Three Days, Three Quotes Challenge – Day 2

It’s day two of the three quotes challenge, for which I was nominated by the wonderfully hilarious Irish Procrastinator.

A reminder of the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.

2. Post a quote for three consecutive days (1 quote for each day).

3. Nominate three bloggers each day.

Yesterday’s quote was from a book. Today, I decided to go with a song lyric.

Well it seems to me some fine things have been laid upon your table, but you only want the ones that you can't get

 

Sometimes it’s really hard not to spend all your time thinking about the things you want in life while ignoring the fact that things are actually pretty nice the way they are – especially when everybody else seems to have the one thing you want! This serves as a reminder to me to look around once in a while and realise how fortunate I really am.

Also, I just really love that song. In fact, I’m going to include another quote from it. I know the rules say one… but if it’s from the same song it’s like only having one quote – right?

It may be raining, but there's a rainbow above you

Basically every cloud has a silver lining, or every bad situation has some good in it.

Today I nominate:

Elaine

Lyndsay

Ericka

Again, please feel free not to take part if you would prefer not to!

Vienna: The UN and Donauinselfest

Our last day in Vienna also happened to be the first day of the Donauinselfest, Europe’s largest free open-air festival, so obviously we had to go! It didn’t start until the afternoon, so in the morning we decided to go to the United Nations office in Vienna. We took a general tour, which lasts for one hour. Vienna is one of four headquarters of the UN (the others are Geneva, New York and Nairobi). As well as the headquarters, the Vienna centre houses the International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime… and probably some more. Those are the ones our guide went into detail about. Did you know that, as well as stuff to do with nuclear weapons and nuclear power, the IAEA also does things like advising  countries on the disposal of old X-ray equipment? Me neither! Here are some photos I took during the tour:

Once the tour was done, we headed to the island. There wasn’t much going on yet, but I got an ice cream from one of the stands and we watched some of the performers on the smaller stages. As it got closer to the time that official events would actually be happening, we started walking towards the large Ö3 stage, stopping on the way for food. I had some potato spirals… literally a potato cut into a spiral and fried, then covered in salt! In Germany, they’re usually served on a wooden stick but these ones were in a bag.

The first act we saw had apparantly won the right to perform in a competition. I can’t remember whether they were from Vienna, but all the band members were pretty young… like around 16-18. They weren’t bad though. Next came the official opening act… somebody called Thomas David. Apparantly, if we were Austrian (or at least lived in Austria) we would have heard of this guy. The announcer informed us that he’d been all over the radio over the previous few months. Not being Austrian (or having access to Austrian radio), we had never heard of him. He actually turned out to be good, though, and will be looking out for him in the future.

Thomas David was followed by Revolverheld, a band from Hamburg who I had heard of but never seen. (Apparantly they’ve played Das Fest in Karlsruhe before, but that must have been before I came to Germany). I didn’t recognise any of their songs, but every single other member of the audience seemed to be singing along… including Jan! Never mind, I enjoyed their set anyway. After Revolverheld came Nico and Vinz, a hip hop duo from Norway. Neither of us is into hip hop, so at that point we headed off to get some food, and found a stall selling baked potatoes. For the record, it’s hard to eat baked potatoes when you’re armed with only a plastic fork!

Revolverheld
Revolverheld

Once we’d eaten and been for a bit of a walk around, we headed back towards the stage for the act that I had actually wanted to see… Milow! Some people will be familiar with his cover of Ayo Technology (originally 50 Cent featuring Justin Timberlake), others may know him from the song You Don’t Know (people in mainland Europe that is… I have no idea whether he’s even known in the UK?). I actually like Milow, and enjoyed seeing him live.

The final act of the evening was Rea Garvey, but since neither of us was particular interested in him (I think I’ve heard maybe two of his songs…) and we still needed to pack ready to leave the next day, we decided to head back to the hotel after seeing Milow. As we were leaving, hundreds of people were still arriving… apparantly every teenager in Vienna wanted to see Rea Garvey!

A huge free concert was a great way to end our time in Vienna… but I’m still disappointed that we weren’t able to stay until Sunday, when Conchita Wurst was appearing as a special guest. I would have loved to experience her live!

