Saturday, November 08, 2008

I feel so much hope for my country.

David and I just got back from our highlands tour, and I promise to catch up with pictures and posts as soon as I can. For now though, just want to say how happy I am. We stayed up in our bed and breakfast in Inverness on Tuesday night until 5 am, watching the results and Obama's speech and history being made. It's hard to be away from home at times like these, but to be honest this election was a global phenomenon. People were celebrating in the streets here, and in countries all over the world.

It feels right to be going home now. Especially since David's dad can come visit, since he said he wouldn't step foot in the States if McCain won.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Why do I always leave the depressing ones up so long?

I feel a bit better. It's been rough, mainly because I went off the Effexor. For lots of reasons that I'm not quite ready to sure with the blogosphere just yet. But I am on my way to wellness... David is taking me back home. It's not that I don't love Scotland, because I do, or that I haven't had a great time here, because I have, it's just that I have no place here yet. I am here, on a tourist visa, for a boy. I have no other reason for existing here. I'm not doing mission work, I'm not studying, I'm not working. And that kind of purposeless existence is a recipe for mental disaster when it comes to my complicated psyche.

So we are going back home. In two weeks. I have lived in David's hometown, now he will live in mine. Yes. we are returning to Cleveland, there to stay for a year or so. After that, who knows. But at least I will be able to work in an actual job and feel somewhat useful and not like a lump of cold oatmeal. Hooray!

Will we come back to Scotland? Most likely. I want to give this place a chance, a real chance, when I have a proper visa and can really make a life here. Stay here permanently? Not so sure about that. I need the sun! But everything is up in the air for the moment, except the fact that I am going home. Home!

Monday, October 20, 2008

I am not well

Again. I am tired of not being well, but there's really nothing I can do about it. It's a season, and I'll get through it, like all the other winters I've lived through, and there will be sunshine on the other end. But until then I feel paralyzed and helpless. I wish I could hibernate until it's passed.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Homeward! (Again)

On Thursday I fly to Amsterdam, there to meet my dear friends Luise and Famke, and catch up on the year or so that has passed since we last saw each other. From there we're to board a train for Brussels, where our lovely Palestinian friend Shadi is throwing a big party to celebrate his marriage to a yet unknown Belgian girl. The party is in some tiny Belgian village an hour or so outside Brussels, and promises to be yet another of those sought-after "how did my life bring me here?" moments that I like so much. There will be posting of pictures, I promise.

I get back on Sunday morning, spend the day packing and head back to the States first thing Monday morning for two weeks. Two reasons for this visit: 1) The annual family clambake. Not to be missed. And 2) Miss Kati Griess, of Isla de Lesbos Latinas fame, is bringing her lovely wife Esther (a brand new recipient of a ten year tourist visa) to Cleveland for the first time. Again, not to be missed.

For now, I am surviving the days. I am unbearably homesick! Must be because it's fall and I'm desperate for apple picking, Amish country, and carving pumpkins. And crisp air. And piles of leaves. And hot apple cider. And long walks. And fires in the fireplace. Oh, nostalgia.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

I've been feeling a little down lately

Mainly, things have been rough with David. There has been much discord in our little flat. I even spent the night away with a friend last week (Though it wasn't all that dramatic, since he drove me there and all. But still, I didn't speak to him in the car.), but when I showed up at work the next day at 7:30, he was standing outside the deli smoking a cigarette and saying he was sorry. Then he worked in the deli, apron and all, for an hour to make up for it. We seem to have a pattern of A) David saying something stupid, B) Me getting upset, C) Both of us shouting and/or loudly ignoring each other, D) David apologizing and doing something very, very nice. Last night it was cleaning the apartment. The ENTIRE apartment. I sat and watched television, and didn't even notice at first what he was doing, until I saw him on his knees scrubbing the toilet. Without any kind of pleading or nagging on my part. At all. He just up and did it. I walked around and the place was spotless, and he was vacuuming the floor and sweating and looking pleased with himself. I nearly cried. A man has never, never done something like that for me. Flowers, yes (though he got me those too at one point), little gifties, yes, a variety of aimed-to-melt-an-ice-princess compliments, yes. But cleaning my house? Just, you know, because? A first for me.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Yeah, yeah, I know I'm lazy

So basically I've just been enjoying myself at the festival and haven't bothered to share. But it's over now, culminating in last night's amazing fireworks display over the castle, dutifully attended by young David and myself in the company of two other hip, fashionable young couples. I brought some wine in a plastic bottle. It was lovely.

