Sunday, 31 August 2008

New and exciting theme

Don't quite know if I like it yet,so I'll probably change it back to normal tomorrow,but as for tonight- I fancied a change.

Been a god damn boring day- Sundays in Europe are not the best days of the week due to everything being shut.So I've stayed in all day catching up with the latest blogging action and watching Lukas Moodysson's first film- Fucking Åmål (or Show Me Love as I think it was released as everywhere other than Sweden.There are comedic moments and sad moments- it's not a bad film at all,but it isn't brilliant either.I prefer the other two films of Moodysson's I've seen.Lilya 4-Ever was thoroughly depressing but a great film all the same,and Tilsammans was at the other end of the scale- although all the main characters had their problems,everything was OK in the end,and it finishes with a big ABBA fest,which is always nice.

I managed to watch most of X Factor last night too- this was my personal highlight...



Is it just me or were they actually not that bad? Still,comparing themselves to Kylie and Robbie may have been a bit much!

Anyway,work tomorrow.And hopefully some kind of closure to my problem.Mmm.

Saturday, 30 August 2008

Frühstück

Look at my breakfast :)



Yes it's just breakfast,but it's been a small dream of mine ever since Norway last year to have drinking yogurt and fruit juice and buy rolls from the bakery every morning.

I couldn't be bothered to go to Denmark today.There,that's something I thought I'd never say.I decided most of the places really close to the border didn't look very interesting,and Sønderborg is too far away at the minute.I'll definitely do it another weekend though.And my Danish friend (once he'd remembered who I was) said he'd show me around Odense if I ever get that far.

I also felt too lazy and hot to do anything much today.It's only 21 degrees apparantly but it's a bit much for me to handle.So I went off into town,upsetting some old man on a bike on the way (seriously,I don't understand these roads- although the lights went red,it takes forever for the green man to appear,so I stayed where I was just in case,but that really annoyed the old man for some reason.It's illegal to cross a road in Belarus without a green man showing,how am I meant to know it's not the same here?!).Dodging the "self-help" people and the anti-war people on Holstenstrasse (charity people at home are bad enough,I didn't feel like a political discussion today),I ended up in Perfetto buying more food.I must stop buying things in posh department store grocers and learn to go to real supermarkets instead- I'll bankrupt myself soon.I had a bit of a Let's Green moment (although no ridiculous brand name will EVER beat Let's Green),when I saw a loaf of bread called "Sammy's Super Sandwich" (there were about 10 slices in it) and the obligatory "Corny" products that you see all over central and southern Europe.

I saw a wedding too,that's 3 in 3 days now.Maybe it's a sign that if I marry and move in with a nice local man within the next week,my housing pickle will be sorted.Then I sat by Bootshafen with a can of God knows what,until I got too hot and decided to go home,getting hideously lost on the way.Bootshafen is a triangular piece of water...



...which I think is only there because people must feel cheated when they come here.We're meant to be on a fjord,but for the best part of the day,all view of water from the town centre is covered up by the big Stena Line ferry from Göteborg :)

And now I'm off to Jazz Nacht.I'm not really sure what it is exactly,but seems there's a few bands around Danish Street and the Old Town.Seeing as the shops are open really late tonight,they must be expecting quite a few people to be around.

Friday, 29 August 2008

More happy!

In the bathroom just now I heard people speaking Italian outside.I assume they're the owners of the restaurant below my flat.It's only been 3 days,but it's nice hearing foreigners,or rather non-Germans sometimes.I was excited about the English book section in Thalia yesterday too.Until I saw the prices that is.Anyway,I must try this restaurant soon.I'm hoping if I tell them a) what a crap first few days I've had b)that I live upstairs and c)I'm a bit Italian, that they'll like me and give me things for free :)
One good thing about today is that the weather is a lot better.Apparantly it's not even going to rain a little bit tomorrow.Looks like I've been left to entertain myself again this evening- I don't know for sure,seeing as my housemate hardly talks to me and has done well with making me feel a bit less than welcome.I don't mind that though to be honest,I didn't want her to feel like she had to take me everywhere and show me every single bakery et cetera- I like doing things on my own.Still,it would be quite nice to be acknowledged sometimes.
Moan over.I might go back into town later to see if there's anything going on.Was going to stay in and watch the ski jumping,but because of the tennis (yet again),it's only on Eurosport HD.Typical.
I'm thinking a trip to Flensburg may be in order sometime this weekend.And erm,maybe an extra 10 minutes further on into Denmark?Stay tuned.

