Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Good news!

We have some good news- Sara has found work at the University of St Andrews! This is especially encouraging since we have been told that it is not uncommon to wait 6 months or more before finding work in this town. Currently the job is a full time, 3-month temporary position, but there is good reason to think that she will be able to move into something permanent before that time is up. It is very difficult to get a university job of any sort and starting as a temporary worker often enables one to "get a foot in the door" towards landing a regular job. The university prefers to hire from within and opportunities for advancement do not seem to be in short supply, especially for someone as talented and experienced as Sara.

Right now she is working in the admissions office in the department that handles extension studies and continuing education, generally for non-degree seeking students. If you're like me, when you heard that you thought, "oh, so these are the type of classes often taught at the local community college- you know: scrapbooking, pottery, intro to computers, auto repair for dummies, etc." Well, yes, these are classes open to the public and generally the student is not college aged. But the class topics taught are varied and many of them are way beyond what I would think the public appetite could handle. Some examples:

-Megalithic Mathematics and the Earliest Geometers in Scotland
-The Evolution of Joint Replacement Surgery
-A History Of Italian Culture And Society Through The Representation Of Food In Cinema And Literature
-Water Music - the Influence of Spas on Music
-The Use, Misuse and Abuse of Science in Advertising
-Birds for Beginners
-Scotland And America In The Seventeenth And Eighteenth Centuries
-Enjoying Jazz
-The Art Of Decorative Painting Techniques And Interior Design
-Enjoying The Countryside
-Monastic Life in the Middle Ages

Who takes Geology for fun? Apparently some Scots do. This actually points to something about the UK that I love: generally, academics are strongly emphasized. It’s not surprising at all for the bus driver to have a PhD in the philosophy of Spinoza. What a country.

In other news...

My friend Ian, the dog and I have been jogging in the morning several days a week and when its not raining the sunrises are spectacular. I brought my camera along recently and took some shots, but they don't really do justice to how amazing it is to be on this beach in the morning. Interestingly, the area of exposed sand on the beach is extremely large during low tide and very small at high tide. The distance from water to solid land ranges from several football fields at low tide to about 30 ft or so at high tide. This vast difference between the tides is created by a very gradually sloping beach and because we are so far north, where the moon affects tides more dramatically. Here the vertical water level changes approx. 14 ft between tides; compare this with the 2 ft vertical difference in North Carolina. All this makes for a fantastic morning jog!

Finally, in the nearby metro area of Dundee there is an "America" resturant. Fast Eddies claims to be the home of the hamburger, but I'm skeptical. We found the American stereotypes amusing but not enough to actually eat there- you see, Fast Eddies isn't purely authentic American food. They didn't have cheap prices or large portion sizes, and if there's anything distinctively American about our cuisine it’s that it is cheap, low quality and you get way more of it than you should eat in one sitting. U-S-A! U-S-A!