July 2020 recap

Hello friends. It’s link up day with the lovely Kristen, so let me tell you about last month.

My July started with a trip to the eye clinic. I had noticed my left eye itching more than usual the week before, but didn’t really think anything of it. Then on the Monday I had a headache after work. When I logged on to the system on Tuesday, everything was slightly blurry (although interestingly reading books and looking at my phone was fine). Luckily I was able to get an appointment at the eye clinic the next day. After a thorough vision test, the doctor decided she wanted to test for latent far-sightedness and told me I would be given strong eye drops first. People, she was not kidding about them being strong! It took until Friday evening for my pupils to be mostly back to normal (bearing in my mind I got the drops on Friday afternoon). It was Cyclogyl, if you’re wondering. Anyway… after looking at my eyes through the machine thingy, I was told to make an appointment with the optics department upstairs to see about getting glasses for reading and/or computer work. They actually had one appointment left that afternoon, so since I already wasn’t going back to work (considering after the drops everything was blurry and it was impossible to read), I took the appointment. First I had a looong appointment with some kind of assistant, who took a thorough history and then had me do various things while she held different lenses in front of my eyes, then I went to see a second doctor. Her verdict was that I do have latent far-sightedness, which my eyes generally accommodate for, and the blurriness was caused by eye strain/dry eyes. I got a couple of sample packs of artificial tears (which I later bought more of) and was told to come back in 2 weeks. If things didn’t get better with the drops I would need glasses now, otherwise she would expect me to need them in a few years, once I reach 40. After using the artificial tears for two weeks I didn’t notice much difference so I now have glasses for working on the computer. Yay!

The day after I dropped off my glasses prescription I woke up with pressure behind my nose and a vague “coldy” feeling. It gradually got worse through the week until I had pressure my ears as well. When I woke up feeling dizzy on the Sunday night then felt dizzy again when I went online the next morning I contacted my doctor. I ended up going there twice that week because I felt dizzy/had headaches every time I tried to sleep, then I got a referral to an ear, nose and throat specialist and was luckily able to get in on the Friday. He was pretty sure it was all the result of allergies (no sign of infection, my nose looks a little dry but otherwise healthy and not inflamed) so he proposed treating the symptoms first to give me some relief then doing allergy testing at a later date. The decongestant he gave me worked well enough that I was actually able to sleep for a stretch of more than an hour for the first time in 3 days which was nice, although it makes everything constantly taste of eucalyptus. So that’s where we are now. I’m taking the decongestant and a nose spray and while I still don’t feel 100% fit I’m much better and definitely well enough for a holiday. (For the record I’m not coughing, no fever, my symptoms are sinus related plus itchy eyes and when we’re not in the car we will be keeping our distance and using masks.)

People, I am almost *never* ill (didn’t have a single day off work for illness last year) so I am not loving the irony of having to visit multiple doctors (and not forgetting needing a filling back in May) during a flipping pandemic of all times! I’m not sure who I offended but I’m very sorry and I would appreciate it if you could lift whatever curse you’ve put on me now…

On the weekend after my first eye doctor appointment I decided to try and rest my eyes (so no reading and little phone time) and we drove out to Creux-de-Van, a giant circular rock formation in the French-speaking part of Switzerland. I saw a description of it as “the grand canyon of Switzerland” and while I wouldn’t go that far it’s pretty impressive.

The 26th July was my mum’s birthday and since they are moving soon I had flowers delivered to her rather than sending something she would need to pack.

And that was basically my July. I did manage to read quite a few books but other than that and our one day trip it was pretty much terrible – thanks unconfirmed allergies (or whatever you are). Oh, I hung some bunting on our balcony that I bought from Etsy ages ago. We still don’t have balcony furniture, but at least it’s a bit more colourful out there now.

Currently I am on holiday – this post was scheduled so hopefully will have actually posted – which means August cannot help but be a better month! (Right? Please let August be a better month!)

I hope you are all doing well and staying happy and healthy. Don’t forget to check out the link up!

A Photo an Hour: 26 September 2015

I finally remembered to take part in photo an hour again! Sadly it turned out to be the most boring day ever, with Jan away for a practice weekend with a choir he’s joined and me being ill. But oh well -at least I remembered!

10 a.m. Out of bed, and possibly for the first time in the history of photo and hour posts, I’m not starting the day with a cup of tea. Instead it’s Lemsip. Uhh, yay for something different?

