Friday, 24 December 2010

Graduation, holidays and everything in between

A lot has happened since our last update, and thankfully all of it is good.

Matt has hit the ground running with his program (see previous post 'acade-mania' for details) and still has yet to stop. I thought I had a heavy workload at the University of Edinburgh, but in comparison, I have a renewed appreciation for my program. Matt has already written the same amount of papers that I wrote my first semester and he still has another 2 papers to go- all of which are about 12-15 pages long. The hardest part is that the deadlines aren't spaced that far apart, so any elation at a finished paper only lasts for a day as it's right back to the grindstone for the next one. They're all really good papers though.

*Update- since initially writing, Matt has officially finished his first semester of grad school! Woohoo academic freedom!

In the last few weeks, I (Bailey) have received the results of my dissertation, registered for the graduation ceremonies, and started a new job! Lots of happiness all around! I am still working at the cafe, but one day a week I am working at one of the local art galleries in town. It's a small gallery, so I am doing a bit of everything- hanging work, selling work, updating the website, photographing pieces, etc. It's a lot of the same types of things that I did at the previous gallery, only this time it's right around the corner instead of a 2 hour commute each way. I'm definitely thankful for the extra time!

We got a nice surprise visit from Alison at the beginning of November! En route to France she decided to stop and see us, because obviously Scotland is on the way to France. :) Even though it was a bit out of her way, we've definitely enjoyed the company and of course the sightseeing and shopping that always goes along with having a visitor! The best part of our adventures for the week was when Alison and I wandered down to the Old Course (the famous St Andrews golf course, for those of you not in to golf) to see the famous Swilcan bridge, which spans the 1st and 18th holes. The bridge, quite the attraction, and photo spot for all who golf, even the pros, was built between 700-800 years ago and has since become a cultural icon in the world of golf. Even better than just seeing the bridge, we asked a nice tourist to take our picture on it. This is probably the most I'll actually be allowed on the course. If any of you have seen my try to golf, you'd know why. :)

Alison and I also made Harry Potter cookies out of sheer geeky excitement for the new movie. We were quite proud of ourselves.
Alison and I on the Swilcan Bridge

The Swilcan Bridge


 
Our cookies! :)



The next big event was my highly anticipated graduation! My mom came to visit for a week and loved her time in Scotland, aside from some of the food. Graduation, the highlight of the week, was wonderful. I got to see more of my classmates than I was expecting and had a bit of time to catch up with them. We graduated in McEwan Hall (pictures below) which is a gorgeous building. The only downside was that the huge pipe organ was covered in scaffolding, but I'd say that's a minor downside. At the University of Edinburgh the tradition for graduation is different than what American universities have. Rather than turning tassels and being pronounced as alumni of the university, instead the Vice-Chancellor (the University Principal) touched each graduand on the head with the graduation cap, or as he called it, the 'composite medieval space bonnet'. Legend has it that the cap is made of John Knox's breeches. The space part comes from the patch inside the hat that an astronaut took to space as the university denied his request to take the cap with him. On his return, they stitched the patch into the cap.

Mom and I pre-ceremony


The interior of McEwan Hall

Look, it's me!




Me being hit with the medieval space bonnet

Jacobiene and I



A bagpiper outside McEwan Hall


Now I am the Master!

Other events of Mom's visit included celebrating St Andrews Day, which is on 30th November. It's a big deal all over the country, but particularly in the town of St Andrews, where the entire weekend was a festival, complete with ceilidhs, ice skating, fireworks, wiskey tasting, art shows, good food, etc. That is, until the snow came. However, pre snow, we were able to see the photography show that Matt and I entered, tour the town, watch the ceilidh, participate in the torchlight processional down to the pier where the fireworks display was. That was by far the coldest that I have ever been in my life, but the fireworks over the water made up for it. 



Matt and I with our photographs


Torchlight processional to the pier





Since graduation I have applied for my post-study work visa, which will hopefully be approved in the next few weeks. Another happy post will be made when that arrives, no doubt. Other than that, we have been looking forward to Christmas. Even though it is another year away from family and friends, we feel very loved. Thanks to everyone who sent us gifts and cards! It is a nice reminder of home. Merry Christmas!

Friday, 8 October 2010

Let the Acade-mania begin!

Hello.  Matt here.  
So, after a fun, but fairly free 'Fresher's Week', I have now begun classes.  I absolutely enjoy my classes, but that doesn't mean there isn't a TON of reading.  It reminds me of that transition between high school and college, or between middle school and high school, when your teachers basically say 'you're growing up now, we're going to expect more of you.'  Well, there's no question that I'm now a Post-Graduate course.  AND, at least to me, there's no question that I've been out of the studying mind-set for a year.  Wow, I read so slow now.  Hope it comes back soon.

On to the good news: for those that really care, here's a short description of my courses.  First, Hallmarks of Modern History is my core class.  There are six of us students in there (That's the entire Masters of Modern History programme, by the way).  We're quite diverse, coming from US, France, Romania, Ireland, and one from Scotland/France/Germany? (not really sure).  
Anyway, the course looks at modern to post-modern historiography, while we hit on some key 'hallmarks' in modern history along the way.  It's as much a discussion group for us students as an actual course, but it looks like a lot of fun, and there are some topics in there that I'm particularly looking forward to.

My second course this semester is 'Building Britain, Construction and Deconstruction of Britishness, 1707-2000'.  Translated: 'Scottish History, 1707-2000'.  We are basically looking at the history of Great Britain from the Scottish perspective.  With only 4.5 people taking this course (one is auditing), it looks like a lot of fun, and again an intimate and fun discussion.

In other news, I have met TWO people that grew up within an hour and a half's drive from me.  There's Andy, a history PhD student from Morristown.  And there's Leslie, whose grandparents I have known for years, and who is not only in the same university but is even taking one of the same classes with me (she's Scottish History).  

I think that about brings everyone up to speed for now.  Things are generally going well.  We are certainly enjoying our home's location practically right in the middle of town.  It's quiet, but we can be just about anywhere we need to be in 5 minutes, 10 if it's on the edge of town.  And it's so beautiful to be right on the coast, with such a picturesque town.  My commute has changed from walking past the palace every day to walking along the coast to get to class.  Life is rough here.  Even the weather hasn't been too bad overall (for Scotland that is; I've heard complaints from some new arrivals, but 60s with sun is a beautiful day!).  

As always, we enjoy your prayers for our wellbeing and lives here.  

Best wishes,
Matt

Saturday, 18 September 2010

A New Start!

Matt here.  I've now returned to Scotland, and to my new home in St Andrews after about 3 1/2 weeks away from my wife.  But, the visa finally came through and within days, I managed to get a flight back.  I'm now in the process of settling into our new home, and getting ready for my return to the Academic world.

