Sunday, December 05, 2004

My first visit

Someone visiting me, that is. My friend Jen from Seattle flew in to Aberdeen this morning, from Cadiz, Spain. She's studying abroad for a year too, and since you can get flights between cities all over Europe for like £5 it would have been silly for us to come this far and not hang out. It's just so random because even though we went to UW together for years we somehow never managed to find time to hang out more than a few times. The last time I saw her must have been at the study abroad orientation back in May. And now we're hanging out in Scotland!

I took the bus to the airport, which I've never been to. It's tiny. Jen's been living with a host family in Spain for three months so she's really excited to have an opportunity to speak English again. She's also going ape shit over seeing menus, newspapers, and food wrappers in English, which is pretty amusing to watch. I knew I took one of the easier routes by choosing to study abroad in an English-speaking country, but now more than ever I can't imagine what it must be like to immerse yourself so suddenly in a society you literally don't understand.

It was really interesting to show Jen around the city of Aberdeen because it was like I was seeing the city again for the first time. I noticed so many things I don't really think about because I encounter them every day, but as I pointed them out to Jen I was struck once again by how different it is over here than back home, and yet it didn't make me feel removed or disoriented. I remember being the one shown around and asking all the questions, and today I was the one answering them. As this occurred to me while walking down the street with Jen, I screamed in her face, "LOOKS LIKE THE TABLES HAVE TURNED, BITCH!" She didn't say much to me after that but I feel she knew what I meant.

Anyway, that last part never happened. But it was fun watching someone else's amazement at all the church-clubs and strange foods and horrendous exchange rate. Especially the church-clubs. Marianne and I took Jen on a quick lap through one of the nicer church-pubs, where you can enjoy a drink or three beneath the watchful eyes of Jesus being crucified on the stained-glass windows. When we exited the place I looked at Jen and it appeared as though her eyes were going to pop out of her head. Mission accomplished.


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