I’m in a complicated relationship with Aberdeen.

Allegedly adored by Royal Family, called the ‘Granite City’, in spikes of exaggerated marketing ‘the silver city with the golden sands’, Aberdeen has been my home for the last year. Right now, two days before my flight back home and moving out for good out of Scotland, this place calls for my comment very much.


1. Strange things happen in Aberdeen.
     I have no idea whether it’s because the city thrives on students coming from all over the world, or is it because maybe it sits on some strange power concentration point on the globe. Or maybe both. Only in here I’ve seen that many people randomly singing in the buses, walking barefoot through the streets. Or dressing up as a bunch of chicken, storming into KFC screaming over the counter, “GIVE ME BACK MA CHILDRAAAN”. The city seems to be covered in a mist, which can make it look rather gloomy and foggy, however very often the ‘fog’ smells in a way that makes me think of how one my friends once told me that this place is called the Amsterdam of Scotland as well.

2. The Granite City / The Silver City.
     Despite all effort this city has made since approximately 18th century to incorporate locally quarried grey granite, I’m sorry Aberdeen, the granite still does not silver-sparkle under rays of sunshine (oh wait, what sunshine?) after the rain.
aberdeen golden sands

3. Forget about your sleeping schedules.
     During winter around 3pm it’s as if somebody would switch off the lights. No colorful and slow sunsets for you, it gets dark immediately. The pitch dark blackness lifts up around 8am, in worst cases 9:30am.
     On the other hand, during summer you experience almost 21-hour long daylight. In June after 11pm it’s still quite bright, and sun rises around 3:00 – 3:30 am.
     And yet the students party whole year round, all day, all night.
aeeaedesfesfes

4. Holburn, Union and King Street
     are basically the whole of the city centre. Or maybe I haven’t got to know the city much and I’m just being stupid. But throughout the year I’ve seen all life of the city concentrating there. The so called ‘life’ constitutes of random parades organized by students, not-so-rare underwear runs for money fund-raising or other unknown reasons, parties, people dressed up as various creatures/animals/objects, or one time, a kettle stolen from a party, sitting on a bus stop.

5. “What does the city look like? – Like a paradox.”
     There’s the majestic-gothic-looking Marischal College right next to low-laying, identical rows of blocks. And the tall, medieval-look-alike West Tower of the Town House randomly appearing out of nowhere, scraping the sky and located right next to modern offices, and the bay with oil tankers.
     Be prepared to walk down narrow, atmospheric alleys only to end up in an industrial-look-alike district and not a single living soul there. And then, you stumble upon the chunky yellow block of flats that looks like taken out straight out of communist 1970s’ Poland.
     Outer suburbs sit around the city with all their houses identical in color, size and layout, creating a labyrinth of copy-paste small buildings that charmingly looks like a giant graveyard from an airplane window.
     Or, drive away from the city down the river Dee into natural landscapes of woods and fields, and- BAM!, there’s a modern, futuristic looking campus of the university, with a sky-scraping glass tower, most often hiding high up in dense, grey clouds.
     The city itself seems to be an architectural/design contraction, but yet it creates the vibe like no other – which is exactly what I hated it for in the beginning, only to start to love it later on.

6.  Fab life, Aberdeen
     Maybe it’s the quite small population of barely 230 thousands, or the student concentration ratio, but it seems everyone knows everyone, everyone talks about everyone. Oh, your flatmate’s friend knows that guy from marketing whose girlfriend saw your best friend on the picture from a nightclub yesterday, hugged with the marketing guy’s brother!
     Maybe this hub of students is buzzing incessantly cause apart from partying and people, honestly, I would not say there is much in here to do. People create this place, however this turns out to be its biggest advantage as it is never boring. It is even easier with an app where you post posts, anonymously. So basically everyone knows what you have been up to and where. And when there was almost full solar eclipse on 20th of March, the whole city shat its pants. Facebook profile pictures, Instagram, Twitter, even the forgotten Google Plus accounts were all buzzing, because hey, something is finally happening!
Apart from that, it seems like there’s one main topic for a conversation and a perfect escape from an awkward silence on your (Tinder) dates, and it’s the subject of the seagulls. Not only there’s heaps of them in here, massive in size, craving your food, there’s a good chance you’ll gonna be attacked by them at some point of living in Aberdeen.
aberdeen_eclipse