Festival highlights:

  • Free comedy. What else can I say?

  • Matthew Bourne's modern ballet take on "The Portrait of Dorian Gay"--oops, I mean Gray. Homosexual ballet sex, serial killers, strobe lights--what's not to like? 

  • Hemingway's Havana, already described.

  • Sketch comedy trio the Penny Dreadfuls in "Aeneas Faversham Forever," a Victorian murder mystery comedy. They gave us free decks of cards!

  • David's friend Laura Lindo's play for children, which she wrote and directed, about two children in hospital:the Blue Boy getting a heart transplant, and the Pink Boy who gives him the heart. Wonderful. Makes me want to write plays.

  • Children of Cambodia, a group of children from the streets of Cambodia who are learning the nearly lost arts of Cambodian folk dance.

  • Seeing Jasper Fforde, an amazing writer, at the Book Club, asking a question, and having him look me in the eye for five minutes while he answered it. Felt SO important.

  • Drinking in the big outdoor Spiegeltent with friends.

  • Mrs. Napuk, who took me to see a million things and is always good company.

Festival Lowlights:

  • The guy in the bar who said I was "nice," and asked where I was from, adding "and don't say America." I said America, and he told me to fuck off. Being slightly drunk, I asked him why he would hate everyone from a country just because he hates George Bush. He looked uncomfortable (I think he realized he'd been an asshole but was too Scottish to back down), and his friend looked really apologetic. So I said "I'm Jewish too, now there's two reasons to hate me," wished them a nice evening, and left with my round of drinks. There was some crying. But Laura Lindo offered to beat them up, and that made me feel much better. 

  • Actually, I think that's the only bad thing. What can I say, I LOVE the Festival.

So sad that it's over. I'm back to work now, although with less hours. I've been reading books on an almost nonstop basis, and writing some as well. There's still the rain to contend with, but I'm holding my own against that at the moment.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Festival time in Edinburgh

August is the month of the Fringe Festival. This basically means that over the course of the month, there are 5,000 shows going on in the city in over 300 venues (from playhouses to cathedrals to bars to hilltops to the back of some guy's van) at every hour of the day. The city doubles in population. Basically, there are people EVERYWHERE. And many of them are performers, and many of them are performing in the streets, and many of them don't speak English, and many of them are lost, and many of them are just drunk (but these ones are usually Scottish, to be fair).

There is something to see or do at all times. Should I suddenly be overcome with the desire to see Shakespeare in Rosslyn Chapel (remember the Da Vinci code?), I can. Should I feel the need, at one o'clock in the morning, to catch some sketch comedy from Finland, I can. Should I be frantic to watch a hundred other people dancing soundlessly to different music on a hundred different headsets, there's a spot in Edinburgh for me. 

I spend a lot of time scouring the city for free comedy shows, as I can't afford to pay the 7 to 15 pounds most shows charge. I have seen some really great, and some violently awful (indescribably so) stuff in the past few days. I have been to a few "real" (read: you gotta pay for it) shows as well, though. I saw Hemingway's Cuba, in which his daughter-in-law told stories about Hemingway between sets of Cuban music and dancing (awesome!). A funny note: She told us how she had married Hemingway's son Gregory. But she left out the bit where, later in life, they divorced and Gregory became Gloria. An anatomically correct Gloria, no less. Fascinating. I also saw a Jewish singer/songwriter from London who performed in a classroom at the Royal College of Surgeons and looked genuinely shocked when real people turned up. He was very good, actually, but his greatest show at the Fringe (and by that I mean the show where he had an audience) was semi-ruined by the old lady who became overheated and started moaning during his last song. Ah well, that's showbiz!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I miss both my babies now.

As soon as I stop enjoying myself so damn much I'll post about family vacation at Hilton Head. But for now, here is me and my beloved. Is it just me, or do we look like brother and sister?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Pack it up, pack it in

I'm off to these great United States for a month of actual summer. The highlight? Seeing this guy:

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

They're scrapping our car

Something about the f***edupedness of the steering column making it beyond repair. And thus we reach the end of a very long and irritating journey. So, yeah. 

