Thursday, June 23, 2005

Farewell, Britain

I’m still in Heathrow, but the end is near. By the time I finish writing this I will have been here for about 15.5 hours. I remember when I thought my 10-hour layover en route to Spain was out of control!

One of the things I’ve decided after this year is that I may be burned out on super-low-budget traveling. I’ve overnighted in so many airports and spent so much of my life on cheap buses in the last five months (is that all?) that in the future I may be willing to shell out more money in order to not give up my sanity for long periods of time just to get from point A to point B. But it was fun in a way, and I would like to take this moment to simultaneously thank and smack easyJet, RyanAir, and

In fact, there are a few other things I’d like to mention. Farewell, Scotch eggs, Cornish pasties, meat pies, and wild crisp flavors such as “roast lamb with mint sauce.” Farewell, black pudding, haggis, neeps, and tatties. Farewell, Dairy Milk and Jelly Babies. Farewell, social acceptability of dipping things in mayonnaise. Farewell, nice biscuits, chip shops, “spag-bol,” English breakfasts, and deep-fried Mars bars. Farewell, mystery that is mincemeat. Farewell, tea and pudding being much more than tea and pudding.

Farewell, BBC, ITV, and channel 4. Farewell, Coronation Street, Eastenders, Emmerdale, Doctors, and Neighbours. Farewell, Big Brother. Farewell, Makosi, Kemal, Derek, and Roberto. Farewell, Roberto’s sexy voice and tight underpants. Farewell, Maxwell, Anthony, Saskia, Science, Vanessa, and Craig. Farewell, channel 5 and your risqué documentary programming.

Farewell, Jordan, Peter Andre, Jonathan Ross, Suranne Jones, Richard & Judy, David Walliams, Matt Lucas, Javine, Davina McCall, Dermot O'Leary, Busted, McFly, Charlotte Church, Cat Deeley, Edith Bowman, and Nigel Harman. Farewell, Heat magazine and those who populate your pages.

Farewell, ore-GAH-no, to-MAH-to, ba-NAH-na, and PAP-rika. Farewell, wanker, slapper, numpty, slag, bint, and pillock. Farewell, mobile, trolley, bin, bum, WC, knickers, trousers, bollocks, and “cheers!” Farewell, double decker buses, pubs, rugby, and real football.

Farewell, Exodus, Oh Henry’s, Espionage, Revolution, and all the church pubs. Farewell, Belmont, Vue, and UGC. Farewell, driving on the other side of the road. Farewell, pounds, quid, tenners, fivers, and pence. Farewell, horrific exchange rate. Farewell, recreational queuing. Farewell, Union Street, Belmont Street, and Great Western Road. Farewell, flat. We had a lot of great times together.

Farewell, University of Aberdeen. We never got along, but you still managed to teach me a thing or two.

Farewell, blog -- this one, anyway. I didn’t update you as often as I could have, but I did the best I could. For the rest of you, they may not be in Scotland, but I’ll keep on having adventures and keep on writing about them on and if you’re interested. I have nothing but love and appreciation for anyone who took the occasional peek at this blog throughout the year.

Farewell, every single person I met this year. I'll never forget you even if you forgot about me five minutes later. Farewell, those who stuck around and became my friends. It meant everything.

Farewell, Britain. We laughed, we cried, we learned to love. I’ll never forget the time we had together.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I’m writing this in Heathrow airport. I’ll be here for the next 20 hours and then I’m getting on a plane back to America. It’s been an absolute nightmare getting here, but here I am.

I guess I should rewind a wee bit. First of all, my goodbye party was a success! The part where we tried to go clubbing together was a bit unfortunate (Tuesday night deadness), but we relocated back to my flat and the good times continued to roll.

I knew I was going to stay up all night the night before I left, because I thought it would be silly to spend my last remaining hours with my friends in a state of unconsciousness. In the end, only Rosie made it all the way with, but everyone else made a valiant effort. Laura and Jill shared a bed, while Pip and Karen slept in a cardboard box in my attic. No, really.

