I was intending to write a completely different blog today, but then I returned home from a full day of activities, logged on to face book and was instantly confronted with 5 or 6 status updates informing me that Sir Bobby Robson has passed away. Footballing legend Sir Bobby Robson was first diagnosed with cancer 18 years ago, in 1991. 4 times he managed to beat it, but this, the 5th time, was too much for him. This morning, at only 76 years of age, Wor Sor Bobby (bit of Geordie there) lost his battle with cancer.
Cancer is an awful, awful disease. I have seen too many people go through the suffering that it brings with it. To have to fight it 5 times is more than anyone should have to face. But Sir Bobby never gave up. He was a fighter right til the end, and even after his many operations he never stopped smiling. With his charity, the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Foundation, he helped raise thousands of pounds for other sufferers, in the Newcastle area particularly.
Sir Bobby was a legend in the footballing world, leading England to the semi-final as manager in 1990 bfore returning to his native North-East to manage Newcastle United. For Newcastle fans in particular this is a sad day. But whether you’re into football or not I think everyone will agree that Sir Bobby Robson was a very brave man.
RIP Sir Bobby Robson. 1933-2009. We miss you already.
I had an interview yesterday. With 2 scary men in suits. Black suits. On a day where the temperature was above 30°C. I would have actually died! Thankfully I was not wearing a suit – just black trousers and a blouse. I still ended up all hot and sticky though – mainly because I got lost trying to find the place and ended up walking around in circles for 45 minutes. In the end I took a taxi, only to find out that the place was litterally round the corner… about 10 minutes walk from the train station. I had been going in the completely wrong direction! This was after travelling for an hour and a half on two trains. Then after the interview I had to do it all again in reverse. The train part anyway. Not the taxi, or the getting lost.
Then today I had my trial day. I had 3 more practice translations to do and also a proofread. Then I went around and met everyone else at the company. I had a good day, but whether anything will come of it is still up in the air… my practice translations need to be read first. Hopefully I will be able to tell you more by the beginning of next week. In the meantime my fingers shall remain firmly crossed… metaphorically at least. It may be a little hard to use a knife and fork if they were actually physically crossed….
Jan’s mum and sister were in Tübingen, spending some mother-daughter time together.
Because Tübingen is so close to Karlsruhe (only about an hour and a half) and because neither of us had ever been there before Jan and I decided to go and visit them for a day. And so on Saturday, 18th July we left the house at the ridiculously early hour of 8am (it is ridiculously early on a Saturday!) and headed off in the direction of Pforzheim and Stuttgart.
Flower on a lamp post
Tübingen, says Wikipedia, is a traditional university town in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated 30 km (19 miles) southwest of Stuttgart, on a ridge between the Neckar and Ammer rivers.
What Wikipedia doesn’t tell us is that Tübingen is beautiful. Admittedly it looked even nicer when we were there thanks to the millions of flowers which adorned, well pretty much everything that could be adorned with flowers to be honest. Like the lamp post below. But even without the flowers the town would be gorgeous. Our first stop was at the Kunsthalle (art gallery), in the northern part of the town because it was close to where Jan’s mum and sister were staying. Walking there I was struck by how green everything was.Visitors to Karlsruhe often comment on how green it is here (and having the castle gardens right in the town centre helps a lot) but it is a city and with so many cars, trams and people there’s only so much you can do. But Tübingen is something else. Even the fairly busy road leading into town was lined with trees. Not that we took the time to stop and admire them – at that point it was chucking it down and all we wanted was to get to the art gallery, where it at least wouldn’t be raining.
Inside the art gallery we were treated to an exhibition that was quite frankly… strange. It featured a wall of drawings which looked as if they had been stolen from the kids at the local Kindergarten, a photograph of vegetables carved into amusing humanesque characters, a shiny, brightly coloured penis shaped sculpture with a sad face and about 6 drawings featuring penises (penii? What is the plural) which also looked as if a small child could have drawn them. Except that most small children don’t paint picture of a penis sitting in a tree looking at his reflection in the puddle below. I think I should do a few more carvings a la aubergine bee. Maybe I could get my own exhibition in Tübingen too!
Other than that exhibition there was nothing to see at the art gallery. No permanent displays of art that are always there. Nothing vaguely normal. Nothing by anybody that I had actually heard of. Just the penis exhibition. So off we went to take the bus into town.
