With a day off work and no agenda, I decided to take a camera and go explore my city a little. Once you get over the freezing weather, wind and rain, it really is a nice city! There is beautiful architecture, greenery all over the place and cool cobblestone streets. And there is history in this town like nowhere I have ever lived; though George Lucas being from Modesto does rival this (kidding). When I think that just over a hundred years ago, Edinburgh was still being attached by its enemies. It is so crazy to think of. Of course, now the moat around the castle is a beautiful park...in fact they are putting new grass in it to beautify it even more. AND, they plant new flowers in it all the time! I must admit, I have visions of me laying in the park on a warm summer day, reading a good book. I don't know if it will be that warm, but if the sun is at just the right angle, I am sure I can manage! But, back to your history lesson. It was just in the '90's that the people of Scotland staged a protest in my little town to set up their own parliament. After something like 180 days, they finally won and now have their own parliament. It was in the early 1900's that Leith (the area of town that I live in) became an official part of Edinburgh. From what I understand, Leithers weren't happy about this. But that is life. Things happen. I love history. And I must admit, it is fun to live in a place with such a rich history.
Rarely in life do I see something SO GREAT that I just can't keep it to myself. I ran across this picture today on the internet. I mean, come on...our president hugging a person dressed up as a bunny!!! And the way he is leaning into it and holding it's hand, too funny! But, I also must say, what is up with the bunny's eye shadow? It is a little out of control. Same with the ginormous heart on the dress. All of this is just TOO GOOD!
Fast food here in the UK is pretty much non-existent. There is McDonalds, but with a scaled back menu. Plus, I am not exactly a fan, so I never go there. People don't really know what a drive-thru is. One time at work I tried explaining a drive-thru Starbucks and my fellow co-workers were dumbfounded. They thought it was the craziest thing they had ever heard. But, you must be reminded that most people don't have cars.
Over here, there is a fast food of sort - take aways. Take aways always have fish and chips along with something else. This something else depends on the ethnicity of the person owning the shop. Some of the something else's I have seen include: pizza, kebabs, hamburgers (always fried - everything over here is fried), lasagna, curry...the list could go on forever. All this to say that I have become addicted to the fish and chips over here. In the states there is nothing like them, even if someone says their's are authentic...this ain't Long John Silvers folks! Here they are great. The ginormous piece of fried fish is unlike any other. It doesn't even taste like fish! Then, set it on top of huge fries with the whole package smothered in vinegar and ketchup....yummy! And, if you would like, for a little extra, you can get a side of mushy peas (which are quite good when fresh) or baked beans.
Ian and I have made it a tradition of sorts to go get fish and chips on Friday nights. Last night I measured the fish, just for you! It was 9.5 inches long and 5 inches wide! That is one substantial piece of fish! Now normally I am not a big fan of fish. But the fish used for "fish and chips" is a white fish and doesn't taste fishy at all. Plus, once I am done dousing it in ketchup and vinegar you can't taste it anyway! Take aways never have seating, so Ian and I always take it home. But, the "real" way to eat this beautiful helping of food is to sit right down on the curb and enjoy it! Ian and I have done this a couple times as well!
So, the next time you are in Edinburgh, I will make sure to take you out for a local delicacy...fish and chips eaten from a curb!
Most of you that know me well will already know this. I am known for saying inappropriate things. You know, gross things that the average person would not repeat. There are some things that one just cannot keep to themselves! I did this at work the other day and was told to stop (more in a funny way, not a bad "stop" way). I found that quite funny. But, now I have all these things in my head that I want to share with people and don't have the opportunity to share. So here it goes!
1. The other day I was at work and noticed that one of my coworkers had so much ear wax that it was completely blocking the opening to his ear. I don't even know how he was able to hear with that much ear wax. Does he not use q-tips?!? 2. I served a lady at work today that had a runny nose. Not only did she have a runny nose, but because she wasn't blowing it, every time she breathed out, she blew a snot bubble! I could barely contain myself while helping her. The worst part was that she was with a friend and her friend didn't even tell her. Bad friend! 3. I went into the bathroom at work today only to be bombarded by a smell...I think you know the smell I am referring to! Although I have a problem (it's wrong to spread the smell on to others in a shared restroom) with doing my business outside of my home, I realize everyone does not have this problem. But, I would like to say, if a coworker is going to blow up the bathroom, leave the fan on!!!
Well people, I know you are now enlightened in a way you never wish you are! But, the next time you see something gross and don't know who to share it with, feel free to tell me!!!
