My 2013

At the start of 2013, I wrote a month-by-month account of what I’d been doing the year before. It helped me remember that I had actually done a few interesting things in 2012 and made me really look forward to the year ahead. I enjoyed writing that post, so I’ve decided to do it again this year. Photos are being kept small to avoid an overload (and the crashing of slower computers… i.e. mine!).

January

Jan and I have a tradition of spending every New Year somewhere different, and in 2013 it was the turn of Luxembourg, so I saw in 2014 standing on a bridge over a giant gorge watching fireworks.

Fireworks in Luxembourg
Fireworks in Luxembourg

Later in the month, we took a trip to nearby Schwetzingen to see a talk about the making of marionettes. We had a brief look at the gardens, but it was cold so we decided against going for a walk. We’ll have to go back some day when there isn’t snow on the ground!

In Schwetzuingen castle gardens
In Schwetzingen castle gardens

Not much else of note happened in January. I seem to recall spending most of it eating soup, drinking tea and trying my best to stay warm!

February

At the beginning of February, with my 30th birthday rapidly approaching, I came up with the idea of thinking of 35 things to do before I turn 35 and made a start on adding things to the list. On 5 February, Jan and I celebrated 9 years of being in a relationship. Considering my previous “longest relationship” lasted about six months, nine years seemed like quite an achievement! Shrove Tuesday also came around in February, so naturally pancakes had to be consumed. Yum yum!

Pancaaakes!
Pancaaakes!

At the end of the month, Jan went away with work… and came back minus his appendix! Not my favourite week of the year…

March

Jan’s birthday was in March, but he was still in Turkey so there was no celebrating. St Patrick’s Day was spent in the Irish Pub, of course. We all dressed in green and wore silly hats… and winter coats! Despite the fact that March is officially spring, it was still snowing as late as the 25th!

25 March 2013
25 March 2013

Easter arrived at the very end of the month, and Jan and I made use of the long weekend for a trip to Rastatt and the Schloss Favorite.

April

The first day of April was still the Easter weekend, so we took the opportunity for another day trip. This time the destination was Bad Dürkheim, home of the world’s largest wine barrel (which has never actually been used to store wine…).

Bad Dürkheimer Weinfass

Three days later, we headed off on a trip that I had been looking forward to for ages… Berlin and, most importantly, Eddie Izzard live!!

Force Majeure

While I was there, I also managed to cross something off my 35 before 35 list – play blacklight minigolf. And that was pretty much it for April…

May

May is one of my favourite months in Germany, purely because there are sooo many public holidays, starting with  the Maifeiertag on the first of the month!  This year, it was on a Wednesday so Jan and I took the Thursday and Friday off work and went to visit his dad for his birthday. Also in May was a trip to a wheelchair rugby Champion’s League match, which was happening in Karlsruhe.

Wheelchair rugby 1

The second of May’s public holidays was Pfingstmontag, aka Whit Monday. A long weekend… hurrah! Jan and I went to his colleague’s wedding celebration and I baked a cake for it. The following week, Jan and I went hiking in Baden-Baden and I discovered I can walk a lot further than I think I can!

Geroldsau Waterfall
Geroldsau Waterfall

June

June 2013 can basically be summed up in one word… Ireland! I had been to Dublin before and enjoyed it, but now I’m head over heels in love with the entire country. So green! Such friendly locals! And they do proper Sunday roasts just like back at home in England. Also, while I was away my blog turned five!

The River Nore and Kilkenny Castle
The River Nore and Kilkenny Castle

July

In July, I started to get serious about trying to lose weight (after going on about it since about February!) and began a new series on my blog– Weigh-in Wednesdays. Also in July, Jan and I visited Nagold, Rottweil and Horb am Neckar all on the same day, meaning I had now visited all the towns I needed to be able to complete my 30 German Towns Before 30 challenge… all that remained was writing up the last few in time for my birthday!

Buildings down by the river in Nagold
Buildings down by the river in Nagold

The rest of the month sped by, and before I knew it, it was time for me to visit England (Jan was supposed to come too, but he fell ill the day we were due to fly and ended up in hospital with some kind of “mystery virus”). I spent my time in the motherland becoming godmother to the most gorgeous little boy and celebrating my mam’s 50th birthday. On the way back, my connecting flight from Amsterdam was cancelled! I was able to transfer to a flight to Stuttgart, but unfortuately my luggage never made it on to the plane! Luckily the suitcase quickly turned up and was delivered to me at home two days later.

