actually the Club had some problems and had to close down that night, so we had to re-schedule for another time, but we still got to hang out at Disneyland!

July - With July came a vacation. Ian and I headed up the coast and camped in Big Sur for a few days. I didn't think Riley would be the outdoorsy type of dog, but she seemed to love the dirt! We also wondered over to Modesto for the 4th with the Grimbleby's.

August - We spent the better part of the month packing up our house and moving out, which proved to be quite stressful. Ian left in the middle of the month for Scotland. I finished packing up the house, gave the keys to the renters, finished up working at Foursquare and started visiting and saying good bye to family and friends (and my wonderful car).

September - I arrived in Scotland on September 1st. That week Ian and I made a trip down to London for his work. I got a job at the 'bucks two weeks after arriving. And we got settled down into our new home.

October - This month really proved to be a month of getting used to my new home. I began really learning what life in another county is like. Also, our stuff finally arrived from the states, which meant I no longer had to wear the same clothes over and over and that we now had a couple things to hang on our walls.

November - Ian and I went home for Thanksgiving. It was nice to be stateside, even if for just a few days. It was a good time of visiting family and friends and shopping! Me, my mom, my sister-in-law Courtney and my sister-in-law Carli, got up early and hit the sales on Black Friday. It was actually quite the fun adventure. People take shopping way too seriously!

December - Ian and I took a trip out of town to York, England. It was nice to get out of Edinburgh and hang out in another city for a couple days. We meandered our way through the city, hung out in bookstores and drank many a warm drinks (coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc.) December also saw the first Christmas Ian and I spent away from our families. We went to church on Christmas morning for breakfast and a small service. Then we came back home and made our own Christmas dinner. Even though it was sad not to be with our families, it was kind of fun to make our own dinner and celebrate together.

The year really was an adventure for us...an adventure I am still getting used to! But, I am looking forward to another year and all the adventures it has in store for me.

Merry Christmas!

So, even though most of you in the states are still tucked warmly in your beds, my Christmas is well under way. Ian and I got up this morning and went to church for some breakfast and Christmas carols. Then we came home, started the turkey and opened our presents. And now here I am, playing on my computer.

Today in church, I started thinking about the meaning of Christmas...Jesus' birth. When Jesus was born, not many people knew and not many people cared. Yet, think of the impact that his birth had on everyone. It was so significant, yet treated so insignificantly. Somehow thousands of years later, Christmas has become all about trees, lights, presents, food and family. Now, I am not saying that I don't love Christmas, because I do. But, when I really think about what it is about, I start to wonder how it came to become what it is today. Any ideas?

Below is a little Christmas story for your enjoyment:

Meet Mr. Snowman. He is hanging out in York, England...having so much fun.

Enjoying the day; seeing the sights.

Spending time with Ian.

Hanging out with Jessica...

Wait! Jessica! What are you doing?!?

What has happened to me? I am missing part of my head. This can't be good...

Am I Old?

How do I know if I am old? There will always be someone out there that I am older than; yet on the opposite end, there will always be someone out there that I am younger than. Working at the 'bucks, I am constantly asked how old I am. Most people are shocked to find out 1. that I am 26 and 2. that I am married. When I ask people how old they thought I was, they usually say anywhere between 19-21. When I ask why, I have received such answers as "because of your sunny disposition", "because of your energy" and more. What does this mean? Does it mean that I act younger than I really am? I still haven't decided if I should take people thinking I am young as a blessing or not. I think it is a good thing to look young, but to act young is a whole other thing! No one has actually come out and said that I act young, but still what does it mean to have a "sunny disposition"? I don't want to be seen as immature, but I don't want to be old either.

Sometimes I feel old. I don't have the energy and stamina that I used to. I also think "old" thoughts. I think about how my actions will affect my future. I think about saving for retirement. I think about where Ian and I should "settle down". I think about when we should have a family. I think about if I would be a good mom or not. I think about my career (or lack of) and what I should do with my life. I think about what I should make for dinner. I think about cleaning the house, doing the laundry and more. Yet, I watch MTV, play on the internet, use myspace and facebook, talk on the phone to my friends for long periods of time, stay up late, care about what people think of me, love shopping and buying expensive things, and so much more...

Yet still I ponder, am I old?

A Mini Update

I feel like so much has gone on in the last few days and I just want to share it with you all. First, I faced my coldest day yet here in Edinburgh. It was -9 Celsius yesterday. It was cold! I opened at the 'bucks yesterday and when I open, due to bus schedules, I have to wait for 20 minutes for the manager to arrive. Knowing it was cold, I dressed warm...think multiple layers! Then, I hunkered down in front of the store and waited. I would like to say that except for a small section of my legs, I was plenty warm outside! Go me! The newspapers had already been delivered, so I did have a warm and semi-soft surface to sit on. It has been so cold the last couple days that even without precipitation, the sidewalks are icy and slippery. But, back to my update...

This past weekend, Ian and I went to the German Christmas Village in the middle of town. It was so fun. They sold all sorts of food. And, being a sauerkraut lover, the food was a paradise for me! The Christmas village was so full of people that at times, we couldn't even move. It was great! Though the line was too long for Ian and I to go ice skating, we did go on the ferris wheel, which was great fun.

Yesterday, my status at work went from just "crazy American" to "crazy American training coach". That's right. The next person we hire will be under the great care of Jessica! This person should be scared and excited all at the same time. My manager reiterated to me how good my bossiness is. Some of you may not agree, but I think she is right! But, of course I would! Basically she was just saying that it shows me taking on responsibility and control and that is the way to get ahead. All I have to say is "go me"!

