Friday, June 17, 2011

Cowgirl Up

I arrived back in the USA on Wednesday afternoon and since arriving it's been a whirlwind. One of the main reason's for my trip home is to celebrate my friend Christina's wedding this Saturday. Last night was her bachelorette party, and because CB is a Texas native the theme was Cowgirl Up. All of CB's friends showed up in full cowgirl attire to celebrate her last few nights as a single lady.



I was so excited to see all of my old friends. I started the night at my friend Sarah's new apartment with our good friend Amy. Our reunion was much needed, and it was fun to hear all the exciting details that have been going on in their lives since I left last September. We are all excited because next March Sarah will be the next one to tie the knot! These two ladies are deeply missed from my every day life in Scotland, but I am loving the time we are getting to spend together while I am back in the USA. After we got our cowgirl outfits on we headed out to meet the rest of the group. Downtown Richmond hasn't changed a bit in the 10 months I have been away, and the reunion's continued. I loved seeing all of the close friends who are still living in RVA. 



Senske, Me, Adrian and Tamra


Ryan, Me, Debbie, Adrian and Sarah
Tamra and Me- My good friend from Ashland.

Ortie and I were just together this past May, so I felt so great to see her again! 


I was so happy to see my good friend Ryan. We have had so many great times in Ashland and Richmond, and especially at concerts! I missed going with her to the Wailers this past summer, but I know she rocked out for the two of us. 

Our guest of honor, Christina Brown, was ready to get her party on! She looked great in her cowgirl hat veil and was teaching us all how to country line dance! We are all so excited for the big day tomorrow! More to come from the USA. 


 Until next time, I will see you on the internet. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

MUSIC. DRINK. FOOD.

This past weekend was my last in Scotland until next month because I am off to the USA Wednesday morning. I must say, I do love living in Scotland, especially with fabulous weekends like this past one. It was extra fun because the German was in town for a visit, and the burgh definitely delivered a good times as always. I was so glad that I got a chance to get together with my friends and the German before my big trip to the good ole US of A! 


First stop for the weekend was our favorite spot in town- Finnegan's Wake. One of my favorite bands was playing that night, Big Tuna, and we enjoyed rocking out to some great music. 


Anna, Lynsey and Me

 It's always a great night when the volleyball girls are out in the Burgh! 

Some people have signature dance moves, and the German rocked out his crab dance with the ladies. Walk it out! 

Sunday we decided to take the train to Glasgow for the day. I have only been there twice since moving here and haven't done too much exploring.  I will take any opportunity to take the train, and after a quick 45 minute ride we arrived in the center of town.  The German had heard about this rock and roll pub in the city central, so of course we had to check it out. Solid Rock Cafe is a bit like a Hard Rock, with music memorabilia on the walls. I was excited for the Rolling Stones pinball machine  and would love to have one of these some day! 




After checking out a used record shop and the solid rock cafe, it was time for lunch. We went to a traditional pub near Grand Central Station called Mcsorley's. The food was outstanding and I recommend checking it out if you are in Glasgow. It was a lovely day for a Guinness! 
After lunch the sun came out, and since this is rare for Scotland we took full advantage of enjoying the good weather. The German tried to perfect his jumping shots, and after many attempts we captured him catching some major air. 


And then he showed me his football skills. He may be able to beat me at football, but I think I will teach him a thing or two about basketball and volleyball. 


Walking through the Glasgow Greens Park we discovered an amazing building, the People's Palace. It was opened in the 1800's and now is a museum and glass greenhouse. The park had a lot of interesting architectural discoveries and is a great gem in the heart of Glasgow. Be sure to meander through the park if you're in town.  

The entire weekend I had been enjoying all that Deutschland has to offer because the German brought me bratwurst, german mustard, and riesling from his hometown. After the Glasgow Greens we made our way to West Beer Brewery and this was a major highlight of the day for us not only because was it a german brewery, but they had german food. The German was skeptical about ordering german food in Scotland however, he did think the wiener schnitzel tasted pretty authentic. I developed a love for wiener schnitzel when I was living in Austria back in 2006, and can't wait to have some when I visit Germany this August! 

Lovely Day for a Hefeweizen!

 I definitely got my fix of Scotland this weekend. Good friends, good music, good drink, and good food. Next on the agenda is the USA!

