Family… can’t live with them, can’t murder them in their sleep!

So, it seems my Grandma is in hospital with pneumonia. How did I find this out? Facebook! And not in a personal message to me either… I discovered it from my sister’s status. Thanks for letting me know family! The last time I checked, moving abroad didn’t magically make her no longer my grandma…
I admit I’m not the best at keeping in touch (I wonder where I get that from?!) but you would have thought for something important somebody might have found a few minutes to send me a quick text message! Welcome to life as a member of my family people. This, by the way, is about 90% of the reason I’m still on Facebook (the other 10% being I’m nosy and like to see what people are up to…). When I lived in Austria I didn’t have Facebook. In the time I was there, the only person who phoned or e-mailed me on a semi-regular basis was my dad. I heard from my mum maybe twice (in 10 months!) and my sister not at all. No postcards, no text messages and not one single e-mail… Families. Can’t live with them, can’t murder them in their sleep!

(To be fair to my sister, I should add that after I commented on her status, she did message me to let me know what had happened… apparantly she had assumed my mum would have told me.)

On an entirely unrelated note, I had to go to the train station yesterday to buy some baking ingredients. I wanted to make chocolate brownies and had forgotten to buy chocolate! Yes, I am that bright at times… The shop in the train station is one of the very few places where you can actually buy things on a Sunday (the other option is petrol stations), so that was where I had to go. It had been raining and I liked how shiny the autumn leaves looked (those that hadn’t been trodden to mush already, anyway) so I took some photos along the way. Enjoy!

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Will this day ever end?

It’s currently ten o’clock at night. I’ve been up since 6 am, it’s been a long, stressful day at work, in which I didn’t even have time for a proper lunch break and all I want to do is go to bed and sleep… possibly until the end of the week. Unfortunately this is not possible. Tea is still in the oven refusing to do what it’s meant to do (stop being liquid mainly). On top of that, the kitchen is full of unwashed dishes from last night’s tea, which I am going to fail to wash once again, and I still haven’t taken out the food waste, despite the fact that I’ve been meaning to for about three days. My Grandma has just informed me that one of the stereotypes that Germans have about the British is that we’re messy… and she knows for a fact Jan thinks that about me. Thanks Grandma – at least now I know what you two talk about behind my back! And the worst of it is I can’t even deny it. After all, we all know I’m the world’s worst housewife (I’ve mentioned it often enough!). The best defense I could come up with was “he can talk”. Very original! I also managed to get on the wrong tram this morning, my train was delayed this evening and Jan is not home yet. This certainly hasn’t been what I would call one of the better days in my life. Here’s hoping tomorrow will be better… once I’ve had some sleep!

I love being young and a student

Eiffel Tower

Paris was brilliant. I had a wonderful, wonderful time.
It was great to see my Grandma, to see how happy she was that we had all turned up in Paris just for her. Unfortunately I missed the initial reunion and didn’t get to see her face when my Aunt who lives in New Zealand walked into the room, but I’ve been told it was brilliant. It was also nice to see said Aunt who lives in New Zealand. I think the last time I saw her I was about 16. That’s a long, long time ago. It was also nice to see my 10 year old cousin who I hadn’t seen since she was about 4 and my 4 year old cousin who was one the last time I saw her. (From reading this you’d think i’d been estranged from my entire family for years! believe it or not, there are people that i see fairly regularly. Just not the ones who live in New Zealand. Or anywhere south of the Tyne for that matter…)

The title of the blog post is something my cousin said at the Louvre.
You see, since 4th April this year there has been a new scheme. At certain places those who are aged between 18 and 25 and members of the European Union can get into places for free. Until August I fit into this category. So I got into the Louvre, the Arc de Triomphe and the Pantheon without spending a single cent. And for all those place that are not part of the scheme I had my student card with me for cheap entry. Yes, I love being young and a student. But why oh why did they have to introduce the 18-25 thing now when I only have another 3 and a half months left before I turn 26. (Arrghh, OMG, 3 and a half months?!? How did my birthday get so close so fast??).

So yes, a lovely, lovely time was had by all. The only down side was the weather. On the Saturday it rained and rained and rained. Jan and I actually made it up the Arc de Triomphe this time (last time we were in paris it was New Year and everything was closed by about 3pm). The view from the top would have been so good it hadn’t been so dull and grey, and if the Eiffel Tower hadn’t been half hidden by clouds. The sun finally managed to sneak out on Sunday afternoon, by which time most of the party only had time to see one more thing before heading back to the hotel and then to the UK. But never mind, it was fun anyway. And my Grandma walked up all the steps to Sacre Coeur. I was elsewhere at the time (we went to the Pantheon and caught up with the rest later), but I am told she absolutely refused to use the lift. Not bad for an 80 year old!

Right… I have to go now and try to figure out what on Earth “narrative structure” and “the discourse historical approach” are. I have to write an essay on them by 7th May and stupidly I’ve managed to get through an entire year of Text Linguistics without doing any of the reading or understanding a single word of the lectures. Oh yes, I totally rock. Hmmm.

