Despite having seen the reminder the day before and even mentioned it to Jan while out in the evening, I managed to forget about photo an hour day! Luckily I checked Twitter at noon and saw the posts so I was able to still join in, albeit a few hours later. I only missed two hours though, and those photos would have been tea and cross stitch so you didn’t miss much. Here’s the rest of my Saturday:
12 noon About to heat some bread rolls in the oven for brunch (although Jan then ended up deciding he was too hungover to eat his and going back to bed…)
1 p.m. Time for a shower. Yes, so late. No judging! Also this photo shows how much lime scale is on my shower head. Again, please don’t judge.
2 p.m. Boots on as I’m heading out to buy a birthday present
3 p.m. Haven’t found what I’m looking for yet, so across the river I go to check the shops on that side of Basel. As you can see, the weather was not the best.
4 p.m. Found what I wanted, now on the tram home.
5 p.m. Time for a cup of tea and to start a new book.
The book was so good that I missed my 6 o’clock photo. Ooops!
7 p.m. Deciding what to make for dinner since it was just me eating (yep, Jan was still hungover…)
8 p.m. Nearly finished eating. Not shown: the book that I continued reading while I ate. (I finished it at 8:30… for everyone who has ever asked how I get through so many books, there’s your answer. Most people socialise on weekends, I read or cross stitch.)
9 p.m. Making a birthday card for my grandma
10 p.m. Pyjamas on – time for bed.
And that was my Saturday. How was yours? As always, Photo an Hour was hosted by the wonderful Jane and Louisa.
Has it really been an entire two weeks since my last post? Wow… sorry. I didn’t mean to stay away that long. I am juggling so many things right now and blogging keeps getting pushed further down my list.
Anywaaay… I stole this post from Kristen because I thought it might be fun and an easy way to get back into blogging. I hate being called an expat (please don’t single me out from other “migrants”!) but didn’t have an alternative title, so it stays.
1. WHERE WERE YOU BORN, WHERE DID YOU GROW UP AND WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
I was born in Aldershot (“Home of the British Army”) and I guess grew up there, in Northern Ireland and in Northumberland – although, when does the “growing up” stage finish? I was a teenager by the time I moved up North…
I currently live just outside Basel in Switzerland.
2. WHAT MADE YOU LEAVE YOUR HOME COUNTRY
Originally university. I was studying German and a year in a German-speaking country was a requirement to get my degree. I met Jan there, and after 2 years in a long-distance relationship decided to move back to Germany. Such a cliché.
3. WHAT TYPE OF REACTIONS DO YOU GET WHEN YOU MEET NEW PEOPLE AND TELL THEM WHERE YOU ARE FROM?
It varies. “What brought you to Switzerland?” mainly. A lot of people ask whether I work at Roche or Novartis (two pharmaceutical companies that are the main employers in Basel, particularly of “expats” – ugh, that word again). When I lived in Germany I occasionally got “Do you really put vinegar on your chips?”, and people would ask why Karlsruhe of all places (I guess most Brits go to Berlin or Munich).
4. WHAT WAS THE EASIEST/HARDEST PART IN ADJUSTING TO YOUR NEW COUNTRY?
To Switzerland? It wasn’t actually that hard because I’d been in Germany for over 8 years and Basel at least is quite similar to Germany in many ways. So I guess that was the easiest part? Going back to not understanding people was difficult – Swiss German is hard! Just yesterday a neighbour came and spoke to me while I was doing laundry and I only understood about half of what he said.
5. IMAGES, WORDS OR SOUNDS THAT SUM UP THE EXPAT EXPERIENCE YOU’VE HAD SO FAR.
Are we talking my entire expat experience? As in Austria, Germany and Switzerland? Because that’s a lot! But as Kristen said, my life here is just life. I work, I shop, I cook, I do laundry just as I would anywhere else. I guess regularly speaking two languages is different, and we eat food that isn’t available in England (and, conversely, don’t eat other food because it isn’t available here). So I guess speaking German and food are my words? Here’s an image that seems to fit:
6. YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD OR DRINK ITEM IN YOUR NEW COUNTRY
Oh wow, that’s difficult. Maybe Rösti? Although I rarely eat it because I’m too lazy to make my own 😉 For drink I guess some local beer? I can’t think of anything else that isn’t available elsewhere… oh, except some fizzy pops like “Rivella” and “Flauder” (I do like that second one) but I rarely drink pop soo…
7. WHAT’S THE ONE THING YOU SAID “YES” TO IN YOUR NEW CITY THAT YOU WOULDN’T SAY “YES” TO, BACK HOME?
Umm… I have no idea? I probably wouldn’t have gone hiking at home but only because I would never have had Jan to drag me out 😉
8. ARE THERE ANY CULTURAL NORMS/PHRASES IN YOUR NEW COUNTRY WHICH YOU CANNOT STAND?
Quiet hours! In Switzerland, the law states that from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. plus all day on Sundays and public holidays are “quiet hours”. During those times you are not allowed to do anything that makes a noise… so no hammering/drilling, no hoovering (vacuuming ;-)), no doing laundry, no mowing the lawn, no playing instruments. And, of course, no using the glass recycling bins. In our building, you are actually not supposed to drill/hammer after 6 p.m. and hoovering and instruments are banned after 8 p.m. (Drums are banned at every time unless in a sound-proofed room). I understand the night-time quiet rules – those with kids especially probably appreciate it being quiet when they’re sleeping – BUT WHEN AM I SUPPOSED TO DO MY HOUSEWORK?! The lack of recycling annoys me as well, especially coming from Germany where practically everything gets recycled! Ooh, and I hate that practically everything is closed on Sundays. I mean, I’m used to shops being closed on Sundays after Germany, but finding a café or restaurant that’s open should not be as difficult as it is! As for phrases… I guess that question assumes I live in an English-speaking country?
9. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST DOING IN YOUR NEW COUNTRY?
I enjoy going down to the river and just sitting… I love having the river flow right through town. But that’s a Basel thing, not a Switzerland thing. I also enjoying travelling and exploring Switzerland, but I also did that in Germany and would do it even if I lived in England. Umm, does that answer the question in any way?
10. DO YOU THINK YOU WILL EVER MOVE HOME FOR GOOD?
Nope. A few years ago it might have been a possibility, but after Brexit no way. Why would I want to live in a country where half the population have said my partner is not welcome? And by extension my future kids who will be way more German than British. Of course, Brexit may end up being the reason I am forced to move home if the “hard-Brexit” brigade gets their way…
That was the last question, but I hate to end on a bad note so I would like to add that I love living here and it feels like home more than any place has ever felt like home in my life (I mean, Karlsruhe felt like in the last few years there – and is still the place I’ve lived the longest in one stretch ever – but I felt an instant connection with Basel that made me wonder what I ever saw in Karlsruhe). It’s only been 2 and a half years though, so who knows what the future will hold…
I know what you’re thinking… wasn’t it only just photo an hour day? (That’s what I was thinking when I saw Jane’s reminder anyway). Actually, it’s been almost a month since the last photo an hour link up! To be precise, May’s photo an hour was precisely a month ago tomorrow. 2017 is definitely going too fast!
Anyway, for those of you who didn’t follow along on Twitter, here’s what I got up to on Saturday.
10 a.m. Obviously I started my day with a cuppa. I could just reuse the photos from previous months for this! (But I didn’t. Last month’s was different – see.)
11 a.m. Time for a shower. In an effort to make things different, I took a photo of the shower curtain this time.
12 noon. Off to the post box with this pile of happy mail.
1 p.m. Finishing off a birthday card to be sent to a Post Pals sibling.
2 p.m. Finally quiet time is over and I’m allowed to take away the recycling! (I feel like I should point out that this wasn’t all drunk at once!)
3 p.m. Back from recycling and the supermarket. Time for a tea on the balcony.
4 p.m. Housework – boring but necessary. Emptying the dishwasher.
5 p.m. Once you start it’s never ending! After sorting the dishes I hoovered and now I’m sorting clean laundry.
6 p.m. Off into town.
7 p.m. A choir Jan sings with was having a CD launch party and I was on my way there. Crossing the Rhine.
8 p.m. Beer in a fountain. How else are you supposed to keep it cool?
9 p.m. Drinking beer! They’re not both mine…
10 p.m. Still at the launch party. Candles on a table.
11 p.m. Waiting for pizza and it was too dark to photograph anything but this lantern!
Midnight. Waiting for a tram home. The building is part of the art museum.
1 a.m. Finally bedtime! Eeyore says goodnight 🙂
And that was that. A long day! How was your Saturday?
Saturday was the date for May’s photo an hour link up with Jane and Louisa, and of course I joined in! Some of you might have already seen my day on Twitter, but for the rest of you here’s what I got up to:
9 a.m. Waiting for the kettle to boil. Hurry up, I need a cuppa!
10 a.m. Shower time! I swear I’m going to start reusing shower photos… it’s not like anyone would notice.
11 a.m. Doing a bit of cross stitch while I wait for Jan to go for his shower.
12 noon. Finally out and about! Waiting for the bus from town to leave.
1 p.m. Can you guess where we are?
2 p.m. Checking out another furniture shop before committing to a purchase.
3 p.m. You can’t go to IKEA and not have food! Meatballs eaten, now for Dime cake. Yum!
4 p.m. On the train home with our new furniture.
5 p.m. In town after a very brief stop at home! I left Jan building furniture and came out in search of a birthday gift.
6 p.m. Home again, and there’s just about enough time for a cuppa before heading back out!
7 p.m. On another bus… nice view from the window!
I then skipped two hours because we were at a concert and I didn’t want to start taking photos in the middle of the performance 😉 So…
10 p.m. The Rhine in Basel by night.
11 p.m. Heading home on a very crowded tram! Photo mainly shows the ceiling 😉 (We stopped for a light dinner in case you were wondering why we took an hour to start heading home!)
Midnight. Time to join Eeyore and Nick in bed.
So, that was my Saturday. Furniture shopping, birthday gift shopping and a concert.
Did you do anything nice at the weekend?
