Hello friends! (I hope none of you mind being called friends?). It’s finally Friday and I haven’t done Friday letters for a while, so I thought I would today. Here goes.
Dear Switzerland. A recent blog post by Kezzie and a slightly less recent one by Hazel have reminded my once again of how badly you need to up your recycling game. After being able to place basically all packaging in the recyclables bin in Germany I find it so frustrating to have to throw so much into the ordinary household waste here (and yes, I take my plastic bottles back to the supermarket but they won’t accept yoghurt pots or toothpaste tubes, for instance). Even Britain has recycling bins. Sort it out, Switzerland!
Dear unread books. I recently rearranged my shelves so that most of you are together and I hadn’t realised quite how many of you I own! I really need to start reading books I own before buying more…
Dear water. Why is it so difficult to remember to drink enough of you? Must try harder!
Dear Basel cinemas. Why aren’t you showing the new Jumanji film in English? Just because it’s aimed at children doesn’t mean nobody wants to see it in the original language – do you know how many English-speaking children there are in the region?
Dear weekend. I’m glad you’re almost here. I’ve been very tired this week and I’m looking forward to a lie in!
Dear boyfriend. Thank you for sorting out the dishwasher and not complaining (often) when I fail to put away my lunch dishes.
That’s all for today folks. Happy Friday, wherever you are.
Despite having seen the reminder the day before and even mentioned it to Jan while out in the evening, I managed to forget about photo an hour day! Luckily I checked Twitter at noon and saw the posts so I was able to still join in, albeit a few hours later. I only missed two hours though, and those photos would have been tea and cross stitch so you didn’t miss much. Here’s the rest of my Saturday:
12 noon About to heat some bread rolls in the oven for brunch (although Jan then ended up deciding he was too hungover to eat his and going back to bed…)
1 p.m. Time for a shower. Yes, so late. No judging! Also this photo shows how much lime scale is on my shower head. Again, please don’t judge.
2 p.m. Boots on as I’m heading out to buy a birthday present
3 p.m. Haven’t found what I’m looking for yet, so across the river I go to check the shops on that side of Basel. As you can see, the weather was not the best.
4 p.m. Found what I wanted, now on the tram home.
5 p.m. Time for a cup of tea and to start a new book.
The book was so good that I missed my 6 o’clock photo. Ooops!
7 p.m. Deciding what to make for dinner since it was just me eating (yep, Jan was still hungover…)
8 p.m. Nearly finished eating. Not shown: the book that I continued reading while I ate. (I finished it at 8:30… for everyone who has ever asked how I get through so many books, there’s your answer. Most people socialise on weekends, I read or cross stitch.)
9 p.m. Making a birthday card for my grandma
10 p.m. Pyjamas on – time for bed.
And that was my Saturday. How was yours? As always, Photo an Hour was hosted by the wonderful Jane and Louisa.
Happy New Year friends! I hope you all had a good start to the year, whatever you were doing (I was in Geneva getting soaked – the heavens opened just before midnight!), and 2018 is an amazing one for every single one of you. Today I wanted to post my final photo an hour of 2017 before we get too far into January! I actually almost missed it, but luckily I was browsing through Twitter in the morning and saw other people doing it, so I waited until the next full hour and then started mine. As always, I am linking up with Louisa and Jane.
11 a.m. I had been awake for more than half an hour and hadn’t even had a cuppa yet, so clearly that had to be remedied…
12 noon. Cross stitching the last few Christmas cards for Jan’s family – none of which are actually pictured on this page of the magazine 😉
1 p.m. Showered and now getting dressed.
2 p.m. In town in the rain – I had gone to track down a last-minute Christmas gift.
3 p.m. Just managed to leap on a tram before it left. Phew!
4 p.m. Home, drying out with tea and candles.
5 p.m. Cross stitching away.
6 p.m. Still stitching… thus far it looks like nothing!
