Barcelona Break

Took a very last minute, very quick trip to Barcelona last weekend. It had to come together quickly due to mine and Danny’s work schedules which sees the both of us without days off until the end of summer. I used feel guilty taking time off (so American!!) but after only three years here in Scotland, I’ve come to adapt and love the Euro holiday calendar. You’ve got your spring bank holidays, early summer weekender, late summer weeks abroad, mid autumn time off, two weeks Christmas break, etc. Glorious.

So, Barcelona. I also did this in a very Euro-way by completely ignoring most of the important historical touristy stuff and making it my personal mission to get a tan, lots of drinks and some good grub. I even managed to get in a bit of Spanish discount shopping!

There’s more photos on the fancy camera but this is pretty much my weekend in Barcelona.

barcelona

DRINKS. BEACH. DRINKS (in popsicle form). DRINKS. FOOTBALL.

Holiday success.

Goodbye 2012

2012 has been a great year. I started and ended 2012 without a job but this was also the year that I learned to not depend on work so much. I had a job that paid the bills, allowed me to enjoy time outside of work and I kept my friends from my previous role. The best of both worlds! Danny and I also had the chance to travel loads, book a trip back home, get new jobs and get really fit (Danny).

I started this blog in January but had sporadic posts during the first half of the year. Thought I would take a chance to focus on the (iPhone) highlights of 2012 and I look forward to continuing this in 2013 with more pictures and more posts!

January

1. Steak dinner at Grill on the Corner for Danny's birthday. 2. Birthday boy 3. Flowers from my colleagues after I got laid off 4. Did a lot of cooking in Jan, including cemitas

1. Steak dinner at Grill on the Corner for Danny’s birthday. 2. Birthday boy 3. Flowers from my colleagues after I got laid off 4. Homemade cemitas for dinner

February

1. Light dinner at The Bungo 2. A stop on our neighborhood pub crawl 3. Passed my Life in the UK test and sent away my ILR application 4. My local library

1. Light dinner at The Bungo 2. A stop on our neighborhood pub crawl 3. Passed my Life in the UK test and sent away my ILR application 4. My local library

March

1. 40th anniversary party for Danny's aunt and uncle 2. Mother's Day diner at Guidi's 3. Got Fernando a leash and he hated it 4. Day out at the races with some friends

1. 40th anniversary party for Danny’s aunt and uncle 2. Mother’s Day dinner at Guidi’s 3. Got Fernando a leash and he hated it 4. Day out at the races with some friends

April

1. Looked after Lucy 2. Easter dinner in Londonderry after a day of driving through N.Ireland 3. Night out at the Garage 4. Homemade burgers and chips

1. Looked after Lucy 2. Easter dinner in Londonderry after a day of driving through N.Ireland 3. Night out at the Garage 4. Homemade burgers and chips

May

 1. Spent the night at a castle for my 26th birthday 2. Tequila shot sampler for Cinco de Mayo 3. View from our castle room 4. Finally got my ILR 5. Sangria tour in town for my birthday 6. Beer garden for the amazing weather we had the last weekend in May

1. Spent the night at a castle for my 26th birthday 2. Tequila shot sampler for Cinco de Mayo 3. View from our castle room 4. Finally got my ILR 5. Sangria tour in town for my birthday 6. Beer garden for the amazing weather we had the last weekend in May

June

1. Rome 2. Ate Italian food for most of June 3. Sunset at 11 pm on the solstice 4. Had to evacuate the airport due to a fire drill

1. Rome 2. Ate Italian food for most of June 3. Sunset at 11 pm on the solstice 4. Had to evacuate the airport due to a fire drill

July

1. Orange walk 2. Olympic women's football match 3. Tried the new Brazilian steakhouse 4. Betting on the final game of the Euros

1. Orange walk 2. Olympic women’s football match 3. Tried the new Brazilian steakhouse 4. Betting on the final game of the Euros

August

1. Our B&B in Spain 2. Sangria in Seville 3. About to leave for Portugal 4. The beach in Nerja

1. Our B&B in Spain 2. Sangria in Seville 3. About to leave for Portugal 4. The beach in Nerja

September

1. Sunday roast 2. Drinks at T.G.I. Friday's 3. Library books 4. Homemade prosciutto and arugula pizza

1. Sunday roast 2. Drinks at T.G.I. Friday’s 3. Library books 4. Homemade prosciutto and arugula pizza

October

1. 3rd wedding anniversary flowers and cards 2. Beef bourguignon 3. Looked after Lucy again 4. Alumni reunion drinks

1. 3rd wedding anniversary flowers and cards 2. Beef bourguignon 3. Looked after Lucy again 4. Alumni reunion drinks

November

1. Thanksgiving dinner 2. Poppadoms and dipping sauces at Dakhin 3. First snowfall of the season 4. Lentil soup prep

1. Thanksgiving dinner 2. Poppadoms and dipping sauces at Dakhin 3. First snowfall of the season 4. Lentil soup prep

December

1. Christmas Eve 2. Family night out at the Christmas fair in Glasgow 3. Christmas day 4. NYE's curry

1. Christmas Eve 2. Family night out at Christmas fair in Glasgow 3. Christmas day 4. NYE’s curry

Scotland v Serbia

Even a year ago I honestly never thought I’d be committing so much time to watching football. I hated the game and thought it was really boring and a time waster (I already have too many of those). But since the beginning of this summer I’ve watched and attended more games than I ever have in my life!

