Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Aberdeen, Scotland - My First "Visit"

How weird it is to say that I "visited" Aberdeen. It used to be my home... in ways it still feels like a home to me because I have such amazing friends there! Seriously, those ladies are awesome! The guys are okay, too ;-) Anyway, Luke went to Houston (again) for a conference, so I decided that I should spend my week "alone" in Aberdeen. So many of our Aberdeen friends have been to London since we moved, so I figured it was my time to visit to them. PLUS Nary and Gerald were relocating to Bakersfield, California that week, so I wanted to be there to send them off.
{Gerald and Nary}
FIRST: Thanks to the Mahan's for allowing me to crash their place all week! It was fun!!
I arrived Saturday around lunch time, and Jill so kindly grabbed me from the airport. Straight from there, we went to Union Square (one of the mall's in town). We met up with Falene, browsed some stores, got some lunch, got me my first Pumpkin Spice Latte of the season (I can get them in London, I just don't), and then headed back to Jill's house for the afternoon. It was a beautiful and sunny day for my arrival. I have said this before... a long long time ago... Aberdeen LOVES to show off for its visitors. And Jill's backyard showcases the Scottish countrysides beautifully!
{Jill's backyard}
Saturday night was Nary and Gerald's leaving do (going away party). Jill and I went to Tash's to help finish a scrapbook that they made for Nerald. It was the most amazing scrapbook ever!!! Tash and Jill did such a great job, and Nary and Gerald totally deserved all of the time and effort put into it, though. Nerald is one amazing couple! Anyway, we had a fun and sad night saying our goodbyes. It was really interesting for me to hear their goodbye speech since I was once in that position. They will be missed, but they will bring so much joy to Bakersfield! Read about Nerald's leaving events here and here.
{from Nerald's blog}
On Sunday, Jill and I took Angus for a walk around Craigievar Castle. It was a short walk, and we had high hopes of some pretty fall colors. The leaves weren't as colorful as we expected, but it was still a nice little walk, and we got to see this cute pink castle up close.

{Angus... such a sweet silly pup!}
FYI - I did not do a single thing to any of those pictures... the one with the cow - wowzer, so pretty!

Monday was a super yucky day! Jill and I still went for a jog in the morning and got dumped on (compared to normal Aberdeen rain) the whole time we were out. My shoes were soaked! And then Ryan locked us out of the house which left Jill and I hurrying to get ready for the day. She had to work, so Laine and I decided to meet for lunch. We hadn't seen each other since we moved! It felt like old times, though, as we sat and chatted. Laine is expecting Baby Boy TODAY, and she looks so great! She was so calm and relaxed and looked so happy! I am really excited for them, and know they will be great parents.

I was thrilled to learn that the American Women's Association of Aberdeen had a hike planned during my visit (Jill is the leader and planned it that way, haha - thanks Jill)! Hiking became a new favorite of mine when I moved to Aberdeen. I was NEVER an outdoors person before arriving to the UK, but Scotland turned that around. We drove out to Ballater and did the Seven Bridges Hike which is around 6 miles. I had already done the hike back in late November, but that didn't bother me one bit!
{The sun was in and out throughout the walk. It started to rain right after we got in the car to go home.}

{In warmer days, the ground is covered with bright purple Heather.}

{Highland Coo!! These animals are perfect models - they love to pose for the camera.}
That evening, Tash and Laine came over to Jill's house. We played a few games of mahjong before Laine headed back home to her husband. The last time I played mahjong was early April, so I was nervous I had forgotten how to play, but I actually won a game! Woohoo! Afterward, Tash, Jill and I made our own Spring Rolls and Thai Salad. So easy to make, so healthy, and so very yummy! It would make for a fun family dinner - fyi :-)
{Our Spring Roll set up - it doesn't look that impressive, but it tasted great! Photo courtesy of Jill.}
Wednesday morning was pretty cold - 36F - but Jill and I still went out for a jog. We must have wanted to get it over with as soon as possible because we did our 5 miles in under 42 minutes! Hah! Nary's very very last day in Aberdeen was Wednesday, so Jill and I, along with Vicki, met her for lunch at Blue Mountain. After lunch, we popped in a few stores to run some errands. That evening we all went to book club to discuss Before I Go to Sleep (this was the book I read in one day). It was amazing to see how many new girls have flocked to Aberdeen since I have left. About ten of the attendees were new and most are around my age. Crazy! They were all super nice and seemed super positive about their relocation to the UK... great to see! Finally around 10pm, we said our final goodbye to Nary. :-(
Thursday morning was a relaxing day for me. Jill had to work until about 1pm, so I did a little bit of travel planning for our upcoming Berlin trip. That afternoon, Laine came over and we played a few games of mahjong since... why not? That evening, a co-worker of Ryan's (Jill husband) was in town so we went to dinner with him. I completed my visit in Scotland with eating some Haggis :-) Seriously, its good!

Friday was my last day in Aberdeen. The AWA's mahjong group meets every Friday over lunch, so I planned my flight to depart after that. While at the activity group, I met a lady who had only been in Aberdeen a few months and she actually graduated from the same high school as me. Pretty cool, huh?! Small small world!
I really really enjoyed my visit! Everyone kept asking if I miss Aberdeen. I really do love London, but Aberdeen has something that London doesn't - great friends and a FABULOUS women's association. Okay it has more than that, but those are most important. Pretty soon though, all of my friends will be all around the globe (actually three of them will be moving to Houston in the next few months). Hopefully, I can make another visit to Aberdeen soon, hopefully this time with Luke, and hopefully by that time Baby Boy Perry will have arrived :-)

The word on the street is Scotland will have an extremely terrible winter this next year.

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