7 p.m. Emptying the dishwasher while “cooking” dinner. (Okay, the oven was doing the cooking…)
8 p.m. Jan put on “Being John Malkovich” while we ate.
9 p.m. Still watching. How messed up is this film?!
10 p.m. Film over, time for a hot chocolate. And when we switched the DVD off Home Alone 2 was on German TV.
I then went to bed before 11 p.m. to make sure I wouldn’t have to take another photo and mess up my symmetry 😉
The next Photo an Hour is on 20 January 2018. If you want to join in, all you have to do is take a photo every hour and then either upload them to Twitter or Instagram on the day using the #Photoanhour hashtag or save them and write a blog post like this one afterwards. Or you can do both (I usually take part on Twitter and then write a blog post later).
The final Photo an Hour of the year took place on Saturday… and I haven’t even written my post for November’s round yet! Time to remedy that. For anyone that still cares, here’s what I got up to one Saturday in November. December’s will follow… hopefully soon!
This was a slightly unusual Saturday because I had agreed to work for part of the weekend so that my company could accept a big translation job. So, here we go…
10 a.m. Breakfast at my desk as I get to work.
11 a.m. Working away. This dictionary came in very handy for the technical text I was working on!
12 noon. Still working so I took a photo of the map above my desk.
1 p.m. After three hours I’m done with work. Yay! (I did another 3 hours on the Sunday for a total of six hours of overtime).
2 p.m. After a shower and a quick trip to the shop round the corner I’m finally having lunch!
3 p.m. Chilling with another cuppa and some cross stitch.
4 p.m. Sadly the dishes did not want to do themselves…
5 p.m. On a tram into town.
6 p.m. Having dinner in an Italian restaurant.
7 p.m. At the theatre dahling! We went to see an operetta that some people from one of Jan’s choirs were starring in.
8 p.m. was skipped because we were watching the show so…
9 p.m. Interval time. Glass of fizz has to be done! (Although it looks weirdly unfizzy in the photo)
10 p.m. was skipped again… I couldn’t really whip my camera out during the show!
11 p.m. Stopped off for a cocktail on the way home. The drink was fairly boring and tasted mainly of fruit juice, but at least the décor was pretty!
And that’s it… I was home and tucked up in my bed before midnight rolled around.
The monthly Photo an Hour linkup is organised by Jane and Louisa. If you would like to take part next time, keep an eye on the #photoanhour hashtag on Twitter for January’s date.
After months of missing the reminders, on Saturday I finally managed to take part in Photo an Hour again. Hurrah! Here’s what I got up to:
10 a.m. I am awake… so obviously I need tea! (I am very predictable. One of these days I’m going to start reusing photos of tea and I bet nobody will even notice.)
11 a.m. Some Christmas card stitching… I’m way behind!
12 noon. I managed to shower between hours for once. Woo! Now clean and dressed in all the birds!
1 p.m. Back to stitching… wondering whether Jan ever plans to get out of bed!
2 p.m. The boy got up – hurrah! This calls for a celebratory cuppa 😉
3 p.m. Lunch! There was nothing in the fridge so I nipped to the shop for some juice and a sandwich.
4 p.m. And back to stitching… nearly finished 🙂
5 p.m. I lit a candle and made some apple and mint tea before I had to head out into the cold.
6 p.m. Off out to watch Jan sing (for the second weekend in a row) – I had to leave early because he forgot to buy me a ticket. A selfie was the best photo I could think of.
7 p.m. Terrible photo thanks to it being dark and my camera flash being broken – but when the door opens right as the clock is striking seven it has to be the subject of my 7 p.m. photo! Welcome to Switzerland 😉
I missed 8 p.m. because it was during the concert so…
9 p.m. A quick snap of the stage before I left the church (St Martin’s, in case you’re wondering). We then went to eat with some other members of the choir after the concert so I missed 10 p.m. as well since I didn’t want to be rude. At least this way symmetry was preserved 😉
11 p.m. A glass of water before bed.