 Until next time, I will see you on the internet. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is June 10th and is a very special day because my Dad is celebrating his birthday back at home in the USA! It's been 10 months since I have been able to see him in person, but in just a few days we will reunite when I am home on my summer holiday. Today's Flashback Friday post is in honor of one of the greatest men I know, my Dad, Terry Thorne. For those of you who have had the privilege of spending time with my Dad in person, you know that he brings a fun loving spirit to any situation.  As far back as I can remember, my Dad has been a strong influence on my life and has helped me grow into the person I have become today. There have also been so many great memories I have of me and my Dad, and when I think back on my 27 years, I don't know what I would have done without him. 


Ter-Ter, as I often call him, is definitely a unique character, always leading by example. Growing up in my house was always an adventure with him, and one of his favorite quotes would be so say, "with dad you never know." This expression is legendary in the Thorne household, because my dad is the type of person to load us all into our motor home on New Years Eve to drive us up North on a spontaneous adventure, or surprise us with tickets to see the Indy 500. He is a jack of all trades, and is known as the man with the best lawn in Vienna. He can fix anything, from snowblowers to lawnmowers. If something has a small engine, it doesn't have a chance to stop working around this man. And did I mention he is a collector. Some people collect stamps, others collect books, my dad collects American Memorabilia ranging from antique cars, to neon clocks, jukeboxes, and coke a cola machines. I use to love it when he would come back from antique fairs, yard sales, auctions, or car shows, because it was always exciting to see what Dad brought home. It's funny because for the longest time, I thought that I was living like every other American child, but looking back now I realize my childhood was far from normal. Raised in a household with jukeboxes in every room, and big kid toys in the garage like our 1960 Chevrolet impala that my Dad would bring out on special occasions, I had the best childhood and am so lucky to have the parents I did. 



If you know me, you know that one thing I am an expert in is laughing. I love being around people who make me laugh and I love making people laugh. This is definitely a Thorne trait, and my dad is the expert of making people laugh. Don't ever challenge him in the Laughing Game, because you will loose. No matter how many times I have challenged him and lost in the past, I will forever try to beat him at his own game. Another thing my dad is the master at is music knowledge and trivia. I remember when I was really little I would get dragged along to record stores, and would see him searching for albums to add to one of our 8 jukeboxes. Another about me is I am a bit obsessed with music. My dad is the reason why, and the knowledge about music he passed onto me will be one of the greatest gifts he could have ever given me. 

My Dad has always been there for me during special milestones in my life. Dad- remember the time when the Vienna Magic beat the undefeated Chanitlly Lace in basketball. I will never forget you running onto the court with your hands in the air cheering to celebrate the victory with me. And the hundreds of other basketball and volleyball games you attended, pushing me to be the best from the sideline. No matter if it was a win or a loss, good game or bad, my dad was always there supporting me.  One of the proudest days for me was graduating from Virginia Tech, and even though there was a snow blizzard a few days before, my Dad was determined to get the family to Blacksburg to watch me walk across the stage to accept my diploma. 


 Always up for an adventure, my Dad is crazy at times just like me. The picture below was taken on Christmas Day 2007. What family spends Christmas 4 wheeling in Mexico- the Thorne's do!  

I have mentioned my family owns a motor home. My dad has driven us all over the USA- 42 states to be exact. From the Southern most point in Key West, to the Grand Canyon, to Niagara Falls, my dad is a machine behind the wheel. We have so many fun stories from our road trips across the USA. I loved going to sleep and waking up each day in a new city, town, or State. Again, looking back, I can't believe that I had the privilege of seeing America. My parents are amazing, and I can't say it enough!  One year my dad took me and my friends on a wine tour of Virginia in the motor home for my birthday. All I can say is we were thankful for 1.  a designated driver and 2.  an on board bathroom. The thousands of miles he has driven in that motor home and the memories we made on those trips will stay with me forever. 


Another thing about my amazing Dad is that he is a Harley Man. I started riding with him at three years old. He would sit me in front of him in his lap and take me on cruises around the neighbourhood. There is nothing like riding on a Harley. Even though I love Harley's they are too bad for me, so I decided to get a vespa when I got my first real job. And guess who was there to teach me how to ride it? Thankfully my Dad has been blessed with a lot of patience, and he worked with me until I felt comfortable enough to hit the open road. 