And, that brings us to today. I got up, puttered around the house, went to work, worked, went to the grocery store, came home, started laundry, ate some food, watched America's Next Top Model, Ian came home, we talked, I played on my computer and now am thinking about bed. So there you have it. The exciting life of Jessica!

Below are some pictures from the last few days:

America, Are you Informed?

Over here in the UK, the States makes the news daily. It can be for many a reason - war in Iraq, murders, pollution, a diamond found in Arkansas...you get the picture. But there is one thing as Americans that I think we are not well informed of. That is the stance our country takes on polluting the world and not caring about it. Most of the countries in the world are working hard to reduce their pollution, but not America. As time goes on, the gas guzzling SUVs are getting worse gas mileage (which doesn't make sense because technology is getting better), people are commuting farther to work, the public transportation seems to be getting worse and not better and gas prices seem ridiculously high to you, yet they are rather low compared to much of the world. Many countries already have laws that keep the cars on their roads from being gas-guzzling polluters. The closest we have come to this is California has stricter laws than the rest of the states. But, this is nowhere near we need to be. Until we pay $7.50 a gallon for gas and get in our vehicle that gets at least 40 mpg (and even at that, take the bus most places), we don't even realize how most of the other first world nations are living. Get informed America! And reduce your pollution!

Here is a small article to keep you informed:

Sky News article about the Climate Summit

stop it...stop it...STOP IT!

So I'm on the bus on my way to work this morning (at 8am and it's still dark outside...what's up with that?) and this guy behind be keeps sniffing. Not little sniffs, but the kind where he is totally sucking his flem back into his system. And, he's doing it about every 30-60 seconds. Needless to say, it was driving me crazy. Then, I started visualizing the fact that his nasty flem was going back into his system. I considered moving. But then I thought people would think I was weirder than they already think I am (no one wants to be the weird girl that moves around on the bus!) I considered handing him a kleenex. But, I didn't have a clean one on me and I figured he wouldn't appreciate the dirty one in my pocket (I keep it with me for comfort, in case you were wondering why I was carrying a dirty kleenex). Then, I considered punching him. I figured if I hit him hard enough, he would get knocked out and no longer sniff. Right about this time, he got off the bus. I'm thinking it's a good thing!

Moral of the story: keep clean kleenex with you everywhere you go...and don't annoy Jessica!

What a Day?!?

So, today started out like any other Saturday...got up, got ready, then went to work. But let me tell you, there was nothing usual about today. First a kid threw up all over in the middle of the cafe at work. I was assigned the privilege of cleaning it up. Armed with gloves up to my elbows and a bunch of sanitizer, I moved in. Once I got good and close (to pick up the napkins the mom covered it with), I got a nice whiff of the vomit and began to dry heave and cry (well, my eyes watered). On a side note,my reaction to the vomit makes me question my mothering skills...not that I am claiming to have any. But, back to the story...eventually I got it all cleaned up, removed the "effected" furniture from the cafe and got back to work. A little bit later, one of my coworkers exclaims "it's snowing!" I was way too excited about this. I kept leaving "my post" to stare at the snow outside. It actually stuck for a while. But, then it started to rain and became a slushy mess. I was so excited about the snow that I offered to bring in the outdoor furniture just so I could be out in it...and so I could wear the oh-so-cool Starbucks fleece! Anyway, that is my crazy day for you. It isn't over yet, so who knows what more will happen.

3 Months

People, your little Jessica has made it three whole months in Scotland! Okay, well technically one week of that I was back in the states, but who's counting? Going back home made me see all that I am missing, but as soon as I got back, I was happy to be back. Who can't get excited about a whole Christmas village set up in the middle of town, complete with an ice skating rink? If you can't, you have problems! There isn't much to do in this small-stored, early-closing town of Edinburgh. So, me and my American friend Josie spend time wondering the streets posing for pictures, making each other laugh...hence the picture accompanying this post. Don't worry, I am not drinking away my liver here in the home of whiskey! My great American friend/coworker Josie is headed back to the states on Tuesday. I am bummed about this. Oh well. Back to my update.

For the whole month of November and December, I have the privilege of wearing bright red shirts with the saying "Pass the Cheer" to work every day. Being the spirited person that I am, I try hard to pass the cheer. Josie and I bought a cupcake for this customer at the 'bucks one night. She was so excited about it that she hugged us both. Now that is some good customer service! In an effort to not drink too many empty calories, I have now limited myself to one free drink a day at work. Look at me, practicing self control! I am known as being bossy around work. This is really nothing new for those of you that know me! Poor, poor people that work with me!

Ian and I have set up a nice little routine/life for ourselves over here. We joined a super nice gym and go to it often. They have some great new machines that I have never seen before. If any of you come visit me, I will take you there to work out...just what you wanted to do on vacation! We have learned to make more frequent visits to the grocery store. This helps the arms by not having to lug as much home each time we go to the store. It still is a weird concept though. We have adapted our eating habits to the food that is readily available here. Here are some of the things we eat frequently over here, that I must say weren't in our diets in large portions before - baked beans, tuna, sweet corn, bell pepper, egg noodles and pourrage bars (kind of like granola bars, but made with pourrage). I still miss not having a Target-type store over here. It makes finding those odd and end things one needs for living difficult to find. But, I remedied that a bit by stocking up while I was home! Since I have been spending so much time on public transportation, I have been tearing thru books. I love reading! I love being challenged to think and really having something to mull over.

Well folks, I think that is it for now. I hope each of you had an enjoyable November. Just remember, Christmas is coming...who can't be excited about that?!?
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