I will stop complaining… just not today

It’s the end of another long, exhausting day, in which I have, once again, failed to get round to doing most of the things I wanted to. Mostly beacuse I missed my train home by roughly a minute (why is it never delayed when I want it to be?) and ended up spending a delightful hour wandering around the train station drinking a Chai Latte made with green tea that mostlyn tasted like powder and made me feel slightly sick. At least today I managed to have food on the table by 9:30pm (my food at least, Jan is not home yet so his is still the frying pan keeping warm… and hopefully not burning). Not much of an achievement I know, but we have to celebrate the small victories.
Work is fairly stressful at the moment. Lots of jobs… both large ones that take up lots of time and small ones that the customers want back as soon as possible, preferably yesterday but they’ll settle for later the same day until someone finally manages to invent a working time machine.
Also, today I received an e-mail from my university informing me that they tried to take the latest tuition fees payment from my bank account in England, but it failed and would I please make arrangements to pay immediately if not sooner. Unfortunately I’ve done rather a lot of spending this month and my wages are already rather depleted so I’m not quite sure how I’m going to manage that one. Borrow more money from the boyfriend perhaps. Considering how much I owe him already another couple of hundred isn’t going to make much of a difference…

I promised you all a post about something good, didn’t I?
Tomorrow, perhaps. Today I feel the need to complain.

Need more time…

I can’t believe December is a week old already. Where is the time going? I could have sworn it was only just summer…
Anyway, I’ve been a really, really bad blogger lately. Between illness, seminars and Christmas shopping I just can’t seem to find the time for anything! The good news is that I’ve almost finished buying all my Christmas presents. The bad news is I’m also almost out of money and I still have to send several packages to England. Oh, and then there’s the little matter of paying the electricity bill but we won’t talk about that…

I put Christmas decorations up in the flat at the weekend. Very exciting! I’ve never had a place of my very own to decorate before 🙂 Between that and all the presents I’ve wrapped the living room currently looks a bit like Santa’s grotto. A very messy Santa’s grotto admittedly (I desperately need to tidy the flat but the whole no time thing just keeps getting in the way!) but it’s all very festive. Jan and I also went to the Christmas market on Saturday and I tried some cherry Glühwein, which was delicious. Definitely getting in the spirit over here 🙂

I promise to come and visit you all soon, but right now I have to go and do the computer marked assignment for my science course. I haven’t been able to work on it much lately but I refuse to fail now that I’m so close to the end!
In the meantime, why don’t you leave me a comment and let me know what you’ve all been up to….

Questions upon questions

Yes, it’s one of those posts again…

  • Why do so many people here feel the need to run across the road in front of trams? I’m sure you’re in a big hurry, but trust me, getting hit by a tram isn’t going to get you to your destination any quicker…
  • Speaking of trams: why does the display thingy insist on telling me my tram is coming “sofort” (immediately) when it is nowhere in sight and will clearly not be turning up anything like ‘sofort’
  • Why does my kitchen still smell weird even though I’ve taken the rubbish out?
  • Why do I have almost not of my wages left already when the month has only just started?
  • Why has the translation book I ordered for 30 euros which Amazon claimed should be here by 30th October not arrived yet? (Question for my UK readers, if I actually have any – surely you can’t all have gone off to France and Korea?: Is Royal Mail on strike? That might explain it…)
  • Why is my wash basket so full?
  • Why are crisps so addictive?
  • Why is my flat so cold?
  • Why are so many people I know pregnant? (Every time someone gives birth another person makes the “expecting” announcement. It’s madness!)
  • Why is it not the weekend yet?

Just because you have a job doesn’t mean it’s all sorted…

Let’s talk about the employment agency shall we. We haven’t done that in a while…
So, as regular readers will know, I’m about to start a new job after a period of unemployment. The new job is some distance away from the town I’m living in (an hour on the slow train, about 25 minutes on the fast – but expensive train), but it’s a doable distance, the company seems great and it means no more dealing with the German employment agency – or so I thought…

After signing my contract I downloaded the change of circumstances form from the employment agency’s website, filled in the bit saying I’ve found a job and no longer need to be registered as unemployed and sent it off. A few days ago I received a letter from the employment agency – “since you now have a job and you will be getting paid at some point in September your benefits will now be cut off. Starting from 1st September 2009. If you think you’ll need help for time between us cutting off your benefits and when you actually receive your first months pay there is a loan, which you might be allowed, but only if you apply for it. ” Considering the last payment of my unemployment benefit (ALG II) was on 15th August and my first pay from work won’t be until the end of September I think I might just need that loan. I have worked it out and, despite being very careful, with the money that’s currently in my bank once I’ve paid September’s rent, the electric/gas bill, the internet/phone and bought two monthly tickets – one for the train to work and one for the tram from home to the train station – I am going to ahve about 40 euros left. That’s 40 euros for everything else I could possibly need… like food for example. And toilet roll. I can’t even afford the 6 euros it will cost to send my baby brother the books I bought him for his 3rd birthday. So I emailed the employment agency asking how to apply for the loan. Today I received this reply “I need to see your employment contract and proof from your employer of when your first wages are to be paid. Then we can decide whether or not to give you a loan“. Because obviously there couldn’t just be simple procedure. Now I need to find out whether they will accept a copy of my contract, because if not (which they probably won’t) I will have to go there in person and physically show them my contract. This will have to be done by Monday because I start work on Tuesday and will therefore not actually be in Karlsruhe at all during their office hours. Oh, and I have to somehow get proof of when I’m getting my wages from the new boss. The boss who told me when I signed the contract that she goes on holiday at the end of August and will still be away when I start work.
Oh what fun the next few weeks are going to be…

I blame it on stress…

I feel ill today. Actually it all started when I woke up with a sore throat yesterday. I managed to forget about it for most of the day though in all the excitement of sorting out flat stuff. The soreness came back in the evening though, after Jan left. This morning it was no worse, but no better either, and I’ve been cold all day despite the fact that it’s a beautifully warm day. I’m also aching all over and my head feels like it wants to float away. And, just to add to my woes, I’ve discovered a patch of eczema on my hand. Usually I only get eczema when I’m stressed or if I use a product that I’m allergic to, and since I haven’t used anything new lately I’m going with the stress option.

