Sunday, 30 November 2008

But,but...

Bad things are not meant to happen in Guildford! Scary :/

One hundred million reasons to ignore wanting to be with you

Obsessions and observations from this week.


Obsessions:

- A certain town up the A7.I wasn't that excited about going yesterday,but F-Burg seems to have an Oslo quality about it.By that I mean I get this feeling as we're going into the station,a feeling that's difficult to describe but is nice.I also feel comfortable there I suppose,like I do in Oslo,like I live there or something.Of course,Oslo it certainly ain't,but living/working there is a far more achievable and likely thing.Although to be honest,it would feel thoroughly weird to do that.
- Funny Frisch Ungarisch crisps.The crisps and the stick versions.Nummy num nums.Although crisps are expensive here I've noticed.
- Colosseum.Sehr cool shop.The one in Eckernförde is the best one,but we have 2 here in Kiel too.Bought another 2 tops from there on Friday for 3 Euros each,and am currently really wanting their zebra hoodie too.
- Ski jumping.The season is back!I've broken the volume on my telly (well,the scart lead is knackered anyway),so it looks like all I can watch is ski jumping on Eurosport.Shame.While buggering about with the scart lead on Friday I was very excited to see they were showing the Kuusamo team competition.So happy :) Missed the individual competition yesterday though :( But there are lots more to come both next month and in January :)
- Ainslie Henderson.Or more specifically,the amazing choooon that is Keep Me a Secret.I don't know why I thought of it a few days ago,but I haven't been able to stop listening to it.
- Big headphones.I really want some,after seeing a picture of Gregor Schlierenzauer with some massive red ones a while ago.Would look a bit silly with an ipod nano though I suppose...
- Iceland.Specifically Sigur Rós's excellent film Heima.Watch it and you'll feel the same.


Observations:

- It's no fun sharing your surname with the most famous fictional erm "koldun" in the world.I get the same jokes here as I do at home,and in Karstadt last week,upon noticing my name on my debit card,the cashier gave it back to me saying "Danke schön Frau (surname of the world's most famous fictional koldun)" quite loudly so everyone else in the queue heard,as if it's a made up name or something!Grr.
- There really are a lot of dogs in SH.But they're so well behaved.
- People who talk in church really annoy me.
- Although it doesn't particularly mean much on it's own- I hate (with a passion),the German expression "na(?)".It sounds so horrible and chav-like!
- Sensitive men are all very well,but my God can they be annoying!
- Seeing Ruslan Alehno in nothing but underwear just seems wrong.

Abenteuer

Just come back from a walk around the city,with the intention of buying something to drink and maybe some snacky things too,at the railway station.Of course I didn't do that though.I headed north up Schauenburgerstrasse- where I've never been before- walking past the university and into some woods.It turned out to be Nordfriedhof- a very big cemetary.People really take care of graves here,there were all sorts of colourful flowers around- tropical ones,local ones,fake ones,and Christmassy pine cone arrangements.It was really pretty.But then you get to the war graves section (mostly from WW1) with rows and rows of tombstones with nothing decorating them at all.Was quite sad really.

After that I got lost walking around residential parts of Wik.It's actually only one district away from Ravensberg where I live,but it felt like miles and miles away.There were all sorts of real houses there (as opposed to appartment buildings),some of them rather posh too.It's interesting,before I came here I assumed Northern Germany was a pretty poor area for some reason but it seems I was wrong.Apparantly the average income here in Kiel is a whole €8000 a year more than the German average,and 59% higher than the EU average.Which I guess would explain why we have such expensive shops mixed in with your everyday ones.My favourite example of which being the jewellers on Holstenstrasse selling €20,000 watches,situated right nextdoor to Woolworths :) House prices are pretty high too,much cheaper than in the UK,but a lot higher than in Flensburg for example.From what I've noticed anyway.

After about half an hour of walking around Wik,I finally found the fjord and walked along it for quite a way.This seems to be quite a popular thing to do- there were loads of people out today.As I've probably said before,it ain't the prettiest fjord in the world,the east side is all industrial and makes for some...interesting views,but I like it all the same.The water is very clear,and you can see the beercans on the bottom :) OK,I only saw one.

And erm yeah,then I went to McDonalds and then came home.To the cold.Same time next week?

Saturday, 29 November 2008

Flensburg: Just what you need?

Two things happened in Flensburg today that ensured that that city will forever remain a special place in my mind.

1- In Schuh Geil (great name for a shop),I thought "mmm,funky music,what is it I wonder?" Then I realised it was this...



I was so excited,I think I probably made a little noise.I rang Keira immediately so she could witness this momentous event,trying both her Finnish and English numbers.But in my extreme excitement,I forgot to add the +44 to her English one,and got through to what I assume was someone else in Germany,who actually did follow my command of "listen to this!" Oops.Although at least it was that particular song- it could have been far worse.

