Work was pretty good today, but busy. Very, very busy. It’s only Tuesday and already I’m exhausted! So instead of doing some washing (which was my plan for tonight) I’ve spent the last 20 minutes ordering books from Amazon as a “treat” to myself (for what I’m not sure). This Internet shopping malarkey is really bad for my bank balance! But on the plus side it means I’m actually getting somewhere with one of my goals… I’m up to 9 books read from the never-ending list (5 of them in January… no wonder the past month seems to have flown by without me even noticing – I’ve apparantly spent most of it with my nose in a book!) plus one German children’s book, whcih I am counting towards the 101 things list even though I technically read it for my dissertation and not because I desperately wanted to read a book by Eric Kästner. I really need to start reading some non-fiction books though… I’ve been saying for ages that I want to. Instead I find myself going through my Amazon recommendations, adding even more books to the list (can you believe the boyfriend actually has the never to tell me he finds it difficult to choose birthday and Christmas presents for me? There’s a ready-made list full of the perfect gifts just sitting, waiting for him to pay attention to it!). I failed on the monthly photo theme again (maybe 50 photos was a little too ambitious?) so it’s good to know I’ve managed to get somewhere with something…
I’ve also started to get back into cross stitch lately. A few weeks ago I picked up a project that I stopped working on months ago and I’ve come surprisingly far since then. It was supposed to be a birthday present for Jan’s mum in 2008! Hopefully I’ll actually manage to get it to her this year. I have until November, which should be do-able as long as I don’t stop again…
Ooh, and I’ve just realised, the package that arrived for me today is probably another cross stitch kit that I ordered… a wedding sampler for one of the couples I know who are taking the plunge (Yes, you read that right. I said one of the couples. There are a few…) I hope it is – I’m really looking forward to getting started on that one.
Yes, it’s one of those posts again…
- Why do so many people here feel the need to run across the road in front of trams? I’m sure you’re in a big hurry, but trust me, getting hit by a tram isn’t going to get you to your destination any quicker…
- Speaking of trams: why does the display thingy insist on telling me my tram is coming “sofort” (immediately) when it is nowhere in sight and will clearly not be turning up anything like ‘sofort’
- Why does my kitchen still smell weird even though I’ve taken the rubbish out?
- Why do I have almost not of my wages left already when the month has only just started?
- Why has the translation book I ordered for 30 euros which Amazon claimed should be here by 30th October not arrived yet? (Question for my UK readers, if I actually have any – surely you can’t all have gone off to France and Korea?: Is Royal Mail on strike? That might explain it…)
- Why is my wash basket so full?
- Why are crisps so addictive?
- Why is my flat so cold?
- Why are so many people I know pregnant? (Every time someone gives birth another person makes the “expecting” announcement. It’s madness!)
- Why is it not the weekend yet?
Last night, while waiting for the boyfriend to come home, I decided it would be a fantastic idea to search Amazon for translation resources, just in case this mad idea of becoming a freelance translator actually turns out to be a good one.
The obvious place to start was with dictionaries. After all, nobody can translate without at least one dictionary. So I started by looking up the specialist dictionaries we use at work and went on from there.
I was amazed by 2 things. Number one, the price. OK, I was expecting them to be quite expensive (my big Collins German-English / English-German dictionary cost about 40 quid and that was 4 years ago), but some of these prices are ridiculous. OK, this one is still quite reasonable at a mere 12 pounds, but how about this… a used book for over 200 pounds?!? I wish I was joking! Admittedly it is slightly better on the German Amazon (only 120 euros for a new one) but still… who has 120 euros just lying around? Looks like this translation lark will be an expensive business!
And the second thing that I was surprised by… how many subjects dictionaries exist for. Take a look at this one for example. A dictionary for Holz. That’s wood to us English speakers. Yep, that’s right. Wood. As in the stuff you get from trees. How many words can there possibly be relating to that topic? Well, enough for an entire dictionary it seems. Or how about an English/German mathematical dictionary. And there was me thinking maths was all about numbers. It seems I have been mistaken all these years. But this is the one we all really want. The Yacht Dictionary. Oh yes. Becasue how could any book collection ever be complete without it?
Y’know, I’m not actually sure where I was going with this post. I kind of had this vague idea that it could be an interesting topic, but either it really, really isn’t or I just can’t write (spare my feelings and tell me it’s the former, ok ) Either way, I’m still going to hit publish. It’s not like I have anything else to talk about these days…
I promised you all a proper blog post today. The only problem is now I’m here I can’t think of a single interesting thing to tell you. There is lots to catch up on, of course, but where to begin?