In other news, I am coming home! A week from today I shall arrive in a warm and sunny place, and will be able to wear actual tank tops and pretty skirts without all that pesky shivering and goosebumping. Life is good.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Still no sign of the Micra

It's out there. Somewhere. But we can't get it until the police "release" it, which of course they won't do, because they thought they already did when they said "Your car is here, go and get it." This bit of verbal assent is simply not good enough for Mr. McFie. For him, apparently the entire police force must show up at the garage and hand in individual release forms signed by their mothers. Only this will convince him of the fact that we are allowed to take our own car. Until then, there will be a $40 a day "storage" fee, thank you very much, for the burden of having to hold someone else's car.

Luckily the insurance is covering this. But still. 

I feel very fragile lately. I am somehow acutely aware all of a sudden of consumer capitalist culture, how evil it is. Just how everything costs. The fact that behind every activity, every little thing we do during the day, someone is standing with his hand out, looking to make a buck. It's not that I have to worry about money necessarily, I know I'm very lucky that way. It's just that there is so much want, and want, and WANT, and so many people buying up beautiful things and places that should belong to everyone, and so many bills and fees and fines, and all of it makes me want to run away to Alaska and grow my own food and be a hermit. Is there a Unabomber inside me somewhere, just dying to get out? 


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Our car has been recovered. Supposedly.

So the police found our car on Monday. But we still do not have it. Apparently they had to impound it, to a little garage owned by a certain George McPhee. So David called them to see if we could get our car, after which he sent me this email:
Wow! Well, the good folk at George McFie's had this to say:

We have your car. 

You can't get it. 

The police haven't authorised us to release it. 

Yes, I understand the police told you to call us and pick it up.

No we can't release it. 

Yes, I understand the police told you it was available to be picked up, but we can't release it until we've heard from the police.

No, we can't release it - we have to hear from the police.

No, we can't phone the police ourselves - we have to wait to hear from them. 

Sir, your attitude isn't helping this situation.

The release fee? It's £150 at the moment.

Please sir, your language isn't helping. 

Okay, then, thank you, have a good day.

There you have it then. To add to our frustration, in the two weeks before the car was stolen we got two parking tickets ($60 each). Plus we got photographed going 63 in a 50 zone on the highway (a relatively unmarked quarter of a mile where they slow the speed limit down by 20 mph to go under a bridge, then photograph everyone who passes and charges them $120. Nice little moneymaker). So that's a total of $240, before the $300 to GET OUT OWN CAR BACK AFTER IT WAS STOLEN. Lovely.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Automobile Woes

Our car got stolen. Well, not our car exactly, but the one we use courtesy of David's parents. I am so, so sad about this because I am American and therefore do not feel complete when I don't have a car. The evening after we reported the car stolen, the police phoned to inform us that they had someone in custody who may have been responsible. Apparently he matched the description of a certain ned who was trying to steal a van and happened to be driving, yes, our car. Unfortunately, this especially productive thief was no longer in possession of our car by the time they picked him up, and we are awaiting his interrogation to see if he might spill the beans about where our precious baby blue Nissan Micra ended up.

If you are wondering what a "ned" is, allow me to refer you to the wikipedia definition:

"Ned is a derogatory term applied to certain young people in Scotland, akin to the term chav in England. The stereotypical view of a ned is a white adolescent male, of working class background, who wears fake Burberry, who engages in hooliganism, petty criminality, loutish behaviour, underage drinking and smoking or general anti-social behaviour."

David seemed to believe that "Ned" is an acronym for "Non-Educated Dipshits," but I was later informed by his friend Simon that the proper term is "Non-Educated Delinquents." They wear tracksuits and drink a delightful tonic wine concoction known as Buckfast, or "Buckies" affectionately. And they look like this:

Or, alternatively, this:

What I find especially disturbing is that whoever stole our car may have been wearing fake Burberry.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Shakespeare by the sea

Last night we drove up to St. Andrews in Fife to see a production of Romeo and Juliet in the ruins of St. Andrews castle. I could explain to you how wonderful it was, but it's probably best you see it for yourselves:

St. Andrews Castle

St. Andrews Cathedral (or what's left of it)

Everyone packed picnics. And umbrellas - but luckily it only sprinkled.

We sat in the front row. This required us to be there early, much to David's chagrin. But he's getting used to it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How many more days til the weekend?

I had a great one last weekend. The weather was perfect for once, and there was a little festival in the Meadows (the park by my house). I went with a couple of girls to check out the stands and sit in the grass, while listening to a string ensemble and eating crepes. Ah, bliss.

The Meadows

People who might be my friends?

