Four Years

On Thursday, Danny and I celebrated four years of marriage. Four years! Cannot believe that I’ve been married for that long – didn’t I just graduate college?!

We went out to eat at Chaophraya, whose Glasgow location is the biggest Thai restaurant in Europe. It’s housed in a huge grade A listed building and I wish I could say I got gorgeous pictures of the place but my phone camera has been wonky lately and I wasn’t about to cart the DSLR to my anniversary dinner.

We did snap this one before the taxi arrived and I managed to get some seriously blurry shots of our feast.

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We ordered the banquet style dinner and I was stuffed at the end of the meal.

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Siam Smile cocktail and a side of our appetiser platter.

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From the left, four seasons duck curry, chili and garlic pork belly, black pepper beef and ginger shrimp. Not the best picture but it shows just how much food we ate. And yes, all those dishes were empty by the end of the night.

We finished off with fruit fondue then headed home right after dinner as it was a “school” night. Can’t wait until next year when it’ll be on a Friday. Five years and a Friday, we’ll have to do something extra special for that!

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Officially a Brit!

Happy Fourth of July! But as of last week, I am officially a Brit!

It’s been a long and expensive process and I am so happy to be free of UKBA/Home Office/whatever they’re calling themselves these days. I sent my application in though the Nationality Checking Service on May 10 and received my letter of invitation to the citizenship ceremony on June 12. My ILR took four months, so this was such a relief.

The morning after receiving my invitation I phoned up Glasgow City Council to book my ceremony. The June 18th date was all booked, but I was able to get in for June 25th with strict instructions to be on time and bring my invitation letter.

Leading up to the ceremony people I had no idea what to expect, how many people would be there, how long it would be, where it would be. I finally received all the location details in the mail and the rest I found out on the day.

My ceremony was at 11:30 but they asked us to arrive at 11. We were allowed to bring two guests, but I only brought Danny along as I don’t know that many people who’d be free at 11:30 on a Tuesday morning. Even I had to take a long lunch as I currently I can’t take any holidays at work.

We arrived at Glasgow City Chambers at 11 and waited around in reception for them to call us in and get checked in. There were 20 other new citizens that day and most people had brought one or two guests. I overheard another American, and other people seems to be from Eastern Europe/Russia, China and Pakistan/India. Very vague guesses as I’m obviously not 100% sure where everyone was from! There were a couple of other young couples, a father and son, a whole family and one girl who was there all by herself. Quite a mix.

On the way in the handed us a card with the oath on it and we sat and waited for the ceremony to begin.

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The ceremony started promptly at 11 and was led by the superintendent registrar. After a quick word about what it means to be a British citizen, we were invited to stand up and repeat the oath/pledge of allegiance. There was another American in the room and you could hear him above all the others. I made sure to use my quiet British voice!

We were then called up one by one to get our certificate and the ceremony ended with the national anthem, God Save the Queen. I had read somewhere that Scottish ceremonies also play Flower of Scotland (considered by many to be Scotland’s unofficial anthem) but perhaps they were asked to stop, as we’re not independent yet!

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After a quick tea and coffee reception filled with huge chunks of millionaire’s shortbread, Bakewell tarts and coconut cake, Danny and I went across the road to have lunch at Pinto’s. A very un-British choice but I couldn’t exactly go back to work stuffed with fish and chips and a pint (I should probably lay off the stereotypes now that I am one).

Interesting fact – the UK only started doing ceremonies in 2004. Before that they just posted your citizenship certificate in the mail. I’d always assumed I’d be doing a ceremony and even though it was a hassle to leave work in the middle of the day, I’m glad they do it this way now. It does make it more meaningful and I was especially struck when I remembered that it’s been exactly 10 years since I set foot on British soil. I’d have to check my trip dates again, but I went to the UK for the first time in June 2003 and I’m pretty sure my trip into Scotland was around June 25th.

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When I was 17 it was fair to assume that I would be a college graduate, in a relationship, working in a job, etc by 27. But in a completely different country? In which I can now vote, hold that little red passport and feel as if I know so intricately even after only four years here? I never would have imagined.

