Thursday, May 29, 2008

The word "challenge" should have clued me in.

James and I are both going camping next week. But we will be on different trips, very different trips.

Here's where I'll be. Did you check it out? See those nice rooms and the sauna, full gym, and even clay pigeon shooting?

Oh, wait, I'm actually on the Alladale Wilderness Reserve on the Alladale Challenge trip. Did you see the photo of the kids all bundled up in their rain suits? Yup, that'll be me all next week.

The secondary school (middle and high schools) in Dornoch asked James and I if we were interested in helping out with any of the school trips that were happening during the week where most kids can choose a school-sponsored trip to attend. Some are going to Belgium, France, or Denmark, others are staying in Scotland for camping style trips. Of course, there isn't a shortage of chaperone's on any of the international trips; shocking. We told the school just to sign us up wherever we were needed.

Giving someone else complete control over planning a week for me wasn't the best idea I've ever had.

My week will include living "under canvas" (who knows what that means), no showering (unless I want to wash in the river), digging a hole to use the toilet, and all sorts of other challenging outdoor experiences.

James' week includes sleeping inside on a bed and going to a theme park during the week.

Seriously though, even though I'll probably smell horrible, be very cold and wet the entire time, and pee on myself a couple of times (if only I knew about these in time to order them for the trip. darn.), I know it's going to be a great experience. I'm really looking forward to getting to know the girls that are going on the trip. The most important question many of the girls had was, "will we be able to take our hair straighteners?"

It will be a week sure to push us all pretty far out of our comfort zones.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hi there. Let's get reacquainted.

I'd like to introduce myself, I'm the author of this blog, but you might not remember me, I've been away for quite some time.

If you look here, you'll find one of the reasons I've been MIA. When I wrote that post back in the beginning of April, I thought internet would be up and running in two weeks. That, I've found, was a gross underestimation. It has now been two months, and the possibility of internet access in our home is still barely visible on the horizon.

I'd tell you the ridiculous story of why our attempts at transferring internet to our new house has been foiled many, many times, but seriously, it's a horrible thing to even think of complaining about, when I have food, shelter, water, and lots of other stuff that so many people in the world only dream of having. I'm feeling slightly ashamed of my spoiled self at the moment, so let's move on.

Our trip home was AMAZING. Relaxing? Definitely not. Invigorating? Absolutely. We ran from social event to social event, soaked in the love of our family and friends, hugged at least a bajillion people, and totally crashed in the planes and airports on our way home to Dornoch. (Yes I did just call both places home, because at the moment, we have two homes. Kinda weird, but nice.)

Thanks to everyone at home for fitting us into your schedules and for making us feel so welcomed and missed, we miss you all so much! It felt like we'd barely been away.

So now what? Well, we've got about 15.5 months left of our two year commitment to live in Dornoch, Scotland and work with the kids here. It's going well so far; amazingly well, really. There are frustrations, of course, but those frustrations don't have anything to do with the kids we've gotten to know. They're all awesome!

Hopefully I'll be updating you more frequently, but I'm not making any promises. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

The Price of Petrol

Surprise, these might be the first positive comments you'll hear about gas prices (or petrol, as it's referred to in the UK). I'm thrilled that gas is only $3.50 here in Virginia, compared to about $10 per gallon in Scotland.

Here's my encouragement for you Americans for the next time you're filling up your tank: just remember it could always be worse, and for some people it already is.

Monday, May 05, 2008


It's so great to be home. I can't express the joy and relief I felt when our flight from Edinburgh landed in Newark, New Jersey. No, New Jersey is not home, but it is America, and it was an amazing feeling just to be in America.

The first 5 days of being home in Richmond were a whirlwind. Mostly they were filled with lots of fun wedding activities for our great friends Blair and Zach's wedding. It's been wonderful to see so many of our friends and family. And the weather, oh, it's been so relaxing, I'm soaking it in and wishing I could store it up for later.

We'll be here for another 9 days, the schedule is pretty packed, we're hoping to fit in a couple hours of relaxation at some point. If we don't find that time, it's alright, being exhausted is totally worth the craziness of running around like mad people spending time with the people we love.

Hope to see you while we're here!