Thursday, 1 October 2009

a new day. a new breath.

a lot has changed since i've come back to the states. a lot of days have gone by where i've only looked at this blog thinking if it all actually happened. the other night it finally hit me, about 4 months later i realized i wasn't walking the cobblestone streets or waking up in my glaswegian flat anymore to breathe the smoke and coffee filled air. it was the first time i cried about not being in scotland anymore, pictures...thats what did it. scotland was a hard country to live in but something about it impacted me, probably its cheeriness and relaxed pace of life. being imperfect was accepted more openly and acceptance of people was a lot more common. but the walking is something i actually kind of miss, i've realized i have become a little lazy since being home.
but once i landed may 28th i have been on a track of life changes and experiencing the life of having no time again. i was a bridesmaid in my best friend caitlin's wedding june 7th which was amazing. swimming pools, vacant bars, and then a night of dance, wine and best friends running around hotel rooms!
i spent the summer single and living at my moms new downtown stillwater home sharing a room with lauren. it was a house full of friends watching movies, playing wii, eating lasagna, long night cap talks and laughing. i was able to finish the 10 years of the t.v. show friends-which i started in scotland! quite the accomplishment i think! i also was able to get a hammock up on the deck which was my favorite place to be...reading harry potter so i could go see the what i thought was a lame movie...anticipating for a grand next one!
i babysat an adorable baby adele! i got to watch her learn to walk, talk and turn one! i made my first creative cake for her...a butterfly. it was so fun! she brought so much joy...listening to her make to most odd sounds and then being able to hold her till she fell asleep. beautiful. i did a lot with kids this summer which was great. i hadn't really been around them so it was great to learn how to play with them and try and relate to them. so i hung out with elementary kids isaac and izzie too, who were awesome! well at least when they thought i was cool they would play with me! we played hide and seek, sorry, and stack the cups haha. it was great! i also went to young life's castaway camp! thats where i hung out with high school students! it was great...going on a giant swing, parasail, and playing lots and lots of card games! getting to know high school girls hearts and how beautiful they are and gaining new amazing friendships. it was sweet.
i also got more involved with photography where i took some senior pictures. it was great to get more experience. i learned so much from each session and im excited to learn more and continue to improve!
my biggest change tho is probably that i have withdrawn from stout. i moved in but on the first day of classes i realized it wasn't where i wanted to be. this was something that i had been thinking and feeling for about the day i started there. so i finally got the courage to not go anymore and it has been one of the greatest decisions. it has been hard but it has been such an amazing experience. i've grown in confidence because i trusted my heart with the decision. i was so scared about leaving because of all these things such as laptop, adobe programs, insurance, a job, where i'd live, what i'd do and etc. but the Lord has been so good with helping me with everything...providing me all that i need! yay!
so...currently...i'm living at my dads with him and john in freezing temperatures. haha i where sweatpants, 2 sweatshirts, long underwear, a hat, scarf and mittens. its pretty hilarious! but save energy right...bundle up! but i work at caribou now, just started and its been one of the hardest jobs yet. i haven't got the hang of it yet but everyone tells me i will. its just overwhelming and hard to not be good at things right away ;) but im excited to be working there and learning more about coffee...because some day i may have my dream coffee house! young life is still a huge part of my life and i've been volunteering as a leader. right now i've come up with a skit (i'm maureen mcfanihatty, a high schooler going to bird watching camp) that will help sell fall castaway camp to kids hopefully. i do it with another leader stephanie who is martha murberry. she is going to knitting camp. its pretty funny. my life has been going through a lot of physical changes but also changes within myself which are good! i'm learning and growing so much and its amazing how when you ask God to help you with that He is right there to take the lead! so fun and exciting! still in the adventure with Him!

Saturday, 18 April 2009

sea salt and hotel candies.

