A decade is a long time…

This is where most people wpuld insert a photo of themselves with their significant other... but I'm pretty sure Jan wouldn't like that, so here's a heart instead.
This is where most people would insert a photo of themselves with their significant other… but I’m pretty sure Jan wouldn’t like that, so here’s a heart instead.

So, the boyfriend and I have been together ten years today!! If we’d been married for that many years, we’d be celebrating our tin anniversary (you’d think the first round anniversary would be something a bit more exciting than tin!). I’m pretty sure one of us deserves a medal for managing to stay in a relationship for this long… although I’m not entirely sure which of us πŸ˜‰

Jan has a paper due first thing tomorrow, and it’s an important one because the conference it’s for actually bears some relation to his dissertation (unusual… most of the time he’s forced to work on the projects that actually bring in the money at the expense of his own work), so we won’t really be celebrating. He did say this morning that he doesn’t think he’ll have enough time to finish it – which really sucks – but I suspect he will try anyway. Also, I woke up this morning with what feels like the beginnings of a cold, so I’ll probably end up in bed with my water bottle and a pile of tissues by 9 pm! Jan is planning on working on his paper from home though, so we should at least be able to eat together.

Ten years! Double figures! Who ever could have guessed that something as a year abroad romance could have lasted this long? I certainly didn’t expect this. But I’m glad we are still together.

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Friday letters – busy, busy, busy

Oh, hi! Sorry for the lack of posts over the last few days. Work has been craaazy. To the extent that I was up at 5:30 a.m. today and yesterday so I could go in early and get stuff done. It’s only half an hour earlier than I usually get up, but my “normal” time of 6 a.m., but somehow it just kills me. As I’m sure you can imagine, the weekend is very welcome this week!

post box

Dear boyfriend. Now that your paper deadline has passed, I hope that you’ll be able to spend at least a little less time working so I can spend some time with you!

Dear Newcastle United. I know Yohan Cabaye has been sold, but please don’t panic and forget how to play. The last thing we want is another derby day loss! (Especially considering how far below us the Scum *ahem* Sunderland are in the table).

Dear scales. Your number has been slowly creeping up for a couple of weeks now, but today was the highest weight you’ve shown me since August! I would like to believe you’re lying to me, but in reality I know exactly how much cake, chocolate and clotted cream I’ve been eating recently…

Dear unhealthy food. Why must you be so tasty? Cream, butter and bacon just make meals taste So. Much. Better. Is it any wonder my weight (and waist line) have taken a turn for the worse recently?

Dear godson. The videos that your mother posted on facebook are very cute, but you’re growing up far too fast! What’s with all this walking and saying actual words? I wish I could see you more often…

Dear February. Welcome! I’m hoping you’ll be a more exciting month than your brother, January.

That’s all from me for today. I hope next week I’ll have both the time and the inspiration to keep up with my blog better. Happy weekend, everyone!

It’s all good!

Day 51 - Together
Together (Photo credit: Cristiano Betta)

Jan has been back from South America for a week now and since then things have been really good between us… and (TMI alert!!) not only because we’ve had some fantastic sex πŸ˜‰ It’s like nothing at all has changed, but everything has. He’s still working late most nights and I’ve been doing overtime before running around like a headless chicken every evening, trying to get to the post office (I might as well move in there!), do shopping, write Christmas cards (finished those now, thankfully!) andΒ  keep semi on top of the housework. But when we finally do get to sit down together, it just… works. We’ve even has a few serious discussions on topics that we don’t necessarily agree on (nothing to do with our relationship) and haven’t argued. That probably doesn’t sound like a big deal to most of you, but believe me it is! (I’m not very good at stating my opinion without getting loud and argumentative!).

Yesterday, we spontaneously decided to go to the Christmas market together. Jan hadn’t been to it yet this year, so we went and we both agreed that the atmosphere is much nicer now that it’s moved (the place it used to be is currently a giant construction site!). We drank Feuerzangenbowle under the trees and talked about nothing much… and it was just nice (there’s that word again! My GCSE English teacher would have a fit!). Of course, spending the afternoon not doing work means Jan didn’t come to bed until the early hours of the mornin, but having him to myself for those few hours in the afternoon more than made up for that. 2013 hasn’t exactly been my favourite year ever, but I’m hoping this is the start of something good that will continue over Christmas and beyond!

