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.

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.

At least it’s the weekend…

All week I’ve been wanting to write a nice, positive post to counteract the whines of the two previous ones, but then I came down with this horrible cold thing, which meant I left work early on Wednesday (to be fair I had nothing musch to do anyway) and actually ended up calling in sick yesterday and spending the day in bed. Unheard of for me! The last time I was off work sick was at my previous job, and then I was sent home because I was annoying everyone with my coughing! I stayed home again today as well. I was feeling somewhat better, but not enough to face the journey to work. Luckily we have the option to log on to the server remotely from home, so I sent an email saying I could work, but wasn’t feeling up to coming in. The offer was gratefully accepted… my colleague took yesterday off as well and called in sick again today. Since there are only two of us translating into English you can imagine the chaos that can cause both of us being ill can cause! Luckliy yesterday remained quiet, but the colleague who deals with order management was understandably relieved to have one of us at least able to do a little work from home today!

Jan has been wonderful through this! I was already feeling crappy on Tuesday (but still well enough to go to work) so he got out of bed while I was in the shower and made me an Erkältungstee! That’s tea that’s supposed to help with colds. (Cold tea would be the literal translation but that just sounds weird in English). Usually I have to wake him up to say goodbye when I leave, so him getting up at 6:30 a.m. just to make me a tea was quite frankly amazing! Even more so when he then did the same thing on Wednesday morning! Yes, I do realise how lucky I am (although reading back through my posts you’d probably be hard pushed to believe me). I seem to be on the road to recovery now. I feel less weak and my head’s stopped feeling like it’s been stuffed with cotton wool. Now if only my nose would stop alternating between running and being blocked and I could stop coughing for longer than 5 minutes at a time everything would be perfect! At least it’s the weekend. Two whole days to recover…
And now I’m off to make chilli con carne for tea. Hot food sounds like such a wonderful idea right now!

What’s the time Mister Wolf? Apparantly not dinner time…

I love my boyfriend very much, but there are some things I’m hoping we can sort out rather quickly once we start living together.
Like his weird ideas about time for one…

To me, it is quite clear that some time between six and seven at night, it’s tea time (or dinner time if you prefer. Whatever, time to eat anyway). Given that I have my lunch somewhere between twelve and one, meaning by 6 pm it’s been at least 5 hours since the last time I ate, I’d consider that fairly reasonable. Jan, however, is incapable of being home from work that early (apparantly he’s only productive in the afternoon/evening) so we agreed on a compromise – I would have tea ready by 8 pm, he would either be there to eat it or heat his up later. It was a good system, it was working. Then the deadline for the dissertation started to creep closer. I was told that I should now be using my time after work to work on the dreaded D-word. Note use of the phrase “I was told”… as in this was not my idea. I was not to cook any food. No, Jan would do that when he came in. Oh, and he also promised to get home earlier so that we could actually eat at a reasonable time.  Sounds good, no? And it would be if it worked. Clearly something, somewhere is going wrong though. Because if his plan was actually being put into action as stated we would not have eaten at half past ten last night. And I would not be sitting here now – at ten minutes past nine in the evening – listening to my stomach crying out for food. And this despite the fact that Jan called me at 20 past 7 (almost two hours ago!!!) to say he was just going to pick his laptop up from work, then would do a bit of shopping and come home to cook. If this didn’t happen all the time I’d probably be worried something had happened to him…
Actually, if I wasn’t so hungry I would probably still be worried (even though it happens all the time). Right now, though, all I can think about is whether I’m actually going to get anything to eat tonight.
I think I preferred it when I had to work on my dissertation and do all the cooking…

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?

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

The bringer of tea and toast

We survived our day at Castle Frankenstein. I didn’t catch sight of any Igors and no evil scientists seemed to be hanging around waiting to steal my brain. I did have to act as official interpreter for the civil ceremony with only about 20 minutes to prepare, but I was mostly translating for my family and I managed pretty well (despite the lack of dictionaries). Although I’m still annoyed with myself for forgetting the German word for ‘difficulties’ when translating the groom’s father’s speech into German (such a simple word and I’ve used it a million times…). Luckily the bride was able to help though.

We were both tired last night after getting up so early, so we were in bed by 10:30pm. Jan informs me that he caught a cold yesterday, so he’s still in bed even as I type despite the fact that it’s now 2:30pm. I went in at 1:30 to find out whether he wanted any lunch and he complained of a headache and asked for Erkältungstee (herbal tea for the curing of colds). So I fetched tea, I fetched cheese on toast and earlier I did some washing so that he would have something clean to put on in case he ever does decide to get up. And all that despite the fact that when I was ill he spent the entire week at his flat, leaving me to fend for myself. So much for gender equality…