August

My birthday month!!! Cue major panicking. In the event, turning 30 wasn’t so bad… apart from the minor drunken meltdown after drinking lots of whiskey on the actual day. I didn’t mention it at the time (and wasn’t fully aware of it myself until a few weeks later), but that little episode almost cost me my relationship! Jan was definitely not a happy bunny. We’re all good again now though. When I wasn’t getting drunk and emotional, I celebrated my birthday with the Rocky Horror Show auf Deutsch and a birthday party (or “bee-day” party) that was made extra specially amazing by my wonderful friends and boyfriend (even when he was mad at me, he made sure my party was good!). At the end of the month, I decided to stop my weigh-in Wednesdays series at just above my goal weight.

I'm covered in beeees!
I’m covered in beeees!

The annual Bierbörse also came to Karlsruhe at the end of August.

September

September 2013 will forever by remembered as the month that I got my wisdom teeth out. But I did manage to make it to a wine festival in Bad Dürkheim before my diet was restricted to nothing but soup for days on end! Oh, and it turns out being practically incapable of eating was exactly what I needed to finally reach my goal weight. I wouldn’t recommend the wisdom teeth diet though (and I’ve since put half the weight back on. Sigh)! The rest of September went by in a blur of pain, dental appointments and work, leaving me with the feeling that I’d done nothing all month!

Wine in Bad Dürkheim
Wine in Bad Dürkheim

October

At the beginning of October, Jan and I went to Trier to meet a friend and go elephant hunting. A few weeks later, my favourite Irish pub celebrated its 5th birthday… on a Wednesday! Cue a night of drinking and live music followed by a day of feeling like a zombie at work after getting roughly three hours of sleep. That weekend brought sunshine with it, so Jan and I took advantage of one of the few nice autumn days and took a trip to Triberg im Schwarzwald – apparantly it was the month of visiting places beginning with Tri…
Near the end of the month, my maternal grandma ended up in hospital with pneumonia… and I only found out by chance via Facebook!

A blue elephant in Trier
A blue elephant in Trier

November

November started with a trip to the place I used to live in Austria. It turns out Feldkirch hasn’t changed much! I really enjoyed getting to spend a weekend away with my boyfriend and meeting my friends’ adorable baby boy! While we were away, we also stopped by Garmisch-Patenkirchen, Neuschwanstein Castle and Augsburg. Later in November, I went to a whiskey tasting at my local Irish pub – on the same day that I’d signed up to take a photo an hour with Jane of Is That You Darling. Anda few weeks later,  I made blue cake with a Dr. Who theme for a friend’s birthday party. November was also the month that my grandpa (dad’s side of the family this time) went into hospital to have his right kidney removed after a cancerous tumour was found on it… and the month Jan left for South America for two weeks, leaving me all on my lonesome!

The view from our hotel room window in Feldkirch
The view from our hotel room window in Feldkirch

December

Since it currently still is December and I’m sure you can still remember what I’ve written about over the past few weeks, I won’t say too much here 😉 Basically, this month consisted of a lot of overtime, stressing over the buying of Christmas gifts and several trips to the post office to spend way more money than I had bargained for on sending parcels. I also visited the Mediaeval Christmas market in Durlach, and my boyfriend returned from South America. I also made my annual Christmas dinner for friends. Currently, I am in the UK celebrating Christmas with my family.

Overall, I don’t feel as positive after writing this post as I did at the end of 2012. Despite my trips to Berlin and Ireland, I don’t feel like I’ve travelled as much this year. Instead, 2013 basically seems to have been a whirlwind of work and illness… between Jan’s hospital stays, illnesses within my family and getting my wisdom teeth out, this hasn’t been the greatest year healthwise. And with all the extra hours I’ve been doing at work, it feels like there’s been very little play. Obviously the year hasn’t been all bad – my personal highlights being seeing Eddie Izzard, two weeks in Ireland, becoming a godmother, my birthday party and meeting my friends’ baby in Austria – but I have to admit I will be very glad to see the back of 2013! Jan and I are going to Madiera for New Year though, so hopefully the year will finish on a high note and January will herald the start of a much more nicer year!