I think April may end up being the fastest month of this year so far. Somehow it is more than half over already. How did that happen?! I’d better post my March photos before I blink and realise it’s June or something!
For those who don’t know, this is just a random post where I throw in all the photos I took during a particular month that don’t fit in anywhere else. Nothing particularly exciting, just an excuse to show off my photography “skills”.
Jan had a birthday, so I made cupcakes.
Once again, most of my photos were of birds.
Crows are very cool (although less so when they’re cawing on outside the window at 5 a.m.!).
I can never seem to resist taking photos of the birds on the balcony. *Sigh*. For those who have asked what a “lard ball” is, that would be the thing the birds below are standing on/eating. Also, notice the leaves on the tree (which was still pretty much bare in my February photos). It’s almost fully green now 🙂
I heard this next bird before I saw it:
Sadly the blackbird was not outside our window, but in a garden I walked past on my way home from town.
Our friend came to visit and we went to the animal park. I didn’t actually take many photos there, but I did grab one of the little red fox, all curled up in a ball. So cute… but so smelly!
And that’s about it for March. Cupcakes and animals seem to have been the order of the month.
I have to say, the final photo is my favourite in this collection! How about you… any favourites here?
Another month has passed (it’s already April!), and that means it’s time to link up with Kristin and Gretch to talk about what I’ve been up to recently.
Here are my March doings:
Reading. So many books. So, so many. First, I finished the bonus round for Erin’s challenge. Plus I read The Day of the Triffids intending for it to be my book for “a genre you rarely read” (science fiction), except then I had to change it because I didn’t have 5 previously chosen books on my list. And I read the next three books in the Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series, two of them on the same day. That’s how much I love them! In total I read 16 books in March and started another.
Watching. Some film called “Planet 51” that Jan found while flicking through channels. It was cute. Also Come Dine With Me (guilty pleasure!) and I recently discovered the Father Brown TV series so I’ve been watching that occasionally, when I manage to catch it.
Learning. About Wales, but no Welsh yet because I haven’t got to the language portion of my OU course. Also to loom knit – my latest hobby. I have made a few practice hats that wouldn’t even fit a newborn and also one sock for myself. It is recognisably a sock and even fits me, but I haven’t made the second one yet because I ran out of wool – or I suppose I should say yarn now like people who know what they’re talking about.
Celebrating. Jan’s birthday, on the 1st of the month. Not that we celebrated much since he doesn’t care about his birthday (weird, right?) and went to work, but he got gifts and I baked cupcakes so there’s that.
Attending. Fasnacht stuff, including the fire parade in Liestal and the 4 a.m. parade (“Morgestraich”) in Basel.
Eating. Do you know what… you can just look here if you haven’t already. That’s basically our diet, with a few other dishes thrown in (three bean chilli, various soup/broth type things, curry, cottage pie…).
Drinking. I’ve kind of given up on the caffeine avoidance and been drinking a lot of ordinary black tea… I will get better at that again, but lately I’ve been so tired that a proper cuppa in the afternoon has been the only thing that kept me going long enough to actually make dinner!
Buying. Uhh… what haven’t I been buying more like? Books, wool (yarn), crafting supplies, a turtle necklace (too cute to resist!), a Mother’s Day gift for my mam. I have been very bad and I should feel bad, but I really don’t. Must curb my spending this month though…
Seeing. Or hearing? I’m never sure what to say when it comes to concerts! Anyway, we finally saw The King’s Singers, which I gave Jan tickets for at Christmas but the concert was only this month. Plus Jan performed with his choir so of course I went to one of those performances (but not all 4 because seeing the same concert four times would have been slightly excessive!)
Hosting. One friend who came to stay for the weekend just to see us and then four people from Jan’s former choir who came to watch him perform with his current choir.
And I think that’s all. At least nothing else comes to mind. It should give you a pretty good idea of how I spent my time in March anyway.
The fact that it is Friday is so confusing to me this week! I had three more holiday days from last year that needed to be used before the end of the month and this week was Fasnacht (Basel carnival), so it seemed like a good time to take them, with the result that I went back to work yesterday and now it’s already Friday! While a two day working week is quite relaxing, it is apparently too much for my brain to take in… yesterday I spent 3 or 4 hours totally convinced it was Monday. Hmm. Oh well, on with the letters.
Dear Fasnacht. So, you’re over for another year. As fun as you were, I must admit I will be glad to be able to go into town without being confetti bombed! (And to no longer constantly be hoovering said confetti up from my floor!)
Dear body. I do not understand how it took you a month to shed 1.5 kg and a mere three days to put every single gram of that back on. Fasnacht has a lot to answer for!
Dear Jillian Michaels DVD. I have big plans to get you out and start doing your workouts again. Unfortunately so far the project seems to have stopped at the planning stage 😉
Dear self. I know Goodreads is tempting, but you really do not need to be adding any more books to your wish list. Read the ones you’ve got on your shelves first!
Dear OU. It’s been a long time since I last tried one of your short courses. I hope I’m still disciplined enough to do the work! At least this is one I can do at my own pace – and I have a whole 6 months so that should be doable…