2015 goals

I mentioned a few days ago that I was working on a list of resolutions, or goals, for the year. I know traditionally you’re supposed to have resolutions all ready to go from the 1st of January so you can start making yourself feel bad immediately 😉 but I decided not to do that this year. A few of mine are more goals for after we move anyway, rather than for 2015. Others I already had in mind at the end of last year and have actually started working on. And now, without further ado, I shall get on with it…

  1. Make an effort to get out in the fresh air more. This will be especially important after we move, when I will be working from and won’t even have my daily commute to get me out of the house, but it would have been on my list even if we were staying in Karlsruhe. I spend far too much of my time sitting around at home or in the pub, which may be fun but it’s no good for my health! This year I want to make more of an effort to get outside and enjoy the fresh air… especially when it’s sunny! I waste so many beautiful weekends lolling around in my PJs. If I’m going to avoid the housework anyway, I might as well avoid it somewhere where it isn’t staring me in the face! Also, once I move I will no longer have to leave the house to go to work, so I’m going to have to make a real effort to at least go for a quick walk every day to avoid going mad!
  2. Get more exercise. By which I mean get any exercise at all! Apart from when we’re visiting a city, which always involves a lot of walking, my only exercise consists of bringing the shopping home from the supermarket and walking to the pub. That’s something I’m determined to change this year. I’m sure my health (and my giant backside!) will thank me in the end.
  3. Throw away less food. I’m afraid I have to confess that a lot of what I buy either goes out of date or turns green before I actually get round to using it. Not only is this a terrible waste of resources and the exact opposite of environmentally friendly… it’s also not exactly good for my bank balance. I want to stop wasting food anyway because of the first two points, but the money aspect will become a very real problem once we move and start having to pay Swiss prices for things. It’s time to start paying attention to what’s in my fridge and actually using food up in time!
  4. Save money. Which mostly means curbing my Amazon habit (cheap books are my greatest weakness!) and avoiding buying clothes that I don’t actually need just because they have cute animals on them. Switzerland has a much higher cost of living than Germany and I’ll still be earning the same wage! Saving desperately needs to happen.
  5. Once we move, make an effort to get out and meet people. I am terrible with people I don’t know, especially large groups of people I don’t know. In Switzerland, I’m not going to know anybody and it’s not as though I can make new friends through work. My natural instinct would be to hole up in the flat with my cross stitch and my blog, but I’ve done that before and it was a horribly lonely existence. Making friends as an adult is hard, but I know I need to do it if I’m going to be happy in my new home. Obviously I’m not expecting to find a whole new group of friends straight away, but I want to at least be able to say I tried!
  6. Read 70 books. This is a goal I’ve set for myself on Good Reads, and normally I would say “easy-peasy”! But after March I will no longer be commuting every day, which means I’m actually going to have to purposely make time to read. Wish me luck!
  7. And finally, a goal for the first three months of 2015… i.e. the time I have left in Karlsruhe. While I’m still here, I want to make an effort to visit all those places I’ve been meaning to check out for ages, as well as revisiting places that I enjoyed once but never went back to. Among other things, I need to have high tea at Sukie’s, drink cocktails at Kofferaum again and try the Portuguese restaurant that’s supposed to be really good. And of course it would be nice if we could win one more pub quiz before we go!

I think that’s it. Seven seems like a lot of goals for one year, but I think they’re all realistic enough. Here’s to a fabulous 2015!

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I hope you sang the title while you were reading it, because I certainly did while writing it 😉

I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while. But 1) it wasn’t entirely my news to tell and 2) it wasn’t actually official until just before Christmas. Obviously I couldn’t say anything on here until things were 100% definite and all my real-life people knew! However, now contracts have been signed, bosses have been spoken to and family/friends have been informed, which means I can also blog about it without any risk of someone who should have been told by official means stumbling across my news via my blog (unlikely, but possible).

At the end of last year, Jan was offered a job in Basel (he wasn’t even applying for jobs at the time… he had worked on a project with them once and when a position opened up they called him). After paying a visit to the company, negotiating a few things (such as a few days off during the probation period as he will still have students to supervise here) and working out whether the pay really is as good as it sounds (Switzerland being an expensive country), the decision was finally made that Jan would take the job and the contract was signed and sent off just before Christmas. (Phew, complicated sentence there. Sorry!) (Also sorry for the overuse of brackets).