Malaga, Spain (April 1-4): Yup, that was the surprise destination that Mark was taking me too. And it the journey started at 3:45 am to catch a 6:30 am flight! The Taxi driver who took us to the airport was hilarious blaring the music saying “wakie, wakie, time to wake up”! After the 3 hr flight, we made it to Spain and we tried to find the hotel on our own, walking to different bus stops but we finally just took a taxi which we should have done from the start. The hotel was amazing, very modern and you could see the ocean from the window! We went to the beach but could only sit for about 15 min because it was windy and sand was smacking us in the face. It just wasn’t our time to lay on the beach yet, so we walked on this beach front path and there were all these restaurants, they kind of all looked the same. Being daring we walked into one and sat down, the waiter didn’t speak much English so we didn’t really know what we ordered. But at one point the waiter brought a big plate of whole dead fishes trying to explain which was which for how much.  I thought I was going to throw up because the fish were all looking at me.  We got our food and mine was salmon and we figured out that Mark’s was muscles. He got me to try one and well I don’t care for eating a chewing muscle. Needless to say we didn’t really feel that great after that meal.  But we did go for the authenticity of it all! The first day was a little difficult; I was pretty tired from starting the day so early. But the following day we went to the beach again and this time it was so amazing!  We got to lie in the sun and be warm! We were actually getting pretty hot and Mark wanted to go to the water’s edge (Mediterranean sea). So we walked up to it and I was really nice enough to help Mark get into the water J.  But of course I followed in afterwards and WOAH it was salty. It was the first time I had ever gone into an ocean before and I well I didn’t know you shouldn’t open your mouth. It was so neat though afterwards because the salt dried white on my skin. Really neat experience! The sun was turning our skin red so we went back to the hotel and then for a walk. We saw crazy plants, eccentric birds, odd statues, an outdoor work out area (they were everywhere), lots of playgrounds and I got to go swinging in Spain! We also found a cute little place that had gelato and ate it in the sun! The sun was just so amazing; I have really missed it from being in Scotland. It comes through the clouds sometimes, which are lovely, but having a whole day of it was a blessing! Later we wanted to go get dinner but we didn’t realize that restaurants in Spain don’t open till late. At least that is what we came up with when every place had their doors closed.  At around 5:30 pm people were sitting at café’s having coffee and cake so we figured we could do that. But instead of coffee we decided to try the Spanish beer Cruz Campos and well I don’t like beer to begin with so this wasn’t that great, it was pretty bitter. But I’m glad I tried it!  One of the best moments in Spain was late in the night we went for a walk down by the beach and sat and listened to the waves.  It was so great being in a place you never thought you would ever go and be in that place with someone you really get along with! Our last full day, Friday, we ate the hotel’s breakfast, it was good but I don’t think it was as good as that hotel could have made it! But it was nice to have it there, because we had no idea where to go to get food.  The beach was calling for us to come out again and so well we did! And this time not expecting it, Mark picked me up and walked to the seaside and threw me in.  At first I didn’t exactly like the idea but afterwards it was so refreshing.  And to be totally honest I was a bit crabby and that kind of shook me up a bit and I started to laugh and smile!!  That moment has probably been the best time I have had being over seas.  It was kind of like a wake up call.  “So its been hard being in a place by yourself and the weather isn’t all that great and learning things about yourself isn’t always fun. Well, snap out of the soap opera and let life open your eyes to it beauty!” I haven’t been very patient with myself so that moment helped me relax a bit! Other things we did was go to a Spanish market, eat at a Cheers bar, see Real Madrid in their bus, watch fisherman fish, almost get pooped on by a bird, and we went to the Picasso Museum!  And seeing Picasso’s work was amazing, they even framed his sketches and I could literally see where Picasso scribbled something out or erased.  Again, my eyes were open to the fact that not even Picasso was perfect.  In my art classes I had been putting a lot of pressure on myself to be perfect and be this amazing artist when in reality that isn’t exactly possible.  Spain was a definitely a time to see that I can enjoy life and relax! The next morning, Mark went to double check our flight and realized instead of Spain being an hour ahead it was 2 hours ahead so we woke up in perfect timing because we needed to leave earlier! God was definitely helping us get on schedule there! But we did make it back to Glasgow just in time for some light rain and clouds!!!! Of course! 

Friday, 17 April 2009

our roman holiday...with backpacks.