11 a.m. Working on a self-designed cross stitch project for a pen pal exchange thing I signed up for. More on that in a later post.

12 noon. Time for a shower!

1 p.m. I decided to walk into Basel because I thought the fresh air and exercise might do me good. Also, there’s a post office there that’s actually open til a reasonable time on Saturdays! At 1 o’clock I was crossing the bridge over the tracks at the SBB train station, so this is an awful photo of that.

2 p.m. Still in town. Photo of a random street. The red tower you can juuust about see on the left in the background (next to the crane) is the town hall.

3 p.m. Home and before anything else I need a cup of tea!  (What? You didn’t think just because I missed my morning cup tea wouldn’t feature at all in this post? If you did, you’re clearly not British 😉 )

4p.m. Time to sort out the disaster area that is my kitchen – step 1: load the dishwasher

5 p.m. Peeling potatoes for tea.

6 p.m. (ish) I confess I took this photo ten minutes early so I could just eat and not worry about stopping for a photo. Tea time!

7 p.m. Packing the suitcase. Jan is coming back from his choir weekend today then immediately leaving for a conference in Germany. The next time I’ll see him is at the airport in England! So I had to get all my stuff packed ready for him to take away with him. The birthday present is for my godson – I posted a small one and this one is coming along.

8 p.m. Preparing to watch the rugby build up. Beer would probably be a more appropriate drink, but my choice was some hot ginger and honey thing.

9 p.m. It’s rugby time!

10 p.m. Still watching rugby. Half-time analysis.

11 p.m. Now that England have managed to lose the match at the last minute (should have gone for the points/a draw!), I can finally go to bed. Here’s Eeyore waiting for me.
And that’s it. I managed to take an even number of photos this time. Woo hoo! I hate when my symmetry is messed up!

I will provide a link to the roundup post of everyone’s days once one exists.

Friday letters

Good morning! With the exception of Monday’s post (which I actually wrote and scheduled the day before), I’ve been kind of absent from the blogosphere this week. Sorry about that! You’d think working from home would give me more time for blogging, but it doesn’t seem to work like that. Probably because I used to write a lot of blog posts in my lunch break but now I’m trying to actually leave the flat at lunch time. And after work I want to get the computer switched off as quickly as possible, not hang around writing stuff for my blog. Unfortunately my tablet refuses to upload posts (or even save them as drafts – none of the buttons work!), so unless I can motivate myself to schedule a load of posts at the weekend blogging will continue to be sporadic. Anyway, I went to pick up my proper residence permit on Wednesday so to celebrate we’re having horse steaks for tea tonight. Yes, you read that right. I bought horse steaks on purpose 😀 Now, on with the letters…

MailboxDear weather people. I wish you would agree on what the weather’s going to be like this weekend! Is tomorrow going to be cloudy but warm? Sunny with a few showers and possible thunder storms? Raining all day with thunder storms in the afternoon? I need to know!

Dear self. There is a never-ending supply of water in the taps, so drink it! And I don’t mean quickly down two glasses of water before bed because you suddenly realise you’ve barely drank any water all day…

Dear friends/acquaintances/family. FOUR birth announcements and two pregnancy announcements this week? SERIOUSLY? What is going on?

Dear Life of Pi. Sorry I abandoned you for a shorter/easier to read book this week. I will get back to you soon, promise!

Dear horse meat. I can’t wait to have you in my belly!

OK, that’s all I can think of today. Working from home has its advantages, but when you spend most of your time at home it doesn’t leave much to write about in a weekly update type post. Oh well, have a great weekend everyone!

*Editing to add: WordPress just informed me that I’ve been blogging for 7 years today, so happy blogiversary to me!*

The best laid plans…

At risk of boring you all to death, here are my plans for combining work and flat hunting this week, at least until we (hopefully!) get offered one of the places we’ve already looked at. Jan is in Munich for work, so I have to do it all on my own.

Monday: Start work at 7:30 (this didn’t happen… I got caught chatting to a colleague and it was 8 am by the time I actually started working – so I’ll have to have an extra short lunch break instead). Leave work at 4, catch a train to Basel (pray for no delays!) and view a flat at 7 p.m. Arrive back in Karlsruhe at 10 p.m.

Tuesday: Start work at 8:30 a.m. (normal time), work til 6 p.m., then go straight to pub quiz from work.

Wednesday: Work from home from 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. Afternoon off! Take train to Basel and view two flats in two different small towns just outside the city (one at 3 p.m., one at 5:30 p.m.). Possibly view a third flat in yet another small town between 6:30 and 7 p.m., if the person gets back to me.

