Sunday, May 31, 2009
I guess it's time to wrap up this Scotland thing. Of course, I have many, many more photos. For anyone who'd like to see a few that I haven't posted here, just click on a photo and you should be directed to the Going Places folder of my Flickr account.
It's actually been snowing around here for about two days and I really don't mind at all. It keeps the dirt on the roads and out of my eyes, nose, mouth, shoes, and home. But, when I look back at my photos from Scotland, I am continually amazed by the breathtaking vibrance of spring in more temperate latitudes.
Of course, I expected to see lots of windswept trees and rolling, emerald pastures. And there were plenty of those.
And in the rural areas surrounding the coastal cities of Aberdeen and Banff, there were plenty of grazing sheep and highland cattle. Supposedly, this breed of cattle tends to be gentle in spite of the menacing appearance. I stayed on my side of the fence...just in case I misunderstood.
Some of the farms were less traditional, but equally as beautiful.
One thing I didn't expect to see was a ballet!
On our last night, a group of us attended the Scottish Ballet's production of Carmen at His Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen.
We weren't allowed to photograph any portion of the performance, but they did give us permission to take pictures of the theatre. And it was lovely. It reminded me very much of the theatre in the movie The Illusionist.
Except that this theatre had room for an orchestra. And they were excellent!
I had almost as much fun admiring the architectural and decorative details of the space as I did the ballet.
I said almost!
Even the ceiling was a work of art!
My trip to Scotland could be loosely categorized as a teacher exchange. However, according to UK immigrationese, "teacher exchange" implies that work is taking place and work is something we were not legally allowed to do during our visit (fancy that!). So, instead of using the word exchange, we had to explain that we were visiting, observing, learning, and building relationships.
Simple enough, I know, but it definitely took more time and vocabulary.
And, except for the immigration officers, our explanation was invariably met with, "So, it's like a teacher exchange, right?" You see the problem.
My receiving this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity was basically a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Or, more accurately, having the right principal at the right time. Thank you, Becky! My principal was a part of the exchange visit last year and graciously nominated me for the trip. I was hesitant about being away from school for so many days, but I knew that I'd be sorry if I didn't jump at the chance to go.
So, I jumped!
And the whole experience turned out to be as sweet as the Sticky Toffee Pudding we feasted on almost every night.
(Except for the carrying heavy luggage up four flights of stairs part...that wasn't so sweet...but I digress.)
The name says it all, doesn't it? Sticky...toffee...pudding (pudding is the UK word for any sort of dessert)...with ice cream on the side. Yum!
It looks simple and it is--divinely simple. And well worth another trip across the ocean!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
- Main Entry: hag·gis
- Pronunciation: \ˈha-gəs\
- Middle English hagese
- 15th century
Yeah, I'd heard about haggis long before my trip and was secretly dreading the moment when I'd actually be face-to-face, or fork-to-mouth, with the stuff. I shouldn't have been worried. Apparently, a good chef is a major factor in the whole haggis-eating experience and the chef at Musa did not disappoint. Served as an appetizer, this version of the traditional Scottish favorite was served with very tasty potatoes and parsnips.
If the physical structure housing Musa reminds you of a church, there is good reason for that. Back in the 1880's, it was known as a Catholic Apostolic Church. But, get this, in the last thirty or forty years it has been used as a banana-ripening warehouse! The word "musa" is a species name for the banana plant. (check the walls for banana-inspired artwork)
Dig the plaid hosery! She was dressed as beautifully as she played!