Rome, Italy (March 26-28): I suggest that if you are traveling to a foreign land try not to arrive late at night. When we got to the airport in Rome we had no idea how to get to he city. We ended up walking to the train station and sat there for a while figuring out what to do. Amazingly, God just sends this kind old man to notice us struggling at the ticket booth and asks if we need two tickets to the city center. We said of course then he helped us get another one and he showed us how to verify the tickets and everything. That was great but once we got to the station, these taxi drivers informed us we were not let off where we thought we would be let off, so they drove us to Ciao Bella Hostel.  It was a sticky situation because two drivers hopped in the car and usually there is only one driver, but when we got to the area where our hostel was they kind of just shoved us out and said 35 euro…WHAT? 35 euro for seriously 5 minutes in a taxi, wow we felt dumb, but we only had 30 so they dealt with that. They left and we were then stranded in Rome Italy…only to notice the hostel was in disguise (had no huge sign but a little piece of paper next to its door bell). By this time we were exhausted and in no mood to sleep in a 12 room hostel, which is what we signed up for. When we rang the door bell it was like an angel answered, she was the nicest host ever and miraculously had no room for us but found a place next door where we would get our own 3 bedroom and bathroom. We got into the room sat on the beds and ate cold fried chicken and veggies and breathed! The first and only full day we had in Rome was filled with adventure. For breakfast we had gelato sitting next to the Fountain of Triton. For lunch we had panini’s next to the Pantheon.  We walked for a total of six ours that day and saw so many things that we all have only seen pictures of. It was amazing. I think the best part of ending up at the Coliseum for a tour and by the end of it we were so tired and silent…we ditched the tour, climbed up on some rock and sat three best friends on a sunny day with the Coliseum surrounding us. We got to the point where we just wanted to sit and have coffee in the sun and after walking forever we realized that might not happen. Instead we ate gelato and Kelly climbed a tree and got the most disgusting orange I have ever seen; it just splattered on the ground when she threw it. Yuk. By this time we were in need of a nap so after 45 minutes of getting lost trying to find our hostel on Quatro Fontane, a street we were starting to familiarize ourselves with, we were able to sleep quite awhile.  We had a lovely dinner of pizza and gnocchi by a restaurant near the Triton Fountain.  The fountain was starting to become everyone’s favorite place. I think for one it was the calming water, the massive size and it was the place where we knew where we were. OF course after dinner we walked to a little café to have a bottle of wine. It was a great time being with friends and laughing about our crazy days of traveling in God’s hands.  We had no plans, no way of knowing where to go or what to do but God continued to show up and take us everywhere.  Getting ourselves to the airport to go back to Glasgow however was definitely a challenge to us all physically and mentally. We walked one way then thought it was the wrong way, a mile later it starts to rain and we realize we were going the right way from the start. All three of us had our massive backpacks on and then our little but deceivingly heavy carry on bags. Finally though we reached the train station and were able to be guided in all the right directions by several different people.  Throughout the trip we have learned to let our pride go and just ask people for help…its amazing how much that helps J After a flight to Prestwick Airport (40 min from Glasgow), no more buses or trains going to Glasgow, no taxis available, thinking we were going to spend the night in the airport, I walked up to this lady not really knowing what I was going to say but in the end she was running with us to catch the last bus to Glasgow that left in one minute calling us lassies.  The journey did not end at the bus station…there was a huge line of people for taxis so we started walking. My phone also was not going through to the taxi services I knew…we kept walking. We tried waving taxis down, they kept driving and we kept walking. It was about 2 am and it’s about a half hour walk to my flat. The door of 50C Hillhead never looked so beautiful. Hike the 3 stories and laid our bags on my floor and fell asleep. The next day we went to the movie Duplicity and no kidding there is a scene in the movie that shows the main couple eating at the exact seats we were eating breakfast the morning before in Rome. So that made us pretty satisfied with the trip! On the 30th Kelly and Sarah flew home and a couple days later I was going on a surprise trip, only known to Mark! 

baileys, mineral water and hungarian folk songs.

Budapest/Slovenik, Hungary (March 23-26): Now at this point Mark left and went back to St. Andrews for his studies, but Kelly, Sarah and I hopped on to EasyJet to Budapest, Hungary to stay with Kelly’s friend Mariana (she was an exchange student in Kelly’s family last year).  They greeted us with many hugs and kisses and it was just such a warm welcome to a cold place! There was definitely a language barrier between Hungarian and English; Mariana was amazing at translating. It was just really neat to see people trying to understand others through facial expressions and gestures…the head nod can’t go wrong.  It was an interesting place, a place I never thought I would ever go and I also did not know what to expect.  But it was very cold, one day we went to a castle tour and wine tasting and it was a challenge with myself to keep a positive attitude while my toes, fingers, and nose were numb.  However, the Hungarians know how to solve the problem of being cold…shots of Baileys! The first day we went over to Mariana’s grandparents house and they have a mini-golf course. Mini golf is actually considered a professional sport and they get really serious about it. Its as popular as golfing in the states is-instead of a ton of clubs they just have a ton of balls! But anyway we wanted to play but I guess we couldn’t play with out the Bailey’s so the grandparents gave us some before and then when it came to the ones during the game I actually…cant believe I’m sharing this but through the shot over my shoulder…I’m a small girl J haha. But we were only able to finish 9 holes and at the end we went on to the winners’ stance and the grandpa brought out a huge trophy that we all held up and got pictures taken like it was seriously a tournament. Then he put metals around our necks and it was so fun! Another night we went to this spa place that Mariana’s mom was vice president of so we got in for free. But it was an amazing place- there was a hot springs, so the water was mineral water, straight from the ground and it just made you feel so clean and healthy. We then went inside and got to walk around this rock thing with cold water, so it was basically a foot massage. Then we went into a sauna that was steamed with really good smelling oil. Then the best part was hopping into a hot tub with 3 seriously Hungarian men. A Hungarian man is a man with a big belly that its visibly he eats because you ate never hungry in Hungary I learned. We ate all the time, and half the time I really didn’t know what I was eating but it was good. They eat salty and buttery foods over sweet and sugary foods. For example, for breakfast we had fried dough with meat, cheese, or sour cream. When I asked to put jam on it they thought I was crazy, they never thought of putting jam on a croissant type thing. But it was good! But the dessert we did have one night was super sweet, it was spaghetti looking and tasted like chestnuts. It was good but you couldn’t eat a lot of it. The best meal we had was at the grandparents and it was what they call ‘chicken paprika’ basically a chicken noodle dish. But it was so good! At that dinner the grandma got up and sang a Hungarian folk song that secretly Kelly got recorded on her camera…it was awesome! The country was overall impoverished it seemed. The outside of houses did not look equal to how amazing they were on the inside. It also seemed like they have a lot of caution to burglary because every time we went somewhere we had to take our purses and bags with us or they covered them with a blanket. The family was amazing that we stayed with. After being in a hostel in London, being in a home in Slovenik was such a blessing. They treated us so well and they wouldn’t let us pay for anything. Both the mom and the dad had to get us souvenirs so the mom took us to a jewelry store and well I felt bad getting something big so I ended up getting two nose earrings, a foot and a diamond.  The best thing about going to Hungary was the hospitality and the kindness of the family. Other things we did was went to an amazing wine tasting, and well their wine tasting are more like have a glass of this wine to taste and five more! So needless to say it was a happy drive home. Something I learned about the capital Budapest was that Buda and Pest are separate cities divided by the river.  When we were going to the airport we stopped and ate a huge Chinese meal. We were stuffed but the grandma persisted in buying us meal for dinner, so I had to carry fried chicken and steamed vegetables till we got to our hostel in Rome…another story to reveal…

