The chocolate box of life

As Tom Hanks once so aptly pointed out in his role as Forrest Gump, life is like a box fof chocolates – you never know what you’re gonna get.

Most of yesterday was pretty relaxing. I stayed at Jan’s on Tuesday night and since it was a holiday we decided not to bother getting up too early. Once I finally did decide to get out of bed I spent the next few hours lazing around reading Stern (a news magazine) before watching an episode of The Thin Blue Line while we ate something. Finally, at 4pm, I decided it was time to make my way home.
Back in my flat I took down the Christmas decorations then started to tidy up. I didn’t get very far though – I’d just finished cleaning the loo when my Grandma phoned (I wonder what the chocolate equivalent of scrubbing the toilet is? A mouldy one perhaps that everyone forgot about several Christmas’s ago and which has been lurking in the supposedly empty tin ina threatening manner ever since?).
I couldn’t really do any housework while on the phone so instead I decided to upload my photos from Italy to Facebook. Then, once the grandparents had hung up and tea (tuna and potato bake) was in the oven I was hit by a sudden pang of conscience and found myself checking my university e-mails for the first time in… ohh, at least a month. I discovered that I have to write a progress report. Or, to be more accurate, had to write a progress report. It was due in on 31st December. A definite strawberry cream moment right there. Or ‘strawberry dream’ as Quality Street call them… as if that’s going to fool anyone into thinking they might actually taste nice. So it looks like I’m going to be spending the weekend trying to rustle up some kind of progress report. But first, I have a wedding to go to. At Castle Frankenstein no less! Let’s just hope there are no scarred monsters or mad scientists waiting for me up there…

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Doing ten things at once

I have a feeling this week is going to be rather stressful… well, the evenings at least. During the day I’ll just be working as usual. But at night, when I should be relaxing, there are a million things that need doing.

 

To Do's
Photo credit: Courtney Dirks

 

I need to pack. I need to clean every inch of my room ready for handing back the key. I need to see the director of the building to find out if there’s any way to get out of paying the rent for March. I need to see the caretakers to make sure it’s ok to move out on Saturday (they have to check for damage and take back the key). I need to go to the bank and sort out an account into which the deposit for my rent will be paid. I need to get the money for the deposit. I need to do the practice translation for uni that’s due on 2nd March. I need to gather the necessary information for the assessed piece that’s due on 20th March because if I do get to move out on Saturday I will be without internet access for a while.And right now I need to go and collect my washing from the machine and hang it somewhere to dry. Phew. I’m exhausted already and that’s just from thinking about it all…

 

Organising my brain

There is so much going on this week and I have so many things to do and think about, both right now and over the next few months, that my brain feels as if it might explode. The only way to deal with this I feel is to misuse my blog to write a list of all the things that I keep forgetting then remembering again. Hopefully it will all seem much more manageable when I can see it all written down (or rather typed up).

  • Cleaning. My floor has to be cleaned this week. (Not floor as in thing you walk on but as in thing you live in, ie. in my case ground floor). I am unavailable on the 2 nights they’ve chosen for us all to do together (Tuesday and Wednesday) so I will be given an individual task. This must be completed before I fly to England on Friday. I would also like to sort out my room before I leave. Yet more cleaning.
  • Work Christmas meal. This is on Tuesday evening after work. We’re going to a hotel/restaurant in Ettlingen.
  • Spanish homework & Spanish course. My last Spanish lesson before Christmas is on Wednesday evening. Before that I have homework to do. Must not forget.
  • Job hunting. I still don’t know whether I’m going to have a job after January, and even if they do decide to keep me I’m not 100% sure yet whether I want to accept. Either way it would probably be a good idea to have another option open to me. Must update CV and send out job applications before going home for Christmas…
  • Flat hunting. I have decided I am definitely moving out in March whether I have a job or not. If I don’t have a job I won’t be able to afford the rent here anyway, so I’m either moving into a flat or moving to England. Hopefully I will have a job, which means I’ll be needing somewhere new to live. Only 3 months to go… definitely about time I started trying to find a flat!
  • Floor Christmas party. Taking place on Thursday. There will be food, Christmas biscuits and Feuerzangenbowle (sort of likeGlühwein (mulled wine), except after making up the wine they put it in a big pan, stick a cone of sugar over the top pf it on a metal thing, pour run over the sugar and set it on fire. The sugar/rum mixture then melts into the Glühwein. It’s pretty good and very, very strong!)
  • Buy last few Christmas presents. Nearly there. I only have 3 more to buy. Phew!
  • Finish wrapping Christmas presents… and then hope I can actually get them all in the suitcase without going over the weight limit
  • Write and send Christmas cards. Some of them have already been posted but I do still have one or two more to write. If any of you would like one I’ll be needing your address…
  • Pack. This will probably be done in a massive rush on Thursday night/Friday morning, after the Christmas party and before catching the train. I will most likely be shoving in last minute items as I’m rushing out of the door…
  • Sort out fridge. I’m going to be gone for almost three weeks! Better make sure there are no stray vegetables or out of date cartons of milk lurking around while I’m away…

OK, I think that’s it. The plan didn’t work though. I still think it’s going to be an exhausting week!
Oh well, only 4 more days then I’ll finally have some time to relax.