I thought staying up all night would give me plenty of time to finish packing and goof off too, but the more I packed the more I realized it was going to take some kind of miracle to fit all my shit into my suitcases. In the end, I ended up packing an extra bunch of stuff in this shitty cardboard box which is about to disintegrate after the beating it took today, and giving Laura a bag full of more stuff with the promise that I would pick it up “next time we hang out.” Behold the power of denial, that I was able to keep from bawling as I said those words.

Final goodbyes occurred at the train station. It was sad. Really, really sad. A decent amount of that sadness had to do with the fact that, managing my luggage on my own, my top speed was like 0.25 miles per hour and everything kept falling was a disaster. I thanked [insert deity here] that I didn’t have to change trains on my way down to London, and I could take the Tube to this airport instead of a train that costs ₤15 (cough cough, fuck off Stansted, cough).

I dozed a little bit on the 7-hour train ride, but mostly I had too much to think about to get any real sleep. I should have been more grateful that my millions of pounds of stuff was sitting on a luggage rack instead of being hauled all over town by poor little me, but there you go. Getting off the train in London was miserable. Getting on the Tube was miserable. Getting off the Tube was miserable. And it was HOT. Sweat pouring down my face. Wearing thick clothes to save space in my suitcase. Dear lord.

One thing I’ll never understand about the London Underground is the lack of escalators or elevators in so many Tube stations. At one point I was dragging my stuff down the steps one at a time and it all fell down to the bottom and I remembered when I was doing the same thing with Sarah back in September how many people were tripping all over themselves to help the pretty girl carry her things. Why couldn’t I be a pretty girl, just for today? Or at least have enormous breasts?

The only thing worse than hauling your shit down the steps to the Tube is hauling it up. They didn’t even have a fucking escalator or elevator at the Tube stop for the airport. Are they not expecting anyone going to the airport to have any luggage? Assholes!

Well, I made it to the airport. The only thing between me and home is a bunch of time to kill, so I’m glad the worst is over.

All this, and I haven’t even started writing about all the thoughts that have been running through my head all day long. Now that I’ve left Aberdeen for good, I can start thinking about this year differently: as a whole, as something that’s been completed, something I can make sense of. You know, all the clichés about studying abroad are 100% true: it changed my life, it opened my eyes to other cultures, I’ve grown so much, I feel more confident, I feel more capable, etc. All that stuff is true. But the realization is no less powerful just because everyone told me this would happen.

Now that it’s more or less over, more than ever I can see that any of the “bad” things to come out of this year are just not important compared to so much good. I don’t even think I believe that anything bad came out of this year, but I know I’ve spent time worrying about such things over the last 10 months. For example, I worried about the fact that, even with my clean slate, I made a lot of the same mistakes I’ve made in my “normal” life, mistakes I thought I would get away from by moving here. But it doesn’t matter because the difference is in how I dealt with them.

Part of me is totally used to this new lifestyle I’ve been living -- all the cultural differences, traveling around Europe on a regular basis, totally cut off from my friends and family -- and part of me cannot get over all the amazing places I’ve been, the things I’ve seen, the incredible friends who were everything I had besides what I brought here in a couple of suitcases. I’ve been through so much, and I am changed for it. I will never be the me I was before I came here, but luckily I am proud of the me that’s going home.

I’m worried about things like reverse-culture shock. I’m worried about the difficulty of reintegrating back into my own life, and dealing with how much my friends’ and family’s lives will have changed without me. I’m worried about feeling like I don’t know people I’m supposed to know better than anyone. I feel like those things will affect me more than most people just because of the way I am. But right now I can’t look forward yet, I can only look backward and think, Holy shit. I did it.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Tonight is my last night in Aberdeen. At 10 AM tomorrow morning, I’m hopping on a train to London and flying back to the country I came from. From the moment I got off the plane in London way back in September, I’ve been keeping a mental countdown of the months, then days I had left before going back to America. So how did this still manage to sneak up on me?

