Uh, how is it time for the What’s New With You linkup again? How is it June? How will this year be half over in a matter of weeks? Could somebody please stop time for a while?
Anyway, like it or not, it is time for my monthly recap post. So here’s what I got up to in May.
Reading. I finished The Grapes of Wrath! Another one down for the BBC Big Read. It’s quite a fitting book for the current times, but so, so depressing. And that ending… what?! Goodreads said I also read 8 other books in May. I’m not going to list them all here though.
Watching. We haven’t got back to any series yet, but I did watch Wreck It Ralph on TV. It was actually really good and not at all what I was expecting.
Cooking. Lots of salad. You’re probably thinking “Silly, you don’t cook salad!”. Well, you do cook the kind I’ve been making! We’ve had bulgur wheat salad, a wild rice salad and a pasta salad. Yummy!
Buying. Apart from the obvious books, books and more books? I bought shoes (sandals) that I will hopefully be wearing for my friend’s wedding in August… provided the dress I bought for them to go with still fits me by then! (Let’s not talk about how much weight I’ve put on/the fact that I needed to wear decent clothes the other day (see listening to below) and precisely one of the things I tried on still fit!)
Cross stitching. Something for a friend. Jan helped me design it and I stitched it, but I can’t show you because I forgot to take a photo before I gave it to her.
Listening to. I can just about sneak this in here since it happened on 31st May 😉 We went to see the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra because for part of the concert they were playing with Daniil Trifnov, apparently the best pianist around at the moment. Jan had heard of him, I hadn’t (because I’m uncultured). I discovered that I quite like Tchaikovsky.
What did you get up to in May? Why not join the linkup (you don’t have to use this format – you can literally write any kind of catchup post).
I have more to tell you about Berlin, but the photos are taking ages to sort, so for now I shall tell you about my weekend instead.
Yesterday my friend brought her Wii round and a few of us had a games night. We invited my downstairs neighbour over so we couldn’t disturb anyone and did Just Dance. It was a lot of fun but sooo exhausting! And I can really feel my thighs today! At least I can definitely say I got my exercise this weekend! Photos do exist, but they will not be finding their way on to this blog ever.
Today, the sun was shining, so after watching Newcastle United lose horribly in a football match against their local rivals (I wish I’d stayed in bed!!), Jan and I headed out to look for signs that Spring has finally sprung. We found them in the form of blossoms… finally here a month later than usual!
My new shoes finally got their chance to go outside! Hopefully this is the start of this year’s good weather and I won’t have to get my winter boots back out again!
Our yearly passes for the zoo ran out a week ago, so we decided to go and renew them, and pop in to the zoo while we were at it. We got to see the new baby giraffe! Very cute.
We also went to visit the alpacas, but they were too busy eating grass to pay any attention to us.
Walking round zoos is thirsty work, so we decided to head to a cafe and have an iced chocolate (well, I did. Jan had some yoghurty fruit thing).
Then it was time to head home for our tea (or dinner, if you prefer), which is currently cooking. Meanwhile, I’m off to watch The Big Bang Theory.
Okay, enough snow pictures! What else has been going in in the land of Confuzzledom?
Well, I bought these shoes:
I spotted them through the doorway as I walked past H&M and I just had to go in and see if they were available in my size. They were – and they only cost €9.95! Bargain. And yes I am aware that some people will consider me the devil incarnate for shopping at H&M (think of the poor Chinese workers…), but I’m already boycotting Proctor and Gamble (which, by the way, means no Pringles for me, ever!!) and Lidl. A girl can’t give up everything you know… and especially not polka dot shoes! Unfortunately, so far I’ve only been able to wear them inside the flat. It’s too cold out for anything other than boots!
Hmm, what else?
I’ve been trying to incorporate exercise isn’t my daily routine, so that I can still work off my daily treats even when there’s no time for my exercise DVD. So whenever nobody else is in my office, I do some weight lifting with my water bottle (1.5 l of water isn’t exactly light!) or lift up each leg in turn and hold it straight for a few seconds. Then, at home, while waiting for water to heat for pasta or potatoes, I do star jumps*. I’m hoping this will at least slightly counteract my inability to walk past the Easter basket at work without taking just one or two tiny chocolate eggs…
I heard a girl speaking English on the tram the other day and she had the exact same accent as my American friend. I kept looking at her thinking “You sound just like L… but you’re clearly not L!”. If you’re an American in Karlsruhe and you noticed someone staring at you on the tram towards Ettlingen, I swear I’m not a psycho!
Yesterday was the monthly “Stammtisch with my colleagues”. A Stammtisch can either mean your regular table at your local pub or a regular meetup for people with similar interests (such as an English Stammtisch for people who want a chance to speak English). In our case, the Stammtisch simply involves going for a meal with our colleagues and having a chance to chat outside of work. Former colleagues/interns, etc. are also invited, but don’t often show up. This month, the chosen meeting place was an Indian restaurant (there’s a vote), so I had a delicious curry for last night’s tea. The first few times one of us ordered something, the waiter would say in broken German “You can’t order that – it’s not real Indian food!”, then the person would change their mind. It was pretty funny (although I suspect you had to be there to think so). I actually managed to order something that he had no objections to first time round. Yay me!