The so-called Altstadt (old town) of Tübingen also happens to be the main part of the town (is there actually a new town I wonder? Maybe the suburbs are a little newer), which meant that all we had to do to see old (and beautiful) buildings was head for the town centre. Everywhere we looked another old house or cute little side street just beeged to have its photo taken. Just look at this picture, showing part of Marktplatz (Market Square). If that doesn’t make you think of a village from fairy tale I don’t know what will!
After a quick walk up to the castle (now an archeological museum), where we had a great view of Tübingen from above, we headed down towards the river, which we found to be just as beautiful, with more gorgeous old houses lining its banks and a weeping willow trailing its leaves into the water. Fabulous! We had lunch in a nice little beer garden overlooking the river before heading back into town where we soaked up some more of the old town atmosphere, had a look inside the church and headed up to the top of a hill for another view of Tübingen from above – we had hoped to climp up a tower on top of the hill but it was all locked up and didn’t look like anyone had been allowed to climb it for years! After the disappointment of the tower we took the bus back down the hill and stopped off at a nice cafe, which also happened to be a bookcrossing zone (I managed to find 5 books to take home with me!) then finished our trip with a walk through the park before catching the bus back up to where we had left the car.
It was a lovely day in a beautiful town. And I have now decided that if I can’t live in Tübingen I would at least like to find a town that’s similar. Even if it’s only half as beautiful that would be good enough for me!
After another weekend away from the blogosphere I am slowly, slowly starting to catch up with all the blogs I like to read. If I haven’t left you a comment yet I will soon… there’s just so much to get through!
My friend’s visit went well. There was lots going on, but we managed to fit everything in and get her back to the train station in time on Sunday. So I think we can label the weekend a success.
And now, after over a week of day trips, fun and visitors, today’s task is to write and submit a proposal for my dissertation, which I will hopefully be starting to write in September. Wish me luck… I’ve never written a proper dissertation proposal before! (For my Bachelor’s dissertation we had to submit a plan but it was nothing like what I’m expected to do for this one!)
My friend is coming tonight. It’s most exciting! I’ve never had a visitor in my new flat before! I still have loads to do before she arrives though – including sweeping the entire flat, putting an insect net on the living room window and blowing up an airbed – but before I get on with things I need a few minutes to sit down and recover. I’ve just returned from town where I spent 40 euros in Karstadt!! Now, I’m sure many people out there are now thinking “so what, 40 euros isn’t that much” (all those that are not still busy trying to work out how much 4o euros is in their own currency that is) and in other circumstances I would agree with you. Like if I already knew I was going to get that job, preferably on a contract starting on 1st August, and would therefore be back to earning money again fairly soon. Unfortunately I do not know any such thing and whether I will ever be back to earning money again is still pretty much up in the air. So right now 40 euros is a lot of money. It is, for example, exactly the price of a return ticket to Mannheim on the fast trains, and I’m going to need one of them next week. It’s also roughly half the amount my electricity and gas currently costs, although that has luckily already been paid for this month. Why did nobody ever tell me that growing up (and having your own place) was this much hassle?!
Anyway, I promise I will tell you all abou the things I’ve been up to soon (and yes, I know I’ve been saying that for almost a week already!) but right now I have to go and get my flat into a fit state for people other than Jan and I to enter it. Becasue despite the fact that I tidied up just the other day in case his parents wanted to come round (which they didn’t in the end) my flat seems to have morphed back into its usual state of untidiness. No idea how that could have happened… clearly it can’t possibly have had anything to do with me…
Some of you may remember a post I wrote a while ago about Home Office Mum, who is sailing to Brazil as part of the Clipper Round the World Race.
As I’m sure you can imagine,sailing across the Atlantic is not exactly cheap. And so Home Office Mum now needs your help. To raise money for her mad, awe-inspiring, exciting adventure she is holding an auction on her Clipper Round the World blog, More to Life Than Laundry. There are some absolutely brilliant things there, including a family holiday worth 500 pounds from Tots to Travel, a beautiful suede photo album, a ladies pamper hamper from Pampecakes and more. The auction ends on Sunday so you’d better get on over there fast if you want to be in with a chance of getting anything.
What are you still doing here? Get over to More to Life than Laundry… now!
