Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Anstruther, Crail and Elie

At the beginning of September (yikes, that seems like a long time ago!), we did a little day trip to a few of the coastal towns here. Technically, we were searching for the best fish & chips in the world, but we also found time to walk around and explore a bit too. Here are a few pictures if you'd like to see...

Monday, September 28, 2015

Our Scotland List

When we found out we were going to spend this season in Scotland, we were really excited for a change of scenery and a chance to learn about a new culture and to explore new places. So! We put together a list of a few things we want to make sure we do while we're in Scotland:

1. Try haggis. Check - we tried a bit the other day at breakfast. And I think we're one and done on that front.

2. Isle of Skye. We've heard so many amazing things about the Isle of Skye, so this is number one on our list of places to visit.

3. And speaking of isles, the Isle of Iona is on the list mother remembers going there years ago and it being magical.

4. Eat lots of fish & chips. This is an ongoing item, but we think we've already found our favorite at the Wee Chippy in Anstruther.

5. Visit cities like Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.

6. Search for the Loch Ness monster. We did this last week but didn't see it...

7. Loch Lomond.

8. A boat tour of the Firth of Forth. We bought tickets to this one so we'll do that sometime in the next month (hoping for sun!).

9. Lots of walks on the beach. After four years in the mountains (year round between Cortina and Steamboat) it's so much fun to live by the sea, so we're going to take advantage of that while we can.

10. St. Andrew's....for the castle, the cathedral and the ice cream. (We saw the old course during a quick trip a few weeks ago).

11. Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh.

12. Try one of those fried Mars bars that everyone keeps talking about...

13. The Jacobite Steam Train in Fort William.

We're open to any suggestions as this is an always expanding list, so if you've traveled to Scotland (or live here!), let us know what else we should add!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Fort William + Loch Ness

At the beginning of this week, Ryan had a few days off and so we took a little trip out to Fort William and Loch Ness.

Here are a few pictures if you'd like to see....

Monday, September 21, 2015

Resources for Moving Abroad

I get a surprising amount of emails from people asking me various questions about moving abroad. Some are from families looking for an adventure, some are from travelers looking for advice on a year in Italy and some are from people with very specific questions about housing costs and how to get a Visa. Unfortunately, I'm ill-equipped to answer the more technical questions since Ryan's team has always taken care of everything for us, from apartments to Visas to cars.

But! I do have my own pieces of advice for movers abroad and I do know several great resources for the more technical aspects of the move...

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Lentil Soup

Well! We've been super busy lately because we finally got all moved in to our new apartment (when we arrived, we were in a temporary apartment until our real one was ready) - more on that later, but that's what I've been up to all week.

For now - lentil soup. When we decided to move to Scotland, the first thing that I thought was: SOUP WEATHER!! I'm a huge soup fan and I love nothing more than a hot bowl of soup on a cold, rainy day - so I'm definitely in my element here. When we got to Scotland, I was pleasantly surprised to find that lentil soup was on many restaurant's menus because that's one of my all-time favorites. In fact, last year in Italy, I made it so much that Ryan asked me to stop. And we haven't had it since....until now.

What You Need:
Olive oil
1 yellow onion
3 cloves of garlic
3 celery stalks
4 carrots
1 cup of green lentils, rinsed
4 - 6 cups of chicken broth (I usually start with 4 and then add as the lentils soak up the broth)

What You Do:
Chop all the veggies and heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for a few minutes until it begins to soften. Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the celery and cook for three minutes, and lastly, add the carrot and cook for another five minutes. Stir in the lentils (I always use dried, but you could use canned as well). Add the chicken broth and bring it to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover the pot and let it simmer for about an hour, or until the lentils are soft.

This soup is so easy and there are so many different variations that you can do: sometimes I add fennel for a twist, or spinach. You could add potatoes if you like. And, when you're ready to eat it, you can top it with plain yogurt because lentils love yogurt. Ryan prefers his with goat cheese, and I always throw some chopped parsley on top.

PS - A few Christmases ago, my cousin gave me this cookbook which I am going to seriously tackle this fall/winter....

....and three more soups from Italy.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Call On!

While we’ve absolutely loved our time abroad – from our four seasons in Italy to our current stint in Scotland – by far the hardest part is being so far away from family and friends. Most expats will tell you that they hate missing things back home: weddings, birthdays, family gathers, holidays…but what I miss most is picking up the phone and calling my parents to chat.

But! This year we’ve solved that problem thanks to KeepCalling, an international calling company that I’m loving. It’s so easy: you sign up and then download the app (although you can also make calls from a landline or from the computer, but I’ve always used my iPhone). From the app, you can call anyone, anywhere! I started with 500 minutes which is only $5.00, if you can believe it. 

My first call was to my parents to check in and say happy birthday to my dad…

…and my second was to Verizon to figure out a billing issue back home. Very functional! On my end, the call was clear and it didn’t at all feel like I was talking to my parents thousands of miles  away in Massachusetts – across oceans!

We’ve tried other apps like Viber before and didn’t love them…in that case, it did sound like we were a million miles away (not the feeling you want from a phone call, right?) and the calls were frequently dropped. But I would highly recommend Keep Calling for any expats or expat relatives that you might have. Rates vary from country to country, obviously, but you can check them out and get started on their website,

Thanks so much to Keep Calling for keeping us in touch with our families and for sponsoring this post!

**Wedding photos by Audrey Hannah Photo