2- Afterwards,I went to a supermarket (a chain that we don't have in Kiel),and was jealous of all the Danish stuff they had there that we don't get down here.But I did find these...



Cadbury's chocolate!In continental Europe!Now I've been abroad a lot,but I'm pretty sure this is the first time I've seen such a thing.

I went to Flensburg on a mission today.Having money left over from my birthday,I wanted to get something a bit...special.Something in particular actually.I did see an absolutely gorgeous one in erm,Christ :/ but it was €175.I did have a proper think about it,but then decided I'd feel bad if I spent that much money in one go.So I found a cheaper,not quite as lovely,but still very lovely indeed version in Karstadt.



My camera doesn't like closeups (or nightmode,or taking pictures without a flash),but there's a little heart inside the bigger one.They had various sorts of hearts there,but I really liked this one because it reminded me of my silver earrings and necklace I got in Norway.The chain and heart came separately,but altogether it was still a whole €115 cheaper than the one in Christ.Pretty good for real gold stuff I thought.

I also discovered some amazing Scandinavian homeware shops which James would absolutely love.One of which (Sinnerup) also sells clothes,from the Vila range no less.I love Vila stuff,it's what I buy at home in Copenhagen Blue.So you'd think I'd know that a large isn't quite big enough.This top does fit,just...not very well.But it's so so pretty...



I also went into the St Nikolai church,where there was choir practice going on.It was pretty special.The church is lovely,it's decorative but without being over the top.And it's quite small,which is nice.Have decided I want to get married in that church,with that choir and...oh,I forgot about Friðrik Ómar...I'm sure I can fit him in somewhere.

Had a proper look at Rote Strasse today too.It's only a little street,but it's full of arty shops,and a really nice cutesy homeware shop called Forget Me Not,whatever that is in German,I can't remember.It also takes side streets to a whole new level.Actually they're kind of shut off at one end,but the cobbles and the old buildings reminded me so much of southern Italy or Croatia,it wasn't German looking at all.There were Christmas trees down every one,and Glühwein stands,as well as very nice flower shops and more Scandinavian homeware shops.

Again,I didn't take any pictures of the town itself.It was so white and rainy and miserable,they would have come out awful.Also started snowing just as I was leaving too.There was quite a lot of snow on the outskirts of Kiel too,which alarmed me when I was on the train.Thankfully nothing here yet though.Although it is absolutely freezing.Anyway,today wasn't my last visit up north.I intend to use up every cent that's left in my German account before I leave (which won't be much,the rate I'm going),and believe me,there's no better place to go shopping in SH than Flensburg.

Edit: A few more observations I just remembered

- The Christmas market was erm...well...I didn't really see anything Christmassy actually :/
- In Karstadt there was a couple looking at jewellery next to me.The woman was obviously British and was speaking English,and her husband was answering her in German.I found that insanely cool- I want to do that one day.
- I've seen a few in my time,but I think the award for naffest,most unconvincing Father Christmas goes to the one in Flensburg's Karstadt.His beard was just something else.
- I got lots of male attention today.In a city like Flensburg this would normally be the coolest thing ever,seeing as 99% of the male population are gorgeous on a level that only Oslo can match.However,I attracted the remaining 1%.Sigh.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Frag nicht nach morgen

Tomorrow I'm going back to Flensburg.I can't be bothered,but there ain't much going on here,and anyway,I'm pretty sure their Weihnachtsmarkt will be better than ours.Not that I've looked around it properly yet,am doing that with RH (!) on Tuesday.Oh yes.Anyway, now comes the task of deciding which is the less painful thing to wear- boots that,when I go inside,will make me slip all over the place,thus making me walk like I've erm,had an accident- or trainers that cut my ankle and give me blisters.Mmm...

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

The grauer Alltag 26/11

It's strange having hardly anyone in the office- I kind of miss the noise.Although today I became a proper member of "the team" and engaged in the practice of shouting from my office to the one at the other end of the corridor instead of getting off my arse and going down there.I'm proud of myself :)

Had an interesting lunch consisting of scrambled egg with potato in it,a big gherkin,cubed ham (which was disgusting- like big lumps of prosciutto crudo :/ ),and lots and lots of remoulade.Aah remoulade,I will miss you so.It's probably the strangest thing I've allowed myself to eat since I've been here.A lot of the time I'll look at the menu and be put off by the names/descriptions of things,so I go to Backfactory instead.

Also got given the job of researching something which really should be interesting for me,and indeed I was quite excited when I started it,but when you end up with a whole barrage of websites to look at it gets a bit much.Also,what's really annoying is when you're on the English version of a site,and then you find what you want and click it only to find out that bit is actually only available in Norwegian.Aaagh.Yes I can read Norwegian,but not business/legal terms.And when the only online Norwegian-English dictionaries are bad ones,it's a bit frustrating.

