Confuzzledom

Just a place for me to gather my thoughts


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Resolutions 2014 (and a recap of last year’s)

I was going to start telling you all about Madeira today, but the computer is refusing to register the fact that the card reader is plugged in and contains a memory card, so resolutions it is. First, a recap of last year’s (which you can read about in detail here if you so desire):

  1. Get back to doing my exercise DVD. Nope! Failed on this one. But I did start doing sit ups and jogging on the spot, so that’s better than nothing…
  2. Keep on top of the housework better. Hahaha. As if! I kept this up until about mid-February (which has to be some kind of record, to be fair) then decided at various points in the year that I really, really would make an effort to keep the place tidy from now on… it never lasted longer than two weeks though.
  3. Become a better translator. I’m pretty sure my style is still terrible, but I have at least got faster. And this year I’ll be doing all the translations anyway, including the ones that need to “sound good” as well as being correct. My colleague is now on maternity leave for the next year so I’m the only one left to do them! Hopefully there won’t be any complaints…
  4. Finish visiting 30 German towns before I turn 30 and blog about them. Yessssss! This one I actually did, and great fun it was too! You can find a page with all the towns I visited under “Places I have been” at the top.
  5. Save up and do some OU courses. I saved up, but actually spent the money on flights to Madeira (they were expensive!). I did make a list of the OU courses I want to do though, so maybe some time I’ll actually get round to them…

That was all my resolutions for 2013, and I managed to keep a grand total of one out of five. Ooops! Maybe I’ll do better in 2014? Here are my resolutions for this year:

  1. Travel more. Looking at my review of 2013, I did actually travel quite a bit… but it wasn’t enough! This year, I want to make even more of an effort to at least go on day trips. Participating in the Take 12 Trips challenge should help with this one.
  2. Keep not biting my nails. For years and years, my New Year’s resolution was to stop biting my nails, until I finally realised that I was doomed to not keep that one. But when I had my wisdom teeth out this year, I managed to grow my nails simply because I was physically incapable of biting them! I’ve managed to keep most of them long since then (the others were victims of splitting and snapping.. how does everyone else avoid that?!), so this year my resolution is to try and keep them unbitten!
  3. Enjoy the time I have with my boyfriend and stop worrying so much about the future. I’ve decided to stay with Jan, despite the fact that he still doesn’t know what he wants and it’s looking less and less likely that I will ever have children. But even if I leave him, there’s no guarantee that I’ll a) find someone else. b) find someone else who wants to have children (either at all or with me) and c) even be able to have children. The few weeks before Christmas were fantastic and I was really happy… and I don’t want to throw away that happieness just because some arbitrary deadline has arrived. So I want to try and enjoy what we have and not worry about whether I will ever have children. I’m too late to be a young mother anyway, so even if it happens I’ll already be the kind of parent I never wanted to be!

That’s all. Only three this year… I think that’s enough considering I still have my 35 before 35 list to be working on as well! And what about you? Any resolutions for 2014? Or have you taken the more sensible route of not setting yourself goals so early in the year? ;-)


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Snippets

Monday Blues

Monday Blues (Photo credit: United States Marine Corps Official Page)

The epic what-we-did-in-Ireland marathon seems to have temporarily robbed my of my blogging mojo, so instead of a proper post, today I’m just going to give you some random snippets of information:

  • Today it was hot and sunny for practically the first time since we got back from our holiday (well, with the excpetion of the day after our return). Being the fool that I am, I left both my sunhat and my sunglasses at home this morning. You would think after this incident I would have learned my lesson! Luckily my route from work to the tram stop can be walked in the shade, and back in Karlsruhe I took the tram home… even though it’s only one stop. Tomorrow, rain is forecast again. So much for summer!
  • I know I promised you biscuits (cookies)… and I will be posting about them in the near future… as soon as the very idea of uploading photos to my blog doesn’t seem like a monumental effort. I’m sure you don’t want a post about biscuits without pictures, do you?
  • At the weekend, Jan and I had a very long and very draining conversation about our relationship. I still have no idea where things are going, if anywhere… but he did say the last 3-4 months have been great, which makes him think he does want a future with me. Buuut generally he still doesn’t know what he wants. From our relationship, from life… he just doesn’t know. I’ve agreed to stay until Janaury… again (sound familiar in any way?). Because I’m weak I actually think we make a good couple and I hope things will work out between us. Also, I can’t actually afford to move out right now, so once we get back from our trip to England I’ll start saving up so I can actually pay the deposit on a flat come January!
  • Tomorrow is the quiz and I’ve never felt less knowledgeable… except maybe last month. Ick.
  • It’s only Monday and already I feel like I’m behind on this week’s work. So. Much. To. Do! I think I need another holiday already…
  • Speaking of holidays… only 18 days until I fly to England for a week! I really need to get a move on with finding a dress for the christening…

