One thing I would definitely recommend to anyone moving abroad is to look into joining the American Women’s Association wherever you are. Aberdeen has an especially great group of women who have gone out of their way to make me feel welcome and to get me involved. I haven’t had this sort of explosion of facebook friends since back in my sorority days, and the AWA dues are about 1/10 of the price of the DZ ones, so I’m definitely getting more friends for my money hereJ.
Once you’re in the AWA, you have about 20 social groups to choose from depending on where your interests lie. Since I love to hike, eat, and read, I’ve gotten involved in three different groups pertaining to those interests.
Last Thursday was my first hike with the ‘Explorers’ who generally go on 7-10 mile hikes twice a month. Apparently, the Explorers is a more intense version of ‘The Walkabouts’ who take more leisurely walks that usually include a lunch afterward. I plan on joining both.
I was a bit intimidated to join the Explorers and worried that my amateur hiking skills would slow the group down. Fortunately, last week’s hike of the Circuit of Iverbervie, Beholm, and Gourdon was a good one to get started on, since it was only about 5-6 miles and involved a pit stop at the Mill of Beholm along the way. We had about a half mile initial climb and then the rest of the walk was pretty flat.
We had some great vantage points of both the countryside and the ocean, but our views were somewhat diminished by the thick fog that was out that morning. Though the fog was obstructive in some regards, it added an air of mystique to the scenery.
Our pitstop was at the Mill of Beholm which is a restored Mill secretly tucked along the route. The mill includes clean restroom facilities, a gift shop, and a cafe that doubles as a program for teaching culinary and hospitality skills to adults with special needs. I’ve noticed a few of these programs around Aberdeen and think it is such a wonderful social service to help these adults become integrated into the workforce.
All in all, I think I held my weight on the hike and had a good time with great company. Of course, the best part for me was photographing cows.
Eventually I want to have a gallery wall filled just with pictures of Scottish farm animals. Honestly, I can’t get enough.
And I haven’t even had the chance to photograph any of the famously adorable highland coos yet. I hope I’m not driving the first time I spot one because I will surely run off the road in my excitement.
And really, could you blame me?