I think Aberdeen knew I was leaving and decided to make my last day in town one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in the last 10 months. The sun was shining, the trees were green, the heat was kept in check by a nice breeze. Laura and I had a drink outside and I didn’t think it was possible I would be leaving something so familiar in 21 hours. It’s part of the reason I haven’t been all that choked up about my impending departure -- I just don’t believe it’s real. Denial is not just a River in Egypt. (In fact, it’s not a river at all -- it’s a coping mechanism. The Egyptian river in question is actually called “the Nile.” Impress your friends!)

Now it’s starting to sink in. My goodbye party should be getting started in a few hours. My room is totally empty. The sun is setting outside (where else?) and I’m thinking, This is the last time I’ll look out this window and watch the sun set. Everyone I know who’s still in town is coming over tonight and when I came home this afternoon, Rosie saw me and screamed, “SHIT!” and dashed into her bedroom with something, came out, and “innocently” announced, “Nothing is going on. Don’t go in there or you’ll ruin the surprise.” I told her, “Never play poker.”

How is it tonight already? I just don’t get it. I remember trying to wrap my mind around leaving America. I remember being scared and lonely when I first got here. I remember doing all right when it came to making a few friends. I remember thinking it might as well be forever before I’m home again because it’s too far away to conceive, but when it’s all over it will have been the biggest thing I’ve ever accomplished. And now I’m going home tomorrow? I did it? Already?

I’m not trying to sound disappointed. I just can’t believe it. And I am disappointed, but not because it wasn’t as massive an accomplishment as I imagined it would be. I am disappointed because it was massive, and it’s almost over. Ooh, here comes another wave of denial again...ahh, that’s better.

Already, however, I’m starting to realize what a mess I’m going to be in 15 hours.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The opposite of Hell freezing over

AAAHHHH! This cannot be happening! I am a freak who finds Seattle too hot to handle. So I moved to Aberdeen, Scotland, a freezing gray shithole (I say these words with love) that sees almost no daylight during the winter. And now this city has betrayed me by throwing a heat wave at me. Seriously, y’all, it’s HOT. It is also very, very humid. It’s too hot to move. This is not supposed to happen in the north of Scotland. I go to the beach and look across the sea to Norway, for god’s sake!

I’m actually not going to look up any actual temperatures because I have this horrible feeling that everyone will say, “That’s not hot at all! You’re just weird. Weird, weird, weird. And why are you wearing high heels?” I’m also not going to use my fellow Aberdonians as evidence that it’s not just me because they’re probably equipped with the same weird internal thermometer as me. All I know is, we’re sitting in my flat sweating our brains out with all the windows wide open and oh my god this is against nature.

I’m reminded of a saying that goes, “If you can’t take the heat, get out of the oven.” I don’t know what that has to do with my current situation, but what is a person doing in an oven in the first place? That’s way weirder than wearing high heels. It’s not like I get off on it or anything.

To take my mind off the heat, I would like to tell you about how wonderful my last week in Scotland has been going. A week seemed like so long when I got home from Amsterdam, but there’s so much to do and so many people to say goodbye to, I don’t know if I’m going to get it all in before I go. I have been spending a lot of time with Pip, which is nice because we hadn’t seen each other for weeks before I went to Amsterdam.

Pip and I have been planning to have a “Spike and Anya night” together for months, which refers to an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in which Spike and Anya are rejected by their partners and get trashed and have illicit sex. Now that I’m explaining it to you, the appeal of planning a Spike and Anya night seems extremely questionable. (Especially when you take into account the fact that Spike is a vampire and therefore dead. I swear, I don’t get off on that!) The bottom line is, we drank a lot and bared our souls. It was a good time, really!

I guess it’s been much more pleasant than exciting (which is a good thing after the craziness that was Amsterdam). Seeing my friends, watching a shitload of Big Brother, packing my stuff. I’m so glad I sent so much stuff home with David when he came to visit, but I’m afraid it might not have been enough because I’m looking at these two little bitch suitcases and wondering how I’m going to fit my entire room into them. At least on the way here I could leave stuff behind if it didn’t fit, but now I pretty much have to make it fit or throw it out. I investigated sending stuff home in the post, but everywhere I went charged the same rate: an arm and a leg.