Thursday: Work from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. I have no evening plans, so I’ll either work some more from home later or finally get round to doing the dishes that will have been waiting for me since Sunday!

Friday: (Current plan) Work from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (First normal working day of the week!). However, if somebody offers me an appointment after 6 p.m. on Friday, I’ll be doing the same as Monday – start work at 7:30 a.m., leave at 4 p.m. and catch a train to Basel.

As of now, I have no appointments for the weekend, but this may change if I find the time to phone people or if anyone else responds to my emails.

Things I will not be doing this week: eating, sleeping, finding time to breathe!

Friday letters: the end of February

February is over! Well, practically. There’s still tomorrow to get through. Then it will be March… the month that Jan was supposed to be moving. Actually, the month Jan has to move seeing as he starts his new job on the 1st of April!! Today I am leaving work early to go to Basel again. Jan is already there, and has about 10 flats to view today. I wish I was exaggerating! Then we’ll be staying overnight because we have another viewing tomorrow… at 8 a.m. In the meantime, we’ve had our second rejection. Oh joy. Here are this week’s letters. Apologies in advance for any negativity.

letter box

Dear Basel flat owners/agencies. Please could one of you just offer us a flat?! If I’d known it was going to be this difficult I would have started looking in December, and then taken a week off just to go to viewings.

Dear February. I know you’re the shortest month, but you’ve gone by way too fast this year! Between work and flat hunting, I’ve forgotten what a social life even is… and I still haven’t been to 90% of the places in Karlsruhe I wanted to visit before we leave.

Dear boyfriend. I know it’s your birthday on Sunday, and I’m very sorry, but the main part of your present hasn’t actually arrived yet. I’m hoping it will be waiting for me when we get back from Basel tomorrow!

Dear weather. How kind of you to be sunny/warm all week then start to rain just as we reach the weekend! (//end sarcasm)

Dear books. When did you get to be so many? I packed 2 boxes with you last night, yet anyone coming to our flat for the first time would assume all my books were still on the bookcases! I think we may need another bookcase once we’re in the new flat!

Dear work. Thank you for letting me leave early today (and last Friday). I will make it up to you once we finally find somewhere to live!

That’s all folks. I hope your weekend is less busy/stressful than mine is shaping up to be.

Six months to go!

29 1/2

My 30th birthday is exactly six months today.

Last year, I thought nothing could be worse than 29. After my 29th birthday, I knew that none of the things I would have liked to have done before 30 was happening. Have a baby? Only if I managed to get pregnant within 3 months of my birthday. Even if we’d decided to try the chances of someone who’s been on the pill for 10 years getting pregnant straight away are fairly low. Get married? Sure, if I was willing to forego the whole being engaged part – and the bit where I get to arrange my dream wedding – and elope or something. 29, as far as I was concerned, was already too late (I know, how stupid, right? No lectures please! But that’s how I felt.). So 30 shouldn’t be too much of a shock to the system. After all, by the time the big birthday came around I’d have had a year to get used to the fact that I wasn’t going to get what I wanted. After 29, 30 was going to be a piece of cake (mmm, cake!).


Six months on, it appears I was wrong. I still want to bury my head in the sand and pretend my next birthday is never, ever going to come. I still find myself comparing my life to everyone else’s and wondering what, exactly, I’ll have to show for myself once I hit 30. No kids, no husband, no PhD (just a Master’s, which anyone can get), no amazing career. I don’t even own a house (unlike my younger sister – there I go comparing again!) Okay, I moved to Germany, but I came to be with my boyfriend – a built in support network. And I studied German. Not nearly as impressive as dropping everything to move to South Korea without knowing the language first, or emigrating to Australia alone. In fact, I’ve never even been to either of those places. Most of my travel has been within Europe. For holidays – not real, life changing travel. And I still live close enough to my family to be able to run away back home if necessary. As for a career, while I love my job, dedicating my whole life to a career is the last thing I want!

So, six months away from my 30th birthday, I still have no idea what I want to do and feel like I’ve achieved very little. Please tell me this is just a symptom of reaching that milestone and things do get better?

