My roundup of what we were up to this past month, August in Aberdeen. Well here we are some 6 weeks after we touched down in Aberdeen, or rather trained up. And some days I still can’t believe we live here now. I’ve been challenging myself to find the positive side of life in the north. It’s harder some days compared to others. The months started with the blues and now finished with happier days. It helped that sunshine was in the forecast. Plus how could I complain after a trip to Valencia and upcoming week-long holiday with David and my parents in Portugal.
We’re back to what we know how to do best: find experiences and adapt to life. Our mission is to make the best life possible here. And if August is any indication of the next 1 or 2 years here, then we’ll be alright.
Settling into a routine
Once we were moved into our new flat, it was time to get into a routine. That most certainly includes Crossfit. We’ve also added some nice runs along the beach.
Can I just say this is some cruel irony… I’ve always wanted to live by the ocean, near the beach. And yes, we are just 15 minutes away from one, but it’s never hot enough to go suntanning or swimming in the water. I’ll have to be more precise with the wishes and dreams in the future.
Despite the lack of hot weather and lack of a backyard, we’re finally BBQing. A fine Weber kettle BBQ was one of our first purchases for the new home. We’ve been enjoying regular BBQ’d meals ever since. Even if it means we feel just a little bit hillbilly while doing it.
Our local Oddbins, a wine and liquor franchise chain, had a sign-up for wine tasting. Well if you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll know we’re all about that. So we couldn’t pass up the chance to mix and mingle with other Aberdonian wine lovers and try some wines. Gus led the group of about 20 people through a wine tasting of 4 sauvignon blancs and 4 cabernets sauvignons. We all sat in the private room at Aperetivo on Union Street, where they served a light dinner to pair with the wine. Gus did a really good job going into the history and details of the wines and wine varieties. And we enjoyed a nice evening of conversation with some really nice people. That is one this that is very clear: everyone here is so friendly. We’ll be back for more. Rosemount OddBins hosts a wine tasting every month and since we’re club members, we’ll be taking advantage of that whenever we can.
Our 5 Year Anniversary
Just like sometimes I can’t believe we lived in Paris and now we are in Aberdeen… I can’t believe we’ve been married for 5 years. Time truly does feel like it just flies by sometimes. Months ago I had dreams of going somewhere exotic and hot for our 5 year anniversary, but given the circumstances it just didn’t work out. The best I could do was book a nice dinner out in Aberdeen. So we dressed up and headed to MoonFish Café for a 3-course meal. The food was delicious and very well presented. Just look at those dishes. Looks like something straight out of a fine dining restaurant in London or Paris. But the ambiance wasn’t exactly what I had hoped. It didn’t exude romance nor had the intimate setting I would have liked. Unfortunately, I’m not sure we’ll return. The service was abysmal and that is one of my sticking points with restaurants. I can’t stand bad, slow, inattentive service. Waiting 30 min for my main while my empty plate just sits there, isn’t my idea of good service.
It was at this point, as we left the restaurant, we sulked a little. Walking home through the granite streets was nothing like walking home with the French je ne sais quoi around us. We were sad. Life just isn’t the same anymore. We longed for a nice meal out in Paris. For our friends, the scenery, the culture and the lights of the City of Lights. We longed to be back on a Paris metro or better yet, our red Vespa. I wanted to be back clicking my heels on cobbled streets while hearing French being spoken in the distance, trying to decipher what was being said. Wanted to breath that Paris summer night air. Not listen to a drunken domestic dispute being fought across the street in thick Scottish accents.
But alas, we started our married life in Edmonton and spent the most of it in Paris. Life is in Aberdeen now and who knows where we’ll be for our next milestone of 10 years.
High Tea at Ardoe House
Part of our anniversary celebration took us nearby to Ardoe House for high tea. It’s one of those quintessential British experiences. And by chance our first anniversary also included a high tea back in Canada. So we figured we would re-start the tradition here, the land of High Teas. We sat in the beautiful drawing room surrounded by gilded crown moulding and an ornate fireplace. The sandwiches, scone and little pastries were all very delicious. We properly ruined our dinner by having high tea at 2:30pm. The service (again!) left much to be desired. I had asked for a Jasmine tea and was given Camomile. When I pointed out the mistake, he said, there is no Jasmine tea so he gave me this instead. There weren’t many tea options at High Tea which I found disappointing since I have more selection back at home. Either way it was nice to go for a drive in the country and have a relaxing Sunday afternoon.
Shooting Guns with Americans
A new friend invited us to an afternoon of clay shooting with all her other American and Canadian friends. And while I had once before shot a gun in a firing range, I had never shot at a moving target with a shotgun. The day turned out to be beautiful and sunny. The 16 of us split into 3 groups with a guide. We took our turns at different clay shooting stations, firing about 8-10 shots at each one. Clay pigeons flew from right to left, left to right. From down low to up high. And a clay rabbit moved along the ground. It was hard but I hit about a third of my targets. I was impressed! It was a lot of fun and addictive. Although after about 30 shots, the kickback on the shoulder took its toll.
We met some really lovely expats and had a BBQ feast afterwards at Lauren’s home in the country. It was so nice hanging out with other people who have moved here from afar. We exchanged expat stories of where we lived and how we’ve gotten used to life here. I’m so incredibly grateful to Lauren for inviting and I look forward to more fun events like this in the future.
I’ve already found a few favourite coffee stops in Aberdeen. And the best way to have a nice chat with someone new is over coffee. I felt much more prepared this time (compared to when I first moved to Paris) to getting out and meeting people. Through expat blogs, Crossfit and friends of friends, I’ve racked up a number of coffee dates. I’ve even reached out to the French community to find someone who is interested in French/English conversation. Here are some of my favourite local spots so far:
Foodstory Cafe where I’ve been for lunch and coffee about 6 times already! Averaging once a week. It’s always busy and there’s a good reason for it.
Treehouse Café which feels like you’re in someone’s apartment having coffee. Very cosy.
Long Dog Café which I’ve really enjoy more if I had a dog myself. But for those who want a cuppa with they pouch, this is the place to go.
So that’s been our August in Aberdeen. I wish it was filled with pictures of us lying on the beach or running around in shorts and tank tops like our August holidays in previous years. But those hopes are quickly dying… everyone is telling us to brace for winter. So we’ll see what is in store for us. For now, we’re jetting off for some last minute sunshine in Portugal and some much needed catch up time with my parents.