Tuesday, 15 December 2009

I wouldn't classify myself as a big crier. I cry when appropriate - when I'm hurt, really homesick or when PMSing. But I've sort of made a name for myself in our household by crying when I watch TV programmes or movies. I cried my way through most of the David Tennant series of Dr Who, during episodes of The Wire and Bleak House, and I have cried in movie theatres and in planes while watching nearly any kind of well-made dramatic movie. The one movie that I recall crying openly and hard (like real boo hoo tears) was Children of Men. I mean, I went mentale. I cried during the climatic scene, sobbed in the lobby theatre while describing that scene, and bawled into my scarf while I watched it on a plane. I cry when I see other people cry in documentaries, like I did last week during The Family, both when the son-in-law was sobbing and when the family found out the sex of Kaki's child.* Tears ran down my cheeks when I watched The Motorcycle Diaries on the weekend and sniffed at the humanity of Che. OMG, In America, with it's unrelenting sadness and meloncholy but it's obvious message of hope and faith nearly ended me. I cry particularly hard when men cry and especially when I care about the characters. Not to sound weird, but Dave says he loves when I cry when I watch movies or shows becuase he thinks it's so sweet how emotionally invested I get. I'm pretty sure I get it from my Dad. I remember him crying while watching such illuminating dramas as Bonanza; Murder, She Wrote; Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman; and Touched By An Angel. I even remember him crying to a commercial (probably a phone advert - they are the worst). If he were alive, I'd tell him that I understand those tears now.

I won't argue that I really do get emotionally invested when I watch certain media and that the good stuff sticks with me long after I've turned off the TV. It's also a release, which I like. I guess it's just another thing that makes me me. Are there any programmes/movies you can recall that touched you to the point of tears (or a big, fat, painful, bump in your throat)?

*For the first time ever in my life, I've watched a programme that featured someone with the same name, with the same spelling as me. It feels so weird to hear it on TV but I love it.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

"The horror. The horror."

When I was thinking of this blog post, I thought about an accompanying photo and title. I chose these to illustrate what I was feeling when I learned of people’s reactions to my previous blog post. In my head, that seminal quote from “Apocalypse Now” took on a slightly sarcastic twinge but accurate nonetheless. I chose this photo of the late, great Marlon Brando as an illustration of perceptions – this big, scary “monster” displaying a vulnerability ready for public consumption. I guess that’s how I see myself when I write on my blogs. I have been, for a few years now, seen as “the other”. Alarmingly apparent in Japan and below the surface here in Scotland, but with me as a constant companion. I have very few local friends here, so when I can’t make like E.T. and phone home, I blog. Now, I have irked others by what I have written in the past and I have found out about it through comments or via a private email or phone call. And that’s cool. To paraphrase Bob Marley, you can’t make everyone happy all the time, so you need to have dialogue to work things out. With that in mind, I’d like to ask to people who read my blog, if I’ve communicated something that is not to your liking or you think is just dead wrong, please let me know. I assume adults read this thing and while I know my audience is small (C7, I still don’t know how to work Analytics!), it’s big to me. I started this thing 4 years ago via Kaki Means Persimmon and I think I self-censored a whole lot less then. But I know that I like writing and expressing myself and being the extrovert that I am, I’m not going to shy away from being as honest as I can be on a public blog. But let me make this clear: this is my blog. Not my husband’s. He doesn’t know what I write and he’s not my editor. I would strongly prefer that if you want to say something about what I’ve written, please say it to me. I promise, I won’t bite. Hard.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Gulp gulp.

I think I might be drinking more and it might be for nefarious reasons. I can definitely handle my booze and stop when I’ve had enough, but I’ve noticed that when I’m in certain settings, I tend to drink more. Or think about drinking more. I think it’s out of sheer boredom and a lack of connection with people. When I’m invited to join certain groups, the first thing I think of is “I hope there is decent wine because I am going to need it to make it through this evening”. And that’s appalling to me. I never used to think that way. The Brits have no sense of saying when enough is enough (I know this is a generalization but it's honestly what I've observed) and I’m worried that I’ve started to adopt this thinking. I’ve never drunk myself into oblivion or puked or peed in public, which my follow residents are apt to do, but my thinking has changed. I sometimes want to get drunk to better endure the conversation, the jokes and the atmosphere. And that sucks. Hard. NYE is fast approaching, and given our dire evening two years ago when I tried so hard to get drunk to escape the tedium and blandness, I’ve told that Dave that I don’t want to celebrate outside with anyone else. Stilted conversations with a bottle of Malibu just ain’t my idea of fun. I wish we could get away and watch fireworks light up the sky, but we can’t. Though a roaring fire, my sweetie beside me and a glass (or two) of champagne would be the next best thing.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Taking stock