On the plus side, I’m up to 12 in my list of 30 German Towns Before 30, so the remaining 18 should be achievable. I just need to finally get round to blogging about those I actually have been to…

Other people’s good news and negative thoughts

It’s hard to wait around for something you kno...
Photo credit: deeplifequotes

The other day, I learned that a good friend is pregnant. She’s already mother to my favourite child in the whole world, who will be one on Friday. The new baby is due at the end of August. On hearing that she was pregnant again, my thought pattern went something like this:

  • Aww, M is pregnant again. How nice! S will have a little brother or sister.
  • S is going to be one soon. It’s been a whole year since we were welcoming him to the world. What have I done during that year? Nothing, that’s what. And now M is pregnant again.
  • Other people my age are moving on to their second child. I haven’t even had one yet. When does it get to be my turn? Not any time soon, that’s for sure.
  • What if it’s never my turn? It’s not like I’m getting any younger. I’m 30 this year! For all I know I’ve already left it too late! And even if I haven’t, by the time Jan either makes up his mind or I manage to find someone else it probably will be.
  • Do I even really want a child? maybe I just think I do because it’s the next step in life. And because babies are cute. If I really, truly did I would probably have done something about it by now. Yes, Jan says he isn’t ready, but I can’t really blame this on him, can I? I could have left before it was too late.
  • Anyway, newborns terrify me. I’m always convinced their going to break if I even think about touching them. And I have no idea how to change a nappy. I probably wouldn’t make a very good mother anyway. Maybe there’s a good reason I’m still childless at nearly 30!
  • Who am I kidding! of course I want children. I always have! I can’t think of anything sadder than having to go through life never having a child of my own to love. And look at how happy all my friends with kids are. They get to lavish their affection on someone that they actually made, teach their babies everything they know, nourish and nuture an actual human life. How can that not be an amazing experience?  And just look at how adorable their little people are. How could I not want that?

Sometimes, I truly wish that I didn’t want kids. Life would be so much easier! And I wouldn’t have to feel horrible about being jealous of people I’m actually incredibly happy for.

On friendship, and the lack of it

I thought long and hard about writing this post. There are some subjects that it’s difficult to get into without sounding self-pitying, and that’s really not what I want. But in the end I decided just to do it anyway.

I don’t really have any friends around here.

This is not a plea for sympathy or a desperate attempt to fish for compliments. It’s just a simple statement of fact – so please, no comments along the lines of “I’m sure that’s not true”.
It’s not like I’m a total recluse or anything. I actually know quite a few people, and I could probably manage to get at least one or two people to come out with me any night of the week. But someone to go out for a drink/coffee or to see aconcert with isn’t really a friend. Not a close friend anyway… so maybe what I should have said was I don’t have any close friends. I’m ok with that most of the time, but occasionally it gets to me. Especially when I’m feeling down or something and need someone to talk to, and there’s only Jan. Not really practical when I need to talk about Jan. And, of course, it puts a huge burden on him as well, having to be both my boyfriend and my sole confident, and knowing that he has to help because there’s noone else I can turn to. And of course, that all leads to the question of who I’m going to turn to when (and yes, I mean when) he leaves me. I used to have friends, back in England. Not many, admittedly – and quite a few people who I thought were friends at uni got to the end of final year then said “Now I’m never going to have to see you again I can tell you: I never actually liked you”. Charming.  But I had friends. I can’t really talk to them anymore though, now that I’ve been living abroad for almost six years and we’ve grown apart. They’re all going on with their lives, while I’m here, standing still. And how can I tell someone who’s recently married and floating on cloud nine that my boyfriend doesn’t want to marry me, or confide in a new mother who’s just finished describing how wonderful being a parent is that I’m currently busy trying to convince myself that I don’t actually want children so that I won’t be disappointed when I never do. Especially when it’s the first time in years that I’ve actually spoken to those people.

What I need to do is get out there and make new friends – preferably with people who are in the same situation as me. The last thing I need is more friends with babies, so I can torture myself by looking at all their photos. The only question is… how? I know it’s partially  my fault I don’t have that many friends. I’ve never been particularly good at making them, and the times I have managed it I’ve no idea how it happened! I’m usually quite shy, so in social situations where I don’t know anybody I’ll either be too quiet and nervous (making people think I’m either bored or antisocial) or I’ll overcompensate and say too much, which of course people don’t like either, so they’ll go away thinking “Does she ever shut up? You can’t get a word in edgeways!”. I am also an expert at saying the wrong thing, which doesn’t help. Something that seemed ok when it was inside my head ends up sounding really wrong once it’s out there for everyone to hear. It takes a very special kind of person to still want to know me in spite of all that! So the making friends thing isn’t as easy as it sounds. I have been working on my social skills, and I think I have improved… but not enough. Not even close to enough. So where does that leave me?