Thought gathering

This is a "thought bubble". It is an...
Photo credit: Wikipedia

 

The tagline of my blog is “Just a place to gather my thoughts”, and that’s how it started out – as I place for me to write down everything I was thinking and thus get it out of my brain (it’s crowded in there you know!). Lately, I seem to have moved away from that, but occasionally I still need to get rid of my thoughts before they drive my crazy, spinning around in my head. It’s not that all my thoughts are bad… there are just too bloody many of them! So here’s a brain dump, with apologies to those who don’t like blog posts in the form of bullet point lists.

 

  • I had loads of plans for when my boyfriend was away, including get back on track with healthy eating/exercise and giving the flat a proper clean and tidy while I could be sure it wouldn’t be cluttered again within hours. Instead, I’ve spent most of my time lounging in front of the TV and eating crap. I suspect the next few evenings are going to be busy – and not in a good way!
  • Christmas shopping is HELL! I have a drawer full of gifts, yet the only people I’ve completely finished buying for are Jan (sort of – more on that later), my youngest brother and my godson. For everyone else, I’m either waiting on deliveries or clueless! And every year I seem to have more people to buy for. Could everyone please stop reproducing already?!
  • I wish people wouldn’t suddenly stop in the middle of the street. Do they seriously not realise they’re in the way? The same goes for groups of people who take up the entire pavement and walk reeeeally slowly. Some of actually want to get where we’re going, you know! And while I’m ranting… what is it with people stopping immediately after getting off the escalator? Don’t they realise the people behind them can’t stop? Sorry, but if you do that and I then crash into you, you only have yourself to blame!
  • Because Jan was away for the start of December, I’ve decided to make this year’s advent calendar a mini one. Instead of going from 1st-25th December, he’s getting one more expensive gift for 1-8 December, ordinary advent calendar gifts from 9th-20th December then another slightly more expensive one for 21st-25th December. Unfortunately, so far I’ve bought the first more expensive gift and a grand total of two ordinary ones. Did I mention he gets back on Sunday?…

    Adventkalender
    I want this advent calendar! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
  • I truly enjoy my job (and HATED being unemployed) but the thought of working pretty much non-stop for the next 40 years (with the occasional holiday in between) is seriously depressing! And yes, I’m aware that in 40 years I’ll be 70, but Germany is planning to put the retirement age up to 67 by 2029… if you seriously think it won’t have gone up even further by the time I reach that age you’re seriously deluded!
  • I’m pleasantly surprised that my train to work has been running smoothly so far this month. Usually, the minute December hits it all goes horribly wrong. Admittedly it hasn’t actually snowed yet, but still…
  • I appear to have become slightly addicted to Advent prize draw things (the kind where you just click on that day’s number then fill in a form with your name and address). So far I haven’t won anything though… How many websites do I have to visit each day before I get a prize?
  • I’m actually looking forward to making Christmas dinner for my friends next weekend, even though it’s a lot of work. Still need to think of a starter though. If anyone has any ideas, please send them my way!

 

That’s all from me. Is there anything you would like to get off your chest? (Or out of your brain, as the case my be…)

 

Friday letters (working from home)

Today is a special Friday because I’m working from home. We’re getting new windows put in at work, and that means I can’t be in my office because 1) It will be cold and 2) It will be loud. The good thing about working from home is I get to have a lie in but still start work at my normal time. Also, I can have as many cups of tea as I want! Actually, I can do that at work as well, but I only drink fruit tea there (which isn’t really tea at all!) because the milk we have is UHT milk and tea with that in tatses awful! Anyway, enough rambling… letters!

English: Postbox, Frome This postbox is on the...
Photo: Wikipedia

Dear grandpa. I’m so glad to hear your operation went well! I hope things continue to progress positively and you can come home in time for the weekend.