And that was my Saturday. How was yours? Good I hope!
Has it really been an entire two weeks since my last post? Wow… sorry. I didn’t mean to stay away that long. I am juggling so many things right now and blogging keeps getting pushed further down my list.
Anywaaay… I stole this post from Kristen because I thought it might be fun and an easy way to get back into blogging. I hate being called an expat (please don’t single me out from other “migrants”!) but didn’t have an alternative title, so it stays.
1. WHERE WERE YOU BORN, WHERE DID YOU GROW UP AND WHERE DO YOU CURRENTLY LIVE?
I was born in Aldershot (“Home of the British Army”) and I guess grew up there, in Northern Ireland and in Northumberland – although, when does the “growing up” stage finish? I was a teenager by the time I moved up North…
I currently live just outside Basel in Switzerland.
2. WHAT MADE YOU LEAVE YOUR HOME COUNTRY
Originally university. I was studying German and a year in a German-speaking country was a requirement to get my degree. I met Jan there, and after 2 years in a long-distance relationship decided to move back to Germany. Such a cliché.
3. WHAT TYPE OF REACTIONS DO YOU GET WHEN YOU MEET NEW PEOPLE AND TELL THEM WHERE YOU ARE FROM?
It varies. “What brought you to Switzerland?” mainly. A lot of people ask whether I work at Roche or Novartis (two pharmaceutical companies that are the main employers in Basel, particularly of “expats” – ugh, that word again). When I lived in Germany I occasionally got “Do you really put vinegar on your chips?”, and people would ask why Karlsruhe of all places (I guess most Brits go to Berlin or Munich).
4. WHAT WAS THE EASIEST/HARDEST PART IN ADJUSTING TO YOUR NEW COUNTRY?
To Switzerland? It wasn’t actually that hard because I’d been in Germany for over 8 years and Basel at least is quite similar to Germany in many ways. So I guess that was the easiest part? Going back to not understanding people was difficult – Swiss German is hard! Just yesterday a neighbour came and spoke to me while I was doing laundry and I only understood about half of what he said.
5. IMAGES, WORDS OR SOUNDS THAT SUM UP THE EXPAT EXPERIENCE YOU’VE HAD SO FAR.
Are we talking my entire expat experience? As in Austria, Germany and Switzerland? Because that’s a lot! But as Kristen said, my life here is just life. I work, I shop, I cook, I do laundry just as I would anywhere else. I guess regularly speaking two languages is different, and we eat food that isn’t available in England (and, conversely, don’t eat other food because it isn’t available here). So I guess speaking German and food are my words? Here’s an image that seems to fit:
6. YOUR FAVOURITE FOOD OR DRINK ITEM IN YOUR NEW COUNTRY
Oh wow, that’s difficult. Maybe Rösti? Although I rarely eat it because I’m too lazy to make my own 😉 For drink I guess some local beer? I can’t think of anything else that isn’t available elsewhere… oh, except some fizzy pops like “Rivella” and “Flauder” (I do like that second one) but I rarely drink pop soo…
7. WHAT’S THE ONE THING YOU SAID “YES” TO IN YOUR NEW CITY THAT YOU WOULDN’T SAY “YES” TO, BACK HOME?
Umm… I have no idea? I probably wouldn’t have gone hiking at home but only because I would never have had Jan to drag me out 😉
