Paris – Third time UNlucky

My plan for today was to write a post extolling the virtues of Paris. I wanted to tell you how I finally tracked down the Statue of Liberty in Luxembourg Gardens (the first time I was in Paris, I had read about it but couldn’t find it, leading Jan to think I was imagining things. The second time I discovered the place it was meant to be, complete with a sign telling me it was currently on display somewhere else. This time it was there, but without its torch). Instead, I am going to tell you about how my purse disappeared somewhere between paying to get into the Catacombs and going out for a meal to discover my brother’s 21st birthday.

I have no idea how it happened. I spent most of my time holding the zip of my handbag firly closed with one hand while being alert for suspicious looking people at the same time. The only time I wasn’t holding my handbag closed was when I needed both hands to take a photograph, and then I checked that there was nobody near me first. ANd ye somehow, somewhere, my purse disappeared. To make things even more mysterious, my purse was tucked down at the side of my bag. So a pickpocket would have had to pull up the velcro flap, unzip the handbag, entirely ignore the bag containing Jan’s medication and my camera, which were lying on top (at least if it was taken while the camera was in the bag. If I was taking a photo the camera was obviously in my hand) and then rummage around until they got their hands on my purse. I have no idea how anyone could have done that without me feeling it. The alternative is that I dropped the purse at the catacombs, thought I had put it in my bag and walked away down the stairs leaving it behind. But if that was the case, both my sister and her boyfriend (who were behind me) must have missed it and the purse must have been taken from the floor before any member of staff noticed it and picked it up – Jan called the catacombs the next morning (he speaks French) and they didn’t have it. Neither did the bar where we went for a drink pre-meal or the restauarnt where we ate said meal. It is gone. Disappeared off the face of the Earth. So today I worked from home so I would have the chance to go to my bank ebfore it closed (at 4pm, would you believe!) and order a new card. You have to go in personto show them your ID and sign a form. They also let me take money out using my passport. Actually, it was kind of cool. The woman asked me how much I wanted, programmed the amount onto a card then I had to go to a cash machine. The card was eaten and the amount I wanted came out. Much better than standing in a queue for one of the two counters that was open! My new card could take up to 10 days to arrive, but I can get more money out using my passport any time, as long as the bank is open.

Slightly more annoying is the loss of my card for the train. I was hoping to get a temporary paper one while I waited for the replacement to arrive. Unfortunately, there is no such thing. Instead, every time I get on the train, I have to go to the ticket inspector, tell him my BahnCard is lost and get a receipt. I then have 14 days to take the receipts, along with my replacement card, to a counter at the train station where I will have to pay €7 per journey. The replacement card could take anywhere between 5 and 10 days to arrive. And I also pay a €30 fee for the replacement itself. I don’t even want to try to add that up right now – it’s too depressing. But even without doing the actual maths I know it’s going to be a lot.

But even that is not the worst part. No, the most devasting part is that my purse contained a photo of my step mam – one of three I actually own, and the only one I had in Germany with me. It wasn’t a particularly special photo – just one of those taken in a photo booth, showing her and a friend. But it was hers. She had 2 copies and her friend had the other 2. About 2 years after she had died, we found her 2 copies in her old vanity case, and my dad let my sister and I keep them. And now, my copy is gone. My sister thinks she has lost hers too, but she’s going to have a look for it and see if she an scan it in for me. But even if she does find it, the scanned copy won’t be the same. It won’t be the actual photo that belonged to Shirley. And so I shall mourn its loss, just for a little while.

Oh what a night!

Who remembers that song? Obviously I’m too young for the original, but a cover version of it came out when I was in my teens.

So yesterday was incredibly sad. When I arrived the first thing P, my colleague, said to me was “The last morning that you’ll come in like that.” Then Cee, an English speaking colleague, sent me an email asking me to do a proofread. The message started with “last day…”. Sooo sad!
Later, after lunch, I had to send an email round to all the branches letting everyone know I was leaving. Some of the responses I got were so sweet I’m surprised I didn’t cry. One person said I have to come to the next meeting of the southern branches, another invited me to join them at the next Christmas meal. One guy even phoned me to say goodbye.  So nice and yet so, so sad.

At about 10:30 the colleagues from the Karlsruhe branch came in to give me a card. Inside it said that they wanted to take me for a meal after work as a leaving present. So after finishing work and handing back the key (*sniff*) I headed home for a quick shower and a change of clothes. Because one of my colleagues works until 7 we weren’t meeting til then, which gave me an hour to sort myself. It was so hot yesterday that, after showering and getting changed, I stood in the corridor of my student residence talking to someone and could feel myself getting sticky again. And I wasn’t even moving!

At quarter to 7 I headed back to work and met the others, P, Ju and F. We went to El Taquito, a Mexican restaurant in Karlsruhe. I’d only eaten there once before but I used to go there a lot for the cocktails – Friday and Saturday nights from midnight til 2am all cocktails are half price! Last night was not cocktail night though, but eating night. I had mixed tacos, which was three tacos with different fillings. One chicken, one that seemed to be beef mince and one pork (I think). It came with guacamole, sour cream, refried beans… the usual stuff. And I ordered a portion of Mexican potatoes (potatoes with cheddar cheese) to go with them. The food was amazing and I had a really good time. After 9pm all cocktails were only 4 euros 50, so we all had a cocktail. They’re huge, but very nice! All in all a brilliant night, despite the sad occasion that prompted it.

Jan called me at 8:30 to tell me he wouldn’t be coming over because he’d gone home from work with a headache. He asked me to come over to his instead, but warned me that I would have to get up early becasue he had a doctor’s appointment and would be leaving the house at 7:30am. Obviously I had to go after he came to look after me at stupid o’clock in the morning when I had sunstroke (and obviously I wanted to see him as well. I’m not entirely unselfish you know 😉 ). This meant I had to go home after the meal, get some stuff together, then head to Europaplatz to get a tram to Jan’s place. Such a carry on! It was after midnight when I finally got to bed and Jan woke me up at 7:25am telling me he had to leave in 5 minutes. No time for a shower! It’s now 8:50am and I’m at my place debating whether to have a shower now or go back to bed for a few hours then have shower. Decisions, decisions…

This time next week…

Firstly, can someone please tell me a) what webtaskr.com is, b) why it keeps appearing in my incoming links and c) why, when I click on the link to it, do I find a paragraph from one of my blogs there with a link to me at the bottom with “read the original” post. What’s going on??? Answers on the back of a postcard please (or in the comments section if you’d prefer 😉 )

And now back to what I really wanted to talk about.
This time next week I’ll be getting ready for my last day at my current place at work. It’s very scary and also quite sad (as in upsetting, not uncool). How can it have been almost a whole year since I started my internship there? It doesn’t seem like that long. And yet, at the same time, it feels like I’ve been there forever. I love working there. Love the banter (by email) with other English-speaking interns from our branches throughout Germany. Love most of the translations I get to do. Even some of the proofreads are fun (yesterday I was reading a very funny translation about jeans). My colleagues here in Karlsruhe are brilliant – two are pretty much my age and the third is only five years older. It’s great. We can have a laugh together and I don’t feel like the little, inexperienced child amongst all the adults who know exactly what they’re doing.

And now it’s time to leave.

A week on Monday I start my new internship. Between leaving where I am now and starting at the new place I have exactly 3 days to mentally prepare myself. My current mood? Nervous, sad, excited, nostalgic, terrified… it’s an emotional rollercoaster.