The end of July

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Whenever July ends, I always feel like summer is coming to an end. School - elementary school, middle school, high school, college - always started in August so you knew that in a few short weeks you'd hit the books again and life would be normal. School ended in June and started in August (at least in my county), so you'd have 2 and a half months, but that meant the rest of the time you were always in school. So counting down the days in August was easy. Date of school minus today's date equaled the amount of freedom you had left. So now I have my three weeks left of summer and to Clemson on the 19th! I can't believe everything that's happened in the past year- a year of stable meds, a job I was good at, the trip of a lifetime to Scotland, a year older, a few years of wisdom, more patience than I desired, and both bad luck and good blessings. So when a new school year starts, let us hope for the beginning of a new school to end my degree, a continuation of the great relationship I'm in, a better relationship with God, new experiences and a new way to utilize everything I've learned this past year. I'll drink to that.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011- Camas

Thursday, July 28, 2011

-Slept in until the late morning in the "princess" bed in the Hobbit hole. Very comfortable and a tea room brunch with a pot of Earl Gray and a cheese sandwich.

Garden behind the tea room:

-Wandered around the Abbey, Nunnery, Island, and all of the shops and had a completely lovely late morning and afternoon.
The Abbey:

The graveyard by St. Oran's chapel. Supposedly Duncan and Macbeth are buried here...

The cloisters in the Abbey:

Hallway in the Cloisters. The stones on the wall are grave slabs that went on top of graves. Many of them were for the monks. When the abbey was undergoing renovations, some graves had to be moved, so the monks were re-buried and their slabs were put on the walls:

The ruins of the Nunnery:

-Took the ferry back to Fionnphort at 3, then walked the 4 miles back to Camas. Tired.

-Shower, snack with Faith and Rob, reading East of Eden until dinner. Beans, baked potatoes and that green and lemon tea I have come to like so much.
-By the way, unlike some people, I will never eat my baked beans on top of my baked potato. Partially because the UK version of baked beans are inferior (sorry) to the more delicious, tangy and sweet American counterpart. That's just fact.

I'm not really sure what he was trying to say here

Sunday, July 24, 2011

I am having a problem with this parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." Matt. 13. Say what, Jesus? Every now and then could you not be so concise? What does that even mean? Why is the person in someone else's field? What treasure could be buried there pre-1 A.D. that isn't, you know, like the clay shards that archaeologists find all the time? What was buried in Jerusalem at that time of any value? Why are we buying the kingdom? That seems to go against all kinds of teachings. He got the selling everything he has part and then all of the sudden we're left with a profit and then purchasing the field and that's not buying the kingdom? Where is Jesus getting this stuff? And then the best part, after he tells 6 parables in a row, "Have you understood all this?" They answered, "Yes." And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like the master of a household who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old." Great. All of the scribes of yore got it. And I'm left without a clue as to what my Savior was talking about. Any ideas?

Shattered illusions and delusions

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I can't believe it's Norway. Really? Norway?? They always seemed so nice. And now they have lunatics with bombs and guns. Well, now they think it's A luntic, a Norwegian who is doing bad things. The New York Times had a good article that kind of sums up the madness as of yesterday. The online link is I'll put it in the links sidebar since I still can't get it to link directly in the post. Gotta work on that. I still don't know too much about the attacks, but at least 80 people are dead between a bombing in Oslo and one at an island summer camp. Those poor Norwegians. I'm going to wait a while before unleashing my comments on the situation, but I just can't believe that it's happened. No one seems really safe anymore. Anyway, the whole country, and especially the families of those killed, are in my thoughts and prayers. Think about them too. Just picture it happening in your town- it's scary. No one deserves to die that way. That's horrid. And there's no way to end this on a positive note. Please, just pray for them too.