8. ARE THERE ANY CULTURAL NORMS/PHRASES IN YOUR NEW COUNTRY WHICH YOU CANNOT STAND?
Quiet hours! In Switzerland, the law states that from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. and from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. plus all day on Sundays and public holidays are “quiet hours”. During those times you are not allowed to do anything that makes a noise… so no hammering/drilling, no hoovering (vacuuming ;-)), no doing laundry, no mowing the lawn, no playing instruments. And, of course, no using the glass recycling bins. In our building, you are actually not supposed to drill/hammer after 6 p.m. and hoovering and instruments are banned after 8 p.m. (Drums are banned at every time unless in a sound-proofed room). I understand the night-time quiet rules – those with kids especially probably appreciate it being quiet when they’re sleeping – BUT WHEN AM I SUPPOSED TO DO MY HOUSEWORK?! The lack of recycling annoys me as well, especially coming from Germany where practically everything gets recycled! Ooh, and I hate that practically everything is closed on Sundays. I mean, I’m used to shops being closed on Sundays after Germany, but finding a café or restaurant that’s open should not be as difficult as it is! As for phrases… I guess that question assumes I live in an English-speaking country?
9. WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST DOING IN YOUR NEW COUNTRY?
I enjoy going down to the river and just sitting… I love having the river flow right through town. But that’s a Basel thing, not a Switzerland thing. I also enjoying travelling and exploring Switzerland, but I also did that in Germany and would do it even if I lived in England. Umm, does that answer the question in any way?
10. DO YOU THINK YOU WILL EVER MOVE HOME FOR GOOD?
Nope. A few years ago it might have been a possibility, but after Brexit no way. Why would I want to live in a country where half the population have said my partner is not welcome? And by extension my future kids who will be way more German than British. Of course, Brexit may end up being the reason I am forced to move home if the “hard-Brexit” brigade gets their way…
That was the last question, but I hate to end on a bad note so I would like to add that I love living here and it feels like home more than any place has ever felt like home in my life (I mean, Karlsruhe felt like in the last few years there – and is still the place I’ve lived the longest in one stretch ever – but I felt an instant connection with Basel that made me wonder what I ever saw in Karlsruhe). It’s only been 2 and a half years though, so who knows what the future will hold…
I’m sure you’re sick of me saying it every month, but how is it August already? Ten days until my birthday… I’m so not ready to be 34! I am, however, ready for a holiday. 15 days until we fly. Not that I’m counting or anything…
Right now, though, it’s time to link up with Kristen and Gretch to talk about all the things I’ve been doing in July.
Eating. I started the month continuing June’s theme of salads and ice cream, but then the weather got bad plus Jan was performing with the Basel Tattoo choir every evening so for the last half of July I just ate whatever could be made quickly and easily. Fish fingers featured a few times. And sandwiches.
Watching. The Coroner on BBC Entertainment. It seems to be over now though – when I tried to put it on last night Hustle was on instead. Also fireworks over the Rhine for Switzerland’s national day (which is actually on 1st August, but Basel is greedy and does fireworks twice, so the ones on the day before just about manage to sneak in to my July round-up ;-)).
Reading. I actually had a good reading month for a change and managed to read 14 books! Ten were for Erin’s challenge. I will tell you about the in detail next week.
Seeing/hearing. The Basel Tattoo! Since Jan was part of it, I got tickets for one of the performances. It was very cool and I would definitely go again.
Cross stitching. Birthday cards galore! I wanted to get all the Post Pals birthday cards for August finished and sent out before I go away (and of course I also stitched the July ones), plus my friend turned 30 so I made her a card as well.
Booking. Our flight back from the UK and accommodation in Cornwall. And Jan has now booked the remaining accommodation so we’re all sorted. Woo!
Buying. It would probably be easier to say what I haven’t been buying to be honest! I spent way too much money in July. I definitely bought books, stickers and a load of badges/pins to send to Post Pals kids (they have all been given lanyards to collect them). I can’t even remember what else. Oh, birthday gifts for my mum and my friend, of course.
Wishing. Work would slow down a bit. I mean, having lots of work is better than sitting around doing nothing and I do appreciate being kept busy, but I am exhausted right now.
That’s all for today. All that aforementioned work awaits (and today I have to work longer again to make up for the fact that I’m in the office tomorrow and won’t actually arrive there until 10 a.m.).
What have you been doing recently? Don’t forget to check out the link up to find out what’s new with everyone else!