It’s weird when Rosie or Laura or whoever mentions something they’re doing next week and I realize I’m going to be on the other side of the planet by then. There has been a lot of, “Eric, you should come to...oh, yeah, you won’t be here.”

I can’t believe I’m going to see my family in less than a week. And I’ll see Luke again the very next day after that.

I can’t believe I’m not going to be able to watch Big Brother anymore when I go back to America.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Home before home

I’m home once again after a wonderful vacation, and I feel good about that. In a week, however, I’ll be going HOME, and that is harder to wrap my mind around. It’s hard to believe that a year ago I was trying to wrap my mind around starting a new life in a foreign country. Now I can barely handle the thought of resuming my old life in my own country. I’m happy about it. But it’s not as simple as that.

This is the beginning of my very last week in Aberdeen, and after spending a week and a half with two girls who have also done the study abroad thing, my head is full of nothing but Big Thoughts about how much the last 10 months have Changed My Life. Aahhhh!

Right now, I feel remarkably similar to how I felt a week before leaving America back in September -- there is this queasy impression that I am counting down to a death sentence, since I am saying goodbye to life as I know it on my way to the utter unknown. You might think it would be easier this way around, but holy shit. I am way more freaked out now than I was 10 months ago.

I understand now why nobody studies abroad in their last year of university. I can’t even get a transcript from the University of Aberdeen until July, and only then can UW convert my foreign study credits into actual credits that count towards my degree. And only then will I know if I’ve graduated or not. Until then, I’m in a state of limbo, which is pretty inconvenient because at this point I have no idea (a) whether or not to register for fall classes, (b) if so, how many, (c) my registration period was over a month ago so I don’t even know if I still can, so I might have to wait until January, (d) whether I’m going to live in Seattle or Los Angeles, (e) how long I’m going to be there, (f) what kind of job to look for when I get there, (h) etc, etc, etc.

And then there’s reverse-culture shock to worry about...

I have decided to close this entry by sharing some information with you I forgot to include in my Amsterdam entries. You know how clowns have those never-ending ribbons they pull out of their mouths? There was a stripper in the Red Light District whose act consisted of slowly pulling one of those out of her vagina.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Amsterdam pictures

WARNING: Some of the following pictures are absolutely filthy and should not be viewed by children or nuns.

There are not actually very many pictures from this trip. My camera ran out of batteries on the first day, Jen’s camera won’t turn on for unknown reasons, and Laura forgot her USB cord in Aberdeen so she has to conserve space on her memory card. Also, there are a lot of things you’re simply not allowed to photograph, such as whores in the Red Light District (they turn off the lights in their window if you point a camera at them) or strippers doing unspeakable things to fruit products.

So here is a small assortment of pictures we have been allowed to take in this city.

This is the Erotic Museum in the Red Light District. It was actually pretty thorough -- it included erotic art from many different cultures and time periods. And the top floor was devoted to fun erotic photo sessions! Here is me...well, what can you say about an image like that? And I’m probably going to regret posting this on the internet, but I feel it’s in the name of journalism.

Laura and I went and had the Heineken Experience, which we felt was essential after visiting the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin. It’s telling that neither place tries to use the word “museum” in their name. The Heineken Experience was like, “Here is 10 minutes of how Heineken is made. Now we’ll give you three free beers and let you star in your own Heineken music video!” There were also such features as “Be the DJ at Club Heineken,” “What it feels like to be a Heineken bottle,” Heineken Foosball, and a neat hologram that had nothing to do with anything as far as I could tell. It was a good time.


Saturday, June 11, 2005


Oh my god! I’m in Amsterdam! Again!

