Monthly Archives: September 2006

Swimming UPstream

Today I met some more research students. 10 of us in an office with 2 profs discussing St. Thomas Aquinas and the Summa Contra Gentiles. A couple of the guys were mad, disgusted, annoyed with the article so that made for interesting discussions. I decided that I probably understood enough of the reading, thanks to having philosophy and Aquinas before. PTL.
The weekend will be spent translating Karl Barth from the German. Mind you, I don't know any German. This is how I am LEARNING German. It is not a primer, no "Heil! Jane, sehen Punkt!" And I don't have the English translation which I need to get to continue in the seminar since I am here in the presence of some of the top Barth scholars. Books are incredibly expensive here. If I wasn't absolutely positive that this is where I was supposed to be and doing what I was supposed to be doing, I'd be in a serious panic by now. Since I am sure, it is just a mild panic. I do feel like I'm swimming upstream.
My landlady offered me a ride to the BIG superstore tonite to pick up things that the little superstore within walking distance doesn't have. They had cornmeal in the Asian aisle. She says no one uses cornmeal except Americans and what on earth do I do with it? Why do all Americans have to have cornmeal? I use it for cornbread and multigrain pancakes!  I also got a decent sized kitchen trash bin. All the waste baskets here are about pint sized which work fine except in the kitchen. It was a worthwhile trip and now I feel entirely settled in my flat. Maybe I'll just stay inside and read. Unfortunately, I have to walk 3 blocks to the library to get internet. I suppose then as long as I'm out,  I should continue to show up for seminars.

getting shorter


 September 23

 I seem to have gotten shorter all of a sudden. It is either because I'm closer to Scandinavia and everyone really is taller and blonder here, or I have worn off the bottoms of my feet. It feels like the latter. I never knew feet could cramp from being used too much! Hopefully the feet will adjust or I'll have to buy Birkenstocks. I already have the socks for them! The weather here is really warm and mild for the time, they say. That means it is in the low 70's not the 50's. That means that I only brought one short-sleeved blouse and I am sweltering. I picked up a couple more shirts at the Sainsbury Stuff-Mart today. The other thing is that the buildings are quite quite warm and this is normal I am told by those who know. "LAYERS" they say. Well, yes, I brought layers and PLANned on layers but I did NOT plan on t-shirts for the lowest layer! All Winter Long! We went to pick up the last lot of necessaries for me to feel like I'm settled and organized and can GET TO WORK on Mon a.m. as I was told by my supervisor. [I am to Be At My Desk by 9 a.m. Mind you, I don't have a Desk and won't for 2-3 weeks.] Everyone said you can get a bus or a taxi no problem to get your stuff home. What they did NOT tell us is that you can't GET a taxi on Sat noon because they are "all booked and not accepting new bookings." So, we walked home with about 8 bags and a set of boxes. We managed. It was about a mile I guess. At least we'd walked there directly in the first place so we could find our way back again without guessing! I'm still using my cane. It is helpful on the cobblestone streets which march through the college. And, it is helpful to push the Open Door button on the hugely heavy doors. And, it acquires more respect and space without a word or a look! 🙂 And, it is helpful when the legs are worn off from walking and one refuses to give up. We found a STAPLES on the way, too, so I was able to get some office supplies. After I found out what the supplies were supposed to look like! Not only does everyone here drive on the wrong side of the road, but they use the wrong size paper, too! It's a 1/4" narrower and a 1/2" longer. Doesn't fit in anything American. And Manila files are a funny color – not vanilla – I got the cheap gray/brown color. Other files are plastic sheets with the top and one side open. Those are very nice. Other things that I thought I wanted I couldn't find. So, I guess I don't need them. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Not all those who wander are lost.


It is the little things that make weirdness


First – my back is doing well. I didn't need wheelchairs at the airport and everyone was very considerate of my cane. Maybe they thought I would whack them? The cane is useful here what with cobblestone streets and granite sidewalks in the rain and my tendency to twist ankles. It is also useful to open doors by hitting the "handicapped" square.

Did you know that:

All the doors have square "Press Here to Open" openers as the doors are too heavy to open manually without a male undergrad helping.

The library doors (and others) open automatically when someone walks up to them. Unless the building has not opened for the day and then you bash your nose against the door before realizing it is still locked.

PhD candidates get to check out books until June — automatically!

Water fountains are American? One needs to carry one's own water if one thinks they are going to dehydrate.

The sun shines here and is lovely!! Of course, other times the sky is just gray. But it is a light gray!