I'm happy

Well I'm not,I'm really pissed off with how I've been treated actually and pretty scared about what's going to happen next,but let's not go into that.What I am happy about though,is that at Aldi just now I heard my first real Plattdeutsch accent- complete with "Moin" and some strange vowel sounds.I love that man,I want him to come and be my speech coach.I had a proper Danish hot dog today too.After 24 hours of no food,I thought a Danish hot dog would be the only way to break the fast.Turns out what we had here last month wasn't the real deal at all- a real Danish hot dog has mustard (not remoulade :( ) and tomato sauce,lots and lots of dried onion bits and plentiful gherkins.Now that is Himmel in a finger roll.

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Joy!

I've found my favourite ever bit of Fabrika Zvezd 6...



I love the way no one takes any notice of Dima,like it's the most normal thing in the world.And the care he takes in making sure Yulia is wearing it properly :)

I've got headaches and bad luck

I hate Fall Out Boy but I was talking about them with my cousin last night,so they came into my head again.I think that line is quite appropriate anyway.It hasn't been the most brilliant first few days here,what with the air sickness,my complete loss of appetite (I've had half a pizza,half a sandwich and a little roll since I've been here),my returning headaches and now the as-expected problems with the authorities.Still,it's not just me- I feel really sorry for the girl who works in the bakery opposite,who has to put up a pneumatic drill right outside all day :)
Did a bit of shopping today though which was nice- I love Holstenstrasse.I spent absolutely ages in Karstadt looking at amusing birthday cards and things.Was quite depressing looking at their chocolate section though- Norwegian Marabou with Dime bar bits is on special offer too.What have I done to deserve this?!
Maybe I'll go back into town in a bit and see if there's anything exciting happening.I do doubt it though.Apparantly there's some kind of jazz event going on tomorrow night,which means most of the shops are open til 11pm or midnight (who wants to go shopping at midnight?!),so maybe I should check that out too.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

Gratulerer med gullen Andreas!

A slightly better day today,even if I did feel pretty rough for most of it.Whatever this mystery illness is that I have,I hope it goes away soon- 3 weeks is long enough thank you very much.Anyway,Andreas Thorkildsen won gold in the javelin,so that cheered me up :) Also,a big thanks to Eurosport for showing so many gratuitous shots of him with no top on- your cameraman deserves some kind of award.
I'm quite sad that the Olympics are finished,the last 2 weeks have gone really fast.It's been the best Olympics I've ever seen,and I just hope London 2012 isn't going to look like some kind of amateur circus in comparison.There's still the closing ceremony to look forward to tomorrow though,where the games are officially passed over to London.We of course have 8 minutes to give the world a glimpse of what to expect in 4 years time.Apparantly there's some guy from Led Zeppelin who's going to be there (yawn.I thought these games were meant to be about modernity and the likes),but I'm quite intrigued to see how they fit the shipping forecast into it all,as I read in The Mirror today.Should be good!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Untitleable post #1

Yesterday's trip to Canterbury was very successful.First,Shabs did some posing for a change...



We had lunch at my favourite restaurant in the world- Little Italy,really good carbonara and garlic bread (not together of course) complete with a band outside who were playing some very energetic Eastern European folk music indeed.Speaking of Eastern European folk*,how bloody fabulous is my new skirt?!



