Reasons to be grateful

These are trying times (especially given that, today, I called my fertility clinic to find that – as expected – they’re closed and all treatments are cancelled until the government lifts its restrictions, so who knows when I will be able to even try another embryo transfer), but I still have a lot to be thankful, so I thought I would make a list. This post is about things I am grateful to have in my personal life, so it won’t mention the “key workers” who are keeping society running – and I hope it goes without saying that I am grateful to the medical professionals/care workers who risk their lives every single day to help people in need (a shout out to my mum who is a nurse here – hi mam!). This post was inspired by Kezzie, who always manages to find reasons to be grateful even in the darkest times <3.

Bee

1. I am not in isolation alone. As much as I am fine with being alone – most of my hobbies are solitary – not seeing anybody at all for weeks on end would be too much even for me! I still don’t see a great deal of Jan – it seems like without a commute he works even longer hours – but at least I know he is here, albeit locked in the spare room on his computer most of the time 😉

2. I love my flat. There are definitely people out there who don’t like where they’re living and I can’t imagine being stuck there for the foreseeable future would be much fun!

3. We have a balcony! Obviously I would prefer a nice big garden, but our old flat in Germany didn’t even have a balcony! Even if I can’t properly go out I can at least get some fresh air.

4. My employer is being very transparent about what measures our company will be taking and there’s a plan in place to make sure nobody has to stop work entirely and we can hold out on full pay for as long as possible. We will be applying for “short-time work” from April but the hope is that our customers will rally sooner rather than later and things won’t end up being as bad as they seem. Also grateful that – as of right now – I have enough work to last me until the end of next week before I even need to start using my overtime. (And this is all I’m going to say about work because I don’t really like to talk about it here).

5. Spring is here! The days are lighter and warmer and even though I can’t see any flowers from my flat I know they’re out there. (And I can see the trees that are budding and growing new leaves – hard times are so much easier when it’s light outside and everything looks alive.)

6. Books. I am always grateful for books, but I’m even more grateful now that I enjoy reading and have plenty of unread books that have been waiting on the shelves for far too long.

7. Solitary hobbies. Cross stitch and card-making are things I can do without even leaving the house, so really I haven’t even lost anything. (Other than the ability to go for hikes before it gets too hot. And, of course, we had to cancel our holiday but this is supposed to be a positive post so enough about that.)

8. That we went to the UK for Christmas. If we hadn’t, I have no idea when I would have got to see any of my family again. Before Christmas, the last time I had seen my dad and grandma was very briefly in February 2019!

9. That we have so much technology for keeping in touch these days. My dad called me via WhatsApp the other day, the boss addressed us all via Skype today, my mum is in constant touch via WhatsApp, and people have even messaged me on Facebook… and of course I’m constantly in contact with blogging friends via Instagram, Twitter and – naturally – their actual blogs. I may not be able to physically see anybody, but honestly I’m probably in touch more now than I would be if I actually lived in the same country as my friends and family!

10. We have plenty of food and our local supermarkets (mostly) do too. When I’ve noticed something missing it has usually been available again the next time I went in – so last Friday I couldn’t get tinned tomatoes but yesterday I managed. (The only loo roll available yesterday was the scented kind but luckily we currently have plenty ;-)).

Okay, that’s it. ten seems like a good number. I hope you all have a good weekend despite everything!

Tell me something you’re grateful for in the comments.

Friday letters

Good morning! I am sooo pleased it’s nearly the weekend. This week has gone both really fast and really slow… I was surprised when it was Wednesday already, but then Wednesday and Thursday felt like they lasted at least 2 days each! Jan has choir stuff tonight and tomorrow, so I plan to use the time to relax and sleeeeeep! But right now I shall give you my Friday letters.

Postkasten

Dear Britain. I still can’t believe you actually went through with the “Brexit” thing. Even though we have two years, I’m already in mourning for my freedom of movement in Europe and a home country that didn’t hate foreigners. R.I.P GREAT Britain… there’s nothing “great” about isolationism and xenophobia 😦

Dear hair. I will never understand how you can be fine with a shampoo for weeks and then suddenly decide to become immune to it or something and feel sticky/greasy while I am washing you. I can’t keep switching shampoos halfway through a bottle so please sort yourself out!

Dear self. If you stay up two hours past the time you were planning to go to sleep because you can’t put a book down  you then forfeit your right to complain you’re tired the next day. You can be well rested or well read, not both!

Dear trees. You are looking very pretty right now all dressed in your spring colours. (Well, most of you… some are still looking a bit bare!).