I don’t know where to start. It’s been pretty crazy. Our sleep schedules are already decently fucked up -- we’ve gone out dancing two nights in a row and been out past 4 AM both times. Surprisingly, Thursday is not a great night to be out in Amsterdam (I didn’t think there was ever a dead night in Amsterdam), but the girls and I found a nice gay bar with a dance floor AND A POLE. Pretty much a recipe for success.

Actually, the craziness started before that. The night we arrived in town, Laura crashed early, but Jen and I were ready to get the party started. We soon discovered that our hostel is about two blocks away from the Red Light District, which is an amazing bit of luck on my part since I chose this particular hostel based solely on price. All I can tell you and still keep this blog family-friendly (because it’s all about the children, y’all) is that Jen and I spent a lot of money and saw a lot of things we’ve never seen before. Oh my god.

Yesterday, the three of us did a basic exploration of the city on foot. I’m actually shocked at how well I remember how to get around since it’s the most confusing layout for a city I’ve ever seen. But still, I’m amazing so I may as well accept it. It was a very relaxed day, topped off with an indulgence in one of several popular substances that are legal in this country and illegal in most others. Is it a bad idea to blog about smoking a joint? It shouldn’t be. Because it was really, really good.

Like most people, I’ve heard a lot about Amsterdam and all the crazy stuff that goes on there, and one of the things I heard was to look for “coffeehouses,” which is code for “where to get marijuana.” I must admit, I had questions. Like, what if you go somewhere and it’s actually just a coffeehouse? Like, you go inside, all “Yeah! Where are the drugs at?” and they just look at you. Or, I imagined having to be discreet about it, saying something like, “’s your ‘coffee’? What’s the strongest ‘coffee’ you have? Will I have to roll it myself?” But no. You walk into a coffeehouse and there’s a menu of all the drugs. I didn’t have to use finger quotes or anything.

I absolutely love Amsterdam. It’s a gorgeous city, and it looks so different from any one I’ve visited so far. There don’t seem to be any right angles anywhere in the buildings -- they seem to be leaning against each other, or out over the street. It’s like there were a bunch of normal buildings, and someone squashed them together and they became really narrow and tall. And the canals still rock my world, as does the abundance of bicycles. There are hardly any moving cars in this city -- anywhere interesting is within walking (or biking) distance, and for once it seems like everyone in the city understands this.

Amsterdam is very happening, very alive, very exciting, but at the same time it feels so chilled out. The walking and bicycling as opposed to driving is part of that. The atmosphere is very relaxed and the people are incredibly helpful and friendly. After all, we’re talking about a city I’ve been to twice, whose language I’ve never had to study in order to feel fully capable there. Not that I wouldn’t love to, because between my knowledge of English and German, picking up Dutch is something I’m doing without putting almost any thought into it. I still can’t get over what a mishmash of the two it reads and sounds like.

Last night it was a little easier finding a place to go dancing. A lot of places were open that were closed when we tried them the night before, and we stopped inside a few of them, including a lesbian bar which I found really amusing because there were so many gay guys there dragged in by their lesbian friends, who clearly felt weird about the whole thing. There were lots of women socializing (and a few dancing) away, and off to the sides were little clusters of gay guys fidgeting around together. It reminded me of a dog park, actually. It was pretty funny.

In the end, the three of us found ourselves at the same bar as the night before. The one with the pole. Since it was a bigger party night, there were three or four other dance floors open, but after everyone had migrated to those, Jen and Laura and I hijacked the pole and made the DJ play all our favorite songs. It was actually really nice of him to play like six of our requests in a row, but I would also like to point out that he was playing crap before we got our hands on him and by the end of “Jumpin’, Jumpin’” by worldwide sensation Destiny’s Child, the dancefloor had started to fill up again. This lends credence to my theory that I should be the DJ in any club I go to, ever.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

I went to Slain's Castle

The title says it all. I went to Slain’s Castle, and it was without a doubt one of the most stunning things I’ve ever seen. I’ve been meaning to go see it ever since I got here, and now in my last two weeks abroad, I’ve finally gotten around to it.