Here's what's happened so far with my studies: I've registered for my classes.  They are the core course 'Hallmarks of Modern History', which is a little of everything, as I understand it.  My elective course is British History, 1707-2000.  In the spring, I'll be taking the 'Hallmarks' course, part 2, and a Directed Study in something as yet undetermined.  Two courses doesn't seem that much, but I have a feeling it's going to be a LOT of reading and writing.  I'm ready though!

I'm really excited to get going, and after the next week of registration/matriculation, I'll be right into my classes, full steam ahead!  I can't wait!

In other news, Bailey's birthday is wednesday, so here's wishing her an online Happy Birthday, and I hope the celebrations are going to be as good as we are anticipating!

Cheers for now!
Matt and Bailey

Friday, 3 September 2010

Constant Changes

A lot has changed in the past couple of weeks, causing both stress and celebration. First, kicking off this chain of change, I (Bailey) completed and submitted my dissertation! *Cue celebratory dancing!* After 5 months of research/ writing, 4 drafts, 1 complete overhaul of my dissertation a week before it was due, countless trips to the library and 74 final pages, I am officially finished with my Masters programme! I'm happy to be done and finally experience this so-called 'free time' but at the same time, I'm not sure what to do with myself.

Since submitting my dissertation, Matt has gone back to Tennessee to get his student visa. He has been gone for a almost 2 weeks and we still don't know when he'll be able to return to Scotland. Visa applications can take as little as 5 business days to get, or as long as several weeks. We are hoping and praying that he will be granted his visa in the next few days. Please pray for a speedy application process! He has been enjoying visiting friends and family while he's home. I just wish I could have gone with him!

Instead, I packed up our stuff and moved into our new home in St Andrews, just one block from the 16th century cathedral ruins, 2 blocks from the beach, and about 6 blocks or so from the famed St Andrews Old Course. (Also, fun fact, the section of beach along the golf course is where sections of Chariots of Fire was filmed. I may need to go for a run on the beach while listening to the soundtrack.) Our new flat is very cute, and quite an upgrade from our last one. It's smaller, but has just been renovated. I'm most impressed by our washer/ dryer. Maybe it's just me, but I didn't know that one machine could do both! After hanging our clothes on the line for the last year, I'd forgotten what warm, fluffy towels felt like. Here are a few photos of our new place. I haven't completely finished unpacking and decorating yet, but you can still get a good idea from here.










Since moving I have spent a lot of time exploring the town and taking pictures at the beach, as well as job hunting. While St Andrews is a lovely, quaint town (it reminds me a bit of Stars Hollow) the job choices are a bit sparse. I visited every art gallery in town and gave them my resume as well as any shop or cafe that was hiring. I had an interview with one of the cafes yesterday and I have a trial shift next week. It's not exactly an art related job, but at least with this one, I can still keep my once a week job with The Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh, so overall I think it is good.

That's a lot of changes to make in a short time, along with saying goodbye to several of my classmates, all of whom are returning to their home countries, and finding a new home for Rory since we couldn't keep her in a University flat. The last few weeks have been rather emotional and stressful, but I'm definitely ready for Scotland phase 2 to begin.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Not all who wander are lost.

A lot has happened since I’ve updated last.  Here’s a brief update of what we’ve been up to.

First, we were back in the US for two weeks in June!  We had two weddings (one Bailey was in the wedding party and the second we were photographing), and we got to see family and friends while we were there!  A special congratulations to Mike and Emily and to Ryan and Haylie!  It was a wonderful vacation, a chance to relax and catch up with everyone. 

Our next big excitement was a visit from my (Matt’s) parents!  They spent a week with us here in Edinburgh and touring around Scotland.  We saw all the big sights, the Edinburgh Castle, the National Galleries, Arthur’s Seat, et al.  We also got to see the honour guard practicing for the Queen’s visit. 

One particular fun night was watching the World Cup final game between Spain and the Netherlands at a pub with a bunch of friends!  Even if you don’t have a vested interest in the teams themselves, it’s a wonderful experience to watch the game with true football fans in a crowded pub!  Plus, the food is really good!

The best days of the trip were Monday and Tuesday, when we ventured outside the city.  We visited St Andrews first, just one day before the British Open practice days started.  We walked around, seeing the university buildings, the castle, and the cathedral ruins, before heading back to Edinburgh through the many fishing villages along the southeast coast of Fife.  It was a beautiful day.  See the link below for pictures. 

Our day trip to St Andrews (Facebook photos)

The next day we headed up north on a day bus tour to the Highlands of Scotland.  The scenery here is simply unrivalled and we made sure to get the best.  We visited the Cairngorm National Park, where we even climbed one of the mountains (on a railway) to take in the views.  On the way back, we were also treated to a sheepdog demonstration.  It was simply amazing as the guy could herd the sheep through a line of dogs with other ones!  The photos here don’t do it justice.

Highland Spectacular! (Facebook photos)

As if all that weren’t enough, we also received good news from the University of St Andrews, where I (Matt) am due to start my Masters degree in just two months.  We’ve been granted couples housing in a self-contained flat, right in the centre of St Andrews.  The location is amazing, and we’re excited to move soon.  More details will come once we’ve relocated to St Andrews. 

That about catches us up.  Take care all!

Matt and Bailey

Monday, 31 May 2010

A Volcano, a Birthday, and a Summer

Greetings everyone!  Life is going strong in Edinburgh, and it’s well past time for another update.  So, here we go.

First, our friend Ashley came to visit, which was a huge and wonderful blast!  We saw all the great sights of Edinburgh and just enjoyed having the three of us together again like old times.  But, it got even better (and a bit more stressful) when a certain, unnamed (un-name-able) volcano decided to erupt and disrupt travel plans.  What was supposed to be a Sunday departure ended up being a Friday departure.  It was a lot of fun having those extra days when we could just visit and enjoy more time with Ashley.  We are glad that she made it safely home and that there were no problems. 

(Ashley’s photo)

26824_512030356530_162900808_30484967_4598456_n

We next celebrated Cinco de Mayo.  It’s not a big holiday over here, but we got together with a bunch of other Americans (or at least it started that way).  It ended up as a very multi-cultural celebration with excellent Mexican food.  That’s something we’ve definitely missed over here!  Thanks Julie! 

28201_512484017390_162900214_30502486_5922865_n

The next big event was Matt’s birthday.  we went out to a nice pub on the Royal Mile called the World’s End (if you’re curious about the name, just ask).  It’s a touristy little place, but the food is great, and the environment and service inside are equally good.  I (Matt) had what is is quickly becoming one of my favourite dishes, Chicken Balmoral (ask about that too).  I also got some great gifts, particularly I got the Percy Jackson book series (which I’m a big fan of now).  While they are simple books, they are well written and they do a great job of incorporating Greek mythology.  I want to read more about it every time I read one of the books. 

