Recent doings #27

Hello friends! I am writing this introduction before work (I did the rest of the post yesterday so it was almost ready to go). In a few minutes, the washing machine will be finished and I can go and get my clothes… I finally managed to do laundry after getting up extra early yesterday only to find the machine in use. I have no idea which neighbour had stolen it since clearly my name was on the sign-up sheet. (Well, technically Jan’s but same thing). Roll on the day that I have my own washing machine! So now I’ve been up extra early two days in a row, and tomorrow I have to be up even earlier since it’s my Friday to be in the office. Whinge, whine, complain, etc. Anyway, it’s the first Thursday of another month and that means it’s time to link up with Kristen and Gretch for What’s New With You? Here’s what I got up to in March.


Eating. All the bad things. Honestly, you don’t even want to know how much sugar I consumed! Other than that, I was trying to eat fish twice a week in March but I only actually succeeded on two weeks of the month.

Drinking. Way too much (normal, i.e. black) tea. I really need to cut down on my caffeine consumption!

Reading. I will tell you all the books I read next week, but I feel like I can’t mention often enough that I actually finished Anna Karenina!

Watching. We actually watched a lot in March… way more than usual. Jan kept wanting to watch films, so we ended up watching A League of Their Own (one of my favourites but he had never seen it!), In Bruges, The Imitation Game… I feel like we watched another film but I don’t remember what it was. We’ve also been watching Young Sheldon. We still have last week’s to watch though, since Jan was away. Hopefully it recorded… I forgot to check.

Celebrating. Jan’s birthday. Well, he never wants to celebrate properly but I have him gifts and bought a little cake for us to eat after dinner.

Making. Birthday cards for Post Pals children, as always. Side note: the balloon dies I used for the card below may just turn out to be my best purchase of the year. So useful!

balloon card

Cross stitching. A card for a Post Pals child.

Buying. What did I buy, apart from books, which is too obvious to mention? Stickers. Washi tape. Oh, I bought a yoga mat. Not that I plan to take up yoga, but Jillian Michaels’ DVD has parts where you have to lie on the floor and I’m hoping the mat will be more comfortable than our living room rug. I’ve had the thing for 2 weeks and haven’t actually tried it out yet.

Booking. My first ever Airbnb. I mean, I’ve stayed in Airbnbs before, but it was never me organising them. This one is for us to stay in when we go to my cousin’s confirmation near Munich in May.

Burning. A candle called Rainy Day Reads. The scent is supposed to be Fresh rain, ginger, lavender. I have no idea what fresh rain is supposed to smell like. I mean, it’s basically water so doesn’t it depend on where it falls/what’s in the air at the time? (The candle smells good though.)

Seeing/hearing. Jan perform with one of his choirs… the same one he is currently on a trip with. It was an interesting program and they performed one of the songs I like best. Plus I got to go for pizza with them all afterwards, so that was cool.

That’s it. If I did anything else this month I don’t remember it. And the part of Easter weekend that was in March I pretty much spent spring cleaning my flat. So… what did you get up to in March? I hope you had a good one. Go check out the link up to see what everyone else got up to in March (and add your link, if you feel that way inclined).


Extracts from my life

Alternative title: Can’t be bothered to write a proper post so here’s a list of whatever randomness comes into my head. With bullet points.

  • Yesterday was the boyfriend’s birthday. I can’t believe I forgot to mention that! He is now 29 (nearly 30! Next year I am sooo going to take the mick!). I didn’t get to celebrate with him though – his “company”, for want of a better word (a research centre is not exactly a company really) is involved in some trade fair in Hannover and because the project he’s working on is being presented he’s gone up there to help set up. Then he’s going to his parents for a few days so I’m all alone until Thursday. He’s been away so much lately I’m starting to feel think we might as well still be in a long distance relationship!
  • I feel a little better today. At least my sore throat has gone. Instead I just have a head that feels like it’s stuffed with wet cotton wool (you know, like too heavy and too light at the same time). And a blocked nose. But at least the sore throat has gone…
  • I made a mistake a work this morning – I forgot to send our translation memory file to a translator (don’t worry, I don’t expect you to know what that is). The mistake is fairly minor but if it hadn’t been discovered in time (which it was) and sorted out it would have meant more work for the bosses wife when the translation comes back, so obviously she was not impressed. Later my colleague and I had some training on making offers for some of the more complicated jobs we get. I ended up completely confused and now feel like an incompetent idiot. Yay!
  • Jan bought me some perfume on Saturday. It was a belated Valentine’s present, because he wasn’t here on the day itself and hasn’t had time to buy it since. I’ve wanted this perfume for ages and ages, ever since I spotted it at Newcastle airport when I went on holiday with the family, and now I have it. This makes me very happy! In case anyone was wondering, the perfume is Liberte by Cacherel.
  • I actually managed to get most of my practice portfolio done for uni – I wrote the commentary and translation difficulties section on my tram journey home. Now I just have to type them up then I can hand the thing in and get started on the scary part – the portfolio that is actually going to be assessed.
  • I was supposed to call the bank today to make an appointment for getting some forms signed. I forgot to take the card with the number on it to work with me though, and by the time I got home they were already closed. Cue more of the feeling like an incompetent idiot (I’m sensing a pattern here…)

