It is not that long time ago when I was a citizen of the Granite City. It’s hard to believe that now I visit it only as a guest researcher. It is my first ‘adult home’, away from my family and friends, place where I made new friendships for a lifetime, place where I started my PhD journey, place where I found a very different myself.
People love it or hate it. You can hear complaints on weather, parochialism, monotony, dullness. What I always see instead is the city sparkling like silver, condensed with the warmest and kind people I have ever had a chance to meet. I’ve learned how to drink whisky and don’t care about the rain at all, how to prepare fish soup on milk and reply to my neighbours when asked far div ye bide?
Now, every time I come back, I point out one thing I miss specially, and this time I’ll write about the library: The Sir Duncan Rice Library. The most modern and adjusted to the needs of students library I had a pleasure to study in. I always thought that I’m not a kind of ‘library’ person. I found it more comfortable to stay at home in my pj’s, allowed to listen to some music and have a snack while studying my notes. The truth was that libraries I’ve been to simply didn’t give me the possibility to feel comfortable. They were either too dark, had no place to sit, not enough sockets for students to plug in their laptops, no space for a discussion or cafeteria to grab an espresso and get a break. The Sir Duncan Rice Library is finally a 21st century space for learning and research I’ve been looking for. It was officially opened the day after I arrived in Aberdeen, almost as if Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth gave me a very personalised gift.
Except of the great collection of books, the study space includes interactive areas for collaborative projects. No more: ‘so where do we meet’ when it comes to a join project. There are also informal areas, such like The Hardback Cafe and the ‘Break-out Room’ where you can enjoy a beautiful view over the city. Each of the seven floors of the library includes sufficient number of PCs and sockets to plug in your own laptop, as well as number of comfortable armchairs and tables. Whenever I’m in Aberdeen I look for few hours to spend in the library, as there is simply no other place like this where I can truly focus and enjoy the fact I can study.
Can you imagine a better solution for the autumn blues than to find yourself on a Mediterranean beach full of sun? Right when Düsseldorf was being taken by dullness and apathy, I was given an amazing opportunity to escape from all the sadness and last week I visited Cyprus!
Before I landed, I thought that my knowledge about Cyprus was limited only to few, basic facts: such as Nicosia being the capital city, or that Cyprus is in fact the third largest Mediterranean island, or that since mid 70s last century it is divided into two parts, separating Greek Cypriots from Turkish one. I was surprised how in the course of my stay I refreshed my memory in history and mythology, finding how much do I actually know about this beautiful country. But something I really didn’t expect, was to be astonished by Cypriot cuisine. I even decided to devote a separate space below to praise its taste.
One of the most fascinating places I have explored during my stay was a salt lake right behind my hotel, that during the summer almost completely dries out. In winter it’s been said it’s a home for flamingos.
Thanks to my lovely Cypriot girlfriends and the owner of lively restaurant in the city centre of Larnaca I had discovered typical island delicacies and learned a bit of Greek. I was even said to have a Cypriot accent!
As my favourite dishes I would classify κολοκούθκια με τα αυκά, which is a simple dish containing fried zuccini and eggs; and famous halloumi cheese that was served as an appetiser. But what I was completely bought with was the taste of Cypriot deserts!