That’s all I can think of, and I have to get in some exercise before I start cooking, so this is where I leave you. Proper post coming up tomorrow… maybe.

 


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Nine years on

Love ? I love love love you.

Love ? I love love love you. (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

Today, Jan and I have been together for nine years! Unbelievable. At the beginning, I never expected us to make it this far. I was on my year abroad, I’d recently broken up with someone else and my longest relationship until that point had been less than a year.

We’ve had our struggles and ups and downs, of course – starting when, after six months of being together, I had to go back to England to complete my degree while Jan went off to America for a year. Ironically, I had previously broken up with someone because I couldn’t handle being in a long-distance relationship – and the distance in that case was only between Northumberland and Nottingham (sorry Jay!!). However, neither of us wanted to break up at that point, so we agreed to try, and somehow it worked! Despite the fact that we only saw each other once, for precisely one week, between my 21st birthday in August 2004 and my graduation in July 2005 (my dad bought me a return flight to America as my Christmas present in 2004).

Long distance love

Long distance love (Photo credit: Dvortygirl)

After another year of long-distance – this time with me in Austria (read that carefully – it’s the one without the kangaroos) and Jan back in Germany, I decided that seeing my boyfriend an average of once a month wasn’t enough for me and made plans to move to Germany.

And now, almost six-and-a-half years later – I moved back in September 2006 -  here we are celebrating our 9 year “anniversary” (I wish I could think of another word for that…). I wonder what the next year will bring?

(Apologies to those who already know this story – probably not many. Pinklea maybe? I’ve gained a few new readers over the past year and I felt it was worth repeating).


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In which I overshare about my sex life

NOTE: If you have a problem with the whole sex-before-marriage thing (sorry, but I’ve been with my boyfriend nearly 9 years, living together for almost 3. You really think we don’t do it?!) or just don’t want to read about other people’s sex lives please feel free to click away now. Consider yourself forewarned – and don’t blame me if you get to the end and feel offended! For the rest of you… read on (I promise not to get into too much detail…)

So, over the course of our relationship, the boyfriend and I haven’t always had sex as much as I would like.

No Sex

No Sex (Photo credit: djwingsia)

Obviously during our two year long distance relationship, not much of anything was happening, but after I moved to Germany I expected things to pick up. Which they did, at first but gradually “it” happened less and less often. Then at some point we would talk fight about it, things would improve for a while, then it would dwindle again until we were doing it maybe once a month.

So, a few weeks before Christmas, after getting nothing for almost two months, I told Jan I was thinking about coming off the pill once all the ones I still had were used up – after all, what was the point in protecting against immaculate conception? (Of course I was going to finish the packets I had left – I pay good money for those suckers! Welcome to any country that’s not in the UK…). Not the best start to that conversation, I admit. Inevitably it ended in a fight (you can’t make start a conversation with those words and not hurt your man’s feelings..), I cried, then I had to go to work. Yes… I have great timing.

The next day, I sat down and wrote a letter explaining everything I wanted to say. It had to be a better option than blurting things out without thinking about what I wanted to say, right? I left the letter for Jan to read and (again) went to work – I wanted him to read it when I wasn’t there, so he would have time to recover from his first reaction and really think about what I was trying to say, rather than getting defensive in the heat of the moment. Later, he thanked me for writing the letter. Then we each agreed to work on what was bothering the other person (basically, he says he’s sick of always being the one to initiate things, while I say whenever I try to initiate anything he doesn’t seem interested, and even things that have worked before never seem to work a second time. Like I said, oversharing…). We then went away for Christmas, sleeping in beds at other people’s houses, and I started my period, which didn’t help… so still no sex.

