The other day Owen was talking about Magic The Gathering game strategy (it happens a lot these days), and he said, "Sometimes I don't like making a move unless I'm guaranteed success".
Bob started laughing. "Owen - you're in the wrong family. A guarantee of success seems to be against our better principles".
Owen was giggling. "We're From Here To Uncertainty, not From Here To Success"
"Yeah - we're From Here To... wait, where are we again?" Eleanor chimed in.
It went on a bit - our family laughing at our strange, meandering life without guarantee or, at times, even a loosely cohesive plan. In that vein I present you with the itinerary of which we are currently in the middle:
We left Germany in the last week of September and drove to Venice to spend a week. Venice was the perfect choice for two reasons: 1. We've just gotten the car that we're paying a fortune to have for the next few months, so of course the first place to go is Venice, to pay an absolute fortune to park it and leave it for a week. 2. Venice is half a continent in the exact wrong direction to where we need to be next. Still - it's Venice! It was really wonderful, and we'll tell you all about it and show lots of pictures in a post very soon. Promise.
After Venice we drove frantically across the continent to Amsterdam to catch an overnight ferry to the UK, with mere moments to spare before our Schengen Visa days ran out. This part was rather hairy and stressful, mostly because we accidentally booked the ferry traveling in the WRONG DIRECTION! As in FROM the United Kingdom TO the Netherlands, and we didn't realize it until I looked at the confirmation the morning we were supposed to board. As in the morning we were boarding the ferry that afternoon and still had half a continent to drive through, and the ferry office was closed and our Serbian cell phones with German Sim cards weren't working in Amsterdam anyway. What to do? Drive, and curse, and figure it out when we get there. Which is what we did. The best news is that we can't figure out who made the mistake - Bob or Brenna - so we both get to feel like idiots, and no one gets the guilt. In our defense - it was rather obvious when we talked to the ticket agent that we weren't the first passengers to have this happen. We went back to the website to figure out where we went wrong, and it's totally wanky, and defaults automatically to one passage (our wrong passage) every time you press Enter. We absolve ourselves of responsibility. It could have happened to anybody. Not our fault. But still, there's really no need to go around telling this particular story to your friends. We can just keep it to ourselves.
The ferry crossing was terrific, if you ask the kids, very surreal if you're talking to Brenna, and absolutely, stupidly, maddening if you ask Bob. The population on board ranged from very amusing trollops teetering on their purple leather hi-heels while the ship rolled underneath them, to their total mouth-breathing thug boyfriends, with a bunch of high-school kids on a school trip thrown in. The food was spectacularly bad, and breathtakingly expensive. Our whole family marveled over dinner at a chefs ability to extract all the flavor out of a piece of chicken or a handful of peas, leaving nothing behind but a puzzling texture. We laughed at the audacity of that same chef to charge $150.00 for what was advertised as a burger, fish and chips, and two kids chicken teriyaki plates. Well - Bob fumed, and the rest of us laughed. To top it off, particularly high winds made the ship change route, extending our cruise by several hours. No one was even allowed out on deck that night. It was a pretty raucous sea out there. Course - it was a pretty raucous scene inside too. We took sea-sickness pills and went to bed early.
The next day we arrived in the UK. They drive on the left-hand side of the road here. We've leased a car designed to drive on the right-hand side of the road. Because we are brilliant! It is absolutely mind-blowing to drive on the left in a right-hand car through your first round-about. Mind-bending. It takes every ounce of concentration we have. We Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who has to get behind the wheel every time we go anywhere.
This one is Brenna's fault. Brenna was having a cavalier moment and said things like "How hard can it be!" and "It'll stretch our brains!" while Bob said things like "Are you insane!?" So now every near miss and harrowing auto adventure for the next 3 months is Brenna's fault.
And now for the piece de resistance: We don't actually have a place to live yet in Scotland. It's not that we haven't been looking! We looked on-line at 50 flats at least before we left Germany! Honestly - there doesn't seem to be a good reason why we didn't have place to live before we got here. It seems absurd! I mean - we did talk briefly about maybe getting a better price if we just showed up and hit the ground, you know, getting the lay of the land and all, but surely we weren't serious! Sigh.
We've been here 3 days, and we're staying in a cottage this week in Linlithgow, which is close to Edinburgh. We're in love with Linlithgow. We're in love with Scottish coutryside. We love the Scottish people. They're so NICE. And they drink such good beer! And after another day of wandering into letting agencies and driving those nice letting agents crazy with our vague answers to their very reasonable questions...
“How long will you be staying?” and “What area would you like to be in?” They ask.
“We’ll be here between three and six months. Probably.” and “We can be anywhere really - we’re open.” THEN when they hear that we don’t have jobs, or local bank accounts… I wonder what they say when we walk out of the office? Well, after another day like that, a good beer at the bar across the street from our cottage, and a nice bartender to laugh with us instead of at us, is just good.
We've got another three days to find a place to live. No problem. And if we don't, there's always The Black Bitch on Main Street.
So all this is to say - sorry for not posting so much lately. Let us find a place to live and settle in, and we'll tell you all about it, and send pictures of Venice, and the Ferry, and everything else. Thank for your patience.