Everyone here wears jackets and blue jeans and long sleeves. I'm the only one running about in a t-shirt because I am warm and think the weather is warm too!! Not to mention the overheated buildings.

Asians here speak with a Scottish accent!

You can hear multiple languages being spoken on the street. And then, you realize that some of them are really speaking English not Indian or Chinese!!

Paper is longer and narrower. Look on your printer cue: look for A4. That is what they use here.

Manilla folders are a different color, size and shape.

Fans are everywhere cuz there is very little A/C.

"Nothing works in the Science Building." according to my professor so all the profs hate when they're classrooms are assigned there since the overheads, etc., don't work!

The Polish priest couldn't tell which version of English I was speaking!

I gave directions to an out-of-towner to get to the Pittodrie (soccer) stadium. Dave and I had just walked past it so we knew where it was 🙂

They play golf in the rain on the dunes. (does this come from Hemingway?)

You have to go in the right door in order to find the right room.

You have to say DR. so and so. No last names without the honorary title. That's rude (and American!).

Toilets are "the loo"  because in the early 1800's when water closets were being installed, Napolean met his end at Waterloo. Water-closet-loo. Go figure.

If one hears about a meeting or seminar, one has to figure out where and when it is in order to get there by oneself. If the professor says "My office hours are…" that means they expect to see you there. No babysitting here! Information must be ferreted out by the diligent.

Only Americans want cornmeal. "What on earth do Americans DO with cornmeal? They all want it!" You can only get cornmeal/uncooked polenta at Asian Hallal shops.

Everything East of Europe is Asian. Thus, Hallal includes Chinese.

You can't get a taxi home from the grocery superstore on Saturday afternoon. The taxis are "all booked."

In Scotland


Well, Here we Are — In Scotland:D on Spital RdLo and kitchen door

Dave's on Spital Rd which is the other end of High St that the College is on. I am in my living room and you can see the kitchen door on the right. I kept losing the kitchen as it was the only room that didn't have a door off the hall.

I'm settled! We've walked downtown a couple times and our legs are killing us. But the back is fine. I use my cane, but don't need it for my back. I have found that it gives me a greater sense of security on the cobblestones.

The flat is adorable and a little larger than our farm kitchen so it shouldn't be too hard to keep clean. Plus, no kids there, either. I can look out my window and see fields so being in the city shouldn't be too claustrophobic this time. The weather has been great – unseasonably warm, we're told. We left walking to the North Sea beach until Sunday — and of course we had seasonably rainy gray weather that day.view from window Yes, that is rain on the window but see the lovely little garden I overlook?

golf in rainCheck out golfing in the rain? This is on the dunes by the beach.

beachAnd here's the beach in the rain. North Sea Beach

They are renewing the beach due to erosion and the rising sea levels. Notice this is a whole family of Diggers here!!!Digger family

The City is amazing!Center City  center city cemetery  Marischall College

 Here is the Salvation Army Cathedral in center city!salvation army and St. Clements st clements which is closer to the harbour.

 AofG This is the Assemblies of God Church. I must admit I've never seen an A of G like this in the Sates!!

Aberdeen is known as the City of Rosesrose beds

 – and there are beds of roses along all the streets because "they are so easy to take care of!" Big beds, everyone a different color.

posting cardsD is posting post cards here in the pillar. I hope they get to the States. It feels just a little unnerving – like throwing them in a red painted trash can.

Cromwell TowerMy office will be in the Cromwell Tower, the square tower behind this square tower. Named because it was built during Cromwell's reign.

Market SqThis is where the markets were held in Old Aberdeen. The post pillar is just behind the camera. Check out the granite cobblestones on the sidewalk and the streets.

Hope you enjoyed the tour.

Last US Knitting Project


I finished and mailed my last US knitting project:

Thomas frontThomas back

As you can see the back is a plain shaker rib stitch. I had planned to stitch the little train yard with all the little train faces peering out of their sheds. About 2" into the front I changed my mind. Now I remembered why I prefered stranded knitting to intarsia. I hate little pieces and cutting little pieces of yarn up. That is also why I am only knitting ONE Thomas the train sweater. Even though the resident 4 yr old grandson is heartbroken, teary eyed and blubbery voiced when he asks for one too. (He is ALMOST as good as his puppy-eyed Uncle Teri!) HE has a tractor sweater that he has worn for at least 2 years and it is time his cousin got a special sweater too.

Thomas should fit the 3 yr old for many years as his 6 yr old cousin got it on with no trouble! It is a very stretchy knit!