Basel town hall
Basel town hall

Although Basel is close enough to Karlsruhe for a day trip, it is definitely not close enough to commute! So some time around March/April we shall be moving to the Basel area. Jan starts on 1st April, so he’ll go first, probably in March, then I’ll join him at the end of April. Whether the move will actually take us to Switzerland or whether we’ll stay on the German side of the border is yet to be decided, but either way it will be an adventure! While I will miss my friends and some other things, having lived in Karlsruhe for longer than I’ve spent in one place ever in my entire life, it feels like a good time to move on and try something new. In the meantime, the next few months will be dedicated to trying out all the places in Karlsruhe I never got round to visiting, and also making sure to check out all the old haunts at least once more. There are a lot of places I need to day farewell to!

Our next step will be to meet with an adviser who specialises in cross-border employment. He will hopefully help us with the decision on where to live, then we’ll be flat hunting, packing and dealng with bureaucracy for the next few months (and then more bureaucracy after we move!). As for what I’ll be doing when we get there… well, I should be able to telecommute. My (new!*) boss likes the idea and has said he sees no reason why it shouldn’t be possible. All we need to do is work out details. So keep your fingers crossed that works out!

*Just to make things extra complicated, my company was sold at the end of last year so I now have 2 new bosses! I only spoke with one of them as the other wasn’t there that day. Oh, and when I wrote the e-mail asking for the meeting my female boss assumed I was pregnant! (I’m not, before you ask.) Male boss correctly guessed I was quitting because he remembered that my boyfriend was due to finish his PhD soon. This probably says something interesting about the differences between men and women.

2014 resolution recap

We’re already a week into 2015 and I’m only just getting round to recapping my resolutions from last year! Oh well, the new year doesn’t properly start until I’m back at work anyway, and while I was technically back on Monday, yesterday was another holiday in Germany so I’m only just starting to get back into a routine now. That’s my excuse anyway 😉 So how did I do on last year’s resolutions? Well, I actually only made three, and I managed to stick to them all. Here’s a recap:

  1. Travel more. I wanted to at least make an effort to go on day trips, and I managed that plus much, much more, spending time in 8 different countries over the course of 2014! Taiwan and Vienna were just two of the bigger trips I took, with a few day trips to France (Colmar), Switzerland (Basel) and some new-to-me German towns (Bad Bergzabern) thrown into the mix as well.
  2. Keep not biting my nails. Most of my nails are still not long because they insist on splitting, getting caught on things and just generally being annoying. But I can honestly say I haven’t bitten any of them off. Success!
  3. Enjoy the time I have with my boyfriend and stop worrying so much about the future. It’s difficult for me not to worry about the future… I need to know that what I have right now isn’t all there is! But I think I’ve done a reasonably good job of living in the moment and not nagging about what’s next. And no sooner did I manage to starting living in the moment than something came up that meant Jan had to make a decision about our future together anyway. Oh universe, you’re such a tease!

So that’s three resolutions made and three kept. I do have a number of goals for this year, but I’m still busy finalising and thinking about them, so you’re just going to have to wait for that post – by which time I’m sure you’ll all be completely sick of resolution posts anyway so you’ll most likely never even read mine ;-). Oh well, c’est la vie as the French would say.

 

Final Friday letters of 2014!

What with Christmas and New Year, I’m not going to be around much over the next couple of weeks, so this will be my final Friday letters for the year. Today is my last day at work, tonight we have a birthday party to go to and tomorrow we head North to visit Jan’s family for the holidays. Hopefully I can get my final Christmas card finished before the party tonight (for his mum), then I can actually relax for a while! For now, though, I give you letters…

Mail box

Dear German bakers. Why must 90% of your sandwiches have remoulade in? And so much of it as well! If I can’t taste the cheese properly you’re doing something wrong!

Dear life. When did you become so complicated?! Please stop it!

Dear Christmas. For something that only lasts two days, you bring an awful lot of work with you! Thankfully I’m pretty much finished now.

Dear final Christmas gift. You never did turn up, so now the package for my dad’s household isn’t going to arrive til after Christmas. Thanks for that!