Sometimes, when you're feeling like poop, it's just good to remember what you've done in your life thus far. I found the below list on a blue day and it perked me up a bit. I hope you can have a smile when you read it and reflect on your experiences. Enjoy.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyworld/Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you were not ill
24. Built a snow for
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been laid off from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee

Monday, 23 November 2009


Ok, I just happened upon this on a design blog and I'm tearing up at my desk at work. I'm so bawling on the inside right now, it hurts. It totally reminds me of our proposal
as it also took place in our kitchen and culminated with me sobbing my freaking face off and wearing my unflattering Ottawa U. pants with a green knitted sweater and no bra. Sniff. Who says romance is dead?

Monday, 16 November 2009

Wife. Life.

There has been a lot of (sometimes heated) talk about what being a wife is and what the word has meant in history and what it means now. I've liked the dialogue that has taken place here and here . I find that it’s such a personal thing, but I’ll share what it means to me. It means commitment, love, support and companionship. My reality of wife encompasses rubbing Tiger Balm on Dave’s chest before bedtime when he’s ill and listening to his problems when he’s steaming. It’s striving to keep our priorities aligned and going the extra distance for him to make his life happier and more grounded. It’s a promise of always holding his hand and chatting in our bed about our dreams for the future right before sleep takes us.

For a long time, I thought I would never be a wife, and for the most part, I was OK was that. In my mind, I always knew life’s labels are not what makes you you and me me. But when I became his wife and more profoundly, his life, it was an identity I fell in love with.

I’m one of those people who deeply believes that marriage does change things and that a marriage certificate is more than just a piece of paper. Sure, you can be committed without all the legal work and ceremony and that’s beautiful. But for myself, a girl that loves security and nailing things down, my marriage has made my love for my husband bottomless and I feel it even more so now than before in my body and in my mind. I sometimes look at him in profile and feel an overwhelming sense of love and gratitude, and while those feelings are sometimes replaced with disbelief and annoyance, I know he’s mine for forever + a day. It’s good and it’s mine. For me, that’s what it is to be a wife.

Monday, 12 October 2009

On time and waiting (*written on Thanksgiving Day)

I will fully admit that I’m not the most patient of individuals. I’m like this in nearly every situation, and I really try my best to calm down but I sometimes snap when I feel like I’m getting tested. I even pray for patience because it’s not something I feel I can do on my own. I feel like I’ve become better at resisting the urge to pitch a shit fit whenever something is not happening NOW, but there is always room for improvement. For example, I nearly had a wee breakdown the other night when Dave and I missed our last train home. We had left our friends’ flat after a delicious dinner of Mexican dishes and imported beer. We ran for the train but we missed it and it made me so upset. Background: I take the train and bus everyday for 3 hours round trip (this includes walking and waiting time). We don’t have a car nor do we plan on getting one. On top of that, my train was late that morning. So I had a bitch fit on the train. I wasn’t crazy but I had this overwhelming feeling of “f*ck this”. So I very nearly ruined our nice evening because of my inability to roll with the punches, though the £40 fare we had to pay to get home from a neighbouring town pretty much did that.

Anyway, the point is there was absolutely nothing I could have done about this situation nor is there anything I can do about all the waiting I have to do on macro and micro levels. For reasons that I can’t really get into on a public blog (ok, I choose not to get into them), I can’t quit my job and we can’t spend the money on a car, nor can I up and move to Canada tomorrow. I can’t change this situation for a few years so I have to be patient and just live with it. We have mighty big plans for our future. I need to look to them while being happy with what we have now. It’s so tough but I can do it. And hey, it’s perfectly ok to get really pissed off as long as it’s temporary and no one gets hurt.