Then, 2 weeks ago, while in bed, I asked him what I would have to do to turn him on. Unbelievably, his first response was that he didn’t know! (How am I supposed to know if he doesn’t?). He then countered by asking what I’d been trying. Apparantly I was too subtle though – he hadn’t even noticed me doing those things!! In the end I did get a few ideas. But the next time we did it, he was the initiator again… so on Friday night I decided to take the bull by the horns (oo-er, I’ve just realised how dirty that sound in this context!).

Romantic film icon created from Nuvola icons

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Jan got home, I was finishing off the white sauce for the lasagne while the washing machine beeped furiously. Stress! He immediately offered to hang the washing, allowing me to finish tea. I finished preparing the lasagne, stuck it in the oven, and went to the living room, where I found Jan hanging the last item of washing on the airer. Excellent! I saw my chance and started kissing him. Passionately. After a few minutes of this (plus a bit of neck kissing and… other stuff), he asked “Is there anything you would like”. My response “Well… we have half an hour…” I’ll leave the next bit up to your imagination…

… we finished just in time for the lasagne to come out of the oven. I guess I do still have an affect on him after all…

Why am I telling you this? I know I’ve complained on here before about being sexually frustrtaed and worried that my boyfriend no longer finds me attractive… so I thought for once I would tell you something positive… plus I wanted to tell someone, and I don’t really have anyone other than my blog to discuss my sex life with. (HA, I won’t tell my friends, but the Internet is fair game? I’m so not normal…). And if you’ve got this far and are offended/bored/amazed at my stupidity, well, all I can say is I did warn you at the beginning. I make no apologies… I’ve felt happy and confident all day today, and that was something I wanted to share. :-) (But I sincerely hope neither my mother nor any of my colleagues ever comes across this blog…)

p.s. One of the suggested tags from Zemanta for this post is “human sexual activity”. Well, yes I should hope so! As far as I’m aware neither of us are dogs. Or aliens…


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My 2012

I have seen a few blog posts reviewing 2012 and since the last few days haven’t exactly been filled with exciting things to blog about (all I’ve done is purchase and wrap gifts for the first few birthdays of the year – I have my sister’s, dad’s, grandma’s and two friend’s birthdays all in January – it’s like Christmas present shopping all over again!) I thought I would do one too. Because I have no mind of my own imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So here is my 2012 in a nutshell.

January

I started the year in Salzburg, Austria, which made me very happy. I think Austria may be my favourite country ever (sorry Germany!). It was sleeting on New Year’s Eve but we stood on a hillside and watched the fireworks anyway:

Salzburg fireworks

Salzburg fireworks

The rest of January was pretty uneventful. I finally completed a birth announcement cross stitch intended for the baby of a good friend – right in time as it turned out. The baby came two weeks later! Right at the end of the month there was some bad news – Barney, my family’s Yorkshre Terrier, had been ill for a while and on 30 January I received a message from my sister telling me mum had had to have him put down that morning. RIP little fellow. We still miss you!

Barney in 2009

Barney in 2009

February

February saw Jan and I celebrating 8 years together along with the birth of my friend’s baby boy he missed out on being a Valentine’s baby by one day, much to his mother’s relief!
At the end of the month I finally managed to visit my friend in the Netherlands – a mere 2 and a half years after she moved there! She has since returned to her home country (America) so it was about time we visited! We saw Delft (where she was living), Leiden and the Hague.

Delft from above

Delft from above

March

Jan had his birthday on 1st March, but we didn’t celebrate due to him being ill. On St. Patrick’s Day, Jan was away but I went to the Irish pub with some friends. Then work sent me to Göttingen for a seminar. Other than that, I don’t think anything happened that month.

April

In April, I finally paid off the overdraft on my English bank account – a relic from my student days. Easter fell in April last year and on the Saturday Jan and I took a trip to Würzburg.

Würzburg, River Main

Würzburg, River Main

A few days later our relationship hit probably its lowest point, with me telling Jan that if things didn’t start improving I would move out at the end of the year.  I was encouraged to have a little hope though as Jan actually listened to me and seemed to be able to see my point of view. As you may have noticed, the end of the year has now been and gone and I’m still here. We still don’t have the perfect relationship (but honestly who does?), but things have improved.

