Hello, dear readers!
So, this whole long-distance relationship thing: it’s a double-edged arrow that Cupid’s sent my way, that’s for sure. I often receive sympathies when I explain that my boyfriend lives in America: mostly in the form of ‘Ohh, it must be so hard to go without seeing him’. Well, that’s true, it is hard. But it’s also tough when we do see each other. You see, flight taxes dictate that I spend much more time over there with his family than he does in Scotland with mine; and when he does visit, we have three weeks to get everything done. Visiting friends, spending coupley time together, travelling, seeing family (especially tough when your parents are divorced and the two sides of the family live all over the place)… it’s a lot to accomplish in a short space of time. Long story short: I’m sorry I haven’t been blogging so much, but when Grant and I are reunited, that pretty much becomes top priority: I hope you all understand.
In fact, the longest period of time Grant and I were ever separated was probably when we were wrapping each other’s presents on Christmas Eve. He was banished to my room while I lovingly covered his gifts in my fabulous Paper Tiger papers and placed them under the tree. Then he put my gifts under the tree. This is what our gift bags looked like:
Now, those identical tube-shaped gifts are super generic and could conceal any number of poster-like gifts. But Grant and I shared a sneaking suspicion that we had bought each other the same thing. After all, the Scratch Map I had picked out for him would suit me equally well: we both love to travel, and we both love to casually show off about it. We gave each other sidelong glances all evening, but neither of us revealed exactly what the gift was that we thought we’d got each other.
Christmas morning arrived, the only morning of the whole trip where I was the one dragging Grant out of bed. The whole family flocked downstairs to find four stockings for the first time ever: Santa had managed to locate Grant, even so far from home. He loved his alarm clock / photo holder and I was interested to find that Santa had, in his infinite wisdom and cheekiness, brought me a wall plaque with a picture of an astonished lady and the caption: ‘Oh my God! My mother was right about everything!‘. Hmmm.
Santa’s gifts done with, we all turned hungrily towards the tree. I was eager to open my cylindrical, not-so-mysterious-or-so-I-suspected gift first; and could only laugh when I tore back the paper to reveal the ‘Scratch Map’ label, proving our shared hunch to be correct. Now that’s chemistry!
No, I didn’t mean geography. I meant chemistry.
A few days later, Grant and I scratched off the countries we’d visited and realised our error. My map looked quite pathetic – so, in fact, did Grant’s, and he even got to reveal such large expanses of terrain as half of Canada, and Australia on account of having studied there for a semester, as well as the U.S.A. of course. My own study-abroad additions consisted of tiny Costa Rica and only marginally less miniscule Nicaragua. Humph. I’d better schedule a new trip ASAP to either Brazil, Canada or Russia, and expand my coloured space on this map thing.
In seriousness, I do hope to make it out to a couple of new countries this semester. Strasbourg is conveniently close to Germany and Switzerland, and I’ll be taking full advantage! And many of my Christmas gifts were perfect for facilitating my travel. On top of some lovely things to spruce up my room, I also received a very handy soap bag, a pair of glasses (wish me luck with those) and even a Kindle to reduce my baggage whilst travelling! I have a good feeling about this term.
So. With all the materialism out of the way, it was time to enjoy being with family. This Christmas, like I mentioned last time, was special not only because of Grant’s presence, but also because my dad was coming over for the main meal. My parents divorced when I was four years old, and my younger brother has a different dad who’s also not around – and his post-marital relationship with my mum is not of the let’s-have-him-over-for-Christmas variety – so that had the potential to be more than a little awkward. However, it was a very pleasant dinner and no uncomfortable moments stay with me: presumably because there were none, rather than because I promptly repressed them.
Another possible source of concern: both my parents are vegetarians, as is my older brother. We were both raised meatless, and I rejected the lifestyle at 13 because I simply didn’t agree that eating animals is wrong. So Grant, lil bro Duncan and I were the only omnivores at the table. However, good old Mum had bought us some turkey meat for us to cook it ourselves – which was a challenge because the Christmas recipes online don’t usually give advice for 2 ½lb of turkey, but, again, it turned out great. Juicy, tender, with crisp bacon on top. Yum.
So I cooked my first ever Christmas dinner (It does so count!). And I introduced Grant to a fair few firsts, too. We’d already booked tickets for his first ever pantomime (more on that later, if you’re lucky!) and I had to show him what a Christmas cracker was and how to work it. Later, I explained the concepts of Christmas cake, Christmas pudding and chestnut pudding (‘pudding’ in the States means custard – that was confusing). If you think that’s a lot of desserts, wait until I tell you about the next dinner, four days later, with my mum’s family: we added trifles and pavlova to the menu.
After the menu and myriad desserts, it was pretty much game central at casa Currie. We played Absurd Words at the table, then migrated to the living room so my dad and I could teach Grant to play French Tarot. We took a break for the Doctor Who Christmas Special, of course; but afterwards, I was sent upstairs to fetch Caledonian trivia game Scottish Quest, which, contrary to Mum’s insistences, was not ‘just as easy to play whether you’re Scottish or not’. Consequently, Mum, Dad and Colm all streaked ahead, leaving the poor ‘dumb American’ straggling hopelessly behind. I purposely *cough cough* answered tons of questions wrong just to keep him company at the bottom of the heap.
I was looking through the cards so I could tell you the question Dad ended up winning the game with, and during my search I was amused to find some questions Grant would have had no problem answering, such as:
What is the time difference between Scotland and the central U.S.?
A. 2 hours, B. 6 hours, C. 10 hours;
Which airline operates daily direct flights between the USA and Edinburgh?
A. British Airways, B. American Airlines, C. Continental.
So here’s a fun little challenge. Grant and I finally escaped off to bed after my dad correctly answered the following question; leave your answers to all three questions from the game for a chance to win a 15% discount voucher for my Etsy shop Meganemoral which I’m totally going to start up this year. I’ll be selling hand-stitched teabags of all shapes, sizes and flavours, so don’t miss out!
I’ll be back again soon with more on my Christmas break, and once I’m settled in to my new place in France, you can expect the Saturday Spotlights to be back up and running. That should be enough to keep me on all you guys’ whitelists… right?
Here’s that final question:
What is the official language of Scotland?
A. Gaelic, B. English, C. Latin.
Lots of love, happy 2012 and good luck commenting!