Six years

The boyfriend and I have been together for six years today.

We met in 2003, when I was in Germany for the year abroad that I had to do as part of my degree. At the time I was with someone else, but that ended in January of 2006. 10 days later, Jan and I got together. After six months, when we were just starting to get beyond that honeymoon stage and settle down into a “proper” relationship, I had to go back to England to finish my degree while Jan went off to America for a year. Neither of us was sure about the whole long distance thing, but neither of us wanted to end things either, so we agreed to try. I visited him once, for a week over new Year. Other than that we didn’t see each other for a whole year. And phone calls to America were expensive. Somehow we kept our relationship alive via texts, MSn messenger and the (very) occasional phone call. Then Jan came back to Germany to finish his degree and I moved to Vorarlberg in Austria to be a British Council language assistant. Closer, but still long distance. For 10 months, we survived on weekly phone calls and an average of one visit a month. Then, in November 2005, I received a letter from British Council telling me I could stay on as alanguage assistant for a second year. I decided to do it, but instead of sticking with the schools I was in I applied for a transfer to Germany. I put down Baden-Württemberg as my first choice, with a specific request for Karlsruhe in the comments section. In March 2006 I got the news that I had been assigned to Baden-Württemberg. In mid-June I had leftAustria and was  staying with Jan for a while when I was given the exact location of my school… a small village in Pfinztal. We looked it up on Google maps and found that it wasonly a 45 minute tram journey from Karlsruhe! the next step was to go and see the head of the student residence Jan was still living in at the time and ask whether I could have a room. Mr. Z asked me how much I would be earning, then told me he would arrange something. I was in! A few weeks later, I returned to England for a few months to see the family then, on 1st September 2006, I officially moved to Germany. No more long-distance relationship.
3 and a bit years later, here we are, still together. And we’ve finally reached the point where I can say we’ve been in the same country for longer than we spent apart. I know I wouldn’t have been able to put up with me for six years, even if two of them were long distance, so I’ve no idea how Jan does it. But I’m very glad he does.

Happy six years sweetheart! ♥

I wish it were simple but we give up easily*

long-distance-relationshipJan and I will have been together six years next month. Six whole years! I was practically still a kid when we got together. In those six years we’ve gone from being “in a relationship” to “in a long distance relationship” and then back to where we started. While every other relationship I was aware of has either moved on or ended we seem to have come to a complete standstill. Of course there have been changes in both of our lives, but they seem to have only happened to us as individuals, at different times as if we were two entirely separate entities who just happen to know one another (well, obviously we are two separate entities but you’d think there would be some mutual stuff in a relationship as well, right?)

So while all my friends are moving in together, buying houses, getting engaged, exchanging vows and having babies the two of us have moved out of our student residence and got our first flats separately, attended engagement parties and weddings as “boyfriend and girlfriend” (in what seems to me is the same sense of boyfriend and girlfriend that is uttered by 15 year olds) and bought dozens of gifts for other people’s children.

It’s not like I even want to get married and have babies at this stage in my life. I don’t even particularly want to get engaged yet. But it would be nice to feel like some day it might be my turn. What I would like is for us to get a flat together. I mean, I adore my flat, it’s the first place I’ve ever lived that was truly mine and it really is a nice place but only being able to have my boyfriend with my for some of the time… well, it gets a little lonely sometimes. I want to be able to wake up beside him every day (not just when he happens to be staying at mine). I want to know I’ll see him in the evening without having to ask. I want a bed that’s not mine, but ours. Is that really too much to ask?

quarto-desarrumado
Would he want to live with me if I cleaned up more often? (Photo: nanquimvirtual)

