My main takeaway from being in Aberdeen was this; there are two types of people
- Those who want to live there
- The rest
This might seem like a really obvious thing, when you think about it as a dichotomy. But in those two categories there are specifics that are quite important. See, when I lived there (as the previous graph suggested) I certainly wasn’t settled there. However, I saw that in the moment, there was few else places I could’ve been. I was there because I had to, I thought, and that actually puts me in the first category no matter which way you cut it – you may want to leave, and feel that way, but actually you are still making a choice to live there. There is nothing stopping you from leaving, unless there is – and that is why you want to live there. See?
I might not have made myself clear, so this might help; there were lads on the course who complained about the traffic and night life, the weather and the people. Even some complained about the lack of food. They all suggested that moving to Glasgow would sort this, but really it wouldn’t. I know – Aberdeen has plenty of incredible eateries. It’s weather is actually better than some places in Scotland. The traffic is utterly shit, yes, but considering the size of the city it’s only marginally worse than places like Glasgow. The nightlife is actually pretty impressive considering the city.
The main reason people say these things is because of the cliché “the grass is always greener”. Glasgow is great, but only what you make of it. I made Aberdeen my home – I committed to friends and sights and roots, and it gave me back what I wanted at that point in my life. When I decided I was to leave, it had to happen quick or else it would have depressed me. Home wasn’t there anymore, it was somewhere else, and Glasgow has filled that void almost irreplaceably.
I am not getting down on Aberdeen, not at all. In fact, I’d defend it to the hilt. There is a much greater tendency in Glasgow to go along with the stereotypical jokes of the nation – if you’re from Fife your inbred, Aberdeen a sheep shagger etc. This is less prevalent in Aberdeen because, despite what people say, in my industry it is much more diverse than Glasgow. Most of the people who live and work in Glasgow are from the central belt – everyone in my team is Scottish. And from within 30 miles of the office. When I worked in Aberdeen, only one person was from Aberdeen – one was from Derby, another from Essex, one from Pakistan, and I was from Glasgow – 160 miles away. You don’t get that same mix.
When people rag on Aberdeen it grates because I never found the place to inhospitable – in fact, far from it. But what I did find was that I feel more at home in my hometown now than I ever did before, and despite loving Aberdeen and loving my life there, it’s improved greatly from moving back to Glasgow. And I don’t think I needed to go to Aberdeen to find that out.
As an aside, Rishi’s is still the best Indian takeaway in Aberdeen and the Prince of Wales is still a great pub.