Travelling Tuesday — Heilan Coo?

Okay, so this is just a hilariously silly Travelling Tuesday. You will probably never never guess where this has come from, so I will have to tell you. Some of you, being the brilliant readers that you are, might recognise a Heilan Coo (Translation, a Highland Cow) when you see one. These bonnie creatures rove the bonnie hills of rural Scotland. They are famous for their shaggy hair, their sassy fringe, their big and majestic horns…and sometimes…their awfully long tongues.  But don’t be quick to judge! This is no heilan heilan coo! We were visiting my friend Amiee in North Carolina…Mooresville to be exact…and went to this amazing, and amazingly random safari park, complete with giraffes, rhinos, zebras, horses, pigs, deer…I mean you name it…and wow oh wow…highland coos! Mark and I were still living in Scotland at the time, so it was delightful to see these “familiar faces” up close and personal…

Would you like, perhaps to see a highland coo from a different angle? Don’t worry my friend, I have also arranged that for you, below! (It’s the one on the left.)


May your travels bring you such bonnie sights, wherever the roads may take you… 😉


Our Best Travel Experience yet, or, FLY EMIRATES!

Well folks, we are safely in South Africa and it is really really good to be here. Our most recent travel experiences really deserve a mention. By the end of this you might think I’m writing a paid advertisement for Emirates airline, but honestly, this is just me telling you what a great experience we had. (Although if they wanted to pay me, I would take it!)

This adventure began with our last few days in Scotland, staying with our dear friends Rob and Alice (travelling Rob), and catching up with more friends, (who had birthday prezzies for Asher, no less! thanks Worwy and Sawah [above]!) connecting with friends at church, and catching colds because it was so cold and rainy and wintry. A million thanks to the Andersons for hosting us so graciously (Rob could run a fantastic restaurant of culinary delights), to Adam for driving us to the airport in Glasgow, and to Hope for letting him when she’s so pregnant she’s about to burst and has two wee ones.

We were…shall we say… a bit concerned about our baggage because we thought the Emirates allowances were the same as Continental’s, but we discovered we were mistaken the day before our flight. We were looking at 25 to 35 pounds — that’s British Pound Stirling — per kilogram overweight. And we had none too few extra kilograms. But the travel agents were as friendly as Nessie is hard to find, and did not even mention the extra weight. When we walked away from the counter we felt like kids on Christmas morning. That upgrade we prayed for just happened. They only made me taste two baby food jars at customs (yeah… seriously) and when we arrived at the gate, they came and checked our pram (stroller) for us, and told us although it was checked to Johannesburg, there would be a pram waiting for us while we were at our layover in Dubai. That was great. The layover was more than four hours in the middle of the night, but at least we had a pram! And I am now convinced Dubai is quite possibly the coolest place I’ve never been.  (Since the airport doesn’t count).

Our two eight hours flights were easypeasy. On each leg, the flight attendants gave us toys and other stuff for Asher…he got a hand puppet camel on the first flight (along with a colouring book and coloured pencils) and he got a hand puppet tiger for the second leg of the journey! They also gave us baby food, and a little pouch with a rattle, a spoon, baby wipes, a bib, baby lotion… they just really took care of us. And they took Asher’s picture and put it in a little paper frame with an airplane on it. “Best wishes from Emirates to Asher” with the flight number and crew member names. So sweet! He wasn’t looking at the camera so they tried twice. Sweet anyway!  We also had a row of four bulkhead seats to ourselves on the first flight, and three bulkhead seats to ourselves for the second. Upgrade!

So here’s my thirty second Emirates promo: “At a time when most airlines are debating charging customers for extra baggage or even for going to the bathroom, Emirates is handing out hot towels and amazing meals. They’re serving cake and ice cream with tea and coffee at snack times. They’re giving kids toys and making sure their families are comfortable. Their prices are competitive, but their customer service blows the competition out of the water. (Or sand dunes, if you will). From perhaps one of the best-traveled babies in the world, Emirates gets a one-tooth smile with lots of drool, and two happy hands up!”

Thanks for allowing that digression. As the story continues, we are now safely in South Africa and it’s great to be here. We arrived in Johannesburg, stayed the night with Mark’s sister, Lyn, (who also had great birthday prezzies for Asher!) The next day was, praise the Lord, our final flight — Johannesburg to Cape Town. Mark felt prompted to wait one more day before buying those tickets with Kulula, a domestic South African airline.  A one-day sale started the next day, and (thank you again, Lord!) we saved a huge amount on the tickets. Unfortunately, we did have to pay for our extra baggage on that flight, but since we’d saved so much on the tickets, we pretty much broke even.   And now the real adventure begins! Since I’ve gone a bit long, I will perhaps save the story of our arrival for tomorrow. =)