Anyway.Tomorrow will be awful,I'm working 10 hours and will be back way after dark.Then again,when it gets dark at 4.30,that's not difficult.Fun!Although I will get to see someone I haven't seen for ages,so musn't complain.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The grauer Alltag 25/11

Today I forgot my keys.Which annoyed me,seeing as I left them on my bed while I was getting ready so I would remember to carry them with me,so I would remember to lock the door.As RH had already buggered off by the time I got up.I didn't remember.Obviously.Not a very exciting story,I'm sure you'll agree,but it was my communications with RH that amused me.As soon as I left the flat,I rang her:

Me: Hi.When will you be back home today? (We don't fuck around here in Northern Germany,we get straight to the point)
RH: Don't know
Me: Oh.Well,I've been stupid and I forgot my keys
RH: Mmm....When do you finish work?
Me: 4
RH: 4?
Me: Yeah.4
RH: *big sigh* I dunno if I'll be able to get there for 4.I'll text you.

Touch and go.

At about half past 3,I got the text:

"I'll be back from 4.20 til 4.30.It has to be then,coz I really have got a lot to do."

How I can ever repay her for that special 10 minutes that she put aside just for me,I really don't know.It's just the latest in a long line of inconveniences I've caused her.You may or may not have read about the fish finger incident,or the oven incident,or the washing incident (actually,she was genuinely worried about turning all my stuff pink,I must be a bit nice to her...).My colleagues love hearing about my (non)relationship with her,they find it most amusing.But,why do I always end up with the crap housemates I wonder? Mr J...RH...Keira... :) Actually,no I can't compare living with Mr J to living with RH.Not at all.In fact it's probably a year of putting up with that that's prepared me for anything.A friend (of the Facebook variety) said to me that if I can work in Northern Germany,I can work anywhere.It's the same with Mr J- live with him for a year and you can live with anyone.

Oh,another observation from today.I went to the St Nikolai church this afternoon.Sometimes I just feel the need to.And seeing as I hadn't had my normal lunchbreak and had absolutely bugger all to do,it seemed logical.So I did my business,and on the way out,I noticed a sign on the door saying "Schön, dass sie bei uns waren" (basically,it's nice of you to visit).It also says this above the exits in the Karstadt stores.Does that mean Karstadt is a place of worship,or churches are capitalist paradises?

There's a first time for everything...

Oh wow.Blogs of Note has actually found a blog that's worth reading for once.No,not Work Your Magic,but Frozen Cheese.It's all about Tamsin who works for the British Antarctic Survey.Jealous?Not at all...!*There's some amazing pictures of Antarctica on there,and also of other places she's visited- Namibia,Lesotho...just your average tourist destinations :) And as if that wasn't cool enough,Tamsin's been on Radio 4 too.Now I really am jealous.I grew up on travel programmes (mostly of the Michael Palin variety),had my first atlas when I was 4 (when the USSR was still around) and my first globe (an ancient,squeaky one made of some kind of tin) when I was possibly even younger.Also,when I was 8 or 9,my Grandad gave me the most amazing travel book in the world ever,which I love,and have probably read all 700 pages of- and I've been to (I think) 15 different countries on 3 continents.So I guess travel has always been a part of me.Which is why I like Frozen Cheese :)

*Incidentally,going to Antarctica is I think number 3 on my list of lifetime ambitions- coming behind the not quite as adventurous but still fabulous number 2- singing at Eurovision and number 1- living in Oslo.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Only time will tell

Didn't have much to do today,apart from the odd English to German translation (MUCH easier than the last lot I did,thank God).Then mein Lieblingsmitarbeiter came down to take pictures of me to go with this article thing he's written about me (I'm special).That was embarassing.I also read a brilliant blog post and discussion on the BBC site,but there's too much to say about it now,I'll save it for another time.But I was happy,and very surprised actually,to find my views on a certain town I've visited recently are shared.By one other person at least :)

Lunchtime was an event though.Sitting down with my normal salami baguette (some bitch took the last turkey one!) and pizza slice,the old woman next to me started talking to me.Old people are great,but German old people aren't the easiest to understand for a foreigner.They speak very fast and very quietly.But with many "bitte?"s (I love saying it in a northern accent,it's cool!) we finally got there:

Old woman (pointing at pizza): "What's that? Does it taste nice?"
Me: "Yeah,very nice."
Old woman: "But what does it taste like? Is it spicy?" (It's cheese and tomato)
Me: "No,it's...." I stop,not knowing how to describe what a cheese and tomato pizza tastes like.I didn't want to say "cheesy and tomatoey"
Old woman: "Oh.Well maybe I'll try it next time"
Me: "Yeah,I would"

I start stuffing my face as fast as possible to avoid any more awkward conversation.She watches me the whole time.Creepy.