Dear sister. Thank you for keeping me up to date on grandpa’s condition.

Dear boyfriend. I find it very unfair that you get to go to South America for two weeks while I’m stuck here in the cold! Enjoy your conference and (especially) the free week after it. And no getting ill!! There’s been more than enough of that this year!

Dear K (who might even actually read this!). Have fun in Scotland and enjoy Dr Who!

Dear self. I’ve said this before, but seriously… you need to stop eating so much! A whole (large!) bar of chocolate before dinner the other day was neither big nor clever…

Dear New Year. We have finally decided where we’re going for you and booked flights. Madeira it is. I can’t wait!

As always, I wish you all a happy Friday and a fabulous weekend!

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Who Am I?

This post was inspired by Charlotte at Sherbet and Sparkles. Recently, she wrote a blog post based around the question “Who am I?” and asked all her readers to get involved too. I’ve actually had quite a few new followers on the blog recently, so I thought this was an appropriate time to finally respond to her request.

So, hello! I’m Beverley, a 30-year-old English girl who is currently living in south-west Germany. Karlsruhe, to be exact. Most Germans should have heard of it because it’s home to both the German constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) and the Federal Court of Justice (Bundesgerichtshof). The latter is the highest court for all matters relating to criminal and private law, so Karlsruhe is mentioned on the news a lot. I share a flat with my boyfriend, who I will have been in a relationship with for 10 years in February 2014!

The botanic gardens in Karlsruhe
The botanic gardens in Karlsruhe

As an army brat, the question “where are you from?” is not an easy one to answer. Do I say the place I was born, even though I always hated it and never felt like I belonged, even while living there? Should I say the town my parents are from, despite the fact that I’ve never lived there? Or is “home” the place my dad moved to once he got out of the army, and where I also moved to when I was 13? Usually, I tell people I’m from Northumberland without specifying a town – I tend to get away with it because most people couldn’t even locate the county on a map, never mind name any individual towns! My parents are both from Morpeth, where my remaining grandparents still live, and that’s been the most constant place in my life. We went there for at least one holiday every year. Both my parents now live back in Northumberland, although neither of them actually moved back to their home town simply because it’s too expensive!

Stepping stones crossing the River Wansbeck in Morpeth
Stepping stones crossing the River Wansbeck in Morpeth

As you probably know by now, after graduating from university I moved to Austria for 10 months. I still have a slight obsession with all things Austrian! In 2006, I moved back to Karlsruhe and as of September 2012, Karlsruhe is officially the place I’ve lived in longest in one stretch ever! Technically I lived in my birth town for more years in total because we were posted there twice, but Karlsruhe is catching up… if you count my year abroad, I’ve actually spent 8 years in Karlsruhe now.

Snowy Feldkirch, December 2006
Snowy Feldkirch, December 2006

I have one sister, with whom I share two parents, and two half brothers who are not related to each other. My younger half brother, my dad’s son, was born a few days before I moved back to Karlsruhe. He’s 23 years younger than me!

I used to be a natural red head, but based on the photos above, you’re probably thinking I’m a brunette. Here’s a photo of me from the days before I was allowed to dye my hair. See… red! Well, reddish anyway…

Me, aged 3 or 4, with my grandma's dog
Me, aged 3 or 4, with my grandma’s dog

What else can I say? I work at a translation company, which is usually interesting but can get stressful. You won’t read too much about my job on the blog because I’m not sure how much I can say without getting into trouble. I certainly know better than to name any of our customers πŸ˜‰

My biggest love is reading and I dream of having my own library some day, like the ones you see in old houses and castles. My other big passion is travel – I get restless if I have to stay in one place for too long. So far, regular day trips and holidays have been enough to keep me from getting entirely sick of Karlsruhe but I’m not sure whether I’ll live here for the rest of my life…

So that’s me! I hope I haven’t repeated too much of my blog’s about me page. If there’s anything else you want to know, just ask and I’ll see about answering πŸ˜‰ Now it’s your turn… tell me about yourself!