I could go on forever about how amazing my Dad is, and hopefully from this post those of you who haven't met him will now see how lucky I am to have him as my Dad. So Ter-Ter I wish you nothing but love and happiness on your birthday! I can't wait to see you next week- and be prepared to loose at the laughing game. 



Ocean City ,Maryland

St. Marteen 2005 


 Until next time, I will see you on the internet! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Born in the USA

I can't believe that I am writing this, but next Wednesday I will be boarding a plane and heading back to the USA for a 2 week holiday. After 10 months of being away from family and friends, I will set foot in my home country and I must say, I super excited about it. I can't believe that my first academic year at the University of Edinburgh is over, and the past 10 months have been such an amazing ride.  I have been avoiding thinking about my USA trip, to prevent from getting too excited too early, but with less than a week to go the count down is officially on! When you leave your comfort zone, and all of the people who have been there for you your entire life, getting the chance to return, even if only briefly, is a true gift. I am so thankful I will spend time with friends and family next week. But not only am I excited about friends and family, let's be real people, I am excited about the food! Americans overindulge in their culinary achievements, and when I am home I intend on taking full advantage of enjoying some of my favorite places to eat. 


My flight arrives in the States at 2pm and I have already instructed my dad that we are to drive driectly to one of my favorite places in the world The Vienna Inn. Americans love the hot dog. And this is one American tradition my family and I love to embrace. You can tell a lot about someone based on what they put on their dogs. Some people are safe, and just do the traditional ketchup and mustard. Others are crazy, dressing their dogs with jalapenos and exotic fixings. But when I am at the VI, I order my dog with chili, cheese, and mustard. And if you are ever at the Vienna Inn- order your dogs ''all the way''. The waitress will know what you mean and you won't be disappointed. 



I will only be in Vienna for 1 night before heading down to Richmond for my friend Christina's wedding. I am not only looking forward to seeing all of my old RVA friends, and making a stop at Randolph-Macon College, but I can't wait to eat at one of my top 5 restaurants of all time, Sticky Rice. This is one of those dive hole in the wall places with the best food. I was a weekly regular at this place, and my order never changed in 3 years. One bucket of tots with an order of sticky balls and godzirra. Sticky balls are one of their signature dishes, and as you can see from the picture they are bit messy. I will never forget my first time eating a sticky ball. I asked my friend Adrian "what's in it" and she responded "just eat it, you will not regret it." It was like an explosion of flavor in my mouth and one of the most delicious things I had ever tasted.  Just thinking about eating there next week makes my mouth water.  


After the weekend in RVA I head back to Virginia to spend some time with family and friends until my friend Lynsey meets me in the USA. From there we head to Baltimore to see U2 with my brother. Before the show we have reservations at a great place in little Italy called Sabatino's. My parents have been taking my brother and I here since we were kids, and it is some of the best Italian food on the east coast. I am sure it will be a great way to start the evening in Baltimore. The next morning it's back to VA to see Peter Frampton at Wolftrap , and my mom is preparing a full American picnic for the show. Two concerts in two days with family and friends from all over the world, words cannot express my excitement! 


I may be excited about all of my favortie restaurants, but ladies and gentleman, the best restaurant of all is at 9900 Vale Road. Nothing beats my mom, MMT's, home cooked meals. Whether it's home-made crab cakes, eggs benedict, or her signature spaghetti, if MMT is cooking it, I am eating it! And the best is when my dad and her combine forces to grill out meat and we then we eat all the typical American BBQ foods including pasta salad, corn on the cobb, deviled eggs, fruit salads, hot dogs and hamburgers. I don't think I realized how much I missed this American past time of grilling out with family, but I know it will be so amazing when we get to do it next week! 


After a week in Virginia we are heading to the beach house in Ocean City, Maryland, the beach I have been going to for 27 years. Here we will spend the week doing all the typical American beach activities that include playing corn hole, boogie boarding, riding beach cruisers, eating fresh crabs, go cart racing, eating at Anthony's, soaking up the sun, enjoying nights out at Seacrets, and riding rides on the board walk. Since it's expected to be close to 100 degrees I am going to pack plenty of sun screen and aloe vera!

One week to go and this ex-pat is back on her home turf. Get ready 703 and 804, this American girl's coming home! Virginia is for Lovers! 
Until next time, I will see you on the internet.