Frankly speaking, I know I wouldn’t be living this life had I not fallen in love with my husband. Dave is ridiculously patient and he really keeps me going. He is so calm and rational when I so am not, and I’m madly in love with him. He makes everything worth it. On this day of giving thanks (in Canada), I am so thankful for Dave. He keeps me grounded while reminding me of our plans and keeping me laughing.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Holy poop, I'm bored. I'm sorry, I don't have much to say right now. Summer is gone, it's getting cold and the days are shorter. I went to Nottingham for a very brief, but much needed getaway and I'm back, thinking about the future while trying (and failing) to remain in the present. No holiday any time soon and the attainment of goals seem so far away. Damn. It sucks working in a cold office. I'm going to heat up my chilli and my cornbread and wait until it's time to head out to my dressmaking class. In the words of the wonder Liz Lemon: "Blergh".

Friday, 25 September 2009

The Naked Beaver

The other day, I treated myself to a Brazilian wax and I went to arguably the best place in Edinburgh. It was expensive, but the technician was fast, friendly and experienced. When I left the establishment somewhat lighter, I knew in my heart I can't give up the goo. You see, when I first got my job, I laid down the dough and got a Brazilian, a full leg and underarm wax and paying the bill brought me closer to tears than having hair ripped out from the roots in my most sensitive areas. So I decided to take it easy and do DIY waxing/hair removal in an effort to save money. I kept this up from about February until July when I decided to go ahead and treat myself in the days leading up to the wedding. I went to a cheaper place and immediately regretted it. Dirty walls, hard, thick wax and a procedure that took double the length of time that I was used to. NEVER AGAIN. But I got a better result than what I do myself. So I decided that it was worth paying good money to go to a nice, clean place (read: expensive) to strip down to basically nothing and make small talk with a woman I've never met before and have her put hot wax on my va-jay-jay and confirm that I'd like my "bottom" done too.

But while I was lying there with my limbs akimbo, I wondered why us women do this to ourselves. We don't have to and it's debatable as to whether or not it's detrimental to our health and skin. I don't take my clothes off for money nor are my nether regions featured in blue movies. So why do I feel compelled, and ultimately satisfied, to be hairless? I don't think it's due to societal or relational pressures. I guess it just makes me feel nice. I would love to have a really good conversation about this. I'm interested to know why other women do it or don't do it, for that matter. Anyone care to chime in? Boys are allowed (I'm looking at you C7).

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Looky looky...

I'm a wedding graduate featured on my favourite wedding blog. When I asked Dave if her minded if I put our wedding forward to be featured on a popular blog, he told me he didn't have any problem with me "pimping" our wedding. Da nerve. I had to explain that I was trying to do a service to others. How many Black brides do you see "out there"? Mmm? Exactly. Anyway, I'm rather proud. A Practical Wedding has helped me and so many brides and I'm just paying it forward.

Hey, you're still here? Go check it out

I'm glad our wedding got featured because I'm not committed to going over and over it on this blog. I may write about it in the future, but I'm not afraid to admit that I'm a little sick of talking about it. I have a feeling I'll go back to it now and then, but only when I feel like I have something new to say about it.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Two years and counting

I mentioned recently that work has been kicking my ass, but hopefully, I've turned a corner (knock on wood). I had to have a talk with my boss and basically tell him that I was drowning and needed help. That is something I've never had to do in all my years of working but I co-coordinate the biggest programme in the School. *Sigh* I'm not going to get into it because I'm having a three day weekend and I don't want to ruin it by thinking about work.

Moving on.

I've been reveling in the wonders of Scotland. The weather has turned and the crispness and the changing leaves make me so happy. Dave, his parents and I went to an airshow last Saturday and it was hands down one of the best days I've spent in the UK. I've never been to an airshow before but I would definitely go again. What was really fab was the fact that the day was absolutely stunning. Clear blue skies and a hot, unapologetic sun. I was supposed to go to work that day to play catch up, but I called in "hell no" and joined my family on a sweet day out. It was particularly special because it was so great to see my mother-in-law so excited about a massive war plane.

One thing I love about the Scots is their pride in their culture and their history. I can't begin to explain how excited I get when I see men in kilts or hear a really good bagpiper. So it was a treat to see the military pipe band do their thing.

