Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Homemade Tortillas and a July Wedding

I can never go back to store bought tortillas. Alan was right - once you've had homemade, you will never go back. I shouldn't be eating them at all, but still, we had some delicious homemade burritos tonight.
Let me back up and start at the beginning, eh? Tonight marked the beginnings of the Gringo Party movement here in Edinburgh. A bunch of friends from the ward got together to enjoy some homemade tortillas with all the fixings. Alan Adam, host extraordinaire, learned to make delicious tortillas while serving his mission in......France. He specializes in all things flat - tortillas and crepes in particular. He decided to share his many talents with us tonight and let us join in the tortilla-making fun. Everyone had a great time and I'm sure there will be subsequent gringo parties with many more tortillas now that we all know how to make them. Leave it to Steve to brandish a perfect tortilla toss within two minutes.
The lovely Catherine Park

Ben Park tending to their wee one, Sara
Steve Adams, meet Alan Adam
The resident chef
We are particularly excited for Alan for another reason, as the next bit of news hits close to home. Grab your cameras and head to the Bountiful temple on 06 July 2010 for a special event that you won't want to miss. It is going to be a smashing LDS wedding in full Scottish regalia! It is Scottish tradition to wear kilts at wedding ceremonies (see pictures included - this is a wedding that took place at the chapel in Edinburgh castle last year). And not only kilts, but everything that goes with them - the bonnie prince charlie jacket, flashes, sporran, ghillies, the whole nine yards - literally. The big deal is that Alan and the rest of the male members in the wedding party will be keeping this tradition alive at a temple that is not accustomed to this sort of dress. Alan had to get special permission from the temple presidency to allow the wedding party to wear their Scottish attire on temple grounds after the ceremony. Since it's a part of his culture, they are allowing it to happen. Can you imagine how cool the pictures will be? That's one of the most exciting parts of the day after the actual ceremony - when the bride and groom come out of the temple as a married couple - and makes for some of the greatest candid photographs. We wish we could be there to see it, but we're thrilled that an awesome tradition is making its way beyond the borders of Scotland to our very own hometown. Go B-town! So here's to homemade tortillas and an amazing wedding celebration for Alan and Allison in one of our very favorite temples. =)
See what I mean? The whole nine yards.

The wedding party making their way down from St. Margaret's Chapel inside Edinburgh castle. So glad I got to see this last year.

Friday, March 26, 2010

And So It Begins

Peter Paul Rubens, Entombment

Rubens, Banqueting House, Apotheosis of James I

Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa

Bernini, Louis XIV

26 March 2010. I cannot believe this day has arrived. I am done with my classes. That's it folks - all done! No more formal instruction from scholars and professors, no more tutorials taking place in the National Gallery of Scotland in front of original works that are hundreds of years old, no more evening seminars concerning up-and-coming topics in contemporary art and museum/gallery projects, no more bibliographies that are impossible to fully digest on a weekly basis, and sadly, no more frequent interaction with some of the most inspiring and brilliant professors that share everything they can with me simply because they love their research and want to share it.

What on earth will I do will all of this free time?

Oh wait, I forgot, I have a dissertation due on 20 August, 2010.


A master's dissertation may not seem daunting to many of you, but it is to me. Before moving to the UK, I believe the largest paper I wrote was twenty pages (yes, double spaced), excluding figures and a bibliography, for my senior thesis at BYU. Times that number by three and that's what I'm looking at now. 15,000 words. I like to write, but do I really like to write? Luckily, I get to pick my own dissertation topic, which means I'll be married to a project of my own choosing. That being said, there is one artist that never ceases to amaze and intrigue me: Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680). My degree covers the Renaissance through the Enlightenment - a pretty significant period of time in world history - but my favorite period within that vast timeline has always been the controversial Baroque period, championed to the greatest artistic extent by Bernini.

