An Ode to Aberdeen

My dearest Aberdeen,

Tonight is my last night sleeping on your lovely grounds. Tomorrow I will set foot back on home land. You have put me through hell and heaven and here is my ode to you.

I was amazed by your gray streets. The sunshine and rain you gave me the first few days made me see the streets in all its beauty and ugliness. The granite your houses are built of, sparkle in the sun and make a gray day even more depressing. Little castle-like buildings made me realize I was actually in Scotland.

The mountains and hills surrounding you are absolutely stunning. I loved being so close to the sea. In the few months I was here, I have seen more sunshine than rain which was a total surprise to me! This allowed us to enjoy all the little trips we made to see those mountains, hills and sea in beautiful sunlight.

No matter how ugly some of your residents are, they are one of the nicest people I have come across. Always willing to help, wishing you a nice day and in for a small talk. Just sitting on the bus into town hearing them speak in that heartwarming accent always put a smile on my face.

One thing that made my jaw drop, happened when I was waiting for my bus. There was no pushing, no angry looks, only a neat line of people, patiently waiting their turn to enter the bus. No matter how much it was raining. I might have made some people angry by not realizing there was a queue the first few times, I apologize for that!

The contrasts between people here made me think of the city in a different way. The homeless people sitting on the streets till the sun comes up and the shiny new cars driving by, showing off. This all because of the oil that is hidden just off shore. Giving people great lives, attracting the less fortunate.

The thing I want to thank you most for, is what you have taught me over the last few months. Never have I had such a hard time at some occasions here. Somehow, somewhere, I found the strength to hold on and never give up. You showed me how much I can do and I will always be grateful for that.

This is not a goodbye, this is a see you again sometime. Although I loved the snow the last few days, we didn’t get to go on our little road trip because of it. This means I have to come back to see all the things I still want to see! Hereby I promise you, I will be back one day.

So thank you once again. I can’t wait to go home, but you will always have a special place in my heart. I will miss you Aberdeen.

Love,

Kyley

MF- Last day Aberdeen

 

 

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This. Is Scotland.

I had been looking forward to this past weekend for over a month. Not only did this weekend mean it was almost my birthday, I was going to see what all the hype about Edinburgh was.

After witnessing Aberdeen’s hour of horror (between 5 and 6 a.m. Saturday morning), when all the people you see are either too drunk to make it home or still sleep drunk, I made my way to the bus station where I met my fellow city trippers. 3 Hours later, we were walking through the buzzing heart of Edinburgh.

I now can help the hype going for this beautiful city. Walking through the old part it’s like you stepped back in time with buildings like little castles and street performers gathering crowds of people. You can just feel the history and see the stories. This is what I imagined Scotland looked like.

In 2 days we saw almost every tourist attraction we wanted to see. The castle, the cathedral, how they weave kilts, Holyrood palace, a pub on Grassmarket, the Royal Mile, the Edinburgh Vaults, lots of Christmas decorations, lots of fancy warehouses, lots of amazing old architecture, many more things and of course the Christmas market.

MF - Edinburgh 1 MF - Gluhwein MF - Bagpipe MF - Edinburgh MF - Edinburgh castle MF - Kilt weaving MF - Little castle OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA MF - Old City

This is a city where I could see myself living one day. A city well worth visiting. A city I will help to keep the hype alive.

Maybe next year..

I’m finally in a country that celebrates Halloween! I went costume shopping with flat mate S, found the perfect outfit, decided on what to do the night itself when my body decided it was time to break down and keep me in bed.. FML..

I started to get a sore throat on Monday evening and cancelled football practice just to be safe, had a vitamin C shot and went to bed early. Woke up the next day with infected tonsils, a fever and severe headache. Bye bye Halloween plans!

So when all my flat mates were getting ready last night, I made myself another cup of tea and headed to bed.. But not before I splashed some fake blood all over my flat mate S and the kitchen.. Happy (belated) Halloween everyone!