Dear gift recipients. I hope you all like what I’ve got you.

Dear 2014. Although I’ve had some amazing experiences (Taiwan!), you haven’t been my favourite year. Honestly, I’m glad you’re ending even if I do feel like you only just started!

Dear 2015. All I know about you right now is that you’re going to be very different to 2015. Here’s hoping the adventure is a good one!

No links this week because I’ve been to busy to gather anyway. Instead I shall wish you all a very merry Christmas and all the best for 2015. Here’s hoping it’s an amazing year for all of us!

A photo an hour: 14 December 2014

This month, Jane’s photo an hour took place on a Sunday. The day before, I had been out and about, but on photo an hour day I didn’t actually do a great deal, so it’s another boring one I’m afraid 😉 I didn’t even go grocery shopping because everything’s closed on a Sunday in Germany!

11 a.m. We were out watching a friend’s band the night before, so my day got off to a late start. First things first, must make a cuppa!

12 noon. Turning a cross stitched design into a Christmas card.

1 p.m. Back stitching.

2 p.m. Another card finished!

3 p.m.(ish) Out of the shower, time to get dressed.

4 p.m. Time to clean the kitchen.

5 p.m. Starting to cook tea. This is the second month in a row that this picture has shown a pumpkin – I swear we do eat other things!

6 p.m. Time to eat.

7 p.m. Second attempt at reading a book by a local author for the winter reading challenge. This time it actually does have enough pages.. I checked!

8 p.m. “If I’m going to post these cards tomorrow I should probably actually address the envelopes…”

9 p.m. I’ll just try and get one more card finished before I go to sleep…

10 p.m. Bed time! (Except I forgot to actually take a photo so here’s a bonus one of another completed card to avoid ruining my symmetry…)

Friday letters and links

Hello there! It’s Friday again, and after today I only have one more week at work before the Christmas holidays. I’m very much looking forward to not having to get up at 6 a.m. for a couple of weeks! We’re visiting Jan’s parents for Christmas then for New Year… well, as of right now we’re doing nothing! Iceland is out because flights were too espensive. Bruges was on the table, but other than me looking up train prices and letting Jan know nothing has been done about it and by now it may be too late to even book somewhere to stay. So we may end up staying in Karlsruhe and having fireworks thrown at us all night. We’ll see… Anyway, Friday letters!

PostkastenDear final Christmas present. Please hurry up and arrive so I can finally finish wrapping stuff!

Dear post office. I think I’m only going to have to visit you one more time this year (unless I end up having . Yippee!

Dear Deutsche Post. I can’t believe stamp prices are going up again in January! I still have some left over from last year when it cost 58 cents to send a letter within Germany… now it’s going up from 60 to 62 cents. It isn’t even that long since said stamps only cost 55 cents! And as for putting the price of an international letter up from 75 to 80 cents… well, I don’t even know what to say to that!

Dear Speyer. We’re coming to visit your Christmas market tomorrow! 🙂

That’s all I can think of this week, so here are some links:

Christmas preparation: Gifts

Rebecca over at Becster.com is doing a 12 Days of Christmas linkup, with a different theme every two days. I won’t be taking part every time (I don’t even have anything to say for some of the topics!), but I thought I might join in a couple of times.

The first prompt in the link up is Christmas presents, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to moan about how stressful all the buying/wrapping/posting of presents is! So far, I’ve managed to get one package of gifts to the post office and sent on its way to England. For a small fortune, I might add. I think I paid more to send the parcel than I did for all the items inside it! Currently, my spare room floor looks like this:

Christmas gifts

What you see here is part of my godson’s Christmas present (Lego Duplo!), gifts for various other friends’ children, part of my sister’s Christmas gift and some Lebkuchen that’s going to a friend. The book is for my sister as well, but for her birthday which is right after Christ,as. The drawer behind the pile is also full of gifts – these ones are currently living on the floor because the drawer is full! I’m hoping to get two more packages sent off this week, then I just have to work out what to get for the awkward people in my life (I swear my dad’s girlfriend is the most difficult person to buy for on the planet!). I think I can be forgiven for being a little complainy/stressed, don’t you?

If you want to join in with the link up, click the button below.

12 Days of Christmas - Becster.com Link Up!