Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Daily Life’ Category

A New Flat and a Volcano

We have welcomed spring into our lives with open arms.  Edinburgh has erupted with vast expanses of beautiful daffodils.  And, we in the Bechtel household have been busy.  Last Saturday we bid farewell to our cozy, fourth-floor home of the last 19 months and moved into a new ground-floor flat with a little more elbow room and leg room for the budding walker in our midst.  The new flat has been wonderful and we’re starting to feel at home here now that most of our things are unpacked and (roughly) in their proper place.  To be honest, we’ve felt a little lost in here at times–not that it’s so very big, just that it’s so much bigger than our last place!

The only thing that is not an improvement on the last place is the fact that we have downsized our refrigerator size.  We were lucky in our last flat to have a fairly large refrigerator/freezer for this part of the world.  Nothing like an American sized-fridge, mind you, but roomy all the same.  Now we have traded that in for a true dorm-sized fridge that fits under the counter.  That I can certainly deal with.  What I was not sure about was the fact that the flat came with NO freezer.  I realize, again, that’s not that strange for this part of the world, but I just wasn’t sure I was ready to adopt this culture quite so completely.  As idyllic as it may sound, shopping every single day for the food one needs just for that day, is not my idea of a fun way to spend time, energy or money.  I really like being able to plan ahead, prepare food ahead and stock up on sale items to store in the freezer.  So, after nearly a week of experimentation, I decided a freezer was not a luxury I was interested in living without.  I had a little box freezer delivered yesterday from our local used furniture store and it is now humming away happily in the corner of our bedroom.  (No, it doesn’t quite fit anywhere in the kitchen.  Oh well.)

In slightly over a week in our new home, we’ve already enjoyed visits from many people, not least of whom were a group from the Covenant High School tour group last Thursday including friends, one family member and some former high school teachers. 🙂  We had a lovely time reconnecting with them.  Now we just hope this volcano lets up so they can make it back to the U.S. one of these days!

Speaking of that volcano, one of the visitors we had hoped to enjoy last week whom we’ve now had to put off seeing was Christopher’s mom who was scheduled to arrive last Friday.  Sadly, the volcanic ash caused her flight along with thousands of others, to be canceled.  We currently hope to see her early next week, though some are warning this volcano will be erupting for the next two years.  Hopefully we won’t have to wait that long to see her!

19 months ago we moved here with 2 suitcases each. Last weekend we moved this pile plus some to our new flat. How did that happen?

A "springtime" walk on the beach

Julian enjoying the playground under the shadow of Edinburgh castle

Julian enjoys the playground under the shadow of Edinburgh castle

Enjoying that springtime weather with a family picnic. Julian and I walked up to the Princes Street Gardens to meet Christopher for lunch.

Read Full Post »

Writer’s Block

So, in case you couldn’t tell, I’m not easily motivated to write blog posts.  That is, until you sit me down and ask me to write something much more difficult, like an article tracing why human dignity often trumps human autonomy as seen through the history of European law and why this is relevant to the euthanasia debate.  Yes, I suddenly feel very motivated to write a blog post.  I almost feel motivated to dust and polish the leaves on my houseplants.  It’s not that the topic is so very difficult–I think I’m just struggling with some good old-fashioned writer’s block, so what better way to open it up than writing (something else)?

Since it’s been a while, I’ll just give a little update on what’s going on in our day-to-day lives.

Christopher is, of course, busy with work on his dissertation which is coming along slowly but surely.  If you have any questions about divine kingship in Ezekiel, he’s your man!  He also spends several hours a week working on various projects for the Scottish Council for Human Bioethics as well as preaching periodically at church.

My first priority and greatest source of fun throughout the day is a funny, little, nearly-toddling, nearly-one-year-old who requires not a little of my attention and guidance.  Alternately, I occupy myself with various odd-jobs: most significantly, editing/writing for Harper Collins and for the last several months, writing press articles for the above mentioned bioethics council (no, I’m not writing that article for my own amusement).

Julian will celebrate his first birthday in two weeks.  He enjoys “reading” books, going for walks and swinging at the park.  (Sounds kind of like a personals ad, doesn’t it?)

Like most people, we are all desperately anxious to see winter melt into spring.  As our previous posts indicate, this has been a particularly cold, snowy winter for Scotland and we can’t wait for the luxury spring will afford of more opportunities out-of-doors, and hopefully, more interesting things to blog about. 🙂  Until then, happy February, everyone.

Read Full Post »

Funny

Christopher wrote earlier that apparently the Seattle area gets more rain than Edinburgh.  Here’s yet one more confirmation.

Every Monday morning I help lead a community-based Baby and Toddler group through my church.  This week I was talking to a Scottish dad who, some time ago, lived in Seattle for a year.  He was at Boeing, doing a helicopter operation training program.  When I made a comment about how comparable the climates are he said, with a slightly wrinkled nose, “Yeah, but in Seattle it rains all the time.”

Read Full Post »

What Would You Do? (Take 2)

What would you do if you opened up your bag of fresh broccoli for dinner and found a little slug happily feeding (sliming?) away inside?  Sorry, folks.  No picture this time.  I couldn’t get that thing out of my sight fast enough.

Read Full Post »

Running Errands

Yesterday I had an errand to run across town and just for the fun of it, decided to take my camera along.  We don’t generally think to take the camera with us for the simple reason that most of our days are just normal, daily grind sort of days.  We go to the grocery store, church, school, to visit friends and on other unglamorous errands.  But yesterday I was realizing that it would be a shame if when our time is done here, we have posted mostly pictures of special occasions or our trips away from Edinburgh and not of the beautiful city that we see every day as we go about normal life.  So, these are just a few shots of Edinburgh, taken while out and about yesterday.  I realize it’s uncharacteristically long, but I hope you enjoy the pictures.

