Around the World in 180 Days

A journey across the Atlantic and into matrimony

Shrove Tuesday February 25, 2010

Filed under: daily life — rhet @ 12:20 pm
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British style pancakes, usually eaten for dessert! Image courtesy of BBC's Good Food

In New Orleans they call it Fat Tuesday and do the whole Mardi Gras thing, in Pennsylvania we call it Fastnacht Day and eat lots of donuts-like pastries with no hole in the center. Here in the UK, it’s traditional to eat pancakes.  Excellent! I love pancakes and what better an excuse to eat them.

So for Shrove Tuesday we  had some friends over and I made a big batch of American style cinnamon raison pancakes. (I have yet to try the the British version of pancakes which are halfway between crepes and the American fluffy version). It was my first time making pancakes from scratch (normally we’d just buy the box mix and add milk and an egg) but they turned out fabulously if I do say so myself! I never remember to take pictures of these things so you’ll just have to imagine it. Plus my food tends to taste a whole lot better than it looks!

Despite moaning about how much of a pain it is to measure and find ingredients in the UK sometimes, I have really gotten into cooking lately. It’s definitely a hobby I never really saw myself taking up! So far my favorites have been Peanut Pad Thai, eggplant (or aubergine) parmesan, mango ginger frozen yogurt, honey-balsamic grilled chicken, peanut satay chicken..now I just need to find a recipe box!

I get most of my ideas and recipes off AllRecipes.co.uk and tweak them to my own tastes and what we have in the fridge..where do you get your cooking inspiration?

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Spring February 11, 2010

Filed under: daily life — rhet @ 11:22 am

While my hometown in the US is getting hammered with snow, we’re beginning to see the first signs if spring here in Glasgow! It hasn’t been any warmer really but the sun’s been shining and on my way to the gym yesterday (round 4:30pm) it was still light out!! Usually it’s pitch dark by that time and the last I paid attention, the sun was setting at 3:30.

When it is a bit warmer, I really want to try lawn bowling, which is apparently an old person thing to do but it sounds fun! Spending an afternoon with some drinks, friends, snacks in the sun! I’ll also be visiting my family this summer and can’t wait to take full advantage of my parents swimming pool!

 

Pollok Country Park February 9, 2010

Filed under: travel — rhet @ 1:12 pm
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My maid of honor from the the wedding and childhood best friend (we’ll call her B) stayed a week longer than the rest of my family to see the sights of Glasgow. While I’d done my best to show them all the coolest stuff in the city and the castle of Edinburgh, B had come to Scotland expecting a bit more country, rolling hills, sheep, the lot. So to this end, we set out to Pollok County Park and the Burrel Collection (an art museum) on her last day here.  This is what we saw!

highland cows!

I have a slight obsession with Highland cows and think they are the cutest thing on the planet. I took lots more pictures of these adorable ginger beasts but will move on to more interesting things..

Wildlife Garden

The Wildlife Garden was closed, but I’ll go again over the summer and try again!

Clydesdale Horses

I turned a corner and there were these mammoth horses! They were having their hooves..reshoed? Is that the proper term? Probably not but I’m no horse expert. I stood and watched them for at least 5 minutes, quite taken by their huge, beautiful and muscled bodies.

the stable house front

Let’s pretend there are old fashioned carriages instead of cars there.

a lovely stone bridge

Pollok House

I had no idea this house was even in the park, so when we walked past it, B and I were flabbergasted!

part of the house gardens

This place made me feel like I was in the movies Secret Garden or Black Beauty! The inside of the house is equally extraordinary as its full of the original family’s personal collection of mostly Spanish art. Because of the art, I wasn’t able to take pictures of the inside of the house or the Burrel Collection but highly recommend both!  B and I indulged with a personal guided tour around the Burrel Collection which was absolutely fabulous! I learned so much more about what I was seeing than if we’d just wandered around and read the plaques.

 

Did I really just say that? February 7, 2010

Filed under: daily life — rhet @ 3:17 pm
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I know it sounds a bit strange to say this because they’re considered by many to be the epitome of evil.  But I kind of miss Walmart.

Being a bit of a night owl, I loved being able to do my shopping late at night when the place was practically empty. No chance of that here in Glasgow where everything shuts by 10 or 11pm latest.  Oh, how I miss 24hr convenience.

Now, I know living in the city not every neighborhood has the space for a full sized grocery store. (The stores in Seattle remedied this by having 2 levels, hint hint Glasgow!) Trying to navigate the tiny isles of our local Tesco’s, scanning  a super packed shelf 10 times before finally spotting what I’m looking for is such a hassle though!   Adding to my shopping stress is the fact that no matter what time of day I go, the store’s busy and people are rushing around like mad.

Sure, this probably frustrates me a lot more than it should. And I’ll probably forget it even bothered me soon enough. But at the moment, I’m in a jobless limbo (another visa application in the works) and have taken up cooking as my newest hobby which requires spending a lot of time in both the kitchen and the grocery store.