Sometimes I take it for granted that I live in a somewhat foreign country. I have become use to the accents, the foods and the rituals, but when I see something like this, I'm reminded of how fortunate I am and that I need to enjoy it while I'm here. It has been almost exactly two years since I landed at Glasgow airport and one year since we moved to Kirkcaldy. It's tough sometimes, especially since we have such a clear vision of our future and we can't wait to realize it, but I have to say, Scotland kicks ass. From time to time I'll show it off so that you can get a sense of what I experience and see.

** I'm sorry if I haven't responded to comments straight away. I'm not sure how to receive comments to my email. I used to be able to on my old blog but I'm having difficulty configuring this new one.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Mmmm. Guacamole.

I just made a big bowl of the g-stuff and that was the most fun I had all week. It has been C-R-A-Z-Y. It's the start of the academic year and since I'm pretty much the main point of contact, everyone knows my name. And not only that, they love screaming my name all the live-long day. I can expect another three weeks of this (plus a couple of Saturday catch up days) and it's going to be tuff. So I'm trying to get little bits of pleasure when I can. Like the guacamole. And watching trashy t.v. when Dave's not around, like "Paris Hilton's New BFF". And making beautiful cookies (seriously the best I've ever made). Because I'm prone to forget that life is made up of the little pleasures. When it's wall-to-wall hell I have to try even harder to remember that.

So, I'll be back soon. With stuff. In the meantime, I'm looking forward to eating my guacamole and sleeping in on Sundays.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

In the meantime

First off, I need to say that I know that I am extremely lucky. I have a decent job and make decent money (though I see very little of it since we’re committed to saving for our future). I have good co-workers and even a friend at work and I’m so grateful. Things are good to great in my personal life; I have an amazing and supportive husband and family-in-law, and I have brilliant friends back home and around the world, though I could use a few more here to have a bit more of social life. The problem is that I know I’m not living my best work life. I’ve had my adventures (and you better believe I will have more), I’ve travelled, I’ve fallen madly in love. But there’s a gaping hole between the hours of 9-5. I’ve tried to ignore it for the past four years, but now it’s so big, I fear that I will fall into it. I need to really stretch myself and I know I’m not doing that now. Don’t get me wrong – I’m doing a good job at work. I always do. But I want to be a warrior princess at work. I want to put out fires, engage people, build things up and see the end result. I guess in some ways, I do that now on a very small scale, but I climb ant hills at my current job; what I really want to do is scale Kilimanjaro. But I have to wait. I know now that I definitely want to pursue a Masters degree, most likely in Public Administration and/or Community Affairs. I want to make things happen that will better the lives of people at the community level. I want to get in a position where I’m managing the projects and calling the shots rather than assisting those who are doing all the fun things. The future me is coming into to focus. But I can’t start it now. My excuses aren’t lame, but real and insurmountable for the time being.

So I have to make the most of the meantime. Because I need to continue living in the present. I got pretty good at this while living in Japan. Everyday was a struggle and an adventure. Now life is a struggle but very much in an easier way. Now I must wait in the dimly lit tunnel of the every day without getting apathetic. That, people, is a task more exerting that trying to understand directions in a language you barely understand. But for my sake, and my family’s sake, I must do it.

So here is what I'm going to do: really enjoy my time and do STUFF. Like explore this beautiful country like I used to in that other country I lived in. Dave and I will take little weekend trips (on the cheap!) and discover our adventuring selves again. I'm going to pursue a new hobby (sewing) and reconnect with an old one (knitting). I'm going to host dinner parties and go out for happy hour. I'm going to enjoy my time here so much that I will be sad when it's time to go. This is my new goal.
The picture above was taken nearly a year ago by my SIL Louise. Girl's got talent.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

On having a non-Saturday wedding

I lurve Saturdays. I can sleep in, stay up late, do whatever and eat whatever I want without guilt and be an all around bum. They are blissful and an awesome day for an event. So no wonder Saturdays are so popular for weddings. I think I haven't yet been to a wedding that wasn't on a Saturday.

Initially, the husband (ooh, I still love saying that!) and I assumed that we'd get married on a Saturday (obviously), but I wasn't exactly married to the idea (pun!). I'm a very flexible gal and so when I started seeing links for "mid-week special" of course I clicked on them. I tell you, the pricing differential can be OUTSTANDING. Of course, Saturday weddings are a venue's bread and butter, and increasingly, so are Friday and Sunday. Monday to Thursday are infinitely less popular days to get married, but for the engaged couple, they can be a lifesaver. For people who don't know Dave and I, we are extremely pragmatic. So when we saw the pricing differentials, getting married on Thursday was an obvious choice. Ok, not so obvious, but really, really good.

