Since we found out we were moving to Scotland my parents talked about coming and visiting us over here. We have ancestors from Scotland so that just added to their desire to come and see some or our heritage. Well, we had been here 6 months and there had still been no plans for them visiting. Not for lack of desire, but my Dad's work schedule is busy and they weren't working with him on getting a set time when he could go.
But, one day I received a call from my Mom via Skype telling me that they were coming in 3 weeks because their travel agent was able to use all their frequent flyer miles if they came then and they would be here for almost 2 weeks! I was so excited! Not only were they actually coming, which I was starting to worry wasn't going to happen, but now I only had to wait 3 weeks. =)
The time went really quickly and before we knew it I was heading to the train station to pick them up. They flew into London because it was a lot cheaper and they got to spend the day site seeing there. Then they woke up very early the next day to get on a train to Glasgow. They left at about 5 in the morning so they arrived at 10:30. I ended up dropping Rhys off at school and then just heading to the train station I was so excited. It was amazing to see them and I was especially happy to be there to help with their luggage. =)
We walked from the train station to their hotel that was a half mile away. They ended up walking to the train station to go to our flat every day, so between the walk there and back they walked at least a mile every day. Not including the walking we did through the rest of the day. They were good sports. =)
Anyway, after we got them settled in we walked up to Steven's school to have lunch with him. We were excited for the chance for them to see where he spends most of his days and we also enjoyed some delicious fish and chips. From there it was time to pick up Rhys from school. I had told Rhys they were coming, but he didn't know they were going to be there right after school. He was SO excited to see his Memaw waiting at the bottom of the hill for him. To be honest, we didn't see much because there was a wall and we wanted to give them their moment. But they were hugging for a long time before they walked back to us. (Those two have always had a special bond.) Rhys spent the rest of the day telling Memaw all about Scotland and School and even made her play a video game with him. =)
The next day we let them sleep in so they could recover a little from their jet lag, but when they showed up at our flat I took them Grocery shopping. We walked to our local shop and it was fun to show them the sites. For most of the walk you're just walking through residential streets, but then you turn the corner and you're on a busy street with lots of shops and fun things. My mom was so surprised with how quickly the atmosphere changed. =)
Shopping was fun and I'm happy to say that we found a chocolate bar that my Dad hadn't had since his Mission that he loved. I guess they even looked for it when they were in Italy a few years ago and they couldn't find it, so I'm happy that he got a little taste of that. =)
The rest of the day we spent lounging around just enjoying visiting with each other.
Sunday was fun. Mom and Dad got to take a Taxi to church because the train doesn't run by our flat on Sundays. So we met them there and it was fun to have them there. They were really impressed with our Ward and have decided they would love to move here to be in this Ward. (It doesn't surprise me at all, I'm really going to miss them all when we leave.) I think my favorite part of the day was when they asked my Dad to come up and bear his Testimony for the Ward since they had a few extra minutes.
We ended up walking home from church so my parents could get their mile walk in. =) My Mom spent the whole walk telling Rhys stories as we went. It was really cute. And for dinner that night I made my parents Haggis. I know my Dad had been a little anxious to try it, but he wanted to try whatever I thought he'd like and he ended up really liking it. He even went back for seconds. =)
Monday was really fun because we took a Bus tour of Glasgow. I was surprised how much I didn't actually know about Glasgow and it made me want to go back into the City and explore some of those places a little more. The tour was an on and off bus tour so you could get off whenever you wanted. We just took the whole tour first and then had lunch. By then it was later and so I needed to go back to get Rhys from School but I told my parents to go on the bus and explore some more and we would meet up with them later. They ended up going to the Transportation museum and they said it was really interesting. I'll have to take the boys back there sometime.
Tuesday we had an Assembly that Rhys' class put on. I guess they read a book about a girl named Katie Morag and they put together this little performance for us. Rhys had a few lines that we had practiced a lot and it was so cute to hear him say it. They also performed some little Scottish Dances that were so very cute.
After the assembly the kids got to bring their families back to their classrooms to show them some of the things they were working on. It was so fun for my parents to get to see this performance and then see his classroom. We thought it was funny that the first assembly of their grandchildrens they'd seen was in Scotland. =)
That evening we went into the City for dinner because Steven had an audition for a play and we wanted to have dinner with him afterwards. (Later we found out he got cast, so YAY!)
Wednesday was a day spent with just my parents and me. Steven stayed home and watched the boys while we went on a bus tour of Loch Ness and the Highlands. We had wanted to take everyone, but Gavin was to little to go, so Steven offered to stay back. It was very sweet of him and I hope that he will get a chance to go as well.
The day was just amazing. We stopped at Loch Lomond first where we were able to enjoy a delicious Hot Chocolate. We then drove up to the Highlands where we passed through Glencoe which was the site of the MacDonald Massacre. We actually found out on the tour that my Mom's ancestors massacred my Dads... we won't be dwelling on that. =) From there we had lunch at Fort Williams and then drove past Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in Brittain.
