Friday letters and links

Today is my final day at work before a week off… and on Sunday I fly to Taiwan! Very exciting – although I’m not sure I’m looking forward to 13 hours of planes plus four hours of Dubai airport all by myself!. I’m sure I’ll survive though. In the meantime, here are this week’s Friday letters:

Postkasten

Dear child on the train. Yes, I know my teeth a wonky, thanks. Apparantly you don’t know it’s rude to point that out though! At nine, you should really know better than to make personal remarks.

Dear flat. I’ve done at least a little bit of tidying/cleaning every day this week, so why do you still look like a tornado went through you? Looks like tomorrow is going to be taken up entirely with packing and housework so we at least get to come home to a semi-decent looking place!

Dear work. You have once again been insane for the past few weeks. Much as I enjoy my job, I am sooo looking forward to an entire week of no translations!

Dear flights. Please be kind! If I’m going to be stuck on planes for half a day, I’d really rather it was without turbulence.

Dear tickly throat and occasional sneezed. Don’t even think about turning into a full-blown cold just in time for my holiday! Pre-emptive Lemsip will definitely be consumed tonight…

Dear boyfriend. Can’t wait to see you again!

Dear readers. Have a great weekend and don’t get into any trouble while I’m away 😉

And now here are some links for you:

Ok, that’s it. Those should be enough to keep you entertained for a while anyway 😉

Daily Diaries with The Lotus Creative

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Hans and Heidi no more!

**I still have more to tell you about Madeira, but I haven’t had time to write a post yetand I have Banoffee Pie to make today. This was in my drafts sooo… have a change of subject. Doors of Funchal old town and a post on the New Year’s fireworks coming soon, promise!**

I’ve always been interested in names… naming patterns through the ages, regional differences in naming children (even within the same country), the meanings of names, people’s reasons for choosing their children’s names… it’s all fascinating to me! So when the news show that Jan was watching just after New Year mentioned the Germany’s most popular baby names of 2013 I immediately sat up and took notice – and a good job, too, as it turned out. It came up as a question in the pub quiz last week! The day before said pub quiz, I happened to come across an article (this one here, actually. Note: It’s in German) that talked about the top baby names for 2013 in each of Germany’s Federal states. I’m sure I can’t be the only one who finds this stuff interesting, so I wanted to share what I’d learned with all you readers as well.
So, what were the most popular baby names given in Germany in 2013? Well, the top girl’s and boy’s name in 2013 were the same as in 2012, namely (ha, geddit?):

Ben and Mia

In most of Germany’s states, the top names were exactly the same as those for Germany as a whole, Ben and Mia. But in a few states there were slight differences. There were four states that differed from the rest of Germany: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Ben and Emma), Hamburg (Paul and Emma), Berlin (Felix and Mia) and finally Bavaria, which, according to the researcher, always has its own top names that are different to the rest. 2013 was no exception… the top names for last year in Bavaria were Maximilian and Sophia/Sofie. For my own Bundesland, Baden-Württemberg, Mia and Ben were top, followed by Emma and Luca/Luka in second place.  Sophia/Sofie and Lucas/Lukas came in third.

Ben was the number one name for German boys for the third time in 2013, while Mia has been the top girl’s name in Germany since 2009! It seems once a trend takes hold, it’s rather reluctant to go away again… which probably explains why there were so many Sarahs and Jennifers around my age at school!

And now, just because it was so fun, here are the top names in a few other countries. Where I couldn’t find statistics for 2013, I’ve taken the top names from 2012 instead:

Austria (2012): Anna and Lukas
Switzerland (2012): Mia and Noah
Liechtenstein: Anna and Luka/Luca
Netherlands (2012): Emma and Daan
Finland (2012): Ella and Onni
Sweden (2012): Alice and William
Norway (2012): Nora/Norah and Lukas/Lucas
Iceland: Emilía/Emelía (joint first with Katrín) and Aron
Estonia (2012): Sofia and Rasmus
Latvia (2012): Sofija and Roberts
Spain (2012): Lucía and Daniel
Peru (2012): María and Luis
Puerto Rico (2012): Mia and Sebastian
Northern Ireland (2013): Grace and Jack
Republic of Ireland (2012): Emily and Jack
England and Wales (2012): Amelia and Harry
Scotland (2013): Sophie and Jack
Canada (2013): Emma and Liam
USA (2012): Sophia and Jacob
New Zealand: Olivia and Jack

I’ve tried to arrange them roughly into language groups, but actually what I find most interesting is the similarities between completely different countries, for example Emma is top in both the Netherlands and Canada while Mia beats all the other girls in Germany and Puerto Rico! No more Hans and Heidi for the Germans (not that I believe Germans were ever predominantly called those names… but they were the most stereotypical I could think of 😉 )

As for my own name… Beverley has never featured in even the top ten of any ranking that I’m aware of… and to be honest, I’m glad! Although I did get annoyed as a kid when nothing came with my name on it…. ever!