Traveling Wednesday… the Journey Begins

This is a “Traveling Wednesday” because we are actually traveling today, and a wee ways into tomorrow. Mark, Asher and I are on our way to Scotland for a few days before the journey to South Africa begins. Having a round trip ticket looks better to the US government (since Mark is in the middle of the spousal visa process) and it was cheaper to get a one way from Edinburgh than from North Carolina. (AND we get to say hello and goodbye to our dear friends in Edinburgh again!) We take off tomorrow afternoon and arrive in Scotland Thursday morning. If you fancy praying for us, feel free to pray that Asher will be happy and peaceful, we won’t have any delays and things will go smoothly, our stuff will arrive safely, we’ll get upgraded to better seats and have lots of room, and that there will be warm weather in Scotland when we arrive! =) (No reason not to ask, hey?)

We’ll leave Scotland September 7th, arrive in Johannesburg September 8th, and fly to Cape Town September 9th. Perhaps let’s add in one more prayer — that Asher’s teeth, who are long overdue, won’t decide now’s the time to make their grand appearance. Praise the Lord who is with us in every circumstance and holds all things together…airplanes, suitcases…and even teeth!


Top Ten Scottish and British Delicacies I am REALLY going to miss…

baconrollFour years ago today, my brother and I took the train up from London and I arrived in Bonnie Scotland for what has become a great extended stay. What an awesome time it’s been…I have been blessed beyond belief. Today, movers are in our flat packing up our worldly goods. If you haven’t heard the news already…here it is: We’re leaving Scotland for South Africa next week (with a month in North Carolina in between).

In honour of the adventure behind me, and the adventure to come, here’s the Top Ten Scottish (and a few British) delicacies I am seriously going to miss when this place is in my rear view mirror.

10. Haggis has to be mentioned. It’s last on the list because I’m not going to miss it severely. It’s an enjoyable, occasional option to have with neeps and tatties every once in a while. Sorry haggis, but you’re in last place.

9. Digestive Biscuits. Although I dearly enjoy these, chocolatey, biscuity (cookie) goodness with a cuppa, it is probably very good for me to say bye bye to them.

8. Fruit Muesli from Tesco. They must put crack in this stuff. It is seriously addictive and I eat it every morning!

7. “Hello, Loon Wah, may-a help?” So, apologies, thanks to globalization this Scottish delicacy is actually Chinese, but the Singapore Style Chow Mein at Loon Wah on London Road (across from Meadowbank) is off the chain. I really hope it’s on the menu in heaven. I’m really going to miss it.

6. Shortbread! Especially Millionaire/Caramel Shortbread. Praise the Lord for the sense of taste.

5. Brown Sauce, also know as HP Sauce. This stuff is awesome. Enough said.

4. Banoffee Pudding or Banoffee Pie, especially Banoffee a la Mr. Paul Broon!

3. Cream Tea. (Tea with scones, jam and clotted cream). This should be served to pregnant women on a platter once a week.

2. Steak and Guiness Pie at the Golf Tavern by Leith Links or Steak and Ale pie at the Clachaig in Glencoe. Why do things that are so bad for you taste so good?

1. The Bacon Roll with Brown Sauce. I had two of these while I was in labour with Asher. They are the most delightful things ever. To my friends outside the UK: think Bacon on a Bun with sauce a little more vinegary than BBQ Sauce. I really hope these bad boys are on the menu in SA.

Dear Scotland,

You have been sweet to me these past four years. Thank you very sincerely from the bottom of my tummy.



Top Ten Things I'm Excited About Right Now

There’s great stuff happening these days!  This is at the top of the list…

10. We have an intern moving into our flat on Thursday! Her name is Hope and she’ll be serving the church in Edinburgh this summer. Should be fun!

9. Scottish summer!  With 18+ hours of daylight, Edinburgh in the summer is tons of fun (although a little hectic) — especially when the festival crowds show up! Woo woo!

8. I am having a blast selling my old textbooks on amazon. And making money!

7. I really think (and hope) Asher is getting some teeth finally! I can stop pureeing everything and buying baby food in jars!

6. Mark and I have recently gotten connected with a ministry called Samaritan’s Feet. We are excited about working with them in the future.

5. Asher is almost crawling on his hands and knees. I’m not excited about chasing him, but I’m excited that he’s getting some skills!

4. Mark & I have been hooked up with free flights and cheap accommodation in Paris — we are going for our anniversary next week! Oui Oui!

3. I’m going to be back in North Carolina for a wee while in August. Hooray for getting to see my Mom and Dad and hopefully some of my stateside friends!

2. Paris in next week! Oui Oui!

And finally…this is a big one…

1. We are MOVING to Cape Town, South Africa. I am very sad to be leaving my bonnie Scotland, but excited that we may soon be serving with Samaritan’s Feet in one of the most beautiful countries in the world! More details to come…