After those first few days of adjusting to a new location, Logan and I began to enjoy ourselves a little bit, and I finally started writing down some of the stuff we were doing for our kids’ sake (and our sake I guess). I actually used a little journal that one of my really good friends, Casey, got me for my birthday.
I don’t carry it around with me; I’ve just been writing a short little summary of what we did at the end of each day. It’s for blogging purposes too. Since I have five days’ worth of activities, I thought I’d just sum them up in one blog so I can start fresh.
We made our first trek to the beach and met Vicki, the cousin of a family friend in the U.S., who lives in Aberdeen with her husband who is in oil.
We ate lunch at the Sand Dollar Cafe, and I ate the most I had in five days–half a burger and two fries. It was pretty refreshing to talk to another American who knew where they were going in this place. She is also the most assertive and outgoing person I think I have ever met. Conversation came easily even though we were strangers five minutes before, and she immediately offered to spend the day with us and take us downtown to buy Logan a pay-as-you-go phone. After we navigated through Union Square, got the phone, and bought a blanket for our couch at T. K. Maxx (the same as T. J. Maxx in the States), we walked with her to her home a short way away. She invited us in, gave us a tour, and treated us like family. We talked and watched some TV, and before we left she loaded us up with provisions–throw pillows for our couch and bed, hangers, and hand towels.
She also attends the same church that we have been planning on going to, so that was a good coincidence.
It was cold and rainy. I wrote this about the shower: “I hate the shower–We have to crouch down to shampoo our hair and bathe because the stream of water is incredibly intense and takes up the whole shower. It sucks. I would give almost anything to use a big shower right now.” Also, the shower curtain gets sucked in with you and sticks to your body, so you are constantly fighting it and trying to get it to stay in one place. Water gets on the floor, etc.
We didn’t do a whole lot today because of the weather, but we did take a long walk around campus in the drizzling rain. Another new student who was German asked us where the front desk for Crombie Hall was, so we walked him over there. Logan said something about plane tickets costing “an arm and a leg,” and Daniel (the guy) thought it was a funny expression.
We went to the beach again today, and it was beautiful and sunny. I had fish and chips, and Logan had a jumbo hot dog. We spent a lot of time taking pictures, walking in the sand, people-watching and surfer-watching.
Afterwards, we noticed that there was an ASDA nearby, which is owned by Wal-Mart. It’s a lot smaller than the Wal-Mart Supercenters that we’re used to, but it’s a lot bigger than the Tesco Express where we’ve been buying groceries (which is the size of a small 7-Eleven with less elbow room). We got some more hangers and Oreos, blah blah blah, but then we found something LEGEN……wait for it……DARY! Yes, if you got the reference you would know that it was the fourth season of How I Met Your Mother, and we were almost done with the third. The best part? It was only £12, which is about $18. In the States it seems like you can’t find a season of a TV show for less than $30, and that’s the old or crappy ones.
Another important note: the grocery carts in Scotland are awesome, and Logan is in love with them. In the States, they drive pretty much like a car. The wheels go backward and forward, and the front ones rotate to go left or right. In Scotland, all four wheels rotate 360 degrees, so you can easily pull your cart to the side when letting someone pass instead of parallel-parking it. I don’t know if I’m explaining this well. We should probably do a video or something.
On the walk back, we took a shortcut over Broad Hill. It’s this big grassy knoll with stone steps going up and down it on either side, and at the top sit benches so you can take in the beautiful view. We could see the university, the beach, downtown, and the golf course for which Aberdeen is famous.
So, long story short, it was a peaceful and relaxing day. OH WAIT…except that the football (soccer) stadium is on our walk back to the flat. There was a game going on, and younger guys in jerseys almost got into a fight with some old (gray and balding) men in nice suits. For some reason, we saw a lot of older people who dressed up to go to the game. Anyway, they were yelling back and forth and walking toward each other with puffed-out chests like peacocks or something. Logan and I just kept walking and avoided eye contact. Apparently, Aberdeen has some of the most vicious soccer fans in the UK (or Europe?) and we didn’t want to find out how vicious.
Logan and I trekked to Gerrard Street Baptist Church in the rain for the 10:30 morning service, which was about a mile away. Everyone was incredibly kind and welcoming to us. In fact, they were more sensitive to newcomers than any church I’d ever attended, but I may have noticed it more because I WAS the new person. Regardless, we really enjoyed being in a Christian community and it put us at ease.
The service was basically the same as you would see in the States. They used a band rather than a piano and organ for worship, which was fine, and they still included one of mine and Logan’s favorite hymns “Be Thou My Vision.” They do expository preaching here, so there was a lot of scripture reading. Also, at the end of every service, everyone stays and has coffee/tea and cakes. This was especially good for us because we were (1) starving, and (2) needed to meet people.
For lunch we had chicken breasts and vegetables, and I wrote in the journal that it was the first time I’d felt truly full all week. It was true in several respects.
We had a tourist-y day today–we walked just down the road to St. Machar’s Cathedral. The plot of land has history as a place of worship dating back to 580 AD.
Part of the building we walked through had stood since the 15th century, and this ceiling was added in 1520:
My favorite part was this:
The churchyard around the cathedral was pretty cool too. We found gravestones from the 1400’s.
After touring St. Machar’s (which a cab driver told us is pronounced “Mack-ahrs” not “May-chars”…oops), we walked over to Seaton Park. It was a perfect day to walk through it because it was so sunny, so we really enjoyed seeing all the flowers, green meadows and the River Don. (Aberdeen has two rivers, River Dee and River Don. It reminded me of Tweedledee and Tweedledum, but when I made that joke no one laughed.)
Overall, it was a great day.
Getting out a bit to see the city has helped a lot with adjusting, and meeting new friends has made it even better. Continue to keep us in your prayers!