*Please note: This is a scheduled post as I am still away for the holiday season. I will reply to comments as soon as possible*

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What nobody tells you about having nails

 

Let's ignore my lack of painting skills and focus on the length...
Let’s ignore my lack of painting skills and focus on the length…

As those of you who know me in real life will be aware, one of my worst habits is biting my nails. Or at least it was. You see, an unexpected side effect of having my wisdom teeth out was that, after three weeks of being unable to bite or chew properly, I suddenly had nails that were actually deserving of being labelled such (and worth putting nail varnish on). And I’m determined to keep them that way! But since then, I’ve discovered a number of things that none of the people who scolded me for biting my nails ever thought to mention…

  1. They catch on things! Tights, scarves, handbag straps… you name it, my nails will find a way to get caught on it!
  2. This is sort of related to the first one but… nails like to scratch! I managed to scratch my neck the other day while putting a scarf around it, and I have scratches on my legs, too. You’d think I’d been in a fight with a cat!
  3. Things get stuck behind them. Want to bake biscuits? Be prepared for dough behind your nails! That packet of crisps? Will leave half its flavouring behind your nails. Am I the only one that finds this incredibly annoying?
  4. When they get bent back, it hurts!! I actually knew this already because for a few years I’ve managed to keep the little nail on my left hand fairly long while the others either got bitten or broken off. But nobody bothers telling you that, do they?
  5. If you’re right handed, cutting the nails on your right hand is an exercise in frustration! I’m almost afraid to even cut those nails now in case I completely ruin them. How do other people with long nails do it? (I also can’t paint the nails on my right hand to save my life… my left hand is basically useless, so this particular problem may well be all my own).
  6. They get in the way. I try to pick something up (like a pencil) and my nails get there first. Typing leads to nails hitting the keyboard. Opening packaging? Nails prevent me from getting a proper grip! But the place that they get in the way the most is the kitchen… especially when I’m chopping. One of these days we’re going to be eating chicken risotto with added nail clippings. Mmmm, tasty! I’m hoping this is something that I’ll get used to and figure out a way round…

On the bright side, at least I don’t have to be ashamed to show my hands on photographs any more 😉

Time to start eating healthily again!

Walkers crisps from the UK
Why must you be so tasty? (Photo credit: suanie)

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been letting the fact that I could eat normally again go to my head. Pizza, chips, jaffa cakes, chocolate Digestives and Walkers crisps have all disappeared down my throat like it was the last time I was ever going to be fed. The result? I’ve now put back on half of the weight I had lost thanks to my wisdom tooth operation. Ooops! It’s time for this to stop, and healthy eating to recommence. That’s not to say I won’t be eating any junk food. After all, I do have a sweetie hamper that it would be a shame to let go to waste! And they say a little of what you fancy does you good. But muffins and pizza in the same day? Half a packet of Rolos followed by a bag of crisps and a handful of Liqurice Allsorts? Slightly excessive, don’t you think? It’s got to stop! So, from today, I shall be cooking nice healthy meals again. And no snacking in between! That’s the plan anyway. We’ll see how well I stick to it…

And obviously Irish pub days don’t count… I need my fix of chips with salt and vinegar at least once a month!

Friday letters – bye bye September!

The final Friday letters in September. Where has the time gone? I feel like I’ve done nothing this month… probably because I’ve spent half of it dealing with wisdom teeth issues. I did go to the wine festival though, so it wasn’t a completely wasted month…

English: Blue Postbox
Blue Postbox (Photo: Wikipedia)

Dear pur cookie beans. Why must you be so tasty? I just can’t stop eating you until the whole bag is gone!

Dear Germany. Why don’t you have Indian takeaways? Somebody needs to sort this out!

Dear tea. Not being able to enjoy drinking you for over a week has made me love you even more.

Dear work. You’ve been crazily busy this week! Please don’t respond to that by leaving me with next to nothing to do next week, like you did last time.

Dear TK Maxx. Welcome to Karlsruhe! I just know we’re going to have a wonderful time together…

Dear everyone. Happy Friday! I hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

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The Liebster Award and some random ramblings

Charlotte from Sherbet and Sparkles recently gave me the Liebster Award (thank you Charlotte!) and I thought I would pass it on before I completely forget about it.liebsterblogawardA while ago, I was given a different Liebster Award, which involved a lot more work. This one is pretty simple – display the award on your blog and choose five people to pass it on to. I can do that!

The word Liebster is German, by the way, and means something like “dearest”. How nice!
Here are my nominations:

PinkleaOne of the first blogs I started reading when I signed up for WordPress oh-so-many years ago. She’s a French immersion teacher from Canada and often has funny stories to tell about the kids, as well as life in general.

Expat Eye on LatviaI’m sure you can guess what her blog is about from the name. However, what the name doesn’t tell you is that she’s very, very funny!

From Casinos to CastlesDeanna is an American expat in Germany. She writes about the ups and downs of life (and parenthood) in a foreign land.

Is That You Darling?Jane describes herself as a “UK lifestyle blogger” On is That You Darling, you you will find a bit of everything: Film reviews, recipes and photos from day trips to London, to name just a few.

