Friday, March 22, 2013

Highs, Lows, and Attitude Adjustments

So, I’m feeling a tad convicted. I received an email yesterday from a lady potentially moving to Aberdeen and wanting the scoop. She said she’d heard some negative things about cost of living, weather, etc, but that I seemed pretty positive and upbeat so she’d like my opinion on things

That's when I started feeling really guilty about my recent attitude. You see, over the past few weeks, I haven’t felt too enamored with the whole ‘living in Scotland’ thing. I’ve been negative and complaining and frustrated over the cultural differences. I’ve been homesick and longing to move into the same neighborhood as my parents. 
To see my best friend’s baby boy grow up. 
To hang out with my brother on weekends. 
To attend crawfish boils and LSU baseball games. 

To just float seamlessly back into a life that requires no effort from me. Where I don’t have to struggle with understanding accents. Where I don’t have to throw a fit at the doctor's office when they suggest Tylenol for my upset stomach. Where I can easily park my car for free at any store or restaurant of my choosing.  Where I can just go to  the grocery store and buy some Easy Mac, for Pete’s sake! Where I know how to navigate the roads, the culture, the expectations, and the relationships.   

This frustration and homesickness that I am feeling is right on cue. The novelty of an ex-pat adventure has worn off and now I’m left to face the facts: I live here. This is home. 

It isn’t that “pinch me, I must be dreaming” fairytale romance that it used to be. It’s just life. It’s just home. 

“See the times are changing, I’m sure of nothing that I know, except this is us, and this is love, and this is where I’m home. In a world that's breaking, where nothing is for keeps, this is us, this is love, and this is where I sleep.” – Emeli Sande 'Where I Sleep'
You know how when you listen to a certain album during a phase of your life, every time you hear it, it transports you back to that frame of mind? Back when I first arrived to Aberdeen, and was head over heels in love with Scotland, I listened to local girl, Emeli Sande, on repeat. 

In an attempt to get back 'that lovin' feeling', I dug out her debut album this past week and have been listening to it constantly while I run my errands. It reminds me that even though I am going through a tough phase right now, I do love this life and this city. 

We have great friends. 
We live in a beautiful country. 
Our dogs thrive here. 

The dairy products are delicious. The crime rate is low. There is history around every turn. The summers are mild and the Fall is spectacular. 
And though it is rare, when the sun shines, it’s nothing short of magical. 

So thank you, Ruth, for reminding me that I am upbeat and positive and that I do give Aberdeen a rave review the majority of the time. So now that my rant is over, let’s get on to this week’s highs and lows. 

1) Still feeling a bit under the weather. This week, I’ve spent enough time in bed to complete seasons 4&5 of Friends, which is only about ½ the amount of time I spent bedridden last week. Each day gets a bit better so I’m just glad I appear to be on the mend! 

2) The winter weather. 
Bleh. This has probably been the worst 2 week span that I’ve experienced in Aberdeen. It’s a windy, freezing, icy mess and I just don’t have the patience to endure it anymore. Though I usually love mild climates, I find myself lately daydreaming of beaches in Mexico. 

Fortunately, the days are at least a bit longer than they were in the height of winter. The sun rises around 6:30 AM and it doesn’t fully set until 7 PM, which is a vast improvement over the 6 hours of daylight we were getting mid-December. I just can’t wait until those ‘warm’ (aka 50 degree) temperatures follow suit. 


1) Feeling better. Though I’m not 100% yet I am so much improved that I have been giving thanks to God constantly. More than anything in my life, I am so thankful for Jonathan and I’s health and I try to never take it for granted. 

2) Book club. Belonging to my very first book club has exceeded all my nerdy expectations. I love having a designated group where I can get my literary geek on. This Month’s book was The Hundred Year Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson.   
 The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared
If you haven’t read this comedic historic novel yet, I definitely recommend it. It’s witty and charming and, at times, downright cute.  The plot follows centenarian Allan Karlson on his many adventures, where he brushes shoulders with many of the 20th century’s world leaders and obliviously plays a hand in world changing events. You’d probably like it if you’re a fan of Forrest Gump (and if you aren’t, I don’t think we can be friends). 

Jonathan read it as well and really enjoyed it. I think it’s the sort of book that appeals to both genders and multi-generations, which is a great feature. The lady who recommended the book for our club did so because she, her husband and teenage children all enjoyed it. I think you would too! 

3) Mahjong winning streak. As in, 5 games in a row. 

Seriously. I finally got my mahjong mojo back and it made my week! 

What made your week?


  1. Hi Laine, sorry to hear you're having a down time. I've been in Aberdeen 6 weeks now (I'm an Aussie) and it's still a novelty for me, but I'm expecting that 'I miss home' feeling to hit at some point too. Looking forward to reading some more of your blog and learning about life here in Aberdeen, hope you're on the mend :)

  2. I'm so feeling this post. I had a mini breakdown on Wednesday. I was so fed up with living in Scotland. Living abroad. I want to go back where life was much easier. Where I don't have to worry about understand customs, accents, food, and where I had friends. I'm fed up with the weather and I miss the sun. I've gained a ton of weight in the 5 yrs I've been here. It is a beating being an expat. Is it worth it? I'm not sure I can answer that. Right now, I'd say no. It's kind of been a bad week for me.

    But, I try to keep remembering that people would kill to be in my place have have these experiences. I need to suck it up and see the beauty in living abroad. Sometime's it is hard to do.

  3. I love your blog! I totally went through similar angst when I moved from Scotland to the States :) I couldn't believe I had to drive literally across the road to get to stores because there was no sidewalks, I missed ridiculous things like pickled onion crisps, twiglets and the selection of cheese and on a daily basis, people found it hard to understand me. Cable TV confused me as did the ridiculous amount of commercials on said cable TV! I missed my family and not being able to walk everywhere. BUT, like you, there were more wonderful days than gloomy days, I met amazing people and we had amazing experiences! It's been 12 years since I lived in the UK and although I miss it, I have adjusted (just as well really)! Your blog is great, I love seeing Scotland through your eyes and the grocery posts especially make me smile :) Hope you're feeling better and that the weather in my cold homeland is improving!

  4. I've been feeling a bit down about living in Nigeria lately as well, but it's an adventure and with that there are highs and lows. Some times we go through low points and it's okay. It makes us appreciate the highs, for you sunny days! for me cooler temps :) so much more!! You're doing great don't sweat the lows!!

  5. Can I just say...I love that great dairy products is on your list of top positive things. lol. Soul sister. I can do without a lot of things, just don't take milk and cheese away from me. :)

    I know you are so grateful for the adventures at hand. Ups and Downs make life worth living! To quote one of my favorite movie monologues from Parenthood (the 80's movie with Steve Martin)

    "I always wanted to go again on the roller coaster. It was interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited and so thrilled all together. Some didn't like it. They went on the Merry-Go-Round. That just goes around. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it"

  6. I hope that more High Points start coming along. Im an Aberdeen girl too, so feel free to comment on my blog if you want (i can't get into my email at the moment).
    Oh i'd love to belong to a bookclub! It sounds like fun!