May

1 May is always a public holiday in Germany – it’s not moved the the nearest Monday like in England – so in 2012 it was a Tuesday. I went to the theatre with some colleagues to see an English play. The advantage of working with translators is that they’re always willing to watch things in English! This was followed by two more public holidays: Ascension Day on 17 May and Pentecost Monday on 28 May.
Jan was away with work for most of the month, first in Munich then in America, so I was left to entertain myself  On Pentecost Monday (or Whit Monday if you prefer) I went to the annual Hoepfner Burgfest -  a beer festival at a local brewery – and, through a complete coincidence, met someone who has since become my friend. Not bad for someone who really doesn’t make friends easily!

June

In June I had visitors! Two of my housemates from when I was at uni came to see me. We caught up on what’s been going on in each other’s lives for the past seven years(!!) and I got to show them around my adopted home town.

Karlsruhe Marktplatz

Karlsruhe Marktplatz

For the rest of the month I watched a lot of football (European Cup!) and worked way too much, resulting in me feeling the need to get out of Karlsruhe for the day. So Jan drove me to the beautiful Calw, birth place of Hermann Hesse.

July

July brought another round of visitors – my sister and her boyfriend came so we could watch cars speeding round in circles at Hockenheim. Oh alright, there’s more to Formula 1 than that, but not much ;-) We also went to Heidelberg, saw Maximo Park at Das Fest and took a trip to Europapark, a theme park about an hour and a half from here which I had never been to! Guests are good for something, it seems ;-)

Rollercoaster at Europapark

Rollercoaster at Europapark

August

August was my birthday month – the last one in which my age will have a 2 at the beginning. This year I’ll be turning 30 (help!!). I insisted on going out for cake, but other than that we didn’t do a great deal because we had to leave for Stockholm early the next morning. I adored Stockholm, but I’m not sure I could live there all year round – I hear it gets stupidly cold in winter! I could definitely have a summer residence there though.

Stockholm

Stockholm

September

September brought with it a personal record for me as I realised it had been six whole years since I moved back to Karlsruhe. This also marked the month in which Jan actually started letting me know when he wasn’t going to make it home in time for dinner. About a month later this then became texting me at a reasonable time to say he was on his way – meaning we’ve actually been able to eat together for the past few months! A genuine breakthrough in our relationship (and part of the reason I did end up deciding to stay).

Towards the end of the month we went to England, the first time in over a year that I had been back! I spent my time seeing family, eating way too much and also got to meet three of the babies that various friends had given birth to in 2012. Also it rained a lot. The stereotype would say that this is normal in the UK, but believe me this amount of rain was far from normal!

York. The footpath along the river is completely under water.

York. The footpath along the river is completely under water.

October

In October I joined in with the Friday’s letters linkup for the very first time, went to see the wonderful Tina Dico in concert and, of course, celebrated Halloween. I went as a bat in a homemade costume.

November

All Saints Day (1 November) was yet another public holiday in my part of Germany, so I took 2 November off work, giving me a four day weekend to start the month with. Hurrah! We took advantage of the bridge day to go to Schwäbisch Hall. I then came down with the evil cold from hell, spent most of the rest of my four-day weekend in bed and even ended up working from home later that week because I just could not stop coughing. So much for November! I did manage to go to a Wise Guys concert on 17 November, but I wasn’t fully over my cold until a few days after that. I always went to Mosbach to see a friend perform with her choir and got slightly overexcited about Primark opening in Karlsruhe.

Primark fox scarf

Primark fox scarf

December

I won’t go into too much detail about the final month of 2012 seeing as it’s only just happened and I’m sure you can all remember exactly what it consisted of. If I were to sum up December in just a few words I think I would have to say Glühwein, baking, gift wrapping and way too much time spent at the post office!

The year ended the same way as it began – with fireworks. This time they were in Luxembourg, the second new country I visited in 2012 after Sweden.

Fireworks in Luxembourg

Fireworks in Luxembourg

2012 had its low points, but overall it wasn’t such a bad year. I made a new friend, travelled a lot more than I had expected and was able to spend time with people who I hadn’t seen for a very long time. Put in context like this, I can actually see that I had a pretty amazing year. Now let’s see what 2013 brings!


