Sunday, December 1, 2013

Odds & Ends...

I just wanted to catch up on odds and ends.  The weather has been turning colder but the last few days have been really nice.  A couple of weeks ago we left for church about 9:30 a.m. and found that overnight the raindrops had frozen on the car top and windows. There have been a few mornings that we needed an ice scraper to clear the windscreen of ice. 

The time of the sun setting still is amazing to me.  Not only are the days getting shorter but the sun does not arch very high in the sky.  It is December 1 and today’s sunrise was at 8:19 a.m. and sunset was at 3:44 p.m.  To show the contrast I took the following picture in June at about 10:00 p.m. 

You can still see the sun shining on some of the clouds behind the grey clouds.  This next picture was taken on Thursday at 4:00 p.m.  The sky was a golden orange at 3:30 as we left the church building.  On the drive home we were amazed at the sight.  I took this picture behind our flat


Thanksgiving is an American holiday which the Scots don't celebrate.  This year  we made our own Thanksgiving celebration.  We decided to have some of the young missionaries come to our flat for a “Thanksgiving Dinner” on Thanksgiving Day.  We made believe we had a turkey and substituted it for a couple of chickens cooked at the deli rotisserie next door.  We had all the trimmings including turkey gravy, mashed potatoes, dressing, yams, green beans, rolls, and the traditional pumpkin pie.  I think they enjoyed the dinner…

 Since there is no Thanksgiving holiday here, all of the decorations in the stores changed to Christmas decorations on November 1st…right after Halloween.  (Wait a minute…that is the same thing that happens in the States even with Thanksgiving.)  Christmas shopping has begun here big time.  All of the stores are very crowded and everything is geared to the Christmas shopper.  We were in a large department store on Tuesday and one would have thought it was “Black Friday”.

We (the senior missionaries) decided that we would have our own Thanksgiving dinner.  Since Thanksgiving day here was a “normal” work day with scheduled meetings, we had our dinner yesterday, Saturday, November 30th.  Most of the senior missionaries in Scotland were able to attend the dinner.  Our task became where to find a whole turkey.  In all the butcher shops you can find sliced turkey or a turkey breast but not a whole turkey.  We finally found a few frozen whole turkeys at a grocery store.  They came in “medium, large, extra large, and XX Large” sizes.  We had 23 people coming to dinner so we bought the XX large turkey.  The weight was 10.3 kg – or about 22 pounds.  The cost was £30 or about $48…for a turkey!! 

We had the dinner at the mission home which is a large old home in Edinburgh that was probably built in the late 1800s.  It has been remodeled and a mission office has been added to the back.  The rooms are very large with very high ceilings.  You can see from the decorations that it was a combination Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday dinner.  :)

We cooked the turkey at the mission home and had a ton of food...Here President Brown, our Mission President, is carving the turkey.  Following dinner we gathered in the front room and sang Christmas carols.


 The detail in the ceiling of this old house is amazing. 
This does not do justice to the beauty of the room, but his is a corner of the ceiling.

The big thing I am thankful for this year is…I passed my written driving test!  I have been studying for the last few months for the theory test (written test) for the drivers license.  The UK recognizes my AZ drivers license for one year.  Since we will be here for 18 months I need to get a UK drivers license.  I had to pay £50 for a Provisional License (a learners license) and then £31 for the privilege of taking the written test.  (That is about $130 and I still can’t drive without my US license)  The positive part of this is that since I do have a valid US license I dinnae (that is Scottish for “don’t”)  need to have the “scarlet letter” on the car.  One can drive in the UK with a Provisional if they are accompanied by a UK licensed driver but they must display a large red “L” on the front and back of the car to show the world that they are learning to drive.

Many of the senior missionaries don’t worry about getting their drivers license.  If they are assigned to work in Scotland, they will be transferred to the Republic of Ireland when the one year is up.  The clock is then reset.  If they are in the Republic, they will be transferred to Scotland after the year to reset the clock.  Since we are assigned to Edinburgh and need to stay here the full 18 months, we don’t have the option of being transferred to the Republic…so I need to get my license.







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