That will do I think. I’ve managed to get a laundry slot in 20 minutes time and need to sort out what I actually want to wash. Then there’s food to cook, more stuff to pack and practice coursework to be typed up.
Am I starting to sound like a stuck record yet I wonder?…

Post-fun blues

Do you know the book Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield? It used to be one of my favourites as a child. Anyway, at some point in the book one (or possibly two) of the girls is involved in a play and the others get to to go matinees and stuff and have special teas, then when it’s all over the two younger ones get upset because it’s all over and they feel like nothing nice will ever happen again. That’s me at the moment.

So on Friday night I went for that meal with work. The restaurant turned out to be not just pretty posh but incredibly posh. Not quite as expensive as Brenner’s Park Hotel but up definitely up there with the ones that are soo not suitable for a girl like me (I’m common as muck don’t ya know). The food was gorgeous. I had foamed chick pea soup with some mini springroll type things filled with some kind of grilled fish floating in it for my starter. For the main course I ordered Veal “served two ways” (I am translating this from the German). This consisted of one piece of veal tenderloin (perfectly cooked and absolutely gorgeous) and something that tasted to me like canelloni (as in pasta tubes). These were filled with shredded veal. This was served with carrots, pureed parsley (it lloked like bright green mashed potato!) and gravy. Dessert was passion fruit creme roll served with coconut flavoured icecream. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous.

Last night I cooked lamb for some friends. There ended up being 6 of us (originally it should have been 7 but one ended up being unable to come). I have never roast lamb before so i was very nervous but it turned out really well. The lamb ended up being perfectly cooked. It was well done (because I detest medium meat) but still very tender and not at all dry. The mint sauce went down well, the roast potatoes were perfect – for the first time ever! And I actually managed to get the amounts almost right for a change. There was only just eneough left over for Jan and I to have them for lunch today. It was a brilliant night, full of good food, good wine and good conversation.
And now it’s all over and I just feel blah. Just like the girls in Ballet Shoes who thought nothing nice was ever going to happen to them again. Obviously I know there are things to look forward to and I will have fun nights again in the future, but right now it’s hard to remember that. Especially since all I’ve done today is sort out, wash and hang up laundry and I still haven’t had any more news about flats. So much for February bringing an end to the blues…

Wat I did on my hollidays

I’m now in to the third day of my time off. Funny how I seem to feel less inclined to blog when I actually have time for it. On work days my fingers are itching to blog all the way home. Itching I tell you! Whereas now that I am home and could spend all day blogging if I really wanted to I’m perfectly happy limiting myself to commenting on other people’s blogs and adding millions of lovely books to my Amazon wishlist. Next step winning the lottery so I can actually buy millions of books rather than just wishlisting them. Oh, and a huge house to fit them all in of course. I’d say the chances of that happening are fairly slim though seeing as I don’t even do the lottery.

Anyway, I’m sure you are all desperate to know what I’ve been doing with my time off. (What? What do you mean you’re not? But, but, I thought you caaaared!)

