Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Words for the Wingmen

Only two days left in Edinburgh 😢 last night I came out of a Christmas concert at St. Giles to a bunch of men playing bagpipes in the street and I immediately started crying. I have loved getting to come work here every day! And by work I mean eating snacks and having girl chat with the senior missionaries... I love the people here. Scotland will always have a place in my heart ❤️

All journey's must come to an end. I finished at the Parliament this week with a very pleasant last few days and AnneMarie finished at the Scotland/Ireland Mission office. She's had such an enjoyable time working with the senior couples there (cute old ladies, she says, who feed her). I have no doubt she's put some pep in their step:) One quick anecdote: as she was leaving her favorite sister, Sister Winter, called out "I'll see you in the resurrection." You'll have to have AnneMarie say it in her Sister Winter voice. And maybe this will be your Holiday parting sentence of choice, useful for all your awkward post-ward party goodbyes.

Many motions were written, pounds of press releases were printed, and I got one last go at my old friend--the Parliament cafeteria. That last one was tough to part with, what with its neeps (turnips) and tatties (mashed potatoes) and jovial kitchen staff, to say nothing of its locally sourced ingredients. Back to bag lunches.

I attended First Minister's Questions one last time on Thursday to hear everyone shout at each other. Unsurprisingly they also found some time to shout at Trump. If there's one thing they can agree on it's that they don't like him. He is, to use a Christmas metaphor, about as popular as the original Grinch in Whoville. Monday through Wednesday is a blur except for some masterful culinary creations that AnneMarie cooked up for me. Yumm, yumm and double yumm.

Friday there was only one thing on our agendas: lunch. Literally. My boss invited myself and AnneMarie to a farewell lunch with himself, his wife and the other three members of the constituency office staff. It was located on one of the many grand estates owned by the current Duke of Buccleuch and Queensbury. If that sounds obscure, try this on for size: the Duke is the confirmed largest private landowner in Europe and worth around 350 million pounds--pounds, not dollars, people. Definitely a UK-only experience, estate dining is. We got there around 12:30 and lunched till around 3:30, with all the proper courses and rounds of delicious lemonades. Sorry if all my letter is about this week is food. This lunch, however, deserves remembering, especially my main course of baked sea trout with a chickpea and crayfish cassoulet, cavolo nero tapenade, and lemon oil. AnneMarie had the spiced butternut squash with winter chanterelles, Parmentier potatos, chestnut sprouts and parsley cream. For dessert she had the special sundae and I had the white chocolate mousse with salted carmel shortbread and sea buckthorn granita. There was more, but those were the highlights. Yes you have to speak three languages to read their menu, but sometimes not knowing what's coming is part of the fun. And watching AnneMarie eat whole fried Whitebait, a little fish. Report is they were tasty:) Boss got the check.

Since we were in the middle of the estate, after bidding everyone else long lives and many fond farewells, we wandered around the Duke of Buccleuch's grounds, around the stately house that occupies the grounds and said hi to a group of friendly horses. It was a wonderful end to this chapter of our story.

Ok, lightning round:

- Saturday we went to our host Jaro's volleyball game. They gave a valiant effort but the giants from the north (Aberdeen) proved too much for the Edinburgh Jets.

- Friday we played a four or five hour game of Monopoly. Yours truly came out on top after AnneMarie and I squeezed Jaro and Jurgita out. We called a truce, counted our assets, and I said all my money was hers anyway.

- Today we parted ways with our ward. It'll be good to settle in one place and finally have some callings. We also went to our final concert at St. Giles Cathedral, where we heard a local accapella choir give us beautiful renditions of various Christmas songs, from traditional favorites to exquisite arrangements by Tavener, Rutter and Rachmaninoff. 

Christmas cards are on order. Keep a sharp eye on your mailboxes!!! 

All Our Love, 

Tanner and AnneMarie

p.s. Next week will be the last European edition until March when we return to Greece!

Just kidding, haha, we can't wait to be home for the holidays and the rest of the near and forseeable future;)

Like a boss.

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