Anyway,despite my brief break from WYM,I've been sorting through my music.Everything in my itunes library is stored twice on my computer in different places (don't ask),but I've got some old stuff in the Windows Media Player Library too.Stuff that's been overlooked for years because I just don't like that sort of music anymore.So I'm a bit embarassed I suppose to be posting this song,but back in the day (summer 2005),I listened to it to death (think Vroče+Ty Dolzhna,and you get the idea).It was a bit of an inspiration for me actually,when I was into my whole writing thing.It has positive lyrics,which I guess is why I still like it now,and the chorus is catchy without being annoying.Oh,by the way,it's called A Day Late and it's by Anberlin.

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Pissi pissi bau bau

I like being Anglo-Italian.But sometimes I'm quite glad I didn't grow up in Italy.One of these times is when you look at Italian kids' TV from the 90s...



I've seen Solletico (Tickling- what sort of a name for a programme is that?!) first hand on Rai Uno before.And though I may not have understood it (or enjoyed it for that matter),I never forgot the theme tune.13 years later and it still haunts me :)

More DS...

So after waiting til past midnight for the results of Das Supertalent last night (and oh my God do they drag it out),I was really happy that Shinouda Ayad (the guy from Kiel) got through to next week's final.This is his performance from last night...



I love the music."Ein magischen Moment" as the presenter said.

I find it a bit annoying that they put subtitles on the beginning bit where Shinouda was talking,and that they don't always correspond to what he said,because they've corrected his linguistic mistakes.I can understand him fine,so I'm sure everyone else could really.

Anyway,turns out he runs a cleaning business on the other side of the fjord (da Eastside) in Oppendorf.Speaking of districts of Kiel,I found out last night that I don't live in Brunswik as I believed,I do in fact live in Ravensberg.Which is cool,because it sounds posh :) Although,don't Ravensberg make puzzles?

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Oh wow!

There's a whirling dervish guy on now,and he's from Kiel! I feel local pride...

This week on Das Supertalent,I am mostly loving...

Christoph Haese,a very cute,very wonderful trapeze artist...



Das Supertalent is an OK programme actually.But although I like Christoph- and also Paula the Brazilian Samba dancer- I still don't think it's very likely that anyone other than a musician/singer will win.There's a pretty good pop-punk band on now actually- tame stuff,but they probably wouldn't be allowed on prime time telly in the UK.Haha,and the presenters definitely wouldn't be- one of them just told the band "you rocked the shit out of us!"The judges don't seem to agree though.Speaking of the judges,one of them is American choreographer/model Bruce Darnell.It's really nice to see "foreign" people on telly here,who have accents and sometimes have to check they're using the right word.

Anyway,this week's (or fortnight's?) Glamour magazine has a list of "9 ideas that can save German TV",which I was of course very interested in :) Some of them are great,and could easily be applied to British telly too.Such as....

There should be at least a 2 year gap between repeats of Bond films


and...

Cookery programmes should be limited to a maximum of one chocolate soufflé per day


and,most importantly...

Do away with the 45 minute results shows (and 3 advert breaks) of reality TV shows


So true!

Why can't a bicycle stand up on it's own?

Because it's too tyred.Hahahahahahahaha!Mmmm.

Today I got hit by a bike.And I'm not surprised,it was only a matter of time.North Germans (OK,maybe just Kieler(in)s) should not be allowed near anything with wheels.Drivers are annoying,the way they just can't wait for the green light to come back,and think by getting as close to the pedestrian as possible they will save a hell of lot time when it does change back.People with prams/pushchairs are annoying- but then again they are everywhere I suppose.But cyclists are the worst.There's a great network of cyclepaths here,and oh don't the cyclists know it.Put as much a shadow on their precious path (which often take up a good half of the pavement) and you'll get bells rung at you,shouted at etc etc.Yet it's OK for them in their perpetual rush to just go round the cyclist in front,thus coming onto the part of the pavement supposedly reserved for us people who are unfortunate enough not to have a bike/not be able to ride a bike/just want to walk somewhere without having to pay the same amount of attention as a surgeon working on a brain.OK,of course I exaggerate,but still- I HATE CYCLISTS! I hate them in Guildford too,it's not just here.Maybe I'm just bitter because I can't ride a bike,but I'm sure that if I could,I'd be a bit more considerate.

Anyway,today's incident had nothing to do with cyclepaths actually.They don't have them on my road (not that part anyway),or the one the guy was coming from.He just happened to turn the corner too quickly and well,I was there.I said "Entschuldigung" (why I apologised I have no idea,but I immediately noticed how interesting it was that it was pretty much a reflex action,and I said it in German and not English.Mmm...),he said "Entschuldigung,mein Fehler" (Ha,wasn't it just?),he giggled a bit,I giggled a bit,and that was it.If it was a film we would have probably become best friends after that,and I'd have learnt to ride a bike and we would have had all sorts of hilarious fun.But it wasn't.Thankfully.