Let’s see…
On Tuesday I did two loads of washing. And I even remembered to get the second load out of the machine on time, before the next person called me demanding to be able to get their landry done. I was most impressed with myself. Despite this I still have an entire basked full of dirty clothes waiting to be washed. Why? It hasn’t been that long since I last did laundry. I swear stuff breeds in there. It’s worse than rabbits! I also sorted out the top drawer of my desk on Tuesday. This is another place where stuff breeds. It’s the only possible explanation. No way did I actually put all those receipts in there. Clearly they have been doing naughty things while I wasn’t looking. There must have been at least three generations of old receipts in there! I’m dreading moving on to drawer number two. It will have to be done soon though, if all goes to plan I’ll be moving out in just over a month.
Yesterday, which the observant among you will realise was Wednesday, I went out for lunch with a friend. We went to Lehner’s. I ordered jacket potato with tomato sour cream and grilled salmon strips. We received our drinks fairly quickly. We then waited and waited and waited some more. Half an hour later the waitress reappeared to tell me there was no salmon, could they offer me prawns or ‘Zander’ instead (just a moment, must go and look Zander up in my trusty dictionary… aah, it seems it translates as pike). I chose the pike. Ten minutes later the food finally turned up. It was very nice food, but not worth waiting all that time for, especially considering the place was half empty! My friend and I then went for a walk, ending up at Cafe am Markt where we drank rather yummy hot chocolate before I headed home to get ready for Spanish.
It was the last Spanish lesson of the “complete beginners” course, so after spending the first hour of the lesson actually learning Spanish we all headed off to a Tapas restaurant in town where the teacher had booked us a table. It was fantastic. I had patatas bravas – spicy fried potatoes covered in a gorgeous garlicky-cheesy sauce. It tasted wonderful. It was also a huge portion. It was enough to make a whole meal in itself.  And that was only the starter. I then had the main course of garlic chicken (it was so totally garlic night!), served with diced, fried potatoes (salty this time rather than spicy) and some fabulous sliced aubergine. This was served with a basket of bread. A whole basket, just for me. By the time we left my stomach felt like it was too big for the surrounding skin. I was like Mister Blobby, except not bright pink with yellow spots. It was totally worth it though. And I even managed to order my entire meal in Spanish. Go me!

Stuff what needs doing

I’ve just seen someone give a beggar woman some money outside Aldi. Nothing unusual in that you might think – except this lady gave the beggar 10 euros. She might as well have just led her into Aldi and let her pick whatever alcohol she liked for that! It’s probably have been cheaper. And don’t tell me that’s not what the money’s going to be spent on. I saw this woman remember, and she’s definitely a booze and cigarettes type of beggar.

So the boyfriend is insisting that the pieces of pig I saw in Karstadt yesterday were not penises but in fact tails. Yeah, whatever. I mean, he could be right. Schwanz does officially mean tail after all, but it is a slang word for penis (the German equivalent of cock I suppose) and I know what I saw! It was the shape that made me look at them in the first place and they were certainly not like any tail I’ve ever seen. Anyway, aren’t pigs tails curly? These things were far from curly. Yup, they were definitely penises… or possibly penii. Anyone know what the plural of penis actually is?

Anyway, none of that was what I actually wanted to write about.
What I really wanted to do was write my to do list. You see I have sooo much that needs sorting this weekend and left to my own devices I know I’ll spend half of it in bed (I’m ill remember) and the other half reading blogs. So I thought if I publish it on the internet for the entire world to see I might actually shame myself into getting everything done. Well, maybe not everything. Most things…. or at least some of it. So here for your viewing pleasure, is my to do list. (Oh the endless excitement that is my life).

Laundry – is there ever a time that I don’t need to do laundry? It seems to be the never ending chore. I’ve actually managed to get two washing appointments tonight – the first of which is in half an hour. Woo, soon I’ll be able to cross off the first item on my list.

Take out the rubbish – my bin is so full it’s practically overflowing! Ooh, and that reminds me, I really need to buy binliners as well. I’ve been using Aldi carrier bags as replacements for the last three months!

Sort out my desk – it seriously looks like a bomb’s hit it. God only knows what’s buried under all the random pieces of paper, birthday cards (Yes I am aware my birthday was nearly 2 months ago…) and randomly coloured ball point pens. Maybe I’ll find treasure under there… or at least a couple of euros to go towards next weeks shopping.

Send some emails – I am a terrible, evil awful friend. I spend 99% of my evenings on the internet but fail to send a single email, ever. It’s so much easier to just write comments on people’s Facebook walls then spend the rest of my time reading, writing and just generally being obsessed by the blogosphere. I do have a couple of friends who aren’t on Facebook though and I really, really need to get in touch with thembefore they realise how long it’s been since I last sent an email.

Buy a birthday present – my friend is 25 on Monday. I have no idea what to get her! I mean, I say she’s my friend but really I don’t know her that well. I do just happen to be one of the few people she knows in Germany though. And she bought me a present once. Anyone have any good gift ideas?

