28 December, 2010

Christmas in Scotland

This is my second Christmas in Scotland, but the first one since being married! Two years ago, Scott proposed to me in the wee hours of Christmas morning!

When all the Burns boys lived at home, Santa would fill their Christmas stockings and leave them on the end or at the foot of their bed. As soon as they would wake up and discover them, they would race through to their mum's room and dump them out on her bed and show her what they got! Now that they're grown up, Santa leaved the stockings under the tree with the rest of the gifts.

Every year, Gran Macdonald (Scott's mum's mum) spends the night so she's there for the early morning Christmas start. Christmas morning, Scott's mum Linda woke us up at about 8:30am. The little old neighbour lady Chris (who has been adopted as a granny) is brought over shortly after everyone wakes up. Stockings are opened first and usually include a couple of daft gifts. When Scott and I were first engaged for my first Christmas in Scotland, Santa, a.k.a.Linda, put a black and pink thong with pom-pom ties and "Santa Baby" written across the front in my stocking. And of course, she suggested I try them on, since my family try on clothing they receive. Eeek! That's Scott's family for you! Gifts are opened after that, then everyone hangs around and gets ready for the day and then heads over around 2pm for a 4 course meal at Scott's mum's brother, Uncle Ian's House.

Surprisingly, this year's meal went off without much of a hitch. Way to go Uncle Ian! In the past, he has caught fire to the kitchen via the turkey, burned various other food, put a wicker basket in the oven to heat up the bread and caught that on fire, there has been an all out food fight, and the first year I spent Christmas here, he had so mistimed the baking that there was over an hour and half between the 2nd course and the main course...we were sooo hungry! Christmas dinner in Scotland is much like Thanksgiving dinner in America and usually includes turkey and sometimes ham or lamb.

 Christmas Dinner

There is one tradition in Scotland which I love that I've not seen before in the States. Christmas Crackers! A Christmas Cracker lies on everyone's plate prior to the meal as a decoration and just before Christmas dinner begins, everyone picks up their Cracker and holds it out to one of the people next to them. Each person pulls and it pops! Out pops a little trinket prize, a joke, and a paper hat. Everyone shares their joke, swap prizes if they want and puts on their paper crown hat!
 Christmas Cracker

After the meal is complete, most of the family continues drinking and often end up setting up for karaoke. It's doesn't matter if you're any good or not, because Uncle Ian will sing with you or over the top of you most of the time! This year I skyped my family and watched them open presents. They met Uncle Ian and Aunt Elinor for the first time that night (via skype) dressed up in crazy costumes. Now my family is certain that most Scots are a bit crazy!

 That's been my Christmas in Scotland with the Macdonald family! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

24 November, 2010

Re:Hope Women's Worship Night

Since arriving in Glasgow, I have joined the Women's Pastoral Care Team at our church, Re:Hope. My first day in staff meeting, one of the women on staff voiced that a couple of them wanted to have a women's worship and prayer night soon, so I jumped on board to help! I've never done much on the computer before concerning invitations or the like, but I volunteered to help advertise for the event. With assistance I managed to come up with an invitation that I was proud of! I love learning how to do new things!

There are so many young women at Re:Hope! I feel like it's going to take ages to meet all of them, remember their names and then actually get to know them! It's such a wonderful spot to be though. I love getting to know women and helping them become grounded in their faith in God and connecting them with other fabulous women! Overall, Scotland is in such a place of spiritual hopelessness. The last couple of generations have walked away from God and don't have much to offer the upcoming generations. It is so refreshing to see young people searching for hope for themselves and finding God!

Last night, we hosted the event at the church building and a lot of newer women to the church attended. I was impressed with the team of women who came together to make everything happen. The response from everyone was very positive! The lights were dimmed, there were lots of candles lit and strands of white twinkle lights. The worship through singing was beautiful! Several times I just stood silently praising God and listening to the amazing chorus of women's voices around me bringing glory to His Name! If you've never experienced this kind of thing before, you should! There are few other things like it that will turn your heart to God!

10 November, 2010


Scotland is not exactly the driest place on earth! Having experienced that in the past, I was well aware of the fact that one of my first purchases upon arrival would need to be a "brolly" (umbrella). Once the brolly was acquired (at a second hand shop!) I thought I was pretty well prepared for the weather. However, within the first couple of weeks my white trainers (tennis shoes) became a splotchy brown and my trendy boots were no match for the puddles. I resolved to do something to keep my feet dry!

Prior to our move, I had heard rubber boots known as "Wellies" had become quite the hit in both fashion and dryness in the U.K. Buying a pair of Wellies sounded like a good idea, so I began to look around for a pair I liked. I tried on a pair of size 7s, thinking that would be pretty close to my U.S. size of 8. I was way off! I ended up deciding that I'm about a size 5 here! After looking at several shops, I decided to go out on a limb and get a rather colorful pair!

Now, with my brolly (umbrella) and my new Wellies, I am properly armed for the Scotland rain!

25 October, 2010

We Made It!

We made it! My U.K. Visa arrived on the morning of Thursday, Oct. 21st and we flew out from Portland on Saturday morning. After 18 hours of travel, we finally arrived in Glasgow! We're now in Scott's hometown Irvine (Ir-vin) with his family for the week.

I went to plug in my laptop earlier today and had to search for my plug adapter. Thankfully the outlet was switched on. In addition to having different outlets and volts, most plugs in the UK have on/off switches. Charging a computer doesn't work too well when the outlet is switched off (believe me I've tried before)!

I was talking with Scott's step-dad and asked him about the heating units. I've noticed that Scott's family often put their damp towels on the heater and being the typical American I was worried that there was the potential for a fire. He assured me that it was safe. The common heaters here are gas powered. The gas heats up water which flows through the radiator that sits up close to the wall. I'm guessing I'll start drying my towel that way when we get our own flat (apartment).     

When we flew into Glasgow yesterday, it was strange to be welcomed "home." Believing that Scotland is my home now is going to take some getting used to. Here I go!

19 October, 2010

The Adventure Has Already Begun!

Any day now, my U.K. permanent residency visa could arrive and the adventure of An American in Scotland will begin! Well, actually in many ways it has already begun. Though I’m currently in Oregon, being married to a Scot for the past year plus had been quite a cultural adventure. Not only did he wear a kilt to our wedding, but he allowed all of his groomsmen (most of whom were American) to experience the joys of wearing a kilt as well. I like to tease him by telling him I never thought I’d marry a man wearing a skirt!  

Free tip: One way to avoid offending a Scotsman is to never refer to his kilt as a skirt! :)