Wednesday, 26 January 2011

A trip home from home

I left home on Friday to come home again. I know that sounds weird. Because I live in Scotland and have been there for two and a half years now (without visiting), I was on my way home to visit my two oldest children who still live in Arkansas.

I requested a window seat for the flight from Edinburgh to Newark but none were available. I saw someone coming down the aisle towards me (in the back row!) and knew he was the Window Seat Guy. I got up and let him make his nest and we both hoped no one sat in the middle. We got lucky!

Once I realised I wasn't going to be squished on the ride, having the seat between me and Window Seat Guy, I relaxed. Parts of me were a bit anxious but I soon relaxed and the old "travelling" me came right back to life. Normally, whenever the plane would take off from Edinburgh, I would cry because my heart has always been in Scotland and I always felt like I was leaving home. But that day, as the plane gained speed on the runway and slowly lifted off the ground into the foggy sky ... then breaking through the other side to reveal blue skies and a sea of fluffy clouds below, the mist in my eyes was because I know this is now home.

The flight was pretty uneventful. I felt a little bit of turbulence when we got near Newark. I saw snow on the ground but the runways were clear. I had a very little layover in Newark and I was on my way to Houston pretty quickly. I was cold on that flight and they didn't have any blankets and a four-hour flight with no food unless you paid for it - and they don't take cash anymore! I broke down and bought a snack-pack and once I got to Houston, I started looking for food!

I had a three hour layover so I took my time walking to the terminal and my gate. One of the first things that caught my eye was a massage chair. I used a $5 bill and it is the absolute best $5 I have ever spent in my life! For fifteen minutes I relaxed while the chair did its job (give me a second, I'm reminiscing ...). *sigh* Okay, I'm back.

Once my layover was over, I walked to my gate - I was nearly in Arkansas. I knew my daughter would be on her way to the airport soon. Finally, finally, finally!! I was going to see my little girl and my son (I better not call him my little boy!).

My flight arrived in Little Rock and I couldn't possibly get downstairs too quickly to see them after I got off the plane. Travis wasn't feeling well so Whitney came with Shawn (her fiancĂ©) and Niki brought her girls. What a lovely welcome back to Arkansas!! We chatted for awhile and then we picked up my checked bag (which came out right away!) then I picked up my rental car.

That was a big mistake. I should've waited until the next day. You see ... I drive on the left in Scotland. I have driven on the left for the last two and a half years. I had been travelling for about 24 hours (14 on planes). I actually tried to drive on the left when we left Wal-Mart. Thank goodness, I haven't done that since!

Once I finally got to where I was going, I could feel the jet lag really setting in. I'm getting too old for this. I laid down on the bed and although it took me awhile to fall off to sleep (there really is something to this
'too tired to sleep' thing...), I did get some rest that night.

As usual, I was wide awake about 8:30am, even though I'd gone more than 24 hours without sleep. I was ready to begin my first full day away from home ... at home.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011


Burns Night is coming nigh and I wanted to share a story with you about my first (and second) experience with haggis.

On my first trip over here, my friend Cathy and I decided we should try haggis. We'd heard about it and we wanted to give it a shot. We made it to Inverness and wanted to have our dinner so we walked to a restaurant on the river and sat down. Looking at the menu, we saw haggis as a starter. We ordered it and hesitantly tried it.

I don't know how to explain the taste. It was spicy. Chewy. Crumbly in the mouth. Overall, not something I enjoyed at all. So I concluded there and then - haggis was awful!

I wouldn't touch it after that and anyone that said that it was good, I would argue that it was not nice at all.

A few years later, there were four of us that went on a three week trip to Ireland, Scotland, and England. Once we arrived in Scotland, Cathy and I decided to play a little trick on our unsuspecting travel partners. We told them that they had to try haggis and that they wouldn't be allowed to leave the country if they didn't try it.

We were in Tyndrum at the whisky shop and the guy behind the counter recommended the Clachaig Inn in Glencoe (incidently, the movie Made of Honor was partly set there) for lunch. We wandered our way to the single track road that led us there. We felt like we had gone back in time. I think it must have been an old coaching in or something of that nature.

We ordered lunch and although I can't remember who noticed it, but one of us found haggis on the menu as a starter. It was decided that we'd order one between us so we could get it out of the way.

