Today, Jan and I have been together for nine years! Unbelievable. At the beginning, I never expected us to make it this far. I was on my year abroad, I’d recently broken up with someone else and my longest relationship until that point had been less than a year.
We’ve had our struggles and ups and downs, of course – starting when, after six months of being together, I had to go back to England to complete my degree while Jan went off to America for a year. Ironically, I had previously broken up with someone because I couldn’t handle being in a long-distance relationship – and the distance in that case was only between Northumberland and Nottingham (sorry Jay!!). However, neither of us wanted to break up at that point, so we agreed to try, and somehow it worked! Despite the fact that we only saw each other once, for precisely one week, between my 21st birthday in August 2004 and my graduation in July 2005 (my dad bought me a return flight to America as my Christmas present in 2004).
After another year of long-distance – this time with me in Austria (read that carefully – it’s the one without the kangaroos) and Jan back in Germany, I decided that seeing my boyfriend an average of once a month wasn’t enough for me and made plans to move to Germany.
And now, almost six-and-a-half years later – I moved back in September 2006 – here we are celebrating our 9 year “anniversary” (I wish I could think of another word for that…). I wonder what the next year will bring?
(Apologies to those who already know this story – probably not many. Pinklea maybe? I’ve gained a few new readers over the past year and I felt it was worth repeating).
Last Saturday we went to Freiburg Christmas market. (Yes, a week ago. Despite blogging pretty much every day, I’m totally behind. *sigh*). I had been to Freiburg once before, during my year abroad. Jan and I went to visit another girl from my uni who was doing her year abroad in Freiburg. However, as our visit basically consisted of going for pizza with her friends then heading to the Messe (fun fair) which was in town at the time, I took zero photos and saw just about enough of the town to decide I had to come back some day.
Jan and I had been planning to go to a Christmas market in a nearby town one weekend, and when I spotted a giant poster at the train station informing me that Freiburg Weihnachtsmarkt is celebrating it’s 40th anniversary this year, it was settled. So off to Freiburg we went (Jan, myself and my Scottish friend K, that is).
Freiburg im Breisgau, to give it it’s full name, is known for being the warmest place in Germany. Not that that means anything at this time of year – it was still -2°C when we were there! It is also actually in the Black Forest (whereas Karlsruhe only almost is).
Freiburg’s town centre is full of pretty little streets and, being December, naturally they were all decorated with Christmas lights.
I’m sure they would be much more impressive at night 😉 As for the Christmas market (our reason for being there!), you could certainly tell that Freiburg attracts a lot more tourists than Karlsruhe. Our first stop was for food, which just had to be Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes). I chose to have mine with garlic sauce (I love potatoes and garlic, remember). Along with German, the stall we went to listed its wares in French and English as well. Yep, touristy! After my potatoes, I was still hungry so I decided to be a traditionalist and go for a Bratwurst in a bun. Yum! After food, it was time for Glühwein! 🙂 But first Jan had to find a bank and I had to take this photo:
The tall tower thing you can see is the Martinstor (Martin’s Gate). Note the Macdonalds as well. Although the cuty council couldn’t prevent them from putting up their sign, they were able to stop them from using their usual horrible yellow logo, which I think is excellent! (The only thing better would have been no Macdonalds at all in such a lovely old building.)
After a few Glühweins, the natural response to lots of liquid kicked in 😉 so we headed off in the direction that the sign for “WC” was pointing. After using the facilties, we spotted some stalls that I don’t think had anything to do with the actual Christmas market, but were selling some pretty things so of course I had to have a look. I wanted to buy this hat, but decided not to in the end.
Since we had a while to wait before we could get a train home, we decided to go and check out the Christmas goings on at the Kartoffelmarkt (literally: Potato Market). It’s basically a pretty little square which, as the name suggests, was once used for the selling of potatoes. It has its own little Christmas market offshoot, which is smaller and slightly less crowded. Here’s a photo:
After a quick browse of the stands, we finished our trip with more Glühwein – blueberry for me and cherry for K (I’m not sure what Jan had). Very tasty 🙂
The market was pretty crowded, but not nearly as bad as we were expecting (or as bad as Heidelberg for that matter!). I would say it’s worth a visit if only to get yourself a cup with 40 Jahre Freiburger Wiehnachtsmarkt on it (ok, that will only work for another week ;-)). Freiburg itself is pretty, too and certainly worth a visit even when the Christmas market isn’t in town.
You know it’s been too long since your last post when you go to WordPress only to find you’ve been logged out! (I have mine set up to keep me logged in).
In my defence though it has been a busy, busy week.
On Monday it was Jan’s birthday. He turned 30 (causing a friend of mine to say “Wow, you have an old boyfriend” when I told her. She thought he was only a year or two older than me, not 3 and a half). Thirty being a special birthday I obviously wasn’t going to let him ignore it – like he has pretty much every year since I met him! So I started asking him what he wanted to do at the end of January, and finally managed to persuade him to let me take him out for a meal. We went to a slightly more expensive than usual restaurant which we had both seen from the outside but never been in. Actually, the prices were slightly better than I thought they would be, but the total still ended up being over €100. That did include an apertif each, a bottle of wine, starter, soup, two main courses and a dessert though, so not too bad. And we tried frog’s legs. In case you were wondering no, they don’t taste like chicken! They were nice and I wouldn’t object to eating them again but it’s not something I need to do every day.