Basically, Slain’s Castle is a deteriorated old castle in the middle of nowhere on the Scottish coast. Apparently, it’s not technically owned by anyone, so it just sits there at the mercy of nature and time -- no restorations, no entrance fee, and best of all, NO PEOPLE. It just blows my mind that something so amazing is just sitting there with no one in charge of it, but this is one of those times when I feel really fortunate to have studied in Aberdeen because if I didn’t live a mere 45-minute bus ride away, I doubt I would have gotten around to seeing it, and I can definitely see why most people don’t.

Because the castle is not owned by anyone, there are no signs pointing the way to Slain’s Castle, because nobody wants to take responsibility for any pieces of it that may fall on your head since, well, it’s an old castle with no safety measures. So it was an adventure in itself just getting there. From Aberdeen, Laura and Jen and I took the bus to a small town called Cruden Bay and basically walked out of town until we could see the castle in the distance. Even from far away, it looked great. It sounds silly, but it was a kind of adventure that reminded me of being a kid: there we were surrounded by unexplored territory (well, unexplored by us), totally alone in the Scottish countryside, searching for a castle on a cliff, crossing ravines. Who has to figure out how to get across a ravine anymore? There’s always a bridge. I love that there wasn’t.

This is me apprehensively making my way through the trees. In the adventure story we were living, this is Jen being attacked by an evil tree. You will note that she is appropriately turned on.

Here we are taking a breather. Being in an adventure story is exhausting. (I would discover later that it also makes me hungry.)

Finally, we approached this side of the castle. We couldn’t believe how intact it was -- it’s definitely falling apart, but we weren’t expecting anything that strongly resembled a castle. Most of the castles I’ve visited that didn’t require an entrance fee were basically the bottom three feet of the walls. Everything else is usually gone.

I never got over how beautiful it was to look out castle windows and doors and see the open sea. Especially right on the edge of the cliff, such epic openness framed by the remains of this castle was such a beautiful image.

Everyone tells you not to climb all over the castle because it’s dangerous, but I didn’t see that we had much of a choice. There was too much to see just standing on the ground. Apart from tiny Cruden Bay, there was absolutely no sign of civilization as far as the eye could see.

Of course, in addition to being blown away by the raw beauty of the castle and the surrounding area, the three of us also had the good sense to realize that this was a phenomenal location for a photo shoot. There are hundreds more where this came from, but I’ll spare you. I kind of want to post this one just for fun, though.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Me and my girls

Finally, I have both Laura and Jen in my Aberdonian clutches! I know I haven’t posted much since they’ve gotten here. Part of it is because we’ve been busy together, and part of it is because of what we’ve been busy doing. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve spent an afternoon showing Laura around Aberdeen, but I have to confess, we’ve also been spending a lot of time in my attic.

Let me explain something about red light. It makes everyone look AMAZING. Ever since I discovered this, I have wanted to break out some cheap red light bulbs and see what kind of photographs I can come up with. This is also a lot easier now that I have a couple of willing subjects. The bottom line is, we took over 800 pictures and we’re not sorry. Thank god for digital camera technology. Basically, it’s a fun mixture of artsy and playful. I don’t know how serious we were about the artsy ones when we were taking them, but I have to admit some of them turned out pretty damn good.

The thing about my attic is that it has skylights, which means we can’t do red light photo shoots until it gets completely dark outside. And the thing about being this far north is that at this time of year, it never gets completely dark outside. Laura and Jen and I went out for some drinks and walked home at 1 AM, and the horizon was still light blue. And I know from many late nights that the sky starts getting rapidly lighter not long after 3 AM. I remember the winter, when the sun started going down at 2:30 PM. This is the flip side of that. It’s insane!

It may not have taken Laura more than an afternoon to see all the Aberdeen that really matters -- Union Street, the beach (it was covered in jellyfish), the university -- but she finished classes in London the day before she came here so she’s appreciating being a little lazy. I’d also like to add that she took the bus all the way from London to Aberdeen, which is a 12-hour ride. Sometimes I think that’s an enormous amount of time and distance because it spans from one end of the country to the other, but then I remember that the UK is teeny-tiny and I can’t believe how used to that I’ve gotten.

