Two more days!

busybeeJust two more working days to get through before we go to Ireland… we fly Friday night, so I’ll be heading to the airport straight from work. And let me tell you I cannot wait. I am sooo in need of a holiday!

So, last night was quiz night. We didn’t win anything… the questions were hard this time. At least we thought so. The winning team managed to get 82 points, out of a possible 100! We weren’t the only ones to do badly… none of the usual suspects got a prize, which was quite cool actually. It’s nice to hear some new names being announced. And I now know that Karlsruhe is the 21st largest city in Germany.

Despite not winning a prize, it took us ages to leave! At one point I told my boyfriend “It’s quarter to one”, whereupon he promptly downed his whiskey (not quite was I was asking for…) but still continued chatting! It’s bad enough getting up at 6 a.m. on normal days, but after 4 hours sleep it’s just that bit more difficult. And at work today we had two hours of Excel training… I’m still not sure how I managed to stay awake!

No early night for me tonight either. Jan’s choir is practicing at our place tomorrow, which means I need to get pretty much all the packing done today. I will also be cleaning the kitchen and finishing translating his sister’s CV. Oh, and I also have some birthday cards to write. And we need to eat as well, of course, so add cooking to the agenda. Busy!!

That’s all from me today. Kind of a boring post today, but I did get to use the word “whereupon”, so it’s practically literature!

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The month of tea and soup

I read recently that January is apparantly National Hot Tea Month. I’m assuming the “National” here must refer to America – I’ve certainly never heard of it! Mind you, being British I have no need for a tea month. A nice cup of tea, according to we Brits, is the answer to everything, therefore every month is tea month!

January is also supposedly National Soup Month. Again, I can only assume the nation in question is America. I think this is one I could get on board with though. What could be better to counteract the awfulness of January than some nice hot soup? (I know it’s an utter cliché, but I think January is my least favourite month of the year, closely followed by November.)

World soup month is the way forward, I feel. Admittedly it’s not exactly soup weather in Australia and New Zealand, but there’s always Gazpacho and… other cold soups. I’m sure there must be some.

Homemade soup!
Homemade soup!

Since tonight, for me, is quiz night (the first one of the year!) here are some random facts about January for you:

questionmarks
Question marks (Photo credit: makeitgreat)
  1. The birthstone for January is garnet.
  2. 8 January is the birth date of Elvis Presley, Dame Shirley Bassey (a Welsh singer) and David Bowie.
  3. The United Kingdom claimed sovereignty over the Falkland Islands on 1 January 1833.
  4. January is named after the Roman God Janus, God of beginnings and transitions
  5. Traditionally, the Roman calendar consisted of 10 months totalling 304 days, with winter as a “monthless” period. January and February were only added in around 713 BC, which explains the seeming weirdness of October, November and December – which mean eight, nine and ten respectively, despite, in fact, being the tenth, eleventh and twelfth months!
  6. The London Underground, the world’s oldest underground railway, opened in 10 January 1863. That means the oldest section, which went from Paddington Station to Farringdon Street via King’s Cross and is now incorporated into the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines, will be celebrating 150 years this year!

Totally trivial!

It’s the first Tuesday of the month, which in my world means it’s quiz night. My team won last month (mostly not through my efforts – I knew two answers). I wonder if we can do it again?

In honour of quiz night, I thought I’d write a post with some (hopefully interesting) random facts. Just in case you ever find yourself in need of some trivia. You never know… it could happen!

Question Mark Graffiti
Question Mark Graffiti (Photo credit: Bilal Kamoon)
  • The shortest war on record – between the United Kingdom and the Sultanate of Zanzibar – took place on 27 August 1896 and lasted 38 minutes.
  • The first country in the world that allowed women to vote was New Zealand in 1893.
  • The Bee Hummingbird is the smallest bird in the world. An adult male measures about 2.2 inches and weighs about 0.06 ounces.
  • The first person on a British stamp other than royalty was William Shakespeare, in 1964. The first self-adhesive stamps were issued by Sierra Leone on 10 February 1964. (Obviously 1964 was the year for stamp-related trivia).
  • Hong Kong is made up of 235 islands.
  • The national bird of India is the peacock.
  • The unit of currency in Ethiopia is called the Birr.
  • The tallest waterfall in the world, at 3,212 feet (979 m),  is Angel Falls in Venezuela.  Second is Tugela Falls in South Africa, which is 3,110 feet (948 m).
  • The first ever official international football match took place in Glasgow between England and Scotland on 30 November 1872. It finished in a 0-0 draw.
  • The first SMS (text) message was sent over the Vodafone GSM network in the United Kingdom on 3 December 1992. It said “Merry Christmas”.

