Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Long Over Due

You may want to grab a snack before sitting down to read this because I think it's going to be a long one.
I'm not entirely sure what time it is here in Edinburgh, but I can't sleep. I'm sprawled on my friends' couch typing away with a cup of Orange Spice tea. Oh, and a fuzzy blanket of course. I left Glacier curled up on his make shift bed of blankets and sheets with Roscoe, since they both seemed to be sleeping peacefully. The tea is good and the house is quiet as most people usually sleep during this time of the night, so it is a good time to actually sit down and write.
Mr. K, Glacier, Roscoe and I have been in the UK for about two and a half weeks. Part of me feels like we fit right in and that we've been here forever and another part is still excited and can't believe we're actually in Scotland. Every once in a while, during the normal activities of every day life, something will happen and remind me that we are in fact living in Scotland. Today, for example, I was sorting through our clothes, trying to get things organised because we have completely taken over Tenie's room, and a pound coin came flying out of Mr. K's jeans pocket. We have Loonies in Canada and dollar bills in the United States, not pound coins. As I picked it up and jammed it back into Mr. K's wallet, I couldn't help but smile. We are really here.
What have we been doing since we got here?
The simplest answer would be, everything.
Thursday we went to the zoo and spent the day wandering the grounds. We saw so many different animals and Mr. K managed to capture a lot of them on camera. Pretty impressive for a totally blind guy if you ask me. A lot of those photos can be found on his photo blog
His blog is mostly photos, so it may not be the most blind friendly website to browse through.
We also meandered down Princes Street and even stopped in at the Disney store. I love Disney. Glacier and Roscoe were incredibly well behaved on that trip; even passing by a few dogs without either of us knowing. They didn't accompany us to the zoo as it is not really an environment for them. Too many smells and distractions and that would definitely stress out the zoo creatures. LDB also frowns on taking your guide dog to the zoo and I completely agree.
This past Sunday we attended the Mela festival, which is a celebration of South East Asian culture. We had a great time, despite standing in line for an hour to get food. I was amazed at how busy the festival actually was. It was held in the park close to the girls' flat, so we were able to just wander over at our leisure and enjoy the festivities.
Earlier today we met with a representative from the Guide Dog Association  who is responsible for the area we are living in.  The Rep had a lot of good things to say and is willing to work with us in getting acquainted with the area and to work with us on any problem areas. He even said we could try out one of their harnesses just to see what it is like. The harness style  is quite different from what we are used to and it would be interesting to see what it would be like using one of those harnesses. We obviously would not be sticking with the equipment change. We briefly talked about Roscoe's barking problem and he seemed willing to help. Also, on the way back to the flat, Glacier decided to skip a curb, so when I talk with the trainer again, I'll let him know that will be something we will need to address. It wasn't a curb of a quiet street, absent of vehicles. It was a very busy street with cars moving on it; very not safe. Most of the curbs here have tactile strips on them and I love it, but I'm not sure if that new addition is throwing Glacier off. I'll give him more time to settle in and see how he does. I harness corrected him, more out of reaction than anything, and I think I scared him. Actually, it was more of a "pull dog away from fast moving car" harness move than a correction. I was worried he was going to get clipped by a car. Besides that incident-I will not call it small because it is not-he is doing very well, considering everything is so new.
We also spent part of today perusing the shops in the mall that within walking distance as I have another job interview tomorrow and need appropriate professional looking massage therapist attire. Do you have any idea how hard it is to find a women's polo shirt in black? We considered sticking me in a boy's navy blue polo shirt, but found a plain black t-shirt thingy that was satisfactory.
Later this evening, I will be going to the beauty salon and massaging the massage therapist I would be replacing if I were to get the job. The treatment is to be an hour long and what is crazy about it is that she is Canadian and is leaving the salon to go back to Canada. What a small world. If all goes well, then tomorrow I will be meeting with the owner of the salon to go over financial type things and the conditions of the contract. I really hope that everything goes well because this job sounds perfect for me.
As for our flat hunting, it is going interestingly to say the least. We have been waiting since we got here to hear whether or not we get a flat we have put an application in for and still nothing. The landlord uses a Letting Agent who in turn uses a third party company to do financial background checks and it is going very slowly, despite being told that the processing time was five business days. We have already sunk money into the process as we had to pay a deposit, administration fees and a holding fee, so we're not quite ready to cut our losses and move on. Quite frankly, it is getting ridiculous as there are seven of us staying in this flat-sometimes eight as one girl has her boyfriend over frequently-and so we really need to get our own place. Everyone has been great and we do not feel like they want us out by no means, but it would be nice to stop living out of suitcases.
I still absolutely love this place. It is so full of history and the city is very charming. It is such a breath of fresh air to be able to walk almost anywhere you could possibly want to go. And, if you can't walk there, you can hop a city bus and be there in no time. I had my first ride on the top floor of a double decker bus the day we went to the zoo. Since we didn't bring Glacier and Roscoe, we were able to climb the narrow, twisting staircase to the second floor of the bus. I felt pretty fancy riding around up there. :) All I can really say is that Mr. K and I both love it here and every day we know we made the right decision.

P.S. Thanks to everyone for your supportive comments. Once I'm in a more settled environment, I will try to play catch up with everyone. :)


Jen said...

Really great that you are all settling in well. I hope you get the job and a flat gets sorted too. Living with six or seven other people is probably fun though, if a little bit mad.
I wonder is your harness anything like ours at Irish guide dogs. What's it made from? The U.K ones are very different, made from leather and much bigger and heavier in comparison. I think oj would just refuse to work if I changed to that one.

Amber DaWeenie said...

All in all, it sounds like you're doing very well. I would probably have a much harder time making adjustments because I hate change.

We are very happy for all of you. Now go try and get some sleep. You have another busy day ahead!


browndogcbr said...

Hi Y'all,

So good to hear you've bounced back from your jet lag/stress illness.

G is probably feeling just like you do...excited at all the new strange things and happy to be with his happy human.

You may need a little work with the trainer on the curb work. Remember everything is reversed for him. He's used to traffic coming from the opposite direction, so to him the car was wrong. He probably thought he had the all clear. He still should have stopped to let you know to step down.

He's probably feeling confused. I'm sure a little patience and practice will get him back in the groove.

Also y'all have a 5 hour time shift and he's probably still adjusting.

I know it took me a long time to get over the surprise of going to lunch and realizing my family back in the states was just finishing breakfast or getting to work. Oh and don't make the mistake I did one time of feeling lonely and calling home in the morning (there)...but it was still dark here in the states. :)

Off to check out the zoo pictures on Mr. K's blog.

BrownDog's Human