Kezzie posted the other day about how colds always show up at the wrong time – in her case it was losing her voice just when she needs it to sing. For me, it’s a horrible sneezy cold just when I a) have to fly (and I don’t want to be that person on the plane!) and b) am being a bridesmaid for my sister on Saturday. I also have to go into the office in Germany tomorrow (for the final time this year), which means waking up way too early to catch a train. Bleurgh. Currently I am wrapping up warm, dosing myself up with Lemsip, consuming as many hot drinks as I can and tonight’s dinner will be soup. If anyone has any other tips for a fast cure please send them my way (unless your tip is echichnea – or however you spell it – since I have no idea where I would even look for that here!). This cold has precisely two days to do one!
This post is brought to you by Rudolph’s less famous red-nosed relation!
I took part in Friday letters last Saturday and I’ve been meaning to write up my blog post on it all week, but I’ve just been far too busy. So for now you’ll have to make do with Friday letters. Maybe I’ll get round to photo and hour over the weekend… although we have a visitor coming next weekend and I’m in Germany from Thursday afternoon to Friday evening, so this weekend will be my only opportunity to get the flat into a shape that I’m not ashamed of letting people see. Hmm. Anyway, here are some letters for you.
Dear customers. While I am glad not to be sitting around doing nothing, I would appreciate it if you could distribute your languages a little more evenly so everything doesn’t end up on my desk…
Dear books. Despite last week’s message to myself, you appear to have multiplied again. I wonder how that happened…?
Dear flat. How do you actually even get into such a state anyway? I mean, I get that I’m lazy but the speed at which you get messed up seems excessive!
Dear Christmas markets. Soo, you’re here again. Yay! Unfortunately I don’t going to get a chance to visit any of you this weekend with all the cleaning I have to do… Oh well, it’s supposed to rain tomorrow anyway.
Dear weekend. Even though I am probably going to be spend half of you cleaning, I am so glad you’re here! Now if only you were longer than a measly two days…
Right, that’s all from me. I’m waiting for a phone call then I have to go to the post box, buy some bread and start making tea. All in an evening’s work…
Happy Friday everyone! I hope you are all well? It has got cold here recently, which gives me the perfect excuse to drink lots of hot chocolate. Except maybe not because my sister’s wedding is three weeks tomorrow and I have a bridesmaid dress to fit into? Dilemmas! Also, I have agreed to work for part of the weekend because apparently I am insane?! (It’s the only way we could actually accept this particular job and we really need to not be turning down jobs right now!). Anyway, let’s get on with some letters shall we?
Dear Christmas. You are creeping up too fast and I can’t think of gifts for half the people I have to buy for. Aargh!
Dear boyfriend. Thank you for not complaining about me being even worse than usual at keeping up with housework because I’m too busy making Christmas cards!
Dear birds. I’m pleased to see you seem to be enjoying your new food. We’ll keep putting it out as long as you keep coming to visit!
Dear self. You really need to stop buying new books before you’ve read the ones that are already sitting on the bookcase. For the sake of your bank balance if nothing else!
Dear magpies. Could you please stop flying around singly? I’m ready for some joy please!
Dear sun. It was nice to see you when I went out to buy lunch. Think you can come back tomorrow when it’s the weeeeekend?
Okay, that’s it. Lunch break over – gotta get back to work. Have a fabulous weekend everyone!
Ah Friday… you wonderful harbinger of the weekend! I’ve been having trouble falling asleep all week, so you’re even more welcome than you would have been anyway. To celebrate, let’s have some letters.
Dear Yankee Candle. That is not what a crackling wood fire smells like! Have you actually been near a fire lately?
Dear weather. I take it you are trying to convince me that it really is November and not May at the absolute latest, as my brain is still convinced it must be? I can think of no other explanation for this constant rain 😉
Dear baked potatoes. I will never cease to be amazed (and grateful) that something so simple is so good.
Dear blue tits. Hello! How nice to see you gracing the balcony again. I’m not sure where you disappear to over the summer, but I’m glad you’re back! (But please stop trying to eat my parsley!)
Dear Christmas. You are sneaking up way too fast and I really need to decide on gifts for my family before it’s too late…
That’s all for today. Happy Friday everyone… and happy weekend!