A Cry For Help: Photo Experts Opinions Wanted

For all you photo experts out there, a cry for help from me. In one of my impuls decisions I signed myself up for a photojournalism class here in good ol’ Aberdeen. It is everything I thought it would be and I am absolutely loving it. The only problem is, they don’t really teach me how to take photo’s or what I should be aware of.. As I am always eager to learn (oke, just the subjects I am interested in..), I hereby cry out to you, photo experts-bloggers-YOU!

For my class, we first of all had to pick a subject. How could I choose something else than my moving feet! The perfect opportunity to collect some more photo’s for this blog and actually produce some decent photo’s eventually.. We will be graded on the selection we make ourselves of 20 photo’s and 3 final photo’s. Together they have to tell a certain story. My story being the most interesting of all of course: ME! The story of Kyley, moving her feet around Aberdeen.

So in the last few weeks I have been out and about, excusing myself to my newly made friends while I take photo’s of my feet. Climbing on things, asking them to pose for me and always last of the group, trying to find that awesome shot.

Anyhow, back to my cry. Below are a few photo’s I have taken over the last few weeks and  now if I can be so humble, I would like to ask you photo experts-bloggers-YOU, what you think of them. Any suggestions? Things I need to be aware of? Tips? Opinions? Don’t get me wrong, I know what I like and I know my “style”, but why not use this wonderful world of blogging to get some feedback and maybe improve my game.. I’m going for an A for this subject!

Photo 1.

Photo 2.

Photo 3.

Photo 4.

Photo 5.

Don’t hold back, I’m a strong girl, I can take criticism. Let me hear your voice and share your views with me.

Digging Deep: An Answer To A Tough Question

School week 2 of my exchange program at Robert Gordon University. I thought I missed going to school, having the alternating schedule, writing papers, struggling through books etc. Frankly I didn’t. It took me until now to figure out what I really was missing, and still am.

I have had a few people ask me what I wanted to do with my education. Still a really tough question, but I am going to try to explain. First of all, that question lead me a few times to ask the other person the same thing. The answers I got were all pretty straight forward and  most of them seemed to know exactly what they want to achieve in life and where they’re going. Either earning money, getting the whole house-car-wife-kids-dog package, starting their own business, climb up the career ladder etc. And here I am, thinking I just want to do something that I enjoy, all the time, every aspect, whatever that may be in the future. Seriously, it’s not an answer people expect to hear (trust me, I have experience) and just leads to awkward discussions.

Discussions that are way to personal and leaves them thinking I’m one of those cliche girls. An I-just-want-to-be-happy kind of girl, but I’m not like that. I have a perfectly clear, non-cliche girl explanation (or so I think) for this big question and I will show you by giving an example.

For this exchange program, I had to choose 1 course, consisting of 4 modules. However, my university back home would not let me take 1 of those modules due to my course content coming up so I had to pick another one. The 3 remaining original modules are exactly my problem — they don’t interest me what so ever. Globalisation, Organisational Behaviour and Brand Management. Can it get any more boring?

This is exactly where my problem lies. As soon as I’m not interested in something, I find it really difficult to motivate myself. A major weakness I’m not particularly proud of, but am fully aware of. I can just hear my mom saying to me for the nth time: “Life is not always fun and easy, just hold on”. But why can’t it always be fun? Why can’t I just do something that’s fun and interesting, all the time?

Let me answer that myself. Because life can be a bitch, that’s why. Now back to the reality. I did choose this exchange program, this school, this course myself, right? (Not entirely correct, but let’s not dwell on that.) It’s all about investing in my future. Just to get a diploma, have a back up plan. Because to be honest, I don’t even know if I want a serious job right away. Why not try to find something that’s fun and interesting– all the time? Combine everything that I like to do and try to make a living from that. How cool would that be? And if it doesn’t work, there’s always the back up plan, the diploma. Or a supermarket.

Enough blabbering about negative stuff and back to the modules. The 4th module kind of makes up for the other 3. I chose this bad boy because it seemed really interesting. Something that would motivate me and I would actually enjoy. Photojournalism. I Love it. Working with a camera, looking at photo’s in a different way, playing with composition and selecting photo’s of your own taste. It’s the one class I look forward to.