Having the internet back may be a very positive thing for my mental health and my relationship (I swear Jan and I argue more when I can’t blog every day!) but I have a feeling it’s going to be very, very bad for my bank balance. I’ve already been on Amazon, checking out my recommendations and wondering which book to treat myself to. As if being back online wasn’t treat enough! And once I’ve written this I’m thinking of taking myself over to the pixum website to get some of the photos from Paris printed. Is having instant access to places that want to take money from me really such a good thing? Thank god blogging’s free!
Speaking of money… my bank wrote to me yesterday. Apparantly they still need documents to do with my Mietkautionskonto (if you want to know what that is look in my blog archives. I’m too lazy to explain again now). But I gave back all the forms they told me to fill in and they never told me to bring them anything else. I bet they’ve gone and lost their copy of the form and are trying to pin the blame on me. Sounds about right for a bank.
So how are you all anyway? What have you all been doing while I’ve been away? Tell you what… I’ll just come on over and see for myself shall I? As soon as I’ve ordered myself some nice new reading material for the tram…
I’m now in to the third day of my time off. Funny how I seem to feel less inclined to blog when I actually have time for it. On work days my fingers are itching to blog all the way home. Itching I tell you! Whereas now that I am home and could spend all day blogging if I really wanted to I’m perfectly happy limiting myself to commenting on other people’s blogs and adding millions of lovely books to my Amazon wishlist. Next step winning the lottery so I can actually buy millions of books rather than just wishlisting them. Oh, and a huge house to fit them all in of course. I’d say the chances of that happening are fairly slim though seeing as I don’t even do the lottery.
Anyway, I’m sure you are all desperate to know what I’ve been doing with my time off. (What? What do you mean you’re not? But, but, I thought you caaaared!)
On Tuesday I did two loads of washing. And I even remembered to get the second load out of the machine on time, before the next person called me demanding to be able to get their landry done. I was most impressed with myself. Despite this I still have an entire basked full of dirty clothes waiting to be washed. Why? It hasn’t been that long since I last did laundry. I swear stuff breeds in there. It’s worse than rabbits! I also sorted out the top drawer of my desk on Tuesday. This is another place where stuff breeds. It’s the only possible explanation. No way did I actually put all those receipts in there. Clearly they have been doing naughty things while I wasn’t looking. There must have been at least three generations of old receipts in there! I’m dreading moving on to drawer number two. It will have to be done soon though, if all goes to plan I’ll be moving out in just over a month.
Yesterday, which the observant among you will realise was Wednesday, I went out for lunch with a friend. We went to Lehner’s. I ordered jacket potato with tomato sour cream and grilled salmon strips. We received our drinks fairly quickly. We then waited and waited and waited some more. Half an hour later the waitress reappeared to tell me there was no salmon, could they offer me prawns or ‘Zander’ instead (just a moment, must go and look Zander up in my trusty dictionary… aah, it seems it translates as pike). I chose the pike. Ten minutes later the food finally turned up. It was very nice food, but not worth waiting all that time for, especially considering the place was half empty! My friend and I then went for a walk, ending up at Cafe am Markt where we drank rather yummy hot chocolate before I headed home to get ready for Spanish.
It was the last Spanish lesson of the “complete beginners” course, so after spending the first hour of the lesson actually learning Spanish we all headed off to a Tapas restaurant in town where the teacher had booked us a table. It was fantastic. I had patatas bravas – spicy fried potatoes covered in a gorgeous garlicky-cheesy sauce. It tasted wonderful. It was also a huge portion. It was enough to make a whole meal in itself. And that was only the starter. I then had the main course of garlic chicken (it was so totally garlic night!), served with diced, fried potatoes (salty this time rather than spicy) and some fabulous sliced aubergine. This was served with a basket of bread. A whole basket, just for me. By the time we left my stomach felt like it was too big for the surrounding skin. I was like Mister Blobby, except not bright pink with yellow spots. It was totally worth it though. And I even managed to order my entire meal in Spanish. Go me!
1. Not being able to sleep. The most annoying thing is that I’m actually really tired – too tired even to read, but as soon as I switch out the light every trace of sleepiness goes away and I’m left lying there, tired but wide awake. Grrr. The boyfriend is coming over tonight though, perhaps that will make things better.
2. The announcement on my tram yesterday. “Crackle. Hiss. Passangers. Mumble, mumble. Fizzle. Karlsruhe. Mumble, mumble. Crackle. Thank you.” You’d think by now someone would have invented a tram announcement thingy that could actually be understood!
3. Shop assistants. Why is it that they only ever offer assistance when you’re perfectly fine on your own. No, I do not help to walk the six steps to the other side of the shop and pick up a roll of sellotape thank you very much. But when you do need help they all seem to magically become incredible busy or get kidnapped by aliens.