minding the gap.

London, England (March 20-23): The place where Sarah Spiegle shows Kelly, Carrie and soon Mark around! It was crazy how when we arrived we had to figure out how to get to our hostel and Sarah just kind lead Kelly and I there, pretty much God was leading through Sarah! It was amazing. Mark was meeting us later because he wanted to make sure Lauren got on her flight. But through buses, the crazy underground and walking we looked across the street to see the graffiti painted building say “Hostel 639” Yup, our hostel was pretty much the ghettoist place I have ever stayed.  It definitely tested all of our faith and trust in God. Every morning we prayed for our stuff and protection throughout the night! He sure is faithful. But the place was literally what you would think a hostel is. For breakfast, if you dared to have it, was a bowl full of cereal flakes with a big scooper and milk that could not be refrigerated. It was definitely an experience I don’t need to have again! We had a six room and for the first two nights we were blessed with just the four of us…but the last night it was a full house, with new friends George from the Netherlands and unknown man. And oh we also found another friend…the rodentizer. So the days were more so enjoyed when we were in the city! We got to see Lion King on Broadway, eat the best cookies ever from Ben’s Cookies, have pizza from stands, sit in this center area and listen to a great guitarist with sun on our faces, eat the biggest grapes ever seen, eat the best roasted peanuts on Tower Bridge, walked across the “so this is London bridge?” bridge, heard “mind the gap” more than I need to forget to actually mind the gap, meet up with my friend Ashley at a pub and had the best laughs ever, and just let God take the lead of our travels and let Him reveal amazing things to us!! London was probably one of the best times I have had now looking back on it! There was so much we did in such little time. We also saw the changing of the guards at Buckingham palace, walked and sat in a field of daffodils, found Peter Pan, saw what an angry swan looks like, got to see Big Ben during the day and night, saw a massive rollerblading crowd, went to an amazing church service at Hillsong and was taken out to lunch at the best noodle place ever by people of the church, got to experience how amazing Oreo’s taste when you are super hungry and just really got to know each other and were able to be filled with laughs as Mark taught Kelly and Sarah the best pose for a picture- “the blank stare”.  

coffee and friends.

(March 13-20) And here I begin another blog entry with…”so it’s been awhile.”  Since the last entry I have been to many places and my life seems to have been lived out of a backpack. I had the amazing blessing of having my sister Lauren here in Scotland and two of my best friends, Kelly and Sarah. It was God’s perfect timing in bringing them here; I was in need of friends being around for encouragement. And my sister for laughter and song filled days, old children’s church song…”milk, milk, milk drink your milk, milk, milk, spread the word, word, word and live strong…” We sang that quite a lot while walking the streets of Scotland.  Lauren and I were able to have some mornings where we would go off to have coffee and catch up which was nice. She got to spend time in my favorite café, Pico (which is now S’Mug). We all went to Glasgow, Edinburgh, and St. Andrews. In St. Andrews we were able to walk up a tight staircase with probably 100 steps to stand on top of a cathedral ruin and see all of St. Andrews and then some. It was beautiful! One of the nights Sarah and I went for a walk and sat on a stonewall and while we were chatting fireworks went off in the distance…it was romantic J.  The best part of having them all here in Scotland was to be able to share my life here with them.  The places that I go daily and the things that I do, they were able to experience.  As much as I was showing them around it did feel like four best friends creating memories together! OH I can’t believe I forgot to mention that I wasn’t even supposed to know Lauren was coming. She was a surprise! The three of them had been brewing this plan since January and a couple days before they came I subtly found out. Which in my thoughts was ok because she needed to be signed into my flat in order to sleep there. But even when Mark and I were at the airport to pick them up I kept saying “oh my gosh I cant believe they are coming, and Lauren is coming, it doesn’t seem real.” And the doors opened and I saw Kelly, then Sarah and then there was Lauren- it was amazing! The best half surprise ever (I have come to the realization that I like half surprises-I know bits about what is going to happen!) It was just a really good time having everyone here. When Lauren left to go home it was kind of sad because the goodbye was early and rushed since Kelly, Sarah and I were off to London. But it was ok because I knew that we’d see each other soon! 