Pictures

I've finally got the whole Picasa web album thing going on now,so if you're that interested in the landscape of Schleswig-Holstein,have a look to the right and clicky clicky.I've got (most of) my Oslo ones on there too from my trip with James last spring,and my Paris ones will follow...

Friday, 21 November 2008

Soooo....

Eckernförde was nice.Not somewhere I could imagine living like here or Flensburg,but very pleasant.A good place for a day trip I think.Of all the places in SH I've been,it definitely has the most impressive harbour.It's not on a fjord like Kiel,it's a bay,and a very pretty one too...





I loved the paving stones on one side of the harbour too...





There were all sorts of different fish and seabirds on them as well.

Oh,and it was pretty cold...



Much colder back in Kiel though :(

Anyway,isn't it nice when you get something you weren't expecting?I went to a lovely (and rather posh) Chinese restaurant with a great view of the beach and bay (if you were at the right table,which I wasn't) and had the most gorgeous 3 course lunch ever.Actually it was probably the best Chinese food I've ever had.There was an all you can eat buffet,complete with obligatory severely obese man who I saw go up at least three times.I thought about the last time I had one of these (Chinese buffet that is,not a severely obese man),it was at the Lucky Star in Cambridge,where I thoroughly bored my then-boyfriend by banging on about meeting Basshunter the night before.They played power ballads there- Without You being the only one I really remember.That made me think of Ken Lee,and Kirkorov...and then I stopped thinking before I was put off of my lunch :) Anyway,I didn't do the buffet this time,I had spring roll followed by egg fried rice with chicken,and (this was the surprise) strawberry jelly and tiny bits of apple in some kind of custard type sauce.And all for €6,90.Oh,and then there was another surprise- the nice man gave me this...



I can't wait to show it to Dave when I get home :)

After freezing lots of bits off while waiting at the station for half an hour,it was nice to get on the train,and even nicer to remember there's only 2 stops before Kiel.I had a quick look around the shops before the Ice Festival started,and then thought actually,maybe I'd better go home and erm,do a few things first.But,by the time I got back to Rathausplatz,it was nearly all finished.There were fire artists there who were pretty good.However,I forgot that the night mode on my camera is awful,and so this was the result...



FAIL.

Urlaub!

Today I was meant to be going to Sweden to meet up with Keira,thanks to Ryanair's €2 flight from Lübeck.But after what happened my first time at Lübeck,and because of the times of these flights,I didn't fancy doing it again.Which is just as well really.I'm just not up for long-distance travelling at the minute.I'm so tired I don't think I'll be going anywhere outside SH for a while.

But I have today off,so I have to do something.I thought about going to Holsteinische Schweiz (Holsteinian Switzerland)- so called because of its lakes and generally Swiss landscape- to Eutin and Plön,two towns that I've been past on the train loads of times and look quite interesting according to my guide book.However,I couldn't be bothered to get up early,so I decided on visiting Eckernförde today instead.It's only 25 minutes away and I've mentioned it a few times before because of its permanent sunniness.Who bets it'll be raining today?

Anyway,I have about 20 minutes before I have to go,so here's some interesting things that you probably didn't know about this Baltic town that's twinned with Macclesfield...

- The level of debt per head in Eckernförde is way under the SH average at €275,90
- It's on the Kiel-Flensburg train line,a line which has been running since 1881
- "Eckern" comes from the Danish word for squirrel
- They used to have an annual pirate festival
- It's home to the Consulate of the Republic of Niger

There you go.Feel informed.

Am also planning on swinging by the Rathausplatz here in Kiel when I get back for the Ice Festival.The ice rink has been part of the Christmas goings-on here for 10 years this year,so they're having a bit of a celebration.

Back later with pictures and things!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

They say many things about Paris...

So I was actually going to post something from a different film,but then ended up watching this one instead.I've written about Paris Je t'Aime before,saying that the final vignette was my favourite.Well I found it on youtube just now and had to watch it again.Films don't normally make me cry,but from the part where Carol says "It's just that sometimes,I wish I had someone to share things with",I couldn't stop.Proper,blow-your-nose afterwards crying too :) Like I said before,it's such a positive ending to the film,and you just feel really pleased for Carol that Paris is everything she wanted it to be after studying French and saving up to go there on her own.I don't know,as she says herself,it's difficult to describe.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

This week in SH...

Abbreviations are so in- my friend down in Nordrhein-Westfalen referred to it as NRW today.That sounds a bit cooler than SH...

Anyway,this is what's been going down here in the barren wasteland that is the German Baltic coast this week.

