Question Time at the Scottish Parliament

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Down at the lower end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, across the street from the queen’s summer house, you’ll find the architectural anomaly that is the Scottish Parliament. You’ll have no trouble picking it out from the surrounding medieval buildings that make up Old Town. Continue reading

Eating Tokyo: Kushiage Hantei

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Kushiage was one of the many types of Japanese dining we experienced in Tokyo. It basically consists of deep-fried food on bamboo sticks, but that description doesn’t really do it justice.  Continue reading

Broadway, baby

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This post is basically just a couple tips for anyone who might be hoping to see some theater in New York City.  Continue reading

Edinburgh: experiencing the Scotch Whisky Experience

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On our recent bout of being tourists in our home town, we headed up the Royal Mile to the Scotch Whisky Experience. Edinburgh itself doesn’t contain any whisky distilleries, so tourists in the city seeking knowledge of Scotland’s great liquid usually end up here.  Continue reading

Notes from a winter in Edinburgh

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Despite being low on snow (one of my favorite wintery things), Edinburgh is extremely alluring in the winter months. (Stop laughing – I’m serious.) Winter just suits Edinburgh, with its medieval architecture and cozy pubs and whisky and fireplaces and all. I almost don’t want spring to come.  Continue reading

How to watch live American TV abroad

Given that there’s a big American TV event coming up, now seems as good a time as any to share this fun little morsel. Last Thanksgiving Julie was hoping to watch the Macy’s parade, but we were surprised at how difficult it was to find it live online. I did some poking around and came across USTVNow.com, which let us get our fix of Snoopy balloons and Kinky Boots in real time.

One has to create an account on the site, and there’s a free version and some paid options. It starts with a 45 day free trial which gives you access to all 28 channels at high resolution, some DVR capabilities and includes support for mobile devices. After that you can continue with the free plan, which gives you access to only six channels (NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, Fox and The CW) in low resolution. It’s not often that we want to watch US television live, so we will probably stick with the free plan.

USTVNOW Schedule

TV schedule

Only American citizens abroad allowed to sign up. How does the site know we’re Americans abroad? Thanks to our unique ability to tick a box promising that we are. People from other countries are completely lacking in this skill.

Edinburgh: learning the secrets of the Royal Mile

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The unicorn-topped mercat cross

There are a plethora of walking tours on offer in Edinburgh, with good reason: it’s a highly walkable city, bursting with history, architecture, and monuments all within a relatively compact city center. In the months since we’ve moved here, we’ve walked all over the place, but always in the disorganized manner of those who are not on a walking tour. It was time to change that.  Continue reading

A snowy New Year’s in Finland, without snow

Sauna by the lake

Happy New Year! Where did you ring in 2014? We seem to start out each year somewhere different (in our five years in Munich, I think we were only there for its warzone-like Sylvester once). This year we had the pleasure of being invited to join some friends at their log cabin on a lake in a remote part of Finland. We’d lapped up their stories of snowy snowy New Year’s Eves past and could not wait to experience it ourselves.  Continue reading

More notes from Christmas in the UK: hampers and crackers and puddings, oh my

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This year of doctors and hospitals has distracted us from all the fun that is usually involved in one’s first year as an expat in a new country. Years have various flows in different cultures, with different events and celebrations punctuating the passage of time. Now that Scott is healthy and about to return to work, we were able to exhale and look around us and enjoy our first Christmas in the UK.  Continue reading

Notes from Christmastime in Edinburgh: the markets

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This is our very first December in Edinburgh, and we’ve been looking forward to it all year. It’s always fun to experience the holidays in a new culture. Locals have been talking up the Christmas markets (usually followed by an expectation-managing “But I’m sure it’s nothing like what you had in Germany.”). Christmas goodies started appearing on shop shelves as early as October, making us wonder what new and exciting things we’d get to eat this season. Figgy pudding, perhaps? Continue reading

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