Tuesday, May 29, 2012


While I know I have been absent from the blogging world I think I have a good excuse. Both of my exams were last week so I decided to take a break from blogging for a week. I had a Sunday Dinner and a debate lined up for last week, but I thought that since my efforts would be in my revision that I wouldn't have time to cook or think of anything else. I was very right and wanted to post them up this week, but I'm just spending the week relaxing and totally forgot to post up the Sunday dinner on Sunday.

Since all of that happened, I think I'm going to hold off until this Sunday since I also don't think that I will have time to cook or bake again until next week.

I'm just relaxing and trying to de-stress at this point. It's...well, it's going. Not well, but I'm sure that the de-stressing will start soon. Hopefully my puppy friend that I have this week will help out a little.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Dumplings

Yes, again I realise that it is Monday. I just didn't have the will power to do anything yesterday. I starting studying in the library after the Roleplaying Society's committee meeting and then, of course, I got so nauseous. I didn't get much revising done, but I did get some planning and organizing done. I guess that's a good thing right? Today's been sort of the same way without the stomach ache, fever, and head ache. Trying very hard to get into this whole revising thing, but perception is not the most interesting thing. Well, at least not the way it's taught here. At least I have cooking to keep my spirits up.
This week was a two for. First, I cooked pot stickers (or dumplings, the recipe in the book doesn't seem to know). They were really fun to make, but definitely not the easiest thing. Second, I made Garlic Lemonade (I don't have any pictures of my lemonade).
The filling comprised of carrots, savoy cabbage, mushrooms, spring onions, with garlic and ginger
Unfortunately you can't see the wrapper, but I promise that I didn't just place the filling on the counter
Dumplings all wrapped and ready to start cooking
The dumplings cooking
The biggest problem I had with the pot stickers was folding the dough around the filling. I don't think I cut the savoy cabbage enough so I got some really long pieces that ended up being a hinder when folding. Cooking them was also pretty interesting. I think my second batch turned out much better. I still have another batch to cook though and I've had four a day since Thursday. Haha! At least they are tasty. *smiles* If anyone is interested, I got the recipe from the cookbook simply called Vegetarian by Alice Hart. It has some wonderful recipes for the herbivores among us. All pretty simple and so far very tasty.

And now on to the Garlic Lemonade. I know, I know. It's sounds awfully weird. But trust me, it's wonderful. Now, I love garlic. It's absolutely the most wonderful thing in this world (right there with sesame oil, salt, a chocolate with chili). And it's full of antioxidants and cleansing agents. Now, I got this recipe at Eating from the Ground Up. I know I've linked it, but I'm going to write up the recipe here so that you guys can go straight to the kitchen and make it. You'll absolutely love it.

Garlic Lemonade:

2 quarts water
8-10 garlic cloves, whole and peeled
the juice of one lemon
honey to taste (I use about 2 Tablespoons for 2 quarts)
optional: a chunk of peeled ginger

Combine the water and the garlic (and ginger, if using) in a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover and simmer for one hour. Remove from heat. Add the lemon and the honey.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Reflecting on Loss

A recent blog post by Becky on the blog Cruisin' with Cricket has made me ponder. I know that I've said it before, but I'm not sure if I've said it on this blog, but reading Becky's blog is always a pleasure and a pretty big source of inspiration for me. It isn't very often that you'll find a blog that will make stop and think about your own thoughts and behaviors, but this blog does it for me. Every blog post I can think of that has made me reevaluate the way I am handling a situation has come from Becky's blog. it I guess. You won't be sorry that you started.

The most recent one (linked here) was short and at first I wasn't applying it to my own life, but after sitting down and thinking about it for a while I really started to see how it applied to my life at this particular moment. She said that she had heard someone explain their experience with loss as, "a million dollar experience that I wouldn't pay five cents for." My first thought was,

Yeah. Losing something or someone sucks, but it's not something you can just push to the back and forget about. You have to deal with it before you can get over it. It takes up a lot of your time and energy so, it makes sense to call it a million dollar experience. And I probably wouldn't pay a penny to go through the experience of loss again, so that too is an apt way of looking at it.

It was that last part that made me stop. Again....

This past week I have been irritable, sad, and easily annoyed and I honestly couldn't tell you why. Everything made me upset and I felt like I just couldn't deal. I was worried that I was relapsing back into depression which of course made me more upset and anxious and irritable. But, I don't think I am. I'm really tired, yes, but I account that to the fact that it gets sunny at five in the morning and remains that way until eleven at night. I think, instead of relapsing back into depression and anxiety I just haven't dealt with my feelings of loss yet (which could have subsequently turned into a relapse).