Monday, June 13, 2011- Camas

Thursday, July 21, 2011

List of things that happened that day (must have been in some sort of hurry)
-Breakfast followed by a reflection wherein Hamish led us in a spitting brushing of teeth- Camas style. You had to have been there to witness 15 people brush their teeth on the lawn and spew it out towards the ocean. Don't think I'll ever forget that.
-Wheelbarrow repair, the side business of Mull garages apparently. Pushed a very sad wheelbarrow named Fred, and then proceeded to sit around while Rob and Nat repaired bikes. I have no skill in building bikes. Or wheelbarrows.
-First shower since Iona on Friday. Not a popular pastime at Camas and you don't really notice until things get really bad when you're outdoors that much. Water only came in 15 second intervals, but was deliciously warm.
-Hike down the track to the road to catch the bus to Fionnphort to the ferry to Iona, bus was late, road maintenance caused bus to stop after .5 mile (that's what you get when you build a one lane road), so Natalie and I walked the rest of the way (2 Miles) got to the ferry before the bus did.
-[by the way, Nat and Natalie are the same person]
-Hung out at Margaret's, checked email, delicious dinner of fish and chips fresh from the pub
-Watched "Vicar of Dibley" with Sarah and Toben and loved it. [Since have found out you cannot get the "vicar of Dibley" in the states. Sad day.
-Bought Natalie new GoreTex trainers.
-Wandered around with Nat and then went to a lovely service in the abbey where I was blown away with Tom's playing and Margaret's singing and playing. She has one of the most amazing voices I've ever heard.
-Awesome and hilarious jam session until 12 am with Margaret, Tom, and Natalie in the music loft in the abbey. So much fun and laughter and jumbling up words of Mumford and Sons songs, but very emphatic playing.
-Hot chocolate, then sleep in the hobbit hole.

A break from Scotland blogs

Monday, July 18, 2011

So I knew I was going to major in Philosophy because Clemson doesn't have a religion major and I was required to choose something on my application. Due to a whole mix up of credits and transferring and choosing classes and a zillion annoyances and just PHAFF, my History minor actually ended up having no credits. So I pretty much had to pick a new minor from scratch. And for once, I remembered and listened to all of those annoying people who go "What are you going to do with a major in Religion/Philosophy?" (insert whiney voice here). Ugh. I detest that question. Soooo, I'm majoring in Philosophy, with an emphasis in Religious Studies and a minor in Global Politics focusing on International Relations. Heck YES I finally decided. I thought the Global Politics/international Relations thing would be a good call if I want to work for a non-profit. There is also a non-profit leadership class that I can take, so I can finally tell the annoying people to hush and hopefully I'll graduate with some marketable skills in leadership and show people that yes, Religion is applicable to current events and, you know, LIFE. Throw in a little politics and understanding of countries in crisis and whoowhee, what do you know, it actually makes sense to major in things that people deal with day to day- like living under government or living without a government in a war zone or dealing with religions that aren't your own or things that cause friction. And then I can help people to understand conflict, resolve it and we can all live happily ever after. Okay, that may take a while, but at least I can get the why-be-a-liberal-arts-major people off my back. And if my previous explanation doesn't hold, I'll just tell them that I really suck at math and they probably don't want me switching to Engineering, lest I cause the building to collapse. Thomas can vouch for me. He does all of that getting nuclear reactors to run submarines and I do the whole, hey let's not actually end up using nuclear warheads. It works for us.

Sunday, June 12, 2011- Camas

[By the way, to view all of these small pictures much larger and as they should be viewed, just clicking on them makes them REALLY big.]

Minus the beginning, today was exactly how a Sunday was supposed to have been spent. I woke with a nasty headache, but after some medicine and a few hours sleep, I was fine. Breakfast was two banana nut muffins- OH MY GOODNESS THE BEST I'VE EVER HAD! Then two hours weeding the garden with Natalie and lunch. Not much of a soup or stew person,but with this vegetarian diet, I guess I will be come Friday. However, they do have this delightful cheddar that if you put in on anything, it tastes good. By the way, this is Natalie:

Then I went for a walk, turned into a hike for several hours with Liam, another guest who is studying in Edinburgh. This is Liam on our walk/hike:

This is a view across the inlet, kind of at the end of it:

And this is the end of the inlet that ends in a surprise sheep pasture. It's a surprise for two reasons. One is that you can't see it from Camas, the other is that SURPRISE! You have poo on your shoe.

Looking out towards the sea from the end of Camas Inlet (or whatever the real name is):

It was a gloriously sunny day and a bit boggy, but after a few days of sun, mostly dry. Then we followed sheep paths up and down hills to the top of the quarry. Here are the sheep in a dramatic pose atop a cliff:

And here is the (formerly used) quarry:

Looking down on the sea and rappelling stuff:

It was a marvelous day and I took tons of pictures. I just can't get over the scenery. It's so different and absolutely breathtaking. I spent a while talking to my parents and then surprised Thomas with a call. I missed his voice. I keep wanting to show him things or hear his laugh. Talking to my parents was lovely as well. I'm so blessed to have all of these people in my life. I miss them. A delicious dinner of pasta salad (SO MUCH PASTA SALAD!) and a lovely reflection by Maddie. Then an evening of Uno with Kieran, Rob, and Faith. And the ever-wonderful John Stienbeck's "East of Eden."

This is Faith on the left and Natalie making the phaffy pasta salad that was being very difficult and flavorless and then was delightfully delicious!