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The state of my relationship

Those of you who have been reading for a while are probably wondering what’s going on with my relationship since I made this decision earlier in the year. Or I could be flattering myself and you’re not actually interested ;-). For those who don’t know what I’m talking about and don’t want to go and read my previous long (and – I see now  error-filled) post, in a nutshell I told my boyfriend of nearly 9 years that if he couldn’t decide what he wants from our relationship by the end of the year I would move out. To quote myself in the post I wrote at the time if, by that time, “he still doesn’t know what he wants, then I don’t think he ever will“.

Well, it turns out I am weak. Jan has been trying really hard recently to show that he does appreciate me and what we have. He has been calling to let me know when he’s on his way home, letting me know when he’s going to be late and I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve actually eaten together in the evenings!! If you’ve been reading for a while you will know actually getting to eat a meal with my boyfriend is a major deal!! He has also said he enjoys living with me and wants me to stay. He is still unable to tell me what he wants and if there is any chance of our relationship going anywhere. Despite this I’ve decided to stay – because I’m not ready to be single (once we break up, it’s highly unlikely that I’ll want to find someone new). Because I love him. Because we have argued so little over the past few months and life has just felt good. Because I am too weak to do what is best in the long run

...Hope...

…Hope… (Photo: ĐāżŦ {mostly absent})

knowing it’s going to hurt me right now. And because, deep down, I still have hope – that he will eventually want to settle down with me, that “eventually” will turn out to be sooner, that we can somehow find a way to compromise and make things work. Hope is  a bitch!

I am aware that, by making this decision, I have basically given him free rein too do what he likes. Obviously I don’t follow through on my consequences, so what reason does he have to believe me in future? I am also aware that I’ve basically forfeited my chances of ever getting married or having children. Please don’t rub that in – I’m having enough trouble coming to terms with it anyway! But even if I decided to leave, I’m not sure I would even want to be a mother any more. I’m 30 in less than a year and the last thing I ever wanted was to be an old mother. Having my first child when I’m already past 30 is just not for me. A second or third child after 30, okay. But the first? How old would I then be then by the time any more came along? And while it’s fine when they’re babies, the only reasons I was in any way able to get along with my parents as a teenager was because they were young enough that I felt they could understand (I wouldn’t have wanted to have kids as young as they did though – my mum was only just 20 when I was born!). 25 was the perfect age for the first child, I thought. Upon reaching 25 I realised there was no way it would be happening any time soon and changed to the very vague “before I turn 30″. Now that I’m coming up to 30, I’m becoming less and less certain that I am even cut out to be a mother. New borns terrify me (they look so fragile!) and if I never have any children I can’t mess them up for life, right? If I were to get pregnant by accident then that would be nice, but since that is highly unlikely I would rather be in a childless relationship with someone I love and genuinely enjoy being with than live alone with neither children nor a boyfriend.

As Tina Dico says, not much is so much more than nothing. And despite how this post sounds, I am happy right now! So even if failing to stick to my decision is weak and I may be making a rod for my own back in the long run, right now I choose being happy with my non-comittal boyfriend over being miserable and alone. I’ll have plenty of time to do that for the rest of my life.

Heart Candle

Heart Candle (Photo credit: Bob.Fornal)


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Weekend

Finally, the last day of the working week is here! It could not have come soon enough for me. I’ve spent most days being convinced the week had to be further advanced than it actually was (in fact, on Wednesday afternoon I was utterly convinced that it already was Friday, which led to some confusion when I came to record my times for the day. Opening the software and seeing that there were still three whole columns to fill in was a bit of a shock to the system I can tell you!). Here are this week’s Friday letters.

Dear cough. I honestly thought I had almost recovered, so I don’t appreciate you coming back with a vengeance this morning. Is it because I offended you with my bog off post yesterday? If so, I’m sorry to say I don’t care. I meant every word of it!

Dear weekend. You are full to the brim with exciting plans. I can’t wait! (Although I may end up wishing you were three days long so I could have a chance to recover before going back to work!)

Dear Amazon. Please stop sending me e-mails wth book recommendations. I need to stay off you til pay day and you are really not helping!

Dear bed. I promise to spend some extra time in you tonight. We’ve spent way too little time together this week and I am so tired!

Dear readers. Thank you for still being my readers, despite the fact that all I’ve done recently is go on and on about my cough!

Dear weekend weather forecast. Please stay exactly as you are. Thank you.

Dear colleague (who will never actually read this). Thank you for complimenting on my translation today. It makes the many, many suggested changes easier to bear.