Summer has officially come in Scotland.  We had a week of temperatures in the upper 60s and even in the 70s.  It was absolutely wonderful, and we were able to walk around in t-shirts and shorts, a rarity here!  Bailey and I enjoyed a wonderful date to the Royal Botanical Gardens, a free park with acres of flowers, trees, hidden paths, and more.  It’s a wonderful oasis in the middle of the city, and with the flowers in full bloom, it was a perfect time to go. 

Unfortunately, Summer has also officially gone, as temperatures – and precipitation – returned to a Caledonian normal.  Nevertheless, it has given us a renewed energy, and the beauty of a Scottish spring has made all the weather variations worth it.

We’ll soon be returning to the United States for two weddings.  It will also mark 9 months of living over here.  It seems like just yesterday we arrived, but it also seems a lifetime ago.  We’ve settled into a great life here, but it will be a nice change of pace to see America once more, and especially to see many friends and family! 

As a last note, this summer has a lot for us to look forward to.  My parents are coming to visit, their first trip to Scotland.  We’re all looking forward to a great time, and we might even venture out for a little Nessie hunting while we’re here.

Also coming up is the Edinburgh Festival, the world’s largest arts festival.  I don’t know if I’m going to like millions more people crowding the streets, but the festival itself should make it all worth it! 

Here’s a few more pics for you to enjoy.

25409_512066948200_162900214_30486265_8088516_n

28201_512484027370_162900214_30502488_4497033_n

26824_512030231780_162900808_30484942_6237334_n

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Easter Break

Matt here.  The title may not seem like the biggest deal, until you realise that here, Easter break isn’t the one day that I got in high school.  It isn’t even the Friday-Monday break that I enjoyed at Milligan.  It is, in fact, all of that, plus another two weeks!  That’s right, for the past week, I have been enjoying life as if I had nothing to do, and it has been good.  Tomorrow, Ashley arrives and it will be a week full of amazing fun!!!

Of course, Bailey is done with her classes now as she said in the last post!  That means, we are enjoying this break together, mostly.  Somehow, the end of classes does not mean the end of writing and studying, and library books and more writing. 

Still, we have managed to have fun.  We’ve purchased a desk/bookcase set of furniture from IKEA.  I put it all together myself in less than 2 hours, which was good because we had friends coming over for a games night in 3 hours from the time it was delivered.  It looks good, and for those of you on Facebook, check Bailey’s page to see some photos.  For those of not, we might get one posted soon here, if we can keep up this impressive momentum of two posts right together.

Speaking of the games night, it is such a joy to have friends in your home, making it feel lively and fun.  Throw in some pizza, Apples to Apples, an Australian for good measure, and you’ve got yourself a great lot of fun.  Only Rory found it a bit too intense.

There is little else to discuss except the weather.  For once, Scotland has got it all right!  The weather yesterday was a balmy 16*C (61*F)!  And, it was sunny, with just a light breeze, and only a few clouds in the sky.  It couldn’t have been more perfect, so we welcomed it properly with laundry on the line and a bike ride around the base of Arthur’s Seat.  Today, it’s 15* and the same is predicted for tomorrow as well!  All week, it’s supposed to be sunny, which figures given that we told Ashley to pack all her rain gear.  Mother Nature’s irony at work yet again.  Not that we’re complaining; a little rain wouldn’t dampen this week coming, but the sun and warmth will make it all but perfect.

All the best,

Matt

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Dry is the new warm

Wow, it's been way long since we updated. Many apologies to you all. There's so much to catch up on, where do I begin?

I (Bailey) finished my classes last week! I can't believe I'm done with classes already. It seems much too early for that. Granted, I am still far from done. I still have one essay and my dissertation left. But that's nothing big, right? Haha. I have until August 20th to turn in my dissertation, so life is still going to be hectic for me for another few months.

For those of you wondering about Matt's job, his position has been extended until the end of the school year, which is July 1! That's such a praise for us since there wasn't a guarantee of that. We have both been looking for employment for the summer, so if you think about it, pray that we both find good jobs. I also have a job, granted it's only a couple days a month. After my internship finished, the Gallery asked me to stay on with them and help set up the new exhibitions. It's really fun and I get to see lots of great artwork. It's not many hours at all, but it is really great gallery experience, so I can't complain.

I also came back to Indiana a couple weeks ago for a friend's wedding. It was a wonderful, albeit much too short, trip. The wedding was a lot of fun and seeing my family and friends was a great break from classes. I have pictures from the wedding on my new photography business page Bailey Marie Photography on facebook if anybody is interested.

Matt and I are definitely looking forward to our next visit to Indy in June! If any of you will be there then let us know and we'll meet up!

Ashley is coming to visit in exactly 13 days!! (not that I'm counting or anything!) We have grand plans to show her all around the best Edinburgh has to offer. We have been planning her visit for so long, and I can't wait for her to get here! I just hope that the weather warms up a bit before then. Last week wasn't too bad, but all of a sudden it's 33 degrees F. I'm convinced that Hell is 33 degrees, just warm enough to not snow, but cold enough to be miserable. Since it's usually wet here, and nobody really expects anything different, we have all lowered our expectations. Gone are the days of hoping for warm weather. Our new motto is: Dry is the new warm. Sad, I know, but true.

Other than that, life is pretty normal around here. Again, apologies for the lack of posts recently. I promise more updates soon!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Masked Foxy Drivers

Just a quick update with some strange things that have happened recently.  (The title will make sense when you reach the end)

Tonight, while walking home, just past Holyrood Palace, I witnessed one of the strangest sights.  I was in the middle of the city and not the only person around though it was after dark, yet coming down the middle of the road toward me was a full-grown red fox!  It was following the centre line, which was a good indication that he was not drunk.  Then, following all the rules of the road, he turned into a little driveway not ten feet in front of me, passing under a gate and trotting off through the car lot.  I have never seen a fox this close up before, and it was certainly a great sight to see.  He was not vexed by the presence of people at all, and was, by all indications, both sober and knowledgeable of road laws.  The only thing missing was a bunch of hound dogs and men on horses chasing after him.

The other strange sight for this week involved motorists doing what they were supposed to.  Construction on the Royal Mile backed up traffic in both directions.  As I walked to work, I saw the traffic beside me receive the green light.  Unfortunately, there was an intersection which involved a yield and merge area.  Drivers were correctly leaving a full space between them so that the line of cars backed up in both directions could merge together like a zipper.  Traffic was flowing smoothly, and everyone was getting to go.  Even better, no one was being rude or inconsiderate (except one, but I think he got flipped off, and definitely got guilted by his peers, so it’s okay).  I thought, this was something I would NEVER see in the US with drivers only concerned about themselves.  It still baffles (albeit pleasantly) how good, polite, and aware the drivers are over here.  Perhaps it is just Scotland, as I’ve heard London and perhaps England, such is not always the case.  Regardless, I will cherish this small luxury of drivers respecting pedestrians, cyclists and each other to all share the road, and making travel, whatever the means, an overall pleasant experience (the multiple construction sites excluded).