Saturday, June 11, 2011- Camas, Mull

Wow. What a roller coaster of a day. This morning seems like ages ago. Yesterday I went to the Isle of Iona and had the most marvelous hike. We walked all over half the island, went through a cave/tunnel thing and then to the entrance of an actual cave. Spelunking is not one of my favored pastimes, so I perched on a rock at the entrance of a cave and waited while the rest went in. It was very boggy on the walk and I got my jeans very, very dirty [speaking from after the trip- the first of many very muddy sessions], at least the bottoms of the begs, and I learned the miracle that is GoreTex. I now harbor a deep and abiding love for my hiking boots as they kept my feet dry the entire time [the entire trip, actually].

Looking towards the town part of Iona from a higher elevation on my hike:

Looking towards the far part of the island where the hike was (very boggy).

End of the island where the cave was. It stunk like mad because of washed up seaweed (tons and tons of it that had dried out and some was wet) and there were roosting birds and birds poop. But the view was pretty spectacular:

Entrance of the cave that I did not enter. Sorry, even though I could walk under that rock, it just looked like it had been sliding for a while and I wasn't taking any chances.

Me on my perch while the rest of the hiking party went spelunking:

Natalie, Queen of the Rock!

I'M IN SCOTLAND! And it's flipping amazing!!

I slept in the Hobbit Hole as Natalie dubbed it- but what else can you call the back end of a converted cow shed that has a door four feet tall? It is very odd to sleep without a top sheet. This only duvet (comforter) thing is weird. I don't know why that's not very big over here. Not only for the purpose of cleanliness, but for keeping the heat trapped by your feet (very important when the sun goes down). Hobbit hole:

Okay. Now before we got any further, unless you know what Scotland looks like, you need to bookmark this page: Along with bookmarking my blog. Thanks. Now when you find the Isle of Mull (left side), there's a little tiny unmarked island just off the west coast at the bottom of Mull off this fingery tip. That's Iona.

The islands are just beautiful and rugged. We took the ferry back to Mull ( today where Camas is. Camas is at the end of a mile and half long footpath (a generous term for a sometimes chicken wire, sometimes plank, sometimes mud hole path) from the main road. The things that travel along this path: sheep, people, wheelbarrows. That's it. They want to get a donkey (which would be AWESOME!), but are asking for donations for a new wheelbarrow (one of the nice ones) instead. Path:

Camas: "Together, we seek to enable growth in love, respect and awareness of ourselves, each other, God and the Environment" -mission statement. Camas sits on the edge of an... inlet? small bay? [Just looked it up, more of an inlet. Not as big as a bay.] It's got a few huts, a kayak shed, a large garden, and two stone buildings that were originally fishermen's and quarrymen's quarters that were built in the early 1800s. There's a small pink quarry across the inlet that's no longer in use (except for rappelling). Camas is a center focused on sustainable living, fair trade products (mostly food), organic food, a wind turbine and very little electricity (they do have to wash clothes, occasionally). Not here on a week when they have a group [all kinds of people visit there- I'm won't do it justice, as this is just a blog/journal for travels, but check out their site at], but work week! Where they basically get everything done that needs to be done after the first few weeks of groups and before the rest of the season. One picture of Camas, from the other side of the inlet, more pictures to follow:

The sun has finally gone down and it's getting dark (at 12:04 AM). It will rise again in a few hours and a new day of chores, long walks, and these lovely new people will begin again. To Iona on Monday afternoon so Nat can give me a proper tour of the abbey, etc and I can take pictures. Staffa (another island) on Thursday to see puffins! To Edinburgh Friday and Saturday with Natalie and Margaret so Margaret can go to a family thing and Natalie and I can wander the city a bit. To Glasgow a week from tomorrow! And one of the best parts of today was finding out at 10:00 PM:

Scottish word of the day: phaff= when there's too much of something, unnecessarily so, droning on about the same subject. Example: That meeting was just so full of phaff- everyone said the same thing over and over and we had heard it all already. There are many uses of this word that are excellent. I shall use it more in my blog and you will understand and use it yourself and just like the sound of it.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Crazyness that is the journey to Camas/Iona!
1. Drive to train station.
2. Buy ticket to Oban (last city before you just fall off the mainland).
3. Get ticket stuck in ticket machine that is super simple for everyone else where I just look confused and send a pleading look to a station worker who kindly pulls it out and sends me on my way.
4. Amazing but long journey to Oban- 4 hours. Picture of my first encounter with the very popular blackcurrant flavor that is very popular in Scotland. Kind of like a grape flavor. They have eyes in the picture, but probably not in real life.

