Sunday, September 25, 2011

Back On A Budget

During the heady days of summer - with the heat (ish), sun (ish), and double income (ish) - we quickly fell back into our old groove of doing what we wanted when we wanted.  But, now that we're back in Dundee and Mike's a full-time student again, our depleting savings account is reminding us that we're a single income family again and we've got to stick to a super tight budget.  Happily, I love budgets!  Seriously, I think they're fun.  I get the Excel spreadsheet out, start making lists, we have in-depth financial conversations; really, it's fun!

The Venice trip is off.  Not really only due to finances but because no one in Mike's class was going even though it was supposed to be a class trip.  Apparently, the school was super lazy about the prep work and waited until mid-September to even mention it.  They haven't said anything else about logistics, lodging, etc. and the trip is supposed to take place mid-October.  Therefore, we're out.  We'll eventually get to Venice, we have no doubt, so there is no mourning the cancellation of this trip.  It would've been fun to do it with his class but, whatever; it'll be fun when we eventually get there, with or without his class.

We're still on for another big Christmas slash New Year's holiday during Mike's winter break.  We've already reserved our flat, just down the street from - and with a view of - the Colosseum in Rome.  We're now just waiting to purchase our plane tickets, which will probably happen in October.

We won't have a spring break this year due to Mike's workload, which was planned so we're not heartbroken.  Plus, no spring break makes it easier for us to head to Baltimore in June for a friend's wedding, which we couldn't be more excited for.  Otherwise, we're staying in Dundee this summer.  Mike will pick up some studio time and hopefully get some more experience for his CV while I try to keep my awesome job with the Scottish government.

Our financial priorities are still the same as they have been: Mike's education and travel, and by sticking to our super tight budget we can accomplish both.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dundee, Maybe You're Not A Dick

outside Edinburgh from the train
We returned to Dundee on a lovely Friday afternoon in early September.  We had left a sad, angry, depressed town just 4 months earlier and had expected to find it as such upon our return.  Instead, we found ourselves returning to a happy, shiny, friendly place with (mostly) happy, friendly locals and shiny new buildings (or buildings mid-shine).  Apparently, the new Victoria & Albert museum is the cause of all this positive activity (though ground doesn't break until 2012, opening in late 2014).  But, regardless of the cause, we've returned to a whole new city and we're loving it!

view from our bedroom
Our flat is TONS better than Tay Mills, our student housing from last year.  It's better than our London flat, too.  It's large and comfortable, provides instant access to the outdoors (Tay Mills was a huge apartment block, taking at least 10 minutes to get from our flat to the outdoors), and is in a much better location.

The best part of our move (for me, at least) is that I've now got an amazing job working for the economic development arm of the Scottish government.  All my friends from my London gig helped open some Dundee doors for me, getting me interviews that I have thus far been unable to get on my own, and I'm extremely grateful to them.  I love my new job!

Since our return, we've completely changed our original opinion of Dundee.  It's still no Edinburgh or Glasgow but it's not too shabby either and, now that we've got a super comfy couch, we're inviting all our friends to come check it out for yourselves.
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