How far is too far?

Yesterday I was asked to do a practice translation for one of the companies I applied for a job at. It was a hard translation, but I think I did ok. Then, after I’d sent it off, I decided to find out where exactly this company is up to now all I’ve had is the vague knowledge that it’s “near Stuttgart” and Stuttgart is “only about an hour away so I suppose this other place can’t be that far.”

So… a two hour* commute to work. That would be manageable, right?

* Actually, the train journey is anywhere between 1 hour 35 minutes and 2 hours 9 minutes depending on which speed train is running and how many times you have to change… worst case scenario being 3 times!! At least the company appears to be close to the train station there – only 15 minutes walk according to Google maps.


Oh bureaucracy, how I hate thee

Today was employment agency day.
First I had an appointment at 9:30 am to hand in my application for unemployment benefit I (ALG I). I knew I wasn’t going to be entitled to it, but I had to hand in the application anyway because to apply for unemployment benefit II you have to show proof that I’m not entitled to unemployment benefit I. Complicated no? So the woman typed all my data into the computer, informed me that I’m not entitled to ALG I and printed out a letter of rejection to take along when I apply for ALG II. Then she told me where I have to go to do that… the town hall of all places?! After that I had my second appointment, with my advisor. She’s the one that’s supposed to help me look for jobs. That meeting went smoothly… she actually found even less positions than I did because they only check their own website and not every company advertises on there. So she printed out one measly little advert for me, printed out an agreement (which basically says they will publish my profile in their virtual job market and send me details of appropriate positions and I will continue to look and apply for jobs) then sent me on my way to the town hall. At the town hall I was asked a million and one questions, given a form to fill in and a huge list of things they need me to bring with me next time… a list which includes my bank statements from the last 3 months!  Then I was given an appointment with another advisor for next Tuesday. It’s exhausting stuff I’m telling you! I’m going to meet Jan for lunch now but after that I may need to lie down for a while to recover from all the forms, questions and traipsing around town.

Go get crafty – it’s for a good cause!

My attention was drawn to this by Welsh Girl, who’s blog you can read here.

Made4aid is a new charity project set up by this blogger and some friends.
The idea is for people to send in hand-made stuff (handbags, scarves, postcards… stuff like that. I’m thinking of converting a photo to cross stitch and making that for them, cross stitch being the only even vaguely crafty thing I can do) which will then be auctioned off on the made4aid blog. The proceeds go to charity… initially they are supporting relief work in refugee camps in Darfur, later other charities may be chosen. For more information on the project and what kind of stuff they’re looking for and to find out where to send your donations (I know I have some creative readers out there who would just love to make something for such a good cause) check out the made4aid website. And for those of you who have nothing to donate but still want to help get on over to the blog and see if you can find something to bid on. It’s all for charity after all and there are some pretty nice things on there…

Welcome to the inside of my brain

Do you know, it’s just taken me over an hour to make a cup of tea. I kept switching on the kettle, forgetting I had then remembering again after the water had pretty much gone cold. I think that pretty much sums up my state of mind at the moment.

Anyway, the incredibly funny Jaywalker (whose blog Belgian Waffling you need to go and read RIGHT NOW) is asking people for diagrams of their brains. And since I have nothing better to do needed an excuse to stop job hunting before my head explodes I thought I would join in. And so I present to you my brain:

BRAIN (if the writing is too small to read let me know and I’ll provide a translation).

So, what do we learn from this exercise?

Clearly I am not panicking anywhere near enough about the unemployment situation… just look at that tiny little job hunting section. I actually think I expend more energy on feeling guilty about not looking for a job than I do trawling the internet hunting for somebody, anybody who is willing to employ me. Obviously I’m just not desperate enough yet.

It seems I am currently addicted to four things: books, the internets, junk food and cups of tea (since I’ve been stuck at home all day my poor kettle has been working overtime!). No wonder the poor boyfriend goes through periods of feeling neglected! At least the self-pity section isn’t too large… between blogging and rereading all my books I just don’t have time to worry about my lack of a social life!

That was actually kind of fun. If anyone else would like to do a brain I would love to see it!

Back to reality with a bump

After 6 lovely days of wandering round Rome, having other people pay for stuff for me and not thinking about job hunting, the employment agency or my lack of income at all returning to the real world has been a bit of  a shock. Yesterday I kind of eased my way into it, spending most of the day catching up on people’s blogs,  sorting out photographs of Rome to put on Facebook and blogging about Roman sights. I did check the employment agency website for new vacancies (of which there weren’t any… well, there was one for a German-Russian translator but that’s no good to me really). But today it was back to job hunting in earnest. Back to checking out every vacancies website I’ve ever heard of. Back to Googling every combination of the words “translator” “native speaker” “jobs” “employment” and “Karlsruhe” I could possibly think of. And back to wondering how on Earth people cope with being stuck in the house all day long with nothing to do and no money.

The good news is I had a phone call this morning from a woman inviting me to an interview next Thursday. The interview is with a personnel recruitment service, so not actually for the job itself as such… I suppose an interview with the company that’s actually offering the position will come at some later stage, but it’s a start. Even if I don’t actually know for sure what exactly the job even is – all the advert told me is that I will be coming into contact with customers (gulp!) and need to speak English, enjoy languages and know how to use a PC. Oh, and I should bring with me “unlimited willingness to learn”. Umm, ok then…

Two things to see in Rome

I don’t want to talk too much about the obvious sights of Rome. Yes, St. Peter’s Basilica, the Colleseum and the Pantheon are impressive but I don’t think you need me to tell you you should visit them (and in case you do, consider yourself told!). Instead I’m going to write about two other things that I think are worth a visit when in Rome.

The Knights of Malta Keyhole
Keyhole Up at the top of the Aventine Hill, at the end of of Via di Santa Sabina there is a square – Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, the Square of the Knights of Malta. At first glance the square doesn’t look very interesting. There’s a basilica behind it which is quite pretty and the building to one side has guards standing in front of it but that seems to be all. Oh, and the building with the guards has a big green wooden door in it. That is the door to the gardens of the Knights of Malta and in that door there is a hole, the Knights of Malta Keyhole. Actually, it’s not even a keyhole as such – it’s perfectly round and I doubt very much there is a key that fits in it. But take a look through and you will see, perfectly framed by the trees in the garden, an excellent view of St. Peter’s Basilica. This photo is pretty good but it really doesn’t do it justice – in real life it’s even more spectacular. Well worth the trip up the hill to see, in my opinion.

The Cappuccin Crypt
Cappuccin Church The Cappuccin Crypt is located beneath the Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini (Our Lady of the Conception of Capuchins) church, also known as Santa Maria della Immocolata (Our Lady the Immaculate). Friars that belonged to the Cappuccin community at the church were buried down there in soil that had been brought from Jurusalem, but they only had a limited amount of soil and so, when they ran out of space, the monks who had originally been buried in the soil were dug up to make room. Then, rather than placing the dug up remains in a tomb or something, the Cappuccin monks chose to do something a little bit… strange. Of the 6 chapels in the crypt, 5 of them are decorated using the bones of more than 4,000 disinterred monks. Some of them have been left whole and can be seen lying or standing around dressed in their monks robes. Others were taken apart and used to make display units for the whole ones or turned into light fittings, wall decorations and even an image of the Grim Reaper on the ceiling of one chapel. It’s fascinating stuff but very, very creepy. Definitely not for the faint hearted! Unfortunately, no cameras were allowed, which is why I took a photo of the outside of the chuch instead, but if you’re interested in seeing what it looks like just ask Google. It’s much more spooky in real life though… an absolute must-see when in Rome.

The wanderer returns

I am back in Germany.
The holiday was brilliant. I managed to survive the heat, had a great time looking at old things and really enjoyed seeing my family again.
Now I am back in my lovely, lovely flat and as fabulous as the holiday was it’s good to be home (although I may change my mind about that tomorrow when it’s time to get back to job hunting).
I am now very, very tired so I shall wait until tomorrow to tell you more about Roma. Right now I need to curl up in bed with the boyfriend and watch a few episodes of Season 2 of ER which my sister kindly picked up from my dad’s place for me.

Ciao for now!