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.

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…

(Hopefully not) baking on the S-Bahn

The weather forecast promised (or perhaps a better word would be “threatened”) highs of 35°C for today. That’s 95°F for all you fahrenheit fans. I checked the online weather reports at 4:30pm and was informed that the temperature at that moment was 36°C/96°F. That’s one degree higher! So the weather forecasters lied! Not that one degree bothers me that much. Anything over about 26°C comes under the heading of “too hot”. Above 30° and it becomes “far too hot”. I’m just glad the weather decided to get the worst bit over with today when I don’t have to travel Gernsbach just when the sun is at its hottest. I’m scared enough of this interview without having to worry about dying of heat stroke before I even get there!

I’ve been looking on the Karlsruhe transport website trying to figure out how to get there. The perfect method would be to take the S-Bahn from Marktplatz. I would just have to walk to the tram stop, board the train and sit down to await Gernsbach. Of course I wouldn’t be me if things worked out that way…
The S-41, the train I would get on at Marktplatz, gets into Gernsbach every hour at 59 minutes past. 12:59, 1:59… my interview is at 2pm. The only way I could get from the train station to the interview in one minute is if someone invents teleportation by tomorrow… not going to happen I feel. I could, of course, get the one that arrives in Gernsbach at 12.59, but what am I going to do in Gernsbach, on my own, for an hour? It’s really not that big a town. So my other option is to take the S-31, which would get me there at 1:30pm. The S-31 goes from Karlsruhe main train station. That means I have to get a tram to the train station first. Not really difficult, but gives me more opportuny to panic. What if I miss the tram from Europaplatz and the S-31 has already left? I’d be late for my interview! Doooooooom!

OK, maybe I’m being slightly over sensitive. What can I say, I’m a worrier. And interviews scare me. A lot! In between worrying about how to get to Gernsbach I’ve been worrying about what I’m going to wear, whether a blue blouse is appropriate, whether it matters that I don’t have a proper suit, what I’m going to say when I get there, whether I’ll be able to answer their question, how badly my German is going to let me down… there are so many things that could go wrong! I’ll be glad when it’s this time tomorrow and the whole ordeal is over with!

Practising

I’ve done the practice translation and the trial proofreads. They’ve been sent back and I’ve had confirmation that they’ve been received. Now it’s time to try and calm myself down. Time to breathe. Time to get over being a nervous wreck.

The work itself wasn’t too bad. The translation was quite nice, about a bar in Berlin. The proofreads were a little more technical but short and well translated. I’ve had worse proofreads during my internship and done harder translations for my Master’s.

I finished the translation half an hour before I needed to, then spent another 20 minutes checking it over and over, making sure there were no silly mistakes, checking Google to see whether those words really can be placed together in that order. I finally sent it back 10 minutes before they had asked for it.

I was then sent two texts to proofread. I had about an hour and 40 minutes to do them. 45 minutes before I was supposed to send them back I had read through both of them, listed all the mistakes and was starting to wonder what I’d missed. Did they really expect it to take that long or were they just making sure I had plenty of time? And if they really did expect it to take all that time I was sure I must have missed something. Some huge, glaringly obvious mistake perhaps. Or maybe I’d managed to overlook a page, somehow thought the texts were shorter than they actually were. I forced myself to move away from the computer, get a drink of water and take some deep breaths. I came back to find that the text really were that long and there really weren’t any more mistakes. I sent it back 20 minutes before they had asked for it.

So that’s it. All done. I guess I’m one step further on the road to finding a job. Now I suppose I just wait and see what happens next.

More good news

It seems to be a week of good news on the jobs front. This morning somebody from Gernsbach called me. Apparantly she sent me something by post but it arrived back on her desk this morning with a stamp saying I don’t exist at that address. Very strange. I can assure you I do exist at my address – and she did have it right. She even read it out to me. Apparantly she had invited me to an interview tomorrow, but obviously I hadn’t got the letter, so we’ve rearranged it for next Thursday. It’s more than a week away and I’m nervous already! Wish me luck please.

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.

I want that job!

I’ve just been looking at the German job centre website, as I so often do these days, and I’ve found a job that would be great for me. It’s in Gernsbach in the Black Forest. A quick look at the Deutsche Bahn (German Rail) website tells me that from here it’s only a roughly 45 minute train ride to Gernsbach train station, which means it would be possible to commute from here. The job is for a trainee translator. They want someone with excellent English skills, preferably a native speaker. This person should have “good” translation skills. I have both of those covered! Unlike the other jobs I’m applying for, this one is not at a translation company. The employer is actually a publishing house, specialising in information about environmental issues – waste management, recycling, water (and the cleaning thereof). The applicant should be interested in environmental policy. It all sounds great. I am good at translation (81% in my last assignment says it all really), I am interested in the environment and in recycling and, most of all, I’m interested in finding a job that’s either in Karlsruhe (where I live) or at least somewhere that I can easily commute to. I really, really don’t want to move (well, actually I do want to move, but only out of this building – not half way across the country).  Ideally I would have liked to stay at the company where I’m doing my internship, but as the bosses don’t want to give me permanent position this job in Gernsbach sounds perfect for me. I’ve just written my application for it. I just have to wait for my boyfriend to come and proofread it for me then it shall be sent on its merry way. If anyone has happened to stumble across this blog then please keep your fingers crossed for me. Cos I really, really want this job!

Books!

I love books. In fact, I’d go as far as to say I’m obsessed with them. I have a whole list of books (it takes up about 6 A4 pages!) that I want to read someday. And that’s just the ones that a) Amazon have recommended to me and b) that I found on Wikipedia’s lists of books by year… and I only went back to about 1985. One day I’m going to have a library. Not the sort that people visit for the purpose of borrowing books – although I have no problem with people borrowing my books, as long as they bring them back. No, I mean the sort that you see in old posh homes, the kind with matching bookcases all around the walls and a big fireplace. Mine probably won’t have a fireplace, but it will have some incredibly comfy sofas and armchairs for snuggling down in with your chosen reading material. It’ll be great! Unfortunately at the moment I’m not sure I’ll ever have a house, never mind one with a library, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Anyway, the point of this post… Yesterday, while I was at work, I received a package. I knew it was coming, but wasn’t expecting it to arrive so fast. I went to pick it up this morning. My dad sent it all the way from England and it contained a) my A-level and university certificates, which I need for my job hunt, and b) lots and lots of lovely books. OK, there’s actually only about 8, not exactly lots and lots, but enough to keep me going for a while. YAY! And they’re all books that my dad rescued from being mushed up and turned into toilet roll while he was working at a recycling plant, so I haven’t even read them before. Guess what I’m going to be doing in my free time for the next week or so?…