Birthday Day

I’ve been 27 for a week now. Officially in my late twenties but I think I can still get away with ‘the end of my mid-twenties’.

I’m only posting about my birthday now as I got a whole week of celebrations. Half day from work on Wednesday, long bank holiday weekend and an Italy planning dinner last night.

On my actual birthday I had to get up and go to work, but Danny drove me and we stopped off for an iced vanilla latte so I guess that was okay. Work has been slow lately but no one wants to spend their day at work. I finished up on the dot at 12:30 and Danny picked me up again to take me out to lunch.

We went out to Central Market which opened last fall but since I hibernate over the winter I hadn’t heard of it until now. We snagged an outside table and prayed for the clouds to stay away.

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They did! I got oysters to start and a chicken sandwich with bacon jam for my main. And prosecco of course! There was a cupcake shop across the street for dessert and then I headed home to change and get ready for our evening.

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A few weeks ago I bought a voucher for a 4 course meal at Chardon D’Or and this seemed like the perfect time to use it. The restaurant was really nice but very quiet as it was a Wednesday. Very fancy as well. I felt like I had to whisper the entire time as to not cause a scene! Service and food were great though.

Before dinner we headed to Limelight for a pre dinner cocktail. Their cocktails span the decade and I choose the Aviation, which was invented in 1915. So good. I’ve recently discovered that I love gin cocktails so this was perfect. We also cracked open a bottle of Tolosa for the celebrations and I was very happy to wake up clear headed the next day. Guess I’m not getting too old!

This is why we can’t have nice things

Interesting weekend.

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Pros:
– Went out to lunch at Brel for a pot of mussels and a glass of wine.
– Had a wee pub crawl around the cute West End pubs while it snowed outside.
– Met up with some friends afterwards for the Scotland v Wales match.

Cons:
– Lost my camera lens cap.
– Lost one of my J.Crew leather gloves.
– Lost my dignity.

Combine that with the fact that I lost my favorite purple glasses on the flight back to Glasgow and I am starting to feel like I shouldn’t be allowed anything nice! I would usually leave my expensive camera at home if I was going out drinking, but we hadn’t planned to stay out beyond lunch. I actually think I lost the lens cap on the walk home when I took the camera out to take a million pictures of the freshly fallen snow. Upon second viewing, so not worth it! They’re all orangey and out of focus. I’m not sure what happened to my glove but it’s not shown up at any of the pubs we were at so I must have lost that outside as well. I need to start wearing Primark when I go out drinking, I’m a hopeless case.

Not worth the £5 for a replacement cap.

Not worth the £5 for a replacement cap.

The day out was a celebration for my entry back into the working world. I start back on April 2 and funnily enough, I start back at my old job. Yep, same company and same position as the contract that ended in December. My old VP saw my CV floating around the internal job bank and because of a few people leaving and a shift of workload, they need me again! Strange how the world works. Looking forward to my next week of freedom from a job and job hunting.

Valentine’s Week

Danny and I have been a bit naughty this week. Even though we just got back from holiday, we’ve been out for drinks or dinner three times. We need to buckle down and be good for the next few weeks – I need to find a job, for starters!

Tuesday night was the Celtic v Juventus game. Celtic sadly lost by 3 points so they have little chance of advancing to the next round in the Champions League. We went to O’Neills in Merchant City, which was packed of course. Absolutely no room to move around and a constant danger of getting a drink spilled on you. I had two vile glasses of red wine (when will I learn to not order wine at a pub?) and ended up with a headache the next day. It was good to see friends though and we ended the night with a Indian garlic chili chicken pizza. Cannae beat it!

On Valentine’s Day we hemmed and hawed about whether to go out or not but finally decided on dinner at Roma Mia – a cute family run Italian only 5 minutes from our flat. We’ve been there before, but I appreciate it so much now that we’ve been to Rome. It really does feel like you’re in Italy at this place. I got buffalo mozzarella with rocket and tomatoes to start and pasta puttanesca for my main. Danny got shrimp ravioli to start and some sort of special with sausage and tagliatelle for his main. Dessert was chocolate! A whole box to myself as Danny’s cutting out the bad stuff from his diet.