Between us, we broke it down:
  • It was our wedding so like SNAP, we had the power;
  • Since we decided to have it in the summer to best accommodate our families and friends on both sides of the Atlantic, we knew they would be on holiday anyway, so essentially, every day would be a Saturday;
  • The money thing (but I’ve already mentioned that); and
  • Thursday, in my book at least, is almost the weekend.

So that was it. We booked Thursday, 09/07/09 (British for July 9, 2009) and we were done.

At first, I would constantly tell our invitees that it was a Thursday. I guess I was somewhat embarrassed because it seemed to announce that we were too poor for a Saturday wedding. But it was no big thing. No one bitched or asked why and it was just accepted.

As time went on, I became a bit proud that we decided to go against the grain and do what was right for us. To some, I could see how our decision could be construed as selfish; in essence, we were asking local people to take a day off. But it was our choice to have our wedding on a Thursday so it was their decision to attend. Personally, if the shoe was on the other foot, and Dave or I was close to the person/people getting married, would take the day off in a heartbeat. (I had to qualify that because I refuse to go to weddings of people I’m not close to or don’t like. They can be tedious affairs, particularly if you have no connection to the people getting married).

So it worked for us. And what kicks ass is our anniversary will be celebrated on the weekend for the next 3 years. That’s pretty sweet.

* You'll notice I posted pics of the kiddies that attended our wedding. They didn't give two poops about our wedding being on a Thursday.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

The Canadian Accent, Eh.

Is there such a thing??? I'm not too sure, but some Brits I have encountered are adamant that there is. Apparently, these people can tell I'm Canadian because my accent is "nicer", "softer" and "less brash" than my American counterparts. I'm not sure if they are referring to stereotypical personality traits of Canucks, but since I'm on the phone a lot these days, the origin of my accent comes up quite a bit.

Personally, I think generally, the differences are minimal. Eastern Canadians, particularly the islanders, have a strong, jumbled accent, borrowing from their Scottish ancestors and god know what else. I also think Canadians have a somewhat nasal quality to their inflections. I recently heard a woman being interviewed on the news and I instantly said "She's Canadian" and she was. She was from some small town in B.C. and was nasal as hell, so I instantly heard the difference. Then again, Midwest Americans (I use "Fargo" as my reference) are pretty nasal, so you just can't be sure.

From my experience of living in the UK, it seems that Brits don't like Americans, or the idea of them, and are always eager to engage a Canadian. Everyone has a cousin/aunt/friend of a friend who lives in Canada and our reputation often precedes us. That usually means I can say most anything and get away with it. Muhahaha. Still, I feel a certain pride talking about Canada and discussing the differences between us and our Southern, gun-toting, anti-healthcare, undercover Republican brothers and sisters.* It's almost like being back home.

*I kid. I know they're not all like that.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Drive by book review: Let the Right One In by Kåre Hedebrant

I’m not sure if anyone has heard of this Swedish film in North America, but I think it left an impression on British filmgoers. It is dark, sad, amusing and gruesome. Dave and I saw it in a tiny indie movie theatre and thoroughly enjoyed it. There were a few other viewers watching and I was aghast that they snickered at some horrific parts, but overall, I thought it was brilliant. So when I saw the book at our fave DVD store, I bought it without hesitation.

Super fast summary: The story tells the tale of the burgeoning relationship between a child-vampire (Eli) and a bullied boy (Oskar) set in a rather depressing part of Sweden. It’s a multi-voiced narrative that paints a picture of the intertwining lives of Eli’s caretaker, Oskar’s bullies and a few other characters who all play a role during the dark winter days that see murders, loneliness, paedophilia and love. But the main story is the development of the friendship between Eli and Oskar.

What I thought: Though some of the themes were fairly dark and some aspects were a bit nauseating, I thought Let the Right One In was extremely well written. I respected Hedebrant’s ability to tell several stories at once without weakening the arch of the plot and ultimately reach a satisfying, albeit violent, conclusion. I used to read vampire novels back in the day but haven’t read one in about 15 years (and I’m not going to start on Twilight, thanks.) For me, this was certainly the darkest of the genre, but oddly, the most human. If you don’t mind a bit of fantasy and violence and are more interested in the relational aspects of human nature, then you’d probably enjoy this.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

On multicultural weddings...

