Julian's first "nappie"... our Scottish sunburns... and us in Edinburgh

Tomorrow marks two weeks in Scotland and we are having a blast. We're exhausted and overwhelmed and stressed, but I think it says something about us that I can still say that we're having fun. ;) On Saturday we were desperately in need of some play time. Suzanne opted for a train into the city to sightsee, and the rest of us-- Maureen, Mike, Katie, Joshua, Jonathan, Julian & me-- piled into Mike & Maureen's cars & headed north. We went to St. Andrews where we found a play park near the beach where we had a picnic lunch. Maureen had packed all of the essentials, then for an added bonus Mike and Jonathan picked up some smoked fish (trout and herring) at the farmer's market. It was AMAZING. I can check one thing off my "don't miss in Scotland" list that's in my tourist book. I love "smokies"! Jonathan was very aware of the sun, but I wasn't so much. Turns out all of us, Julian included :(, ended up with a touch of sun. Nothing serious, but Julian now has a "weathered" look mostly consisting of persistently pink cheeks.

Also we used the last of the diapers we brought with us and transitioned into Julian's first nappies! It's funny because they are Pampers, same brand we buy in the states, but we felt it was a milestone. Maureen insists we should stick with the word "diaper" instead of "nappie" and we might just do that, especially since we tend to refer to nap time as nappy time. No wonder we were getting strange looks...

My orientation began yesterday at the Divinity School. As I was making my way there I kept looking around at all these people and thinking, for you this is just an ordinary day. For me this is any day but ordinary. Today I go to the welcome session for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, then tomorrow is my big day for Postgraduate Divinity students. Suzanne is with us for one more day, so we're trying to use the extra help as wisely as possible! Jonathan rented a one-week flat for us, as our long-term flat won't be available until Friday. More soon... I'm off to be a PhD student! :))))

Securing the Flat

Monday, Suzanne and I went into town and secured the flat. What this means is that we put down 250 pounds and they take the listing off of the market. The good news is, we have a place to live and it is very close to the school. The not so good news is that it takes about 7 days to get all of the paper work processed. So, they gave us a move in date of the 11th. We are some what disappointed but also happy to have gotten the flat. We had hoped to move in sooner so that we could get settled in before Beth starts on her Ph.D. but as it is now, we will be moving in on the same day as her program starts. There is a slight possibility we could get in earlier, but it's not likely.

After securing the flat, Suzanne and I went to Pizza Hut and got some lunch - I know - typical Americans. After lunch we got cell phones for me and Beth. All the providers here require a 12 or 18 month contract on their plans unless you get a pay as you go phone. We opted for the pay as you go since we will only be here for 9 months. All you have to do is "Top Up" your phone (purchase minutes) each time you run out.

Yesterday we went to the Town Center in Dunfermline and faxed in our paper work for the flat. We also went to the Abbey and saw where Robert the Bruce was buried. There was a very old cemetary and the remains of a palace outside the Abbey. Beth and Suzanne got some pictures (will post later). We're getting pretty good utilizing the public transportation to get around. Julian likes riding the bus and watching the countryside go by.

We have decided to take a few days before the weekend to go out and be tourists while Suzanne is still with us. Today we are going to look through our travel guides and try to figure out what would be the easiest for all four of us to go do. Mike and Maureen have offered to let us take one of their cars this weekend if we felt comfortable doing so (scary). I think one night this week Mike is going to take me out to practice driving. Depending on how well it goes, we may take them up on the offer this weekend.

I think that about wraps up the past few days. We'll keep you posted with any new developments.

Arriving in Scotland

on the plane
Beth, Julian and "Nanny Suzanny" on the plane.

Well, we made it. It's been a blurry couple of days, but we are adjusting to the time difference pretty well. Beth's sister Suzanne is traveling with us to help us out with Julian and getting settled in a flat. Julian did really well on the plane and slept most of the night. Beth and I on the other hand only slept about two hours. I think Suzanne may have slept as much as Julian. We arrived in Edinburgh on Thursday morning and were met at the airport by Beth's Rotary Host Counselor John Mackenzie and his wife Johan. They loaded us up in their two cars - yes, all of our luggage fit - I was amazed, and drove us to Mike and Maureen's house in Dunfermline which is about 17 miles north of Edinburgh. The drive was quite an experience. It was very weird being in the left front seat and not having the steering wheel in front of you. We are all having to get used to getting in on the left side as passengers.

Katie, Joshua and Julian
Katie and Joshua playing with Julian.

Beth and I met Mike and Maureen through my parents who had met them on a trip to Scotland with their church a few years back. We are so grateful to them right now. Without them, I'm not sure we could have done this. They have been so gracious and helpful since we arrived and continue to amaze us with their generosity. I only hope we can return the favor someday. They have two children, Katie is 4 and Joshua is 2. They are both so very cute and fun. I think they make it a little easier for Suzanne to be away from Sullivan and Shelby, but she still misses them greatly.

Thursday afternoon, Beth saw an available flat online and arranged for a viewing on Friday. So, Suzanne and I took a train into town the next morning to take a look at it. It was very close to the school. In fact, it's right below the castle. It looked very clean and bright and the owner was currently living in it. It's on the 2nd floor (which for Americans means the 3rd) so the street noise won't be much of a factor but the stairs might be. It's a two bedroom (1 double, 1 single) one bath with a washing machine. The kitchen is VERY small, but manageable. Suzanne and I both really liked it, but were unsure if we wanted to stay in the heart of the city.

Jonathan, Beth and Julian
Me, Beth and Julian on the train to Edinburgh.

We had a viewing scheduled on Saturday morning for a flat that was a little further out. The four of us (Me, Beth, Suzanne and Julian) went to town this time. It was quite the little adventure. We showed up at the flat a little early (keep in mind we are walking everywhere) and decided to look around the area. There was a park nearby, so we sat for a bit and Julian had his first outdoor feeding. When we met the agent at the flat, she informed us that she could not get a key. Talk about a downer! So, we just told her that we really need to find something soon and told her what we are looking for and asked her to call us on Monday to let us know what they have available to view next week.

We then decided to show Beth where the flat was that Suzanne and I viewed the day before. So, we walked back towards the castle, and got some lunch on the way. After we ate, it started to rain and we then realized we forgot the rain cover for the stroller. DOH! Luckily it wasn't a downpour, so we just covered Julian up the best that we could. He was laughing at the rain, so we knew he was doing fine. By the time we got to the flat the rain had stopped and the sun was out again. Beth really wanted to see the flat, so we buzzed the intercom and asked if we could view it again. The owner remembered us from the day before and let us in. Yay!

Jonathan, Beth and Julian
Living Room - that's the letting agent that showed the flat to me and Suzanne.

Well, Beth loved it! We had a chance to talk to the owner while we were looking around and found out that he is moving to London to start on his Ph.D. We told him about Beth starting on hers also and so he was happy to know that we were "mature professionals", and felt comfortable with us letting the flat. Now we just have to get in touch with the agent and work out all the details, which means we will have to wait until Monday. The owner said he would tell anyone that calls that the flat has already been let. We are all very excited and hopeful since this would mean Beth can walk to school in under 15 minutes.

Well, that gets us up to date. Today we are just taking it easy and preparing for the upcoming week. Hopefully everything will go well and we will be in the flat soon. Stay tuned!

Double Bedroom
Living Room/Dining Area

We miss you all. Beth and Julian say "Hi"