In other news, I was supposed to get into my new office (a multi-purpose room that would for the time being be primarily mine) today at work, but this was postponed, after the janitors did all the work to clean it up and reorganise.  There is testing for the next two weeks that no one cared to mention to me, or anyone else involved in the move.  I found out by accident, and was then told I’d have to wait for two weeks to get my computer moved into the room and set up my work station.  Oh well, at least I know it’s coming, and it will be a nice work area, with a big window, and mostly quietness, where I don’t have to constantly walk back and forth between multiple workstations.  (Granted, I’ll still be back and forth, but not as much).

Tonight, we were supposed to go to a Postgraduate, Masquerade Ceilidh.  For those of you that are unfamiliar, a Ceilidh is the Scottish equivalent of barn/line dancing, but is far more fun.  The Scots will find any excuse to have one, and this would have been our second.  A caller walks you through the dance, usually in couples in a big circle on the dance floor.  Anyone can join in to walk through the steps.  Then, the band, almost always live, plays a wonderful, peppy celtic-type song (fiddle, guitar, drums, and maybe even bagpipes), and everyone dances the routine again and again, until the song is over.  It’s a great time of fun and laughs.  Even better, this one was to be a masquerade, so we (well, Bailey) made masks that looked amazing!  Perhaps we can get pics soon.  Unfortunately, health was not on our side, and we were forced to bow out tonight.  Now, we’ll have to find some other good excuse for our masks, but we can’t say they didn’t look awesome!  Think: Phantom of the Opera, Masquerade Ball, black and white, and you’ll get the idea. 

That is all for now.  I’m off to fix lunch for tomorrow’s work, and then early to bed, for early to rise.  I have a 2 mile commute each way every day, on foot.  Nothing like that to get your blood pumping and wake you up in the morning.  I do miss driving, but I enjoy walking to work every day, and I feel like I’m already getting healthier because of it. 

Best wishes to all,

Matt

Sunday, 17 January 2010

New Year, New Job, New Happenings

Well, here we are again.  I hope this finds everyone doing well, as we are.  Here’s a few of the latest happenings from our little island.

We just came out last week from a major freeze.  Since before Christmas, it snowed nearly every day for three weeks, and we had temperatures that were well below freezing for most of that.  The first week and a half of the new year didn’t see temperatures above freezing at all.  We are talking highs in the teens *F, and lows, well, below that.  But, warmer weather has come.  In fact, I had to turn the boiler down this morning because it was too hot in our flat when we woke up.  It seems to be getting up to the upper 30s and maybe even low 40s most days now, which feels comfortably warm compared to earlier.  (I’ve included temperatures in Fahrenheit to make it easier, but we read/talk temps in Celsius over here, which we can generally understand and think in over here.  It does make things interesting, as one day, I walked to work in –10*C, and another day, the high was only ever –6!  This sounds much more severe.)

Speaking of walking to work:  I, Matt, have started my new job!  It truly is a blessing from God, for many reasons.  We have prayed about getting a job since well before we got here, and things have their way of working out.  It did take a while to get started, but now I’m in, and several good things have come out of it already.  First, I’ll explain what I’m doing:  I’m officially a Classroom Assistant.  Different from other Classroom Assistants, though, who work with different academic departments, I’m working with Pastoral Care, Guidance, and Senior Management (the Head and Deputy Head teachers).  In the mornings, I do all of the registration (daily attendance), right up to sending out automated truancy calls to all the parents.  It is a big operation and takes me all morning, but it’s nice that I am basically my own department in this, now that I’ve learned it, and I go right into lunch from it.  I help supervise lunch-times which lets me interact with the students (an interesting, and usually pleasant adventure).  In the afternoons, I am available for whatever the Senior Management and guidance need me to do.  The people I work with are overall great people, and I enjoy my job, which affords me a lot of independent responsibility.  I feel respected for my abilities and it is obvious that the senior management are trying to use them. 

Now on to some of the blessings.  First, I was hired with the understanding that I would be 30 hours a week, but when I started, I was told I would be at 35 hours!  That’s a help in itself, but it gets better yet.  I am pro-rata, in other words, I’m paid at a percentage of full-time based on my hours, and full-time is 35 hours and 45 minutes!  Thus, I am salaried at only 2% below the full-time pay for my scale, which is wonderful!  My first salaried job!  (I know that was a lot to explain, but if you didn’t follow me, just understand that it’s a good job.)

Second blessing is this:  I was hired only as temporary until 31 March.  This was because that is the end of the financial year and the Head Teacher couldn’t guarantee funding for a post beyond that.  I did not know as I came into the job, whether there was the intention to keep me on after this point.  We asked for prayer concerning this.  I have now been told that, assuming the budget works out, there is every intention of keeping me on until the end of the school year, which ends 1 July.  Yet, even this gets better, because, as a student next year, I will still be able to work 20 hours a week, the Head Teacher would like to keep me on, if possible, and work with my schedule.  My tasks may change, but it seems quite likely that my job, which started as a part-time, temporary post, has become an almost-full-time, indefinite job!  Still, there are plenty of things that are not confirmed, and we ask for prayer there, but we hope and trust that it will all come together!

On to other news, Bailey started classes this past Thursday, and is continuing at the Scottish Gallery, both of which are going well.  She is taking a course on Impressionism, and she’s quite excited about that!  Courses continue through the end of March for her, and then it’s on to writing the Thesis.  The work at the gallery is quite good, and we are hoping and praying that it will become a job opportunity, or bring us to one somewhere else.  She works with plenty of wonderful people, some of whom are (or are related to) famous Scottish artists.  She has also had the opportunity to meet some famous Scottish artists (including a Dame), through her work at the gallery. 

We have settled onto a home church, called Charlotte Chapel.  They are independent, evangelical church in the centre of Edinburgh, with over a thousand members.  Their building, seeming so non-descript on the outside, is a beautiful, two-level sanctuary on the inside.  The minister and his family, who we got to have lunch with one Sunday, are British, but have lived and preached for the past eight years in Washington State, just returning this summer.  It was nice to meet locals who can more fully appreciate the differences we’ve faced here.  The church is alive and felt like home from the first time we’ve entered.  We also have an American friend, Julie, from Bailey’s classes, who goes there as well, which is an added blessing.  Further, I have met with the music director and am likely going to begin singing with a praise team on various Sundays.  We have not forgotten our first church, Holyrood Abbey and plan to continue going there every so often.  The people there are great, and it feels homely.  Perhaps we can even say that we have two churches here in Edinburgh.

Christmas was a quiet affair for us this year, with just a visit to Charlotte Chapel for their Christmas morning service, followed by presents between us (including ones from the States, which was fun), and then a day of watching Christmas episodes from our favourite shows.  We talked to our parents and Ashley on Skype, which is always a blessing, and especially that day. 