~ I am counting Vienna (and Bratislava) as my June 2014 trip for the Take 12 Trips challenge ~

Pearl Jam in Vienna

I don’t normally write reviews of concerts I go to because I’m even worse at that then I am at reviewing books! But a few people have expressed interest so here goes…

I actually bought the tickets for Jan as an anniversary present. I like Pearl Jam well enough, but he’s the one that owns several of their albums! So when I received an email saying they were coming to Berlin, I had to try and get tickets. Of course, the day they went on sale ended up being a day where I was travelling back from somewhere, and by the time I got online the venue had sold out. It wasn’t until the next day that I thought to check whether they were playing anywhere else in Germany. They weren’t, but Vienna was on the list and, amazingly, there were still tickets available. I chose the best seats that I could still get (standing tickets were obviously long gone!), but as I’m sure you can imagine, they weren’t exactly the best seats… (Although I have to admit I was actually glad we were sitting! It was so hot in there that I just know if I’d been in the crush at the front of the stage I would have fainted before the end of the first song and ruined the whole night!).

The sound wasn’t brilliant where we were, but halfway through the gig Eddie Vedder paused to say that when they were doing the sound check, he seriously thought the sound guy was screwed! Apparantly, the Wiener Stadthalle had the second worst sound of any venue the band has played ever. So maybe it wasn’t much better down in front? Although he did say that the sound was much better now the hall was full.

Despite the less than amazing sound, it was a really good concert. The music went on for about 3 hours with barely a pause and every member of the band played excellently. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t been so hot (partly as a result of sunburn!) and we’d had better seats, but neither of things are Pearl Jam’s fault! Based purely on the band’s performance, it was an amazing gig and well worth taking the trip to Vienna for!

My life in music

I stole this idea from The Laughing Housewife, whose version you can see here.

Put together a musical playlist of songs that describe your life, including what you hope your future entails.

I was born in 1983, precisely 18 days after my mum turned 20 (product of a teen pregnancy. Shock, horror!)

My dad and later my step dad were both in the army, so the family moved around a lot. I got used to always being the new kid.

When I was 12, my step mum died. She was only 29 years old – the same age I am now!

A year later, I moved up North to live with my dad.

For university, I went to Nottingham (half way between my parents at the time!) to study German and International Relations. My degree included a year abroad. I came to Karlsruhe – the first time I’d left the country by myself!

After a turbulent three month relationship with an American (who I’m still friends with – he’s now married with his second kid on the way), I started a relationship with Jan. Six months later, he went of to the US while I returned to England to finish my degree.

After nearly two years of long distance relationship (after graduating I moved to Austria for 10 months), I moved back to Germany to finally be with Jan. I had been a language assistant in Austria and loved it. In Germany, it was hell and a major part of why I decided becoming a teacher was not for me! So I signed up for a Master’s in Translation instead.

While I was studying for my Master’s (online), I did an internship at a translation company, then got a job as a translator, which ended after 10 months for economic reasons, before ending up at the translation company where I work now just over three years ago.

And my hope for the future?

(Apologies if any of the music doesn’t work – for some reason the sound isn’t working on this computer).

A surprise and a concert

Hello!
Did you all have a good weekend? I did, but it was very busy, which meant I spent most of today trying not to fall asleep at work and wishing I could just go home already.

We had tickets to a concert on Saturday evening, after which a friend was planning on staying over, and Jan had been telling me all week to keep the afternoon free because there was something he really, really wanted to show me at the Natural History Museum, which was having an open day. The thing at the museum (at this point I had no idea what it was!) was starting at 4 p.m. and the concert was at 8, so I thought I had better prepare some food before hand in case there wasn’t time for cooking in between the museum and the concert. I decided to make a Couscous herb and fruit salad from the BBC food website which I’ve done twice before and was a hit both time. And I bought some chicken breasts for us to quickly cook and season to go with them.