* Most of my statistics came from Wikipedia, but a few came from the German website Beliebte Vornamen.

What’s in a name?

E
Photo credit: duncan

*No Friday letters today because I couldn’t actually think of a single one…*

Recently, Linda over at Expat Eye on Latvia was talking about some of mistakes her students make in English – both the amusing ones and those annoying ones that come up over and over, no matter how many times they’ve been corrected (you should really read her post by the way, some of the things her students come out with are hilarious!). This got me thinking about something that really annoys me when Germans speak English… their absolute insistence that we pronounce the letter “a” as if it were an “e”. The classic example was when somebody from the student residence I used to live in started telling me about “Nettley Portmen”. What? She is not covered in nettles. Her name is Natalie! No nettles involved, thank you! Also, it’s Portman. With an A!

Coincidentally, my friends and I were talking about something similar the other day… namely most Germans’ complete inability to cope with my name. This is an actual conversation that I’ve had more than once with native German speakers:

Me: Hi, I’m Bev.

German: Beth… like Elizabeth?

Me: No, Bev. Short for Beverley.

German: Aaah, Bethany! Pleased to meet you, Beth.

Me: No, it’s Beverley. Like Beverly Hills Cop.

German: Ohh, right! (Pause) But… isn’t he a man?

Me: *Stunned silence*

To be fair, I’ve only had the “but isn’t he a man” comment about twice. The rest happens almost every time I meet a German though. And don’t even get me started on the trouble that the e between the l and the y causes! (Yes, there really are three e’s in my name. No, that does not magically change the pronunciation… I’ve only had this name for 30 years, I do know what I’m talking about!). Ironically, all three of my siblings have names that would be perfectly normal in Germany (although my middle brother’s name would be pronounced differently here). My name is as English as they come, but I’m the only one who lives abroad…

Do you ever have trouble getting people to understand your name abroad? How do you deal with it?

The A to Z of me

Somone sent me this as an email. You’re supposed to complete the sentences that apply to you then send it back to whoever you received it from plus a bunch of people you think should do it too. Instead of emailing it I thought it would be a fun thing to blog about, so I’m going to do it here. I also think it would be great if my blogging friends did it too, so I hereby tag Katyboo, Welsh Girl and Hails over at Coffee Helps. Only if you want to of course. If anyone else reading this would like to do it too please feel free – just leave me a comment with a link to your post so I can pop over and have a read.

Did I by any chance just make my very first meme?
OK, here it is.

The A-Z of Me

A is for Ann. That’s my middle name.

B is for books. I like those a lot. In fact, I’m slightly obsessed with them. I would hate to live in a world eithout books. B is also for blogging, which I feel deserves a mention as it seems to be developing into my new obsession.

C is for Canada, somewhere I have never been but would like to go. Visit Canada is on my list of things to do before I die.

D is for dolphin. My favourite animal. I swam with dolphins at Zoo Marine in Portugal. It was a present from my mum and sister for my 24th birthday. D is also for dog. I am definitely a dog person. Cats are mostly either evil or stupid. Sometimes both.

E is for exercise, something I really need to start doing more of. The ten minute walk to the tram stop just isn’t enough…

F is for friends and family. My friends are the most important thing in my life. I don’t have many and find it hard to make new ones, which makes me appreciate the ones I do have even more. It’s just a shame most of them live so far away. My family come a close second in the important things stakes. We don’t always get along but when i need them I know they’ll be there for me.

G is for Germany, the country I’ve lived in for the last two years. I first came over at the end of 2003 for my compulsory year abroad. Jan and I got together in February 2004 then six months later I had to retrun to England. After spending a year there completing my degree followed by a year as a language assistant in Austria I decided it would be nice to actually live in the same country as my boyfriend again. It also didn’t hurt that I actually like Germany and still had a few friends here.

H is for homeless. I have no real home any more. Here I have a room in a student residence. In England I have a room at my dad’s place. Nowhere do I have a real home to call my own.

