08 November 2016

2016 US Presidential Election: A Scottish Perspective


Let me first say that I have voted in this election and it was the toughest decision I have had to make in casting a vote for president.

I suppose I should also say that I am generally not passionate about politics and I do not usually follow the news closely.  Generally, I am in a better mood when I avoid it all.  I have my opinions, of course, and I act on them accordingly.  My approach to life is to just do the best I can in my small space of the world, attempting to set a good example for others to follow.

Having said that, it has been nearly impossible to avoid this year's election, even here in Scotland.  The news coverage of major US stories here is extensive and, of course, there is Facebook, where the content can be at times thought-provoking and at other times just provocative.

The election is a frequent topic of conversation once people realize I am American.  I cringe internally most times when it comes up.  One reason is that the whole thing has been a huge circus.  The other reason is the Republican Party's candidate.  Trump voters: please read on with an open mind.  You might be interested to learn that Hillary Clinton and the other candidates are rarely mentioned in my conversations.  Everyone just wants to talk about Trump.  With very few exceptions, their comments have not been complimentary.

My point here is not to convince anyone how to cast their ballot.  I just want people to realize that the world is watching and what Americans do, even internally, can have a profound effect around the world.  Yes, Americans have the freedom to do basically whatever the hell they want.  But, not without consequences.

Also, please remember: we all still have to live together tomorrow.


"Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's future. And we are all mortal."
JFK


01 November 2016

Life Happens In Scotland Too


It is not all castles, pints, and bacon rolls as I may have led my regular readers to believe. During the summer, we were notified by the property manager that the owner of our flat wanted it back at the end of the year's lease for her daughter who was returning to Aberdeen.  !!!!  We love the flat--it is imperfect, but has great potential--and the area of town.  So, we were disappointed.  We were, of course, loathe to move again so soon as well.  However, the housing market has continued to improve from the perspective of those seeking to rent--us!  As a result, we should be able to save significantly.

By the time we were able to really look, the choices were limited.  The market is a bit odd here...and frustrating.  We have to give two months notice prior to vacating, but it is pointless to look more than four weeks before you actually move.  Owners will not hold a property, waiting for tenants to move in.  And, of course, we would not want to pay rent on two properties at once.  See the problem?  We could potentially have no place to go or have to settle for a less-than-satisfying property.

We searched online and viewed six or eight different flats.  We found one we liked, but the owner did not accept our offer--shocking, considering the market!  Apparently, owners have not yet realized that the bubble has burst.

Fortunately, one of Pat's colleagues offered to let us stay at her house if we got stuck.  We are in the process of moving our things there and will vacate our flat by Sunday.  We will have two housemates plus a dog for a few weeks.  Then, they will be heading to France for about six months, leaving the house to us.

We are paying rent, but at a significant savings.  Most importantly, we will be able to move out on our own schedule since we do not have a lease.  We will start to look in the spring which, we are told, is a good time.

We will be back to more exploring soon!