Since this never actually became a wedding planning blog, plain old recaps didn't seem appropriate, and besides, I find them a bit meh. So I'm going to post about what I learned and how I integrated it (or didn't) on our wedding day. Maybe someone might find it useful or maybe you'll just like the piccies (who doesn't like wedding pics?!). Either way, let the post-mortem begin!

Once upon a time, I was sick of dating guys who didn't have a culture of their own. I mean those people who unfortunately don't or can't remember their roots because they were 10th generation whatever and interesting cultural traditions got lost along the way. After the last guy tried to appropriate my culture without sharing anything in return, I decided that the next guy I dated and ultimately married, would have culture coming out of his pores.

Then I met Dave the Scot. Exotic much? Well, for me anyway, meeting a real life Scot complete with the accent, the kilt and the history nearly knocked me off my feet. Of course, I fell in love with Dave because of who he is as a man, but his culture was very attractive to me. So integrating our cultures was a no-brainer. I always knew my Ghanian* heritage would be front and centre but it was nice to share that stage with Dave's culture. It wasn't difficult at all. I told my mother I wanted people to wear the traditional kente cloth and we just knew the men on Dave's side would wear kilts. My mother asked if I wanted to change into traditional dress for the reception and I said no because I couldn't fathom wearing my wedding dress for a couple of hours - I could wear a kente outfit to a fancy restaurant on a Saturday if I wanted. And that was that. The attire was taken care of.

Since the wedding took place in Scotland, we had a bunch of Scottish touches such as haggis parcels for hors d'oeuvres, a piper who piped us out of the ceremony and into the reception, and a reading by a Scottish poet. This probably was common practice for our Scottish guests, but they were a whole new world for the Canadian, American and Ghanian contingents. Just to nail the point a bit more, we hand an old Celtic ritual performed - the handfasting. I had sewn together two long strips of kente cloth and tartan for this ritual as it conveyed not only the joining of two individuals and families, but two cultures as well. It was and is so important for us for our cultures to be shared with each other and we wanted to share with our guests.

Another thing that we did was have a couple of songs from each culture. We did some ceilidh dancing (traditional Scottish country dancing) and danced to some high life Ghanian music. I was a little nervous about this, but it worked. People loved it! Most Scottish people have never heard Ghanian music and vice versa. One high point for me was seeing my mother-in-law shake her money maker and yell "Am I doing this right?" and me enthusiastically giving her huge thumbs up.

So my thoughts on multicultural weddings is this: keep it simple and make sure both sides are represented equally. They are fun, unique, beautiful and educational. Communicate with your partner and your parents and be confident in the fact that your guests will most likely be blown away by the differences and similarities. For our wedding, one of the things that keep blowing me away is the multi-ethnicity and the vibrant colours in the photographs (sorry if they're not coming through here). A few more pics to see what I mean:

Our families

My family. My cousin at the end left and my aunt to my right flew in from Ghana. The love!

I love this shot for a couple of reasons: Firstly, our friends are gorgeous and they flew out from 3 different countries to be with us. And secondly, we met in Japan and they were there from the genesis of our relationship. We had to kick it Japanese style and give up the peace sign for this pic.

Ceilidh dancing. This was the "Gay Gordon", which I love. Lots of twirling, but make no mistake, this dance is a workout.

Our celebrant tying out hands together, saying beautiful words the whole time.

At the end of the handfasting portion of the ceremony. I loved the symbolism.

All the boys and kilts and me. Yum yum.

My uncle and the best men. The best man to the immediate left dubbed him the African Tony Soprano. Yeah, that works.

*I spell "Ghanian" the way Ghanians do, though if you look it up in the dictionary, it's spelled "Ghanaian" and also pronounced that way by non-Ghanians. Confusing? Hopefully not. But if you go to Ghana and ask a Ghanian what she calls herself, if she was brought up in Ghana, she'll say Ghanian.

I'll be back soon with some more lessons learned. Ta!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

It's over. Now what?

