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Published: August 5th 2009
I apologize for my absence in keeping up with this blog! So much has happened in the past couple of months that I should probably fill you in on....
First off: I am HOME. After an amazing 5 months abroad, I am back home where I belong. I wouldn't have traded that experience for anything, but if you mention flying or backpacking across Europe to me right now, I might throw something at you. Give me some recovery time on those two subjects😊
Although I am home, I do believe that I left a part of me in Scotland. I plan on going back someday with my future husband. Ya, you heard right, Nathan and I are engaged! (More on that in a bit...)
Nathan and Hannah came to visit shortly after I got back from my first trip to Ireland. I went down to Edinburgh and picked them up from the airport. I may or may not have gotten there 3 hours early, just because I couldn't wait that long to see them😊I was completely overwhelmed when I saw Nate's face. I couldn't believe that he came all the way to Scotland to see me! I was definitely in shock for a couple of minutes, but I think that's ok😊
ANYWAY, since Edinburgh is a must-see when visiting Scotland we stayed there the night they flew in and the next day. We did some shopping, tourist style, where Nate bought an ENTIRE kilt. Basically the entire ensemble. Apparently that is the only thing that he really wanted, and he got it! We left for Aberdeen that night by bus, which was a lot more comfortable and do-able when I had Nathan there with me. When we got into Aberdeen, we got Hannah and Nathan to there hotel, which was only a 15-20 minute walk from my flat. We met up with my somewhat intoxicated friends at the Bobbin where introductions were made, as well as friends.
The next couple of days are somewhat of a blur to me right now, thinking back. I know that we planned out the next couple of days in Aberdeen together.
One of those days, I took Nathan and Hannah to my favorite place that I had seen in all my travels. That happened to be Dunnottar Castle. This castle I had written about in a previous entry way at the beginning of my adventures. I went to visit it with Kathryn and Alex when there was still snow on the ground and right then and there it turned into one of the most amazing places I had ever seen.
Anyway, the day turned out to be way nicer than expected. We hopped on the bus and made our way to Stonehaven. We got there and made the trek up to the top and the winding trail that went into the castle. On our way across the winding cliffside, Nathan pulled me aside next to a bench, got down on one knee, and proposed. Of course, I started to cry, but it was a happy cry😊 And for those of you wondering, I did say yes😊 Apparently Hannah had the ring the whole time in her purse. Our first night in Edinburgh she fell asleep with her purse. When we were taking pictures at the War Memorial on our way out to the castle, Nathan asked Hannah to give him the ring; go figure I had no idea. To make it even more nifty, Hannah knew it was coming, so she was walking a good 20 feet in front of us the entire way. She kept turning around to see if he had asked me or not, and when he did, she got some pictures. After the proposal, (which still makes me giggle when I think about it), we made our way into the castle. We had to hurry it up through because we didn't have much time before it closed and if you are inside when they close it down, you are locked in. So, a lot of it was a blur.
After the castle, we met up with some friends, Alex, Jason and Hollie for dinner. We made it a point to not say anything about being engaged to see if they noticed. It took them a good 15 minutes before Alex saw my ring and said, "What the heck is that!?" But in a happy way😊 Slowly but surely the rest of my Scotland friends found out. The only bad thing about getting engaged in Scotland is that it was very difficult to get a hold of family and friends back home. That took sometime, but we finally got though to everybody.
Without a doubt, that was the highlight of there visit😊 We did a couple of more Aberdeen-ish things and then made our way to Ireland. I was going for the second time, but didn't care one bit. Right away when we got there we rented a car and Hannah drove that around. In a way it was super helpful, but at the same time it was a little nerve racking. We were driving on the WRONG side! AHHHHHHHH! We made it through without any problems; some close calls, but nothing more.
While in Ireland we visited the Guinness Factory and some castles that I had not seen before, so that was really cool. The whole time on the trip I had been showing people around, and for the first time I saw something I had never seen before either.
Lots of pictures were taken and great memories were made. I feel bad because I am cutting this short, but in all honesty, I forgot many of the details and a lot of it is still somewhat blurry😊
After being in Ireland for a couple of days, I flew back to Aberdeen and Nathan and Hannah flew back to the states. That was hard to do because it was kind of teasing. Although that was difficult, I had my families visit to look forward too in the next couple of days.
I got back to Aberdeen and prepared to go visit my family in Edinburgh, again. My room was almost all packed up and ready to go. I got so excited, that I decided to go down a day early to Edinburgh! I was talking with my parents on skype and said that I really had nothing else to do, and they said you should come down early and I said ok! It was surreal seeing them as well. We met at the Hard Rock Cafe, the only one in Scotland. I got there first and had a beer and watched constantly out the window for my parents. I pretty much saw my dad bolt for me inside, and my mom and Binky right on his tail. We sat and talked and had lunch and then did some more exploring. When we stayed in Edinburgh, we had an apartment that was very nice and had a little kitchen and everything. We also did the touristy shopping stuff along with some bus tours to castles and distilleries as well as Edinburgh tours.
We had a lot of catching up to do and this was the perfect time to do it! My dad also got a TON of geocaching in, which was fun to help with. That was a great little addition to the trip, because geocaching brought us to a bunch of little places that we would have never found otherwise. Very cool.
We got to Aberdeen a couple of days later by bus, and settled into our tiny Holiday Inn room downtown. We did some more Aberdeen things and definitely got our fill of walking in. The last day we were in Scotland, we moved to a hotel that was very close to the airport because our flights left early the next morning. This hotel room was more roomy which was great for our tremendous "recombobulation" extravaganza. We put all the suitcases out on the bed and the floor and worked on packing everything up and making the suitcases as even in weight as possible. That took some time, and still my suitcases were the heaviest. Oh well. I sort of knew that would happen so I was prepared for it.
My parents and Justin's flight left early the next morning and mine wasn't until a little later. So they went to the airport first and slept a little longer.
When my taxi came and I got to the airport, they weighed my bags and they were overweight. I already knew that. They also ended up bumping me up to first class, so I couldn't really complain about my overweight luggage. All my flights went super well, except for the last one. That one apparently did not exist. I was in Ontario Canada, ready to catch my flight to Milwaukee and when I came to the conclusion that the airline we had booked with no longer flew to Milwaukee. I was stranded in Canada and Nathan was on his way to pick me up.
I got a phone number to contact the airline and was on the phone with a service lady for around 30 or more minutes. As I was talking to her, trying to figure out what I was supposed to do, I called Nathan from another pay phone and told him to turn around and go home because I was still stuck in Canada. That was the worst feeling in the world. I literally was stuck and could not go home. The airport was closing down, so I found a hotel and got a "traveler in distress" discount on my room, which was amazing, because the room was awesome and very expensive at full price.
The service lady on the phone got me a flight from Ontario to Minneapolis and then from there to Milwaukee. I called Nate and told him the new plans and was on my way the next morning. Everything went well from that point on.
I made it home.
And so ends my journey. Although I closed the door on this journey, another door has been opened.
Nathan and I set the date for June 11, 2010. Plans have been going very well and we couldn't be more happy. 😊 If you want to stay in tuned with that journey, you can visit that website at:
Thanks for staying in touch and reading up. I can't thank you enough for all your prayers and support and words of wisdom.
God be with you till we meet again!
AND SO ENDS LAUREN'S BLOG.
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