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

since friday aftertoon my life has been filled with amazing people. kelly and sarah (two best friends from stout) walked into the glasgow international airport with Lauren (MY SISTER)! we spent the weekend in edinburgh walking around: watching a street performer, climbing an intense hill to see over the city, and letting the sun touch our faces as we soaked in the presense of eachother.
mark was really nice to let us all sleep at his place in st. andrews. so we spend sunday going to church, which was amazing and for only 7 pounds we got to go up in a tower and see all of st. andrews, go through a museum and walk through the st. andrews castle. the best part about the castle was when sarah and i road our 'horses' in to it and then the five of us 'shot a canon out of the window! its fun to have an imagination!
what has been really neat is that i think God new when the best time would be for lauren, kelly and sarah to come. i was getting a little lonely and missing friendships! its really great to be able to let them all experience what i experience everyday. and i have realized how important friends and family are. they really give fill hearts with love!....and laughter and smiles!
it was fun to see lauren take off her shoes by the ocean and me telling her she was crazy when that is exactly what i did the first time i saw the ocean!
they got to eat at the best panini restuarant id say in scotland...Le Rendevous. Mark and i have finally learned the owners name, Aldo. So aldo made 4 mean ham paninis (baguette, ham, cheese and wildberry chutney (jam)) and sarah got something different as she like to venture off...the first night she jumped right in to scottish quisine by getting chicken and haggis with a whiskey sauce!
we relaxed a bit before taking on the big city glasgow...i called a taxi for the first time when we got to the bus station and of course it was chaotic and the taxi driver couldnt find us and we couldt find him...but about twenty five minutes later we were in front of 50 Hillhead (my flat). we spent the day eating outside the uni building and then they came to my lecture with me for celtic civilizations...they seem to better understand why im not a regular attendee after that...sadly you want to snore. we rested up before our big st. patty's day experience...we walked around the idyllic ashton lane and there were tons of people dancing, talking and drinking in the streets! we ended up at a pub called Curlers where a deal was with getting a burger, chips (fries) and a pint of cider was only 3.75 pounds! afterwards it was mission pint takeaway (MPT)...had to get a guinnes glass from a pub so we went to this one where an irish band was was full of st.patty spirit! the whole pub was filled with people clapping, singing, holding their drinks high and having a cheerie time!! it was such a good cultural experience...lauren however was the only one to succeed to spot an empty glass and take it away!
lauren has two more days here so hopefully she will get to do some shopping and other fun will be hard to let her go home.
this upcoming weekend though mark, kelly, sarah and i are heading to london. Then on monday kelly, sarah and i are going to hungary and rome. Kelly has a friend in hungary who is letting us stay with her and then rome just for fun! it will be exciting because so many adventures are going to be made!!
i hope i can update at somepoint during the next journey here....

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

a luncheon and 10k.

so today, tuesday, a great day!
i went to the beanscene and read 1 Corinthians for bible study tonight. i meet a little boy named Thor who wanted to grab my tea and knock it to the ground! cutie! i practiced my chanter a bit...still should be doing that more...eeek. i went to a celtic lecture then had a lovely lunch with my friend Katy Dycus who is a post grad student from Texas! next tuesday we are going to this indian restaurant with our other friends Gina and Dish...its called Mother India...they all love it so im sure i will too!
when i got back to my flat i checked my email and got this message from someone saying there is a 10k for just women may 10th...i went to the website...checked what exactly is a 10k, about 6.5 miles...thought about it hmmm....i can do that! So i registered...and now i cant go back! Im doing my first 10k in glasgow scotland! What exactly its for is cancer research and its the biggest all-women 10k in the uk(
Ignis Asset Management Women's 10k; Sunday 10th May 2009; 10am). i got to choose a charity to run for so im running for the Parkinson's Disease Society! I have been wanted to do something like this for awhile and now im just going to do it! why wait or put it off! so wish me luck with training...i can take some tips as well!

so i have this amazing opportunity to raise money for the Parkinson's Disease if anyone is wanting to support me running for this charity please let me know. i'll post my address if people would like to:
50C Hillhead Street
G12 8QB
Glasgow, Scotland

Monday, 2 March 2009

first things first...
when ashley and i went to Edinburgh...we saw the woman who holds the Guinness world record for most piercings...we just found this out today!!! i knew there was a reason for coming to scotland!