Dear boyfriend. I have actually lost count of how many evening meals we’ve actually eaten together recently. It’s amazing seeing you in the evenings, even if you do continue working after I’ve gone to bed. Thank you!!

That’s all from me today. What can I say – it’s been a boring week!

Photobucket


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A mini breakdown… and a potential breakthrough

An hour ago, Jan called me to let me know that he’s not going to mak it home before the early hours of the morning (he’s working on a paper, deadline midnight and needs access to the computers at work to run the tests he wants to write about). He’s been working on the paper for about a week now, so I wasn’t really expecting him home at a sensible time tonight, but the fact that he actually bothered to call put a huge smile on my face. While this may not seem like a big deal to many of you, his not calling is exactly the kind of thing we disagree on. We’ve agreed that, once our evening meal is ready, I won’t wait around too long for him, but will eat alone leaving his portion for him to heat up later, and while this means I get to eat at a sensible time, when he neither calls nor shows up I can’t help but feel it’s a case of out of sight, out of mind. He, on the other hand, says it’s not that he never thinks of me when I’m not there, he just loses track of time and it doesn’t occur to him that I’ll be cooking tea already. So him calling me as early as 6 o’clock is nothing short of a miracle.

This comes on the heels of a bit of a mini breakdown on my part yesterday. I have to admit, I have slightly crap timing – Jan was actually doing some work for the aforementioned paper at the time and was about to get ready to go and meet his choir for a warm up before a festival they were performing at. But after being ignored by him nearly all morning, then catching him on a forum rather than actually working on the paper, I burst into tears, told him I wouldn’t be coming to his festival and stormed off for a shower. Yeah… it’s not exactly something I’m proud of. But… we talked, Jan said he had noticed my getting rid of things and preparing to move, and he does want me to stay, he just doesn’t know what he can do to make me want to do so, especially since he still can’t see his way to offering me any kind of long term commitment. And I told him it’ not like I’m looking for a marriage proposal… or even a commitment to stay with me forever without a bit of paper, but I want to feel that he’s at least willing to give us a proper try, not just drift along the way we have been doing. So, he has promised to try and show me that I am important to him, even if he can’t make a decision to save his life and I’ve promised to communicate more, and let him know what’s actually bothering me rather than saving it all up and letting everything out out once. That method only leads to arguments… and tears (mine, not his). So back we go, for another try. But he has said he wants me to stay… which isn’t quite the major decision I’ve been hoping for, but I feel it is a breakthrough, of sorts. Baby steps… And today, at least I get to go to bed happy.


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Clearing out

Recently, I have finally faced up to the very real possibility that, come January, I may be moving out of my lovely flat.
It’s been five months since the boyfriend and I had one of the worst conversations I’ve had to initiate in my life, and so far not much seems to have changed. Despite Jan promising in July that he was going to make an effort with our relationship even if he couldn’t bring himself to do so in any other area of his life, nothing much seems to have changed. We have been arguning less, but honestly I think that has more to do with the fact that he’s been even more busy with work than he usually is, and it’s difficult to have an argument with someone who isn’t actually there. He did say he had missed me and the flat felt empty when I went to a four-day seminar for work a few weeks ago, but that’s not exactly a declaration that he wants me to stay. and conversations about the future are still, well, non-existent if I’m honest. So I decided it was time to start mentally preparing myself. But rather than focusing on the fact that moving out will mean the end of my relationship (I’m not quite that brave yet… even typing those words was difficult), I’ve been concentrating on how I’m going to fit all my posessions into a place that will probably have much less space. And I came to the conclusion that I probably couldn’t… I’m sure I didn’t have this much stuff when I moved in here. Where did it all come from?! (Actually I know the answer to that one – the Internet mostly. I knew I shouldn’t have found myself a new hobby that involved buying things and storing them at home!) It was time for a clear out! So two weeks ago I went through all my clothes, ruthlessly sorting out things that I knew I was never going to wear again and had only been holding onto for sentimental reasons, throwing away holey socks (including the ones with the rubber ducks on that I loved. That was a bit of a heart wrenching moment… and yes, I’ve just admitted to get emotional over a pair of socks). This week, it was the turn of my books. Those of you who have been reading for a while will know how I feel about books. I LOVE them! While other girls dream of walk in wardrobes and entire rooms full of handbags, my ultimate aim in life is to have my very own library. With soft read sofas and chairs, a mahogany desk, beautiful shelving and books, books, books. But books are heavy, and so some of them have to go. I’ve been gradually taking books off the shelves, rearranging the bookcases and moving things into a carrier bag all week, and gradually I’ve got to the stage where everything actually fits on our three bookcases, whereas before things were piled up on top of the neat rows of books, stacked in front of them etc. Then, today, I placed a number of books into a smaller carrier bag (there’s no way I could have carried the larger one!) and walked around the corner to where there’s a public book cupboard (an excellent idea by the way!). There, I deposited the 11 books I had brought with me and returned home with a much lighter load, but a heavy heart. Getting rid of books is like cutting ties with old friends – not pleasant! But now that a few hours have passed I’m feeling a little better about things. I know those were books that I didn’t really enjoy that much and probably wasn’t going to read again any time soon – I won’t say never, because you never know. And I can always buy more books, sometime in the future. Instead of being a crazy cat lady I’ll be the mad old woman who filled her entire house with stacks of books. And maybe when Jan sees all my stuff gradually disappearing he’ll realise I’m seriously and actually start start trying to figure out what he wants.

