20 things I’ve discovered while living in Aberdeen…

It’s been more than a couple of years living in Scotland, and with its ups and downs, life in Aberdeen has been good to me. The sky might not be blue everyday and the buildings might not be as colourful as Portobello Road in London, but people are kind, the countryside is beautiful and there is a sense of safety and calmness around me, that has made me consider Scotland as my permanent residence.
When I moved to Aberdeen life felt a bit different; less exciting, less partying and way more expensive, but I managed to build my life around strong friendships, a nice working environment and everything seem back to normal (aka London life). Having a boyfriend and a lovely house might have contributed a bit more to this stability and happiness…

…Here are a few things I learned about life in Aberdeen:

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1. When you are on a house hunting adventure, it is not you who chooses the house but the landlord/agency who picks you. In 2013, in order to get a room in a flat I had to go through interviews to be considered eligible to fill an application in the agency and then go through a second phase of application approval. I remember filling multiple applications and then getting no response at all, leaving me anxious. Luckily, with the oil and gas industry going down, this process has completely changed and with more available places to let, getting a house in Aberdeen has become much more easy (and cheap).

2. The summer season is not a season but more of sunny hours on a few sporadic days during the time of the year that the rest of the world experiences summer. Thus, when there is sunshine do the most of it, go on a lunch break in the nearest park, get regular tea breaks outside the office and in general try to be outside as much as possible. Extra points if there is a sunny day during the weekend 🙂

3. On Saturday nights out you can easily distinguish the foreigners from the locals, purely from the way either are dressed. During my first year in Aberdeen, me and my flatmates at that time went out for a drink on a Saturday night. We were all coming from various European countries, all getting dressed with heavy, winter jackets and scarves since it was a cold, autumn night. On our way back home a Scottish lady with much sass (and without a jacket) told us that if we wanted to get a man we should get dressed less and if we wanted to get dressed lightly (without experiencing the cold temperatures) then we had to start drinking. As much as we laughed and joked with her, we all agreed that maybe we should have had a few more shots and leave the jackets at home in order to mix with the locals.

4. Vegetarians can eat haggis too. Apparently more tasty than the authentic one.

5. You always have to carry the exact amount of ticket change with you since buses don’t accept cards and neither do they give change back. One night me and my friend went out and spend most of our money on alcohol, leaving us with money enough to buy only one and a half bus ticket. It took us five minutes of negotiating and begging until the driver (thankfully) let us in. Happy days!

6. When it’s sunny everyone is happy!

7. Freshly orange juice is just orange juice out of the can.

8. Walking in the streets at night is safe.

9. There are very few independent coffee shops whereas you can find chain coffee shops (and restaurants) pretty much in every corner of the city. It has always been a mystery to me as to why this is happening…

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10.  Street beggars are not in actual need of money. Aberdeen doesn’t have many street beggars but you can find a few down the main streets who, as I have been told from various sources, are not exactly poor; they live on shelters and claim benefits, so being in the streets is just to get a few more money for alcohol and drugs. Largely proven by the fact that when you offer them food they deny it and say they are not hungry…

11. Bike is the best and quickest way to cross the city. I have been cycling for more than a year and it has been so much fun over taking cars and buses while there is traffic. It is cheap, quick and very enjoyable!

•Old Aberdeen • A photo posted by @natbeesfashion on

12. Most people work in the oil & gas industry. Making the answer to the question ‘where do you work’ quite predictable.

13. Coffee places are not open after 6 pm, so if you are to meet a friend after work then pub it has to be!

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14. You don’t know your neighbours and in some cases maybe you have never seen them even after a year of living in the same block of flats.

15. With the first sunshine rays people will wear t-shirts and sandals, regardless the temperature…

16. Pizza is deep fried. And Mars bars, and pies, and even ice-cream!

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17. The houses at the West End area are insanely big and with the most beautiful front gardens and doors.

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18. The sea is cold and chances are you will never go swimming..

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19. People are kind and always helpful.

20. Even in the grey-est days there is always some beauty 🙂


Have you ever been to Aberdeen?

Anastasia x

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