21 September, 2009

Aberdeen!!

Well, my first few days in the city that is to be my home for the next nine months have been quite the roller-coaster ride, in every imaginable manner.

First: weather. Apparently I lead a charmed life, because as of yet I have not experienced any truly horrible weather yet. But, this is Scotland, where you truly do get four seasons in one day. But sunglasses, an umbrella, and two jackets is more than I'm willing to carry.

...Mainly because everywhere you want to get around here, you walk. That's not even just a freshman or university thing, I don't think--everyone basically just walks. Everywhere.

My dorm/flat is situated on the top of a hill--hence "Hillhead"--about 20 minutes from the University of Aberdeen. The walk is beautiful now, as I walk through a perfectly manicured English Garden (part of a huge park called Seaton Park), the hauntingly beautiful St Machar's Cathedral, before meandering down a cobble-stoned, granite-lined, one-way street called The Chanonry (or Don Street if it's after dark)...but I imagine in winter all I'll want is a car.

Everything else--grocery stores, pubs, clubs, malls, the train station--are within walking distance...if you consider an hour's trek "walking distance." Since the bus fare is one pound 50 pence, I have come to consider a lot of things "walking distance." Church, for example: an hour away.

I attended a lovely service at The City Church somewhere at the center of town. The Christian Union here has put on a lot of wonderful services (general meaning here) for Freshers week so far, including "Church Walks" where groups of students will walk us dorm kids down to all the various churches. I think I'll try out a few places before deciding which one is right for me (though I'm not picky so long as Jesus is there). I plan on trying out a Roman Catholic and Scottish Episcopalian and Church of Scotland while I'm here, too (mainly because these have the older, nicer buildings).

The Christian Union is putting on lunches + talks/sermons all day this week, which are fabulous for feeding you inside and out. I'm also going with them this Saturday to visit Fraser Castle!!! I'm quite excited!

But I think I am getting ahead of myself:

Lindsay and I took the train up to Aberdeen on Saturday morning, where we were greeted and taken to the university by Aberdeen Student Association members (that was fantastic, as it saved us cab fare and stress). Checking into my flat was no problem, after which we did some exploring. Only after getting thoroughly lost (I still get lost on an intermittent basis) did we find the University (and only after I went with the church group did I learn the real shortcut).

I'm not quite sure what to make of Aberdeen so far--it's people and it's culture, I mean--obviously the city itself is beautiful (yes, even in the rain!). Everything shuts down on Sunday. I don't know whether I've encountered that anywhere before. The people are absolutely friendly, but perhaps not actively so. The city is small (250,000) but big enough to be a pain to walk. Streets are either bustling or completely empty. It's complicated.

Oh, and I've decided I hate freshmen. More than I ever have before because I've never had to deal with them before. I'm not rooming with any true freshman (one exchange student, a few who have skipped a few years before going to university), but there are freshers close enough to be obnoxious at night when my old bones are trying to rest. I've never felt like such a boring person in my life.

A full day tomorrow that begins at 9:30 AM with a brisk walk down to campus to register with a Doc (yay free health care I'm not paying for!), meet with my advisor (and get my classes!!!!!), register with the uni, get my ID card, and see if I can squeeze in a Teir 4 Visa Info meeting. Yay. The fun stuff is Wednesday: Society's Fayre (Roleplaying? Malt Whisky? Gilbert & Sullivan? Christian Union? History? Scottish Dance?) and, of course, the obligatory Ceilidh!

Thanks for sticking with me, and I hope this post finds you all happy and well!

--Megan






6 comments:

SP said...

Megan! It's Miranda! These pictures are INCREDIBLE and you sound like you're having tons of fun! Stay safe and keep updating!

Madison said...

Walking everywhere like that...at least you're going to have incredible leg muscles when you get back to all us lazy bum Americans! Closing down on Sunday is actually a pretty big thing along the Bible Belt here as well, it does that where I used to live in Arkansas. That is a good day for homework, or a long walk (but you seem to take a lot of those already on a daily basis), or finding somewhere zen and reading a book.

Glad you're having fun (and still incredibly jealous),
Madison

Anonymous said...

Megan!!!!!!! It's so pretty there! Sorry to hear about the long walks, but you could always get a bicycle (where a 20 minute walk is only a five minute ride), or maybe a discounted bus pass?? Anyhow go have a splendid time RIGHT NOW!!!! <3 Bethany

Anonymous said...

Megan, love the details--keep writing a lot! As you meet people, would you be so kind as to ask them about hiking (trekking?), fishing and golfing!! Love ya, Dad.

Seth said...

Megan, awesome blog! We've been following your adventures and it all sounds amazing. I'm guessing that once classes really get going you may not have as much time for blogging. Remember that we are always thinking about you and praying for you.

Seth

Megan Abrahamson said...

Thank you all for your warm comments, and I'm glad you're enjoying the blog/pictures. I miss you all so much and wish you were here with me!