The images you see in this post form the basis of my topic/argument. Others may disagree (I welcome a dissenting opinion), but the greatest master working in the seventeenth century besides Bernini was Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640). With these two artists, you have all the bases covered - drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, engraving, you name it - they mastered it. So, this dissertation will be a comparative study of sorts based around a main theme:

Servants of Absolutism:
Rubens and Bernini in service of Church and State in the Seventeenth Century

There's much more that goes into it, but that's the general idea. Now you at least have some notion of what will be keeping me busy over here. I am bound and determined to rise to the challenge. In the UK, a mark (grade) of distinction is anything higher than 70 - that's my goal. If you don't hear from me (not that frequent contact is even an issue considering I live on a different continent from most of you, but you get my point), you'll know why. I'm replacing my facebook account with my JSTOR account because time is precious, and because JSTOR is really, really cool (it's an archive of academic journals for the humanities). A lesson I value immensely from my mission in the TSAM is this: any goal you set for yourself is attainable if you are willing to exercise discipline and put forth consistent effort. Conquering this dissertation with distinction will require exactly that, plus a marker who is in good spirits when he/she dissects every possible facet of this paper. When I get too wound up or worn out, Steve always has a way of making things right in my world, which I love. Truth be told, I'm really excited to research and write full-time over the next five months, and I'm really happy that Steve is here with me to enjoy the ride.

And so it begins...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Adventures with missionaries

I’m a lousy blogger. I haven’t been motivated to blog in about forever, probably because I spend most of the day at work on a computer and by the time I come home I don’t even want to look at a computer screen. However, today I was given the day off and spent the day getting things done while waiting for Mr. Fix-it to come along and repair our bathroom door.

Lately Kristen and I haven’t been up to too many exciting things. The extent of our excitement comes from receiving emails from graduate schools and eating Indian food at least twice a week. We did manage to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this week, albeit a little differently. Kristen opted to wear green this year and I completely forgot. I was already dressed when I realized that wearing green wasn’t going to fit my outfit. I decided I’d take my chances and hope I didn’t get any pinches. Nobody touched me during the day, although it could have been because of what I decided to eat. For lunch I had Mexican and for dinner we did Thai. I could have had stewed cabbage and corned beef, but I figured I’d push St. Patrick’s Day to April 30th when I go to Dublin.

And speaking of the Irish, Elder Brophy finally got transferred. He has been here since the day I moved to Edinburgh and I have been on countless exchanges with him and his companion. Kristen and I have become almost one with the missionaries, at least on Preparation Day. Over the past six weeks we have had the following adventures:

Visited Craigmillar Castle in Edinburgh,

Went go-karting in Livingston,

Traveled to the super secret island that can only be accessed during low-tide,

Spent way too much time at a Mexican restaurant,

& played baseball

We saw Elder Brophy and his companion the night before he left. It was kind of a sorry night as most of us felt pretty ill. However, there is talk of a future road trip across America…whether it happens is another story.

So there you have it. I’ve blogged and included pictures too. I hope to blog more often and I’ll have to have some really adventures in order to come up with some good posts. Don’t worry folks, we have some great stuff up our sleeves.

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's a boy and a girl!

Hiya! I have been terrible at this blogging thing, but I have my excuses. I have been applying to graduate schools and before that I was studying for the GMAT and GRE so I could apply for graduate schools. I will be getting my master's degree in Public Administration or Public Policy. I ended up applying for (and yes the font colors are also the school colors):

George Mason University in Washington, D.C.

Ohio State University in Columbus,OH

Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA

University of Georgia in Athens, GA

Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA

The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA

As you can tell Kristen and I would love to end up going to grad school in Virginia. I was considering applying to a school in Utah, U of U or BYU, so I could get a tuition break but then things started happening. I got an email from OSU on Monday informing me that I had been accepted into the graduate program. I was pretty thrilled to realize that graduate schools were interested in me and it boosted my confidence that I could get into a few more schools. And then the news came today that I had been accepted to William & Mary! William and Mary people! Of course I wasn't at home when I got the email and resorted to texting Kristen to let her know. That didn't quell the excitement though so I tried calling people to tell them but most people were too busy to talk. I have resorted to telling the blogging world about my new adventure in graduate school in hopes that others can share in my joy. I will be going somewhere next year and as William and Mary is the first school to offer me assistance, the other schools have their work cut out. So as of now Kristen and I are expecting a boy named William and a girl named Mary.