Wednesday: Wake up from weird dream.Spend a good 45 minutes writing an email to Keira.Here's an edited version:
i got on the coach,but wherever it was,i was meant to be meeting rouven.but i ended up with some evil tunisian guy instead- and either you or emma,i cant quite remember...anyway,we're happily driving to wherever on this coach,when suddenly the driver tells everyone to get off coz we're running out of oxygen and it's gonna blow up.in my panic i forget my coat,so the driver lets me back on and struggles to hold the doors open (there's all kinds of weird physics laws in this coach) while i run and get my coat.when i get off,i realise that the guy i'm with really is evil,and that the coach is going to blow up because of something he's done,and that he wants to kidnap me.so i run to this town.i sit in this cafe next to a wire fence,suddenly these guards rock up next to me on the other side of the wire fence- i can only assume it was some kind of crap border crossing,as they were wearing uniform with cyrillic writing on it and they want to see my passport.having left my bag on the coach,i panic quite a lot coz i dont have my passport,but then i woke up so i dunno what they were gonna do."


Deep.

Thursday: Phone a woman in France and speak to her in French.Realise that I now speak French with a German accent- it's bizarre.Eat in the canteen for the first time in ages and have the most gorgeous rösti ever created.Better than mine anyway.Chat to colleague about Robot Housemate (who will now be known as RH for short).I tell her there's been no developments in our "friendship" and she tells me about how nice her housemates are.Thanks!Now I feel better! Spend the evening translating Tiziano Ferro songs- better than it sounds,he's quite an interesting guy.Vow to be more Italian about things.

Friday: Spend a lot of the morning being amused by the word "noodeliwok".Get my first item of post arrive on my desk- it's from Ann-Katrin from 3 floors above telling me about a concert on Saturday.She's even drawn a nice detailed map of where it is.I want more post!Think about going to Citti Park,but take on another job at 2 o clock,meaning I'll miss the train etc etc.Go shopping on Holstenstrasse again.

Saturday: Holstenstrasse again.Watch Das Supertalent (Germany's Got Talent).Decide it hasn't.Although this guy is pretty cool.Attempt trans-Baltic skyping.

Sunday: Watch Harry Hill and X Factor- rejoice that Daniel has finally gone.Tidy up (much needed).Start packing for next month.Look at flats in Paris and become thoroughly depressed about the thought of going to France.Start to worry about RH,as she's been away since Thursday,which isn't a normal occurrence.

Monday: Go to work and get extremely confused when everyone speaks German- like it hasn't been happening for the past 3 months.A guy tries to tell me something about the printer I'm waiting for something to come out of,but it goes right over my head.Get given an attendance form to fill out for an event I'm going to next month.It's in Danish.This does nothing to help my mind.Just as well I can read Danish,shame I don't know how to use the fax machine to send it back though.Go Christmas shopping (3 presents- success) and feel all festive as men in lift things finish putting up Christmas lights.

Tuesday: Not only am I a department ho,I'm now a company ho!I have my first meeting with someone from outside the company- a meeting which involves only me and this person.I feel so special that someone has come from across town for my assistance :)

Oh,and by the way,RH returned yesterday.Let the party commence!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Una canzone molto grande!

This should be something for Work Your Magic,but I can't be bothered to write too much at the minute.
I found Giusy Ferreri's song Novembre on Poster Girl's blog yesterday,and thought it was pretty good.Giusy came second in the first Italian series of X Factor this year,and has worked with none other than Tiziano Ferro on her debut album- Gaetana.Anyway,I found some more of her stuff on youtube today,and am particularly loving Insieme a te non ci sto più (I think that means We're not together anymore,but I'm not sure...) It's a cover of Caterina Caselli's 1968 song (il periodo di bonaccia della musica italiana? :/ ),which Giusy performed on X Factor.And very well too I think :)

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Shopping

I didn't make it to Mister Lady in Citti Park today,the weather was absolute crap so I couldn't be bothered.But I did get 2 really cute tshirts in Cubus and Colosseum.Only another 2 purchases in Cubus and I'll get my 20% discount...





Obviously I'm in Limbo- Kiel's lovely but hardly heaven,and I've never been to Berlin.Maybe I should change it to Neumünster,that's a bit of a punishment.

Most importantly,I started my Christmas shopping.Well,I bought 2 cards anyway,and a few little things for Emma and Shabs.I've still got millions of things to get,but still,I've started,and that's good :)

How do you make it trollop?



Last week when I was walking home via Ziegelteich and Exezierplatz,I saw a sign outside the Sparkassen Arena that said ACHTUNG PFERDE.The fact that there was no comma separating the words amused me,it's as if it was telling the horses themselves to be careful.Anyway,then I walked through a load of sawdust and poo and realised that this weekend is the Baltic Horse Show.It's a pretty big deal,they've shut off a few roads and things,and there's been a lot of traffic and angry drivers around the Arena this week,there's riders from all over Germany,Switzerland,Scandinavia and I think one from Ireland taking part,and it's sponsored by all the big local companies- Kieler Nachrichten,Audi Kiel,HSH Nordbank (my bank!) etc.It's on NDR SH (Schleswig-Holstein's local TV channel) at the minute,and although I'm watching it,I don't really get it :/ I can understand why you'd go horse riding (in a field),I've never done it but I can see the appeal,but riding around in a circle and jumping over various coloured fences?Mmm,not for me.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Great news!

