My first few hours in Aberdeen were an experience at about 5 pm, and it was pitch black. I realized it will be something I have to get used to, as the northern Scots seem to experience about 7 ½ hours of daylight during these winter months. But it was quite the experience. After getting off the train and grabbing a taxi (and quickly figuring out speaking English did not mean I necessarily understood a Doric accent), I was driven through the city center to get to my housing. To see the main road all lit up from what seemed to be a general winter celebration was quite beautiful. And though I was very lost, I was excited to finally be here. And more than a bit jet lagged.
I have come to realize that this is my first true experience away from home by myself. I have travelled many places in my 20-year lifetime, but I have realized that there was always someone I was at least familiar with who joined me. I did not think I would experience homesickness, but goodness did it hit me like a brick wall. Though each coming day seems to get better, it is interesting how the smallest things – and even your own thoughts – can lead you to memories and feelings of home. The other international students have been very attentive to my homesickness. It seems that, as many of them are European, they are quite travelled, and so they conquered their homesickness a long time ago. They tell me it will get better, slowly but surely, and I am anticipating that day.
The first week was spent exploring Aberdeen. I have not made it outside the city yet, as plans to go explore have been made and cancelled due to weather. But what I want to share with you is the beach. Not being from a coastal city – or any city of this size at all – even the birds are new to me (and I must confess I have come to dislike seagulls, and the locals tell me they will take the food right out of your hands if you give them the chance). But it is obvious why this city has a rich maritime past.
I explored the maritime museum, and the people who lived here circa 8,000 years ago knew even then its value as a fishing-based location, though it has turned into an oil city in more recent years. The coast stretches for miles, and the clouds roll by low and fast. It is beautiful to see. In the center of the above picture there is a lighthouse. Living with a mother who has a love for lighthouses and all things sea-faring, I believe some of it has rubbed off on me, for I was very excited to see the lighthouse and thought of how much she would like to see it almost immediately.
School starts Monday. At the moment, I have Mondays off (not sure if that is a good or a bad thing at the moment), so I will be wandering around campus, checking out the library, and maybe heading to a dance class or something that will keep me busy.
Until next week!
The Fighting Scot in Scotland – Kelli Baxstrom