This morning, I went to the dentist…

Kawaii Tooth
I inserted this picture purely because it’s cute… (Photo credit: Jenn and Tony Bot)

Yesterday, I woke up with a slight dull ache in the bottom corner of my mouth. It didn’t feel like it was on a tooth, so I figured I had managed to bite the bottom of cheek somehow (I bite the inside of my mouth a lot!) and thought nothing of it, at least until yesterday evening when the pain got worse… and worse. It started getting really painful on the train, and by the time I got home I wanted to cry. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option, so I tried rinsing my mouth out with warm salt water (tastes disgusting but works amazingly well on mouth ulcers!). It felt slightly better while I was rinsing, but as soon as a spat out the water, the pain came back as bad as ever. Woe, woe, woe, etc. By now the pain was spread, and I was no longer certain whether it was actually the corner of my gum, or a tooth after all.Β  So I called Jan and told him I wouldn’t be able to do any cooking because a) I had at least an hour of extra work to do if things were going to be finished in timeΒ  and b) my mouth was in PAIN! Jan asked if I would want to eat at all if my mouth was sore, and I replied maybe some soup. Then he suggested driking some of the cold water he had put in the fridge to see if that would numb it a bit and volunteered to grab some tins of soup on the way home. Miraculously, the cold water did help a bit (if only for a few minutes at a time) and I was able to do my work without being distracted by pain too much. Shortly before Jan came home, I decided to take an Ibuprofen in the hope that it would kick in before bedtime and allow me to get to sleep…

tomato soup
My soup wasn’t this pretty (Photo credit: sassyradish)

The Ibuprofen started working shortly before we ate, and I was able to consume a bowl of soup and two slices of bread (bread soaked in soup for aaages so it wouldn’t require chewing), then I went to bed. I managed to sleep off and on, with some discomfort, until about 1 a.m. when I woke up in pain again. After tossing and turning for an hour, I went and took another Ibuprofen then lay awake for what seemed like forever waiting for it to kick in. It must have eventually though, because the next thing I knew my alarm was going off.

I had hoped to feel better this morning, but the pain was still there (although not as bad as the night before) and I also noticed I couldn’t open my mouth as wide as usual, so I heaved the greatest of sighs and decided I would have to go to the dentist. Not a good time for it because my colleague is ill and there are only two of us (hence the overtime last night), but there was nothing I could do. Nobody was at work yet, so I logged on and sent an e-mail saying I would work from home and go see a dentist as soon as I (hopefully) got an appointment. Knowing my utter terror of the phone, Jan called his dentist for me and got me an appointment for 10:15. He had to travel elsewhere for work today, so I had to go to the appointment alone…

An image from 1300s (A.D.) England depicting a...
At least my teeth won’t be extracted like this… (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luckily, the dentist was nice and (the part I was more worried about than the dentist itself), I was able to explain what was wrong and understand what he told me. Apparantly, the wisdom tooth is coming through (so basically I’m teething at thirty!), and there isn’t really enough room for it plus it seems to be coming in at an angle… which is a bad thing. So he said he was going to give me a referral to a “Kieferchirurgen” (literally a “jaw surgeon!” – orthodontist, I presume…) so I could get my jaw x-rayed and figure out what to do next. He also said the fact that my mouth wouldn’t open properly was not right, but that could also be caused by the wisdom tooth. Later, when I got my referral, I saw that he had written on it that I need a consultation due to “restricted opening of mouth” (terrible attempt to translate from the German that, but I’m sure you know what I mean). He also gave me a recommendation for a Kiefer-thingy practice. So now I need to make an appointment with said jaw doctor… I actually tried calling a couple of times today, hetting myself all psyched up each time only for the phone to be engaged! SO eventually I decided to give the contact form on their website a go instead. So now, I wait… and take more Ibuprofen, I guess.

One thing is certain… I am going to this wine festival on Saturday even if I have to drink grape juice all day!

**Update: The “Kiefer” practice called me back! I have an appointment for consultation on Tuesday morning, first one available… to get one after work I would have had to wait til the week after next! The woman on the phone seemed nice, so hopefully it won’t be too bad**