Monday, February 28, 2011

Newburgh to Abernethy

We found our February ramble, Newburgh to Abernethy, online at  We started this morning around 10:30 am with a bus ride from Dundee to Newburgh, via Perth.  We arrived in Newburgh before noon and were home by 4:00 pm.  Although this was a short, scenic walk with no real elevation gain, we thought the day worked out perfectly and we're happy we ventured out.

Because our walk started near the town entrance, we didn't get to see much of Newburgh's city centre.  But, we did have a fun little exchange with a publican and some locals upon disembarking the bus.

We asked the publican, sweeping the pavement outside his pub, where the path to Abernethy could be found.  He pulled two locals into the conversation and they all agreed that the path along the water 'only goes so far' so we were instructed to take the path up the hill instead.

Although we were pretty sure the walk we found online said something about walking along the river, we decided to take the locals' advice and headed up the hill.

This higher path greeted us with wonderful views of the surrounding area and introduced us to our first proper 'right of way' experience which included passing through several gates marked 'private property' and being constantly afraid we were doing something wrong.  The occasional signs confirming our right to be there helped ease our fears and, upon exiting the trail, we were met by a couple of locals inquiring about the state of the 'right of way', reassuring us even further.  We advised the locals that it was a bit wet and muddy and they said, 'that's no good.'  We assured them though that we still had fun and that we considered it an adventure, which they seemed to think was pretty funny.

Lunch in Abernethy
Upon our arrival in Abernethy, and with an hour to kill before our bus back to Perth arrived, we wandered through the cute little town and found an adorable little inn where we decided to grab a pint and something to eat.  Coincidentally, our 'right of way' friends were dining at the same inn and we had a chance to talk with them a bit more.  They told us walking in Scotland requires the right gear and, upon seeing Desi's heelless Earth shoes, advised her that some wellies and a nice wool hat would be better.  Good advice indeed.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Making The Most Of Our Time Abroad

I recently read this article about making the most of one's time abroad and I wanted to share it here since it mirrors my experience thus far on this adventure and also provides me with ideas to combat my latest bout of homesickness.

Much like the author of the article, Mike & I plan on living in many different countries over the next two decades and I'll need to get better at this transition period if I'm to make the most of my time abroad.  Hopefully the tips in this article will help me towards that endeavour.

Meet Your Neighbours - Something we'll definitely need to become better at is putting ourselves out there. We're solitary people whom enjoy each other's company and the company of close friends but we don't enjoy the process of making new close friends.  We're so solitary we can't even bring ourselves to meet our current neighbours.  Beyond awkward corridor greetings we don't really know anything about them and we probably won't make the effort prior to our move in May.  I'm resolving, though, to make an effort first thing upon our return to Dundee in September.  I may even make an effort when we move to London in May.  Maybe.

Establish A Routine, But Don't Get Stuck In A Rut - Our current routine could be described as a rut; work/school, home, laptops, bed.  It's hard to develop a routine when skint but pints at the pub are cheap and we really have no excuse for not going out at least once a week.  We'll definitely look into this.

Walk, Walk, Walk - We walk a lot.

Break Bad Habits, And Make New Ones - We broke the television habit.  I don't think we've picked up any new bad habits yet.  This will also require looking into.  A lot of people smoke here but I don't think that's an option for us.  Perhaps we need to jump on this curry bandwagon.

When In Rome... - I doubt we'll be heading to the clubs or casinos any time soon, and definitely not staying out until dawn if we ever do, but maybe heading out to a football match soon would be a good idea.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Mikey Is My Star

I'm not sure when my parents bought a colour TV for mine and my sister's bedroom, to replace the black & white one we'd had since I was in kindergarten, but I was the only kid I knew that had one.  Years later I was still using it and when Mike & I started dating I got a hold of a label maker and put 'Mikey is my star' on the top of it.

When Mikey & I moved to Seattle from Salt Lake we brought that TV with us.  I can't remember if we ever used it in Seattle, having received an upgrade from Mike's parents as our wedding gift, but I remember finding it in the basement of our Seattle home this past summer.  It was a joy to see it again but we couldn't keep it.  Sadly, that TV from my childhood was part of the Purge of 2010.

Since we've been living without one for the past nine months my dependence on TV has diminished significantly.  But, sometimes I do miss it terribly and when that happens I remember that small colour TV from my childhood and feel sad.

If you ever find a TV labelled 'Mikey is my star', probably in a thrift store or charity shop in the states, please let me know.  I probably won't buy it back but I would like to see it again.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

London, Here We Come

We received confirmation this morning that our London flat has been successfully booked.  It took a lot of searching but we finally found something within our budget.  The flat comes with WiFi, is fully furnished and situated near Willesden Green tube station.  It's a mezzanine double studio and the only bills outside of rent are electricity, via top-up (same set-up we have now), and TV license (optional).

We still need to purchase our train tickets to London and we haven't yet made arrangements for accommodations upon our return to Dundee in September but we have time to sort those details out.  The biggest stress, and the deal breaker, was the London accommodations piece and we're absolutely thrilled to have that detail sorted.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Good News Sandwich

Good news: Mike confirmed with his tutor yesterday that his programme's semester ends a month earlier than planned, at the end of April rather than the end of May.  This means that we're able to relocate to London a month earlier than scheduled and stay for four months instead of three.  Desi is beginning enquiries now regarding employment and accommodations.  Mike has already started enquiring about internships.  We're really looking forward to being London residents for the summer.

Bad news: Because Mike is losing four weeks of this semester and because his education is our highest priority, even above travel, we've cancelled our trip to Mallorca in April.  Mike can't afford to lose seven weeks of this semester and he'll have to work through spring break to finish his project in time.  Moreover, we can't afford both three weeks in Mallorca and a relocation to London to occur within the same month.  We're pretty broken up about this but it's the right thing to do.

If you haven't had a chance to see what Mike's been up to, head on over to his blog, which has been highlighted twice this semester alone by DJCAD via their Twitter account.

Good news: Desi got the call yesterday offering her the job she was hoping for.  She's absolutely thrilled!  She starts work Monday.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Unemployment Ponderings

In 2007, I took a one month sabbatical between jobs.  I celebrated that sabbatical as though it was a well-deserved break; dining out with friends, drinking all day long, mid-day movies.  My current state of unemployment, however, does not feel like a well-deserved break.  On the contrary, it has me seriously re-thinking my short-term plans.

Dundee has a dearth of employment opportunities and my original plan, to rely on temp agencies for employment between holidays, is not working out.  Temp agencies are just not performing the same role here as they did in Seattle which means I'm going to have to figure something else out if this adventure is going to succeed.
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