There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer. Ansel Adams
There is an Ansel Adams gallery visiting town that I have wanted to check out, so today, Ian and I and another couple went over and checked it out. The gallery was quite extensive - hundreds of photographs. It was amazing to see the change in technology of the photo paper from the beginning of his work until the end. In the first years of him taking pictures, the photo paper was almost just normal paper. Ian thought this added texture to the photos, but one of the people we were with thought it was ghetto. I was also amazed at how much work Ansel Adams did outside of his photos of Yosemite...the photos I think of when I think of him. He took an extensive set of photos in New Mexico and also did some random photos around Northern California. The photos I was most impressed with were the ones where he was able to capture an entire picture of a cloud, from top to bottom. It is hard to explain, but it added depth to the picture and was beautiful to me...but I am a cloud lover!
At the end of the gallery, I hit up the gift shop and bought a postcard to send to my brother (shhh, don't tell him!) because I know he likes Ansel Adams. And in case you are wondering, that is a picture of me holding the postcard. While I was waiting in line, I turned the postcard over only to discover it was made in Stockton, CA! Think of the journey this postcard has been on - made in Stockton, CA, sold in a gift shop in Edinburgh, UK, and will now make a trip back to Modesto, CA right into the hands of my brother! Sometimes it is amazing how small the world is!
So, I am working away at work today, working away...like a good worker bee...when I have this conversation with a coworker:
AC (anonymous coworker): Jessica, you are quite the efficient worker. Jessica: Ahhh, thanks. AC: Seriously. If you were a hoover (for some reason they call them hoovers over here rather than vacuums), you would be a Dyson. Jessica: Laughing. Really...thanks, I guess. AC: Yeah, you would be the kind with three hoovers in one, you are so efficient. Jessica: Okay then...
I can't recall being compared to a vacuum before. It was quite funny. I will take it as a compliment, even if it was the weirdest one I have received in a while!
I went to New York City for work, but got so much more out of the trip. My parents flew in my brother, Jeremy, for the weekend and we hung out with my cousin Stephen, who lives in the city. It was seriously a weekend filled with good times. Stephen has a passion for shopping that rivals mine and that made me all too happy! Just to feel normal again, hanging out with people, browsing stores, going out to eat. It was so great! For this being Jeremy's first trip to NYC, he didn't get too experience many tourist things, but he did get to go on the ferris wheel in Toysrus in Times Square and see a guy with the craziest mullet ever! I think that may have been the highlight of his trip. That and making rats run at me from the trash on the street. After Jeremy left, I worked and managed to squeeze in a couple more hours with my favorite cousin. We hit up this amazing organic restaurant, Josie's and he took me to see Carrie Bradshaw's house. Not only was the house beautiful, but the street and the whole surrounding area was perfect too...that may have been because there was a Juicy store only a block away! Gotta love Juicy! For those of you that are wondering, it is a brand...possibly my favorite brand. Work even went well. We got a lot accomplished and I got to hang out and experience New York with some pretty cool people. Well folks, that in a nut shell was my trip to NYC.
If you want to see all the pictures from my trip, check out mine and Ian's picture website.
A lot of life happens in 6 months. As I have discovered, people live, people die. People get sick, people get healthy. People have "family issues". People have birthdays. People celebrate Christmas. People have babies.
The hardest part of living in another country isn't the cultural differences...though those are the fun things to talk about. No, the hardest part is missing out on the lives of the people you love. In the past six months, a lot has gone on with the people I love. Talking on the phone, emailing them thru it all just isn't the same. There are times you want to give people hugs because you are excited, there are times you want to give people hugs because you want them to know you care and will walk thru any situation with them. There are times you just want to have a nice coffee session with a friend to let it all out. These are the things I have missed out on in the last 6 months.
Yet, in the last six months, I have adapted to a new culture much quicker than I expected. I always considered myself resilient and feel I have proved it. The one thing I didn't think that would happen is that a culture would change me. And it has. My eating habits have changed. My speech (just in words, not in accent) has changed. My style has changed. My way of life has changed. I know that deep down I am still the same person, but it is funny how quickly I can adapt and change to a situation. Anyone up for some good fish and chips? And not the crappy kind they serve in the states!
Here are some pictures from the last month of my life:
Hello! I'm Jess, lover of Jesus, my hubby, my kids, coffee and taking pictures. I am married to Ian, my high school sweetheart and partner in crime. We are figuring out this parenting thing on a daily basis. Our teachers are Connor (7), Isla (5) and the baby, Callum. Thanks for stopping by. Feel free to stay a while.