I finished preparing the salad at 3 o’clock and my friend’s tram arrived at 3:07. Perfect timing! The three of then had a cup of tea together before heading off the the Naturkundemuseum where we found…. hedgehogs! To be specific, a presentation on hedgehogs which was followed by the listeners getting to stroke the hedgehogs that had come to visit. They were so cute! One of them was just born in August. He’s still a baby… awww! And no, I didn’t get prickled (as someone on Facebook asked me). So, that was my surprise… and now I really want a hedgehog! Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a photo of any of the hedgehogs (the one I was closest to was being held against a woman’s breast… somehow I don’t think she would have appreciated me whipping a camera out!), so here’s one from the Internet instead. I do love their little faces 😀

A young Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus). Espera...
A young Hedgehog (Erinaceus europaeus).(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After the museum, it was off back to my flat for food, then we had to head to Europahalle for the concert. We went to see the Wise Guys, who are a German a capella group who do some serious but mostly funny songs. In German, unfortunately, so most of you won’t understand but here is one for the German speakers amongst you. It’s called Denglisch, and is about how English (and pseduo-English!) expressions are taking over the German language.

I hope it works ok. This computer doesn’t actually have any sound at the moment…

My ex-colleague had come from Luxembourg for the concert (it was actually her that suggested Jan and I go too, seeing as we live in Karlsruhe!) and it was lovely to see her. The concert was really good as well – the Wise Guys are very talented and the songs were pretty funny. I didn’t understand everything, of course, but enough to have a good time.

On Sunday morning we met up with my ex-colleague and her friends again for breakfast – which involved me getting up at 7:30 a.m! Suddenly today’s tiredness doesn’t seem so surprising. We went to a place called Cafe Palaver, which is fabulous. The food is always really good and reasonably priced as well, for example 2 croissants with butter and a little pot of jam costs €4. Highly recommended if you’re ever in Karlsruhe!

After breakfast, the rest of the group had to head for the train station so Jan and I decided to go to the zoo (we have annual passes). We knew the snow leopards had had babies a few months ago, so we were looking forward to seeing the kittens (I think that’s what baby snow leopards are…), but we also discovered another new addition to the zoo. I want to visit the meerkats, because I think they’re great, and two enclosures down we discovered these guys:

Otters! They were so playful and kept looking up at the people watching them and squeaking, almost as if they were trying to communicate. They were probably saying “go away and let us play in peace!”. We then had an hour at home before K came over and we headed off to Mosbach to see another friend perform with her choir, but I’ll write about that in a separate post I think. I have photos to show you of the town (it’s very pretty!) and this post is already long enough…

Tina Dico 2012

As I mentioned in Friday’s blog post, Jan and I went with some friends to see Tina Dico on Saturday. We went last year as wel and loved it, so as soon as I heard she was coming back to Karlsruhe this year I knew I had to have tickets, and she did not disappoint. Last year she had just one person with her, Helgi Jonsson (from Iceland). This year there was an entire band, which included Helgi on keyboard, trombone and harmonies. But she also performed some songs alone and one or two with just Helgi. And both the songs I had requested on Facebook were played, although I have no way of knowing whether she even saw my comment. She did ASK for requests for her Germany tour though, so I thought I might as well get mine in there. (In case anyone was wondering, I asked for One and Room With a View – the latter she actually played as a second encore, apparantly the first time she’s come out a second time throughout the entire tour. Or so she said). It was a great night and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

For those of you who don’t know who Tina Dico is, here’s a song for you. Enjoy!

Friday letters

I spotted this over on Moose Noose and thought I would join in this week.

Dear senders of packages. PLEASE do not use Hermes! They don’t turn up when they say they’re going to, regularly fail to ring the doorbell when they do turn up and the opening hours of their so-called “packet shop” (in a dry cleaners) are even worse than the post office!

Dear Friday. You have no idea how pleased I am to see you! It’s been a looong week. But on the plus side, I have managed to amass some more overtime, which means a day off is definitely in my future.

Dear weather. I’m loving the fact that you’ve decided to warm up again. Now if you could manage to stay like that all weekend that would be amazing!

Dear boyfriend. Thank you sooo much for suggestiong we order pizza for tea rather than me cooking something. Junk food is exactly what I need after this week.

Dear Tina Dico. It’s been almost a year now since I read that you were coming back to Karlsruhe in 2012 and around 5 months since I bought our tickets. Tomorrow it’s time for the concert. I can’t wait! And I really hope you sing One, because I love that song.

That’s it from me. You can read more letters here:

Photobucket

Must watch video!