I admit it. Even before the wedding took place, I was wondering what I would do with myself after. (It's funny when people discuss the before and after about their lives when it comes to a wedding). We got engaged in April 2008 and got married in July 2009. That's roughly 15 months of planning, people! And some of that time was spent planning the wedding full time as I was unemployed. Some days it was all encompassing, interesting and exciting. And on other days, the whole thing made me sick. By June 2009, I was tired of all the planning, arguing with my mom, dreams/nightmares, DIY projects, lists, checking and re-checking, and talking about it ALL THE TIME.

So when Dave and I started talking about the after, we got excited. Like, really excited. We would have our weekends back instead of traipsing around Edinburgh looking for paper, or meeting with vendors and working on making our wedding memorable and personal. We wouldn't have to talk about it with our friends and family all the live long day. We could watch movies without guilt, sleep in, cook and just hang out with each other. HEAVEN. So while I was excited about THE BIG DAY, I was even more excited about being married and doing married stuff with my husband.

I think the above photo accurately paints a picture of my relief and my anticipation of the evening, and the life, to come. My sister-in-law, Louise, who took this photo, put it on FB with the caption "Yessh". That about says it all. Here - I blew it up for ya:

So, it is now a month later, and I'm still feeling that relief. But I admit, I am getting a bit twitchy. I'd really like to take a sewing course somewhere in the city or close to home, but I haven't found anything yet. I could just teach myself to sew, though. We have a few gift vouchers left over at John Lewis so I could probably get a sewing machine without having to spend my own money. Dave and I are planning a couple of trips next year, so I can look into that. I could start trying new recipes and uploading them here. There are plenty of things which are interesting, engaging and budget friendly (Dave and I are saving BIG TIME so there won't be much left for "things"). I don't think I'll fall into this "post wedding depression" I've been hearing so much about. I just like being occupied and there ain't nothing wrong with that. While I'm looking for this new hobby, I'm just going to keep enjoying our time together. It's so precious and oh so sweet.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Wow, I suck.

Ha ha. I cannot believe it has been 3 months since I last updated. I can make all the usual excuses for not updating, but I don't want to bore you. Suffice to say, I've been OMG busy, with work, the meeting of the families, AKA, the clash of cultures, THE WEDDING, and keeping my head above water. All in all, I survived and should get a gold star. The past few months have shown me that Dave and I are creating our own little family and we are truly partners through and through. He's been amazing, level headed, patient, generous and sweet and has proven every day that he truly is the right person for me. And for that, I will be eternally grateful.

Over the past wee while, I have been thinking about this blog and where I want it to go. I have ideas but have been failing to follow through. I commute and the last thing I want to do is get on the computer when I get home. I have considered buying a mini computer, but then I would have to move my pictures from one lap top to the other. I could bring my computer with my from time to time, but it's heavy and I walk to and from work and home for about 45 minutes total each day. Or I could just sneak in posts once a week just to keep this thing going. I want to write and share, butI just need to DO IT.

So I will.

So I'm back. I plan to continue blogging because contrary to what I thought, my friends back home do read this thing so who am I to disappoint them? Plus, it's cathartic to write about my life in Scotland as an expat. I also plan on blogging a bit about our wedding and the joy and the pain that encompassed it. Dave and I have been cooking like mad freaks and I'd like to share what's been going on in our kitchen and in our lives as newlyweds.

Please accept the picture above as a peace offering. I'll be back with more pics and more stuff.


Friday, 8 May 2009

How many days until our wedding???

According to our wedding website, it’s 64. That means there are 64 days to get our freaking ish together. Yesterday, I very calmly wrote down the multitude of tasks that needs to be done before the big day, and admittedly, it’s not that bad. A lot of little things, but the big stuff has been taking care of. We only have about 6 free weekends left until people start showing up, so we’re going to have to get on things. I’ve left my list at home, but here are some of the things I can think of:

· Buying tulle for a veil and wedding accessories (hair flower and earrings)
· Deciding on a menu and making menu cards
· Making a table plan and table name cards
· Buying favour boxes and printing tags
· Buying more silver centrepieces
· Getting battery operated fairy lights
· Blowing up a picture for the “guestbook”
· Writing our vows
· Finalizing the readings
· And other things I’ve forgotten

On the upside, we’ve been really good about settling the big things like tuxes, rings, vendors and dealing with my visa situation. But then we just got sick of the wedding and decided to have some weekends that were non-wedding related. We’ve had our fun, but it’s back to the grind. This weekend, we’ll be meeting with our venue’s wedding planner and I’ve planned a whole host of wedding related tasks we’ll need to accomplish by Sunday. This is how it’s going to be for the next few weeks. I just keep telling myself that it will be worth it in the end.