Do my assignment for Text Linguistics – it’s actually supposed to be due today, but nobody else has done it. And anyway, he only said around 10th October. And I’m not well. I really should do it though – it doesn’t seem right to fall behind in the very first week!

Check out the prices of flights to England in December – for once we’re going to try and book them before they get stupidly expensive. I’m probably the only peron in the world who’s had to pay 160 euros for a Ryanair flight from Dublin to Newcastle…

OK, that’ll do. If I give myself too many tasks I’ll only get overwhelmed and end up too stressed to get anything done… well, that’s my excuse anyway 😉
Now if anyone out there is actually still awake feel free to go and reward yourself with a piece of cake and some caffeine.


So the evil mosquito, the one I failed to kill on Thursday night… he came back and got me on Friday. I woke up yesterday morning and the first thing I noticed was that the side of my hand was itchy. Turning on the light for a closer inspection I saw that I’d been bitten. Then over the course of the day I discovered six more bites. That’s seven all together! Little beast had a busy night.  And Jan, who was sharing a bed with me, doesn’t have one single bite! Apparantly I’m unbelievably tasty…
I’m just surprised I actually have any blood left!

I’ll be back later to tell you all about my wine tasting experience in Heilbronn. Right now I have to try and find someone to change Euros into 20 cent pieces for me. Jan’s washing machine still isn’t connected so he’s gone home to pick up all his dirty laundry to wash here….

The day the world didn’t go BANG

Well the CERN experiment started today and it seems the world hasn’t ended after all. Either that or I’m a figment of my own imagination, typing on an imaginary keyboard. Somehow I think not…
The world couldn’t have ended today anyway. If the world’s going to end I’m sure it will choose a day when I have much more exciting plans than just going to work. Probably my wedding day. Just before I say the words “I do” the world will blow up, leaving me to die unmarried. At least that’s what would happen if I was a character in a book.

I’m really tired today and can’t be bothered to do anything. The dirty laundry is piling up again and threatening to take over my room, but before I can wash it I have to go into the cellar and get an appointment. If I’m lucky there’ll actually be one free before the end of this week. (Have I mentioned recently how much I hate living here? Just six and a half months til I can finally get my own flat!). The good news is that the boyfriend finally has a washing machine – his flat mate’s sister moved out of her flat and didn’t need the washing machine anymore, so her brother took it on. That means once I finally get to the bottom of the huge pile of washing I won’t have to wash all his clothes any more. Just the ones he leaves here whenever he comes over.

I also need to sort out my desk and find room on the bookcase for all sthe books that are just lying around. Quite frankly this room looks like a bomb’s hit it. It’s not entirely my fault though. There’s just so much stuff – and so little space. I’m sure when I first moved to Germany I actually had enough room for all my belongings. It’s amazing how much stuff can accumulate in two short years. And most of my stuff isn’t even here! I still have an entire room full of stuff at my dad’s house. Including most of my books. See why I need to get out of this place – it’s the only way I’ll ever get to have all my books with me! Without them I feel like a part of me’s missing.

Oh well, I’m off to make myself a nice cup of tea. Hopefully the caffeine will keep me awake until Jan gets here with whatever he’s decided we’re making for tea…

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…

How to do your laundry in a student residence

I was woken up at 10 to 3 this morning by my phone beeping. A text message. Was it a fire? A flood? Had somebody had an accident?

No! It was from E-Plus telling me I have no credit and should top up now, now, now becasue they so desperately need the money! Why do they feel the need to inform me of something I already know at such a ridiculous hour? Do they think waking people up will make them more likely to do as they’re told. “Yes E-Plus, I will put hundreds of euros on my phone. Just please let me get some sleep!” Maybe I should try it. I’ll call random friends when I know they’re sleeping and demand money from them. I’ll either end up rich or friendless…
Usually I don’t let it get to the stage where I have literally no money on my phone, but this time my boyfriend ruined that plan by answering the phone when I tried to one ring him. Who picks up on the first ring anyway? I bet if I’d actually wanted him to pick up it would have taken 10 rings, or 15 or 20. I suppose E-Plus is right really, I do need to top up my phone. But with what money? Hmmm? Answer me that one you lovely people at E-Plus.

