Visiting the Kelpies, Falkirk, Scotland, August 2017.

Welcome to my blog!  I’m an American who has made her home in Scotland.  I grew up mainly in Portland, Oregon.  My professional background is academic:  I lectured in French and Women’s Studies.  After living in Connecticut and Illinois, my husband (an Irish-Ukranian Brit) and I came to Scotland in 1992.  I taught at the University of Aberdeen for 20 years.  I also had the opportunity to study Gaelic for four years, which I can speak with some degree of fluency.  In August 2013, we moved to Glasgow.

I’m blessed to have a great family.  My husband still makes me laugh after nearly 30 years of marriage.  Our children are both Scots.  Our (adopted) son is now grown up and lives in Edinburgh.  In my blog I call our (biological) daughter “the Dafter,” after her perfectly logical mispronunciation of the word “daughter” – like “laughter” – when she was learning to read.  Sadly she fell ill in August 2011 and developed severe ME/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  I’ve been her full-time carer for the past five years.  Very luckily we’re a close and happy family.  We enjoy each other’s company and are determined to be as positive as we can be.

When I began my blog, I had been publishing poems and short stories for several years in Scottish literary magazines and anthologies.  I was particularly interested in questions of identity, belonging, adoption, cultural differences, faith and parenting.  My writing life is currently on hold, but I hope someday to have the opportunity to write again.  I love singing, gardening, walking, Gaelic, knitting, and listening to Scottish accents.   Faith is an important part of my life, and I am an ordained Elder of the Church of Scotland.  (This does not mean, however, that I don’t still have many questions!)  Our sweet kitty Tilly died in April 2017 but we hope to be cat owners again soon.

For fellow members of Ravelry, my username is “tefighe” (pronounced chay-FEE-a) which is an approximation of “she who knits” in Gaelic.



  1. Dear Christine

    I’ve been asked by the Scottish Poetry Library to write teachers’ resources for the National Poetry Day postcards, including your ‘Building Vocabulary’. I’m including some biographical details, and wanted to check your place of birth – Wish I Was Here says San Francisco, Silver says Portland, Oregon. Rather than guess, and possibly extend an error, I thought I’d ask…

    Best wishes,

    Ken Cockburn

  2. Christine…thanks so much for letting me know about your latest project…you’re wonderful book. It looks fantastic, and I shall immendiately ask for it in every bookshop I enter. I shall also mention it on the dreaded Facebbook coz many of my Scottish/American/Norwegian friends would be very interested.
    Good luck with it, and see you soon

  3. Christine!
    Just found your Website. Didn’t realise you had such talents – you are far too modest! I’m sure I’ll get much pleasure in reading what you’ve done plus any future projects.

    Best Wishes

  4. Christine!

    ‘MAY'[!] you have lots of success and enjoyment from, and interest in, your latest project.

    All the best with the venture


  5. I came across your blog while looking for info about the knit camp at Stirling University. I clicked to read about your blog and see you wearing my favorite sweater, which I made myself. I am American too, love Scotland (made a 2 week trip to Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the Highlands in 2004), and love to knit! So much in common! I have added you to my list of blogs to read daily.

    • Dear Martha,
      Thanks so much for your comment. I hope you enjoy the blog – I try to post every 2 to 3 days. (My daughter, “the Dafter” says more than that is total overkill for my readers!) If you’re on Ravelry, I’m “tefighe”. I’d be curious to know which sweater is the one you’ve made as well!

  6. Please never ever stop writing Christine, it is a great gift that you share with the world 🙂 I loved the photos of the crocuses, btw, made me think of Seaton Park in the sunshine. Some very happy memories,

    love to all the family


    • Dear Tom,
      What a lovely thing to be told: “never ever stop writing”. I am often tempted, but simply can’t! I once read that the definition of a writer is: someone who can’t not write. I’m glad you liked the photos and have happy memories of Seaton Park. Thanks again for coming by and for your good wishes. Love to you and yours.