We braved the weather this year to go to several Hogmanay events.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, it merely is an old Scottish term for New Year’s.  However, it is not a simple, one night event.  Scottish Hogmanay, of which Edinburgh is the biggest, is the world’s longest, oldest, and biggest New Year’s celebration, lasting 5 nights!  We started the first night with a torch processional up Calton Hill, followed by a bonfire burning, and then fireworks.  These fireworks were better than any I’ve personally witnessed before, the intensity of a finale, lasting the whole several minutes. 

The next night, we went to the Royal Mile, where a whole section of the street became part of a fire display, with huge sculptures of firepots, torches, and large fire displays, which we could walk right up to.  The wind was severe, and eventually prompted the fire brigade to put out some of the displays, but not before getting some amazing pictures. 

Then came the biggest night, the Edinburgh Street Party, on New Year’s Eve.  Princes Street and Gardens, which runs right along the north side of the Royal Mile and around the Castle, were blocked off, with ticket-only access.  This year, 80,000 people showed up.  With various live bands playing for several hours, we came for the best part – midnight.  Despite being nearly crushed by the crowds a few times, we (plus Julie), found a good location, looking right up at the castle, and waited.  At midnight the fireworks began, and what fireworks they were!  This display made the other night’s look pale!  Disney can only be envious.  For three full minutes, it was the most intense and beautiful display of fireworks we have ever seen, right over top of Edinburgh Castle on its hill!  It was a truly amazing sight!  Then, in true Scottish fashion.  As the fireworks ended, and the booms echoed off in the distance, everyone grasped hands, and with the speakers playing the music, we all joined in a singing of Auld Lang Syne.  It was a wonderful experience, and though we may not go down to the Street Party again, in order to avoid the drunk crowds, we will definitely watch the fireworks here again, and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves that night. 

Hogmanay continued for two more days, but with smaller celebrations that we decided to forego.  Still, it was a wonderful way to bring in the New Year. 

I believe that covers all the updates.  As always, I’ll promise that I intend to update this more often, but I think history has shown that to not always be true.  Still, I’ll say it in the hope that I will continue to get better. 

Best wishes to all,

Matt and Bailey

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Long Overdue Update

Hello again!  No, we haven’t fallen off the far side of the world, or been eaten the Loch Ness Monster, we’re just, well, lazy and have forgotten to update the blog here.  But, we’re back, and for those of you that have been anxiously waiting for an update, here it is.  For those of you that haven’t, you’re getting an update anyway (and we’ll talk soon, j/k).
So, in the last update, I, Matt, did get the job at the high school as a Classroom Assistant.  However, I’m still waiting to start.  I had to get a background check for working with kids, and that took a while as they also needed one from the US.  So, the paperwork is now done, but now, it’s the last week before Christmas break and people at the school are busy and in and out.  So, I can hopefully start this week, but if not, it will definitely be in January when the school starts back.  To those of you that pray, please say a little prayer about this job:  it is currently a temporary post, but has the option to be extended, or maybe even become permanent.  Please pray that I can have a job at least through the end of the school year (the end of June), if not longer. 
In related news, I have been working hard for Milligan still.  This keeps me busy enough, and will continue alongside my new job, until the project is finished.
Bailey is now done with classes, and is working on her final paper for the semester.  It’s been quite a project, as expected, with books, Bailey, and a computer spread out around the living room.  All will be finished by Friday though, and then we can both just celebrate Christmas here, our first in Scotland!
Now for some recent news, to update everyone.  We had the great opportunity to go to Oxford for a weekend and see our friend, Heather, from Milligan, who was studying for a semester there.  The city is SO beautiful, and we had a great time; thanks Heather!  We saw many of the famous places of the ancient university, including dinner at the famed Eagle and Child, where JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis and the other Inklings often met and dined (we were even in the Rabbit room, which was their old meeting spot)!!  We did some other literarily-nerdy things such as see Tolkien’s initials carved into a church banister, and see his house.  Weather prevented such pilgrimages to Lewis as well, but now we have a reason to return.  In a Lewis-related topic, we passed Anna Popplewell on the street while there (the actress played Susan Pevensie in the first two Chronicles of Narnia movies and studies at Oxford now). 
Also, while there, we got to see some rather famous “Hogwarts” locations, used in the filming of the various movies.  The trip was wonderful, as it was the first time we took a vacation from Edinburgh, and got to come back to the city as our Home!  It was also good as a chance to just relax and recharge.  I’ll send you now to the pictures from Bailey to enjoy our trip.
I had an Inkling....
Now onto Thanksgiving!  Matt and Susanne came up from London to visit us for a few days, and we also hosted a Thanksgiving at our home, with 8 people!  It was great to see our home so alive, with great food and fun!  We hope to have a party like that again soon! 
We also had another Thanksgiving at Edinburgh Uni, in one of the old halls that reminded us of Hogwarts as well.  Friends of friends hosted a Thanksgiving there, and we joined to dine in the beautiful old room, and spend yet more time with friends!  It was a very, very busy week, and we were so exhausted when everything was over, but still, it was a lot of fun. 
We’ve finished nearly all our Christmas shopping now, and there are wonderful presents under our tree.  There can be no procrastinating over here, when you have to mail overseas packages two weeks early to make sure they arrive in time!  We are glad to know that some others haven’t waited either, as we’ve already received some cards and gifts from friends and family back home!  Thanks everyone!  We are really going to miss spending Christmas with friends and family, and seeing everyone at this time of year, but we are excited to be here and see the wonderful festivities going on around us. 
Here, the Christmas German Market and festival is in full swing, with games, rides, and booths of wonderful little treats and snacks, all sitting in the shadow of the castle.  The streets are decorated, and the stores are playing Christmas music.  It’s such a festive mood here, and we love it. 
Now, on to the last thing, before I end this ridiculously long post.  We have now been married ONE YEAR!  It seems so hard to believe that it has been so long since that wonderful Dec. 13th.  Thank you to everyone who wished us a Happy Anniversary, either in writing, computer, or in your hearts!  We had an extended celebration weekend here, that was a lot of fun, and special too.  I wonder though, can we still get away with using the “newly weds” title just a bit longer? 
Well, I’ll leave you to rest your eyes, if you’ve made it to the end here.  I hope to try and post more often.  I’ll just say again that comments mean a lot, especially from those of you that we don’t see on Facebook as often.  We will see them, and it will bring us back to the Scotland Quibbler more often to give you more stories, :) 
We hope your holidays are truly special and blessed with all the joy and warmth that comes from friends and family around you and in your hearts at this wonderful time of year. 
Matt and Bailey

Purr.S.  Since my humans didn’t see fit to include it, here’s an album of me, Rory, the most important member of this Scottish family!  I am a bit bigger than in this photos, but I’m still just as cute as ever, and sweet, and …..oh, shiny; ATTACK! 
Rory!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Answer to Prayers!!!