That’s about it, I think. There haven’t really been any happenings around here lately. But tomorrow is the start of my four-day weekend, so hopefully I’ll have something to report after that.
*These appear to be called jumping jacks in American, as I learned a few months ago. When Jillian Michaels instructed us to do jumping jacks for the warm up circuit, I watched her demonstrate for a few seconds then, as realisation dawned, said “OH, star jumps!”. Out loud. To myself. I’d always wondered what a jumping jack was…
I’m having a little trouble distinguishing between weekdays and weekends lately. When you’re home all day anyway the days tend to blend into each other, and when you have a boyfriend who goes into work on Saturdays anyway (although he did stay home for the holiday on Thursday) it gets really confusing. I knew today was Sunday though, because everything was closed.
So yesterday the boyfriend gave me 30 euros to buy a pair of shoes for Rome. I had to throw out my old flip-flops cos the straw bit at the bottom was coming unweaved and bits of it were stabbing the bottoms of my feet. Ouch! I also bought myself a new sun hat becuse I still had money left over and it was on sale for only €2.75. Bargain! Last night the two of us stayed at his place so we could stick some clothes in his washing machine this morning. Now everything I need for Rome is clean and by tomorrow it should be dry as well. Excellent.
On the way back to mine this evening we kept running into people from my ex student residence. First someone who used to live on 5th floor… he’s just started working and is now living close to where Jan lives. Next came a couple who used to live on my floor. They had their baby daughter with them. She’s almost seven months old now and getting so big… she’s even grown since I last saw her, in May. And she still has the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen. Then, while we were talking to those two, another girl from my floor came along. She’s still living in the residence and wanted to know if we would be at Parkplatzfest, the big outdoor residence party at the end of this month. We will be back from Rome by then so I told her we probably would. And apparantly before we ran into anyone Jan saw someone from 6th floor sitting outside a Cafe. All those student residence people in one little street. Clearly there are just too many of us!
It snowed again last night. Pretty much all evening in fact. But by the time we woke up this morning it was raining, which resulted in some lovely deep slush to wade through. Very pleasant. And just to mkae things even better, the boots I wear for work have now entirely given up on any pretense of being waterproof. By the time I got halfway across the carpark my socks were soaked. Not a good start to the day. And because the stuff that was soaking its way into my shoes was basically liquid ice my toes went numb. Mmm, nice. I’ve spent the whole day at work with wet feet. Seriously, they did not dry out at all in the entire 8 and three quarter hours I was there. Well, possibly they did dry slightly and my toes at least thawed out, but at no point today did I not have wet socks. I’m sure a whole day of cold wetness cannot be good for my poor feet. Hmm, maybe it’s time I invested in a new pair of shoes… or got my gorgeous Austria winter boots repaired. Or failing that Spring could just turn up – we are over halfway through February after all…
This is a bit of a crap blog post really isn’t it? Sorry about that; I’ve done so much work today that I think my brain has gone and switched itself off now.
I do have one bit of news, but I don’t really want to talk about it too much yet in case I jinx things….
Loking at my stats, I’m quite pleased to see that my bookcrossing blog got 25 views yesterday and another 5 today. Now if only all 30 of those people have signed up things would be perfect. The more bookcrossers there are out there the higher the liklihood that I’ll find a free book lying around just begging for me to take it home and read it. Free books are definitely among my favourite things in the world. Actually, I quite like anything that I don’t have to pay for, but books are definitley among the best.
Good old Joachim Loew and his cigarette are still getting me a lot of traffic as well. His nickname is Jogi you know, which amuses me greatly. In German a ‘j’ is pronounced like an English ‘y’, so Mr. Loew shares his name with a certain cartoon bear. *snigger*
I’m feeling quite excited today. Jan and I are off to Baden Baden tonight with 6 other people. We’re going to a rather posh hotel called Brenner’s Park. I’m not sure how many stars it has… 4? 5? I just know it’s posh. And we’re going to have a 6 course meal there. Six courses! I don’t know how I’ll fit it all in! I’ve spent the whole morning making random comments like “I really need to pluck my eyebrows” and “I’m not sure what shoes to wear”. I expect Jan was quite pleased to escape back to his flat where he’s going to do computer sciency type stuff until it’s time to get ready. He wanted me to meet him at Marktplatz later so we can get the tram to the train station together, but I insisted that he come here first so I can take a photo of us in our posh clothes. It’s not often that I get an opportunity to get dressed up in posh clothes. I need photographic evidence to prove that it is actually possible for me to look good.
I have to go and write another job application now. This time for a company in Mannheim. Then I can get back to wondering what on Earth I’m going to do with my hair tonight.