Brexit Hangover

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I’ve lived in the EU for a third of my life. I’ve always dreamed of the day when I’ll have my very own EU passport. Unfortunately, it now looks like that day may never come. You see, I’m being dragged out of the EU against my will. It’s possible that I’ll be doing a little kicking and screaming along the way. Continue reading

Expat life: 3 years in Scotland

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One of my many sketches of Edinburgh Castle

I was amazed to realize we’ve now been in Scotland for longer than we lived in Switzerland or Italy. I mean, our first year here was so strange that it almost doesn’t count. And the past two years have had a different quality about them, as well – a combination of “WTF just happened to us?”, “Yay, everything’s fabulous!”, and “What if it comes back?”.  But the longer we live here, the easier it becomes to separate the Edinburgh experience from the leukemia experience. These days we have a lot of acquaintances here who don’t know Scott was ever sick. We’re just two regular old American expats in Edinburgh, two among many. Continue reading

Edinburgh: the book festival, part 2

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I have kind of fallen in love with the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year. In addition to hosting lots of interesting book-themed events, it’s a charming place to hang out, to meet friends for a drink. Browsing the onsite bookstore Continue reading

Edinburgh: the Book Festival, part 1

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This year I am diving head-first into the Edinburgh International Book Festival, just one of the many festivals going on in the city this month. Conveniently self-contained on Charlotte Square in New Town, the Book Festival grounds consist of several theaters, a big book shop, a couple of bars and cafes, and lots of lovely outdoor seating (some of it covered, perfect on a drizzly day). Continue reading

The Falkirk Wheel and the canal in the sky

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The Falkirk Wheel is one of those things we’ve been meaning to check out for a while. Some curious houseguests were a good nudge to finally go explore. Continue reading

Notes from another summer in Edinburgh

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One of my recent paintings. Available here.

We haven’t seen darkness in months. Not real darkness, anyway – here the sun goes down and hovers just below the horizon before coming back up in a few hours. It adds to the general feeling of strangeness and anticipation that summer in Edinburgh brings.  Continue reading

Orkney Islands: Stromness and more hiking

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For the second half of our stay in Orkney, we were based in Stromness, on the western end of Mainland. Smaller than Kirkwall, and oozing a bit more old-timy charm, Stromness proved a good base for exploring the western part of the island Continue reading

Orkney Islands: hiking Hoy

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On our second morning in the Orkneys, we woke up to snow. It was lovely to look at, but made us wonder about our plan to catch the ferry to Hoy for the day. From what we had read, Hoy was supposed to be very beautiful, but there wouldn’t be much to do there if the weather wasn’t cooperating. While we were at breakfast, the sun came out. Continue reading

Edinburgh: the giant, stinky, misshapen-penis flower

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Big, smelly excitement in Edinburgh this weekend, as a titan arum (also known as amorphophallus titanum, or giant misshapen phallus) blooms for the first time at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Continue reading

Orkney Islands: diving into prehistory

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Sheep exploring the outside of Maes Howe burial mound.

The Orkneys contain a fair number of prehistoric sites to entertain the tourist. Most of these sites boast superlatives such as “the oldest known X”, “the most complete Y”, or “the only Z still in existence”, so it’s hard not to think that one really ought the visit them (even if one is not a fan of pottery shards or overly ruinous ruins). Continue reading

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