5. Cross the street to ferry from Oban to Craignure (town in Oban the ferry drops off at). This is Oban:

6. Buy ticket.
7. Sit outside on ferry, get cold, man smokes nearby, move inside, wait 45 minutes. View from ferry, looking away from Oban towards Mull:

Me on ferry. Thanks Phoebe for the hat! I got so many compliments- everyone was very impressed with your mad awesome knitting skills- and I wore it pretty much the entire time I was on Mull. Coolest hat I own. Very warm.

8. Arrive in Craignure to find that the bus isn't there yet.
9. Giant bus that finally arrives whizzes me off to the other side of Mull (Fionnphort) for an hour long trip that really should have taken longer. Crazy driver. Insane large bus on one lane road (horrific- thank goodness I have a strong stomach and learned early on to look out the side windows- NEVER LOOK AHEAD)
10. Arrive in Fionnphort to catch another ferry to Iona.
11. See Natalie!!! Day of travels ends. Exhausted. Happy.

Thursday, June 9, 2011- Glasgow

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I am so happy to finally be on the ground in Scotland. I couldn't be more thrilled. Yes, there is that scary sense that comes from traveling alone, so I'm sure that I'll be very nervous tomorrow morning- catching a train, two ferries, and a bus. I guess I'm a bit nervous about the whole trip. I comes with traveling alone. I'll be glad when I'm settled and don't have to lug around a giant backpack, a smaller backpack and a purse all the time. I'm so excited about seeing Natalie tomorrow. It's been so very long. The shopping in Edinburgh looks fun- at least from what I saw from the bus taking me from the airport to Waverly Train Station. Not like I have any place to put anything right now. I suppose a little room will clear up when I give Natalie her hostess present of yarn and drop off all of this food. I had to bring so much from the states: Margaret wanted apples and cinnamon instant oatmeal, Nerds for Natalie, pull and peel Twizzlers for Rob and whole host of other small food things, including some Sour Patch kids for me- I heard food can stave off the homesick moments. You know, having something familiar. I suppose more postcard buying is in order as well. I have lots of people to write to. For now, a bit of reading before bed. There is also a blog post on the actual date when I was in Scotland. Just a few posts back. (Photo is of my room in Glasgow at Natalie's friend Sarah's place. I think we should call it the wonder-room. I slept like a rock in this cozy nook of a room under the warmest duvet and it eased my jetlag into such a wonderful sleep.)

Catching you up on my life

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

So, I'm sorry. I know I promised journal posts, but I needed some time to get back into the swing of things. I kind of threw myself into work and Clemson. I've been back for two weeks now and working lots (trying to recoup some of the money that I spent). List!

1. I put in my two weeks notice, so come July 27, I am no longer employed. I have almost a full month to get everything ready for school, spend time with my amazing boyfriend, spend some time with my family and friends.
2. I really want to go shopping. For clothes. I don't know why, but everyone I saw at Clemson seemed really well-dressed.
3. I want to learn how to make the headbands that are super popular right now- the kind that look like you tied a cute scarf on your head, but instead of worrying about how to not tie your hair into it, it's got elastic in the back. It can't be that hard and I have fat quarters coming out of my ears. I'll let you know how that goes.
4. Now that I think about it, I think it's time I made another stuffed animal. That was fun.
5. Went to Clemson orientation!!! It was completely overwhelming. But exciting. I am signed up for classes: Western Civ 1, New Testament Lit, British Lit, and Math (just a basics class). I'm keeping it to a minimum for the first semester- new school, new professors, probably a different style of classes, new online stuff (so confusing) and just getting to meet new people. I'm going to be busy.
6. I talked to Student Disabilities Services and they rock! They were so helpful and I am so excited for their help. They thought of things I could ask for that I didn't think of or different even know were possible to ask for.
7. I'm really trying to cover all of my bases and make the transition as smooth as possible. I will make this work. I'm thrilled and so happy with my choice. Things are good and I'm going to try to keep it that way.
8. Things with Thomas are great. More than great. I don't want to gush too much, but it is so great to have someone so supportive of me in all of my choices. I'm happy.
9. Oh yeah, and I found an apartment on campus. Yipee!

Well, it's getting late and I should go to bed. I promise, a journal post and more pics soon. Really. Listening to: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Florence + the Machine, The Weepies (love!), Mike Doughty. Watching: Friends. So funny and a great stress reliever. On season 4 now. Recent purchases: gatorade, bandaids, school supplies!!!, ponytail holders that don't break, and orange t-shirt, new bedding for my twin xl. Thinking/praying: Thank you God for setting things in my life straight. I really appreciate it.

Thought for the day: Live in love.