Kirsten, looking pale and very English

Girls on the grass

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Caught One

Sex and the City yielded a possibility - nice girl, new in town, wants to meet up for drinks. Making friends in a new place is officially like dating. We met, liked the look of each other, and now we're going on a date. Will we take it to the next level? Could she be The One?

In other news, David and I have been having a go at each other a bit this week. I can count at least four meltdowns. Ah, growing pains. One thing I love about him: He's like my family. There's no carryover. So we fight, maybe even yell, sulk for a minute, and then it's all "Wanna order a pizza?" We just can't be bothered to stay mad. I take this as a good sign. Now if only he would let me mold him into the perfect man, everything would be wonderful. I sincerely hope you can sense my sarcasm.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I Need friends. Now.

Tonight I'm joining a bunch of girls from a meetup group to watch Sex and the City. Among them, hopefully, will be someone who will hang out with me and save me from my current state of extreme estrogen deprivation. I am a huntress, ready to pounce on anything breathing with two x chromosomes. Watch out, female population of Edinburgh! I am on the prowl.

Um, that doesn't sound, like, creepy...right?

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Especially in the month of June

We have big plans for today. Sunday has turned out to be our "get out and do something" day. I submit as evidence photos from last Sunday's adventures, a trip north to see the highland games at Blair Castle. What are the highland games, you might ask? They are nothing less than enormous men in kilts throwing various heavy objects in shows of strength, while vendors hock there wares (mostly burgers) and little girls dance highland jigs on a stage to the side. In other words, they are wonderful. See for yourselves:

Blair Castle Highland Games

Bagpipe music could be heard from all directions, at all times

There was many a kilt to be seen as well

The contenders...

...throwing heavy objects

Squinting in the sun

Highland dancing!

The pipers of Blair Castle

And the imposing castle itself

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's been a busy week

Every night I've had something to do. Monday night, David has his parents over for dinner, along with his best friend Nick, and there was much laughter. In the end, that is. In the beginning there was only me being crabby because the house was messy and the food uncooked and someone thought everything would be done in time so I should just stop stressing out and also bossing people around in the kitchen. I was actually sent out of the kitchen since I was "being a fascist" and "obviously needed a nap." Harsh words, yes, but they were said with tenderness I assure you. And somehow, everything did get done. And it was lovely.

Then the last two nights I have taken advantage of the meetup phenomenon, which gave me several good friends when I was alone and loveless in New York (you know who you are, ginger). Tuesday wasn't actually a meetup, but an event I'd read on a post that was on the meetup site, so it counts. Apparently Edinburgh is the first, and so far the only, UNESCO City of Literature in the world. And on the last Tuesday of every month, literary types of all stripes and varying degrees of success come together for a literary salon, where they sip wine and mingle and talk about books. I loved it, minus the social awkwardness I always suffer from at these events. You know, groups of people standing around chatting with each other as I wander aimlessly around the room, rapidly emptying wine glass in hand, looking for a cue to enter into the conversations of people obviously better at small talk then me. I literally (that's punny, get it?) don't know what to do with myself. So I sat on the couch and looked at brochures until I saw someone sitting alone at which point I downed my wine, thrust my chest out, and swooped down on the poor soul like a socially handicapped vulture. Luckily it was okay and she didn't scream.

Then last night I attended my first Edinburgh Writer's Workshop meetup group and it was excellent: just the right size, with good discussion and writers with actual talent. I was immensely pleased. Of course, I was the only one who actually offered any criticism, as most people said how much they "just loved the imagery" and "thought (insert title of piece) was wonderful." This unbridled courtesy is no doubt a British trait and will hopefully be remedied by my brash "I just want more from your writing" American personality. I'll let you know.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Roseneath Terrace

So I have finally reached a point where I am happy with our little flat. So happy, in fact, that I feel the need to share it. To that end, I have taken some pictures. And I shall post them here. And you shall look at them. And you shall give me compliments on my style and taste.

The sitting room, complete with boyfriend. (Feel free not to compliment him on his style and taste in shirts.)

The kitchen, where I dream up gourmet meals and serve them, since I have no friends. (Boyfriend doesn't count, I'm afraid, since he lives here.)

There. Now I shall sit back and await your praise.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

I know I should be posting more

...but I am just So. Fecking. Tired.