And my time in the kitchen hasn’t been exactly  a breeze (for me) either. I knew I wouldn’t need my American cups  but I didn’t realize I’d need to get a scale and weigh everything! Certainly sticking things in a cup is an easier system than weighing them out! And because I haven’t gotten around to buying a scale yet, I’m having to convert all of my recipes to tablespoons. Now, counting 56 tablespoons of this and 33 of that is what I call fun. NOT.

 

Spot the Difference January 31, 2010

Filed under: daily life — rhet @ 1:00 pm

I keep meaning to (and attempting to) write posts about the wedding but after having devoted so much time and mental real estate to that one big day, I just haven’t been up for it.  So, in the meantime I’ll write a bit more about being an American in the UK.

Dogs are almost never on leashes here. When I first arrived, it really freaked me out. Like seeing a small child with no parent nearby makes you feel anxious, and concerned.   In the States a dog off its leash is either a possibly dangerous stray to avoid or has an irresponsible owner and should still be avoided. It shocked me that people would let their precious pets wander on busy streets without a leash or put themselves in a position of zero control should their dog go for someone.  However, I’ve come to realize that almost every dog I’ve seen has been the absolute picture of obedience. None have seemed wild or out of control or even remotely interested in harassing strangers. I’ve even seen a few sitting patiently outside of shops waiting for their owners!

I think this demonstrates a difference between the the laws in the US and the UK because here, they seemed to be designed to let people be responsible for their actions where in the US, its more policing people into correct behaviour.  This is also the sentiment behind letting people drink at a younger age in Europe.

It seems odd to me then that people are so obsessed with calling the UK communist for having an NHS when its the US that uses legislation to try and protect people from themselves.

 

Take A Walk on the Wild Side January 19, 2010

Filed under: travel,us — rhet @ 10:39 pm
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reindeer!

Alright, so Christmas is long gone. But I think having just gotten married (yep, the girl is now the wife) is a good enough excuse for a late post. Here it goes!

As excited as I was to spend Christmas with the hubby for the first time and see the family traditions he had grown up with, I can’t say it was easy to spend the holidays away from my own family.  Especially since it seemed that each approach to the holiday could not be more different.  Where we have 20-30 people over for dinner, theirs is never more than 5. For me it was an eerily quiet and calm day.

One of their most cherished traditions turned out to be the most challenging part of the day for me, however. After the typical wrapping paper shred-fest, the gang gets their winter gear on and heads out on a walk through a reindeer park. Which sounds pretty awesome right? And it would have been if Manchester hadn’t been hammered with snow for the past 2 weeks which left all the pathways solid sheets of ice. That combined with the fact that I was the only one who had absolutely no decent shoes for that kind of weather made the experience dreadfully frustrating. Teeny..tiny..steps..for miles..on Christmas. Eek. Luckily, at the end of that walk was a pub!

After returning to the house, I was glad to have scheduled some Skype time with my fam to get my spirits back up. Hooray for the power of the internet!

My next initiation into British Christmas traditions was the Christmas cracker. Exhibit A:

Apparently what you do is, two people pull opposite ends of the thing and then it splits and makes a loud noise (hence calling it a cracker). Inside, one finds a random cheap toy (i got a miniature tape dispenser), a silly joke and a paper crown. You then wear said crown for the remainder of the day.  It made me feel like Max from Where the Wild Things Are but it was quite funny to see the hubby’s parents in pastel coloured paper crowns!

Both of our family’s follow dinner with a round of games. The only difference is that with the hubby’s family there is a lot more alcohol involved which is a great improvement on the tradition I say (though in recent years, the less conservative of my family members have been easing glasses of wine into the days festivities here and there).

Speaking of alcohol, when I have my own family and the hubby and I start making our own traditions..there will definitely be mulled wine involved! I’d heard of the stuff in the States but I’m typically not fond of red wine so I never tried it. But now after giving it a taste, I’ve decided that mulled wine is liquid Christmas Spirit. I’ve never felt so jolly as when I’ve had a few glasses of mulled wine.

And on that holly, jolly note, I hope you all enjoyed your (long gone) holidays as much as I did!

 

Last Leg January 8, 2010

Filed under: daily life,wholy matrimony — rhet @ 1:13 am

a fountain in the park by Park Circus covered in a fresh layer of snow

Well, the boy is off drinking one of his last single nights away while I’ve just said goodnight to my jetlagged family.

It’s been quite a hectic and stressful day so while I probably should be taking advantage of having an apartment to myself to get more wedding things done, I’m catching up on t he tv I’ve missed out on in the last couple days. Zoning out. Wedding brain off.  Deep relaxing sigh.

Hopefully I’ll be able to recap my British Christmas experience after all this craziness dies down!