Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The "No Problem" Side of the Road

Welcome to the Other Side of the Pond. I have arrived and survived...due to some luck, some miraculous intervention, much muscle power, and many many British Pounds Sterling. I hesitate to relate the entire journey from painful beginning to happy end (as much for my own still-delicate psyche's sake as for the attention-span of my valued audience). Here are the highlights:

1. No word from the visa people until the MORNING I DEPARTED. After asking for St Anthony's intercession ("Anthony! Let them find the d*** thing! ...I mean the blessed thing!") said small bit of paper arrived in mail and Thomas More and Sobbing Spouse pulled out of the driveway moments later in the car loaded with many sweaters and a very-vaccinated pooch.

2. Very vaccinated pooch and owner were duly checked onto their flight (tears from owner once again) and Thomas More abandoned them. Saintly Mother met MoE in airport and we flew across The Pond. HOWEVER, discovered upon arrival that Very Vaccinated Pooch had arrived in the UK ONE DAY TOO EARLY!! Marley spent the night at Heathrow to finish up his quarantine. (This could have been much worse. They could have sent him back...or kept him in quarantine for another 6 months...or euthanized him!)

3. While Marley served time, Saintly Mother and MoE had a lovely time in the London Tube system dragging MoE's bags (140 lbs+) up and down stairs. Permanently damaged my spine.

4. Upon arrival by rail in Edinburgh, MoE pulled out of the station in her hired car and WITHIN 10 MINUTES crashed said car into another car in a moment of panic. Very sweet Fresher boy from Uni Edinburgh agreed not to prosecute. (*Note* My father does NOT know about this.)

5. Somehow drove out of Edinburgh and into Fife with no other problems. Arrived at Anstruther. Walked to address of flat, tried key--which would not open the door! Stood outside in the Scottish damp with a severe case of jet lag and little brain to speak of, trying the door again...and again...until suddenly the door opened and an ancient man appeared in the fading light, gazing bleary-eyed out at us. "Who are you?" Apparently we had the wrong address. ....Found correct door, went inside.

6. Father arrived in Edinburgh. Father's bags did not arrive in Edinburgh. We drank beer and ate shortcake outside of Edinburgh castle.

7. I bought this awesome car. (Well, "awesome" is not quite the word.) Drove awesome car to St Andrews for the first time. Awesome car broke down on first trip to St Andrews. It just fizzled. Fizzled and died. Into St Andrews I came, the grand conqueror, the World Traveler, the car fizzling, literally ROLLING into the Royal Burg of St Andrews. (385 Pounds Sterling works great!)

"No Problem" side of the road indeed.

But beyond these small difficulties, and the difficulties of no internet, bad phone connection, being always lost, always out of Pounds Sterling and lonely for my husband...

beyond these things... Scotland is a fabulous place. The light shines today on the stones of the cathedral ruin, on cobblestones, the long beach below the cliffs. I run along the coastal path in the morning from one fishing village to the next. People say "lovely." People drink sherry and port during the day. And beer. And gin and tonic. Students walk around the town wearing scarlet academic gowns. Ridiculous. Ridiculous.

Keep posted folks! My brain will settle in time. The wonder I begin to feel with develop and I will explore the Kingdom.

God bless you, wherever you may be...


St Andrew! ora pro nobis!

pray that the poets may be filled with language, with Joy, with clarity and strength.

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