£7 from Zara.I was so happy (and Shabana was so annoyed) when the cashier told me :) I think it may form part of my airport outfit on Wednesday.Not long to go now- I aim to get everything packed by Monday because I really don't want to be thinking about it the day before I go.Anyway,there's more excitement to be had with Emma and Shabs on Tuesday.God knows where,I think we've already exhausted Medway's possibilities.But yes.In under a week I can stop thrilling you with stories of banks and shopping in Kent,and start thrilling you with stories of banks and shopping in Schleswig-Holstein.Because there's nothing more exciting than hearing about what someone else is doing that has no relevance to you whatsoever is there?But whatever,writing might keep me sane,and my English vaguely comprehensible.As much as I'm enjoying my routine of being woken up by a blistering headache that takes 2-3 hours to go away,watching a bit of the Olympics,getting lunch from the bakers,watching a bit more of the Olympics etc etc,I think it's probably time for something different :)

I've been thinking a bit about what I want to come of this year away (or the 5 months in Germany anyway).The social side of things is still bothering me,but I must remember that it's not about making a million friends who I won't keep in touch with anyway (I don't bother communicating with half the people in Guildford I know over summer,so I'd have no chance with lots of people in Germany),and seeing as I'm working for 39 hours a week,there's not going to be too much time to do stuff anyway.Relationships are also a no-no.We all know where a 5-month relationship ends up when you have to go away somewhere else :) ** All I want is to come back speaking bloody good German,see some ski jumping (whether that's in Lahti in February or Obertsdorf in December),get to Oslo at some point,and have a bit of money left over to afford rent for when I get back to Guildford.Anything else will be a bonus really.

Apologies for this being a not-very-happy post,I promise the next one shall be happier :)

* OK,so it's actually Moroccan,but still
** I'm over it,honestly!!!! Sort of...

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Hooray!

Flight- Done
Insurance- Done
Money in new account- Done
Rent transferred to account in Germany- erm,possibly

I think I've officially done everything I need to.It feels nice :) Now I can look forward to Thursday in Canterbury with Shabooby and Emma.Let's celebrate the occasion with the best cover of Ya Tebya Pomnyu you'll ever hear!


Sunday, 17 August 2008

Telly,trauma and...other stuff

Right now what I want more than anything in the world is this jacket.



If you've been watching the Olympics this time around or in 2004,you'll know it's what the Russian team wear.It's designed by some posh Italian designer people and you can only buy it in a few shops in Russia apparantly.Rubbish.

What an exciting Olympic weekend anyway! I saw most of GBs gold medal wins yesterday,and I got really excited when I saw a big massive Belarussian flag during the women's 100 metre heats.(I must just say as well that I'm loving the BBCs opening credits for the Olympic coverage.That's not something I've ever said before,but really,they're cool.) I tried watching the marathon this morning/last night but think I got to about the 10km point before falling asleep.It seems my hardcore nights of going to bed at 5am and having 3 hours sleep are over.

I was hoping to watch all of the gymnastics this afternoon too but my ever recurring and increasingly painful headache put paid to that.It's looking most likely that my headaches are caused by chocolate,which is absolutely bloody devastating just as I'm about to move to the only place I've ever seen outside of Oslo and Ikea that sells Marabou chocolate :( I have another theory that they are somehow related to Keira,as they started the day she went to Finland.Coincidence?Mmm...I'll go along with any theory if it means I can still eat chocolate :) Anyway,I tried sleeping it off this afternoon but Marco had other ideas and fell asleep on my bed snoring far louder than is normal for a cat,after jumping all over me.He weighs a stone,that's no fun.Then I tried watching a pretty good Soviet chick flick (yes,such a thing exists),but Dima decided to run around the house squeaking every one of his 15 toys.

More trauma tomorrow,when I have to go to the bank and ask to transfer money to Germany.You just know that's going to cause problems.

Anyway yes,telly.X Factor is back.Maybe one year I'll get to watch an entire series without having to bugger off somewhere just as it starts.Say what you like about X Factor ("I hate it,it's sooooo manufactured." And????),it is entertaining.Then again,I watch everything with singing in it (most things anyway).What I do hate about X Factor is all the sad stories that go along with everyone who turns out to be an amazing singer- stories that get madder and madder every year yet are just as boring and unnecessary.It's so obvious they only tell them for the sympathy vote,and that is quite annoying.Still,there was no single mum singing Hero last night which was quite a surprise.But there's always next week.And we did get an obligatory airing of My Heart Will Go On to keep us going.Cheryl Cole didn't annoy me like I thought she would,although she did do the "I can't do this anymore,I've had enough" thing.Actually the more I write about it,the more annoying this programme is!Anyway,there was a very happy Eastern European man (I think) with a nice accent at the beginning,who said "I just want to see my name- Dimitry [something] up in lights." And so did I! But alas,we didn't get to see his audition.We did get Ant and Seb though...



