This is the last time I will be writing a Friday letters post from Germany… for the foreseeable future anyway. Last night was the first viewing of our flat for potential new tenants, so I spent hours getting it clean and tidy for them. Tomorrow will consist of more of that (apparently I have to do the windows again because “they’re streaky” and I’m also expected to wash the insides of the frames (as in the bits you can only see when the window is open, but they’re inside so I have to wash them?!). I also still need to empty and clean the fridge and we have a whole load of glass jars and bottles that need to be taken away… I actually can’t wait to hand the keys over and get out now! Anyway, letters time…
Dear Cillit Bang. For ages I refused to buy you because I figured anything that needed to advertise itself as prominently as you do must be overcompensating. After trying pretty much since we moved in to remove the black marks from our shower walls by various means, I finally caved on Wednesday and bought you. It turns out you really are good. So I suppose adverts aren’t always lying liars that lie?
Dear hands. If you can just get through this weekend I promise to give you a break from cleaning for a while.
Dear Germany. After Sunday, the next time I see you I will just be visiting. Thanks for all the great memories!
Dear furniture. I can’t wait to see you again! And especially to sit on the sofa instead of a folding chair.
I hope you all have a great weekend – and with much less cleaning and heavy lifting than mine will involve!
I’m finally getting round to writing my first Friday letters of the year and I realise I actually have very little to say! It hasn’t been the most eventful of weeks. Oh well, I’m sure I’ll think of something…
Dear cheese. Why are you so tasty? It makes resisting you very difficult!
Dear tax advisers. I hope you can answer all our questions so we can get on with things soon!
Dear flats. I’ve already found a few of you online, so as soon as we figure out which side of the border we’ll be living on I’ll make some appointments to come and see you.
Dear time. Please could you stop going so fast? January is half over already and I feel like I’ve made no progress on the moving to (probably) Switzerland thing.
That’s all for today. Have a great weekend, everyone!
Thank you all for the lovely comments on my last post. I bet you thought now my dissertation is over I would have time for my blog again. Yeah, me too. But once the dreaded dissertation was handed in the whole moving thing took over every single minute that I wasn’t at work. The new flat is very much still a work in progress, but we’ve got the bedroom finished-ish (painted, skirting boards put on, bed put together) and today is official moving day. This will be my last post for a while. Once the computer is unplugged and taken away I will no longer be able to access the Internet. I’ve arranged for my contract to be transferred to the new place as of tomorrow, but as far as we can tell the connections in the flat are all wrong so somebody is going to have to come out and provide us with something to attach the modem to. No idea when that will happen. I will be back then anyway, whenever ‘then’ turns out to be.
For now I shall leave you with some photos of the bedroom, the island of calm admidst the chaos. (Trust me, you don’t want to see what the other rooms look like… furniture and boxes piled in every bit of the living room and dust sheets all over the place to catch falling bits of paint! We shall have our wrk to cut out to get everything looking semi-decent before my visitor comes on the 31st…)
Very quick blog post today.
Jan has gone to fetch the car and I’m supposed to be finishing the packing/cleaning. I thought I’d take a break for a few minutes though and say bye bye to my bloggy friends.
I shall miss you all! Try not to have too much fun in my absence ok, I’m going to be having withdrawel symptoms as it is 😉
It’s a little weird to be leaving the student residence. I’ve had some good times here. The first time I left (in July 2004) I actually cried. It was the end of my year abroad and I was going back to England. At the time I had no idea whether I’d ever come back here. Jan and I had agreed to try the long-distance thing, but as he was going all the way to America I wasn’t all that hopeful. We survived the year though, and the folowing year when I was in Austria and he was back in Germany. And now here I am, leaving the residence again. But this time I’m only going round the corner – to my very own. I’ve never had my very own flat before! So I’m excited and nervous and happy but also just a little sad. Talk about emotional rollercoaster!
Anyway, must go. It’s time to get back to dealing with the dust… and dragging heavy boxes outside…
It’s my last night in the student residence.
By this time tomorrow I’ll be moved in to my new flat. I’ll even have a little bit of furniture.
Wow. I can’t believe I’m actually moving out. 2 and a half years I’ve been here. It’s been a while since I’ve spent that long living in one place. Even at uni I lived in various different places (halls in first year, house with friends in second year, then year abroad in Germany and in final year a different house with different friends).