more in-depth: this has been quite the journey. i have gone in and out of thoughts on what is important to me in life. i never knew one way for God to help me grow would be to send me to scotland. but it has a lot. i have basically been forced to face myself each day with who i am. i realized how in the past its been easy for me to put others interests/feelings on myself, kind of ignoring what my interests and feelings are. but i've started to discover those things that get me excited about life. its not going to pubs, living the 'city' life, or trying to make a million friends at once. it is about walking in to coffee shops and sitting down in a comfy chair to have good conversation or a writing session with God. it is about going up and down hills to my art classes and realizing that it is ok not to be perfect. that sculpting a human body is not going to look like it belongs in an museum my first try. and drawing does not have to be a certain way, just as long as i let myself breathe and love the process. it is about accepting someones love and friendship, knowing they wont leave even if i can't make decisions all the time. it is about realizing that back home my heart misses when i thought i wouldn't miss it at all. i have to come to the understanding that life here for me is more that the stereotypical scottish life, it is about walking with God everywhere I go and listening to Him tell me each step He wants me taking. No matter where i go, who i am with, how my life is here, He tells me its where He wants me.
Saturday I went to a worship concert called 'Soul Survivor' with Mark. He heard about it through people from his church. It was held in the South end of town (a place needed to be discovered) at the Queen's Park Baptist Church. It was an amazing night, a night I had been longing for ever since I came here. A night of praising the Lord, dancing and singing to Him, and accepting and surrendering life to Him again! It was amazing to see all these people fill this place up coming together to sing for the thankfulness and praise to a God that LOVES. I couldn't help but cry a little...of course.

more out-depth: i got a card from mom and she said maybe the best chocolate cake that mark and i have will be one that we our daring selves tried this. friday night we spent a couple hours preparing the best 'EGG SPONGE, non-tasting chocolate, so bad had to spit out CAKE'. haha. it was awful, but of course the measuring techniques here are different, we didn't exactly have all the right ingredients and the ovens were foreign to us...excuses i know. But it isn't the last time, we think we can only get better turnouts!
we also tried to find the play Peter Pan (which crazily is the minneapolis childeren's theatre here touring) but it was in the East end of glasgow (the called 'dodgy' part of town). But after 2.45 hours on a bus we only found it after the play had started! just wasn't meant to be to find peter pan that day.
sunday went to Re:Hope again, it was different this time since Sandra and Kenny weren't there but it was nice to think about them having a lovely time in Texas! I am joining a Bible Read through group, which gets together every tuesday in starbuck to talk about a book in the bible. Im quite excited about that!
things i miss: cinnamon toast crunch, natural skippy peanut butter, high-pressure shower heads.
...before i end this post i would like to open the comment section up for anyone that has prayer requests that I could pray for!
see you!

Thursday, 26 February 2009

red&green lights.

...and i am still in glasgow!!
...and this trip is unfolding in many ways i could not have imagined. i thought i would be doing more things, meeting more people and really just doing more, but it has been a time of introspection lately. being away from a place i am familiar with and comfortable in has opened my eyes up to my life in general. i have developed a lot of questions that do not have answers and i am trying to find peace in that. i have been walking the streets praying and just taking time to think about what it is my life entails. its been an experience of learning patience and definitely a time of much needed grace. hearing the words "it's ok" has been fresh air for me. this is a more personal aspect to how this trip has been going. it isn't always filled with joyful sounds and dancing feet...there are times i shuffle the pathways. the most amazing thing through it all is that i KNOW God is with me the entire time. even when it feels a bit lonely, He is there carrying me through and also to make jokes with me!! i know for sure that if i didn't have Him this trip would have never even began! He is just so so faithful and i am excited to see what is still to come!
...besides that i have done a few new things...i got my first haircut!! i had an hour to spare before bagpiping lecture so i went walking around and passed a salon and just decided, why not? and it was lovely! when they washed my hair i got to sit in a massage chair...fantastic! i painted my first watercolor (thanks to Sandra)...i was missing home so i got a picture of mom's garden and painted flowers from it...i cant wait for the summer bloom! i started a new sculpture, we are doing just a head now for four weeks-im learning that everything that i want to learn or know does not come to perfection right away. this is where the patience comes in.
...mark and i had an adventure last weekend, crazy God moments...last minute i decided to go to st. andrews on thursday but there was no buses departing out of glasgow so i got on a bus to Edinburgh thinking there would be one there going to st. andrews...well that one was only going so far as Leven (1/2 hr drive from st. a's). my phone didnt work, i was sick, had no money and was pretty much stranded. until the bus driver came and started talking to me and well...i broke down to him...haha its funny now that i think about it but at the time i thought i was a stranded little girl. but he let me use his phone and i called mark and told him what happened and he said get on the bus to Leven and he'd meet me there some way. so i am thinking he is going to have to get a taxi and that would be like 100 pounds, i felt awful...BUT during this time i was on the bus, mark was busy calling people to see if they could drive him and well, either no one picked up or no one could. Until he felt he was suppose to call this women he had meet only through email through a grape vine of young lifers. and so mark called her explaining to this lady who has not really meet mark formally what was going on and seeing if she could drive. well i got to Leven and there was mark in a black van with Jeni Sterling! wow! and during this time God kept telling me it was going to be ok and He had everything situated, i just needed to give up my structured plans...not everything happens the same way every time...not everything happens a certain way either! it was a crazy adventure!
...i also have managed to lock myself out of my flat a couple time (forgot my keys...typical) i have tried to get into the wrong flat and a man opened the door and i ran in thinking it was my flat but it was really the floor below mine...embarassing but again typical! i have ran into many automatic doors when they open...i swear they are different here.
hmmm...what else...its hard to remember everything that has gone on...i need to write more often...but for now things are getting sunny!

