Frog’s legs, football and snow all in one week

You know it’s been too long since your last post when you go to WordPress only to find you’ve been logged out! (I have mine set up to keep me logged in).
In my defence though it has been a busy, busy week.

On Monday it was Jan’s birthday. He turned 30 (causing a friend of mine to say “Wow, you have an old boyfriend” when I told her. She thought he was only a year or two older than me, not 3 and a half). Thirty being a special birthday I obviously wasn’t going to let him ignore it – like he has pretty much every year since I met him! So I started asking him what he wanted to do at the end of January, and finally managed to persuade him to let me take him out for a meal. We went to a slightly more expensive than usual restaurant which we had both seen from the outside but never been in. Actually, the prices were slightly better than I thought they would be, but the total still ended up being over €100. That did include an apertif each, a bottle of wine, starter, soup, two main courses and a dessert though, so not too bad. And we tried frog’s legs. In case you were wondering no, they don’t taste like chicken! They were nice and I wouldn’t object to eating them again but it’s not something I need to do every day.
Jan has decided he’ll be having a proper party once the two of us have found a flat, so there’s still that to look forward to as well. (We are officially looking now… exciting, yes?)

On Tuesday I went out for dinner with a friend. I hadn’t seen her since before Christmas and it was sooo good to meet up. This time we went for a slightly cheaper option – a bar/restaurant type place that mostly students go to. I think it was the first place I ever went for a drink in Karlsruhe, way back in my Erasmus days. That was the same year I met my friend, so we spent some time talking about homw time has flown since then… my year abroad was 2003/2004 and now we’re three months into 2010. Unbelievable!

Wednesday was the day of the long awaited Germany-Argentina match and I was right there in the stadium! A friend of Jan’s got tickets ages ago, and since I had 2 days holiday from last year that had to be taken before the end of March I decided I would go along. Some things just have to be done at least once in a life time. The match was in Munich, so Jan hired a car and we left the house at 7:30 am to drive down there. I still can’t believe I was up that early on my day off! It took us until nearly 12pm to get to Munich (damn traffic! Damn roadworks!) so the first thing we did was go and get something to eat. I had the biggest burger I’ve ever seen! That alone would have been enough for me, but it came served with homemade potato wedges (with the skin left on. Mmmm) and salad. The best thing about it though was that the gherkins and tomatoes had been left on the side of the plate, so I didn’t have to pick them out before I could start eating. It also came with three types of sauce – ketchup, mayonaise and something that may have been mustard (I didn’t try it) all of which came in proper little jars. Excellent! We then went for a wander around town, did a bit of shopping (I got a new coat) took some photos and finally headed for the stadium. Those who watched the match on TV thought it was boring and that Germany were week, but from where I was sitting it was pretty good. Germany at least seemed to try for once (number 24 played excellently!) and I enjoyed myself, despite freezing to death the whole way throguh – the Allianz Arena is completely open and unheatable! Germany lost 1-0, which is a shame, but the goal was so pathetic that they almost deserved it. We left Munich after the match and drove back to Karlsruhe, finally arriving at just after 3 am. I’m very glad I didn’t have to work on Thursday!

Last night we were invitied to a friend’s place for a DVD evening, to celebrate Jan’s birthday. We watched Office Space, which is funny if a little strange in places. By the time we left (at just after 2am) it had started to snow. Not the nice kind of snow either, horrible little flakes that are basically just freezing rain… and all blown about by a nasty cold wind. We missed the tram as well, but luckily our friend has a car so he gave us a lift home. We went straight to bed when we got in, then woke up this morning to find it was still snowing (at least I did, it’s now 1:20 pm and Jan’s still in bed!). Snow in March is unheard of for Karlsruhe, and it’s meant to continue for the rest of the weekend. And there was me thinking Spring was on its way.

That was my week. Very enjoyable, but now it’s time to get back to the boring stuff. Housework and my dissertation are calling…

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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?

… and it still isn’t Christmas

Does anyone else feel like “the season” has been going on forever? The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of buying and wrapping presents, trips to the post office (the last of my parcels to England finally went out last week), parties and Christmas markets. And in between all that I’ve had to do the assessment for my science course (a last minute job which I’m dreading getting the result for), work and keep on top the mundane every day things like cleaning the flat and making sure we have actual food to eat. The upside is that I now have lots to tell my blog. Unfortunately I still don’t have any time, so it’s going to have to be another boring bullet point list. Sorry about that…

  • I want to Mainz last Saturday with my ex-colleagues. I had never been to Mainz before. We went to the Christmas market, where the Glühwein was much cheaper than everywhere else I’ve been. Mainz is a bit of a strange town. It’s really pretty around the market square then you walk into the shopping street and it’s all horrible grey concrete buildings and huge glass monstrosities. The Christmas market was nice though.
  • It’s been snowing here on and off for the past few days. This is worth mentioning because it’s so unusual. Not that Karlsruhe never gets snow, but the little bit that does come is not usually this early. It’s also freezing. Yesterday it was -12°C! I had to go out in it to buy stuff for a Christmas party I hosted last night. It was so bad that I actually got on the tram to go one stop, which I usually think is a waste of time.
  • I had a progress meeting at work last week. There are a few things I’ve been asked to work on, but the verdict was generally positive (and no mention was made of my social skills… or lack thereof. There is something to be learned from this I’m sure…)
  • Last week we went to both my work Christmas meal (at an Italian restaurant) and Jan’s work Christmas party. Mine was more fun, although we missed the last train home and ended up having to wait until 1:06am for a train that would take us to Bruchsal, where we had to change onto an S-Bahn. I also had to work the next day. Tired is not the word…
  • I received a parcel last week, from the lovely Katyboo. It contained a Christmas card and a book – The Children of Green Knowe. Unexpected and very nice – I’ve been wanting to read that book for ages! 🙂
  • On Friday I went to the Christmas market in Mannheim with my colleagues. It was nice but so cold that we only stayed long enough to have something to eat and drink one Glühwein. I was back in Karlsruhe by 9pm!
  • Two more days at work then I’m off for Christmas. We’re staying in Germany this year (at Jan’s dad’s place) then going to Italy to visit his sister for New Year. Exciting stuff.