I still have soo much to do. I need to finish packing. I need to clean. I need to take out the rubbish, sort out which food is coming with me and what can be given away or binned. And I only have until 11:30 tomorrow to get it all done. So of course today had to be the Friday that I wasn’t able to leave work on time. Some of you may remember me mentioning that we get to leave work at 4pm on Fridays, provided we work til 5:15 every other day of the week…
Well, today I was lucky to catch the 22 minutes past tram (I ran and reached the platform about 30 seconds before it did). Yesterday it was nearly 5:30 when I left. And on Tuesday I stayed for an extra 15 minutes so that I could leave early on Wednesday for Spanish. The one week that I would have liked to get home and get things done I’ve ended up spending more time at work than ever. The Law of Sod as my dad would say…
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…
I’m moving the first lot of stuff over to my flat today. Jan has got a car from 1pm so this afternoon all the smaller things that I can manage to live without for the next week will be off on its travels. Then next Saturday at 11:30 I’ll be doing the official handover of the keys. I’ve just been to see the caretaker about it and been told I can’t leave, I’m already a permanent fixture. Someone likes me then it seems. 😉
It’s all very exciting! Looks like I’ve got a busy morning ahead of me though – it’s 10:30 already and so far I’ve managed to pack one bag and two small boxes. Better get a move on then!
I went to pick up the key to my new flat today, which meant I got to see it freshly painted and without other people’s furniture in it. It was most exciting. Of course, I took a few things over there with me. Nothing big or important – just a couple of books and two white candles with golden stars on them. Things that would fit in my handbag. With that pathetic amount I can’t really claim that I’ve moved some of my stuff in, but even just having those tiny little things there makes me feel good. It’s as if the place is now really and truly mine.
The first thing the lady from the housing association told me when I arrived was that I would have to call the Stadtwerke (dictionary translates it as public utility services) and arrange an appointment to have the elctricity back on. Then as we were leaving she mentioned that they were just around the corner if I wanted to pop in instead of calling. So I made my way to Stadtwerke. Once there I was absolutely amazed to be greeted by someone who not only pronounced my name perfectly first time (not sure that’s ever happened here before!) but was also incredibly helpful, phoning his way through 4 or 5 different departments to find out what was going on before asking me if I had time to go to my flat right away as they could send someone round within the hour. Wow! Talk about service! About 40 minutes later a man turned up, but unfortuantely the cupboard thingy where the electricity meter and switches live was locked, and I had no key for it. We then between us went to every door in the building but nobody seemed to know anything. Then he called his work to see if they have a key (apparantly the housing associations do that sometimes) but nope, no joy. He even called the housing association for me as I had no credit but the woman didn’t answer either her mobile or the landline. *Sigh*. At that point we decided to give up and I was about to leave when he decided to try his boss one last time. He’d had an idea… You see, usually he is responsible for another part of town. The only reason he’d turned up at my door was because the person he is usually responsible for the area was ill. So he got his boss to ring this poor colleague at home and find out what he usually does. Turns out someone who lives in another part of the same building (a part with a separate entrance strangely) has a key. So we rang her bell and she came down to open the cupboard. Phew. I then headed upstairs to check whether my lights were now coming on and the Stadtwerke man rang my bell on the way out so I could tell him through the intercom whether it had worked. It had – my electricity was there. Yay! I’m not sure why the woman couldn’t have just told me where to get a key while she was there and saved me the hassle, but all’s well that ends well as they say. And how nice was the Stadtwerke man for hanging around for that long to help me out? Most public services people would have been gone as soon as I said I had no idea where to find a key. My life in the new place is getting off to a good start I feel.
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.
Google UK just told me Paddington, the marmelade loving bear featured in the books by Michael Bond, is 50, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to say Happy Birthday to one of my favourite bears.
I used to have a Paddington Bear when I was little. He was about 15 centimetres high with a red hat and a blue duffle coat that could be fastened with real wooden toggles. He was brilliant. I knitted him a scarf once. I was about 6 or 7 and someone had bought me a kids knitting set for Christmas (with red plastic needles). It was probably my Grandma – she was always into knitting. I got some bright pink wool to go with it so I decided I was going to knit a scarf. I had only knitted a tiny, miniscule scarf (maybe 10 centimetres long) when i got bored of it, so I announced that it was going to be a scarf for Paddington, as if that had been my intention all along. And so it became Paddington’s scarf. Not too long after that both Paddington and scarf went missing – I suspect it happened during our move from Northern Ireland back to England. Lots of stuff went missing during our various moves. I was quite upset about losing Paddington. After all, I had loved him enough to knit him his very own scarf.
Now I have a new Paddington. I spotted him at Heathrow airport the week before last and told Jan, who doesn’t know the Paddington bear books, the story of how I knitted my Paddington a scarf and lost him. I must have sounded pretty nostalgic because Jan promptly counted out the last of his English money to go towards buying me a new Paddington. Naturally I chose one with a red hat and blue duffle coat – some had them the other way round but in my memory Paddington’s coat was blue! My new bear is holding a briefcase and has a label round his neck – “Please look after this bear”. His toggles aren’t real, but that’s ok. I still love him, and I love my boyfriend for spontaneously deciding to buy him for me.
Happy Birthday Paddington Bear! May you continue to eat marmelade sandwiches for another 50 years.