There you are – 10 random facts. Let it never be said that Confuzzledom is not educational 😉

Friday letters

Yes, it’s that time of the week again…
When I wrote my first Friday Letters post, I honestly thought it was going to be a one off. But I actually find it a good way to get at least one post in a week without having to put too much thought into it (I may only write my blog for me, but I still hate to neglect it!). And it means I have a sort of record of what I’ve been up to each week. Here are my Friday letters for this week.

Dear cough. I appreciate you allowing my to sleep for a whole five hours in a row last night, but it would be great if, tonight, you could let me fall asleep faster. A whole hour of having to cough every time I was close to drifting off was not fun!

Dear quiz team (who will not actually read this, because they have no idea this blog even exists). I almost didn’t attend on Tuesday thanks to my cold, but I’m glad I did in the end. First place! We rock 🙂

Dear whoever invented remote access and stuff like that. It’s thanks to you that I was able to stay at home today and not annoy all my colleagues by constantly coughing at them, yet was still able to do work (a bonus seeing as a) I didn’t feel ill enough to stay in bed and b) lying down actually made the coughing worse! Being able to work saved me from being bored rigid after the first few hours of being home alone). I am also very grateful to my employer for allowing us to actually use such technology. I know plenty of people who couldn’t work from home simply because they would have no way of accessing their company’s system from there!

Dear Germany. Why do you not sell Lemsip? I only have three sachets left and my next trip home won’t be til March! If anyone in Germany has managed to find a Lemsip/Beecham’s powder equivalent please tell me what it’s called! And all those hot lemon etc. powders from DM and the like don’t count! While they do temporarily sooth my throat, they contain nothing even vaguely medicinal. Is a hot drink containing paracetamol and decongestant really too much to ask, Germany?

Dear trees. You looked so pretty today with the sun shining on. Do you think you could stay like that for another week or two, at least until the Christmas markets arrive to bring some colour into the winter. And while I’m at it, perhaps you could also show your face a little more often, Mr Sun? All the rain this week really hasn’t done anything for my mood (or my cold for that matter!).

OK, that’s it. Sorry most of these are about illness, but coughing, sneezing and copious amounts of tea/hot drinks is pretty much what my entire week has been about…

For more Friday letters (hopefully slightly more cheerful ones than mine!) check out: Photobucket

Alright winter, you’ve made your point!

I am sooo sick of being cold!

09 04 03
Photo credit: mattjiggins

In English (or at least in the UK) we have a saying – more like a proverb – “April showers bring May flowers”. The German equivalent is “Der April macht was er will” – April does what it wants (April is pronounced A-prill with an A like in the word “alphabet” and to rhyme with will). I’m starting to think the German version is more accurate. This April certainly has no intention of sticking with one kind of weather! We’ve had dark, threatening clouds, we’ve had fog, we’ve had lots and lots of rain, we’ve had a tiny bit of sun peering from behind the clouds (mostly while I was at work), but what we’ve mostly had is cold. Today the temperature got up to a whole 10°C (Google tells me that’s 50°F, non-European readers), but mostly it’s been somewhere between 5 and 8°C. I’ve had to get my winter coat back out and have been wearing a scarf in bed (oh… I forgot to mention that I’ve had my hair cut and my neck now feels incredibly exposed…. and cold!). Did someone forget to tell the universe that it’s actually spring now? You had your chance winter… April is not your month!

On a brighter note, my team came first in the slightly-delayed-due-to-Easter pub quiz last week. The next one is on 8 May when we shall have a title to defend! We then went out on Friday night to watch our quiz master’s band perform, and got in free in exchange for doing the door for them (taking people’s money) as the person that usually does it couldn’t this time. All together now: “It’s not what you know…”.

Also, Newcastle United are currently fourth in the Premier League and it’s looking more and more likely that they’ll be coming to Europe next year, either in the Europa League (which I only recently found out is what they’re calling the UEFA Cup these days) or the Champions League. Jan and I are actually kind of hoping they end up with an Europa League place, that Stuttgart get one too, and that they happen to play each other. In Stuttgart. So we can travel to Karlsruhe’s greatest rivals, wearing Newcastle shirts and cheer on my football team. Unlikely, but the fact that I can even dream about it shows how far the Toon has come this season.

Life is good. But it would be sooo much better with a bit of spring sunshine!

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…