The journey begins--just leaving Edina Place.  And, no that's not our convertible Saab.

The journey begins--just leaving Edina Place. And, no that's not our convertible Saab.

We found a wee Julian-sized castle just down the road.  Actually, it's Queen Mary's Bathhouse outside of Holyrood Palace.

We found a wee Julian-sized castle just down the road. Actually, it's Queen Mary's Bathhouse outside of Holyrood Palace.

Up the Royal Mile and past Greyfriar's Kirk. At this point Julian got tired and decided to catch a little nap.

Up the Royal Mile and past Greyfriar's Kirk. At this point Julian got tired and decided to catch a little nap.

No such luxury for me.  We had at least a mile to go.

No such luxury for me. We had at least a mile to go.

And so we trudged on.  The steeple in the distance is actually near our destination. Yay!

And so we trudged on. The steeple in the distance is actually near our destination. Yay!

Aha!  There's that steeple up close.  Our destination was right across the street.

Aha! There's that steeple up close. Our destination was right across the street.

Mission accomplished.  As you can see, the stroller has taken on new cargo.  (In case you're curious, we were buying a second-hand play pen from someone online.)  But, where's Julian gone?

Mission accomplished. As you can see, the stroller has taken on new cargo. (In case you're curious, we were buying a second-hand play pen from someone online.) But, where's Julian gone?

Now it's time we headed back home  (Edinburgh Castle in the background).

Now it's time we headed back home (Edinburgh Castle in the background).

Oh...there's Julian!  It was quite an intricate arrangement!

Oh...there's Julian! It was quite an intricate arrangement!

Passing George Heriot school.  We nearly broke down and caught a bus at this point, but where's the fun in that?

Passing George Heriot school. We nearly broke down and caught a bus at this point, but where's the fun in that?

Towers?  Or are they spires?

Towers? Or are they spires?

Looking down the road toward Grassmarket.  The bus was looking better and better.  That play pen was a little heavier than I expected. Or maybe Julian's put on a few more pounds...

Looking down the road toward Grassmarket. The bus was looking better and better. That play pen was a little heavier than I expected. Or maybe Julian's put on a few more pounds...

Crossing Southbridge...

Crossing Southbridge...

...and North Bridge. (The Scot Monument in the distance.)

...and North Bridge. (The Scot Monument in the distance.)

Looking back toward New College and the castle.

Looking back toward New College and the castle.

Back down Regent Road overlooking (underlooking?) Arthur's Seat.

Back down Regent Road overlooking (underlooking?) Arthur's Seat.

It's all downhill from here.

It's all downhill from here.

Julian was hungry so we stopped in at a park for a little snack along the way.

Julian was hungry so we stopped in at a park for a little snack along the way.

Ahh...it felt good to stretch those little legs.

Ahh...it felt good to stretch those little legs.

Much better.

Much better.

Ready to go home?

Ready to go home?

Rounding the corner toward home.  And, we made it!

Rounding the corner toward home. And, we made it!

Read Full Post »

Year Two

Yesterday marked the one year anniversary of our arrival in Edinburgh.  Unlike our first day here, our 366th was sunny, and we hope that’s a portent of the year to come.  Below are a few pictures from our recent visit to Washington. Though it was good to be there, we’re glad to be back in Edinburgh.  A few things in Edinburgh feel strangely more natural and satisfying than their counterparts in the States, most notably, our transport.

Here we walk; there we drive.  Probably the biggest reason for the commonness of walking is the small radius of our life here.  We rarely have reason to go more than two miles from our flat.  Church is .3 miles as is the major supermarket.  Other grocery stores are within one minute’s walk.  A fab park is also less than half a mile away.  We have friends within walking distance, and those a bit further a field are generally willing to pick us up, especially if the weather’s unpleasant.  The university is 1.5 miles as are all the tourist shops. (No we don’t go to tourist shops, except to buy presents, but if you’re wanting to visit, you’ll want to know how to plan your trip.)  While in Washington we drove nearly 1000 miles in just over six weeks…and we didn’t even go out of town!  Wouldn’t Al Gore would be proud of our small carbon-footprint?

One thing we didn’t miss while in Washington was the Edinburgh mouse population.  In fact, the idea of mice scampering across our living room floor was a fuzzy memory for seven hygienic weeks.  But, we have been jarred back to furry reality, as the picture below testifies.  Jackie was cooking, her back turned to the wall only for a couple seconds, but seconds were all that the wee mouse needed to 1) emerge from his hole, 2) lie down on the kitchen floor, and 3) die.  As the picture shows, Julian wasn’t phased in his exuberant bouncing. We would like to know, though, ‘how did the mouse die?’.  Regardless, here’s to a mouse free second year!

In Puget Sound for Julian's first canoe ride

On Puget Sound for Julian's first canoe ride

Two-weeks-apart-cousins, J and Naomi

Two-weeks-apart-cousins, J and Naomi

See the wee mousey?

See the wee mousey?

First night back in Edinburgh, J was readjusting to his crib.

First night back in Edinburgh, J was readjusting to his crib.

Read Full Post »

Saturday

One sign that our lives are sluggishly regaining recognizability is  Saturday’s little excursion to the park.  We managed to get out of the flat much as we have on Saturdays past, only this time with a baby!  Though the temp was a bit over 50F and the sun bright, the blustery wind brought quite a chill.  Still, it was lovely to be out, especially in the beauty of Holyrood Park.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »