Four month review

Now that the year is one third over (What? How? Why?), it seems like a good idea to see how I’ve been doing with my resolutions for the year. Sooo lets take a look at what impossible tasks I set myself this time 😉

  1. Eat more healthily! I said that this one didn’t have to involve giving up the things I love, but I did want more of our meals to feature actually vegetables. And I have to say I’ve been doing rather well on this one. Almost all of our meals have involved some form of veg, even if it is just peas from a tin, or some chopped up cherry tomatoes (yes, I’m aware that tomatoes are technically a fruit). And I’ve discovered that I actually like more healthy foods than I used to think I did. I swear parsnips taste different over here…
  2. Think before I speak! Well, I have at least been trying… That counts, right?
  3. Improve my translation style. I went to a seminar that I hoped would help with this. It turned out to be useless. Oh well, I still have another 8 months to get someone to compliment me on a translation well done…
  4. Visit my friend in the Netherlands. Done! After a mere three years I finally made it to Delft. And I loved it! 🙂 Read all about my trip here.
  5. Keep up with my blog. I shall let you be the judge of this one, dear readers…

For those who missed the original resolutions post, you can find it here.


Alright winter, you’ve made your point!

I am sooo sick of being cold!

09 04 03
Photo credit: mattjiggins

In English (or at least in the UK) we have a saying – more like a proverb – “April showers bring May flowers”. The German equivalent is “Der April macht was er will” – April does what it wants (April is pronounced A-prill with an A like in the word “alphabet” and to rhyme with will). I’m starting to think the German version is more accurate. This April certainly has no intention of sticking with one kind of weather! We’ve had dark, threatening clouds, we’ve had fog, we’ve had lots and lots of rain, we’ve had a tiny bit of sun peering from behind the clouds (mostly while I was at work), but what we’ve mostly had is cold. Today the temperature got up to a whole 10°C (Google tells me that’s 50°F, non-European readers), but mostly it’s been somewhere between 5 and 8°C. I’ve had to get my winter coat back out and have been wearing a scarf in bed (oh… I forgot to mention that I’ve had my hair cut and my neck now feels incredibly exposed…. and cold!). Did someone forget to tell the universe that it’s actually spring now? You had your chance winter… April is not your month!

On a brighter note, my team came first in the slightly-delayed-due-to-Easter pub quiz last week. The next one is on 8 May when we shall have a title to defend! We then went out on Friday night to watch our quiz master’s band perform, and got in free in exchange for doing the door for them (taking people’s money) as the person that usually does it couldn’t this time. All together now: “It’s not what you know…”.

Also, Newcastle United are currently fourth in the Premier League and it’s looking more and more likely that they’ll be coming to Europe next year, either in the Europa League (which I only recently found out is what they’re calling the UEFA Cup these days) or the Champions League. Jan and I are actually kind of hoping they end up with an Europa League place, that Stuttgart get one too, and that they happen to play each other. In Stuttgart. So we can travel to Karlsruhe’s greatest rivals, wearing Newcastle shirts and cheer on my football team. Unlikely, but the fact that I can even dream about it shows how far the Toon has come this season.

Life is good. But it would be sooo much better with a bit of spring sunshine!

The last try…

It seems strange to be writing this somewhere as public as the Internet, but then it’s not like millions of people are flocking to my blog every day, and I’ve always been honest here so why stop now? (Even if a couple of people from my real life know of the blog’s existence…)

On Friday, I checked my e-mail and discovered that I had managed to order a grand total of seven self-help books (both on relationships and improving myself) within a mere four days. Add those to the ones I already have at home and the others that I have on order, but that haven’t arrived yet because they’re coming from America and you have a lot of self help books. I’ve been making resolutions to improve my relationship, be better girlfriend, become more like the person Jan wants me to be and just generally become better for years, and  being a great believer in the power of books, every time we had an argument, or someone reminded me that they didn’t like me or another friend announced they’re engagement and I found myself wondering “why am I not good enough to be more than a temporary thing?” my solution was to get on Amazon and type in whatever key phrase was buzzing round my head at that minute. It had become something like a habit. When things go wrongl, obviously everything you’ve been trying isn’t good enough, so find a new book and try again. I thought nothing of it. But that list of e-mails from Amazon on Friday shocked me. Things have definitely got out of hand! And it’s not even like I’m that bad. Sure, I have faults, and trying to fix them can never really be a bad thing, but I can’t let this take over my life. And so I made a decision. I’m going to read my books, when they arrive. I’m going to carry on trying to improve my relationship (because there are definitely things I need to change. No, Jan is not perfect either, and ther are things he needs to do as well, but that’s no excuse for me not to try), but I don’t want it to take over my life. And this has to be my last try.

So that was Friday. It then took me the whole of Saturday and most of Sunday to pluck up the courage to speak to Jan. Obviously he had to know, but I had no idea how to bring it up without starting an argument, upsetting him (or me… or both of us), saying the wrong thing… It’s not exactly easy to tell someone you’re only given them (and yourself= one more chance. Finally, last night as my sat down to eat, I told him I had been thinking. And he listened to everything I had to say. I was amazed by how well it went. He actually agreed with me… told me he knows where I’m coming from, and he’s glad I said something. So I’ve given us until December. By that time we’ll have been together nearly 9 years. If he still doesn’t know what he wants, then I don’t think he ever will. And as much as I would like us to be happy together, if things go on like this I’m only going to end up hating him. And probably myself as well. Even though I know a lot of the problem is his inability to commit to anything (not just relationships – it’s also part of the reason he’s taking so long to write his doctoral thesis. Because he can’t bring himself to commit anything to paper before he’s sure it’s going to be 100% useful to someone out there…)). But even knowing it’s mostly his problem, I can’t help but think maybe if I try just a bit harder he’ll realise I really am the one for him. And thinking that way is no good for myself esteem! So the end of the year it is. I only hope when the time comes I’ll have the strength to go through with it! In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the rest of 2012. If this chapter of my life is going to end, I want it to end on a high note!

And if you’ve read this far, then thank you for listening! (Metaphorically speaking…)

Walking around Würzburg in the rain


Jan and I decided to take the opportunity that the long weekend offered us and go somewhere for the day on Saturday (four days off in a row meant we could fill the entire day and still have two days of relaxing at home – bliss). Since there was rain and cold forecast* for everywhere that was within day trip range, we figured it didn’t really matter where we went and spontaneously decided on Würzburg. My verdict: not one of my favourite German towns. Unfortunately, about 80% of Würzburg was destroyed during World War 2, and when they rebuilt it there wasn’t exactly a tonne of money lying around, so all the new buildings are basically ugly (but were cheap to build). There is the odd nice building here and there, either because they managed to escaped the bombs or have since been restored, but in general the town isn’t the prettiest I’ve seen. Of course, it has Tübingen and Heidelberg to compete with, and the horrid weather didn’t help much either.

We didn’t arrive until around 1 p.m. (Würzburg is roughly 2 hours drive from here and Jan didn’t get up til 9 a.m.), so after a quick walk down to the river (The Main) for a look at the old bridge and take some photos of the fortress up on its hill, our first stop was lunch. I had Wiener Schnitzel, which was very tasty, and tried the local beer, Würzburger Hofbräu.

Beer! And a candle in a cool looking holder

After lunch (which took a while because we started with soup to warm us up and hung around long enough to have a coffee after our main course), we headed over the the Fachhochschule (University of Applied Sciences) to see the Röntgen-Gedächtnisstätte (Röntgen Memorial Hall). Wilhelm Röntgen is famous for discovering the X-Ray – they’re named after him in German: Röntgenstrahlen. I guess that was just too complicated for English speakers to be able to pronounce. And, random piece of useless information, he received the first ever Nobel Prize for Physics for his discovery. See, my blog is educational! 😉

Our next stop was the Juliusspital Weingut (Wine Estate is the translation on their website…). The Juliusspital (hospital) was set up to provide treatment for poor people (especially old poor people) who couldn’t afford to go to an ordinary hospital. It still continues that tradition today, and raises part of the money it needs by producing wine, and by giving gided tours of the winery. This included a look at the bottling facility, followed by a tour of the wine cellars including three different wines to taste. The tour guide wanted to take our money at the entrance to the cellars, at which point we discovered that Jan didn’t actually have enough money left to pay for his entry (I had enough for myself, but not enough for him). A lovely couple from near Cologne helped us out, completely disproving the stereotypes about rude, unhelpful Germans! We then bought them a bottle of wine in the shop at the end, where you could pay by card.
This is the fountain where we met to start the tour. You can just see a hint of blue sky trying to make its way through at the top. Unfortunately, that didn’t last for long.

Fountain in the garden of the Juliusspital

Apparantly it represents the four rivers of Franconia (Würzburg is in an area of Bavaria called “Franken”) but I’ve no idea what those are, other than the Main.
By the time we’d finished the tour, just about everything else of interest was closed due to it being Saturday, and the Easter weekend at that, which was a shame. I would have quite liked to go in the Residenz, but instead I just took a photo of the outside.

Würzburg Residence

The Cathedral (St. Kilian’s) was closed as well, for renovation. It wasn’t our day for going into things!
I also took lots of photos of lanterns, just because I like them. One day I’m going to have a huge collection of lantern pictures. I’ve even got Jan pointing them out to me now!
Doesn’t the sky above this one look threatening:

That’s pretty much how the sky looked all day, apart from a brief interval while we were waiting for our tour of the winery to start. And it was cold too! So much for spring.
All in all, it was a nice day with my boyfriend, and gave me a chance to see another part of Germany that was new to me, but I don’t think I need to go back there again. Sorry Würzburg, you’re just not my type of town!

*A mere two weeks ago we had gorgeous sunshine, and now winter seems to have returned. Not impressed, weather gods!

Why I love Easter

Easter eggs // Ostereier
Easter eggs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m neither in any way religious not a fan of massive consumerism (and in that respect I think Easter is way worse than Christmas – at least at Christmas most people attach some importance to spending time with their familes. Unless you’re a church-goer, Easter really is all about the chocolate*), but there is one thing about Easter that I absolutely love… the four day weekend! That’s four whole days of not having to get up at 6 a.m. And four whole days to spend with my boyfriend. A rare treat these days – we haven’t actually eaten together on a single evening this week so far, and we won’t be tonight either as he’s at choir practice and always grabs something quick on his way there. I shall enjoy not having to be woken up to hear how his day went (I’ll know all about it anyway, since he’ll be spending the next four days with me).

Happy Easter everyone!

*Don’t get me wrong – I like chocolate just as much as the next person and have been happily digging in to the huuuge basket of treats that my boss supplies for everyone at work twice a year, but do there really have to be Easter eggs in the shops in January?!

Bye bye overdraft!

It’s only taken me about 6 years, but finally the overdraft on my English bank account is paid off! Woo hoo!

I’m pretty sure this deserves a treat, the only question is what. Suggestions please.

Now all that remains is to pay Jan back everything I’ve borrowed from him over the years and maybe actually inform the student loan company of where I am.
Or then again, maybe I won’t. Not straight way at least…