Posted by R. Nigh / 9:17 AM /
Well, if you ever complain about how fast things work in the US, complain no longer. As of last night we now have internet access in our house. It took two weeks to flip a switch, apparently. So, here is our official family good morning from Aberdeen letter.
We live on a busy street on the hill above the city center and Old Aberdeen where King's college is. Our address is (for anyone interested)
59 Hilton Street AB24 4QR
Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire UK
Please please remember to write street and not road if you send us a note because we live in the Hilton area and there are roughly seven streets called Hilton--Hilton Road, Hilton Crescent, Hilton Drive etc. so remember STREET.
Also, we have a phone here and a pretty good international phone plan so if you want to call us and we'll call you right back to talk, please do. Just remember we're 8 hours ahead of you so if you call at dinnertime it will be the middle of the night for us. :) - Phone number as you should dial it from the US is as follows:
011 44 1224 277 711
For any of you wishing you knew what all those numbers actually are--here goes. To dial out of the US is the 011. The 44 is the UK's country code. 1224 is our area code in Aberdeen. Our actual number if you were calling from nearby is 277711. Better?
Aberdeen itself is one fairly gently slanting hill in most parts leading down to the ocean. Everything is picturesque here because almost all buildings and houses are made of stone. The gardens are all green and beautiful and I even recognize a few plants that thrive here--hydrangea's and alyssum especially. We have large spiders that are attracted to the somewhat warm house and I'm hoping they scuttle away before I go crazy with sudden screams of abject terror at the extremely fast leggy things. Besides that we have a lot of pill bugs wandering through the house. They (the UK not pill bugs) are very concerned with power here and each outlet has a switch to turn power on and off to it and you don't leave anything on. It's hard to find things here because signs are small and often not even there as everyone expects you to know where things are. We're trying to get a car this week and are calling today to look at a little four door station wagon thingy. I want a mini cooper desperately as they are everywhere and snazzy but I'm quite positive that isn't in our budget. Our house was furnished and our landlords kindly left us many things we thought we'd have to buy like dishes, an iron, and even light bulbs in the lights. We had to go and get sheets and a few things the first night but otherwise we started off pretty well. It's been a slow time getting things here as there isn't a lot of variety. The grocery stores are everything stores and carry some clothes, kids toys, and bed and bath stuff so you can make a first trip to the nearest Asda, Sainsbury's, or Tesco and get the essentials. Asda is a company owned by Walmart with much less selection but more than other stores. Other than that I've only seen a Toys R Us, which is very expensive. You don't really tip here like you do in the states. The tip is worked in most times for the various workers though we still tip about a pound for taxi's around town, waitresses, and take-out. They usually seem surprised we're tipping them so I guess that's okay. If you come here to live make sure you bring as many of your kids clothes as possible or have grandparents send you things as it really is quite expensive to outfit your kids. Charity shops are great and I have popped into at least a dozen already. They have little knick knacks and clothes and sometimes even good kids shoes so try there first before you spend fifty pounds on a pair of sketchers. Walking is key here. By walking around the city I have discovered much more than I would have if I came directly with a car. It is hard going and a stroller for anyone under 4 is a necessity. (If you can bring a stroller--do! They are also expensive here.) It is a beautiful city full of quiet green trees, green gardens, green fields, and beautiful parks. The primary schools here do not have play structures like they do at home. They're all just pavement although ours has a little obstacle course, which is better than nothing. We're surviving in our house without a lot of storage or desks but are looking to find things to fill in the necessitous part of our home. The lawn mower is electric, which is funny. We have a garage which will cut down our car insurance costs considerably. If you can look for a house or flat with off the street parking that is a good thing. Calvin started Primary 3 on Monday and is having an okay time though he is sick today and stayed home and he has the next two weeks off as the school switches through their quarters. Everything here is very expensive and most things are hard to find. I've heard gas is three times what it is in the states so I'm not looking forward to driving much. This is truly 'the granite city' but we're starting to really appreciate parts of it. The city center is old and quite beautiful with many kirks (churches) and monuments. William Wallace stands at the corner of the main gardens in a majestic pose and we've snapped quite a few pictures of him already. Lots of the kirks have closed and become other things like (gasp) bars, college hang-outs, and even office buildings. It's strange to see these medieval spires and grand stone archways bedecked with neon bar signs and 'to let' signs sitting out front. If I were a millionaire in Aberdeen I'd buy one just to keep it sacred. Adam has met with Dr. Webster and is getting settled into the theological world of study. Most everyone in the program is from the states so it's kind of funny. Adam joked that they could have more easily brought Dr. Webster to the states then all move here for his direction. There are many groups here to join to keep us from getting homesick. The AWF (Aberdeen Women's Fellowship) is a great group of ladies whose husbands are studying in the PhD program. There are playgroups and book clubs and even a knitting club for me. We're talking about sending Calvin to Boys Brigade but we're told it has little to do with the church and is not really run by believers so we're not sure about that now. I can give a definite nod to the Scottish hospitality as they are known for it and live up to it. Most everyone is polite, many people are friendly and helpful, and some go out of their way to help out and meet you and that is very nice. Our church here is fairly small but it is a beautiful stone building just about two blocks up from us so we can walk their on Sundays. A few of the mums there have their kids at Calvin's school and a few of the Sunday School teachers work at Kittybrewster as well. It will be a good community for us though we miss our community at TLC greatly. The first week we were here there was a string quintet playing and one of the gentlemen wore a kilt, which thrilled us. We haven't been out of ths city yet as we haven't gotten a car yet but we plan on touring the castles all throughout the year. Go Castles!
Name differences for those of you looking for a laugh:
French fries are chips, chips are crisps, bacon is streakies, diapers are nappies, colleges are Uni's, strollers are buggies, and a pound is a quid. There are many more but those are the ones that come directly to mind.
We're settling in and looking forward to communication with everyone from the states. Hope everyone is doing well and we'll be in touch. I will now be keeping up with Facebook, the blogs, and my email so write away.
Thanks again to everyone who has contributed to our trip, both with money and prayers. We could not have done it without you. We felt our Christian brothers and sisters rise up around us and send us off in a grand fashion and we feel blessed to have so many friends and family. Although, in this I blame you all as you made it extremely hard to leave. Thanks and love, Rachel and family