I have to say, I feel pretty lucky that E’s company allowed for a pre-assignment trip before our move. Granted, there’s not a lot of time in between visiting Aberdeen and actually moving there, but I’m pretty thankful for those 6 nights. And I learned that a lot of other companies don’t allow you to visit your new location before moving…unless it’s a Third World country. First, I have learned it sucks to fly to Aberdeen from Chicago. There are no direct flight and the time options aren’t the best. On our way out, our flight was at 4pm- waaaaaay too early to try and sleep. We had a 1-hour layover in Amsterdam (not bad) and then another hour and 15 min flight to Aberdeen. Despite not sleeping at all on that flight over, the flight home is a lot worse (as I sit in the Amsterdam airport on a 4 hour layover). This morning we were up at 3:45 (not exactly “up”, since I never actually went ‘down’) for a 6 am flight to Amsterdam. Then the excessively long layover. And because the USA is going crazy with additional security issues (this will be the start of the end of tech devices on airplanes) we couldn’t check in online. So, now E and I are stuck in the middle of the row for our flight from Amsterdam to Chicago. I have to ask myself, can it be worse than my flight to Amsterdam where I was in between my 6’4” husband and a 350 lb rugby player? It can’t be…. but I won’t hold my breath.
I think being able to see the city (and the country) a bit has allowed me to manage expectations. It can be charming, but Aberdeen is not as charming as Brugge or Amsterdam, etc, and while it is a city, it’s nothing like Chicago (the best city in America, duh). I had wanted to live in the country but after being on scary, small, windy roads and realizing it can take 30 minutes to go 10 miles, I really rethought that. Also I’m able to see how easy it is to get to the great Scotland outdoors, as well as determine I a) probably need a car, b) I will never bike on the actual roads for fear of my life, and c) keep my eyes on the prize: horseback riding and travel.
Most importantly, I was able to meet up for an expat 4th of July BBQ…oddly enough with someone who went to my high school. Oh the wonders of Facebook. It was really great to meet some people and get a sense of the expat community (my future friends?!), and more importantly, get advice on moving over and tips.
I had already been checking out ASDA and Boots to see what was available over here and at what cost. I fully believe in embracing the culture…but when it comes to product comforts and more importantly, saving money….well those aspects trump embracing paying double for UK-version Tide.
Overall it was a good trip, with a few bumps along the way. I’m sure there will be more trials and tribulations, but who wouldn’t expect that moving abroad. Most importantly, we found a house that doesn’t remind me of section 8 housing. Stay tuned for the next post on tales of house hunting in Aberdeen.