Positive feedback and the Deutsche Post

Today, I received feedback for a translation I did back in January. When I saw the e-mail, I immediately suspected the worst – this customer has never once had anything nice to say about any of my translations…. until today! The feedback was positive!

Foam Letter S
Photo credit: Leo Reynolds

In other news, nearly two weeks ago I sent a package to my friend in Luxembourg for her birthday… or so I thought. It turns out the box I was reusing still had Jan’s work address on the bottom. Today, it turned up there, despite the fact that a) the date on the sticker was obviously ages ago and b) surely someobody at Deutsche Post should have noticed that the barcode was expired and the package had already been stamped with a postmark in January. Apparantly not. So now Jan has my friend’s birthday present. And what I would also like to know is why it took nearly two weeks for a package to make its way from Karlsruhe city centre to where Jan works, also in Karlsruhe? I could walk the distance in half an hour! It brings a whole new meaning to the term  snail mail…

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I’m sure tiredness is a valid defence in court!

Having only got three hours sleep on Sunday night then being woken up roughly once an hour starting from 2 a.m. (when the boyfriend finally came to bed) by the sound of grinding teeth, It’s safe to say I was fairly tired today. In fact, one might say I was zombified.

Sleepy Kawaii Cube
Sleepy (Photo credit: Jenn & Tony Bot)

It’s a good job I spent most of the day translating for a customer that I’m very familiar with so I could pull something semi-decent out of the hat for them despite spending most of my day sitting at my desk in a kind of daze wishing my head would stop aching (naturally I didn’t havy any painkillers with me!). I think an early night is in order for me tonight – and if my boyfriend doesn’t get himself to the dentists for a new tooth guard soon (he ground his way through the last one!) I won’t be responsible for my actions.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there is a zombie apocalypse coming, you know. But it won’t involve any brain-eating monsters. Instead, you will find a bunch of people like me wandering around causing havoc because we’re not actually quite awake. If you ever read an article about a woman in Karlsruhe chopping up her boyfriend with an axe while in a sleep-deprived haze, that’ll be me! I just hope the judge accepts “He kept me awake all night, and not in a good way!” as a defence!*

*Disclaimer: I do not actually own an axe and have no plans to buy one any time soon.

Thank god for this beautiful view

As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to work from home yesterday to give my colleagues a break from my coughing and myself a chance to recover.

At work, I regularly share a room with one colleague (there is also a spare computer in our room, which is occasionally used by interns and the like, but usually there are two of us). My colleague has the window seat, while I sit by the door. Occasionally I will look away from whatever translation I’m working on to try to give my eyes a break from the computer screen. Naturally, my gaze tends to be drawn towards the window on these occasions but, being so far away, I can’t really see much – just the top of the building next door. Not that I would anything more interesting if my desk was closer to the window. Our office looks out on a concrete courtyard which is usually full of cars. And because our room is almost the last one in our corridor, we tend not to get much sun in either. In fact, at this time of year we need the light on pretty much all day. So, while working from home, it was quite nice to have something else to look at than the various postcards I’ve stuck above my desk at work. Here is what I currently see outside the window when I look over to it from the computer desk in our spare room:

At that point in time, the sky was completely white with clouds, although there had been some blue sky early in the day. But despite the clouds, there is some sun coming from a place I can’t see, causing the trees to light up in all their autumn glory. The desk in our spare room is also at the opposite side of the room from the window, but the trees are tall enough to be seen from over there. And actually, if I was to go over to the window, the view would consist of a road and tram tracks (plus some grass a little further away), so it may, in fact, be a good thing that the desk is so far away from the window. This way, I only get the nice view (plus, if I am working from home, I’m less likely to be distracted by people watching opportunities. Unless someone starts walking along the roof of the building opposite there aren’t really any people to watch!). Despite the fact that my cough was annoying me a lot, I actually managed to gain some pleasure from gazing out at the pretty coloured trees (during my lunch break, obviously. I did get some work done as well 😉 ).

Have I mentioned recently that I love my flat? 🙂

By the way, the title of this blog is a line from possibly my favourite Tina Dico song, A Room With A View. Here’s the YouTube link for you:

Friday letters

Yes, it’s that time of the week again…
When I wrote my first Friday Letters post, I honestly thought it was going to be a one off. But I actually find it a good way to get at least one post in a week without having to put too much thought into it (I may only write my blog for me, but I still hate to neglect it!). And it means I have a sort of record of what I’ve been up to each week. Here are my Friday letters for this week.