I is for icecream. I like icecream, especially posh icecream or the kind that comes in interesting flavours, such as those made by Häagen Dazs or Ben & Jerry’s. I is also for igloo. Wouldn’t it be cool to go inside a real one, built by actual eskimos?

J is for Jan, aka “the boyfriend”. We’ve been together 4 and a half years now and I can’t quite belive he’s managed to put up with me for so long. Mind you, for 2 years it was long distance so really we’ve only been in a regular relationship for 2 and a half years. Not actually living together probably helps too.

K is for kitchen. I love to cook, but not for myself. It’s much more fun when someone else is going to be tasting the result. I also love baking but unfortunately don’t often find the time for it.

L is for languages. I currently a speaktwo – English, as my native language, and German. I would like to learn a lot more, including Spanish, Ukranian and Italian.

M is for mother. I hope to be one some day. Ideally I would like three kids, but that’s looking less and less likely as the years go by.

N is for names. I’m fascinated by names – the meanings behind them, the fact that a name that’s definitely female in one country may be male in another. It’s all very interesting… honest!

O is for orangutan, just because they’re cool. When I was little I thought the word was “orangutang”.

P is for potatoes, my favourite food. I could live on potatoes. Baked, roast, fried… anything goes. Except boiled – boiled potatoes are just boring! Mashed potatoes on the other hand are the ultimate comfort food and fantastic on a cold, miserable day.

Q is for quiz. I used to go to pub quizzes with my dad. Occasionally my team even worn. I like the pub quiz at Flynn’s here in Karlsruhe – you can win a special prize for putting down an answer that they think is funny or clever. Usually the special prize (a bag full of crisps, sweets and maybe a random alcopop) is better than the real prize (whiskey, which I hate).

R is for red, my favourite colour. I wore a red dress at my 21st birthday party. It cost me 150 pounds, the most money I have ever spent on one item of clothing.

S is for Shirley, my future daughter’s middle name. My step mum was called Shirley. She died when I was 12. My first daughter is having Shirley as a middle name in her honour. Any man that can’t understand that isn’t worthy of being the father of my children.
S is also for siblings, of which I have three. A sister, who is two and half years younger than I am, and two half brothers one from each side of the family. The brother on my mum’s side is almost 18 (how did that happen? He was just a kid a few years ago!). The brother on my dad’s side has just turned two.

T is for translator, what I will hopefully be in a few years time. Right now I’m a trainee translator. The ideal job for me would be translating children’s books, but there’s not much money in it so it would have to be on the side.
T is also for travel. There are so many places to see, so many cultures to learn about. Why stay in one place all your life?

U is for university. I’m currently studying part time for my Master’s in Translation, via distance learning. U also happens to be for the name of my university, UWE, the University of the West of England.

V is for variety, the spice of life. The old saying is definitely true for me – I would get so bored if I was forced to do the same thing all the time!

W is for writing. For a long time I wanted to be an author. I still haven’t entirely given up on that dream, although now I don’t think I have the talent. I did do an OU fiction writing course last year though so you never know.

X is for x-ray, because it almost always is. I’ve never had one though – no broken bones here!

Y is for yellow flowers, something else I like. My favourite is daffodils, but I also love sun flowers. Yellow roses are pretty too.

Z is for zzz, as in sleep. I’m good at sleeping and tend to get irritable when I don’t get enough. Sometimes, when I’m really tired, I’ll just cry for no reason.

OK, that’s me done. Now it’s your turn…

Naming my daughter Daffodil

Reading BBC news during my lunch break today I discovered that Nicole Kidman has given birth to a baby girl. They’ve named her Sunday Rose. Not really surprising… it’s just another silly name in a long line of ridiulous celebrity baby names. What I wonder though is how come they’re allowed to get away with it? In Germany, when you go to register your child you have to prove that the name you’ve chosen is a) actually a name and b) fits the gender of your baby, so no calling baby boys Rebecca of girls David. If the name you’ve chosen can be used for either gender (think Robin and Jamie) you have to add a middle name that shows the actual gender of the child. So Ashley Jamie wouldn’t be allowed as neither name is gender specific. No random words (windy) or names of objects (table) are to be used as names. Obviously you can still end up with silly sounding names, either because parents pick something from another country that they have no idea how to pronounce (so Janine becomes something like Schaninuh) or because they combine two completely different names into a double name – a classic example from a German website is “Chastity-Claire”. But at least German children, even celebrity ones, are given names that are, in fact, names. Why do we not have this rule in England? How can people get away with naming their kids Asia (a country, not a name!) or Apple (fruit last time I checked)? Yes, I know all about freedom of opinion and not limiting people with too many rules, but honestly… would you want to be named Sunday Rose??

