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Monday, August 31, 2009

back in the land of ire
i find it funny that people keep apologizing for the weather. yesterday, tom looked out on the gray day and said sorry for the gray skies over scotland, and grace lamented about the rain and drizzle in ireland. i think it's great, i haven't seen rain in a long time, so it's nice to be surrounded by green lushness. if it takes a little rain to make that happen, so be it!
i'm back in dublin, safely in the clutches of grace's home. we're planning some daytrips to other parts of the country; every person i meet says galway is a must. for me, i'd love to see the countryside, but i'm also perfectly happy sitting in a cafe, watching the rain.
current mood: toast and tea time!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

blown away!
kelly and i spent the afternoon in edinburgh yesterday, navigating around the rather scary hoardes of thespians who had spilled in to the royal mile for the annual month-long Fringe Festival of theater and the arts. we had intended to check out the castle atop the hill, a stunning site (and sight!) and full of the old bricks and stones that i just love about europe, but we decided that the queue for tickets was too long and ended up goofing off in the castle gift shop instead. the pics are proof. when we took the train back home to dundee, we grabbed a great big heap of grease known as a fish dinner (fish and chips to you and me), and wandered over to the pub with tom. good times and crazy stories ensued.
i woke to a beautiful but blustery day today, with the intention of doing nothing but leisurely being blown about Broughty Ferry (kelly and tom's neighborhood on the water, also known as The Ferry). while the sky was bluer than i had seen it all week, i could tell the winds were really whipping as i saw seagulls and crows tumbling in the sky. after a little french toast brunch (they finally let me cook for them!) we lazed around a bit before i set out. despite the bright day, or perhaps despite me, scotland found it necessary to open the skies up just enough with rain when i was just far enough to make turning back around to get my umbrella not worth it. by the time i got my windbreaker on, it had stopped, and i pulled out my sunglasses. i wandered the shops and remarked to myself the scottishness of it all. i'm back at the flat, secretly betting which pieces of the neighbor's laundry will stay on the line to dry, and which will be lifted out to the sea... what a lazy, relaxing way to finish up my time here in the ferry, before i head back to ireland tomorrow to tear things up with grace in dublin and beyond.
current mood: blustery

Friday, August 28, 2009

some of that ____ in ya
pics of ireland (10-hour layover in dublin):

and scotland (broughty ferry and st. andrew):

for ya, so far...
current mood: holay cajoles, it's cold over here!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

hangin' around
spent the day sleeping, walking about a castle, and actually karate training (!?) today. even if i never see the scottish highlands, i'm perfectly content living the life of a foreigner in scotland right now (considering kelly is irish and tom is english and all)... admittedly though, i'm a little miffed that no one stamped my passport or even seemed to care that i am currently in the country. while i tried to bargain and plea with the officials in the airport to record my presence, they'd have none of it. i may be forced to create my own scottish stamp at this point... is that government fraud do you think??
(ps - all our catching up is totally jacking up tom and kelly's sleep schedule... my bad. while it definitely feels like 5:30 in the afternoon for me, it's definitely 3:30 in the morning!)
current mood: confused

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

dublin: first impressions
had about 10 hours to kill between arriving in dublin and leaving for edinburgh, so i decided to stash my bag and catch a ride in to the city. i was dropped off in the city center (or centre, as they spell it on this side of the pond :]) and decided to hoof it to trinity college, christ's church, and the guinness storehouse, which i was told later, is not in a very good part of town. the next 8 hours were spent getting to and from these destinations via the heel-toe express, with a 30-minute attempt at a nap on a pitch at trinity, which was unfortunately unsuccessful due to the annoyingly loud american students who plopped down mere feet from me.
so with my quick jaunt about the city, here are my observations:
* there are a lot less fair-skinned redheads than i had anticipated (granted, most of the people wandering the city on a tuesday afternoon are probably tourists, and the gingers are probably at work)
* there is a significantly larger chinese influence than i would have thought (and... polish?!)
* standing in a church that has been around for a thousand years will make anyone spiritual
* you know you're near the guinness storehouse and brewery when you smell the barley being roasted (brewery itself = way too touristy, and not recommended by me now that i've lived through it)
* the locals are very very helpful. very. i've had at least 2 irish men pass me their phone numbers so i can "give them a ring for a local tour"...
i'm sure there are more things to say here, but i haven't slept since i awoke from my bed in san diego, oh, right about 31 hours ago. time for me to hit the sheets that kelly has so nicely pre-warmed for me with a hot water bottle. she promises tomorrow is an easy day, and i'm excited to see what she and the scots have in store!
current mood: safe and warm

Monday, August 24, 2009

somehow i managed to completely miss my terminal at atlanta and ended up in the ticketing area. i am so not wearing the right things to be running through any airports today! but then again, i'm breaking a personal code of conduct by paying for internet usage, so i guess the whole thing is off to a certain foot.
here's to hoping my luggage meets me in ireland!
current mood: off i go!

Friday, August 21, 2009

leeeeavin, on a jet plane
on monday, i'm going to get a little luck of the irish, though one of those lucky girls is actually in scotland. it will be nice to wake my passport up from its two year slumber and put it to work again. i fly from san diego to dublin, and then have a 10-hour layover until my flight to edinburgh. i plan on stashing my luggage and hopping a ride in to the city to take a little tour of ___________ (trinity college? the guinness storehouse? all of the above??), before braving the horror that can be ryanair and hopping a plane over to edinburgh to spend some much-needed QT with my best non-j-friend from my stint in japan, the lovely kelly. then back to dublin for a little curly-headed madness known as grace... my colleague raymond walked me through some of his favorite hometown spots in ireland, so i am equipped with a local's perspective from every angle, even if i don't actually do all (or any) of it!
i can barely type this out, i'm so excited! then back to work when i get home, the kiddies start to drift back to san diego, and the crazy work schedule begins once again.
current mood: ex-ci-ted!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

mens sibi conscia recti
i've been thinking a lot about pride lately, mostly for my job, but admittedly for personal reasons too. and i of course can't disconnect "pride" from that one year, that one week, that one mantra that was literally drilled in to us at 8th grade band camp, where we were expected to shout in unison "pride! a justifiable appreciation of one's worth, abilities, and high ideals!" miss a word, and you were awash in shame and sent out of the ranks. the other drill was on esprit de corps which is (say it with me!)
a group achievement that causes members to display pride, assurance, confidence and poise in a sincere manner. it is based upon training and discipline and reflects the desire to excel.
not that either of these definitions are helping me necessarily tease out my current thoughts, but they are certainly making for some entertaining cadence in my head as i march across campus. somewhere out in the world are hundreds of adults who can drop those definitions on you with the mere mention of the word pride. it may be something they haven't thought of for years or even decades, but there it is, bubbling to the surface of memory and repetition. why did we need to all stand around in the hot sun memorizing and shouting these things? did it instill discipline in us? fear in our competitors (though i don't really remember shouting it at the other band and colorguard teams out on the parade route)? riksford's own personal amusement and/or sense of control? at 13 years old, was it really that important to my personal development that i know a rather cocky definition of pride? did it make me feel closer to my teammates to know what esprit de corps meant to the band director? i can't say it did, but there is something to be said for the fact that i still remember those silly words after all these years.
current mood: confused

Monday, August 03, 2009

i'm an (japanese) auntie!
my japanese twin marika and her husband katsuhiko would like to introduce you to tamon...

tamon was named by papa hikosawa after the buddhist god tamonten or bishamonten.
current mood: sekai ni yookosoo (welcome to the world)!

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