Sometimes I’ll find myself trying to work out reasons why he might not want to live with me, despite the fact that he tells me he dosn’t even know why. But it’s as if I need to have a cause so I can start trying to fix it. A while ago I got the idea into my head that once I had a proper job he would want to stay with me. Except then I found a proper job, moved into a flat (by myself), lost my proper job again and found a new one… and I’m still living alone. Now I occasionally think that maybe once I’ve got through my probation period things might start to happen. Then there was the time that I decided I needed to give him a reason to come home to me every night, so I started making sure tea was ready when he came home and he always had something clean to wear. He tells me he likes cooking with me though, so I guess that one’s backfired. A recurring theme (and something that I guess is always is that back of my mind) is thinking that he doesn’t want to live with me because he’s seen the state that my flat gets into, so every few months I’ll make a vow to myself to keep on top of the housework. Unfortunately, as I keep telling you (I am the proverbial stuck record!) my housewifely skills leave much to be desired. So I’ll clean and tidy the entire flat once and manage to wash the dishes immediately after we eat for maybe three days in a row, but then I get bored and the thought of the dishes waiting for me in the kitchen just makes me want to cry, and so I stop and once again Jan has to come home to a messy kitchen once again.

In my more logical moments I realise that whether he wants to live with me or not doesn’t depend on my job or my cooking or how tidy I am, but my logical moments are few and far between. Before long the crazy catches up with me again and I start obsessively cleaning the kitchen and dreaming up new and interesting dishes to win over my man’s heart (because we all know the way to that is through the stomach). And so it goes on, over and over again.

Sigh I know nobody said relationships were easy, but I wish someone had warned me it would be this hard…

*Title blatantly stolen from the song The Other Side of the World by KT Tunstall

Resolution Recap

It’s almost June already. How the heck did that happen? Surely it was only just January?
Anyway… since we are now nearing the sixth month of the year I thought it would be a good idea to dig out my new year’s resolutions and let you all know how I’m doing with them. Goodness knows why I though this was a good idea… perhaps I just like torturing myself?

Soo, resolution number 1 was to try and improve my relationship… to be a better girlfriend and try to make my boyfriend happy (God, remind me why I chose to make the hardest one number one?). I also said that I was going to give it a year, and if my relationship still wasn’t going anywhere I would leave – walk away and let Jan figure out exactly what it is he wants. Much as I would hate to do that, at the time it seemed like the most sensible solution.
Well… if this were a school report the verdict on that one would be “could try harder”. I have managed to be a little nicer… at least intermittently. And as long as I have access to the internet we seem to be arguing less. We’ve also managed to have the occasional talk about things without Jan either going silent or changing the subject and me either crying or shouting, neither of which has the desired effect. OK, so we’ve only managed that about twice, but that’s still two more times than zero. And I still have the rest of the year to work on this…

Number 2 was to become better at work. This mostly involved becoming more emotionally intelligent, less socially incompetent and a good project manager.
The least said on this one the better (mostly because I don’t like to say too much about work on here just in case). I do still have a job though, which is something. And I seem to have got better at pretending not to be utterly terrified when phoning customers. Now I suppose I just have to work on not being utterly terrified.

Number 3. Stop procrastinating. Don’t leave university assignments til the last minute. Actually do the reading that’s set for each week.
I have now actually handed in the assignments for my last two modules, so this one isn’t relevant any more (unless I fail text lingusitics, in which case it will become horribly relevant again soon). But with those two assignments I did exactly what I told myself I wasn’t going to do… left them til the last minute, rushed to buy some books in a complete panic and just about managed to get them finished in time for the hand in date. I think we can write that one off as a big fat FAIL! And next year is thesis time. I already have my suspicions about how that’s going to turn out…

The fourth and final resolution was to get out more and meet up with actual rela live people instead of socialising entirely through my blog and facebook.
I don’t think I really need to tell you how this one is going. I mean, you lot read my blog, right? How many times have you seen me mention a night out or a meeting with friends? My point exactly… (Although I did meet up with a friend on Friday night. She moved to the Netherlands 5 months ago and I hadn’t seen her since so of course I made the effort. And I went to the Maifest at my old student residence. But other than that not much socialising going on over here… especially since my flat became connected to the internet).

