As promised I have finally managed to organize myself and will be posting every Friday for the next coming few weeks an installment of my adventure in Scotland last year. I plan to divide the six months up by location and activity and also to as much as possible follow a chronological order. To begin with I will be introducing Aberdeen, the part of Scotland I worked and lived in for the duration of my stay.
Post 1 – Settling into Scotland and embracing a temporary home away from home
Initially I arrived in Aberdeen and after hours of searching, possibly accidently entering someone else’s home, I found what would be my home for the first two weeks of my experience. The company I was employed by graciously allowed myself and four other students to stay in a beautiful old farmhouse on the grounds of the company. To be honest the company was in the absolute middle of nowhere, hidden mystically in the fields of expansive Scotland so staying ‘on site’ really meant site adjacent.
It was perfect however. It allowed me to bond with my colleagues, stranded in rural Aberdeenshire, without a car, TV or most of the time heat and internet. It was a character building few weeks but it defiantly made introduction to the country a lot easier and more gradual. One challenge I was presented with and incredibly caught off guard by was the snow. I know, I should have realized being that far north in Scotland there would be a chance but honesty the thought never crossed my mind. When I first arrived at the very end of March I arrived to snow, snow that progressively got heavier for about a week. I come from southern Ireland and if we ever, which is very rare get snow at all it is for one totally debilitating and we have no idea how to handle it and for another it never settles on the ground to any real quantifiable degree where I could actually appreciate it having brought real cold with it. In Scotland however I was cold and when the house lost heating, I was really cold. I love snow though and so was instantly caught up in the magic of it all much to the confusion of my numbed to its wonder colleges, true Scottish men and women, I on the other hand found myself constantly in awe of the power of the harsh weather of the country of extremes.
Staying in this farmhouse also provided much needed time for me to scout and procure my own accommodation for the remainder of the six months. For this my roommate and I chose to live in Aberdeen city. I will have to admit this decision was highly motivated by social and amenity factors at the expense and I mean that literally of reason. Aberdeen is incredibly expensive to rent in and indeed live but I don’t regret it for a moment, the experience of having my wonderful apartment in such an incredible city was worth the financial burden. My gorgeous apartment with its Victorian high ceilings, perfectly rustic/modern kitchen and vast communal garden was a dream. How I managed to find it and be blessed to live in it is still a mystery, located not a 10 minute walk from the main street in Aberdeen it was amazingly central yet also had a real quietness to the neighborhood, an inner city kind of calm I didn’t know could exist. The whole neighborhood had a real romanticism about it, perhaps partially due to the vast difference it visually had to anywhere I had been before and also possibly due to the situation I had found myself in of living abroad in such a special place. I definitely had to keep pinching myself early on.
Every morning I would walk out my door and only a short distance down the street I would stop at the same tree along the river and wait for my lift to work. It became a real ritual and meditative process. A time to collect my thoughts for the coming day, pull myself out of sleep mode I was always in at 7am and also glimpse the city I was so lucky to find myself living in. The summer for the most part was spectacularly sunny so mornings on the river bank were stunning. Occasionally the rain did appear but even still I loved those quiet minutes waiting by the river each day.
I hope you come along with me as we journey through Scotland. During the short time I spent there I definitely took every opportunity, maximized holiday time and weekends to travel high and low in this beautiful and unique country. I will do my best to show anyone who is willing Scotland through my eyes and from my experiences. I think it is impossible to put together something that would do Scotland justice as it is abundantly diverse and constantly changing. That was one thing that repeatedly stuck me, how often the light and the land changed and how persistent this country was to surprise. Everywhere I ventured inspired me in different ways, from humble small towns to towering time worn castles walking through the culture and atmosphere of Scotland, the life and mood of the place captivates every sense and takes you willing or not on a journey you don’t expect and didn’t realize you needed. I hope you travel with me as I try my best to translate all I saw, felt and learnt along the way. It was an incredibly busy time in my life, packed with travel, experience, personal growth and new discovery. As I piece this all together I’m even finding that writing things down is changing my perspective on the experience too so hopefully this will not only be interesting for you but enlightening for me. Today was a very simple, little introduction, a settling of the home base scene if you will, I’m eager to see what lies ahead and to share with you the adventures I had……….
To be continued!