  7. Prof. Laennec:

    When discussing how engaged you felt when teaching, I am hoping that you remember your time teaching French at Illinois State University. As a student who struggled with learning a new language, I appreciated your passion and obvious enjoyment not only of French, but of your interaction with the students.

    I have many fond memories of my time at ISU. What I loved the most were the people there and the relationships I formed with other students and the faculty.

    Thank you for taking the time for us, your students.

    With Warmest Regards,

    Dan Wilkins, B.A., 1991

    • Dear Dan,
      What a kind, kind comment! Thank you so much – this is why people teach. Of course I remember I.S.U., and I remember your name as well. What struck me the most when we arrived there was that so many students would say, “Why did you come here from Yale? Why would you want to teach us?” I truthfully answered that I enjoyed the students’ sincerity and lack of pretension. I’m so glad that you have happy memories of your time there. I think what you say about the value of relationships with others is absolutely true. No-one can make anyone else learn a thing – we can only try to encourage one another. Wow, I’m having a flashback to being in downtown Normal! Thanks for coming by my blog. I hope life has treated you well in the interim.

  8. Hi Christine, my laptop is in the ICU at St. Best Buy. That means I don’t have your email address, please do send me a note, so I may reply, I have a question for you re: higher education in the UK from the son of a work colleague. All the best!

    -Bruce Anderson

  9. For the wonderful Writing from Scotland: I’ve just given you a Liebster Blog Award – http://lornastearoomdelights.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/dearest-blogs/

    My post is a bit all over the place but here’s the proper info you need to dish out some awards of your own:

    “Liebster is German and translates into English as “dearest” or ”favorite”. A Liebster Blog Award is given to talented bloggers who have less than 200 followers. So, in a way the award not only recognizes these bloggers as amazingly gifted in their own right but also as your very own personal favorites.”

    How to participate:
    Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
    Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
    Copy and paste the blog award on your blog.
    Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve to be noticed. (Some say just 3 or more blogs of less than 200 followers each)
    Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

  10. Lovely to meet you Christine, via your blog. Sending your “Dafter” my good thoughts and a very special Indian prayer. Keep well, stay happy.

    • Thank you Shona, and lovely to meet you too on your own blog! The Dafter will appreciate an Indian prayer. She amazed us once when we were visiting the Victoria & Albert museum and she was able to name the various Hindu dieties depicted by the statues we were walking past. She had studied them in school and knew all about them – but had never mentioned this!

  11. dear sister we bring greetings from india .

  12. Hi Christine, I just nominated you for the Illuminating Blogger Award: http://lornastearoomdelights.com/2012/07/09/awards-in-july/

  13. I stumbled upon this website as I am searching for a pen pal from Scotland. I to am from America. I would LOVE to visit and even dream of moving to Scotland. Scotland and Ireland have entranced me. I want to learn Gaelic and though having a pen pal would help me with that. Plus, I enjoy writing. I look forward to reading your work.

    • Dear Beth,

      Welcome to my wee corner of blogland! I hope you will find your pen-pal, and find ways to study Gaelic. There are lots of blogs about Scotland and Ireland in the meantime!

  14. Hi Christine, I nominated you for the Capture the Colour challenge because I know how much you appreciate colour and you take such lovely photos: http://lornastearoomdelights.com/2012/08/06/capture-the-colour/

    • Oh Lorna, that is very kind of you! I’m very chuffed. I didn’t know I enjoyed taking pictures until I started my blog. I’ll check out the challenge soon. Sounds like fun!

  15. Christine, My Patrick)’Brian friend Sara in the UK posted a bit on Facebook. I don’t know if you saw this or if you really want to more since I am sure you are very aware of all about ME you want to know. Sara says she developed ME in her fifties and counts herself fortunate that she has not been as severely affected as many young people but I think she still has her ups and downs with health issues.