**I'm not too sure why I picked this photo of Carrie from the SATC movie. Unlike a lot of people, I thought her dress was gorgeous and I find her a reasonably attractive woman. The photo has nothing to do with the blog, but whatev.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

When smart people say stupid things

I love my guy. I truly do. He’s handsome, funny, intelligent, fun and can throw down in the kitchen, amongst other areas. I fell in love because his heart was open and his eyes sincere. I stay in love because he makes me laugh, gives me great hugs and always holds my hand.

But damn, home boy can some of the wackest shit ever. I’ve told him so. Repeatedly. I think he sometimes fancy himself a bit of a comedian and a lot of the time, he hits his mark. He’s witty and dangerously smart, which can make for great comedy. But other times, he gets a little too close to the “David Brent” school of clowning.

I struggled with whether I should expose some of his less than shining moments, but I’ve decided not to for a couple of reasons: 1) I don’t want anyone thinking my husband and the future father of my children is a complete buffoon, and 2) I don’t want to spread too much of my business out there because we’ll both look like fools. And there’s a third reason: I know a lot of the things he says aren’t malicious and he’s not out to hurt my feelings. But sometimes, I just think of giving him a sharp elbow to the ear!

I’m just having one of those “girl-you-will-never-believe-what-he-said!” moments. I think I should build a website for ladies who want to write anonymously about stupid shit their significant others have said. That would probably make me a millionaire.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Decisions, decisions...

We’re getting married in Scotland, where we live. Planning this wedding has really brought out our contradictory personalities. Let’s just say, Dave is way more traditional and I’m way more modern than we originally thought. Like major. We agree on the majority of things in our normal lives but we hardly agree on the wedding stuff. It’s been an exercise in persuasion, compromise and diplomacy (I think all very good ingredients in marriage/relationships/friendships) and I think we’re handling it well. Over the next little while, I’ll get into the debates we got into leading up to our “big day”.

The venue: We were living in Nottingham when we got engaged and had many discussions about where to have this shindig. Since all my family are in North America and Ghana and all of Dave’s family are in Scotland, we were thinking of a having it somewhere where EVERYONE had to travel. Mexico was the contender for a few weeks and that idea kinda crumbled. Upon reflection, we realized that we wanted to be somewhere Mexico just wasn’t right for us, though it would have been kick ass. We weren’t a hundred per cent sure where we would be living in a few months time, but Scotland seemed like the right choice. Montreal was a contender for sure, but I knew that my wedding would have turned into a 3 ring circus and I wasn’t about that AT ALL. So we made a decision and were happy with it. In relation to where we actually going to be married, I did a lot of armchair research (thank goodness for the interweb) and ordered packs upon packs of promotional material from wedding venues (don’t worry, everything not used got recycled). I wasn’t working at the time so I threw myself into this and we finally came up with 4 viable options. We made a list of pros and cons for each one then decided on one to view. That’s right – we made an appointment to view one wedding venue. We booked our flights to Scotland and went to visit the Balbirnie House Hotel.

Now, we had Dave’s parents visit the hotel prior to us getting there and they took loads of snaps. They loved it and while I trust them, the pics didn’t really compel me. It looked quite British and traditional which worried me, but Dave was salivating. I held back any type of expectation or judgment and fell in love with the Balbirnie. Good times, good times. We’ll be getting married on the premises and the house is so far removed from anything I’ve ever experienced (the house is older than my freaking country!). I think what I love the most is the space. There are several rooms for people to just chill in and since I now consider Scotland my home, and I’ve been searching for a place to call home for so long, I wanted people to feel like they were home. There are couches and lounges everywhere and I just feel so relaxed when I walk around. I hope our guests will feel that way too.
But the path to this decision was fraught with a lot of back and forth about what each of us wanted. I wanted something cool, hip and unusual, and he wanted traditional, comfortable and quotidien. This could have been a disaster, but luckily it worked out for us. Unfotunately, this isn't the case for a dozen other decisions that we've had to make so far. Stay tuned for more tales of (cue scary music) wedding planning!