I have a pretty good life most of the time. I really can't complain much. I have enough money for food and shelter and the occasional toy, I'm living in Scotland which I know makes a lot of people back home jealous, and I have my health...well I have that most of the time. At the moment I am dealing with a hurt foot and strained elbow. But I think it's fair to say that I've had my fair share of loss these past few months that I just haven't been dealing with.

First off was the loss of Indie. Indie was suppose to be the puppy I was going to raise for GDB UK. He was suppose to come into my home and life a month ago today. But, a few days after Indie was assigned to me I got news that my skin surgery has been moved up to just a few days after he was suppose to arrive and I knew dealing with an eight week old puppy, stitches, and pain wouldn't mix so I told my supervisor that I would have to wait until after my exams in June. As it turns out, my surgery didn't need stitches and while I was a little woozy for a day, there was no pain unless I leaned directly on my back where the scab was. I don't think I've fully dealt with this yet purely because I had been told I would have stitches and this caused me to turn Indie down. I think it's fair to say that I was angry, but finally admitting to myself that I was angry will hopefully help me get over it.

Second is the loss of puppy raising in general. Amy, Lisa, Marlene, and myself got the four bedroom house we were looking at. And, while I totally happy that we did, moving in there means that I have to give up puppy raising. Even though there was already a dog living in the house the landlord said he didn't want any pets of any kind and we wanted the house too much and couldn't find anywhere else so I really couldn't back out. Instead of focusing on the fact that I won't be welcoming a new puppy into my house in June I'm going to look on the positive side. I get to live with my friends next year, cheaper rent, a closer distance to Uni, and the landlord is allowing me to keep boarding which means that there may be a possibility later in the future for a puppy.

Finally, there is the loss of home. This is the big one. The other two have been slight annoyances, but this one, I think, is what is hitting me hard. I've been feeling it more this year than last year. I've been busy over the weekends so speaking to either set of my parents has been scattered. And I'm not as close to my friends from high school as I was nor am I nearly as close to the people in my puppy group. One of my really good friends won't be able to come home this summer break because he has a job now so I'm hoping I'll get to go and see him, but I know that my time in the states this summer is so short that it may not be possible. There have been so many changes in the puppy group and I feel so out of touch and...stranger-like. I know that sounds weird, but about half of the members don't really know me. All of this makes for a sad Erin. But, now that I know that's what's going on I can at least work on finding ways to hold on to a little piece of home.

I guess, really, the last thing I've lost is my dignity because I've been acting like a complete baby, bitch, cray-cray, etc, this past week. I wish I could turn back time and now what I do now. Then maybe I wouldn't have been such a chore. But I can't. The only thing I can do it make it better now.

And that's what brought me to my concluding thoughts on that phrase,

I'd pay the million dollars for the experience of loss. I'd do it in a heartbeat. Because, while it hurts for a long time, you are ultimately a better person when you come out of it. After it's all over you can step back and look at how you acted and handled it which can make you stronger and better at dealing the next time loss comes your way. Loss is imperative to life. You can't have one without the other. So yes, loss suck. But I don't think I would want to go through life without it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Weekly Debate

I know that this was suppose to go up on Wednesday, but my computer has been acting a little funny as of late and I wasn't able to post it up. Blogger has been acting up with so many different aspects, but I'm fairly certain it might be because my computer is about to die.

Anyway, this week's debate has to do with University. I have been asked many times why I chose to come to Scotland for University. I had, in fact, gotten into a few Universities in the states and it definitely would be easier to go home for breaks. The Universities weren't bad either. Wake Forest in North Carolina and Sarah Lawrence in New York were the two I was debating between before I got my acceptance letter from Aberdeen. As soon as I got that letter, I knew where I was going. So, why then did I choose Scotland so quickly and so easily?

Sexy Scottish men and their accents aside...seriously though, not only would going to Scotland be a great adventure (and trust me it has been!) it would also cost me much less in the way of tuition for very good education. I think I'll be spending about half as much on tuition here as I would have at Sarah Lawrence over the four years. And here, Scottish and English students do not pay tuition.

My question for you is:

Do you think there should be dramatic cuts to tuition so that even those who do not come from well off families have a chance a good education? Or should University be free?


