Maybe I AM a cliché after all…

A few years ago I joined a group on Facebook called “British Forces Brats”. Somebody has posted one of those “You know you are…. when” lists on there. I’m sure you all know the type… “You know you’re a student when”, “You know you’re German when”, “You know you’re a child of the 80s when”… that kind of thing. This particular list was “You know you’re a forces brat when…”. I thought the list was pretty accurate until I got to an item that read something like “You get restless if you have to live in the same place for more a few years”. Naaah, I thought. That one’s not me. I’ve been in Karlsruhe for a while now and I’m not thinking of moving any time soon. If anything, I’m glad not to have to pack everything up again for a while! I was forgetting though, that despite living in the same town for a while (5 and a half years now – the longest I’ve lived in any place in one stretch ever is six years!), at that point I had just started my fourth job since moving back here in 2006. I’ve now been in that job for 2 and a half years, and although I still love it, recently getting up at 6 a.m. to get ready for the day has been getting harder. I’ve actually got into the habit of setting my alarm for about 20 minutes before I need to get up because it takes that many snoozes for me to drag myself out of bed! Here we go again, I think as I’m leaving the house each day. Same old same old. I wish I could do something new for a change! (It doesn’t help that most of my translations are for the same 3 or 4 customers and mostly involve the same technical or IT-related topics – the interesting stuff which involves some degree of creativity tends to go to my colleague, who is a better translator than me – at least in terms of style and the number of mistakes made). Maybe it isn’t living in one place for a while that causes forces brats to get so restless, but seeing or doing the same thing day in, day out for weeks, months or even years. Most people need a break from routine once in a while, but perhaps it’s more extreme in those who are used to only being in one place for 5 years at the most. In which case, I guess that item on the list does apply to me after all…

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Back to reality?

We are more than halfway through the fourth week of the new year and I still seem to be struggling to switch my brain back to reality mode. I have, of course, been going to work and have got every one of the translations that’s been planned in for me done (I have no choice -there are deadlines. And customers are generally not that understanding when it comes to extending them) but my heart is only half in it. My jobs are technically fine – spell checked, proofread and correctly translated. But I know I could put more effort into them, concentrate harder and get more done in less time, if only I could get myself motivated. Instead, half of my mind constantly seems to be somewhere else. I spend the mornings thinking about the book I was reading on the train, and would have liked to read more of before arriving at work (the train ride home seems sooo far away when I’m wondering what’s going to happen next!) or wondering whether a good friend has head her baby yet (she’s not actually due for another week and a half, but it could happen any time now). And by the time afternoon rolls around, I’m starting to get sleepy and find myself picturing my bed after every project I complete. 23 days after returning from my last holiday it seems I could use another one!

Why I could never go freelance

My replacement BahnCard arrived on Friday, so yesterday I was actually able to take the train to work as normal instead of working from home, as I had been for most of last week. I was actually quite pleased to get back – despite the advantages of working from my own home (one of them being the opportunity to sleep for a whole extra hour but still start working earlier than I usually would. Lie ins. Bliss!). Sitting at home, all alone, just isn’t the same as being surrounded by colleagues. Admittedly the person I share an ofice with is on holiday this week, but I still have people popping in to ask me for help with a particularly badly written English text, and of course there’s always the tea breaks. A tea break all alone in your own kitchen seems pretty pointless to be perfectly honest. And after spending all of Thursday and most of Friday at home, by the time I signed off from work’s system I was suffering from cabin fever! in fact, I phoned Jan and asked him if he would meet me for food somewhere because I just had to get out of our flat! If I ever did go freelance I would definitely have to rent an office somewhere that I could go to at the beginning of each day and escape from once work was done, otherwise I think I may just find myself going crazy!

I hear wedding bells! (And no, they’re not for me)

I haven’t been able to blog in ages.
I had a crazily busy evil monster of a week during which I managed to work three hours of overtime despite leaving two hours early on the Friday to catch a flight… or rather two flights becuase there aren’t any direct ones from here to Newcastle. This was followed by a week in England that was equally as busy, but filled with much nicer things than customer demands and looming deadlines.