Friday, May 16, 2008

My legs hurt

It is to the point, on this beautiful Friday afternoon, that I can't bear to walk outside and enjoy the day because the pain behind my knees--no doubt caused by the conception, if not yet the birth, of several brand new varicose veins--has me confined to the couch. It is THAT BAD. Is this normal? I have no memory of it being like this when I was a waitress. Could it be the fumes from the grease? My apron tied too tight? The effort of decoding accents? Or is it that I was simply not made for this kind of thing (meaning actual WORK, of course) and that I should be in a classroom somewhere instead, legs crossed delicately beneath my desk? I would give anything to go back to school. And stay there. Forever.

Besides my physical agony, everything else is well. We have Internet! And cable! And constant arguments involving peeling David from the couch! Ah, bliss.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I am tired

I never thought I'd see the day when my boyfriend would have to give me hand massages because my hands ache from CUTTING VEGETABLES. It is a new day for me. It is a new world!

Big news: We are getting Internet at last! After Wednesday, you will be able to enjoy my blog on a much more regular basis. I know that you greet this news with joy and thanksgiving. Or, if you're my boyfriend, trepidation. Either way, brace yourselves.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

I am no longer unemployed

But I'm not exactly employed either... Suffice it to say that if you need a bacon roll or a coronation chicken sandwich, I'm your gal. I'm your gal, in fact, at seven bleeping thirty in the morning. Who needs a bacon roll that early? Unintelligible Scots, that's who.

In other news, David is not happy about how he is being presented on my blog. Whenever he says something a bit controversial, he looks at me with narrowed eyes and says "Is this going on your blog?" My goal is to keep him in this paranoid state until he says nothing but nice and innocuous things, at which point I will reward him by taking him out in public. It is part of my insidious plan to ruin his life by taking away everything he holds dear (bacon rolls, smoking, video games on weeknights, extreme and unapologetic messiness, going to bed without flossing--you know, essential man freedoms and the like). I have been here for two weeks and so far I have failed miserably on all counts. But I endure!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

And I thought Cleveland weather was bad

Let me just get one thing straight: Edinburgh is beautiful. It really is. But it is also f***ing cold. And rainy. And glum. At least so far. I had two--no wait, three!--sunny days in a row when I first arrived, as if the city were courting me (or at least trying to get in my pants). But now we are married (or at least sleeping together) and she is showing her true colors. And they are all gray.

I am only complaining because I miss David, who has, after nine months, returned to work in order to pay for his lovely flat and to make sure that he eats. So not only has he left me all alone, but the weather has turned to blech. All weekend it was love and sunshine, and we were flitting about from one social event to the next like we belonged here (which he does, of course), but now I am bereft and shivering.

Still, I will admit that I am happy. On Friday we went to see Ghost Dog at the Filmhouse with some friends, and RZA (I think that's how he writes it maybe?) from Wu-Tang was there, very eloquently (that's a lie) fielding questions. On Saturday I went to my first ceilidh (that's a Scottish country dance). It was the birthday party of one of David's mother's friends, and we came fresh from the pub where we'd met with David's friends, so I was slightly buzzed. Still, I was reluctant to dance in front of people that A) knew what they were doing and B) knew David in diapers, but he made me. And it wasn't so hard. And he was so cute. We only got one dance in before we got to chatting with people though, but perhaps that was for the best. Then on Sunday we went to a pub with some friends to watch (of course) soccer (excuse me, football). There was some yelling, and much (unnecessary) apologizing on David's part. A great weekend, no?

Also, I love his flat. David found it all by himself and it is perfect. Aside from the fact that he gives me mistrustful sidelong glances when I do anything to it (What's wrong with my pillowcases? What do you mean, 'decorate'? Why can't we have a media room?), he's given me free reign, so long as it doesn't look 'gay' when I'm done and he doesn't feel like he's living 'in a girl's house.' Fair enough. I can do that!

So for those of you who haven't figured it out yet, this is my new Blog. My SCOTTISH blog, as yet untitled, officially replacing Isla de Lesbos Latinas. Vaya con Lesbos, Argentina blog. Bienvenidos, Edinburgh blog. Read on, I dare you.

Monday, April 21, 2008

I am 30 years old

But only for five more minutes.

It's been quite a year. I lost my job. I earned my Masters. I lived with lesbians in Buenos Aires. I was beaten up by children in Paraguay. I lost my beloved grandfather. I fell in love. And now I'm following my love to Scotland.

So goodbye, cruel youth. Hello wrinkles and uncontrollable urges to steal other people's children. 31, here I come.