All of it, altogether, I must say has accounted for so many memories and random events that I genuinely, sincerely love Aberdeen, although I think I want it to burn in hell nevertheless.
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Ups and Downs

“pray I’ll never learn from mistakes I’ve made”


     Lost my friends more times than I can count. Seen how two-faced people can be. I have trusted every bit of information to whom I called my friends, only to find out how the backstab feels.
     And only due to that I’ve seen who really stands by my side. No matter what I do. Groups of people polarized out of the chaos around. Those who have seen all of my mistakes and yet, have let me repeat them again, and again, and again. And never judged me for it. I could never be more grateful to them for that.
     Only by the experience of both ups and downs, I could have the essential experience. No matter how many advices you get, no matter how many tips you hear, it is worth absolutely nothing if you do not have experience of both the good and the bad.
     Chinese philosophy of yin-yang describes how contrary forces are complementary, and interdependent in the natural world. They give rise to each other. The bad lets you feel the good and vice versa. Life is never black, or white, it’s both. It is a duality.
     So many people are so afraid to lose, they never let themselves do it. And exactly by doing that, they have no idea how much they lack in life. Succeeding in every aspect of your life, you never lose. And you go on about your life, scared of really living.
     Personally for me, life is not about reaching a certain point, which is so often defined by successful job post, house of your dreams, a car, holidays with your family every year on a nice beach in Europe. This is the laziest, most superficial interpretation of the success in life.
     If anything, success to me is to reach a point where you are no longer afraid of failure. Because this is the point when you start to actually live.

Connecting the dots.

It’s funny how the life goes. Once you switch on to the open attitude, say ‘yes’ to more and more things, give more of you to other people, follow every impulse, trust your intuition. You let go of the steer in your life and paradoxically, it gives you control. You devote your time to other people, help them and listen to them, realizing how this is the only way you can have it all.

     I’ve been seeing that on all of the events in my life recently, more and less serious or important, each and single one of them contributed to creation of the overall picture I have in my mind right now, typing these words.

“When he was turning thirty, Jobs had used a
metaphor about record albums. He was musing about
why folks over thirty develop rigid thought patterns and
tend to be less innovative. “People get stuck in those
patterns, just like grooves in a record, and they never
get out of them,” he said. At age forty-five, Jobs was
now about to get out of his groove.” 

     It takes 30 days for anything to become a habit. My opinion is, you should never let that happen when it comes to your life- take risks, change, and most importantly, never let the fear dim your decisions and choke you as you’d stay in the same job you hate, same house for years even though your eyes almost bleed the moment you look at it, same and unchanged image of you yourself, unknowingly making you love yourself less. 

Don’t you want to take a leap of faith? Or become an old man, filled with regret, waiting to die alone!”

     From my very own and recent experience I can tell the image unveils to you with hindsight. You will never see the whole way home while driving at night. But you drive anyways, your headlights showing you only three meters ahead of you. Seeing this distance you go, push further, drive on and ultimately reach home. 
     And you will never see the big picture while it’s in its creation. It is only after you can connect the dots from one person to another, one place to an event, event to a catastrophe, catastrophe to a lesson, lesson to another event. The big picture emerges as you start to accept this is the one and only way you will be able to see it.
 

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature,

nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.
To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits
in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.”


 
     Funnily enough, when my phone has been stolen, it brought me more amusement than worry, having to write my best friend’s number on my arm with a sharpie whenever going out, convincing strangers to let me use their phones, noting down their numbers with a pen on the palm of my hand. And, actually having to remember their names, instead of finding them on Facebook right away. I stopped looking for excuses and stopped saying ‘I need to‘, ‘I should”, instead, had a multitude of sleepless nights filled with doing everything that was coming to my mind, instantly. We cooked, danced, stumbled our way to the beach to see sunrise (where we’ve been greeted by Cloudy & Rainy Sky Always, est. in Scotland of course) and done every thing that we thought of doing- just for the sake of doing it.
     Nothing could surprise me anymore at this point, I reckon, as I know ANYTHING may happen. I do not wish or hope for anything, hence everything that comes is amazing as it is. After all of it, the big picture that emerges afterwards makes me say “I love life” almost all the day, making strangers and friends to think I am perpetually drunk.
    
      And I would never wish for that image it to be revealed to me in other way.