I discovered today that we have our very own Mister Lady here in Kiel- now I needn't go all the way to Flensburg for my questionnably stylish clothes :)

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

We were so close you could see his eye...brow piercing

Obsessions and observations from this week

Obsessions:
- Electropop.Lazerboy,Topalov,now Annie...Bring it.
- Sounds of Europe.Listening to a few shows last night made me miss Guildford Tuesday nights all over again.We might not have been the most professional DJs going,and we certainly talked a lot...But we knew what we were talking about.And we enjoyed it.
- Philipp Poisel.I just cannot stop listening to that album.In between all the electropop and SoE,obviously.
- Backfactory.The best bakery chain in town.Annoying at times,but cheap.And good.
- OK,here it is...



That's my jumper from Mister Lady in Flensburg.I haven't worn it yet,but everytime I see it on my shelf,I think "God that's so cool..." I love it :) But I'm still not sure why...


Observations

- I should listen to what someone on the phone is saying before firing off the standard "she's not in the office at the moment" phrases I wrote down a few weeks ago.They're useful,seeing as I wouldn't have a clue what to say on a phone at home,let alone in German.But choosing the right one would be good.
- I love it when my "students" get stuck on an English word and then the German floodgates open and they finish the conversation auf Deutsch.I remember doing that the other way round.But I don't have to anymore :)
- I speak German with emotion now.Sometimes that's quite scary.
- Baked beans are bloody expensive here.1,19 for a tin of not even Heinz!
- I don't think I'll ever find the person who stole my post-its.
- Lots of empty,wooden...things (kind of like portable,covered market stalls)have appeared in Holstenplatz and there's white tent things and wooden boards down in the Rathausplatz.Is it a sign that the Weihnachtsmarkt is coming?Maybe...
- Even if the Weihnachtsmarkt isn't coming- it's Christmas in all the shops.I was pretty surprised to come back from the UK last week to see everywhere full of glitter and tat.
- Christmas cards are really cheap.Rock on!

I can't believe it's not Freitag

Ugh,I'm so tired this week.It seems to have been going on forever.I think this week has been the only one since I've been here (or for a very long time anyway) that I've actually worked hard.It's been pretty busy lately,what with me being the one person here responsible for updating the databases,dealing with all the latest developments,answering questions and checking/writing all manner of documents for this project I'm working on.As well as doing a little thing for Occasional Lunch Buddy,helping out another company with one of their forthcoming events,by passing on the results of my research (how special do I feel?!) and fitting in the odd translation.And none of your simple stuff either.Well,topic-wise it's quite simple,but it's from English into German.Erm...isn't that what German translators are for?No?Ah,my mistake.

Anyway,lots of good things have come out of this.Everyone's letting me get on with my work.I ain't quite as busy as they think I am,but my frequent phonecalls to and from Belgium help with the illusion ;) Also,I feel needed.I'm not being given the crappy litle jobs just because I'm the placement person.Personally,I've only managed to get 2 or 3 partners for this project,but a lot of the admin stuff has been done by me,and research too when certain companies haven't been too forthcoming with information.I know my department are pretty happy with me for all this,and for my big important thing I did a few weeks ago,which was actually pretty exciting but which I can't talk about because it's secret :/ Although it has been in the news.Here and at home.

What's probably most important though is that I'm having a lot of fun.As sad as that might sound.Since coming back last Wednesday,I've been very content.My office busyness has made me remember that I didn't come here to make 5000 new Facebook friends who I'll never talk to again when I get home(which is just as well,as Germans don't really use Facebook) and be in 10 million Facebook pictures looking exactly the same just with a different person/group of people.(Sorry,that's a pet hate of mine as me and Keira discussed the other night.)I'm here to work.And explore.I've never had a "real" job before,but I had a suspicion I might like it a lot.And I do.And I've been to some nice places (some crap ones too) since I've been here.

But I do wish the week would hurry up and finish so I could sleep a bit more.

Who needs Pebble Pad and its horrible "click on 7 different menus to get to the bit you want" layout when you can just blog instead?Can I have my money now please,Erasmus people?

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Of saved pink washing,invites and wishy washy...stuff

Do you ever sometimes wish your life was a bit more like a film?Not like Saw or Hostel,but something nice like Amélie that makes you all warm and fuzzy.Like,you've been having a reasonably good time doing everyday things,but then there's a big climatic moment that could go either way,but it turns out the good way,and then everything's fabulous forever after?Yes?Well then you're just like me :) That isn't what happens in Amélie by the way...I've been thinking a lot like that lately- I blame the autumn weather and walking through parks making me go all reflective and Keatsian.Ugh maybe not actually.If I ever start writing poetry- kiiill meeee (as Scroobius Pip once said,hehe).