From there we drove to Loch Ness where we stopped and took the boat tour. The tour itself was an hour and we road the boat over to Urquhart Castle and back. The Loch was gorgeous but I was sad we were not able to spot nessie. I was looking though.
From there we drove back down through the Highlands again to a small town of Pitlochry where we had a small break. We enjoyed a delicous muffin and visited a fun sweet shop.
We got back at about 7:30 so we had dinner at a nice Italian Restaurant before I headed back home. The day was absolutely amazing and one that I will always remember. I can't get over how gorgeous this country is and I hope that I get to see more of it before we leave.
Thursday we spent at home but that evening my Mom came with me to our Relief Society Birthday party. It was fun for me to get to show off my Mom outside of Church and I think everyone loved her as much as I do.
Friday I took my parents to the other local Grocery store we have here so we could get a few things for them to try that we couldn't get at the first shop. We insisted they try Sticky Toffee pudding, which is DELICIOUS! We also got some Aero bars, Crunchies, Jaffa Cakes, and Malteasers. That night we had the missionaries over so we could give my parents a "Kebabtism." They have these Kebabs over here that are just delicious and everyone loves them, especially American Missionaries. So anyone new has to have their "Kebabtism" which I think Mom and Dad really enjoyed.
Saturday was St. Patrick's day and also the day we went to Edinburgh. We woke up early to make sure we had plenty of time. Rhys was so excited to actually get his own ticket becuase its free for him to ride the train from our flat to Glasgow. He kept pointing out that his ticket said Child on it and then saying "That's me." =)
What can I saw about Edinburgh? It was amazing! It was everything I had always pictured Scotland to be. I love Glasgow, I really do, but when I picture a little European City, Edinburgh is what I imagine it to be like. I was just awed by it and all of the architecture. We ended up taking a City bus tour of Edinburgh as well. We rode it around once to see everything and ended up stopping at this little Courtyard first that had a bunch of fun shops and some places for lunch. It was a touch decision but we settled on a pub called The Fiddlers Arms. I know its not traditional but I got a Hamburger. It was the most delicious hamburger I've ever had. I hope that I get to have another one someday. It was also right below the Castle so it was neat to look up and see it looming over you. What a neat view.
We also went to a Childhood Museum which was really fun for everyone. There were some toys there that I hadn't seen in years, and more amazing toys that I had never seen because they were SO old. Although, can I just say that some old dolls are just a little creepy looking. I can't imagine any girl wanting to play with them, let alone hug them and things. But I guess if that's all you had to play with.
There were also a TON of touristy shops that were fun to look in. I was SO tempted to get the boys some matching kilts, they had some for only £15 a piece, but alas we were responsible and passed. Steven found a shop that actually had his families Tartan there and they could hand make a kilt for him. It would be amazing if it wasn't for the £350 it would cost for them to do it. Maybe one day, when Steven gets rich and famous. =)
We ended up having about an hour to kill after the bus stopped running before our train left so we went to a local mall and walked around for a bit. I even ended up spending some of my birthday money on a new shirt. I'm sure shopping for clothes is exactly what my Dad wanted to do while on Holiday in Scotland. =) But it was fun and he was a good sport. We didn't actually make it up to the Castle because it was a LONG walk with lots of stairs and my Mom didn't think her knees could do it. They offered to let us go without them, but we wanted to stay and share the experience with them. Hopefully Steven and I will be able to go back one day before we go home, and if not we at least got to see it from a distance.
Sunday was actually Mother's Day over here. (I had no idea they celebrated Mother's Day on a different day then back in the states.) I was also the Teacher in Relief Society that day so it was fun to have my Mom there for that. She'd never heard me teach before so it was fun to get her feedback. Rhys made me a card in Primary and gave me and my Mom a little treat. It was so sweet of them. We also were given Cupcakes decorated as flowers so we still got our traditional flower on mother's day. That night Steven made us dinner which was Chicken Kiev, Risotto and Veggies with a store bought Cheese Cake for dessert. All in all, it was an amazing day.
Monday was our last day together. They didn't leave until Tuesday morning but their train left at about 4 in the morning and I wasn't going to get up that early to see them off. (Does that make me a bad daughter?) =)
We spent the day just being together in our flat and then we walked to a local pub for dinner before they headed back home to pack and get some good sleep before they left.
It was absolutely amazing to have them here. The time just flew by and I was sad to see them go. However, it was a once in a life time opportunity to get to share some of this wonderful journey we've had with them. I hope they know how much I appreciate that they came and how much I loved sharing some of this adventure with them. I took a LOT of pictures and so I will do a separate post of some of the best ones, since this one is already so incredibly long. I love you Mom and Dad!!