Well, that’s the lot. Now you tell me how you’ve been getting on with your resolutions. Only if you’ve failed miserably though… you wouldn’t want to depress me now, would you? 😉

Other people’s children

After yesterday’s epically long blog post (sorry about that!) I shall try to make this one a little shorter…

So, I went into the kitchen yesterday to make a cup of tea and ended up staying there for over an hour.  Two people who used to live here were there with their 4 month old daughter. The baby was asleep when I came in, but after a while she woke up and I got to meet her.
It was great to see the three of them. C&K seem really happy and the baby is gorgeous – she has the most beautiful blue eyes (I know babies are born with blue eyes but I think hers will stay blue now). I’m really pleased for them – but at the same time I couldn’t help but feel just a teeny bit jealous. Not that I want a baby now, or even any time soon (oh God, please no! I will murder anyone that even suggests it (watch out Grandma!)). But… I do want children at some point, and preferably while I’m still young enough to enjoy them (and while my remaining Grandparents are still alive – my dad’s mum is desperate to be a Great-Grandma. Desperate I tell you!) I also want to a) move in with someone, b) get engaged and c) get married at some point in the future. But right now I honestly can’t see any of those things happening. I have a boyfriend who would rather live with someone he was never even all that friendly with (they are part of the same circle of friends but what they had before getting a flat together was more of a business relationship) because “he doesn’t know what he wants”. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but surely if he doesn’t know what he wants then what he has can’t be it. Because once you’ve found what you want you know it. And I know I’m difficult (I sure as hell wouldn’t want to put up with me!), but I do try. And I love him. Surely that must count for something? So yeah, I promised to try for another year (Remember my resolutions?). And after that? Who knows. Maybe it’s about time I started getting over my hatred of cats…

I also went out yesterday afternoon and bought a birthday card for my friend’s son who is one soon. Then I came home and wrapped up the presents I’ve bought for him, ready to send them to England next week. Yup, yesterday really was all about other people’s children.

Oh yes, and I bought myself a Valentine’s present yesterday as well. See, I’m perfectly capable of celebrating love day all on my own 😉

I wouldn’t thank you for a Valentine…

For the third day in a row I woke up to find snow on the ground. It’ll probably be gone by this evening though if the last two days are anything to go by. It seems we have shy snow here in Karlsruhe – it will only fall when no-one’s around to see it.

So apparantly it’s Valentine’s Day today. So the internet keeps reminding me. Facebook, Amazon, even Hotmail. Yep, 14th February and the flowers the boy got me for our “anniversary” are completely dead – I’ll be throwing them out as soon as I get dressed (have to take them outside you see). I wonder if that’s symbolic?

♥ ♥ ♥

I’m never sure what to think about Valentine’s Day. On the one hand it is nice that there’s a day for couples all over the world (or at least those parts of the world where people believe in it) to celebrate their love for one another. Or for shy people to finally tell the person they’ve been lusting after how they feel… anonymously of course, for that is the real point of Valentine’s Day, is it not? Buuuut, on the other hand… all those who despise the day as just another way for the shops to make money are right as well. I don’t know how it was years ago, but these days it really is horribly commercial. And as for most of the gifts the shops have on offer? I’d probably break up with anyone who dared present me with them! However, most years the boyfriend and I do celebrate Valentine’s Day. At least we have on the years we’ve actually been in the same country. We don’t do much, after all it is not even two weeks after our “anniversary” (is there really no other word I can use for the day we got together?!). But we do do something – usually just a slightly nicer meal than usual and I get a box of chocolates. (He gets whatever I felt like buying at the time. Last year it was a magnet with a quote from “The Little Prince”. This year he’s getting the Cookie Sutra because I found it hilarious! (The one he’s getting has a nicer cover than the one I linked to). The meal together won’t be happening though – he went away on Wednesday, first to Düsseldorf to watch Germany play football (apparantly it was a boring game but a great atmosphere) and then to Minden for work. And since he’s up at that end of the country anyway he’s coming back to Karlsruhe via his parents and won’t be home until Monday night.

♥ ♥ ♥

Anyway, in honour of the day of St. Valentine I thought I’d post my favourite poem (and probably break several million copyright laws in the process. (Please nobody sue me – I’ll take it down if you ask!))
Now, I always thought this poem was by Carol Ann Duffy (I swear that’s what it said in our GCSE anthology which is where I first saw it!) but the one copy I found online claims it’s by Liz Lochhead. Either way it’s brilliant and expresses exactly how I feel about this day.  Here’s the poem…

I Wouldn’t Thank You for a Valentine

I wouldn’t thank you for a Valentine
I won’t wake up early wondering if the postman’s been.
Should 10 red-padded satin hearts arrive with sticky sickly saccharine
Sentiments in very vulgar verses I wouldn’t wonder if you meant them.
Two dozen anonymous Interflora red roses?
I’d not bother to swither over who sent them!
I wouldn’t thank you for a Valentine.