I love it!

Long Way Round and Francesco's Mediterranean Voyage finished this week :( Two bloody good series that I've really enjoyed and that have made me think about my going away soon.Of course working in an investment bank in Schleswig-Holstein probably isn't going to be quite as amazing as sailing around the Balkans,Greece and Turkey or motorbiking across Russia and Mongolia,but still,I'm a little bit excited now.What I'm most interested in is what effect it will have on my language.It's one thing living abroad for 5 months,it's another thing entirely living your life in another language.Of all the people I spoke to in Kiel,about 2 spoke English.I'm certainly not complaining- I have no problem with communicating in German- I like doing it I mean,and I'm pretty good (as you'd expect after 10 years of learning it!),I'm just interested to see if I end up thinking in German all the time and whether that will affect my English at all when I come back for a weekend or whatever.I can't wait to find out!

Arise Sir Nils Olav!




Isn't this picture insanely cute?!Nils Olav was in The Mirror yesterday,but I read the full story on VG where there's a video too.Apparantly Nils Olav is the third penguin mascot that the Norwegian Guard have had since they first visited Edinburgh in 1972.He's named after one of the lieutenants who had a thing about penguins,and King Olav who ruled Norway at the time.Anyway,he was made a knight yesterday,in his own little ceremony at Edinburgh Zoo.Aww!

Monday, 11 August 2008

Do rabbits go grey?*

* Not a question that I myself have ever asked by the way.

Just after trying to go back to sleep to get rid of my daily 9am headache this morning,I had an excited phonecall from Shabana telling me I had to get to her house by 11 so we could go the RSPCA centre in Walderslade to look at some rabbits.So one super-strength German ibuprofen,£5,20 and an hour later,there we were.I've never been the greatest fan of bunnies,as I think they're pretty boring,but Shabs has wanted one forever,so it was all very exciting when we found Ruby.Myself and Emma are off to see her on her first day in Gillingham tomorrow afternoon.Expect many boring pictures :)

The rest of the day was mostly spent discussing bunny accessories,reminiscing about the German trip of Year 9,winning £2 on a quiz machine (new record for us),having a nice pub lunch served by a scarily cheerful waitress (no one's happy in Medway...maybe she's leaving soon),purse shopping at TK Maxx,mocking the customers of a certain genre of shop,playing on the Wii and watching 90s boyband videos.

I'm knackered now!

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Televisual detritus

Despite my worrying yesterday about being lonely abroad,I'm thinking solitary confinement is easily preferable to watching the excuse for entertainment that is Big Brother.I haven't watched this series at all so maybe I'm wrong about it and the house is full of amazingly witty,intelligent people who know how to communicate in ways other than screeching OH MY GOD! every 3 seconds.But of course that wouldn't make good telly for the erm,special demographic that Channel 4 is targeting.Seriously though,there's only so much bleating of "I'm re-al,I ain't playing a game and I ain't interested in the money",only so many sights of disgusting obese slappers screaming and running around naked,and only so many "I love im,I fink we're gonna be togevah forevah" 'exclusive' stories on the front page of The Sun a fully functioning human can take.

There's many things that I dislike intensely,but Big Brother has to be right up there with chavs and drunk people.Probably because it's the ideal combination of both.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

I know how he feels



It seems whatever you do these days you always hear about someone having a fantastic time either on placement/just come back from placement/starting a new job/just graduating.Well that's all very nice I'm sure,but I've been feeling a bit miserable today about going away.Of course Kiel is a lovely city and I can't wait to come back speaking with the sexy Plattdeutsch accent I've been told I'll acquire.More about that song some other time by the way,it's genius :) And having put in all the effort of applying for the job in the first place,staying in regular contact with the company when stuff has gone a bit wrong,finding my own flat and actually going over to meet my flatmate and see what the city is like,it would be ridiculous not to go.Also,with everyone having such a bloody great time these days,how left out would I feel?!What's bothering me is the meeting people thing- something that I'm not good at over here,so probably won't be over there either.That's the one massive advantage of university placements is that you're guaranteed to make friends.Of all the millions of people you seem to meet,you've surely got to get on with at least a few.But working in an investment bank doesn't seem like it'll be a social hotbed.As far as I know,there's no one else on placement there anyway.Oh well,what do I know?It's just making me slightly miserable at the minute.