The Pink RachaelWe share so many of the same opinions, it almost scares me! Rachael recently moved from being an expat in Spain to living back in England, and took a break from blogging during the big move, but she’s back now with more tales to tell.

Sara in Le Petit VillageAn American in France. Her posts range from amusing to insightful and her photos of France are gorgeous!

Now some random ramblings on life in general.

  1. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m looking forward to being able to exercise again! When I went back to work after the dreaded wisdom teeth operation, even walking fast caused a jolt of pain to go through the holes with every step I took. Things have improved since then, thank goodness, but I still don’t feel up to say star jumps.
  2. Speaking of wisdom teeth, I can now chew normally again on one side of my mouth. The left-hand side is still a bit sensitive, but the operation was also more complicated on that side so I’m not too surprised.
  3. Because dealing with the after effects of having my wisdom teeth out clearly isn’t enough, I woke up with a sore throat this morning. Thanks a lot, universe!
  4. It’s raining again. I sincerely hope it’s just a one off and not the start of another three weeks of sogginess! There’s been more than enough rain in Germany this year if you ask me.
  5. Poppadoms
    YUM!! (Photo credit: 10b travelling)

    My godson took is first step the other day, at just over one year and one week old. Clever boy! (Obviously I was not there to see this – I read it on Facebook).

  6. Last night, somebody found my blog by searching for craving poppadoms. Now I want poppadoms! And a decent curry to go with them. I’m so easily influenced… (I also still want Wotsits after yesterday’s search terms post. Always the things I can’t get here. *Sigh*)

And that’s all I have to say for now. Stay tuned for this week’s Look Up, Look Down entry…

YAY Friday! (letters)

It’s Friday and I’m so pleased this week is over! Maybe I’ll actually get to enjoy this weekend now that I’m no longer constantly attached to an ice pack…

English: Post Boxes in Windsor Red and blue po...
Photo credit: Wikipedia

Dear wisdom teeth. You’ve been out of my mouth for over a week now and I’ve yet to eat a non-soft meal. This ordeal better be over soon!

Dear food. I am sooo looking forward to eating you properly again! Pizza, crisps and other hard and crunchy things, here I come!

Dear goal weight. It seems I have actually achieved you. Looks like the wisdom teeth extraction diet was the way to go. (And no, I do not recommend this as a way to lose weight!)

Dear weather. Is all this rain really necessary? Please could you send just a little sunshine soon-ish?

Dear readers. Thanks for sticking around through all the wisdom teeth posts. I promise to change the subject now… as soon as I find something else to write about! Being ill limits opportunities for blog-worthy news, I’m afraid…

Dear weekend. Hello! Nice to see you again. Let’s spend some quality time together, okay? (That means no rushing by before I’ve even properly registered that you’ve begun!)
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The stitches are gone!

I keep wanting to refer to my stitches as threads, because that’s what they’re called in German and it’s what I’ve been saying to friends and colleagues here all week. Come on brain, don’t forget your English!

Well, the stitches are gone. Part of one thread (well, it’s more like wire really) actually fell out in the tram on the way to my appointment. I told the surgeon, and he said “It’s as if it knew!”.

Overlock 1-thread
I much prefer this kind of stitches (Photo: Wikipedia)

The surgeon was most uncommunicative, as he has been pretty much the whole time. Getting information out of him is like getting blood form a stone! I told him about the weird pulling sensation, and he just asked “Is it getting worse?” I said no, and that it also wasn’t painful (which it wasn’t) and he was like “well, should be okay then” and started coming at me with his implements. I then said my colleague had mentioned that she had the same thing and it seemed to get better once the stitches were out, to which he said “well, let’s get them out then!” Impatient much?! The pulling went fairly quickly, but it stung! He could have warned me before he started snipping around in my mouth!

Once it was done, Mr. surgeon said “right, that’s it. We’ll inform your Hausarzt (like a GP) what’s been done. Oh, and come back in three months so we can have another look at the wounds”.  “Umm, can I eat everything again now?” I asked. “Yes, everything’s just as before now. Have a good evening!” Anyone else getting the feeling he wanted me to hurry up and leave? Well, leave I did. Made my appointment for three months time and got out of there.

Three months seemed like kind of a long time, but I googled and apparantly that’s how long it takes for the wounds to be fully healed (although you don’t have to follow the wisdom tooth diet for all that time… thank goodness! After three months, I think I would literally have starved to death!). The Internets say after three weeks repair tissue will have filled the socket – I guess I’ll just have holes in my mouth until then – and in three months new bone will have formed in the socket. And presumably the new bone is what he wants to look at in three months…

Hopefully now swallowing will start to get less annoying!