Saturday afternoon was the Scotland v Serbia World Cup qualifier game. Scotland hasn’t been in the World Cup since 1998 and they really, really want it. Danny and I watched the game with a friend of ours, Stevie and we were absolutely packed into the pub. I met Danny and Stevie about halfway into the game and had to phone Danny at the entrance of the pub to find out where they were standing. We went to The Auctioneers, just off George Square and I don’t know if it was so crowded just because of the game or if it was because of the game and the fact that The Auctioneers has cheap drink. As per tradition they also offer a free halftime buffet. Usually pubs will just put on a round of meat pies but this place had sandwiches, sausage rolls and pizza. I had just eaten lunch but Danny was well impressed. They also started playing a bunch of Scottish songs like The Proclaimers, Runrig’s Loch Lomond, Simple Minds, etc to get everyone into the spirit. Unfortunately we tied! Scotland will continue to play matches against Macedonia, Wales and a few other countries in our group in order to see if we make it to Brazil 2014.

After the game we met up with another friend, Davie, who had just finished playing a football game of his own. While deciding where to move onto next, someone suggested cocktails and we ended up at Glasgow’s favourite American import, T.G.I. Friday’s. I got a huge long island iced tea to start but could’t finish it and ordered a Silver Mercedes instead. It was delicious! I think it was champagne, vodka, some sort of fruit juice and orange sherbet.

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Just some photos off my iPhone. I’m trying to be better about taking pictures even if I do get some weird looks off Danny’s friends.

Team USA

Although the Olympics are held in London, many of the preliminary football matches are held in different stadiums (stadia? I’ve heard that recently, not sure if that’s correct?) around the country. One of these stadiums happened to be Hampden Park, Glasgow and one of the qualifying groups to play here included the US women’s football team. Now I’m not a football fan at all but I felt like I had to be a good American expat and cheer on my home team. Plus, when again would I get an Olympic event practically in my back yard? Hampden is so close to our flat that when they hold concerts there, we can hear the music with our windows open!

The match kicked off at 5 so we caught the train over to the stadium around 4:15. I was expecting the train to be packed as they usually are on game days, but it wasn’t that busy at all. The hype was much more than the reality. In the week leading up to the Olympics, Glasgow Central had been outfitted with tons of barriers, signs and Olympics volunteers in pink vests. I was expecting the train station to be absolutely overrun with tourists and fans and the compete chaos that the media have been going on about. While there were a lot of police and volunteers from the train station to the stadium it was a lot less busy than an Old Firm game. Out of anyone, Scotland knows how to do busy, crowded and rowdy soccer games!

As soon as we got in line to pick up our tickets I started hearing my first American accents! I almost never hear an American accent in Glasgow so I was kinda excited to be amongst my people again. I’m not sure if the Americans were tourists, living in Glasgow or living in the UK and travelled to be here for the game, but about half of the crowd seemed to be American. Some were really dressed up! I wore a red, white and blue outfit with a star print scarf and got mistaken for a French supporter.

French? Also you know this is a football game in Scotland because of the Irn-Bru truck. Wouldn’t get that at an Olympic event in London!

Anyway, the game! As I’m not the biggest football fan I lost interest about 2 seconds into the match. Danny thought it was a really good game and by the end, I had to agree as we won 3-0. What I did notice is that the game got really physical. Maybe I noticed it more because I wasn’t just watching the game on TV, but there was a lot of shoving, pushing and even an instance where a Colombian player clawed at an American player’s face! Our team played really well though and I can see why they’re world champions.

The weather was okay during the game but got really cold toward the end. We didn’t bring any cash with us and didn’t realize the stadium was cash only with no cash machines. Would have been nice if they advertised that somewhere before entry gates!  Poor Danny was starving and we only had the free tap water to get us through. Immediately after the game we stopped at the nearest takeaway for chicken pakora and a garlic chili chicken pizza. Was amazing! We ate the pakora while waiting out a downpour and ate the pizza while watching the men’s gymnastics at home.

Freezing, ready to get out of there and get something to eat! We could have stayed for the North Korea v France match (I was already dressed for the event) but my football attention span is not that long. I did my bit to support Team USA and now I can say I’ve been to Olympic event!