Just as well there's the Olympics to distract me then.I found myself watching rowing of all things this morning :/ It was quite entertaining too :/ I caught the end of the cycling too- having missed the whole of the Tour de France this year,I feel I should have watched it all,but then didn't really fancy getting up at 3am to watch it.The gymnastics was exciting as always.It was a shame Belarus ended up not getting to the team finals,they put in some pretty good performances.None quite as good as Italy's Igor Cassina on the high bar though,that was pretty special.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Let the games begin...

Whatever your opinion is on the Beijing Olympics,you have to admit that the opening ceremony was pretty damn fabulous.I won't bore you with my opinion on the Tibet issue and all the other controversies,mostly because I don't understand them,therefore I don't have an opinion.But I think everyone was expecting a super opening ceremony from the Chinese,and they certainly didn't disappoint.I watched all 4 hours on the BBC (despite being constantly pestered by Marco and Dimka) and I thought it was great.

The scroll with the moving pictures and the canvas in the middle was a great idea,and I loved the part with the rowers and the massive oars too.Oh,and the bit with all the people running around the globe.I think my favourite bit was probably the 2008 drummers at the start though.Who would have thought the countdown to the actual ceremony would be so spectacular?!The floating Olympic Rings that came soon after were great too.You can see pictures of it all here.

I watched all the teams enter the stadium too,just because I like guessing what all the flags are before the country is announced really.It's nice seeing all the smaller countries too,with their teams of about 5 athletes.As much as I try and remember which events they're in so I can watch them later,I never can.Belarus seemed to have quite a big team this time around.Although half of them appeared to be in their 60s at least,so I'm assuming they're not all competing :) It was also amusing,if not slightly embarassing to see some of gli Italiani getting a bit overexcited and nearly ending up in the Senegalese (I think) parade that followed them.

I've watched the Olympics since Atlanta 1996- the only thing I remember about it being the gymnastics.It was the year I discovered and fell in love with Aleksei Nemov (mmm.....),although generally I don't find the men as interesting to watch as the women.It was the first time I'd really watched gymnastics,and I was quite amazed that people can do such things as backflip on a 4" wide beam.I obviously paid a lot of attention,as I can even remember now the music that Romania's Simona Amânar did her floor routine to.Bizarre.Anyway,I think the gymnastics starts tomorrow,so that's something to look forward to.Also there's the javelin right near the end of the schedule,which I will be watching excitedly as always,as the lovely lovely Andreas Thorkildsen defends his title.Obviously I'll watch loads more in between,but those are the biggest highlights I can think of right now :)

My animals are special...

Seriously,have you ever seen such a stupid looking cat?



Dima's been practising for his passport photo too.



Weirdos.

I'm not happy today.I've had a series of really really bad headaches at the same time every day this week,those ones that make you feel sick and stuff.So now I can't go and see Mamma Mia with my aunt as was the plan :( Guess I'll just have to stay in and make Rice Crispie cakes and watch the Olympic opening ceremony instead.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Well done Schlieri!




I finally caught up with the Summer Four Hills in the last few days.Seeing as Courchevel and Pragelato were both nighttime events,I couldn't watch them and had to make do with the highlights.Incidentally,Eurosport are treating the ski jumping pretty well this season so far- I think it's been on every single time the listings have said it will be on,which must be a first.Pragelato (where they held the ski jumping during the Turin Olympics in 06) was the last of the Summer Four Hills though,and was- no surprise- won by Gregor Schlierenzauer.He looks adorable in that picture (which is from his rather funky website),although he's only 18- far too young for me to be thinking that :)

It's been a really good start to the season.Although they won the team event at Hinterzarten and they're leading the Grand Prix at the minute- it hasn't really been all about the Austrians as I predicted.I'm still surprised at how well the Germans are doing (only 222 points behind Austria),and the French haven't been doing too badly either.The guys from Suomi are doing alright without Super-Finn Janne Ahonen too (I was never a fan of his).The Norwegians have been pretty disappointing so far,although everything can (and probably will) change as we get into winter and the World Cup starts.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

I'll never be rich...

