Look Up, Look Down: Christmas Pyramid

Apologies for the two photo posts in a row – there hasn’t been much time recently to write anything real!
For this week’s Look Up, Look Down, I decided to go with a photo that’s rather appropriate for the time of year. It was taken at the Christmas market in Ettlingen (which is called “Sternlesmarkt” – Star Market. How cute is that?) in 2010.

Ettlingen pyramid

Have a photo that you think would be perfect for the Look Up, Look Down challenge? Check out Travel With Intent’s blog post to find out how to join in the fun!

Yawn

I am still alive, just currently too tired to even string together a coherent sentence let alone a blog post.
This week has mainly consisted of overtime, overtime and more overtime – and today is only Wednesday!Combine that with very little sleep and you have Zombie Bevchen on your hands.

Last week I had a visit from two people who were my house mates at uni. One of them actually lived with my twice – the second time voluntarily! I hadn’t seen them for 7 years, so it was about time we met up! It was nice to show them around where I live.

Too tired to write more, so here  are some photos of Ettlingen – which is about 10 minutes tram ride from Karlsruhe – where I took my guests last Monday.

Ettlingen Town Hall
River Alb
Ettlingen Market Place with St George’s Fountain

(It has seriously just taken me half an hour to write this tiny little post, and I had to go back and rewite half of it because almost every word had a typo in it. I really must get some sleep! But not til after the Germany match…)

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.

Christmas in February

I’m going out in a minute. It’s my work’s Christmas meal. Yes, I am aware that it’s now February – we had planned to have it in December but the day before we were due to go two out of the four of us were off work ill so it seemed like a good idea to cancel it. Now it’s taking place tonight. We’re going to a fairly posh restaurant. At least I think it’s fairly posh – I’ve never actually been before! It’s in Ettlingen, 20 minutes from here on the tram (10 minutes from where I work). Usually I tend to go to restaurants in Karlsruhe – unless I’m pretending to be posh, in which case I go to the Brenner’s Park Hotel in Baden-Baden for a six course meal (actually I’ve only done that once, but it sounded good!)
Normally I’d be quite excited at the prospect of going for a fairly posh meal, but tonight I really just want to go to bed. It hasn’t been a good week on the sleep front. And I’ve been busy, busy, busy at work – regular readers will be aware that I even stayed for an extra half an hour on Tuesday. Sooo tired. Unfortunately the bed thing is not an option, so instead I’m off to brush my teeth and attempt to make my hair look presentable. It’s gone all weird and stringy despite the fact that I washed it this morning. Apparantly it’s time for me to change shampoos again…

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…

Getting somewhere on the job hunting front.

The woman from Ettlingen called today – at 9:30 this morning. They were drilling in the rooms abover our office again (it’s been going on for almost a week now!) which made it slightly difficult to hear her, but I think I managed to get everything. Goodness knows what she thought of me though!They’re going to send me a practice text to translate and then 2 translations to do trial proofreads. I’ve taken Thursday afternoon off, so they’re going to send the texts then and I have a certain amount of time to finish them (an hour for the translation, longer for the proofreads). So things are progressing. If I do a good job the next step will presumably be an invitation to come for an interview. It’s all very exciting… in a horribly nerve racking kind of way!
Today has been hot, which is nice when you have access to a swimming pool and unlimited cold drinks. Not quite so nice when you’re stuck in an office with 3 printers, a fax machine, a photocopier and 5 computers (4 of which were switched on). I shouldn’t complain too much though – Mother Nature might hear me and cause it to rain non-stop for the rest of the summer. I prefer roasting to death in the office than drowning trying to get there thank you very much!

On the way home I decided I’d pop into Aldi and get myself something for tea. Jan isn’t coming over tonight so I wanted something quick, easy and suitable for one person. Of course, me being me “something quick and easy for tea” ended up being 10 euros spent on crap which I then had to carry home. It’s Asia week at Aldi Süd this week, which means they have loads of Chinese and Indian stuff in that they usually don’t sell. This meant I just had to buy a bag of prawn crackers for no reason othet than that they were there and it’s been ages since I had any. Then I spotted the 5 spice. Oh yes, never know when you might need some of that. And oh look, coconut milk. Always useful to have around… I just can’t go food shopping without buying rubbish.
I’m now hot and tired after carrying all that stuff home so I’m off to get an icecream. Yes, before dinner. That’s the advantage of being a) over 21 and b) in a different country to your parents…

Pre-bedtime blogging

I just watched the Germany / Portugal match with a bunch of Germans, which was fun. When you don’t care one way or the other it’s quite amusing to watch how the fans react. But for me, the best part of the whole match was when the cameras zoomed in to show Joachim Loew in his box and he was just lighting up a cigarette. Suddenly 4 of the people I was with sat up in shock and said “he smokes?!”. The pure astonishment on their faces had me in fits of laughter.

There’s a bar in the cellar of my building and they were showing the football match down there (I watched it in my kitchen with some others from my floor.) Now that the match is over it’s become a normal bar evening again… so the music is on. The music is loud, and I live on the ground floor, right above the music. Guess how much sleep I’m going to get tonight?? The good thing about the bar is that it’s only open on Thursdays, so I only have to put up with it once a week. The bad thing about it is… well, the fact that it’s only open on Thursdays. Friday would suit me better – at least then I get to have a lie in the next day. But it can’t be helped. I’m just going to have to bury my head under the pillow tonight.

Oh, here’s something I meant to write about earlier, before I got side-tracked by my lack of housewifely talent…
On Tuesday I got an email from someone at the company in Ettlingen where I’ve applied for a job. They want to me to do a practice translation and 2 practice proofreads for them. The woman who wrote to me said we could talk about details by phone, so I wrote back to say she could send me the texts and if she told me when would be best I would call her, or she could call me on my mobile. She replied yesterday saying she would call me “tomorrow or the next day”. I managed to forget about it for quite large parts of today, but then I would see my phone sitting on the desk and be reminded again, causing butterflies to start flaping around in my stomach. By the time I had my lunch break at 1pm I was a nervous wreck. And the bloody woman didn’t even call! Now I have to go through it all again tomorrow. And all she wants to do is talk to me about practice translations! If this is what I’m like when it’s just a phone call I don’t even want to imagine how I’ll be if they actually invite me for an interview!
I’m so not good at this job hunting lark….

They’ve started playing football songs in the bar now. “Football’s Coming Home” just came on. I love how the Germans always start singing that when their team wins. Makes me smile every time.