Out it came and with a bit of uncertainty, we all had a forkful. I was stunned! This was good stuff!! The flavour filled our mouths and we were all jockeying for the next bite - I was amazed that we didn't lick the plate!!

Well, that was it. I was hooked. It was amazing and from that moment on, I was a haggis lover. I eat it whenever I get a chance. However, I have never cooked it myself - I feel that I've not lived here long enough to do so! =)

Now I think I need to start a campaign to get people to at least try the stuff before they start to poo-poo it. So, how do I go about this? I must think about this and hire a marketing firm! =)

Sunday, 16 January 2011


As most of you know, I moved here at the beginning of June 2008 with my three boys, Travis, Austin, & Casey. Since Travis went home in June last year, its left me and the twins with Peter living in Fife. We do love it here. Generally, life is good.

We will celebrate three years of living here in June this year and will be eligible for citizenship, if we want it. However, it is very expensive. Since my daughter Whitney is getting married next year (two weeks after she graduates from college), we have to put off the citizenship until after the wedding, at least. But that's not what this post is about...

Since we've been here, none of us have gone back to Arkansas for a visit. Well, not if you don't count Travis because he went there to stay. Back at Christmas, we were going to fly the two of them over here for the holidays. But when we realized it was going to cost £1800 for the two of them, we had to make a very difficult decision and we decided that we just couldn't afford it. We looked into airfare in January for me to go see them and found that my ticket was about half of one of theirs - just because of the timing. We discussed it with the kids and they all agreed - the graduation and wedding were more important at the moment. The decision was made for me to fly to see them, taking their Christmas presents with me. I would be bringing the twins presents back with me when I came home.

The dates of the visit are 21 January - 29 January and I will arrive home on the 30th in the morning. I will be due back at work the next day (but that's another post all together!).

Obviously, my main reason for going is to see the kids. I miss them so much! But I'm also going to see friends that I've not laid eyes on in 25 years! I'm also a bit anxious about what's changed, what's not changed, and driving on the right-hand side of the road again for the first time in more than 2 1/2 years!

I'm "stealing" Peter's camera while I'm away (mine hasn't been replaced but we are working on it!) so there will be photos galore - mainly of me and my beautiful children and my lovely friends!

I leave Friday at 9:00am. I fly from Edinburgh to Newark then to Little Rock. I am a bit nervous about the flights because I haven't been on a plane since we moved here - if you don't count the 40 minutes I was on a plane to Dublin last month. =) I will catch up when I get back!

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Its been a spell since I've posted here. A whole month. Its been a busy December.

Last month we decided that we couldn't afford to bring my daughter and son over from the USA here for Christmas. It was one of the toughest decisions I've ever had to make. The concession was for me to go over in January to take their Christmas presents to them and to bring the twins stuff back from their dad back with me. My plane ticket was about half of one of theirs. The airlines really get you during the holidays, don't they?

We had to discuss it with all the children. First was the twins - it was difficult but they understand that this was the only option we had at the moment. We have a wedding to go to in 2012 - and a college graduation. We can't miss that. So we have to make this sacrifice in order to make sure we go next year. So this was the sacrifice. Then I called our two in the States and explained it to them.

As I said, it was difficult but we got through it. Christmas was okay if weird without the kids. Even when we went to my in-laws for their part of Christmas, it just somehow felt different - just not "right" if you understand what I mean.

Well, now its 2011 and we all have a clean slate to start out a new year. I never ever make resolutions but I'm going to this year.

1) I'm going to write an actual letter to everyone in my address book (well, those that don't live in my village anyway). It won't have any =)'s or lol's or any references to anything like Facebook or emails, etc. I think that actual letter writing is a lost art. I hope I remember how to do it!

2) Swim as much as I can - its fun and its great exercise and a great way to get fit again. I want the inside of my body to be as fit as possible.

3) Learn a new skill this year. Not sure what yet but I'm going to take some kind of course.

4) Get a new job.

That's it. That's what I want to do. I just hope that I can stay motivated to do it. When I start to falter, I'll remember something my Grandfather said to me many moons ago - "I learn something new every day. The day I stop learning, is the day I die." He didn't stop learning until he was nearly 83. I'm only 42 so I've got a lot of learning yet to do.

So that's my New Year post. I'll update more frequently this year. I hope to impart some wisdom along the way and to make you smile a few times. And I'll add photos whenever I can. =)

May 2011 bring you health, happiness, and a sense of joy like you've never experienced.