So why am I stressed you ask? Well, apart from the whole money thing (pleeease let my pay go in before the rent goes out!) there’s the fact that I’m moving in six days and yet anyone entering my room for the first time could be forgiven for thinking I haven’t even started packing yet. I’ve no idea when I’m supposed to get it all done either considering I have to work this week and I never get home before 6:30pm, ever. And that’s when I come straight home – if I have to go shopping or something it’s usally somewhere between 7 and 7:30. Except on Fridays when I finish early. And, to add to all that, I have stuff to do for uni. First of all there’s a practice translation potfolio due in tomorrow. I have done most of the actually translating part but still need to type it up, write an analysis (this text appeared in blah blah and has a target audience of such and such. The style of writing is such and such) and commentary (what problems I had when translating the text. Why I chose to translate particular things the way I did). That’s not soo bad though, it’s only a practoce. I should at least hand something in though as I completely missed the last one. But if it’s not finished the world will not end. Noo, that’s not a major problem. What is a major problem is the actual assessed piece of coursework, due on 20th March. Yes, that is 20 days away, I know. The problem is for most of those 20 days I am going to be without internet which kind of makes finding a text to translate online a little difficult. And I also have to find other texts to put into the portfolio. And the dictionary I usually use to translate is also an online one. I do have a very good paper dictionary, but it doesn’t have a forum where I can get help with particularly strange phrasing. Neither does it have Google to define words I’ve never heard of and show me pictures to help me figure out what’s going on. So I basically need to try and get everything but the translation difficulties part of that done by Saturday morning as well. And those are just the major things that need doing in. Add in all the normal every day things (like trying to get all my laundry done before I move out as it will be a while before I can afford a washing machine plus actually finding time to eat, shower breathe…) and you have one very busy Bev on your hands.  Soo I think I have good reason to be stressed out. No wonder I’m not feeling brilliant!

On a brighter note some of you may remember my Happiness is… blog from a few weeks ago. It was part of a competition by Odette, aka Little Miss Firefly and I actually won! Yep, mine was the first name to be picked out of the hat… metaphorically speaking anyway. Actually she used random.org to pick the winners, I just thought the hat thing sounded good. Anyway, enough waffling. Go check out Odette’s blog to see what I won. And in the meantime I shall get back to my attempts to translate and pack at the same time…

Money matters

I spent an hour at the bank this morning. I am now officially skint. I had to open a very specific bank account, a Mietkautionskonto, into which I paid the deposit for my flat. The point in this account is that it belongs to me but I am not allowed to take any money out of it. The owner of the flat is allowed to take money out of it, to repair any damage I cause to the flat, for example. I could just have given the money to the housing association directly, but the advantages of doing it this way are a) I am informed if she requests to take money from the account, so she can’t spend any without me knowing why and b) I get to keep any interest that is earned on the money. Good stuff – if anyone out there ever plans to live in Germany you might want to make a note of it. But of course I couldn’t just open the account. In order to get the keys for my flat I have to prove that the deposit is actually in the account. So I handed over all the money that I had taken from my English bank account plus an extra 50 that Jan lent me. Then, having borrowed another hundred euros from Jan to pay into my normal account, I headed to the other bit of the bank, where the machines are, and transferred the rent for March to the housing association’s bank account. So I now have a total of 70 euros left in my German account. I just hope my wages go in before the student residence takes the rent for March out…

And now, having taken today off to sort out flat stuff, I’m going to have to arrange to leave work early one day next week so I can go back to the bank. You see, before the account with my deposit in can be opened properly I have to get some forms signed by my landlady then bring said forms back so that the bank can countersign them. And of course the bank closes before I get home from work every single day (and isn’t open on Saturdays – what’s that all about?). And since the only appointments you can make to see someone at the bank are for a whole hour (even if you only need 10 minutes!) I’m going to have to leave work about an hour early. Provided I manage to get an appointment on Monday or Thursday, when the bank is open til 6pm. The rest of the week they close at 4pm. I’m sure work are going to be really impressed with me…

I have made a decision…

I was going to move out on Saturday, but since I’m going to have to pay rent for March in both places no matter what I’ve now decided to do it a week on Saturday instead. This has a lot to do with the fact that I have so far managed to pack exactly one small box, but also means I can go to IKEA next Saturday, after handing over the key to this place,  and buy me a bed. I will have been paid by then so it will be possible (I shall just have to ignore the fact that my English bank account is now almost over its overdraft limit and really should be paid back before I even dream about spending any money). The alternative would have been sleeping on a borrowed airbed for a week … while still getting up at 6:30 for work every morning. Perhaps not the best solution. This way I also get an extra week of internet access, which means I can (hopefully) get my assessment done for uni – and keep up with everyone’s blogs of course 😉
It is kind of frustrating though – now that I have the flat I want nothing more than to move into it!
Oh well, I’m sure the extra week will go by fast enough considering all the things I have to squish into it.