11 years

Lady and the trampJan and I have been together for 11 years today! A long time. Unfortunately, he has choir practice tonight so we won’t be celebrating until the weekend.

Apparently, if this were a wedding anniversary, it would be steel.
In German, numbers made up of repeating digits are calles Schnapszahlen (in maths, they use the English term repdigits. Boring!). The term Schnapszahl comes from the fact that in lots of dice games if all the dice added together make a number with all the same digits, the person who rolled it has to drink a schnapps. Sounds like a much better gift than steel to me 😉

So much has changed since our last anniversary, and I’m really looking forward to starting a new adventure together. Here’s to (at least) another 11 years!

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).

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.

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”…

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…)

The boy done good!

Not being a fan of the forced romance that Valentine’s Day seems to bring out in people (who needs a boyfriend that only says he loves you once a year?!), I didn’t want any gifts from the boy yesterday. My only request was that he be home by 8 so we could actually eat together – a rare occurence, unless it’s the weekend.
Not only did he arrive home a whole two hours earlier than I’d asked him to, but he also turned up with these:

Despite my “who cares about Valentine’s anyway?” stance, I have to admit I was pleased. Maybe I am a cliché after all!
Happy belated Valentine’s Day everyone!

The other girl

Here’s a poem I just wrote. I’m not sure whether I like the last line, but couldn’t think of a better one. Maybe I’ll change it at some point, when I’m feeling inspired. Thought I’d post it here anyway since I don’t have anything else to say.

The Other Girl

It’s me you go to bed with,
And me you call your girl,
But I know there’s someone else you love.
She looks like me,
She talks like me,
She even shares my name.
But try as I might,
I can never compete,
With the version of me that you see when you sleep.

Written by me, today (12 February 2012). No stealing please.

Let there be light!

As of yesterday, Jan and I have been together for 7 years! Time really does fly… it doesn’t feel like that long. We started the day with a nice breakfast together… scrambled eggs on toast. Mmm. Then, after we’d both had showers, Jan suggested we go to Bauhaus (DIY type place) and see whether we could find a bathroom light we liked this time. Amazingly we actually did! It’s only about th 6th time we’ve looked and either not found anything suitable or just plain hated everything available. We picked up a few other things as well, including a ladder so we don’t have to keep borrowing the one in the cellar, and ordered a mirror for the bathroom. We have to get a special size cut so we couldn’t just take one of the ones that was there. Then we came home and Jan set to work. First he put up the kitchen light, which actually came with us from my old flat, so it’s been sitting around for 9 months waiting to be put up!! We need an extra piece of cable for it, which we also picked up while we were at Bauhaus. Then he went and installed the new light in the bathroom. SO now I’m no longer relying on clip lamps for any room. We have proper lights all over the flat. Not a bad anniversary present 🙂 We finished the day by going out for a meal at a lovely restaurant just round the corner from where we live. We’ve been saying for about 3 years that we should go there at some point, and now we finally have. And it was certainly worth the wait! My starter was a rocket salad in some kind of white wine dressing with gorgonzola cheese, slices of fresh pear and roasted pumpkin seeds. For the main course I had the best duck I’ve ever tasted with ginger potatoes (delicious!) and vegetables, and I finished things off with orange parfait on chilli-chocolate sauce. Also fantastic.
Here’s hoping we last another seven years! 🙂

Multi-tasking

I’ve managed to get quite a lot done today, most of it at the same time. Write some notes for my dissertation, wash the dishes, a few more notes for my dissertation, spray cleaning stuff on the shower, sweep the bedroom floor, back to the shower to rinse. Who knew I could be so productive?

Last night Jan and I went to see out with some friends to see a… well, not really a band. A choir really, I suppose. An A Capella choir. But instead of choir music they sing pop songs. Covers of pop songs, songs using the tunes of pop songs but with the lyrics changed. They were very good and very, very funny. Unfortunately, most of their stuff is in German, but there were a few English bits too. Anyway,  they’re called Füenf and you can find their website here in case you feel like checking them out.

I made cupcakes today as well. I even put little hearts on the top, in honour of Valentine’s Day. Jan and I don’t really do Valentine’s Day. It falls right after our “anniversary” (it still seems weird saying that when we’re not married), which is obviously way more important. And everyone knows Valentine’s Day is just a card manufaturers’ scam anyway. So we didn’t exchange any cards or gifts today. Instead, we took a break from our respective dissertations to eat cupcakes and drink coffee together. It’s always nice to spend time just being together, no matter what the occasion. But coffee and cake… I’m turning into a German! Oh well, happy Valentine’s Day anyway. Cupcake anyone?

That was the weekend that was…

Thank you all for the lovely comments on my last blog post. We celebrated six years of being together by going for a meal at an Italian restaurant close to my flat. It’s fairly new and we hadn’t been there before, but every time I’ve walked past it was packed. As it was again on Friday night. We arrived at just before 8 o’clock and were told they did have a table for 2 free, but only until 9pm! We had a lovely meal, complete with wine and actually were finished by 9… not bad! Will definitely be going there again, but perhaps with a reservation next time? After the meal we came home and watched the Goonies on DVD. I bought it for myself the other day as a treat, because it was cheap, and Jan had never seen it! Slowly, slowly I am filling in the gaps in his education… I’ve already introduced him to Edward Scissorhands and The Breakfast Club… and now The Goonies. I wonder what other classics he’s missed out on?

Yesterday we drove over towards the Pfälzerwald (Palatinate Forest) and went for a bit of a walk through the trees. There’s still deeo snow up there! Afterwards we drove into Landau, had a bit of a walk around then went to a wine tavern for something to eat. I had pike-perch fillet in a really nice sauce. And a glass of wine of course… what else should one drink in a wine tavern?
We had a lovely day, culminating in a talk about the possibility of actually getting a flat together… but more on that tomorrow, it’s such a mile stone that I think it deserves a whole blog post of it’s very own 🙂

Today I have mostly been working on my dissertation.. or at least attempting to. I have a grand total of 536 words so far, which I may or may not be able to use in the actual dissertation. *sigh* Can someone please remind me why I wanted to do a master’s?

Oh, and I’ve just heard (courtesy of my sister) that a friend of mine back in England has become a father today. He’s actually the son of a family friend and I’ve known hi since I was about 10 years old… rather strange thinking of him having a new born daughter! We are all growing up, alas…

So, that was my weekend. How was yours?