When will I return to the blogosphere?

I’m at the French centre again. Can you believe it’s been almost a month since I’ve had internet access at home? I’m going mad here people. Mad I tell you!

The flat is starting to look good though. I bought a table and chairs yesterday. Now I can actually have people round and not have to force them to sit on the floor! Admittedly I still have a stack of boxes in one corner of the living room, but at least they’re stacked neatly so I don’t have to be ashamed of the mess. Also bought a cheap shelving unit thing from IKEA for the kitchen, so my food no longer has to live in the bedroom and my cups and glasses have their very own place to live. No more storing them in a cardboard box. Woo hoo! Once I actually have my own internet again I’ll see about putting a few pictures on here.

And in other news, in 2 weeks time I’m going to Paris! My Grandma turned 80 last month so my mum and aunt are bringing her to Paris as part of her birthday treat. What my Grandma doesn’t know is that a whole bunch of other family members are meeting them there, including another of my aunts who is flying all the way from New Zealand! When my mum mentioned it to me I decided I would like to come too, seeing as there’s now a train that gets you from Karlsruhe to Paris in 3 hours. So Jan booked train tickets last week and today we’re going to look at hotels. I can’t wait! Paris is excellent and it will be nice to see my Grandma again. I missed her surprise birthday party so I at least have to be there to surprise her in Paris.

I’m sure there is much more that I need to say, having been away for so long. But I didn’t come on here to try and beat the record for world’s longest blog post so I’ll leave it here. Hopefully I’ll be back with you properly soon. Not this month though – I can’t afford furniture, Paris and the internet on my wages. I paid my rent the other day and almost cried when I saw what my bank balance was reduced to…

Spend, spend, spend

I was back at work today. Still coughing, but I have my voice back, which is good cos I spent pretty much the whole day phoning random people to ask if they would be interested in maybe possible coming to teach for us at the language school which we haven’t even set up yet and really can’t give them any information about right now, but thought we’d, y’know, just ask anyway. Yes. It wasn’t my idea.

On the way home I went shopping. First I had to go to a book shop. You see I’m taking part in a combination Open University / Bookcrossing Not So Secret Christmas Santa (NSSCS). It’s organised by OU people who just happen to also be bookcrossers, based on an idea that originated on bookcrossing. Those who don’t know what bookcrossing is need to read my previous blog entry on it here. So, what you have to do is buy some books which your NSSCS partner has put on their wishlist (I huess this is where the not so secret comes in – they sort of know what they’re getting already), register them on bookcrossing them package them up nicely into a parcel along with some sweeties and a small gift before sending said parcel off to your partner’s address. Unfortunately I couldn’t get hold of any of the books on my partner’s wishlist. The book shops here didn’t have single one of them, at least not in the right language. Still can’t believe I couldn’t even get “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” here! So I got two that I hope she’ll liked based on the stuff that is on her wishlist. Then I headed of to Nanu Nana (brilliant shop by the way! If you’re ever in Germany and need to find a gift, or just a nice cheap set of coffee cups, you have to go there!) where I bought a couple of candles shaped like fir cones for the secret santa partner’s parcel before finally heading off to Karstadt where I first visited the food department in search of something for tea and some choccy for the secret santa parcel then headed towards the bit where the gifts live to pick up something for a friend whose birthday party I’m invited to next week. Oh yes, and between Karstadt and home I also found myself popping into another shop where I bought a colourful scarf/shawl thing for my Grandma and also discovered something amusing to get my sister for her birthday, which is January. Phew! Lots of money spent. And I still haven’t even got all my Christmas presents yet! I keep thinking I’m done then realising there are still more people to buy for. And what am I going to get my sister’s boyfriend? I’ve only met the guy twice! Sister dearest suggested a book but it seems they’re having trouble finding the books he likes in England so I’d probably have no chance here. Hmm, he does like tea though (understatement of the year there!) so that could be an idea.

Anyway, must dash. I have some food to cook. And I’m pretty sure I’ve bored you all enough by now anyway. It does make a change from complaing though I suppose 😉

The family baby

My baby brother was 2 yesterday. How wrong is that? At 25 years old I have a baby brother. Not weird at all my family. Nooo.
When he was born, my Grandma complained. It’s all very well being  Grandma again, she said, but actually she would rather someone made her a great grandma before she dies.

We can’t always get what we want though, can we. And at least she got a grandson out of it. Anyone else would be pleased to be a Grandma again.

It’s so odd having a baby brother on my age. Whenever I’m seen with him people assume he’s mine. And he’s going to grow up in a totally different genaration, a world full of eleoctronic gadgets and the internet (when I was little we had an Amiga and it was like the coolest computer ever. We didn’t get internet til I was 15 and even then I was only allowed on it once in a blue moon cos it cost so much). It’s been bad enough finding stuff to talk to my other brother about over the years, although things are improving now he’s almost 18, but what am I ever going to have in common with the baby, apart from the fact that we happen to share a father. A father who may just be insane producing babies at his age.
Bizarre I tell you. Very, very bizarre.