Scrawl SWALK across the envelope
I’d just say ‘ Same Auld story
I canny be bothered deciphering it –
I’m up to hear with Amore!
The whole Valentine’s Day Thing is trivial and commercial,
A cue for unleashing clichés and candyheart motifs to which I personally am not partial.’
Take more than singing Telegrams, or pints of Chanel Five, or sweets,
To get me ordering oysters or ironing my black satin sheets.
I wouldn’t thank you for a Valentine

If you sent me a solitaire and promises solemn,
Took out an ad in the Guardian Personal Column
Saying something very soppy such as ‘Who Loves Ya, Poo?
I’ll tell you, I do, Fozzy bear, that’s who!’
You’d entirely fail to charm me, in fact I’d detest it
I wouldn’t be eighteen again for anything, I’m glad I’m past it.
I wouldn’t thank you for a Valentine

If you sent me a single orchid, or a pair of Janet Reger’s in a heart-shaped box and declared your Love Eternal
I’d say I’d rather not be caught dead in them they were politically suspect and I’d rather something thermal.
If you hired a plane and blazed our love in a banner across the skies;
If you bought me something flimsy in a flatteringly wrong size;

If you sent me a postcard with three Xs and told me how you felt
I wouldn’t thank you, I’d melt.

And that… those last two lines… expresses everything I feel so much better than I ever could.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

Half a decade

The boyfriend and I have been together 5 years today. Five whole years. I can hardly believe it!  OK, it might not sound like much to some of you, but to me it’s ages. It’s a fifth of my life you know. And we have now reached the point in our relationship where we’ve actually spent more time living in the same country than separate ones. Only just mind, but it’s a start.
So in honour of our ‘anniversary’ (I always feel a bit odd calling it that… I mean, it’s not like we’re married. But I know of no other word) Jan had flowers delivered to me at work today. Madness! I wasn’t sure whether to be incredibly embarrassed or ridiculously pleased, so I settled for grinning like a maniac while blushing the deepest shate of red imaginable. The flowers then spent the rest of the afternoon sitting in a tupperware tub (we had no other containers) before being dragged all the way home on the tram with me. Poor things! Currently they are sitting on my desk in a glass salad bowl full of water, which is slightly better but still no vase (I do not own one ok!) I must say they’re rather nice. There are 5 red roses – one for each year – then some other red flowers, some white flowers, some greenery… I think maybe it would be best to just uplaod one of the crap pictures I took of them for posterity…

For those that are interesting in the flat situation it looks like I may be in with a chance of getting the last one after all, but that’s a topic for another blog post. Today’s is dedicated to my one and only boyfriend and a bunch of flowers.
It’s on days like these that I believe we are in with a chance of making it after all.

And in case anyone was wondering, yes I did use half a decade in the title to make it sound like even longer than it really is. You totally would have too, I know it! 😉

Weekend

What have I done this weekend?

* slept late
* met a friend for coffee and crepes (we discovered a yummy crepes place in Karlsruhe – actually I already knew it was there but didn’t know it was yummy)
* went to see Wall E with the boyfriend. I really enjoyed it. Basically a typical animated pixar film, but still good, and does make you think in a way (what would happen if we really did cover the Earth in so much rubbish it became unable to sustain life?)
* had a random conversation with the boyfriend about commitment or lack thereof and how unfair it is that he makes me happy way more often than I make him happy, and why does he stay with me anyway when I rarely make him happy and clearly am not what he wants, although actually he doesn’t know what he wants, except that he doesn’t want to commit to me, but maybe I could be want he wants if only I wasn’t so sarcastic/childish/pessimistic/obsessive/socially inept/generally a crap girlfriend. (Could that just have been the longest sentence ever?)

So that’s me. Did you all have good weekends?

I’m going to do some uni work now. But not until after I’ve written a letter to a friend. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t find some way to procrastinate.