So, this is going to be a short post, with more to come later, but I wanted to share good news.  I am now employed in Scotland!

After some tense moments when I didn’t get the call on the day they’d said, I followed up and was told I am now getting one of the two posts at the High School, as a Classroom Assistant.  This is a big answer to prayer to have a job now!  Thank you to all who have prayed about this, this is so exciting! 

I’ll have more info as it comes, but now onto other things.  We now have a new baby girl, Rory!  And, before you get too surprised and freaked out, she has four feet, a tail, and whiskers!  Little Rory moved in this past Friday, and is now settled in well.  She loves to play like a little tornado, and then crashes in between on one of our laps.  Pics will be up soon, don’t worry.

One last thing.  We’re experimenting with the “Matt Chat”, to your right on the screen (maybe scroll down a bit).  This is connected to my Instant Messenger, so when I’m online, it will tell you, and you can chat with me live on the website.  If you don’t mind, do identify yourself when you send your greeting and hopefully, I can get back to you quickly.  If I’m not online, feel free to leave a little message.  It means a lot to have people look at our blog and especially comment. 

Cheers,

Matt and Bailey

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Guy Fawkes and Lupe Pintos, BFF

Well, I think we’re long overdue for an update. 

Thursday was Guy Fawkes Day.  For those of you who don’t know about the day, feel free to look it up, fun history lesson.  It makes for a lot of fun and festivities, especially fireworks viewing from Holyrood Park.  It was crazy busy, but made for some great photos (all posted here are Matt’s, not Bailey’s…surprise!).

2009_11_05_0544 2009_11_05_0553 2009_11_05_0568 2009_11_05_0573-1 2009_11_05_0588 2009_11_05_0607 2009_11_05_0609 2009_11_05_0613 2009_11_05_0614 2009_11_05_0618 2009_11_05_0627 2009_11_05_0637 2009_11_05_0681

 

In other news, our stuff has arrived, and our flat is now truly a home.  We didn’t realise just how sterile our place looked until it was fully decorated, and WOW, it looks good!  We’ve got colour, we’ve purchased a coffee table, and we are truly at home here now! 

Bailey's Facebook Edinburgh Album with pics of the flat (click next for more)

We’ve now hosted a games night with some Uni friends, and had another American couple from church over for dinner.  It was a lot of fun, and our place really feels lived in and alive now.

Lupe Pintos:  It’s a Mexican Deli, literally a hole-in-the-wall the size of our living room, but packed full of Mexican supply, and other things; but most importantly, it has AMERICAN IMPORTS!!!

Betty Crocker, Stouffers, Aunt Jemima, A&W, Reeses, and the Three Musketeers all hang out at this place after flying over from the States.  We learned from another American friend about the store, that has random imports from the US, including Pumpkin, stuffing, cake mix, candies, and more.  It was a nice treat to get some “familiar” food for a change, though prices mean it it will be special treat.  Still, not complaining to eat Reese’s Cups and pancakes.  The Scots just don’t know what they’re missing.

Well, I can’t think what else to add.  We really feel settled now that we know our way around, and are more familiar with streets, shops, and the way of life here.  Coming up on Monday will officially mark TWO months in Scotland!  It hardly seems possible, and yet also feels like we’ve been here so long. 

I hope this blog finds all who read it well (though a little heartsick for us is okay, lol). 

Cheers,

Matt and Bailey

Thursday, 22 October 2009

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Well, it has certainly been an eventful week here in Scotland.  Good and bad has come our way, but I think it all has turned out well in the end. 

First, Bailey secured an internship at the Scottish Gallery, a promoter of contemporary art in Scotland, as well as an advising gallery for auctions, sales, etc.  She’ll be helping to take down and set up exhibits (monthly), as well as developing a new archive system for them (they currently have none as I understand it), and whatever else is needed.  Within walking distance of both home and the uni, it’s a great opportunity and seems like a great place.  Some of you may remember that we had celebrated a previous internship that we thought she’d gotten, but that fell through.  While not strictly photography, we think this internship will be just as good, if not better, and it starts now rather than in the spring! 

Now, on to the not so good news (with an overall good resolution, so read through to the end).  Bailey got a job two weeks ago at Jessops, a camera specialty store here in the city.  Unfortunately, the experience has not been overall pleasant.  She wasn’t trained at all, and was treated rudely by other employees for not knowing just how to do things in the store.  Partly, we did not have all the documentation needed to finish the paperwork, but equally, the manager has been scattered and distant.  Further, on this past Sunday, she was directly insulted and verbally abused during work, by another employee, in addition to the mocking from others.  I will leave the details at that for everyone’s comfort.  Bailey addressed the issue directly with the managers and while promised that it would be dealt with, she decided that it would be best not to continue working there.  While we are sad that she has lost her job, we (her husband and family) believe that she made exactly the right decision, and that God has something much better in store for us here.  Also, not having a job, especially with the internship now, has been a big stress relief and allowed Bailey to better focus on her studies.

Now, onto more happy news about Edinburgh that I’m sure you’ve been anxious for.  Our shipment of personal things is now scheduled to arrive this coming Tuesday.  We’ve done well enough without all of our things, but it will be nice to have all our pictures, movies, etc, as well as warmer clothes.  The weather has been holding steady at a high of about 11-12*C (51-53*F).  It’s been raining off and on, but it’s usually a light rain for a bit each day.  Today (Thursday) was forecast rain all day and this afternoon, the sun popped out, so there’s really no guessing what to expect. 

The days are getting shorter, as it now gets dark around 6:30, and it will only continue to get earlier until Christmas.  We aren’t exactly excited about that, but it will be nice come summer, when the days will be VERY long. 

Tuesday, we found a beautiful old church off of Princes Street.  It is at the end of the Princes Street Gardens, directly under the castle.  There is a beautiful fountain (it reminds me of the one in the opening of Friends), and the church has some nice little shops.  We also saw the grave of Sir Walter Scott’s mother (her name escapes me at the moment).  It is so wonderful to take just a few steps away from the high streets and find yourself in a quiet park of trees and benches, with the leaves turning colours and falling.  Edinburgh makes it so easy to forget how big and busy it really is.

On to Thursday now, we decided to explore again (this time with Matt’s new camera!!).  We headed over to Holyrood Park and Arthur’s Seat.  While we didn’t climb, we did go walking along the park and found, tucked away at the base of the hills, a nice pond with swans, geese, ducks, and more.  It was so quiet and peaceful, I felt like I was walking through the highlands, rather than in the middle of the city.  The leaves were changing and falling, but the grass was still very green, so it made for some lovely pictures.  They will be posted online shortly. 

I think that brings us up to date.  There will be updated pics of our flat just as soon as all our decorations are up and it’s really, Home. 

Best wishes from Edinburgh,

Matt

Sunday, 11 October 2009


Matt and I at the top of the Scott Monument! That's Edinburgh Castle behind us!