I've moaned about banks before on Work Your Magic,and I'm going to do it again on here.Having an hour to waste while my beloved Axcent of Scandinavia watch from Norway was being fixed (£9.I didn't realise just because it's Norwegian that I had to pay Norwegian prices for batteries too...),I thought I'd go to HSBC (the world's local bank remember?) to see how much they're planning on charging me to use the account abroad.I'll open a German account to have my wages paid into,but my various loans and stuff are being paid into my HSBC account.Of course you can never get a straight answer,although I was helpfully offered (sarcasm there) a credit card and an account that I can pay £10/month for so I get discounted mortgages and insurance (?!).I eventually discovered it will cost me £21 to make a money transfer to a foreign account.Good news though- if the amount I'm transferring is under £10,000,then I can do it online.I've never been in posession of £10,000 in my life,so when/if I ever am- I somehow don't think I'll be passing it over to someone else in a hurry.Of course the sensible thing to do now would be to open an account somewhere where they don't charge you anything.But from my experience,these things take forever,and I only have 3 weeks.And then there'd be the trouble of contacting the loan people (a saga of Norse-like proportions in itself) to switch my money to the new account,and I really can't be bothered with all that.Seriously,this year away had better be worth it.First I lost my boyfriend because of it all,and now I'm going mad with all the planning.

Today wasn't completely useless though.I did manage to negotiate the price of my watch battery down to £7,60,I bought some jeans I've been meaning to buy for ages,and miracle of miracles- I managed to get exactly what I wanted from the doctors,despite that also being a bureaucratic nightmare.

I also saw one of my friends from school who's just come back from her year abroad in France and Spain.She gave me this advice: travel around a lot,and avoid Poitiers at all costs.I will try and remember.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Maybe I'm a fascist

I came across this article in the Moscow Times earlier on.Apparantly the Russian government want to stop the spread of the emo culture influence amongst Russian youngsters.

All I will say is that when I was in a stage of listening to this stuff,I was the most miserable I've ever been.Many of the defenders of said music claim that "oh,the lyrics are really positive actually,they've helped me through really difficult times."I have a one word answer for this and that answer is- Bollocks.Of course I understand that music can be very therapeutic and a great help,but I do not believe for a minute that some whiny American screeching disgusting phrases such as "take me from this awful life I despise"/"If you can't leave it be might as well make it bleed" can help ANYONE.This whole genre seems to be obsessed with death and self-harming and I think it's repulsive that vulnerable young people are allowed to be exposed to such an attitude.

Anyway,this news seems to have generated a lot of response all over the world- most people of course,saying that it's completely wrong to try and ban a genre of music/associated lifestyle.All this especially when Russia is trying to change politically and be more accepting.I particularly loved this comment on NME.com- "that is like trying to ban cheese because it can give you nightmares..." I don't know how widespread the emo culture is in Russia and I have no idea how the government will go about achieving their aim.

But people must remember that there are two sides to every debate.The Russian government obviously have their reasons for suggesting what they are,and although it might be a bit on the extreme side,I personally think they're right to be worried.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Terminal fun

This morning I thought,seeing as it's now August and I leave in just over 3 weeks,I really should book my flight.I saw British Airways flights to Hamburg for £60 the first time I looked,which I'm sure wasn't that long ago...But it obviously was and the price has since shot up to £80.Just as well I did it now I think.So now I'm going at 10.30 on August 27th.Happy days too,it's from the wonderful Terminal 5.Yay!Now I've just been on their website,and guess what?That doesn't work properly either!

So now that's done,all that's left is...well,probably loads actually.But I'm just too lazy to do any of it right now.