Jan has decided he’ll be having a proper party once the two of us have found a flat, so there’s still that to look forward to as well. (We are officially looking now… exciting, yes?)
On Tuesday I went out for dinner with a friend. I hadn’t seen her since before Christmas and it was sooo good to meet up. This time we went for a slightly cheaper option – a bar/restaurant type place that mostly students go to. I think it was the first place I ever went for a drink in Karlsruhe, way back in my Erasmus days. That was the same year I met my friend, so we spent some time talking about homw time has flown since then… my year abroad was 2003/2004 and now we’re three months into 2010. Unbelievable!
Wednesday was the day of the long awaited Germany-Argentina match and I was right there in the stadium! A friend of Jan’s got tickets ages ago, and since I had 2 days holiday from last year that had to be taken before the end of March I decided I would go along. Some things just have to be done at least once in a life time. The match was in Munich, so Jan hired a car and we left the house at 7:30 am to drive down there. I still can’t believe I was up that early on my day off! It took us until nearly 12pm to get to Munich (damn traffic! Damn roadworks!) so the first thing we did was go and get something to eat. I had the biggest burger I’ve ever seen! That alone would have been enough for me, but it came served with homemade potato wedges (with the skin left on. Mmmm) and salad. The best thing about it though was that the gherkins and tomatoes had been left on the side of the plate, so I didn’t have to pick them out before I could start eating. It also came with three types of sauce – ketchup, mayonaise and something that may have been mustard (I didn’t try it) all of which came in proper little jars. Excellent! We then went for a wander around town, did a bit of shopping (I got a new coat) took some photos and finally headed for the stadium. Those who watched the match on TV thought it was boring and that Germany were week, but from where I was sitting it was pretty good. Germany at least seemed to try for once (number 24 played excellently!) and I enjoyed myself, despite freezing to death the whole way throguh – the Allianz Arena is completely open and unheatable! Germany lost 1-0, which is a shame, but the goal was so pathetic that they almost deserved it. We left Munich after the match and drove back to Karlsruhe, finally arriving at just after 3 am. I’m very glad I didn’t have to work on Thursday!
Last night we were invitied to a friend’s place for a DVD evening, to celebrate Jan’s birthday. We watched Office Space, which is funny if a little strange in places. By the time we left (at just after 2am) it had started to snow. Not the nice kind of snow either, horrible little flakes that are basically just freezing rain… and all blown about by a nasty cold wind. We missed the tram as well, but luckily our friend has a car so he gave us a lift home. We went straight to bed when we got in, then woke up this morning to find it was still snowing (at least I did, it’s now 1:20 pm and Jan’s still in bed!). Snow in March is unheard of for Karlsruhe, and it’s meant to continue for the rest of the weekend. And there was me thinking Spring was on its way.
That was my week. Very enjoyable, but now it’s time to get back to the boring stuff. Housework and my dissertation are calling…
Time is just flying by at the moment. I can’t believe I’m into my third week at work already! It’s probably a good thing though – if it’s going fast I must be enjoying it, right? I mean, we all know what they say about time flying…
So last week was the 5 year reunion of the very first year I spent in Karlsruhe. I was one of the group of internationals who did their year abroad in 2003/04 (yes, I do realise 2003 was 6 years ago. Obviously it was the 5 year reunion of when we left). The first of the group, and probably the person I most wanted to see, arrived on Sunday 6th September, which is why I cooked dinner that day. There were 6 of us and I made pumpkin lasagne. It was a total experiment… I had never made anything with pumpkin before, never mind lasagne, but it turned out great.
Monday was my day of rest, then on Tuesday the next group arrived, and from that night on things were just crazy. Most nights I went to meet the others straight from work, coming home just in time to fall into bed before starting all over again the next day. I’m in desperate need of sleep now, but it was all good fun and really great to see the others again. None of us seem to have changed much… the only difference is now we have grown up jobs. And 2 sets of couples who met back then are married now. The last of the group departed yesterday but we’ve already decided when the next reunion will be… in 5 years time, 2014. But this time we’re doing it in August so that the teachers can make it as well.
Well, well. My first blog in this new place.
I used to blog over at msn spaces, but after they changed it to windows live spaces it first stopped working entirely on Firefox then when it came back it still didn’t work properly, at which point I became extremely annoyed and stopped bothering. But it seems I just can’t keep away from the world of blogging, so I’ve decided to try out something new. Whether wordpress will annoy me any less than spaces remains to be seen…
I suppose as it’s the first post I should tell you who I am.
The name is Bev(erley) and I’m from a small town in Northumberland, England (I wasn’t actually born in Northumberland, but both of my parents are from there and it’s probably the place I lived in for longest – squaddie brat!) After studying German at university I spent a year teaching English in Austria (think mountains and singing nuns, not kangeroos… you’d be amazed at how many people mis-read that word!). In September 2006 I moved to Germany to be closer to my boyfriend, who I met on the year abroad we had to do as part of our university course, and I’ve been here ever since. I’m in the 10th month of a 1 year internship at a translation firm and desperately trying to find a job for when my internship finishes. I’m also studying part time for my Master’s in Translation, via distance learning but not at the OU – unfortunately they don’t offer a translation course. I have done a creative writing course through the OU and found them much better organised than the uni I’m actually studying at.
That’s pretty much all there is to me. I’m not very interesting, so if you came here looking to be entertained I’m afraid you’ve got the wrong blog!