Spring cleaning in July

After spending ages trying desperately to ignore it, this afternoon I finally got tired of living in a pigsty and decided to tidy my room. Now with me “tidying my room” doesn’t just mean clearing the desk, putting a couple of things away and hoovering the floor. Oh no, it has to be done properly (which is probably why I don’t do it very often). So out came the cleaning stuff, the broom, the dustpan and brush and I started to tidy. Clothes were folded and put away in the wardrobe. The bag we took to Jan’s parents with us in June(!!) was finally unpacked and put away. The floor was swept and mopped. I even cleaned the radiator! Now I’m hot, exhausted and feel all dusty, but it’s worth it. My room is all sparkly and clean and hopefully I won’t need to do it again for a long, long time.

Other than cleaning I haven’t done much today. Sunday isn’t a day for doing things really, is it? Especially not when it’s raining, as it was today. Jan stayed last night so he was here all morning and most of the afternoon. We ate tomato soup with croutons and watched a programme about a baby who wouldn’t stop crying. After he left I spent ages searching the internet for an easy recipe for cottage pie.Half an hour later I realised that I hadn’t actually looked in any of my recipe books yet, so I went and picked up the student cook book that my Grandma got me and lo and behold… a recipe for cottage pie. In case anyone’s wondering it’s “The Really Useful Ultimate Student Cook Book” by Silvana Franco and it really is very useful.
Having finally found my cottage pie recipe Istarted tidying up, all the while wondering what typically English dessert I can serve to my floor on Wednesday. Trifle is too complicated (and I’m not sure I’ll get all the right ingredients in Germany anyway). Apple crumble is easy but needs to go in the oven, which is where the cottage pie will be. Yorkshire Parkin is yummy but takes too long. Victoria Sponge cake is too boring. At this rate I’m just going to end up serving them jelly and icecream! Unless anyone has a better idea for me. Answers on the back of a postcard… or you could just post them in the comments box below 😉

Cleaning showers and not forgetting my German

I’ve been meaning to blog about my interview for the last two days, but somehow never managed to get round to it. On Thursday evening we had our “Etagenputz” (translation: floor clean), so I spent 2 hours scrubbing showers and trying to get cobwebs down from the ceiling. Then Jan turned up and dinner had to be cooked. And yesterday I had work then went shopping on the way back. Once I got home there was shopping to be put away and laundry to be done (I finally got an appointment). Jan came round just in time to help me hang up the washing then we had dinner and spent the rest of the evening reading (we like to read aloud to each other). We finally finished the book we’ve been reading together for ages today – Terry Pratchett’s Wee Free Men. The first of the Tiffany Aching books, and the first of his children’s books that I’ve read. It was very good, as Pratchett’s books usually are. But I’m getting off topic now. I meant to talk about job interviews.

I think it went ok. At least I managed to answer all the questions and didn’t forget my German (although I did make one or two stupid mistakes, which I noticed the second they were out of my mouth. Der Stadt instead of die Stadt… oh dear!) First we had the proper interview part, then they put me in a little office and asked me to do two practice translations for them. The texts weren’t tooo difficult. Afterwards I briefly spoke to the two interviewers again then left, arriving back at the train station just in time to catch an S-Bahn back to Karlsruhe. They said they’re stil at the beginning of the interviewing process and will be making a decision in about 3 weeks time. Then yesterday I got a phone call from the company in Ettlingen who I did a practice translation/proofread for last week. They want me to come in for an interview next Thursday at 2pm. It seems Thursday is the day for interviews. Things seem to be moving forward so hopefully I will have a job soon…

Next week I have to cook a meal for my floor. I’ve decided to do cottage pie – let them try something English. For the non-meat eaters I want to do a vegetarian version, so today I went into the Asia shop and managed to find dried soya mince. Now I just have to figure out what I’m meant to do with the stuff. Anyone have any idea how to go about cooking dried soya mince? If so, please leave a comment below…