Dear cough. I appreciate you allowing my to sleep for a whole five hours in a row last night, but it would be great if, tonight, you could let me fall asleep faster. A whole hour of having to cough every time I was close to drifting off was not fun!

Dear quiz team (who will not actually read this, because they have no idea this blog even exists). I almost didn’t attend on Tuesday thanks to my cold, but I’m glad I did in the end. First place! We rock 🙂

Dear whoever invented remote access and stuff like that. It’s thanks to you that I was able to stay at home today and not annoy all my colleagues by constantly coughing at them, yet was still able to do work (a bonus seeing as a) I didn’t feel ill enough to stay in bed and b) lying down actually made the coughing worse! Being able to work saved me from being bored rigid after the first few hours of being home alone). I am also very grateful to my employer for allowing us to actually use such technology. I know plenty of people who couldn’t work from home simply because they would have no way of accessing their company’s system from there!

Dear Germany. Why do you not sell Lemsip? I only have three sachets left and my next trip home won’t be til March! If anyone in Germany has managed to find a Lemsip/Beecham’s powder equivalent please tell me what it’s called! And all those hot lemon etc. powders from DM and the like don’t count! While they do temporarily sooth my throat, they contain nothing even vaguely medicinal. Is a hot drink containing paracetamol and decongestant really too much to ask, Germany?

Dear trees. You looked so pretty today with the sun shining on. Do you think you could stay like that for another week or two, at least until the Christmas markets arrive to bring some colour into the winter. And while I’m at it, perhaps you could also show your face a little more often, Mr Sun? All the rain this week really hasn’t done anything for my mood (or my cold for that matter!).

OK, that’s it. Sorry most of these are about illness, but coughing, sneezing and copious amounts of tea/hot drinks is pretty much what my entire week has been about…

For more Friday letters (hopefully slightly more cheerful ones than mine!) check out: Photobucket

Friday letters

It’s Friday again! Always a good day in my world, but even better this week because I took the day off to use up some overtime, and because my colleague and I agreed right at the beginning of the year that we would take two each of this year’s four bridge days (yesterday, was a holiday in my part of Germany – for All Saints Day). Here are this week’s Friday letters:

Dear four-day weekend. You have been fun so far. I’m really glad we still have 2 days to spend together.

Dear weather. Thank you for being terrible on Thursday, when we were staying in anyway,  and brightening up today in time for our trip to Schwäbisch Hall.

Dear Schwäbisch Hall. You are pretty. I’m so glad I chose you as the next place to cross off on my list of 30 German towns before 30.

Dear boyfriend. Thank you for making such a supreme effort to come home at a reasonable time each night, and even calling/texting to let me know you’re leaving. I appreciate this more than you know. Also, thank you for driving to Schwäbisch Hall. To get their by train we would have had to change trains at least once (in Crailshaim, journey time 4 hours) and at most six times. SIX! By car it takes 1 hour 36 minutes (in theory). It’s a good job one of us can drive…

Dear sore throat. Please go away. I am invited to a birthday meal tomorrow night and I intend to go.

That’s all folks. Here’s a photo I took in Schwäbisch Hall. A proper post about our day trip will follow, too.

For more Friday letters check out:
Photobucket

Heidelberg

I did not enjoy work at all today. It was between 29 and 33°C all day (roughly between 84 – 91.5 °F if you prefer) and we have no air conditioning. Also, I work upstairs and you could literally feel the air getting hotter with every step you walked up. I was aware that heat rises but unti, I started working here had no idea of the extremes. Also, I ended up working on a financial translation pretty much all day, which is not exactly my favourite type of text at the best of times. And on top of that, a customer had complained about one of my translations while I was off, so I had a lovely e-mail to come back to as well. Cue hot, bored and grumpy Bev. Ugh. But enough about that. I am now going to cheer myself up by reliving my sister’s visit, starting with day one.

So my sister and her boyfriend arrived on Wednesday evening. I went to pick them up from the airport straight after work, then we went to get a train home… which turned out to be 50 minutes delayed. So much for German efficiency… We did, however, arrive home eventually where we immediately opened a few bottles of beer and set about making our evening meal: Chicken enchiladas. Or it may have been turkey. Some kind of bird. Either way, they were delicious.

The next morning (the first of my days off), we were up bright and early for breakfast before heading off to Heidelberg. I’ve been there many times before, but it’s pretty, it has an English shop, which I never have any objections to checking out, and it was one of the places my sister wanted to see, so off we went.

If you ever decide to visit Heidelberg, there are two things you should know:

  1. It is absolutely beautiful
  2. It is incredibly – and I mean incredibly – touristy, to the extent that they actually sell T-shirts with the slogan “I’m not a tourist – I live here”.

