Monthly Archives: June 2011

Scotland, Day 10: Edinburgh

We watched Rory McIlroy take the most impres­sive lead in US Open his­to­ry to win the 2011 title, and when you see these golf super­stars mak­ing sat­is­fy­ing­ly effort­less shots, you long for the same kind of feel­ing that can only come from some­thing as pri­mal as hit­ting a ball. It’s been years since I held a club in my hand, but I was itch­ing to play and we head­ed to a dri­ving range, tak­ing it easy on my last day in Scotland.

I’m going home a dif­fer­ent per­son. Not a dras­tic change, but a refine­ment of the growth I’ve had in the last year, and a gal­va­niza­tion of the spir­it. This trip has taught me that life is full of hap­pi­ness, and my mem­o­ries of Europe will be filled with the peo­ple and places that have made the last three weeks a rich and won­der­ful expe­ri­ence.

Barney in the garden

Barney likes to roll around in the grass, and some­times he comes back in with pieces of foliage in his fur. He even has a shed with a duvet in it that allows him to sleep com­fort­ably out­side, even when it’s dark and the tem­per­a­ture drops. The back­yard pro­vides a tremen­dous amount of pri­va­cy, thanks to all the lush green­ery.

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Scotland, Day 9: Edinburgh

A clos­er look at Edinburgh, occa­sion­al­ly viewed from the top of a dou­ble-deck­er bus. The road design often does­n’t make any sense, or fol­low any kind of grid, facts that belie it’s medieval his­to­ry. Some streets are espe­cial­ly wide, so that horse car­riages could make a full turn in them. Keeping these old tra­di­tions may add to the char­ac­ter of the city, but I ques­tion whether it’s worth the added con­fu­sion and frus­tra­tion when try­ing to nav­i­gate.

One of the inter­est­ing things about this city is that it can be divid­ed down the mid­dle into dis­tinct Old Town and New Town sec­tions, where the dif­fer­ence in archi­tec­tur­al style is very strik­ing.

bagpipe player

There’s a bag­pipe busker on this cor­ner out­side the Princes Mall at all times. I think a few of them share shifts; it must be the most lucra­tive cor­ner in the city.

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Scotland, Day 8: Peebles

Peebles is a town of about 8000 inhab­i­tants, with the River Tweed run­ning through it. It’s easy to see why it was recent­ly ranked as the best town in Scotland, as it’s full of small town charm, and is less than an hour dri­ve from Edinburgh. You can stand at one end and see the oth­er, where the build­ings abrupt­ly end and the land goes on as hill and grass. It seems like every oth­er store is a char­i­ty shop where peo­ple can donate their old clothes, toys, board games, and oth­er sun­dries.

Peebles bridge and church


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Scotland, Day 7: Edinburgh

It’s slow going in the house of mirth. We’ve been explor­ing parts of Scotland every day, so we decid­ed to take a day off to watch acclaimed British sit­coms and movies. I’m so hap­py here. It final­ly feels like I’m on vaca­tion, as Dennis likes to remind me when I say I should­n’t eat any more ice cream. Where else does some­one keep my dish­es delight­ful­ly warm in the oven before serv­ing me? Luckily, Dennis is also some­thing of an accom­plished key­board play­er. Jamming with new peo­ple, learn­ing their unique strengths and the sound they can get from their instru­ments, is always more fun than I can describe.

Funny to think that we’d only met once before at Aaron’s wed­ding five years ago, and kept in touch from across of the pond. Introverts like us nev­er for­get those kinds of con­nec­tions, cause it’s so rare to find a per­son to whom you can eas­i­ly talk for hours. He lives the same life I have now, the same life I see myself hav­ing many years into the future. Even our cats are alike.


Dennis had this con­ser­va­to­ry built as a room where he could lounge dur­ing the day. The poly­car­bon­ate ceil­ing lets plen­ty of light through and keeps the space bright and warm and sun­ny and I’ve decid­ed that I need a room like this.

When the sun sets it can get quite chilly, so then we move to the main room and put the fire on.

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Scotland, Day 6: Inverness to Edinburgh

We left for home the next morn­ing after a heavy meal at the bed and break­fast, where every­thing was deep fried, includ­ing my toast. Our route was cir­cuitous, planned care­ful­ly by Dennis so I could see as much of the coun­try as pos­si­ble.

The thing that strikes me most about the Scottish land­scape is that you don’t need to be on top of a moun­tain to get a good view. There’s breath­tak­ing beau­ty all around, nev­er obscured by sky­scrap­ers or tree­lines. The air is also some of the most pure and fresh you’ll ever get to breathe, yet neu­tral; it does­n’t smell par­tic­u­lar­ly like flow­ers or foliage, it just smells clean.

grazing sheep


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