Aberdeen

Aberdeen: Our first week and first impressions

We are now Aberdeen residents.  And if you’ve been following, you’ll know I wasn’t too excited for this move.  It’s the sacrifice we’ve made to live and move around with David’s company.  We didn’t exactly have a choice in the matter and we couldn’t say ‘no.’  So here we are and we just have to make the most of it.

After our long journey by train to get from Paris to Aberdeen, we were exhausted.  The reason we couldn’t take a plane was because of our cat.  No airlines would accept pets in the cabin nor in the hold.  It was either ship her via a pet relocation/cargo company or take the train.  We opted for the latter.

The long journey plus change in food habits, lack of exercise and sunshine and the new (drab) surroundings, just put us into a funk.  We tried to get out and about but we mulled around our temporary apartment about half the time.  We lacked motivation and energy.

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Apartment Hunting

We immediately went apartment hunting on Friday (and then again on Monday) with the relocation agent.  We saw a few places but didn’t like our chances of finding a place immediately.  Most flats/apartments come fully furnished. Since we have all our furniture coming from Paris, this limited our options. Plus the fact most apartments don’t accept pets.  (Really, why is the UK hating on pets?!?)  In the end, we found a place and although it has it’s quirks, it’ll do.  We should be moving in next weekend.  Watch out for an update on how that goes.

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Grocery Shopping

I’m slightly embarrassed to say that within 5 days of moving here, we’ve been to the grocery stores about 10 times.  Half those times were scoping missions: just a walk through to see what’s on offer.  I was overwhelmed and excited by the large Costco and ASDA stores.  ASDA is basically Wal-Mart with the same branding and look.  Walking through these two, I would have guessed I was back in Edmonton.  We bought some delicious pre-made meals from ASDA and went to Costco to load up on a week’s worth of groceries.  The plan is to go back to our old ways of grocery shopping once a week.  I’m a little rusty on meal planning for the whole week but I’ll get used to it again.  We also checked out the local Sainsbury’s and Co-Op.   I’m thrilled to have so many more food options here than in Paris.  For example: ground turkey and pork, pre-cut sweet potatoes and vegetable zoodles, and large formats.  Plus most things are cheaper.

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The Weather

Part of the reason I was not excited about moving here was the weather.  I may have survived -30C winters in Edmonton but at least we got to enjoy 30C summer days.  Although the winter is milder here, so is the summer.  We’ve been in jeans and light jackets the whole week.  It’s been cloudy and overcast about 75%.  And there’s been a few downpours and a day where it rained like 5 separate times.   With average temperatures barely cresting 20C in the summer, I know we’ll be searching for heat and sunshine come vacation time.  I have to admit, this past week, it’s gotten me down.  However, there have been some sunny spells which we took advantage of but going for runs.  And this is a good habit to start as it seems sunny days are few and far between.

Driving

The car rental company came to pick us up the morning after our arrival.  It was only when we got to their counter that David realized he forgot his licence.  So without warning,  I had to rent the car and navigate driving on the other side of the road.  I got the hang of it but I was happy to return immediately to the car rental place so he could get on the rental agreement.   He’ll buy a car for his commute to work but I’ll be holding off as long as I can.  I hope to rely on buses, walking and perhaps even biking (yes, despite the weather).

Transport

Speaking of buses… I’m not impressed.  I was shocked at how expensive they are.  2.30 for a single trip.  Which means if I have to connect and catch a second bus, I have to pay a second fare!  Daily all-you-can-ride pass is 4 pounds and that’s still expensive to me.  Also, there are two different bus companies that operate in the city.  They share some of the same stops.  But if you buy a ticket or bus pass from one company, you can’t use it on the other.  The more I think about it, the more buying a bike seems like the best option.

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Crossfit

We just had to try Crossfit Aberdeen, the only Crossfit gym in Aberdeen.  So we’re pretty lucky that the coach was awesome and the people were very friendly.  After a long hiatus this past month, the workout pretty much killed me.  Even though I felt great during the 105 wall-balls and 52 pull-ups, it took me 5 days to straighten my arms again and feel normal.   I had the luxury of coaching Crossfit in Paris and had my membership comped.  It wont’ be the same here, so we’ll have to learn how to budget for this new expense.  It’s quite expensive but we know it’s worth the investment.

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Strolling the City

While David was at work, I took the (expensive) bus about 7 stops into the city centre and explored a little.  All I can say is this city is really grey… all the buildings blend into the ground.  When it’s rainy, it all blends into the sky.  There’s no denying it.  But it’s not completely void of charm.  It’s my mission to go out and share the beauty that exists in Aberdeen and the surrounding areas.

