This is supposed to be an international experience. One of the advantages of studying here. So, the women researchers had a dinner the other night. Out of six women, there was one from New Zealand and 5 from America. I am fortunate in that I have met a Scottish lady and have lunch with her once a week or so. I invited her to my place for a mini-Thanksgiving dinner. I also met an Austrian lady who knits and lives in my neighborhood.
The question people always ask is 'what has been the weirdest/hardest/oddest thing for you?' That was hard to answer the first week when everything was new. For most Americans it seems that we can find most foods we want, which is a surprise, and then there are the odd things we can't find. Like cornmeal. And turkey for thanksgiving. Turkeys aren't in season until Christmas.
So, I asked the Austrian lady what she had found the oddest. They have No Bread! she replied. Americans would probably notice there is no Wonder Bread here. Most of the sandwich bread is like our multigrain breads. There is a greater variety of bread products here, though. Crumpets, scones, pancakes, pastries, all sold in the bake shops. But no solid, crusty dark Austrian bread. So, when she goes home she buys fresh warm bread every morning from the local bakery and lives on bread while she's there!
Here's the office tower. Not exactly ivory – more like solid granite. Gray cold somber solid.
Note the blood red ivy on the building to the right. Kings Chapel is to the left. This is taken from inside the quad facing east. I think.
Here's Cromwell Tower from the Cloister Walk of Elphinstone Hall.
Here you can see the Chapel and the Crown as well as the Christmas tree that has just been put up. So if you look at the website: http://www.abdn.ac.uk/sras/virtual_aberdeen/index.shtml you can see the other side of the Cmas tree. I guess they light it on the 30th. Father Christmas comes to light it I think. There is a 'snow' fence around it but they've stuck branches in the fence to make it look like a nice living hedge. No I don't know why it is there. To keep undergrads from playing with the lights or climbing the tree???
So, now you see, I don't live in a barn. And this is not my house but my office. It's where my desk and PC are. And books when I get some to put up. Can you believe I don't have any books to put in my office?
Here's an award I never expected to see:
It really is in one of the public loos on campus. Mind you, it is a very nice loo with nice white tiles and no dirt and no paper around. The public rooms are kept very cleanly over here – I've never seen a dirty restroom here or one without all the essential papers. It would probably be a good thing to give awards to pristine turnpike restrooms. What do you think?
On to the office loo. This one is eerie. The window has got to be over 10 feet tall and has a phenomenal view. But it is terribly unnerving with no curtains, no frosted glass. On the other hand, only seagulls or roofers would be able to look in. See:
Amazing isn't it. The back of the crown tower and the back of the chapel up at the roof level of the chapel, mind you. Above the stained glass crucifixion. And what do you see out your loo window?
31 Oct 2006
I have been waiting for this: a rainbow! It was blowy and cold and rainy and the sun was shining on the sides of the buildings with a dark stormy sky above them. There must be a rainbow somewhere I thought. I decided that it was too cold out and my flat would be nice and warm so I toddled off home for the rest of the afternoon to work on my paper. I happened to look up from my desk at home and lo and behold!
THERE was the rainbow, right outside my window. Please note the Narnia lamp and the fact that the near end of the rainbow rests on the trees behind which St. Machar’s Cathedral was built hundreds of years ago and the far end of the rainbow is positioned on my council flat buildings. I’m sure that is extremely significant. There have been three different rainbows this afternoon. And now there is pellet sized hail on my east window while the sun is shining in the west.
Fifty degrees can be really really really cold when the wind is blowing directly off the North Sea. One of my colleagues said that when he was sitting in the chapel this a.m., his jaw bone nearly froze. This same guy enjoys surfing off the beach of Aberdeen. I am not so hardy and am glad for what warm clothes I have and regretting not bringing a fifth suitcase of sweaters and long johns. I am layering all the clothes I have though and that seems to be sufficing. I know Drake warned me. You were so right, Drake!! So much for knitting mittens for grandchildren – that yarn is all going into vests for me! I am told that tomorrow November 1st will be the beginning of winter – frost. Maybe on Saturday when I brave the weather to attend the country fair downtown, I shall find some fur-lined boots as well.