Hello all!

We have not forgotten about you! Life has been busy recently with classes and now with a job for Bailey. We are still loving living here, but now the fascination with living in a new country is beginning to fade, and we are starting to feel like we belong here and are actually more than just visiting.

It used to be an adventure to wander down the street to the shops nearby and even more exciting to go "in to town" and walk down Princes Street and toward the Royal Mile. While we still enjoy all of those outings, they are becoming more commonplace as I walk down those streets several days a week for classes. I am learning the sites and the shops, even how to be more aggressive when crossing the street (watching out for buses is the biggest challenge!).

We live in a city of almost half a million people, but there are times when it doesn't feel nearly that big. The area we live in has its own rather small town feel, and our street has a sort of isolated, neighborhood feel. Edinburgh is a city of parks, and to get to class I get to walk past, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful parks in the city. I love the views (Arthur's Seat and the Queen's Palace of Holyrood as well as a spectacular view of the city) and I also love the remoteness it gives to Abbeyhill. We are right in the middle of the city, yet we live far enough away to be comfortable. I don't think we could have gotten a better place for what we need.

We have visited most of the touristy sites in the past few weeks, and there are a few pictures of them below. For my birthday a couple weeks ago, we went to the National Gallery of Scotland which was having a wonderful Spanish art exhibit "The Discovery of Spain: From Goya to Picasso". That was wonderful! (I actually got to spend quite a bit of time there over the next couple weeks for classes and a conference). We also went to eat at the Elephant House cafe, which is a quaint, cute cafe that calls itself the "birthplace of Harry Potter" because that is where J. K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter. We went on that initial attraction, and the marvelous view of the castle from the enormous windows, but have gone back a couple times for the great food.

Several other adventures we've had include a trip to the zoo where we saw a penguin parade, a trip to Portobello beach (about 15 minutes away) and dipped our feet in the Firth of Forth, saw a production of Beauty and the Beast at the Edinburgh Playhouse, and climbed 287 steps to the top of the Scott Monument (scary, but super fun).

We have found a great church here that reminds us of home. It's called Holyrood Abbey Church, which is a Presbyterian Church of Scotland. We have only been attending for a few weeks, but the people are very warm and friendly. Each Sunday we have been invited to people's homes for lunch. It is customary here to go to someone's home for Sunday lunch along with several others, and spend all day eating, drinking tea, and visiting until evening service. It is the best way to meet local people! We didn't expect lunch to last until dinner, but it has made us feel so included in the community that we gave up any hope of being productive on Sunday in favor of good fellowship.

There is also a good young adult group at the church and several people our age, several in college, several professionals. We are hoping to get more involved the longer we are here.

So far, everything has been as good as we were hoping. I got a job at Jessops, a camera store in the city, and started last week. That was quite a blessing, and I am enjoying my job. Matt is still searching for employment. He has applied to several places, a few of which sound great. Please pray that he will able to get a job soon that he will enjoy.

Finally, here are some pictures for your enjoyment! We'll be better about posting more often! You can hold us to that!

Sunday, 20 September 2009

A Real Update this time.

So, here's the update that I'm sure you have all been just waiting by your computers for.  Just a couple of stories and info about life to catch  everyone up.

This week, Bailey registered for all her classes, and her internship.  She put her top six choices (each museum or gallery only has a few, or one, spots available).  She was the first to request the Stills Gallery in Edinburgh, a gallery of photography.  It is relatively new, comparatively, but would be great for her photography background.  From talking to her advisor, it seems pretty clear that she is far more qualified for photography-related work than anyone else in the programme.  She'll know by the end of the week, but if she doesn't end up there, she might just have to work for the National Gallery of Scotland or Holyrood Palace (the one where the Queen lives).  Life is rough right now.
Classes are only two days a week, but there's a lot of writing and out of class work, plus the internship.  She's also looking for a part-time job somewhere, for some extra income, and she found a big camera store (think Ritz, only bigger and better), so she's drooling a bit.

We went to Holyrood Abbey Church of Scotland last week, since it is within sight from the end of our street.  It is a bit different from what we're used to, but was pleasant, and the Church of Scotland is, expectedly, the most prevalent here.  The service was nothing spectacular, but the people were extremely friendly, offering tours of the building, getting contact information and just chatting.  We felt very welcomed.  We returned this week again, though the service was about the same, we felt very welcomed, and were even invited to lunch.  Lunch ended up starting just after the 11 am service and lasted until 6 o'clock.  We met some other students, and a retired Irish couple who now live in the area.  The meal was excellent and talk was a lot of fun.  They enjoyed hearing about the US, and teasing us about the US, but were also happy to explain themselves to us, when all the Scots there understood.  We felt very at home and welcomed.  It is such a joy to have found a welcoming church family with our first church visit.  We are still debating visiting some other churches in the area, but that might have to wait, we also have a lunch invite for next Sunday.

Also this week, we received a tea and dessert invite from another American couple at the church.  He is studying for his PhD in Bible at Edinburgh Uni, and is in his second year.  They were quite happy to visit with fellow Americans, while offering their insights on Edinburgh and Scotland for us.  We really enjoyed visiting with them, and will hopefully spend more time with them soon.

Our adventures have not taken us very far in the city, but we have at least learned the area right around us fairly well.  We ventured Saturday to the Edinburgh Zoo, which is said to be one of the best the world.  It wasn't a sprawling landscape because of the hills, but had a great selection of animals, including some that are found at almost no other zoo in the world.  They are also very keen on educating people about them, and doing conservation work as well.  For a very reasonable price, we spent all day there, and enjoyed talking with some of the workers and seeing the animals.  We were even treated to feeding birds from our hands and a parade of penguins about the grounds (Bailey was particularly happy).  We also saw a hyperactive, summersaulting wolverine...hah, bet you didn't expect to read that, but it's true!

We had a nice dinner, and then came back to our home.  We are slowly making it more like home, and getting used to the quirks.  The appliances are considerably smaller than American ones, so we've had to adjust schedules and habits, especially grocery shopping.  But, we've had several successful cooking ventures so far, and we are really starting to feel at home here.  The rest of our stuff hasn't arrived yet, so we are a bit short and sparse for now, but are looking forward to that ending in a few weeks.

Monday is a Bank Holiday here, which basically means that things are closed or limited hours for no particular reason (that's the Scots' definition).  Bailey has a meeting tomorrow, and then starts classes officially later this week.  She is really getting excited to be back in school!

I think about covers everything.  Again, we'll have full internet installed Friday, so we can then upload photos easily and quickly.  We have plenty to show so look for them soon!

We miss everyone, but are making new friends, so that is exciting.  We look forward to having chats and visits from people in the future! 

Best wishes to everyone,
Matt and Bailey

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Update coming soon!