The first thing we did on arrival in Heidelberg was go to the English shop, because it’s opposite the train station and I needed proper English gravy and crumpets. Unfortunately, they are currently getting ready to close down for a while for refurbishment and had almost nothing in. I managed to get some gravy granules for chicken (I actually wanted ordinary granules), but there was no self-raising flour, no crumpets… basically no anything. A (the sister’s boyfriend) then went into the Jack Wolfskin store and after much umming and aaahing decided to buy a rain coat, then we finally managed to get round to taking a tram into Heidelberg proper. Our guests requested that we stop for lunch before doing anything else, so we took a walk down the main shopping street on the look out for something suitable. I don’t remember the name of the place we decided to stop, but the entire menu was translated into English (see, touristy!) making it the first and only menu that we didn’t have to translate. Our guest then got to try their first taste of German food (my Enchilidas may have been delicious, but traditional German they were not!). I had Wiener Schnitzel, which is technically Austrian (Wiener = Viennese) and the other three all had a platter of various goodies including potato fritters (which the menu called fried potatoes), Nürnberger sausages and Pfälzer Saumagen (Sow’s stomach – it tastes better than it sounds – honest!). And we all tried a glass of Heidelberger beer. When in Rome and all that… Suitably stuffed we then went off to explore the town and work off some of the food we had just eaten…

We looked at the castle from down below…

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Walked down to the river and took photos of the old bridge…

Heidelberg bridge

Then crossed the river and walked up Schlangenweg (Snake’s Way) to Philosophenweg (Philosopher’s Way). I had never been up there before and Jan chose not to tell us just how looooong the Schlangenweg actually was! I certainly worked off my beer… and then some! Apparantly up on that hill is where the photos for most postcards of Heidelberg are taken, so we took some too:

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Heidelberg

Also, on the way up we spotted an East-German style Ampelmann, which I got slighted excited about.
I think my sister may have thought I’d gone insane, but I don’t care. I took photos anyway 😉 Isn’t he cute in his little hat

Then we took the long walk back down into town and rewarded ourselves with a nice cold beer before taking the train back to Karlsruhe.
The evening was spent meeting friends and eating delicious food at Marktlücke in Karlsruhe, until we were asked to leave because it was 1 a .m. and, it being a week night, they wanted to close.

… and that was day one of our adventures. For the rest, you will have to wait.

Thank you Catholics!

There are quite a lot of public holidays in Germany, certainly more than in Britain, but not all of them are holidays throughout Germany. All the non-religious ones (May Day, which is called Tag der Arbeit – literally Day of Work, i.e. Labour Day, Reunification Day – Germany’s national holiday, etc.) are holidays in the whole country, but for the religious ones it depends on whether the majority of people in your particular Bundesland are Catholic or Protestant. Bavaria, for example, is mostly Catholic and has more Feiertage than any other state in Germany (12). Berlin has the least with 8. And here in Baden-Württemberg, where theCatholic/Protestant ratio is pretty much even, we get 11 – one less than the Bavarians. Which is why I have a lot of lovely short weeks coming up. This Thursday is Christi Himmelfahrt (Ascension Day), one of the few religious holidays that everybody gets, and I’ve taken a bridge day* on Friday so I get a 4 day weekend this week. Fantastic! I then have a full week at work, followed by a three day weekend thanks to Pfingstmontag (Pentecost Monday). Then on Thursday 7 June it’s Fronleichnam (Corpus Christi). That week my colleague gets the bridge day, but I’ve taken the Monday and Tuesday off because I have visitors so I still only have a 2-day working week. Result! The only problem with all these holidays is that you start to miss them when you have to go back to five day working weeks for the three months afterwards (next public holiday after that will be Reunification Day on 3 October). But of course, there are actual holiday (vacation) days to be taken in between. After all, thanks to all the public holidays I’ll still have lots left despite all my three-day weekends! This is one aspect of German life that I will definitely miss if I decide to leave…

Bridge day: A day taken off to bridge the gap when a public holiday falls one day away from a weekend, meaning on a Tuesday or a Thursday. Apparantly this is an official English term – despite that fact that I had never heard of it before moving to Germany. This may have something to do with the fact that Britain sensibly moves most holidays to the Monday immediately after the actual holiday, meaning no arguments about who actually gets to have the bridge day. Everyone gets a long weekend. Some workplaces (only stae-run ones as far as I can tell) actually close on bridge days. My boyfriend’s is one of them but he usually insists on going to work anyway. No, I don’t get that either…