Well, this begins our very last week in Scotland. Next Wednesday morning we'll wake up in Glasgow, take four planes (two stops in Canada, one in Minneapolis, and then another flight to Denver - the things we'll do for cheap flights!) and finally we'll be "home!" I'm looking forward to our final week here, though...to jumping on the trampoline, to eating meals with everyone around the big table in the kitchen, and to taking a few final walks up the hill here at the farm. But first, this past week.
D - I can't believe that our time here in Scotland is almost up. I can't remember any period in my life where time has seemed to move so quickly! I know that sounds cliche, but it's really true! It seems like we only got here a week ago or something.
It was a pretty normal week for the two of us, but not so much for the family we're living with. The weather finally shaped up enough for Hugh to be able to start sowing and planting potatoes, so on Thursday he began that 2-3 week long process. When we Skyped with Hugh and Caroline back in February, Caroline joked that she basically becomes a single mom during that time period, and now I see why - Hugh starts his day by about 7:30am and often doesn't finish until about 2am. Caroline has been bringing his meals out to him, and we're all hoping the weather holds out (no rain please!) or else things could take much longer. And to make matters worse, on Thursday it became obvious that the other two kids had come down with the chicken pox, just a few days after the first had gotten over it. We left on Friday morning for Edinburgh and apparently missed the worst of it - the doctor said one of the twins had the worst case of chicken pox she'd ever seen.
D - If there's one unexpected thing that this trip has really opened my eyes up to it's the world of farming. Talking with Hugh about his family business and watching him labor so hard has changed the way I think about food!
Aside from the busyness of planting and sick kids, last week Hugh hosted a business group he's a part of at the house on Wednesday, so we helped Caroline get ready for it by making a pie and a few orange cakes, as well as keeping the kids outside while everyone was over.
On Thursday, one of the twins went to nursery while the other spent the day with Granny, which meant we were home with the youngest child. Danny spent the morning outside with him doing our usual set of activities - bouncing on the trampoline, pushing him around on the mini tractor, pouring buckets of water on the flowers, swinging, and then doing it all over again - while I helped Karina, their twice-a-week housekeeper do a bit of laundry, clean bathrooms, sweep, dust, and declutter a few spaces she'd been wanting to get to. Danny and I had the afternoon free which we spent planning our weekend off, and then making fajitas for supper. It was a nice night, so we went for a walk along a paved path Hugh had been recommending, and it was great (photos above and below are from that evening).
D - One nice thing about hanging out just with the youngest kid is that he's not much of a conversationalist so I got to do a lot of good thinking whilst bouncing, pushing, pouring, and swinging! Lately he's been really into watering the flowers/grass/trees/playground rubber so we probably went back and forth for more water for at least an hour. It's also been fun watching him grow and develop right before our eyes, especially since he's just beginning to talk. I'm particularly proud of helping to get him to say please and thank you (or peas and ta-ta) on a regular basis!
Because we worked plenty during the week, we took three days off - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and went to Edinburgh. We arrived around lunchtime and kept busy the rest of the weekend seeing sights such as the Royal Mile, the Scottish Parliament, Arthur's Seat, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the National Museum of Scotland, and the Royal Britannia. We returned to the farm after the kids were in bed on Sunday night, and really hope to get a chance to return to Edinburgh someday - we packed as much as possible into our 2.5 days there and still feel like we have much left to see! A few photos until I get a chance to do a full post...
D - Edinburgh was really fun! Some cities just have a really cool spirit about them and Edinburgh is definitely one of them. I'm excited to share more about our time there!
Monday morning we woke up to the reality that although the worst of the chicken pox had subsided, they were still there, and one of the twins wouldn't be going to nursery all week because of it. So we had the youngest and one of the twins in the morning - and we were stuck inside because it snowed on and off all day long! We also made a pot of soup and a bolognese sauce for supper. In the afternoon I planned our final Scotland trip - we're flying out of Glasgow next Wednesday, so instead of going somewhere this weekend, we're just going to Glasgow on Monday and spending our last two days here seeing the city. I'm really excited to see the largest city in Scotland (it's also the 4th largest in the UK), and have one final Scottish hurrah before we end our 7+ months abroad.
Yesterday the weather continued to be pretty miserable - it snowed most of the morning and was windy and cold all day long. We lent a hand with the kids here and there, but Karina was around most of the day, so we focused our energies on the time when she wasn't around since Caroline was away all day. We also made a loaf of banana bread and an apple cake - the house was full of delicious scents and warmth wafting from the kitchen which was great aside from the fact that it's now also full of sweets...and we still have leftover cake around from our last baking spree!
Sometimes it feels like there's always something to do, another mess to clean up, someone else crying, a new request to fill. We spend an hour or more making supper and no one (except the adults) eats, or even tries, it. But then there's a "Shannon, do you know what? You look so nice today!" or an unexpected hug or "You're my best friend on this whole farm!" and it makes the moment a bit brighter. And, of course, memories of all that we've gotten to see and do here in Scotland, not to mention the experience itself of living with a family and all that we've gleaned from that. It's really something, being able to learn from a culture, and a country, and a family in such a way, and being welcomed with such open arms by Hugh and Caroline and their three kids is something we'll never forget.
So. One more week. Not just of Scotland-life, but of being-outside-of-America-life. Ready or not, here we come!