There are many things I would like to do if I had money. Move out of this place for a start. This morning I had to spend 10 minutes cleaning the mud out of the bottom of the shower before I could actually get in and wash myself. Thank you so much whoever left the mud in there. I need to do some washing as well but I can’t… until Friday! There are 2 washing machines in my building. Two! For more than 100 people! To use a washing machine you have to get an appointment. So yesterday before work I trailed down into the cellar to try and get an appointment… There were no appintments left at all yesterday. For today every slot between 6 (when I finish work) and midnight (the last slot) was taken. Same for tomorrow. I managed to get one appointment for Friday evening. That’s one load of washing, two if I time it exactly right and manage to first get my washing into the machine dead on 7:30pm and then manage to get down there with my second load just as the first cycle finishes. Doing laundry in this building is a fine art.

I also need to get new clothes when I finally have money. Clothes for the summer. I’m not just saying this in an “I am female and I really need new clothes beacuse I just do and that’s all there is to it, ok?” kind of way. I really, really do need summer clothes. Or at least summer clothes that are suitable for work. I’m currently sitting here in brown pin-striped trousers, a top with three quarter length sleeves and a pair of boots with fur inside them. Yes, fur. My feet a boiling and I’m not even at work yet. So I need shoes. And I need skirts so my legs don’t have to boil in trousers. But most of all I just need money!

Why I’d make a crap housewife

I’m tired, again. I really, really want to go to sleep, but I can’t. In 45 minutes I have to go eat with my floor. They have a thing lately about eating together once a week. Two or three people do the cooking and the rest of us turn up when it’s ready and enjoy. It’s quite a nice idea actually.

I also have to go down into the cellar and fetch the washing that I left down there to dry. There’s a room down there with a bunch of those metal things that my mam always called clothes horses and my dad calls airers. Before coming to Germany I never realised cellars had actual rooms in them. I always pictured one big room that covered the whole area of the house above it, kind of like a loft but without the slopey roof and random bits of wood (beams I belive their called) lying in wait for unsuspecting victims to bang their heads on. So I was quite surprised when Jan first took me to his parents house and I found out their cellar is divided into about 6 different rooms. And not all of them are used for storing potatoes and wine either, which is what I’d always assumed cellars were for. So there you go. Anyway, I digress…
So, as I was saying… I need to go and collect my washing from downstairs. Once I’ve fetched it I need to replace the incredibly dirty bedding that’s on my bed with the nice clean stuff that I washed the other day. I meant to change the bedding at the weekend, but then I realised the one other quilt cover that I actually have in this country was in the laundry basket waiting to be washed, so that was a bit crap.

Stuff like that is typical of me. That’s one of the reasons I would make a crap housewife.
Here are some more reasons:

* I cannot iron to save my life. This is despite my dad, who was in the army, teaching me how then forcing me to iron my school blouses every week for 4 years. When I try to iron the clothes end up more creased than when I started. You’d think that would be impossible. Not with me it isn’t. I’m also scared of the iron, which doesn’t help. I’m afraid I’m going to burn my fingers or set the clothes on fire or something. Weird I know, but I just can’t help it.

* I’m also crap at shopping. Not clothes shopping – I can do that. I can also do shopping for books pretty well. No, it’s food shopping I suck at. Whenever I go shopping I will always forget half the things I need. Usually I will come back with a load of stuff I don’t need instead. Now you’re probably thinking the solution would be to write a list. Nope, doesn’t work. I’ve tried it. 99.99% of the time I leave the list at home.

* I hate washing up with a passion. Partly it’s because I’m allergic to most washing up liquids and I don’t particularly like coming out in a rash, but even with a brand of washing up liquid that I can use I don’t like it. It’s the way all the little bits come off the dishes and end up floating around in the water, then when they brush up against your fingers they feel all soggy and disgusting. Plus your hands end up all wrinkly and smell funny. I don’t like washing up with rubber gloves either. The feel of rubber gloves is worse than the soggy floaters.

* I’m far, far too lazy to make a good housewife. I’ll put things down somewhere, meaning to put them away later, then I’ll put more things down on top of the original things and a week later I’ll look at the pile of stuff and think “I should really put that away, but I sooo can’t be bothered.”

See? Crap! The only housewifely (housewifeish?) thing I can do is cook. I’m pretty good at cooking. Last night I made chicken and chick pea curry for tea. It was only the third time in my life I’d made curry and I wasn’t even using a recipe, but it came out pretty well – despite the fact that my floor has the worst selection of spices ever!! So I’ve got the cooking thing down. As for the rest… I guess I’ll just have to marry a man that likes to iron and doesn’t mind washing dishes…