Monday, 23 July 2012

Tantallon Castle

Saturday afternoon we decided to take a drive up the coast. We're lucky Great Britain is an island because no matter where you live, you aren't far from the beach. I love this. I'd love to live in one of these quaint beach towns and each time we drive through one I can't stop telling LD we should move.

We were headed to Tantallon Castle {built in 1350!}near North Berwick in Edinburgh. It is truly a picturesque drive. Not just the rolling hills and farm animals but the quaint towns along the way. I honestly wanted to stop about 5 or 6 times and just get out to walk around for a bit. We would have but we were pressed for time. There were lovely  bed and breakfast cottages adorned with flowers and vines as well as large family homes in an estate fashion. We're talking big gorgeous Victorian homes. We saw families stopping at the local fish and chip shop before they head down to the beach. Lots of bicycles about on this warm breezy day. It was just lovely. Sometimes living in Scotland can feel like a dream. Saturday was one of them.

When we arrived at Tantallon Castle it was seriously windy. The castle sits on a cliff overlooking the ocean. That strong sea breeze was blowing all around us. It felt amazing! There were families enjoying picnics on the grounds and several tour buses with American's! I wanted to stop and have a chat but Sebastian was pretty whiny and was running all over the place. The structure is pretty derelict and the elements have definitely had their way with her. Truly gorgeous!

There was a little island off the coast with a lighthouse on it. I was pretty obsessed with it. It had a Shutter Island feel to it. Creepy. It also had a white tint to it. What was it? It couldn't be snow. Upon closer inspection--seagulls! Thousands of them. It was truly fascinating.

We had a really good time and I wished that we had more time to spend. I'd love a weekend where we could stop and take as long as we wanted along the way. But, we were headed on a date to see Batman! Which was amazing by the way. How was your weekend?

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Gap Year

Taking a Gap Year is very popular here in the UK. Prince William even took one before he started University. It is quite common to take some time off after you graduate and go volunteer around the world. Travel. Experience life. Then come back and hunker down at school. It makes sense to me! I think this should be more common place in the United States. But hey, enough about that. How do you fit in a gap year anyway?

My husband took a Gap Year when he was 29 yrs old. He actually quit his job, grabbed his savings, and went to a language school in America. He was living his dream. He wanted to learn English and he was done putting it off. This decision has shaped nearly every major decision he's made since. His life would not be the same if he didn't throw caution to the wind and leave for America. Now he's been speaking English for 11 years and he's fluent. A shop attendant actually asked him last week if he was American! Many doors have opened for him since learning English.

There is much to consider when taking a year, or whatever time you deem appropriate, off of your professional life. Is it something you can fit in? I personally believe that if you want to do it, then you will.

I took some time out of school to work onboard cruise ships. I really loved this experience. I need to write more about it because I learned so much about myself and about the world while cruising the Caribbean. Not to mention it was some of the most fun I've ever had in my life. I also took 18 months to serve a mission for my church in California. It was an experience that shaped me to the core. I paid my own way and worked hard. These are experiences I'd never trade for millions of dollars. If you take a gap year you too can have experiences you'd never trade.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

William Wallace Monument

Last week we took my sister and her family to see the William Wallace Monument. It is a gorgeous structure overlooking the scene of Scotland's victory at The Battle of Stirling Bridge. This is a place where you can touch and feel history as you follow the story of Sir William Wallace, Guardian of Scotland. 

We bought our tickets and started the 15 min hike up the mountain. We didn't take the stroller and Sebastian did such a great job all the way up! It was muddy and humid, but a lovely walk just the same. Once we finally made it to the monument we were greeted by breathtaking scenery of Scotland. I could have sat up there all day if it wasn't for an over active toddler pulling me every which way. 

Once we caught our breath we started up the stairs. Oh my were there stairs! Not just any stairs either. They were narrow, made of stone, and spiralled up for 246 steps. It was a doozy. Luckily there were rooms to stop and catch our breath while we learned some history. LD was carrying Sebastian up the stairs the whole way and that wasn't exactly fun. 

When we finally reached the top it was very windy. It actually felt amazing after our climb! I've not seen anything so beautiful in awhile.