When one door closes…

I actually felt quite guilty after pressing publish on my last post. There are people out there with real problems. People who are suffering from ill health, spending every day in pain yet still managing to live their lives as fully as they can. There are people who have lost their children, to illness, or suddenly to accidents. Genuinely difficult, heartbreaking situations that I can’t even imagine having to face. Then there’s me moaning on about problems that are mostly caused by my very own brain. But I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s my blog, and if I can’t write about my feelings here then where can I? That said, I think my last post may have come across more negative than I had intended. I don’t want anyone thinking I hate my life… far from it! I love my job and I love my boyfriend. I still enjoy living in Germany. Most of the time I’m pretty happy. But it’s always a little disappointing when things end, and realising that something I had always (naively?) thought would be in my future – namely me settling down and having a family – is now very, very, very unlikely to happen is an ending of sorts. Okay, so maybe there is a slim chance that my boyfriend will decide within the next year (i.e. while it’s still possible for me to have a child before I turn 30) that settling down with me wouldn’t be that bad, but while the door may not quite have closed yet it’s, at best, ajar, and even I know that pinning all my hopes on that little crack isn’t going to get me anywhere. I’ve spent too much of my life waiting, hoping that the obstacles on the path I wanted to take would disappear, or at least become surmountable. Recently I finally realised that that isn’t how things work. And I thought I had come to terms with it, but the fact that I still feel sad when other people get married or give birth tells me that I’m not quite there yet. I will get there though, all I need is time. But since I can’t expect other people to stop living their lives while I get used to the fact that mine needs to go in a completely different direction, a direction I haven’t managed to figure out yet, it may take a little longer. Much as I would love to, I can’t go and live in a bubble until I’ve figured out where I’m going! So I shall continue to blog about how I feel, even if my feelings are negative at that moment. Happier posts will come though – promise!

Give my life a meaning

So my ex-boyfriend’s baby girl arrived on Monday and my cousin gave birth to a son yesterday. That’s the latest round of babies over then. Isn’t it funny how these things always seem to come in waves? The ex’s baby wasn’t due until the beginning of June and my cousin’s baby came around 2 weeks late. Really, they should have been pretty much exactly a month apart, but instead two babies of my acquaintence come along in the same week. I am happy for them of course, especially my cousin. It’s about time there was a new addition on that side of the family – the last one is at school now! But my happiness is tinged with something almost like nostalgia, if you can feel nostalgic for something that isn’t in the past? Every time a pregnancy is announced, a baby is born or someone gets married I am reminded that this is something I’m unlikely ever to have. Meet someone, fall in love, move in together then get married and have a baby (the last two not necessarily in that order) is something for other people. My story ended somewhere around fall in love. Okay, I now live with my boyfriend, but only with a certain amount of reluctance on his part. And now I’m rapidly approaching 30, which means if (and it’s a big  if) anything does happen I’ll already be old (in parenting terms) before my first child comes along, which was the last thing I wanted.
Don’t get me wrong, I can totally understand why nobody would ever want to settle down with me. I’m argumentative, constantly say the wrong thing – or say the right thing in the wrong way (I hear my mother’s voice in my head at this point: “It’s not what you say, it’s the way you say it!”), I have next to no social competence and a tendency to see the worst in things. I wouldn’t want to spend the rest of my life with me either, if I had a choice. Which I obviously don’t. And I am aware that I am actually lucky. I should be grateful for what I’ve got – a wonderful boyfriend who loves me (even if he doesn’t know what he wants, which, after 7 years, would suggest that it definitely isn’t me!), a job that I am actually good at, I enjoy and where I have nice colleagues and a fantastic boss, a family who loves me (and who are far enough away not to constantly annoy me 😉 ). I should be happy. And yet… I’m not. Admittedly this  may just be another example of my constant negativity. I’m probably one of those people, who can never be satisfied no matter what. But I can’t help but think my life has no meaning. I’m just wandering around aimlessly with no idea what I want… although I do have a pretty clear idea of what I don’t want. Namely, to be a career woman. Yes, I love my job, but I can’t imagine anything more depressing than dedicating my life to it. Yes, promotions and things are nice, but surely nobody really wants to look back on their life and think “well, I did brilliantly at work anyway”. But if I’m not going to be a mother and I don’t want to be a career woman, what else is there? I need a change… a life makeover and a new direction. If only I knew where to start…