I think I’m really starting to understand the meaning of the phrase “hope springs eternal”…


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Little snippets

We have been doing stuff recently, but not enough to make up a whole blog post. Nevertheless, I promised to post more this year, so here are some little snippets from my life for you.

First of all, to the person who found my blog yesterday by searching for the term “German shopping blog”… sorry, but you’ve definitely come to the wrong place. Can you imagine anything further removed from my ramblings than a shopping blog? :-D And now to the snippets…

Yesterday we came third in the pub quiz. At the last one, three weeks ago, we were first. Go us! The team that usually come first did really badly last time and left before the results were announced, knowing they weren’t getting a prize anyway. Talk about sore losers! This time they came second and didn’t seem happy about it at all. I would never have thought someone could pull such a long face after winning a round of drinks!

Jan’s dad turned 60 last Thursday, so at the weekend we headed up to Lower Saxony for his birthday party. It was a bit weird at first seeing as I barely knew anybody (only the 3 or 4 family members who were there), and Jan kept going off to talk to family friends he hadn’t seen in years, but I ended up having a great conversation with his dad’s neighbour, so that was nice. Also, Jan’s cousin brought her daughter along, who is almost one and who we had only seen in photos until now. She’s incredibly cute and was so well behaved! Even when she was getting tired there was no major tantrum – she just cried briefly, then as soon as she was in the sling on her mother’s front she went to sleep. If I ever have children, I hope they’re just as lovely.

At the end of April, Jan and I went to Ettlingen (next town over) to se some English folk music. A duo called Broom Bezzums was playing, who we had seen by complete coincidence in Ludwigshafen a couple of years ago. One of them is from the same area of England as I am, so it was nice to have a bit of a chat with him when he was signing my CD during the interval. They were followed by a second act – an Irish group called Beoga – who I didn’t enjoy as much (they were good musicians, but after a while everything started to sound the same), but we were only there for Broom Bezzums really so that was okay. The second act was just an added bonus.

On 1 May (which was a public holiday in Germany) I met up with some colleagues to go to a performance by the University of Mannheim’s English Theatre. They put on Black Comedy, which was hilarious and very well acted (in my opinion). We also went to Heidelberg to see the King’s Singers in April  (apparantly the best A Capella choir in the world – says the boyfriend who is into that kind of thing and who I bought the tickets for as an anniversary present) so I’ve been very cultural recently. And I bet you’re all really impressed ;-)

And just generally, life is good at the moment. Jan and I are getting on really well and have been enjoying spending time together just doing nothing (almost unheard of for Jan – he usually wants to watch a film, play Scrabble, read a book… anything but just sit and have a cup of tea and not have to be involved in any other activity). And I’ve been able to (almost) stop worrying about doing/saying the wrong thing and causing an argument. Strangely, knowing that our relationship could be over by January has made me less afraid that it could end suddenly the minute I do something Jan doesn’t like. I’m sure a psychologist would be able to give me a really good explanation for that, but honestly I’d prefer not to go there. I’m just enjoying being happy while it lasts.

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