Monday, 9 February 2009

tomatoe soup and royalty.

its been a success...i have stayed in glasgow for a weekend by myself!
details? ah yes!

i went to the Naked Soup cafe because...they had a sign outside their door that read as follows "american style pancakes with syrup, small stack 2.75, regular stack 3.75" and well pancakes and me get a long real well! it was my treat before i started the massive trial of finishing my first essay. one word-'delish' (they didn't have peanut butter so the next i am going to have to bring my own, pancakes are lonely without peanut butter!)

the journey of the day was for my friend ashley (a stoutie) and i to go to the famed capital, edinburgh. we both claimed we were not into the whole touristy this is what we did: got off the bus, looked for the nearest map (great for tourists), asked a worker to show us where we were on the map (after some fowl words of frustration he managed to show us), started walking, went to a land of monuments and took pictures (not touristy at all), found jacob's ladder and began our trek up the Royal Mile leading us to the untouristy castle that we have no idea who lived in. we weren't feeling touristy enough so we found a live sculpture and a William Wallace impersonator to take pictures with. oh and of course where Harry Potter was ignited into words on a page...we ate there (elephant cafe). but ashley and i realized we needed some spice in our life so we went off the beaten path to the courtyard cafe and patiently waited for the best tomato soup ever and ham and cheese paninis! at the end of the day we deemed ourselves pretty successful as not being tourists! :)
had a lovely sunday morning at Re:Hope Church, its seriously 20 steps from my apartment building door! i meet the couple, sandra and kenny, who were starting a church here. i say 'were' because they have just been told their home church in texas needs them back there, kenny as the worship leader. it was a pretty sad day, as they have kind of been the people to take care of me here. but after an amazing time of worship we had lunch at Curlers pub and great conversation.

something learned or well constantly being relearned: we can't try and figure God out, He has his own way of doing things, such as unexpectedly taking us out of places we thought we were to be. if we try and figure Him out we will only leave ourselves frustrated and in lack of faith. we need to trust that He is a God of good and works for the good of those that love Him.
i also meet some people at the church that i will be getting together tuesday for a bible book club in starbucks.
ben (another soutie) and i have continued our dinners and its been an awesome way to learn how to cook and have good meals and conversation!
its been snowing here, i look at the window and the city is white. sometimes i wonder if i even left MN.
the lattes, cappuccinos and scones have become the culprit for lack of pounds. i may need to start trading off the days i buy th
em. oh man.
....until the next.

we can ask the Lord to fill our hearts with the fruit of His Spirit...may joy fill you!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

overstuffed stomachs, Irish rocks and firsties.

sorry its been while since i've updated my blog...
but last weekend I went on another adventure with mark...operation...
Northern Ireland.
it was a lot of fun with many surprises!
what it entailed:
!) running around the airport to catch our flight at 6:30 am.
@) walking the streets of Belfast with a handy tourist map, waiting for our hostel room to be ready (first time in a hostel...interesting)
#) claiming the first startbucks we'd both been in over here to have the most genuine barista ever. then also claiming the best scones to be occupying cafe renoir.
$) stuffing our faces the night of mark's birthday with an amazing meal cooked by his Irish friend Andrew's mom in Crossgar.
%) experiencing the first of "warming rooms" where tea and biscuits are offered. (fires were feed with coal...neat)
^) the most touristy thing we probably did: went to Northern Ireland's must see Giant's Causeway. Huge rocks that apparently giants used as stepping stones across the ocean...who knew. best memory made there: it was freezing/windy and we had to walk super far down this hill to get to the place. So to get our minds semi-off the cold and the drudgery of a mountain climb we skipped/ran up it! of course laughing.
&) we wanted to see an opera or a play or something but most of the places had no showings or mysteriously were being renovated and opening later in the spring...our cure for that: lion king in London! (at some point)
even though the weather has been hiding the sun there were moments where it would peek through the clouds and i just knew that new days are always here and the past (such as aged rocks) can be stepped on to be written in a new light.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

crepes, bread and juice

sunday i had the most unique day. i have meet this couple, kenny and sandra, and they are starting a church here in glasgow. mark was here for the weekend and we both got invited to come to their service. it was held at their house...we sat on couches and had communion off of a coffee table! it was just the four of us. we had worship, prayer and kenny gave a sermon. the time was so does not have to be the traditional way of being in a certain building with certain people. all that matters is the coming together of those that love Jesus! afterwards we all went and got crepes and hung out for a bit. it was a great second service in scotland!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

sea side and sea shells.

