22 September 2013

New world

We've just moved in to our new flat! There's stuff everywhere as we don't have the furniture here yet, we're going to get them here tomorrow when we hire a van at Arnold Clarks, luckily Tiia's the one driving it as she has more experience driving bigger cars. We'll be
living together with Kata, hope she likes me and is fine living with me .__. The flat is at a nice, peaceful location at Garthdee. It's a bit far from the university but there's a straight bus route there and a huge two story ASDA (yes that's what the supermarket is called) at a walking distance that's open 24/7. If I forget to buy something to boost my midnight essay session I can go to a proper supermarket that stocks just about everything I could need! ^_^

The life news being out of the way, I'd like to introduce you to all the things different here in Aberdeen, Scotland that I've found baffling/wonderful/weird when moving here. I mean aside from the more obvious ones like children speaking English, notes and coins being all weird looking, cars driving on the left lane, bunnies living in the middle of roundabouts and milk being measured in pints. 

Just look at the old key design! :D
Old buildings
There are a lot - and I mean a lot - of old buildings. Not just some preserved national buildings that are kept old on purpose, but the houses that actual people live in can be kind of old. There isn't necessarily any kind of heating or insulation so it's as warm (or cold) inside as it's outside. This being the UK, mostly cold. Buildings look old as well which I like very much. Feels like living in a medieval city!

Power sockets and floors
Speaking of buildings the power sockets have an on/off switch built in. I have no idea what's the purpose of it and it has proven difficult to remember its existence. Quite a few times I have plugged in my phone charger in the evening and woken up to notice the socket wasn't on...
And then the best thing ever, floors covered in soft carpet from wall to wall. It's warm to walk on and feels nice under your feet. It's also safer to drop something fragile on it as it doesn't break as easily as dropped on hard floor.

This country is much more religious than Finland. It's more present in pretty much everything from billboards to the amount of churches. I tried to count them from google maps, but it proved a bit impossible there being hundreds of them in just the city area.

Diagonal crosswalks
Not such a big thing but it was kind of amazing to see one of there in action for the first time. I'm not aware of there being even one of them in Helsinki, correct me if I'm wrong.

School uniforms
The cutest thing ever. I went a bit crazy when I saw one of them in the street the first time. I've read that there has been some dispute whether they should be removed but personally I don't think they're a bad thing.

Everything has your title on them. Everything from your credit card to rail card reads a title in front of your name. It's very rare in Finland to use a title in anything so this was a surprise.

They're shiny. They're different. They're diverse. Compared to Finland I like the shopping opportunities here much more. To exaggerate a bit the clothing range in Finland is pretty much jeans and t-shirts. Skirts and dresses are fairly rare so previously I've had to order everything online. Now I can easily find clothes I like in the local shops. 

16 September 2013

Where am I? How did I get here? Why am I here?

The first post, where to begin! :) Where am I? How did I get here? Why am I here?

I've lived all my life in Finland, up until this point. I have previously wanted to study/live abroad and applied to do an exchange year in Japan while studying. I went through the interviews and filled forms and all but in the end didn't get to go there. A bit sad, but I got over it. I finished my vocational school in Finland and got a job as a software developer for the Finnish Meteorological Institute that was situated at a University of Helsinkis campus. The work was fun and I got paid, but seeing all the students buzz around the workplace and being stuck in a glass cubicle myself left me wondering if I'm missing out on something by leaving the student life so early and never even really living it. 

Then I got to know a girl who lived in Scotland. I went and visited her a couple of times and started to like it here, the culture, the cities, the little things. I saw the double deckers and danced country dances. People talked in a different language and everything from new shops to street names was something to marvel at. Even the paving stones were exciting. It was refreshing to be in a new environment. So I did something crazy in my books, something I didn't think I'd dare to do. I quit my job and actually moved here. Having some friends here beforehand from the previous visits made the decision easier as I wouldn't be all alone in a new place. 

When I first started to think about moving here I also begun to dream about studying some more. It was late summer and the deadlines for applying to universities were long gone. There was the one hope of a clearing vacancy but it was a long shot. With my education history being only vocational computer stuff from abroad it was even longer. Regardless I tried. I could always look for a job to make a living if the student-plan wasn't successful.

After queuing in the phone for a few hours, calling universities for the vacancies I got through to the University of Aberdeen, the one I liked the most. They actually had a vacancy in computing science and told me they'd take a look at my application. After I didn't hear back from them for a couple of days I got worried. Turned out that they had no record of me applying there! What followed was a series of phone calls and email exchanges with the University with formal complaints and hearings. A month after I first called them I got it:

Unconditional offer to do Computing Science in the University of Aberdeen! Open the champagne bottles, I'm going back to school! A bit over a week until school starts and I'm in, I'm not even sure if I've really realised it myself yet. I'm eagerly waiting to study, make friends and just live my life.