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It’ll be a challenge to grow to love Aberdeen.  I know that once we move into our place, start making friends and establish a routine, things will look up.  Paris has taught me to take advantage and make the most of any situation, seek out the opportunities and to never be bored.

It’ll be more of a struggle here to do all that but I’m ready for it.

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  • the photos are actually nice. I know it’s not Paris but I’m sure you’l manage to find some beauty:)

  • Oui In France

    I can’t even imagine what it feels like to move somewhere you have no say over, but looks like you’ve gotten a good feel for Aberdeen and the best part for me would be that there’s a Crossfit! You’re not out in the sticks somewhere so that’s a plus even if it is a little gray. I hope the summer weather surprises you 😉

    • We’re slowly discovering the positive side of things and yes, the Crossfit gym is a saving grace. Super pumped that everyone there is great and we’ve already made friends to hang out with. It is gray, so I will be stocking up on Vitamin D pills! As for the summer weather …haha… i think it’s passed. People have said May & June are nicer here and were better than July. Anyway we’ll see, weather across the world this year has seemed all over the place so you never know.

  • It’s going to be totally different than Paris, but Scotland is beautiful – the natural beauty around Aberdeen is simply breathtaking. The people are incredibly kind as well. Looking forward to reading what you think!

    • Hi Laura! Thanks… there is no comparison and each have their own beauty and charm. We are looking forward to exploring more of Scotland. And with a car, it’ll be easier than ever to go exploring on the weekends.

  • paula hunter

    Have you seen the film, “Bienvenue Chez les CH’TIS”? It’s about a French postal worker who wants a posting in Provence but through a series of mishaps, ends up inPas de Calais. Dany Boon tells him that he will cry twice – once when he arrives and once when he leaves. I wish you 2 cries! I saw it on a flight and laughed and laughed!

    • Oh I’ll have to look it up. We’ve seen some great French comedies. And it’s a great way to keep up with my French.
      That’s very sweet way of putting… I’m sure I’ll have my second cry when I leave here. I cry all the the time! lol. When I left Australia after my 6 month exchange, I was all by myself crying on the airplane as we took off. A stranger next to me asked why I was crying. He has no sympathy and said to get over it… hahah. I was immediately embarrassed.

  • I’ll be checking this space over the next bit … as a big House Hunters International fan I’m extremely curious about the quirks you mentioned! Sounds like you’re settling in. If your pictures are anything to go by, I think you may end up finding loads of things to love about the place. Best of luck with the rest of the move.

  • You sound very optimistic. 🙂 We have a bird so we also have lots of restrictions on traveling. Best of luck with the new place, and the weather!

    • Thank you! I trying to be. Although it’s fun to complain sometimes, I couldn’t stand being negative all the time… if that was the case then we might as well just go back home to Canada 😛 We’ll be here for a relatively short amount of time so might as well make the most of it. Thanks for reading.

  • Enjoy and welcome in Aberdeen! Today weather is not great but I am sure you will still be able to catch some sun! If you want to grab a coffee, just let me know!

    Iga Berry

    • Thank you for the warm welcome! Would love to jump in on an Aberdeen blogger meet up and meet everyone. So far everyone is so friendly and welcoming 🙂 And that definitely makes the transition easier

      • Definitely! Check out #abzchat on Wednesdays evenings, I believe it’s 8pm.

  • Wait til you visit all the castles, the hills and the countryside! Aberdeenshire ain’t so bad! Give me a shout if you need someone to explore with 🙂

    Christy X
    http://www.dinnerstories.co.uk

    • Thanks Christy! Hope to meet you soon. We’ve already explored a bit and it’s marvellous. I’m working on my Scotland bucket list.

  • Chris Bennett-Taylor

    Loving your blog. I’ve just moved back to Aberdeen from Singapore in the last few weeks. Fortunately being Aberdonian I am aware that the place is not completely devoid of charm… it just takes a while to find sometimes. Hope you both settle in and start to enjoy life here ????

    • Hi Chris thanks for the comment. Singapore to Aberdeen is quite the change! We are settling in very nicely 🙂

  • MissLilly

    I love Scotland overall but I have to admit the weather would be a killer. London was already quite a change for me considering I’m from south Portugal and I’m used for more than 300 days of sun. But the truth is after a while you get used to the gloomy days and start to enjoy the things around you. What I did notice is that people were a lot nicer and more open in Scotland than in the rest of UK. There is something that makes you feel welcome. So hope you’ll start to feel all of that pretty soon 🙂

    • Thank you for the words of encouragement. The weather is killer and I’m currently visiting family in Portugal so I totally understand what you mean about the sunshine. It’ll be rain for days when I go back and I’m not looking forward to it! Anyway, I’ll make the most of it for sure and it’ll feel like home soon enough 🙂