I disappeared for a while. Did anyone notice I wonder? I was planning on posting about the rest of my sister’s visit, but then I got busy. And after that I turned 29 (ugh, ugh, ugh!) and went to Stockholm for a week. We just got back on Tuesday evening. I still plan on writing about the remainder of my sister’s visit, plus my trip to Stockholm plus an idea I’ve had about visiting 30 German towns before I turn 30, but right now I have no time. I did want to share this video with you though. We saw this Slovenian Jazz choir last week in Stockholm. In this video they are performing Africa and I LOVE the way they do the tunderstorm hat the beginning! The singing was actually better when we saw them – but the video is from 2008 so I guess they’ve had time to practice 😉 But anyway, try to ignore that and concentrate on the absolute genius that is the storm. Enjoy!

Back to reality with a bump

After 3 and a half days spent with my boyfriend, during which we drank a bottle of wine while reading out random facts to each other from books of useless information, purchased a new plant (and soil to repot one of the old ones), attended a mini music festival in celebration of a local music shop’s 30th anniversary and watched Chelsea beat Bayern on penalties in the Champions League (allowing me to laugh at Bayern), my four-day weekend is now over, Jan has gone away to a trade fair and the washing machine decided to leak all over the kitchen floor. I think it’s fairly safe to say reality has kicked back in. All I want to do now is sleeep – ready to be up for work at 6 a.m. tomorrow. Which is why I’m keeping this blog post short. Good night world! I’m off to try and sleep in my big empty double bed all by myself. I suppose it’s good practice for January, when it’s looking more and more likely that I will be alone…

Little snippets

We have been doing stuff recently, but not enough to make up a whole blog post. Nevertheless, I promised to post more this year, so here are some little snippets from my life for you.

First of all, to the person who found my blog yesterday by searching for the term “German shopping blog”… sorry, but you’ve definitely come to the wrong place. Can you imagine anything further removed from my ramblings than a shopping blog? 😀 And now to the snippets…

Yesterday we came third in the pub quiz. At the last one, three weeks ago, we were first. Go us! The team that usually come first did really badly last time and left before the results were announced, knowing they weren’t getting a prize anyway. Talk about sore losers! This time they came second and didn’t seem happy about it at all. I would never have thought someone could pull such a long face after winning a round of drinks!

Jan’s dad turned 60 last Thursday, so at the weekend we headed up to Lower Saxony for his birthday party. It was a bit weird at first seeing as I barely knew anybody (only the 3 or 4 family members who were there), and Jan kept going off to talk to family friends he hadn’t seen in years, but I ended up having a great conversation with his dad’s neighbour, so that was nice. Also, Jan’s cousin brought her daughter along, who is almost one and who we had only seen in photos until now. She’s incredibly cute and was so well behaved! Even when she was getting tired there was no major tantrum – she just cried briefly, then as soon as she was in the sling on her mother’s front she went to sleep. If I ever have children, I hope they’re just as lovely.

At the end of April, Jan and I went to Ettlingen (next town over) to se some English folk music. A duo called Broom Bezzums was playing, who we had seen by complete coincidence in Ludwigshafen a couple of years ago. One of them is from the same area of England as I am, so it was nice to have a bit of a chat with him when he was signing my CD during the interval. They were followed by a second act – an Irish group called Beoga – who I didn’t enjoy as much (they were good musicians, but after a while everything started to sound the same), but we were only there for Broom Bezzums really so that was okay. The second act was just an added bonus.

On 1 May (which was a public holiday in Germany) I met up with some colleagues to go to a performance by the University of Mannheim’s English Theatre. They put on Black Comedy, which was hilarious and very well acted (in my opinion). We also went to Heidelberg to see the King’s Singers in April  (apparantly the best A Capella choir in the world – says the boyfriend who is into that kind of thing and who I bought the tickets for as an anniversary present) so I’ve been very cultural recently. And I bet you’re all really impressed 😉

And just generally, life is good at the moment. Jan and I are getting on really well and have been enjoying spending time together just doing nothing (almost unheard of for Jan – he usually wants to watch a film, play Scrabble, read a book… anything but just sit and have a cup of tea and not have to be involved in any other activity). And I’ve been able to (almost) stop worrying about doing/saying the wrong thing and causing an argument. Strangely, knowing that our relationship could be over by January has made me less afraid that it could end suddenly the minute I do something Jan doesn’t like. I’m sure a psychologist would be able to give me a really good explanation for that, but honestly I’d prefer not to go there. I’m just enjoying being happy while it lasts.