I've done this lot before, things I miss, but today I glanced at the calendar and registered that I completely missed our two year anniversary back in the US. I've found therapy in writing lately. I finally started the novel I've been wanting to write for many years now. No surprise, it's a book very much based in Aberdeen, and it has made me feel particularly close to my other home city lately.
September is my favorite month in Aberdeen. It is a particularly beautiful month there just before the days grow startlingly short. The air still holds some warmth from summer and days are often clear and bright. There is a bustle and energy to the city as students return from their summer holidays, and most of all it reminds me of the time of year when we first moved to Aberdeen four years ago, all the emotional and sensory intensity that comes with moving overseas. Those days are etched in my memory so clearly.
And so for my round-up this year (you can see past musings here, here, and here), which is admittedly late, I've compiled a new list of some of the things I miss. I borrowed pictures from Trey's supervisor, Nick Thompson, who is an extraordinary photographer and while he was a Lecturer in Aberdeen took amazing photos of its landscape, people, and general goings-on, with subject matter as varied as fires and extreme kiting. His flickr profile is Nick in exsilio and I encourage you to spend an hour browsing his photos. You won't get through all of them, but it will be an hour well-spent.
Things I miss (in no particular order):
#1 The Aberdeen skyline punctuated by glorious Marischal College (after whom Davis Marischal Holloway is named).
#3 Low-flying clouds. A by-product of island living, the clouds in Scotland almost skim the rooftops.
#4 Bagpipes. I don't care what anyone says, they bring tears to my eyes.
#5 Apples in our neighbor's back garden. Particularly glad the new tenants of The Orchard are enjoying them.
#6 The ivy that turns red on King's College this time of year.
#7 Granite. What? you say. You miss a stone? Yes, actually. Look how many shades of granite there are. It's not just gray. There's brown and pink and charcoal and white. And it sparkles. Maybe not like a diamond, but in a rugged, beautiful way, much like the city for whose stone it is nicknamed The Granite City.
#8 Thistles. You mostly see them in rubbish heaps along the side of buildings. They really are weeds, but I'm a sucker for the color purple and there is something about their gravity-defying puff which is both cheeky and sweet.
#9 Ladies in hats at weddings. C'mon, does that not just scream UK? Almost expect the Queen to turn around.
#10 Cobbled streets. We have some in Old City in Philly but there are none around where I work in Center City. To me they just epitomize the old world.
#11 Trinity Cemetery. This little edifice stands on a bluff overlooking the North Sea. Always thought it looked like a mini castle.
#12 Haggis. It gets a bad rep, but it's actually quite delicious. Sausage mixed with finely ground oatmeal, lots of onion and pepper. What's not to like?
#13 Red mailboxes. Pardon, letterboxes. Cheerful, right?
#14 Christmas lights. A wee bit early, but I loved the lighting of the colorful banners that flew above Union Street.
#15 and #16 International Fair and German Brats. There's nothing better than eating a bratwurst that's twice as long as the roll it's in.
#17 Seals along the Don. Remember our first sighting?
#18 Brilliant autumn foliage. The wet summers make for vibrant fall colors.
#19 Lidl (pronounced LEE-duhl, not LIE-duhl). Love that place. Ah, the memories of toting my purple shopping trolley up King Street to the grocery store, searching for hidden treasures, and buying delicious cheese for next to nothing. We have Aldi here at home, which is actually a huge German rival to Lidl. To me they're the same though. Only difference is my store here doesn't carry alcohol.
#20 Hydrangeas. Specifically hydrangeas that keep their color. They require a tremendous amount of water. The ones here are all dried out at the end of this long hot summer.