To Settle

2013-04-05 Candlelit

My Aunt Katie and cousin Erin are here from Berkeley, CA. Erin’s first visit to Scotland, and Katie’s first time back in a couple decades. We’re loving having them here already. I put out the candles for dinner, but at the beginning of dinnertime the candlelight was indiscernable because the sunlight was too strong. It makes me realize how much I have relied on candles to lead me through the winter months, and that – for a good stretch of upcoming seasons – it may not be necessary anymore.


After dinner, we played Settlers of Catan, rushing the rules slightly because it’s such an experiential game that it’s almost necessary to learn on the go. My brother introduced us to this game a few years ago, and bought us a set for Christmas. Since my cousin Rob’s visit, we haven’t had anyone to play with, and I just thought of it the other day, wishing for another chance to bring it out.

2013-04-05 Catan

Aunt Katie and Erin playing Catan

Upon reading the Wikipedia page about the game, I see that it’s classed as “one of the first German-style board games to achieve popularity outside of Europe.” This led to a brief discussion as to what constitutes a “German-style board game”. One more click on the internet, and:

German-style board game, also referred to as a German gameEuro game or Euro-style game, is a class of tabletop games that generally have simple rules, short to medium playing times, indirect player interaction, and abstract physical components. Such games emphasize strategy, downplay luck and conflict, lean towards economic rather than military themes, and usually keep all the players in the game until it ends. German-style games are sometimes contrasted with American-style games, which generally involve more luck, conflict, and drama.

And there we have it.


Set•tle |’setl|

1 [with obj.] resolve or reach an agreement about.

  • end by mutual agreement.
  • determine; decide on.
  • pay (a debt or account).
  • dated silence by some means.

2 [no obj.] adopt a more steady or secure style of life, esp in a permanent job and home.

  • begin to feel comfortable or established in a new home, situation, or job.
  • turn one’s attention to; apply oneself to.
  • become or make calmer or quieter.

3 [no obj.] sit or come to rest in a comfortable position.

  • move or adjust something so that it rests securely.
  • fall or come down onto a surface.
  • gradually sink down under its or their own weight.



“Love is knowing when to use grace, when to be humble.  Love is struggling through together and delighting on the other side.”
“Love is the molecules that keep everything sticking together. But because it gets so sticky it’s also complicated. It’s connective tissue that sometimes needs to be repaired.”
“I guess the cool thing about love is that like expressions of any deep feeling, grief being the other one that comes to mind, is that there are as many ways of experiencing it as there are sentient beings.”


My cousin Tessa once told me that I sound like Aunt Katie when I speak. I’m interested by that, and I think it’s because we both hang in the space between accents. A lot of my family members who have grown up on both sides of the pond possess this: inflection? Lilt? Cadence of words? It reminds me of a poem I read a few years ago, and have loved ever since. Partially because the title is so clever, but mostly because it’s the story of my life. The fluency of being able to skip back and forth between vowel sounds and vocabulary, context, placement. It’s almost like a step before bilingualism, because they really are two different sets of a similarly-rooted language.

My Skittish Scottish Accent
by Annie Boutelle

Where do you hide? Why do you leap
away mid Atlantic and parachute

down to Iceland — did someone laugh,
or curse, or put you naked on a stage?

Och, no, the world adores a burr, “r”s
tumbling out, acrobats at the circus,

rowdy, manic with energy,
charging around Ardnamurchan.

And the “ch”s at the back of the throat,
“braw bricht moonlicht nicht the nicht”

— now there’s a lullaby! My Uncle
John abandoned Caledonia, married

a lass with a creamy Devon voice,
and each year his Scots accent swelled

operatically till he outpassed the entire
clan, even the Glaswegians. You move

in contrary direction, master of camouflage,
present as soon as there’s talk of haggis

or Loch Linnhe, but somewhere else
when poets gather. Come back. I miss

you. We could be brave together, skin
flushing purple in the absence of thistles.


Good night, T.


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