Also, I just took the girls on a day trip to Edinburgh. I’ve spent so many weekends in that city, it makes me so sad that in a few weeks I won’t be able to hop on a bus and get there any time I want! And the city has never, ever looked as beautiful as it was today. It’s officially June, and even in Scotland, that means it’s time for a little sunshine and greenery. For the first time, I actually went inside Edinburgh Castle instead of loitering outside and being like, “Oh yeah, it’s probably boring inside.” I realize now that that was just a coping mechanism to deal with the fact that I could never afford to pay the ₤10 entrance fee. I’m sure that’s not a bad price for what it is, but it’s a lot of money to me!

We met up with Iain, who lives in Edinburgh and is home for the summer, who walked us down the Royal Mile (along the way, we saw the infamous ₤400 million disaster that is their Parliament) and had a very cultural dinner of haggis with neeps and tatties. Neeps = turnips, tatties = potatoes. I’m pretty sure one of my favorite things about living in Scotland is being exposed to all these words I never could have come up with on my own. Laura was really excited to experience haggis. Jen was, until recently, a vegetarian and looked like she was going to barf as Laura and I moaned with pleasure over our meal.

Before I came to Scotland, everyone always told me to make sure and eat haggis while I was there. Half the time it was because the idea of it is so incredibly off-putting and it’s an adventure to eat something so unusual. Other times people tried to tell me that a haggis was a Scottish animal with shorter legs on one side so it could stand on the sides of hills without falling over. I think that’s stupid.

Finally, I’ll share a few more pictures from Aberdeen with you. The girls and I went to the grocery store and we saw a few other picture-worthy British products. (Also, Jen observed that these people appear to be obsessed with baked beans.) Mushy peas. Not just mushy peas, mushy processed peas. I’m pretty sure I’ll never buy a food product with the word “mushy” in it unless it’s for a baby. This one is a little friendlier: nice biscuits. I absolutely love this. It’s so darn British! This is the kind of thing that makes me never want to leave this country.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Return of the Jen

Jen arrived in Aberdeen for the second time today. I mean, the second time, and it was today. It's not like she's been coming in and out of the city all day. I felt kind of bad because the weather up here has been pretty grim for the past week and according to forecasts, it's not going to get much better as long as she's here. I'm hoping this does not inspire her to wonder why she left the south of Spain for this. I hope the answer includes the words "Eric, because he is wonderful and oh so fine."

Jen had her toe cut open in the emergency room a few days ago (it's a long story) and she just spent the night in the airport and didn't even fly into Aberdeen, she had to get the bus up from Edinburgh. It's been a rough journey. This is not how the city should have welcomed her! Oh, Aberdeen. You gray bitch.

So, today we sat in my flat and caught up. It's a good thing we have so much of that to do, because suddenly I can't think of anything to do in this town. We're both kind of sick, and it's so gray outside it's difficult to see past a few buildings down. I don't even know that it's particularly foggy or rainy, but the sheer grayness seems to be taking on a physical weight that makes it very easy to decide not to venture outside.

Because I am completely evil, I forced Jen to watch Big Brother with me and she so totally loves it! After just one episode! I won't go on about it here, but if anyone reading this is watching the UK version going on right now, I've invented a drinking game to go with the live feed: do a shot every time Vanessa is asleep in a different location. You will be in hospital within the hour. I don't know why that makes it a good drinking game. I don't know why I love Big Brother either, BUT I DO!

I do have a thing or two planned for Jen's visit (and Laura's -- she's arriving in a few days): we'll pay a visit to Cruden Bay and Slain's Castle on Sunday, and head down to Edinburgh for a day trip on Monday. On Wednesday, the three of us are flying to Amsterdam together. Awwww, yeah.

Still, I keep hoping Jen won't remember that 48 hours ago she was tanning away on a Spanish beach. And I convinced her to come back to Aberdeen because there's so much we didn't have a chance to do the last time she was here. Eek!

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