Dear sparrows. You are cute and always a welcome visitor to the balcony but how can something so small be so loud?! I would very much appreciate it if you wouldn’t sit out the bedroom side of the building chirping on and on and on for half an hour at half five in the morning!

I can’t think of anything else. have a great Friday and an even better weekend everyone!

Friday letters

Hello everyone! This week has confused me again. I had to go into work on Tuesday and I spent half the day convinced it was Friday (not as weird as it sounds – I alternate between going on a Tuesday and a Friday, and Monday was incredibly busy this week!). Today really is Friday though, and that means time for letters!

red postbox

Dear birds. We don’t really need to feed you as much now it’s getting warmer but if we keep the lard balls until next winter they will only go mouldy so enjoy!

Dear tree by the balcony. I see your little buds! Soon you will have leaves again 🙂

Dear spring flowers. You are so pretty! Hoorah for you 🙂

Dear online sellers. How is it possible that two items coming from the UK can both be marked “sent” on the same day but one arrives within days and the other takes 2 weeks. Me thinks one  of you is telling porkies about when the “sending” actually happened…

Dear St. Patrick’s Day. Apparently you are today? I had entirely forgotten about you this year!

Dear cheese. You are so tasty, but so many calories! I couldn’t believe how much of my daily allowance a sandwich with you took up the other day!

Dear scales. I have been really good recently and finally you have decided to agree with me. 1kg down this week (probably a lot of that is water weight, but whatever. At least the number is going down!)

Okay, that’s all for today. Must eat lunch (leftovers from last night) and get back to work. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Friday letters: bye bye March

This is the last Friday in March. Monday is the 31st and on Tuesday we enter April. The thought that the year is already a whole three months old makes me want to cry… how could I have done so little in three entire months?! Not cool! Oh well, at least I have a few things planned for this weekend. In the meantime, have some letters….

Postkasten

Dear Spring.  According to the weather forecast, you are set to return. Please hang around this time… I don’t want to have to wear my winter coat all through April again!

Dear scales. Since I had to move you to hoover, I can no longer trust anything you say. Curse you, uneven floors! How am I supposed to track my progress now? *sobs*

Dear boyfriend. I will probably be out when you get back from Turkey on Saturday night, but I’m looking forward to spending some time with you on Sunday!

Dear mam. Your Mother’s Day card will be late because I’m an idiot and didn’t leave myself enough time to stitch it and get it posted in time, but I hope you like it anyway (once it arrives…)

Dear Green Day. I read yesterday that your American Idiot album will be ten years old later this year. How is that possible?! I’m sure I only received it as a gift a year or two ago… (and yes, I was given it the year it came out).

Dear Easter. Why are you so late this year? I want my long weekend already!

That’s all from me for today. Happy Friday! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

*Note: I am entering this post for Kate’s Daily Diaries linkup. Technically, the idea is to write a post about what’s been going on with you over the past week, which I haven’t really done here, but if you read between the lines it sort of is about what’s happening right now soooo into the linkup it goes. To find out more about the linkup or join in yourself, click the button below.*

Daily Diaries with Diaries of an Essex Girl

Spot the difference 2

About a month ago, I posted two photos of the same view taken at different times of year. My point, at the time, was to show you all that it was still flipping snowing. In fact, as some people pointed out, the March photo had more snow than the December one. What’s that all about? You can see that post here.

A few days ago, I took another photo of the same view… this time because the tree looked so pretty. I thought it might be fun to compare that photo with the snowy one from March. So…

25 March 2013
25 March 2013
17 April 2013
17 April 2013

And the difference this time? The tree still looks white, but now it’s blossoms, not snow!

Roughly two weeks after taking the second photo above, everything’s changed out again. The white blossoms have all fallen of and been replaced with green leaves and the buds of what will later be cherries (we think… whatever they are, the birds loooove to eat them!). Maybe I’ll do another Spot the Difference some time soon…

Return of the snow

I thought Karlsruhe had managed to escape the latest round of snow. Berlin has been ankle deep in it for ages and Frankfurt Airport was recently closed because of it (again!), but until now, every time the white stuff was forecast for Karlsruhe, we got rain instead. Our time, it appears, has now come. Here’s what I woke up to this morning:

DSCN2457

I wouldn’t even mind the snow so much – despite the fact that it is now officially spring and I want daffodils – if it hadn’t brought freezing wind with it. My gloves did absolutely nothing for me this morning!

Thank goodness I only have four days at work this week. After that it’s Easter, and since practically everything is closed on Good Friday I have an excellent excuse to hide in the house and drink endless cups of tea!

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!