long over adventure to st. andrews (that is a picture of Perth...haven't got one of St. Andrews yet)
quick bits and pieces.

-first 'official' date with mark- Rendezvous (little italian place) shared a ham panini while sitting on a bench hearing (it was late at night) the waves of the ocean! (unplanned but brilliant)
-went running on the beach and managed to run through the water barefoot, i believe it wa
s colder than lake superior by far.
-saw the original golf course! beautiful place, grandpa and dad would love it!
-most people seemed to have a dog and it walking itself...the common theme was not having a leash. Lily would not be allowed on the
streets of st. andrews.
-went to a small town called Perth, laughed a lot and saw random things such as these odd creatures on a railing (this is for mom and lauren). I saw sheep for the first time on the country side while on the bus.
Laughed a lot and danced in the streets!
-Mark and I developed this idea of searching for the best chocolate cake while being overseas. We have the top of the line cake of his mom and red lobster to set the bar, but we discovered a fabulous piece at a pizza place (of course...Italian) and well all i can say is mmmm. However the price of it for how small it was really put it in lower ranks. So when we find the best we are going to the baker and hi-fiving him :)
-Also experienced my fir
st church service in Scotland and it was amazing! They gave us coffee/tea and if you wanted one a biscuit (cookie)!

odds and ends...
the 'care' cafe there: right now its Couch...don'
t know another one.
gummies+taxi=much fun and a luxury

self check outs here don't like americans

a thing learned: let go of plans and just live the days for moments to happen!
a laugh: i saw this tree in Perth and if you look closely you can see a naked fat little 'tree man' trying to get in to the tree...yes that is my imagination!

Monday, 12 January 2009

ok so fashion...its everywhere. tights, skirts, scarfs, headbands, heels, boots, jackets...these two girls are probably just a little less dressed up then the usual...still for me its my nikes, jeans and white t-shirts.

eyes in a lens.

this would be my living situation. the windows and high ceilings are probably the best aspect to it. my space is on the left while antonia's is on the right! we also have a huge closet type thing and dressers. and oh a sink and mirror! great for brushing the teeth and washing the face!

the view from the windows.

the sun peeks through.

after a long weekend of rain, wind, clouds and getting dark around 4 (16:00 pm) there needed to be a prayer for sunshine. this morning i looked out the window and there is was...the sun peeking through the clouds!

what i am going to learn: how to be joyful in all be laughing throughout wet jeans and soaking feet.

new experience: strongbow cider. the subway. vegetable and fruit markets. Scottish scones with butter and jam. the expense of having to pay in pounds. phone booths.

when ordering a coffee that doesn't mean you are asking for black coffee...there are either lattes, cappu
ccinos, mochas, etc. If you want coffee you have to say "coffee black"

i started class today. just on: celtic civilizations
wednesdays i have two art classes all day: life drawing/painting and sculpture
thrusdays i am taking bag piping!!! sounds like a rough semester...i think not.

new words: "rubbish" "squinty" "oaky doke" "queries" "whilst"

Thursday, 8 January 2009

cranberry juice.

im not sure how a blog works but i thought it would be i am going to try this out...if there is a proper way dont expect me to follow it.
im in scotland, glasgow to be exact. a 'wee bit' chilly as they say, but its better than being in MN and running to my car, getting in and screaming because of the frozen toes while waiting for the heat.i can deal with rain but freezing temperatures are the death of me. i have been settleing myself in which has been kind of overwhelming as most people know me to be difficult with change. but i have found my place in a lovely room in a 'flat'. my roommate is from chile, Antonia. we made this pact that if i buy a hairdryer i can use her straightner! im excited to get closer to her and all the other flatmates.

things that i have done: looked the wrong way while crossing the street and almost getting hit. pronounced a ton of words wrong. have said "im sorry can you repeat that" too many times. ate the first night at "little italy", i just can't leave my heritage. saw a man let his dog pee on the side of a building. got told my key was "dodgy".

the 'care' place right now: Pico Cafe. i've been there twice and they already know me with my punch card. im not sure if thats a good or bad thing.
but they do say "cheers" when they hand me my cappicino as i americanly say
thank you.

the 'wee bit' odd place: a pub inside an old cathedral church.