    Anyway, here’s the link: If you are unfamiliar with this paper, let know me know and I’ll try to send a real link. It is:MAIL ONLINE and the columnist’s name is SANDRA POULTON. It is SANDRA POULTON’s BLOG and it appeared in the Friday, September 21, 2012 edition.



    • Dear Linda,
      Thanks very much for thinking of us. I’ve had a wee look around the Mail Online, and there is a columnist called Sonia Poulton and one called Sandra Parsons, but I can’t find any articles about ME. I’ll maybe look again another time. It certainly is a mysterious illness!

  16. Christine do you believe in 6% of separation ?. I really enjoyed your article and the stained glass window depicting Wordies Horses. My brother came across your blog and sent me the picture. Our Dad worked at Wordies in Belfast in Ireland from 1950 right till they closed in the 1960s. It was good of you to put that on the blog and it has brought back happy memories of Dad.
    I hope “the Dafter” is keeping well. God bless her.
    Thank you Rob

    • Dear Rob,
      I certainly have experienced remarkable “coincidences” and synchronicities in my life, so I know what you mean. I’m so glad you liked the post about Wordies. I hadn’t realised they were in Belfast as well as Scotland. I’m glad it brought happy memories back.
      Thanks also for your good wishes to the Dafter. Very good wishes from our family to you as well!

  17. Christine, so sorry to read about your daughter’s illness. Was just wondering where you lived before Scotland and decide to ramble over to your “About” page to get the scoop. What an interesting life you’ve led!

    • Hi Kathy! Thanks for that. Yes, I have been very blessed with an interesting life. The Dafter and I consider that her illness is part of the journey for both of us. She says that it’s much more interesting to take a winding road rather than a dead straight one. Having lived in the grid of central Illinois, I know she’s right. I would drive miles out of my way to find a non-straight road!

  18. I have been reading youre Blog for a while and find youre writing excellent, uplifting and youre love and devotion to youre family divine.Prayers for you all

    • Dear Karen, thank you for such kind words. I’m so glad you enjoy reading my blog. Thank you very much for your prayers also.

  19. Dear Professor Laennec,

    My name is Jeff Richards, and I am a Christine de Pizan scholar (I translated the Cité des Dames over thirty years ago). I would very much like to contact you about the Livre des fais d’armes et de chevalerie, but not here on your very lovely blog – it is very much academic nuts and bolts.
    Could you please contact me at e.j.richards@live.com ?
    Cordially yours,
    Jeff Richards

  20. Wishing you a very happy birthday, Christine, (long overdue letter now in the post to you) x

    • Thanks so much, Tom! I had a really good birthday. Older but no wiser! Looking forward to hearing from you. X

  21. Hi Christine
    A Chairdean
    I read your poem “Building Vocabulary’ on a Scottish Poetry Library card . The poem meant a lot to me a struggling gaelic learner , in search of my own Scottish and Irish gaelic roots. The sentiment expressed reflects my own feelings about the language and i have tried to express this in my photographs. I know this sounds corny but it captures the alienation I feel and see around me in Scotland as we rapidly distance ourselves from our culture , our landscape and as a consequence lose confidence and self belief. More importantly it expresses the hope and comfort that the language offers
    I have been asked to exhibit my pictures on an American non profit making site “No Heart without language at http://www.nhwl.org. The purpose is to promote Celtic Culture and through art .
    I would like to quote your short poem as part of my descriptor for my work as I believe it says it better than I could ever hope to, (thats why photography is my means of expression). I would fully understand and would not use your poem without permission and would credit you as the author and I would be honoured if you were to use one of my pictures.
    Moran taing

    • John a charaid, Thanks very much for your kind appreciation of my poem. I would be more than happy for you to quote it on the “No Heart Without Language” site, which looks interesting. Your photographs are so varied and expressive. Obviously you have an affinity for landscapes but I really like the portrait of Aonghas as well. Let me know when your photo (and possibly my poem?) are up on the NHWL website. Leis a h-uile deagh dhùrachd, Christine