It’s November (What? How? Why?) and it’s Thursday, which means it must be time for What’s new with you? If you’ve been wondering what on Earth I was doing on October instead of keeping my blog updated then you’ve come to the right place 😉 Here are all the things I’ve been doing for the past month.
Reading. I completed the bonus round of Erin’s reading challenge. Woo! To find out the specific books I read, you’ll have to come back when it’s time for Show Us Your Books… but I will tell you that I started Magician by Raymond E Feist about a week ago and so ar it’s really good. I had been putting it off because it’s so long!
Watching. Hocus Pocus! It was on TV on Sunday and I couldn’t resist. It’s been too long since I’ve seen it. I also saw some episodes of Extreme Cake Makers. Some very impressive cakes going on there!
Eating. Pumpkins and chickpeas. Standard autumn fare really. But last week we ate something more unusual. I will tell you what in a few days… don’t want to ruin the surprise 😉
Drinking. I relapsed and went back to drinking too much caffeinated tea. Hmm. Also smoothies – sadly ready-made. I want to make my own but I need a blender first.
Buying. Too many patterned tapes. They are taking over! I need a better way to store them. Also my godson’s Christmas present, which I am very excited about.
Making. Halloween cards for Post Pals children. So, so many Halloween cards! Here are a few:
Cross stitching. Designs for Christmas cards. After spending so long making Halloween cards, I am now way behind with Christmas!
Seeing/hearing. Jan perform with two different choirs. At the second one, they were performing with a trio consisting of a harpist, flautist and… violaist? Is that a word? My spell checker doesn’t recognise it. A man on a viola anyway. I absolutely loved them!
Winning. The pub quiz. Yay! It was the first time we’d been in ages as well.
Visiting. The pumpkin festival in Ludwigsburg – it’s becoming a bit of tradition. Again, I preferred the theme two years ago, but we had a nice day with our friends and I got to eat pumpkin Maultaschen, which is always a good thing.
Booking. Flights to England for my sister’s wedding. Not long to go now! I also got my dress altered in October (it was way too long). Thought I’d throw that in here since I couldn’t think of a category for it 😉
Hello everyone! Now I’ve posted once this week, I thought I should at least try to keep up. So Friday letters it is. Let’s get straight to it, shall we?
Dear boyfriend. If you’re going to wake me up snoring/grinding your teeth does is really have to be within 2 hours of the alarm going off so I’m pretty much guaranteed not to get any more proper sleep before starting the day? After two days in a row of that I am tiiiired today!
Dear biscuits. I should not have bought you. Once I start tucking in it’s soo hard to stop!
Dear autumn. Well, it looks like you are truly here now with all your cold, wet miserableness.
As an aside, do any other Brits remember singing a little verse in school that went “Here comes autumn, bringing the mists and rain“? I’m sure that’s why I associate autumn with cold and dark and soggy, slippery leaves rather than the gorgeous colours, long walks and crisp leaves everyone else goes on about. Or maybe it’s just that Britain really is miserable in autumn? 😉
Dear post person. I am not impressed that you sent my order back to the sender claiming that I had failed to pick it up from the post office. I requested for a second delivery of everything I had a note for, so that means there was no note for this one!
Dear flat. You’re actually still looking half decent right now after we cleaned for visitors last weekend. I wonder how long we can keep it up?
Dear birds. I’m guessing by constantly coming and perching on the empty bird feeder you’re trying to tell me something? It’s getting colder now so I’ll buy you some lard balls soon.
Dear kettle. I’m sorry I keep boiling you so many times before I actually manage to make a cup of tea. Please don’t decide you’re overworked and go on strike – and I promise to try and actually make my cuppa the first time!
Dear autumn fair. It looks like it’s going to be cold for your opening day tomorrow but the forecast is currently not saying rain. Maybe I’ll consider popping by for the first Glühwein of the season.
Dear readers. Thank you for sticking around even when I fail to post for weeks on end or don’t even have anything interesting to say. I appreciate every single one of your comments.
And on that soppy note, I shall stop typing and brave the rain so I can get something to eat. This is supposed to be my lunch break, after all and my fridge is looking rather uninspiring. I hope you all have a lovely weekend!
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…