And now I have to go and do something about my flat, which is still suffering from the after effects of a Christmas party. It may take some time…

Party, Party, Party

I’ve been so busy the last few days. On Thursday it was my birthday (as you all know by now). The boyfriend and I went for a curry, which was delicious, then to the bar in the student residence where I used to live. Jan left at around 3:30am because he was going away for the weekend, but I was there until 8 o’clock on Friday morning. Then on Friday, once I finally managed to drag myself out of bed, I went and bought the ingredients for cheese scones which I then baked for the leaving party I was invited to that night. It was a night time picnic in the park, which was nice. And finally, last night, I was back in the student residence for a birthday party. This time I made cookies and stayed til around 2am. It was all good fun but now I think I’m partied out… at least until Saturday when I shall be hosting my own birthday party….

And the countdown begins

Today my countdown to day 1001 starts. I’m think I’m more excited about that than I am about the fact that it’s my birthday! I’ve already made a practice birthday card in preparation for number 43 (I shall post a picture of it at some point, along with my failed attempts at making origami stars, then we can all have a good laugh). My photography challenge is underway – you might even get to see some of the results once I figure out where to put them – and Jan bought me season 3 of ER for my birthday (I already have seasons 1 and 2) so we can get started on that one pretty soon as well.

Jan and I are going for an Indian meal tonight. We’ve been to the restarant before, so unfortunately nothing for the list, but at least this way I know the food is going to be good. I love curry! And I haven’t had one in months. My mouth is already watering at the thought of it – mmmm! Then, after our meal, we’re going to the bar in my old student residence, so that should be fun. The only thing this birthday is missing is cake!

Post-fun blues

Do you know the book Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield? It used to be one of my favourites as a child. Anyway, at some point in the book one (or possibly two) of the girls is involved in a play and the others get to to go matinees and stuff and have special teas, then when it’s all over the two younger ones get upset because it’s all over and they feel like nothing nice will ever happen again. That’s me at the moment.

So on Friday night I went for that meal with work. The restaurant turned out to be not just pretty posh but incredibly posh. Not quite as expensive as Brenner’s Park Hotel but up definitely up there with the ones that are soo not suitable for a girl like me (I’m common as muck don’t ya know). The food was gorgeous. I had foamed chick pea soup with some mini springroll type things filled with some kind of grilled fish floating in it for my starter. For the main course I ordered Veal “served two ways” (I am translating this from the German). This consisted of one piece of veal tenderloin (perfectly cooked and absolutely gorgeous) and something that tasted to me like canelloni (as in pasta tubes). These were filled with shredded veal. This was served with carrots, pureed parsley (it lloked like bright green mashed potato!) and gravy. Dessert was passion fruit creme roll served with coconut flavoured icecream. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

Last night I cooked lamb for some friends. There ended up being 6 of us (originally it should have been 7 but one ended up being unable to come). I have never roast lamb before so i was very nervous but it turned out really well. The lamb ended up being perfectly cooked. It was well done (because I detest medium meat) but still very tender and not at all dry. The mint sauce went down well, the roast potatoes were perfect – for the first time ever! And I actually managed to get the amounts almost right for a change. There was only just eneough left over for Jan and I to have them for lunch today. It was a brilliant night, full of good food, good wine and good conversation.
And now it’s all over and I just feel blah. Just like the girls in Ballet Shoes who thought nothing nice was ever going to happen to them again. Obviously I know there are things to look forward to and I will have fun nights again in the future, but right now it’s hard to remember that. Especially since all I’ve done today is sort out, wash and hang up laundry and I still haven’t had any more news about flats. So much for February bringing an end to the blues…

Christmas in February

I’m going out in a minute. It’s my work’s Christmas meal. Yes, I am aware that it’s now February – we had planned to have it in December but the day before we were due to go two out of the four of us were off work ill so it seemed like a good idea to cancel it. Now it’s taking place tonight. We’re going to a fairly posh restaurant. At least I think it’s fairly posh – I’ve never actually been before! It’s in Ettlingen, 20 minutes from here on the tram (10 minutes from where I work). Usually I tend to go to restaurants in Karlsruhe – unless I’m pretending to be posh, in which case I go to the Brenner’s Park Hotel in Baden-Baden for a six course meal (actually I’ve only done that once, but it sounded good!)
Normally I’d be quite excited at the prospect of going for a fairly posh meal, but tonight I really just want to go to bed. It hasn’t been a good week on the sleep front. And I’ve been busy, busy, busy at work – regular readers will be aware that I even stayed for an extra half an hour on Tuesday. Sooo tired. Unfortunately the bed thing is not an option, so instead I’m off to brush my teeth and attempt to make my hair look presentable. It’s gone all weird and stringy despite the fact that I washed it this morning. Apparantly it’s time for me to change shampoos again…