  22. Christine a
    Firstly for letting me quote your poem on the site , but also for the kind words on my pictures, Aonghas is my Dad’s brother and I caught him in a thoughtful mood. I will let you know when its up on the site I believe Trey the curator of the site is targeting March.
    Moran taing
    Iain Macfhearguis


  23. Hello, Christine. It’s Sally Blackledge from Aberdeen. I’ve been enjoying following your journey intermittently for a while. Of course, I’m interested in the progress Dafter has been making (and it’s good to see that progress), but also, as a fellow knitter and gardener, I look in from time to time to see what’s on the stocks. Keep flourishing,

    Sally Blackledge

    • Lovely to hear from you! We are presuming you are THE Mrs. Blackledge of Aberdeen. The Dafter says hello, as do I. Thanks so much for your good wishes. See you in blogland!

  24. Hello, Christine.
    I’m visiting Glasgow this summer and accidentally discover your blog while finding information of Willow Tea Rooms. Thank you for sharing your experience! It’s really helpful. Still, I ‘d like to ask you which tea room is maybe a bit more worth-visiting, the Sauchiehall Street or the Buchanan Street? Thanks again and keep on the good work!

    • Dear Stormy,
      Thank you for your kind words. I’m glad you’ve found my posts helpful. If you are really keen on CRM, I would say go to the Sauchiehall Street tearoom, because they have an exhibition on the top floor (I believe permanent? check their website though), and also a large gift shop. If you want to sit in the sun amongst tall CRM chairs, go to the shop on Buchanan Street. They have a gift shop area as well, but smaller than the one on Sauchiehall Street. The two are pretty close together, 10 minutes’ walk between them, so you could go to one and swing by the other if you had time. I hope that helps!

  25. Hi Christine

    Sorry I sent my message below, I thought it would send privately so please feel free to remove.

    Warmest regards


    • Dear Olivia,
      Lovely to have all your news. I’ve copied your message and taken it off here now. Will share it with Michael. A Merry Christmas to you and all the best for 2017. My email address is in the sidebar of my blog, so do please be in touch there, when you have a moment, so I will have your email address. love from us, C. X

  26. I’ve just discovered your site, and then you stopped posting…

    • Sorry Anna – feel free to browse the extensive archive!

  27. Dear Christine! Thank you for the history you wrote about ditty wells. I’m currently living on the property directly behind ditty wells fire station, which was sold to Calfire, and was once apart of Ditty Wells Ranch, where I reside. I was interested in any pictures or photo albums you might have of the property(you call Flintlock Inn, Ingot). Do you have your pictures consolidated on a disc or usb drive? If so, can i purchase a copy? I just wanted to know what the old buildings looked like and where they stood. Also, if the landscape has changed a lot? Do you know anything about natives living around the Flintlock Inn? Do you have a picture of the actual Flintlock Inn? Did it burn down or was it destroyed? Sorry for all the questions, I’m sure a few pictures would clear up my mind…like they always say: “a picture speaks a thousand words”! Thanks again for your wonderful family history account of Ditty Wells. Much love and many blessings, Amy

    • Dear Amy, I have emailed you a reply! Best wishes, Christine

  28. Dear Christine…I’m trying to find someone who can help me decide if I have what it takes to move to Scotland… This morning I thought about your blog. you can email me at meggieontheprairie@gmail.com… I would love to hear from you.

  29. Your writings are fantastic and inspiring.
    Bishop Philipos Mar Stephanos

    • Thank you very much, Bishop Stephanos! Lovely to hear from you. I will soon be taking down my blog, but I hope we can stay in touch. I send you all good wishes! Christine

  30. Hallo Christine,
    I edit the Newsletter for the Early Music Forum of Scotland, and would love to include material from your three blogs on the SPC weekend on Iona in summer this year (2017). Would you be willing to allow me to do that – of course I would cite your name and website, and any other details that you’d want me to give. I would also want to send you copy for your approval before I distributed it to EMFS members. Thanks in anticipation. Sue Owen (sue@emfscotland.org.uk).

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