So, sorry to all who are checking for the delays. We promise that we haven't forgotten you. It is taking some time to get reliable internet. We do have a confirmed installation date of Friday the 25th for installing broadband, TV, and phone, so after that, you can expect photos and more stories then.

We are off to the zoo today, Sat, to explore. I think it should be exciting, provided the weather holds out. We haven't seen a drop of rain yet here (knock on wood), which even we recognise is strange. Still, we are going to just go and have fun for a while.

Otherwise, things are going well, and Bailey is about ready to start classes! I'm still looking for a job, but trusting that the right thing will come at the right time. We really miss everyone, but are starting to make new friends here.

Best wishes to everyone,
Matt and Bailey

Friday, 11 September 2009

We've made it!!!

Well, we’ve made it. I typed this yesterday in a Burger King, but it wouldn't let me post. This is a copy of the post, with an update at the bottom. It’s going to take about two weeks to get broadband installed at home, so for now, it’s intermittent web access. We're in an internet cafe right now.

But, enough of that! Things are great! The flat is pretty much what we expected in the pics below, but the tree in the front garden is gone, except for a stump. The weeds will come up soon, and then it will be quite nice. We are an easy ten minute walk from Princes Street and the Royal Mile. We found that out after dropping off the rental car, and realising that (a) the bus system is FAR to confusing to figure out without a map, and (b), we didn’t have exact change anyway. So, we fired up the GPS in walking mode, and made it back pretty quick. Our second outing to Princes Street (shopping centre of the city), we got mobile phones and signed up for internet, TV, and all that jazz. It’s taking some time to settle in. We made it to the supermarket today for some basics, and got strange looks because our debit cards are still the swipe kind without a chip! How archaic! Also, the lady at the internet/mobile shop was a lot of fun, and everyone was excited to hear that Bailey’s name was…Bailey! Apparently, they love Party of Five, with Bailey, in it, but the name strangely just isn’t common here! She was an instant celebrity in the shop.

Weather here is pretty nice. Sunny, can you believe it!, with a light wind and about 60-65.

In not so great news, I managed to get food poisoning on the way here, and spent all yesterday in bed! Poor Bailey had to make her first venture alone to the market to get me some crackers and soup, and she’s been playing good nurse on the first day in Scotland. I love her. I’m feeling better today, but still not 100%. Hopefully, the next day or two will see me up to full battery once again.

We made a quick detour to Calton Hill on the way back this afternoon. This is a smaller hill to the northeast of the Royal Mile and along the journey from our apartment to downtown. The views here were AMAZING!!! From various places, you can see the entire city, from the Firth of Forth, to Edinburgh Castle and Arthur’s Seat (the big mountain in the middle of the city)! We can’t wait to get pics online from there, as well as have a nice picnic and photo shoot (for Bailey) one afternoon or evening! For those coming to visit, it is a definite stop on the tour!

Well, I think that about covers it for now. Once we get internet at home, we’ll bring these updates a lot more often (and hopefully shorter). Thanks again to all who are praying for us! We really needed them, and still do. Adjusting will take time. Sometimes, it seems that the language is the only thing we have in common with the people here, and sometimes that’s even in question. We also really miss being able to just pop into Kristie’s whenever we felt like it, and to see friends and family daily. I think that will be the hardest adjustment, at least for me. That and not having weekly time at church with everyone! Please, please comment, and stay in touch via email and/or facebook. We may not be able to answer immediately or all of them, but we love hearing from you.

Love and cheers,
Matt and Bailey

UPDATE: So today, was some more roaming. We now have some artwork for the flat, and a fuller kitchen. We also got some flowers to spruce up the place. It's starting to feel like home. We found Bailey's main building today, and the Elephant House pub just around the corner. For you that don't recognise the title, that's where Harry Potter came into being.

We also got to talk to Kristie and Matt on the phone, and mom last night! It's great to still be able to hear everyone's voice. Once we have home internet, Skype will make that all the easier, and cheaper!

Tonight, we are hoping for a nice picnic dinner on Calton Hill, with the camera and some AMAZING views!!! I think that is one of my favourite places so far.

Thanks again to all for prayers, comments, and thoughts,
Matt and Bailey

Monday, 31 August 2009

Victory - Tennessee Day

So this is it! The movers have come and gone, as has most of our stuff. The rest is going into suitcases as I type. This time tomorrow (dinnertime) we will be in Indiana, and will have bid farewell to Tennessee, which has been our home for a long time (In Matt's case, 24 years, three months, twenty one days, but I'll try not to belabor the point).

Anyway, I'm hoping more people are checking the blog, and feel free to comment if you are! I'll take this time to say a special thanks to everyone who took the time to meet with us this past week, and those that ate and hugged and gave us awesome gifts on Sunday!!! Also, thanks in advance to those coming to the cookout and to see us this next week, before the final day in the US!!!

Stay tuned, though I'll say in advance that updates will be sparse until we've settled and got internet up and running. At that time, log-on at your own risk, as pictures and stories will abound!!!

Scotland, here we come!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

It's really real

We're going to be living in Scotland in 26 days and every time I think about that I can't help doing a happy dance. Although, it's actually a bit strange to think about because it's not just a hypothetical anymore. It's a reality. We're moving... to a different country... for a long time...woah. I'm still thrilled by that thought but the realities of leaving are starting to hit and now it feels bittersweet. 

I hate to leave everyone here, but I'm excited for us to take advantage of this great opportunity. I'm going to miss everyone, but that's why we started this blog, have facebook, skype, and probably other means of communication. Just because Matt and I won't be in the country doesn't mean we don't still want to be a part of your lives. (yes, I know I used way to many negatives in that sentence.) We want to hear your stories and you know that we want to fill you in on ours. We also look forward to visits from friends and family!

Now, onto packing...

Friday, 7 August 2009

Visas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

If the title isn’t enough, I’ll include the info here!  Our Visas have been approved!!!

We got an email this afternoon confirming that our Visas have been approved and are in the mail to us.  We should have everything tomorrow (Friday) in the mail!!! 

This is sooo exciting!  We can’t believe it happened so quickly!!!!!

God is Awesome!  Thanks for all the prayers!!!!!

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Sweet Home…..Edinburgh!!!

We just secured our first home, in Scotland! How exciting is that?!

This ground floor flat has one bedroom, 1.5 bath, a full living room with dining nook, full kitchen with both dishwasher and washing machine, and a gas fireplace! Also, there is a private garden in front!

Our address is going to be:

9 Alva Place

Abbeyhill

Edinburgh

EH7 5AZ

We are so excited about this! Also, we've now submitted everything for our visas, and they should be approved soon!

Well, here's some photos for you to enjoy:

Here’s some outside images of the flat’s garden.  Ours is the white door and the tree.

1  3 

And here’s the official view from the website:  (we think this photo is a few years old.)

front gardenBedroom

 Kitchen 1 Kitchen 2 Living Room 1 Living Room 2 Master Bath Powder Room