Monday, May 7, 2012

Sunday Dinner: Sweet Red Bean Buns

I am very aware of the fact that it is Monday morning. I had a Psychology report to finish up last night, so that was at the top of my priorities list. I'm just taking a quick break (while letting my hair dry) before scuttling off to campus to turn it in and meet with my Psychology poster group (yes, they're still making us do posters). But on to this week's Sunday Dinner.

The dish for this week is Steamed Sweet Red Bean Buns. These are something that I have had since I was young, but never homemade.
Red Bean Buns
I was recently introduced to an Asian store that's very near the flat. I think the expression, "like a kid in a candy store", applies aptly to this situation. I was running around looking sushi nori and mochi and rice crackers and lots of frozen goodies. I even went a little overboard and bought a wok and steaming baskets. What you have to understand is even though I'm as white as a snowflake, my childhood food memories include Indian curries, pad Thai, sushi, and other such ethic foods you would expect a child of three to turn their nose up to. I don't actually ever remember stepping foot into a TGI Fridays or Applebee's until I started to drive and go out with friends who wanted to go to such places (and let me tell you, I was not impressed).

My dad travelled a lot when I was a kid so he and my mom almost made sure that their kids would turn their noses up to places like TGI Fridays and Applebee's. Not to mention the fact that two of my childhood friends were Japanese. And when I have attended a few youth Buddhist meetings back home I had a few Japanese ladies comment on my skinniness and shove two or three rice balls into my hands.

Anyway, I got the recipe from a very cool blog which is linked here. It's a very fun blog and I'm sure I'll probably try more recipes from here in the future.

Making these buns were really fun. I've always enjoyed making bread (it's a good stress reliever) and getting to attempt to crease the dough and form them into a bun was a real challenge, but a fun one. However, I don't think that I'll use the canned red (azuki) bean paste anymore. The stuff I got from the shop was not at all good so I'm finding it difficult to scarf down all of them. Next time I make them I'll probably make the paste myself (which may end up on Sunday Dinner in the future). I'll probably also make the buns a little smaller so they fit in my medium baskets better...and because the ones I have now are pretty darn big.

That's all for Sunday Dinner this week. If you have any recipes you'd like me to try please post them as a comment. I'll eventually get around to making any recipe that is given to me and put them all on Sunday Dinner.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Some New Blog Ideas

Well, I know that I've been absolutely horrible about updating lately. I feel like I've been busy, but at the same time I don't feel like I haven't done anything at all in the last few weeks. I guess it's just the feeling that I can get when it's close to exam time.

So, obviously, trying to condense my Psychology notes every week on here hasn't motivated me. I guess it's because this semester's Psychology sections haven't been too interesting. I won't lie and say that I'm not nervous about the Psychology exam, because I am. Very much so. But I'm doing the best I can with reserach and studying so I think I'll do alright. At least I hope I do better than last semester...oh dear, I just got worried again. *nervous face*

Anyway, I've been thinking about ways to update more often and I'm going to start two weekly posts. Both weekly posts have a little something to do with life as a college student. I haven't really been able to find something that is specifically geared toward being a college student in Scotland. I guess all college students around the world deal mostly with the same issues. How 'bout that huh?

The first is a tribute to something we use to do at home a while ago. I call it: Sunday Dinner. Here's what Sunday Dinner is all about. When I was home, before my dad and step mom got married, we would have a big dinner every Sunday. I don't exactly remember the reason it fell apart and I won't say that I wanted to go to all of them or that I enjoyed all of them. But, I enjoyed a majority of them. Over the two years I've been here in Scotland I've gotten a little bored with dinners. Why? Becuase I don't really know how to cook. I'm a fairly accomplished baker (though I'm still working on decorated and frosting and such) but I've never been all that interested in cooking. I guess my giant sweet tooth always pulled me toward baking cakes and cookies rather than soups and stews. But, I got so bored with salads and pasta that I wanted to learn to cook different and better things. So, every week I shall be cooking something new and posting pictures. I'll be making the food at some point during the week, but always posting on Sunday.

The second is a weekly debate. Nothing too wild and crazy, but I figure it might be nice to get some discussion going on this blog. College is the age where we all become set in our traditions and really start to be comfortable with who we are. What better way to celebrate our individuality and difference in opinions than asking some hard questions? I'm planning for these debates to be posted every Wednesday. You can chime in whenever you see fit and, if I get some good comments, I'll tell everyone my opinion on the following Wednesday before I announce the new debate.

Well, those are the two things that will be starting on this blog this blog in the next week. I'll post updates whenever something interesting happens. Speaking of interesting turns of events, I have some pretty interesting updates which I shall post about tomorrow afternoon.