One of the best parts of studying at RGU are the societies and sports teams you can join. After almost 4 years of not touching a football, this felt like the right time to jump back in and join the football team. The best decisions I made here. Even though they make me look like an idiot trying to kick a ball, I enjoy every minute of it. Being part of a team, out in the fresh air, losing some aggression and having nights out with the team. It’s awesome.

So what is it exactly that I’m missing? Doing what I want, whenever I want? Being free and have no commitments whatsoever? Having fun all the time? Not being told what to do? Not having any homework? It seems the things I’m missing now and what I want to do in life after university, are pretty much tied together. Perhaps it has something to do with my impatience..But lets not dig any deeper. I suppose I should just keep it real and suck it up, I’m in freakin’ Scotland!

What Not To Do When the Fire Alarm Sounds

For this little story to make sense, I have to tell you something about the heating in my great new room on campus..

When I first arrived here, the heating wasn’t working. Not a big deal if you’re used to the cold but considering that I just spend 6 months with temperatures not below 28 degrees, I was f*cking freezing. After a week or more of complaining, the day was finally there. We had heating! Now 4 days later, it’s like I’m back in Bali.

We can’t control the heating ourselves. We are supposed to be able to push a button and it will go hot for an hour, but other than that it is supposed to be set at 18 degrees. Just today, they placed a thermometer. While writing this, my room is a stunning 29 degrees. Not only is this a total waste of energy, it’s unbearable and drying my skin out.

Anyway, to the point of the story. This morning at 6.18 a.m. the fire alarm went off. Total confusion came over me as this was the first time ever I had to evacuate. Half a sleep, I wrapped a towel around me, grabbed a jumper and sweatpants and headed outside, thinking I could get dressed later (don’t ask me why, my brain was still sleeping).

You all know about the weather in Scotland and it was pretty stormy all night. Once the cold hit my face and my half naked body, I realised I wasn’t wearing shoes, took 2 sweaters instead of sweatpants and didn’t even think about bringing anything I would want to save. Evacuation is not my strongest point..

I did somehow remember to take a photo of my feet..

It took a while before we knew what was going on and after no sign of a fire at all, we decided to head back in where the janitor told us it was the fire alarm downstairs. The heating in their kitchen was so hot, it actually made the fire alarm go off. So tonight, I’m preparing my evacuation kit with shoes and pants..

Something Different

The highlands of Scotland. My new home for the next 4 months. Even though it’s not really travelling, it’s still a new adventure! And after just 4 days, it’s already been a whole different experience than previous times..

Starting back home. Instead of packing a backpack, strategically thinking how to pack and bringing only necessary things, I could fill up a suitcase and a half. I didn’t have to think about special items I had to take with me as I did before Bali. Didn’t have to be worried of forget something because I’m not moving to a 3rd world country. I’m not even leaving Europe! Even saying goodbye to my friends and family was different. Not only are farewells getting more “easy” ( I really believe farewells are never easy, you just learn how to handle them better each time), it didn’t even feel like saying goodbye. It felt more like I was going on a holiday.

Even my leaving day was different. No panic what so ever if I hadn’t forgotten anything, no butterflies in my stomach (ok, just not as many) and no emotional farewells at the airport. My mom actually came with me for the so called “college drop-off”. So instead of crying my eyes out at the Starbucks, I actually smiled at the boy behind the counter, ordering two coffees instead of one.

The first few days felt like a city trip, the idea of me really living here for the next few months not really sinking in. After picking up my room keys and unpacking my bag, we walked around town, went to the beach and did some shopping. Even saying farewell to my mom, (the hardest farewells of all time), passed without a tear.

Now here I am, living the Scottish student life. Already freezing my ass off without working central heating. Staring my eyes out during Freshers Week parties. Meeting new people from throughout the U.K. and beyond. School hasn’t started yet but I’m sure that as well will be different from Holland. So many new experiences once again and I’m soaking it all up.