4. Finally finding the perfect present for one of my relatives only to discover that none of the shops in Karlsruhe has it. Not one! It has now been ordered from Amazon, meaning I have to pay extra because of postage. Again, grrr.
5. The fact that I forgot to put a book in my bag yesterday and had nothing to read all the way to work. And all the way back. That’s an hour’s worth of tram journey with no reading material. Dooom!
6. The presenter on the radio station we listen to during our lunch break at work. She’s just so goddamn cheerful!
And just to balance things out a bit, here are some things that have amused me today:
- When you type in “subject to German law” on Google UK, the second link to come up is about strip searching. (In case you’re wondering why I typed that into Google it was to do with a translation I was proofreading.)
- They played Teenage Dirtbag by Wheetus on the radio today. The word gun was blocked out but they left dick and ass in. That’s Germans for ya – bad language is fine but please don’t sing about weapons! I know, not that funny but it amused me. Simple minds and all that…
I was searching Amazon for a book on soft skills when I found myself on the page for the “Teach Yourself” range. So I decided to have a look through them, thinking maybe I would spot something that would interest me.
I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when I spotted the title “Teach Yourself Getting Pregnant.” My first thought was ‘you mean there are people that don’t know?’ This was closely followed by “I wonder if they have diagrams?’
There really is a book for everything out there!
By the way, I’ve added “How to Succeed as a Freelance Translator”, “Teach Yourself Calligraphy” and “How to be a People Person” to my Amazon wishlist. Just thought I’d mention it, y’know in case anyone from my real life happens to be reading this and doesn’t know what to get me for Christmas
* Why is it impossible to buy malt vinegar or fruit squash in Germany (except in English shops which don’t count)?
* Why are the people on my floor incapable of learning that the crappy wooden cooking implements we have do not belong in the dishwasher?
* Why is my bosses dog obsessed with my shoes?
* Why do days and months go by so fast while hours crawl by at tortoise speed?
* Why are these sour cream and onion flavour stacker crisps so addictive?
* Why was fizzy bottled water ever invented?
* Why is every single bar of Cadburys chocolate available in German shops (except the Curly Wurlys in Rewe) some weird American type that doesn’t even exist in the UK; where Cadbury’s was invented?
* Why are Americans so obsessed with peanuts? There are peanuts in almost every one of the aforementioned chocolate bars!
* Why is love not enough to make some people happy?
* Why does the nice bit of autumn where it’s still vaguely warm and all the leaves are pretty colours only last about 30 seconds?
* Why do I keep checking Amazon for new book recommendations when I can’t even afford to buy the ones that are already on my list?
* Why is eating healthily so expensive? For the price of a packet of tomatoes I could buy 5 chocolate bars!
* Why did I just write this list?
Questions over questions as my boyfriend would say.
For the first time ever I arrived home today to find my mailbox full of stuff for me. Usually I only find things for the 4 people I share it with. It’s very exciting – almost like Christmas! There’s:
* a book I ordered from Amazon for myself,
* a book I ordered from Amazon for my friend’s baby son’s Christmas present,
* some photos that I finally got round to sending off for printing, and
* something (a present) for Jan and I from his sister (Thank youuuuu Frauke! I don’t know what it is yet, but thank you anyway).
Now I just need to work on a way to get a mailbox full of stuff without having to order most of it myself
The washing is done, the bin emptied and the desk cleared (I didn’t find any buried treasure by the way). The boyfriend has gone off to play poker at a friends. I was invited to play poker too but I can’t. I have tried to learn but I just end up confused and irritated. It’s all just too much for my simple brain to take in. So I’m home alone on a Saturday night. The perfect conditions for studying you might think. Except there’s pretty much nothing I feel less like doing right now. I have no desire to read through a so-called “lecture” (it’s a Word document for students of an online course to download, how can it be a lecture?) that starts like this:
- Understand what is meant by a text
- Understand what is meant by text analysis
- Understand what is meant by context
- Understand some theories for the analysis of context”
Sounds thrilling doesn’t it? No, I really don’t want to do that at all. I also don’t want to do the “hands on practical analysis” that comes afer the lecture. So instead I’m on here writing a pointless blog about not wanting to do my work. What I’d really like to do is spend all my money ordering books from Amazon before crawling into bed with Cecelia Ahern’s Thanks for the Memories (it’s pretty good up to now by the way) and a large box of chocolates. But spending all my money really isn’t a clever idea if I want to eat for the rest of the month and I don’t have even a small box of chocolates, never mind a large one. I do have some icecream, but even the thought of eating something cold makes my nose run so best not go there. One out of three ain’t bad though. I can live with just the book.