The main reason we flew to England was for a friend’s wedding, which my sister had previously been referring to as “the wedding of the century”. She had a point! the planning seemed to have been going on for decades. It’s going to be strange not having the regular Facebook updates now it’s all over! The bride even asked me last year whether I would absolutely, definitely 100% be attending – something I couldn’t promise that far in advance! And my sister was chief bridesmaid so she was right in the thick of it… going to wedding fairs, arranging hen nights (yes, plural!) and generally running round like a loon. I think it was all worth it though. The big day went off with no major glitches, the bride looked absolutley beautiful (as did the bridesmaids) and the couple looked happy enough to burst. It must be nice to know that you’ve found the love of your life and that they actually feel the same way too.
The reception was held at The Vermont Hotel, in Newcastle – rather posh with four stars! it’s right next to the Castle Keep (all that remains of the castle that gave the city its name) so some beautiful photos were taken there. Lunch – if you can even still call a meal that isn’t served til 4pm lunch! – was roast pork with crackling which I adore and which did not disappoint – it was delicious! As was the chocolate brownie that followed it. The buffet at the evening reception, on the other hand, was a letdown – although the chocolate fountain made up for it. All in all, a good time was had by all. Including the most important people – the bride and groom.

A girl I used to work with got married on the same day, and a week earlier I missed the wedding of another of my dad’s cousins (my colleague was off that week becuase of her birthday, so I couldn’t have time off as well), so it was wedding bells all round in July. My one and only male colleague’s wife went into hospital yesterday to give birth to their child, so we’re all awaiting news on that with bated breath (or at least I am – for all I know the others have already spoken to him) and I found out recently that a very good friend from university days is pregnant. And so the never ending cycle of weddings and pregnancies and births continues, while I quietly slip closer to the age of no return*

*I turn 28 on Saturday. Only 2 years til the big 3-0! How the hell did that happen? This year has sneaked up on me…

No time to sleep

I don’t know how other people manage to hold down a full time job, fit in all the pastimes they enjoy as well as the things that have to be done (like housework and cooking of actual food – as opposed to toast) and still find the time to get a good night’s sleep. I know I certainly can’t! And, of course, it’s always sleep that falls by the wayside. I know that if I want a full eight hours of sleep I need to be asleep at 10, but my train doesn’t even get in to Karlsruhe til 6 p.m. (when it’s on time). That only leaves me with four hours! Yesterday I actuakky managed to make it to get some parcels out, after failing to do so on Monday because I ended up doing overtime and the post office was already shut by the time I got home. I then popped into a few shops, finally making it home for around 7:30 pm. After unpacking the shopping I sat down to finish a letter I had started writing to a penfriend nearly 2 weeks ago! (Yes, I am nearly 30 years old and still have penfriends. Judge all you like, I don’t care). I thought I could quickly get that done then start tea… well, I did get it finished, but quickly is something else. It was 8:30 pm by the time I started cooking and after 9 by the time we could cook. Which, of course, meant I wasn’t in bed til after 11 and have spent most of today feeling utterly exhausted again. Right now I’m at the point where I should make dinner but even the thought of walking to the kitchen feels like too much effort. I would just go to bed, but I have far too much to do. Things that I failed to do yesterday and the day before. So I’m determined to get something done tonight, even if it is just a load of washing (the wash basket is so full it’s practically overflowing). I just need to recover some of my energy first. Perhaps a cup of tea will help, if only I can bring myself to go all the way to the kitchen… It’s a good job we’ve got another holiday here tomorrow! Something to do with the body of Christ….

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!

Getting used to it

We have a new intern at work. An English girl who’s never really had a job before. She’s currently finding the eight-hour working days quite long and tiring; the getting up early every single day quite a challenge. We told her you get used to it. What we didn’t say is that getting used to it doesn’t mean the days feel any shorter or waking up becomes any easy. What you get used to is feeling constantly tired, yet managing to do a full days work anyway. You get used to getting up early even though you feel like you could do with at least two more hours of sleep. You get used to thinking twice, or even three times, about doing anything at all on a week night because you know tomorrow is another working day…
Or maybe that’s just me?
I think, perhaps, I could use a holiday…