Cheese Soufflés and Carol Singing

December 23, 2016

It’s under two months before I head to Cape Town! It feels like time is racing by and I’m trying to make the most of seeing friends, family and finishing up life in Edinburgh. I’ve been trying to prepare as best I can for what will be a complete change in February. What I hadn’t expected was preparing in itself has been full of new experiences. Some life-long skills, others not so much…. Here’s my top 6 new experiences – maybe you can relate to some of them, hopefully not Number 1!

1. I’ve been mistaken for a Russian boy.
My visa has been successful! Good news. And in spite of the following conversation:

Visa man: (looks me up and down, puzzled)
Me: Hi there..
Visa man: Are you sure you’re ticket 3055?
Me: (looks at ticket): Yes.
Visa man: I thought you were a boy
Me: (slightly offended). No, no I’m not.
Visa man: Right. Laurie is usually a boy’s name
Me: (not really sure how to answer that) Well….I’m afraid I’m a girl
Visa man: (looks at my surname) And I had thought you were Russian.
Me: Mancunian
Visa man: (smugly) I can tell that
Me: (not sure whether that’s positive or not). So about the visa…..

In the end, I must’ve defended my Ukrainian roots successfully because the visa came through in due course!

2. I learnt how to make cheese soufflé.

Some of you might remember the silent auction at my Afternoon Tea fundraiser. One of the prizes was a ‘come dine with me experience’ where me and my wonderful friends offered to cook a 3 course meal for someone. The pressure was on when someone I didn’t know won the prize, and when I made the horrible mistake of putting cheese soufflé on the menu having never made it before. Of course I was sensible and tested the cheese soufflé. It looked perfect. Please see photographic evidence. Of course, on the day, it looked like.. .a pancake. That had been squashed by an extra large, angry elephant. Fortunately, a bed of fluffy rocket can hide a multitude of sins…

All in all it was a pleasure to cook for Carolyn, her neighbours, and of course Catherine.

3. Carol singing is the best way to make money.
For  the Christmas Countdown fundraiser, we beavered away making crafts, building Christmas market huts (that rivaled the Princes Street ones), flyered up and down Morningside (even a 4 and 7 year old were put to work)….And then a spur-of-the-moment donation bucket for carol singing knocked up a tidy £100. From complete strangers. So if you’re ever trying to raise money, just count on some Christmas cheer and some falsetto from Geoff!


4. It is possible to squash the entire population of Edinburgh’s junk (sorry, unwanted items) into a Seat Ibiza.

The car boot sale was a new experience for me and I definitely improved my spacial awareness trying to fit a cot, a rocking horse and a helter skelter amongst about a million DVDs and books into the car. We managed! We also learnt that silver and gold ( sadly we didn’t have any) and diamanté shoes  (we had lots – not mine… ) sell the best at car boot sales 🙂


5. I reached a new height of forgetfulness.

Those of you that know me even just a little bit might know I’m very good at losing or forgetting things. This isn’t a good trait for becoming a savvy world traveller. Having travelled to the far away lands of London and Manchester in just the last month or so, I made a serious attempt to not make any errors. However somehow this resulted in me
– Get chased around Luton airport by a waitress for forgetting to pay for my meal
– Losing my boarding pass and ID
– Losing my return train ticket to Edinburgh for after Christmas before I even picked it up out of the self-collection machine (self-collection should have been the only hint I needed)
– Leaving my flat forgetting to shut my suitcase resulting in Christmas presents strewn across Calder Road underpass as I pegged it to the train station.

I can only get better by February, right?

6. Experienced some serious generosity.
It’s been a completely new experience for me receiving donations and support for my travels, and it’s been a big step of faith. But I’ve been continually surprised by the unexpected ways that God has provided, whether it’s from a random man off the street in Morningside who walked into the craft fair and gave me £20 and then walked out again, the massive amount of effort at the fundraisers my friends have put in, or you anonymous donors online that I would really like to thank but can’t ! 🙂 I am so grateful and really feel like I’m not on this journey alone!

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So, thanks to all you lovely people, I’m pretty much there with my fundraising target for the 5 months – it’s great to have the pressure off paying for my fees and flights shortly! If you would still like to support me, I am raising monthly support which will enable me to stay out after July – email me for bank details. For example this could be £10, £15 or £25 a month – whatever you feel able. If you’d prefer to give a one-off donation I can put this towards my monthly costs, cover other expenses, or use for practical supplies in the townships I’ll be working in – click here to donate online.

I will also be starting a newsletter soon which will be less rambling and hopefully more informative about my progress! If I don’t have your email address or you want to make sure, please let me know  – email me or leave a comment.


Finally, have a great Christmas, and if anyone wants a Russian boy to cook them a generous amount of cheese soufflé while carol singing forgetfully, I’m your girl….

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