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.


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