If I have a duaghter I think I’ll name her Daffodil. Maybe that way she’ll become famous one day! (Please note, this is a JOKE! I would never give a child a stupid name like Daffodil).

All that you never wanted to know about me

A lot of my friends seem to be into doing these random survey/questionnaire thingies that get you to answer questions about yourself, what you’ve been doing this week etc. They post them in facebook notes or send them in emails. Everywhere I look I see a new one, so I thought I’d steal one for my blog. Here for your viewing pleasure is everything you never wanted to know about me…

WHAT IS YOUR FULL NAME?

Beverley Ann …. no, I’m not going to publish my surname for all the weirdos to see.

ANY NICKNAMES?

Mostly I get called Bev, or ocasionally Bee/B. A couple of people who used to be interns with my called me Bevchen and I ocasionally get Bevvy from my sister.

WHEN IS YOUR BIRTHDAY?

13th August. Not too long to go now. Remember it people 😉

FIVE PLACES YOU HAVE LIVED:

1.Holywood, Northern Ireland
2.Bedlington, Northumberland
3.Nottingham
4.Austria
5.Germany

NAME THREE OF YOUR FAVOURITE BANDS/MUSICAL ARTISTS

1. Green Day
2. The Fray
3. Poets of the Fall (They’re Finnish but sing in English. Excellent band! Go look them up on Youtube right now! I’d recommend any song from the Carnival of Rust album)

AND NOW THREE OF YOUR FAVOURITE SONGS

1. Bette Midler – Wind Beneath My Wings
2. Green Day – Scattered
3. Kettcar – Balu

WHAT DID/WILL YOU NAME YOUR FIRST DAUGHTER?

Well that really depends on the father’s surname doesn’t it? I definitely want Shirley as a middle name though, after my step mum. All the names I can think of that sound nice before Shirley end in ‘a’. At the moment I like Melissa, Kristina, Natasha, Louisa, Matilda, Natalia, Elena (pronounced Eh-lay-na) but we’ll see what happens when/if I ever have a daughter.

AND YOUR FIRST SON?

Again, depends on the father’s surname. I want Michael (after my Grandad) as a middle name for a boy though. Not as a first name – too common! If (big if!) I end up having kids with Jan our son would be called Karl Michael, Karl being after his Grandad.

WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE PERFECT AGE TO GET MARRIED?

Ooh, good question! Once upon a time I would have said 25. By that time you’ve been through uni, even had a chance to do a Masters if you want, and had a couple of years to get some work experience and maybe figure out what you want to do with your life. I’m 25 this year though and no sign of any marriage being on the cards, so I’ll have to think again. Soo.. anywhere between 25 and 30 I’d say. Depending on the person of course.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO IF YOU BECAME A BILLIONAIRE?

* Buy a house
* Buy lots of new books. Lots and lots and lots. All the ones on my list and more 🙂
* Set up a library in my house. I’m going to do that anyway one day even if I don’t become a billionaire.
* Buy my mum a house (my dad already owns his)
* Visit Canada. And Australia and the Ukraine… and everywhere else I’ve always wanted to go
* Take Spanish lessons
* Do lots more OU courses
* Pay off my student loan
* Give my family some money
I can’t actually think of anything else. I’m a bit crap really.

SAY SOME THINGS PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU:

* I went to 5 different schools – 3 primary and 2 secondary (squaddie brat… we moved around a lot)
* I don’t really like downwards escalators. Whenever I go down one I have to hold on.
* I collect keyrings
* I’d love a pet hedgehog

NAME FIVE FAVOURITE THINGS FOUND IN YOUR ROOM:

1.Books!!
2.The Me to You cross stitch that Jan bought me for my birthday last year and I cross stitched and placed in a gold frame.
3.A framed photo of Jan
4.My frog prince ornament that makes me think “hmph” whenever I look at him
5…. I can’t think of a 5th. Most of my favourite things are still stuck in England.

That is all. I hope I didn’t bore you all too much.
Oh, and speaking of being bored… to the people who keep stumbling across my blog in search of “things to do when board” I’d suggest you place learning to spell ‘bored’ at the top of the list…