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Friday night we met some friends in town for a few drinks. We had originally planned to just meet at Wetherspoons and then head elsewhere after one, but we ended up there until closing time. I think it was mostly to do with the fact that we all had seats at ‘spoons and didn’t want to give them up and stand in another crowded bar. I had wine of course, but Wetherspoons serves drinkable wine so it was all good. We ended up having a great night – good conversation and a lot of laughs.

Soooo, this weekend has been a quiet one. Grocery shopping, Netflix, and some coconut chicken curry in the slow cooker for tonight.

 

I used the above recipe but added a lot more garam masala, more curry powder, ginger and more vegetables in the curry itself. To be honest, I think it’s going to turn out better than the original – I mean, who puts carrots in a curry?!

Festive Season

My grand plans to work out from December 14 to Jan 19 got sidetracked big time by the holidays. I was doing pretty well until my Christmas day out on the 22nd, and then the next two weeks were full of food, drinks, celebrations and sleeping in. With 10 days to go until we depart and no work I have been spending all my time with Jillian. Two weeks isn’t much to lose some weight but right now I just need to tone up and keep active in preparation for all the food I’m going to eat in California. Sushi, burritos, In’n’Out, French dip, frozen yogurt, tostadas, tri-tip, ribs, burgers, ah, I can’t wait!

Christmas and New Year’s were both spent in Danny’s hometown with family. We woke up on Christmas morning in our own flat and enjoyed opening a few presents, an Eggs Benedict breakfast and a viewing of Gone With the Wind with mimosas.

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I got Danny a kettlebell for Christmas which was a workout in itself to drag into the flat and wrap. It was delivered to our door but I had to hide it in our closet myself and then wrangle with wrapping 18kgs! We stuck to a budget because of our upcoming trip so this was his main present with a couple of little things. I put a couple of ideas on to my Pinterest wishlist and ended up getting my two favorites.

I have a cover for my iPad but since I’ll be taking it on my upcoming trip I needed a case as well. I also got some lovely Lush bath bombs and Marc Jacobs’ Daisy fragrance set.

After getting ready we drove over to Danny’s mom’s and then took a taxi to his brother’s house for our dinner. I was in charges of the starters and made stuffed mushrooms, crab crostini, herb foccacia with Italian cured meats and orange jello shots in orange slices. We had a great big meal of traditional turkey with all the trimmings, mashed potatoes, veg, etc. To finish we had Christmas cake and then on to the karaoke! At around 11 or so, Danny’s other brother invited us all over to his house and we continued the party there with more singing and dancing. We had such a good time we didn’t get back home until 5:30 in the morning.

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Surrounded by my favorite things - wine and cheese.

Surrounded by my favorite things – wine and cheese.


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The end of the night, most likely.

The end of the night, most likely.

New Year’s was more of the same. Drink, dance and some yummy food at Danny’s mom’s house. I got to participate in the Scottish tradition of First Foot. I got sent out at 11:57pm and ‘invited’ in shortly after midnight, bringing with me Scotch eggs and a glass of champagne.

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It was nice to have a low-key NYE. In years past we’ve thrown parties or gone out in the town, but with a need to save money and family to spend time with, staying in was an easy choice this year.

Happy Birthday

A very happy birthday to two lovely ladies. It’s the Duchess of Cambridge’s birthday of course but most importantly, the Duchess shares a birthday with my mom!

Cheers to that!

My mom doesn’t have any big plans for today but I know my dad took her out to breakfast and I think she’s going to settle in with a nice takeaway tonight. A low key celebration as 10 days from now, I’ll be in the States and we can really celebrate with all the family. I’m thinking lunches by the sea, some shopping time up on the hill and maybe a couple of cheeky lemon drops.

Whatever we do, I am so excited to spend some quality time her and wish her the happiest of birthdays. Hope you’re having a wonderful day and see you so soon!

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