After a packed weekend (which I still need to tell you about) and yesterday’s interview I now have even more business ahead of me.
Jan’s parents are coming to Karlsruhe today so that they can go to a concert on Thursday. I’m not going to the concert itself – when I asked Jan if I would enjoy it he told me he’s not even sure yet whether he will like it so I told him to just get three tickets and spend some time with his parents – but we will be having dinner with them tonight and tomorrow evening than Jan has Thursday off so we can do something together during the day. They leave on Friday, either in the morning or early afternoon, then on Friday evening I have a friend coming to stay for the weekend. Busy, busy, busy. But in a good way.
But what I mostly came on here to tell you is that the company I had my interview with yesterday called this morning. They liked my practice translation and now want me to come in for a trial day next week. Things are progressing it seems.
Yes, I realise I have actually neglected my poor blog for an entire weekend… something which almost never happens. I couldn’t help it though… this pesky little thing called real life went and got in the way. This is good though, for it means I have much to tell you. Unfortunately I also have a flat that desperately needs tidying, and for once I can’t just ignore it because this week eyes other than my own and the boyfriend’s will get to see it. So I shall have to keep this one short.
And so, on to the interview. You did remember it was today, right? And you all had your fingers firmly crossed for me, didn’t you? If not I may have to blame you if I don’t get the job
Anyway… I think it went ok. Maybe. I didn’t get lost trying to find the place, which is a definite plus seeing as I had never been to that town before. And the people seemed nice. First I had an interview with the founder/director of the company, then with someone else and finally I had a practice translation to do. Now they are going to check my translation and get back to me, so don’t go uncrossing those fingers yet will you…
When you’re unemployed in Germany and you register yourself as such with the employment agency, at your first appointment with an advisor you have to sign an agreement. What the agreement says differs depending on your circumstances… they like to add bits, put in legal clauses, take bits away and generally change things. By the end of it you’re left with the vague feeling that you’ve just sold your soul to the devil for a bit of money and a lot of hassle.
In my case, because I have no savings and am therefore receiving the maximum amount of unemployment benefit, I had to agree that the job I want is not easy enough to find and therefore I should also be looking for other types of job as well. Because in my current circumstances I am clearly a burden on society and the employment agency needs to get rid of me as soon as possible.
Another part of the agreement says that I am required to apply for any jobs that the employment agency officially suggests to me as soon as possible, preferably within three days of receiving them. If I fail to do this my unemployment money will be cut by 30%… then by 60% and, after the third offence, taken off me completely.
This is why I spent most of this morning googling various combinations of the words “letter of application” and “secretary”. Except in German… so not actually those words at all. But you know what I mean.
It’s also why, if I don’t get the job I’m being interviewed for on Monday, I may very soon end up working as an office assistant somewhere in the Black Forest. But that’s ok… at least it’ll get me out of the house.
Oh God. I can’t believe I’m actually about to do this…
So I mentioned yesterday that I couldn’t think of anything to do for Jaywalker’s Belgian Waffle Village Fete 2009.
Today, as I was walking home from the boyfriend’s place I was struck by inspiration. I had to find a way to make a bee out of vegetables. After all, Bee was my nickname for a while. I dressed up as a bee for Halloween twice… and not while I was a child either. And I like bees. They make honey and, unlike wasps (aka the chavs of the insect world), they only sting when they have to. Sooo a bee it was.
For the yellow parts the obvious vegetable of choice was yellow pepper. I can’t stand green peppers and will only eat red pepper if it’s chopped up really small and mixed in with a sauce, but yellow peppers are fine. I’ll even eat them raw. This was an important point in the decision making process. I am unemployed you know, so any vegetable I bought would have to be eaten afterwards. I can’t afford to buy food just to throw it away.
For the black stripes I decided aubergine would have to do. I know they’re technically purple, but it’s a very dark shade of purple and I don’t know any vegetables that are actually really and truly black.
And so I present to you Aubergine Bee…
He even has wings (made from thinly sliced potato)! I wouldn’t advise him to do any flying with them though, it could be dangerous.
And now the view from the back, so you can check out his amazing garlic clove stinger. Oh yes, I thought of everything! (Well, everything apart from feelers and legs and stuff anyway….)
And finally, for the sake of completeness, I suppose I’d better include the side view:
No actual bees were harmed in the making of this disaster, I promise!