Anyway,I've been feeling like something good is going to happen soon.This is completely unfounded...but whatever.

Today was good.More database updating (well,that's what I was supposed to do anyway),(start and) finish something I agreed to do for my favourite person at the bank (Occasional Lunch Buddy) about 3 weeks ago,lots of emails to Keira (updating eachother on canteen menus is becoming an essential part of the morning :) ).Not that I really eat in the canteen anymore- pike dumplings are just not my thing :/ Although I was intrigued about the alternative for today.The dictionary translated it as "cabbage turnip" or "turnip cabbage".Was delightful whatever it was,I'm sure.

After lunch,my Occasional Lunch Buddy came to our office and thanked me for my work.I don't see him very often,but I love his very dry sense of humour,and the sprinkling of English words that appear in his sentences sometimes.Last time I saw him,he said something about Medway that made me laugh a lot.Can't remember what it was now though.But it was very unexpected.

Anyway,today's English discussion thing is just me and one girl.Whereas I can chat with the boys for ages about football and cars,I don't really know what to talk about to her.But we manage,we discuss banking (shocking!),Christmas and my fear of German household appliances.I think we're going ice skating in a few weeks when the rink is installed in the Rathausplatz.Let's just hope it's bigger than Dima's :) Speaking of invites,I'm going to a colleague's house for dinner in a few weeks too- exciting times.Dinner,ice skating,Freiburg...I can't cope with all this!

I came back home to find my previously pink washing has now been restored to normal.Hallelujah.Thanks Robot Housemate!Although boo to you for breaking my favourite jumper and making a point about how bad it is to not put baking paper on the tray when cooking fish fingers and chips,by leaving the tray out on top of the oven for all and sundry to see,filled up with some kind of cleaning foam.She'd have died of shock if she'd lived in Guildford Court for a week.

Anyway,that's all for today.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Aber bis dann,bleib Nümberwang!

Yes,another post.I think the peroxide from the colour-run thing has got to me a bit.Anyway,watch this,it's hilarious :) If only there was stuff that entertaining on German telly...

Crisis

After being instructed to do so by a pink post-it note on the hallway table this evening- I put my washing in the washing machine.White stuff,with an ancient pink vest.As normal.But no,everything has come out of the machine bright pink.Except one blouse and one big jumper.Bizarre.But after thoroughly pissing me off earlier,Robot Housemate did a nice thing and soaked it all in a colour-run remover in the sink,after actually phoning someone and checking the instructions.She ain't all bad.Even if she is an OCD robot.

It's been an interesting day.I've been happy- maybe because I actually did a lot of work today.It doesn't look like it,but I did a lot of research/database updating.Also,the English language thing that I dread every week was just me and one guy today,which was really good,as he loves to chat :) We had a laugh actually,hope I can say the same tomorrow.

Had a bit of webcam action with Shabs in Bristol just now.That sounds so sleazy...I will make the point that I know Shabs,and I don't have a webcam.Although I want one now,because they're fun :) I saw her house in Brizzle and concluded nothing will beat the Rye Experience.Despite it's antiquated heating system that didn't work very well,and awful decor.It was home.

Also,most exciting of all- I'm currently chatting to my friend Sarah in Freiburg,and it looks like I might be going down there some time soon.Company!You know how I feel about that.I feel so far away from everyone though (which I am)- I've been looking at flights down south and it'll take longer to get from Hamburg to Freiburg than it does from Hamburg to London!As for trains,don't even go there.I could get to Esbjerg and back in the time it takes to get down there.Not that I'd want to do that again,but still.I love SH and am feeling like a proper North German these days,but it'll be good to see the south.Also,Freiburg is very near Switzerland :) :) :) And Milan :) :) :) So glad I have 6 days holiday left...

:/

It seems birds are quite attracted to Ryanair planes.That's why mine was delayed last week,and today one from Frankfurt had to make an emergency landing at Ciampino in Rome,resulting in 5 people in hospital,severely damaged landing gear and the airport still being shut hours afterwards.Scary :/

In other aviation news (oh yes),it seems BA might be helping Alitalia out with their problems and forming an alliance with them.What?I work in an investment bank,I'm into all this finance shizzle now.Anyway,a British-Italian alliance,how wonderful.Alitalia (declared bankrupt in August) wanted the Germans apparantly,but looks like they'll now end up with BA,who are also doing pretty badly.Anyway,the point I find interesting in all this is how BA can have seen a 93% drop in profits in the first six months of this year when they're charging upwards of £200 a ticket in economy class from Heathrow to Hamburg (flight time: 70 minutes).Maybe they get less birds in their engines.

Damn I can't believe I've just written a post about something financial with figures and shit.I'll be buying shares soon...

Saturday, 8 November 2008

My trip to the frozen north

A while ago,Stornisse introduced us to this shop in Flensburg.So imagine how happy I was when I found it today.There were some really nice things in there actually,but I settled for a red and white spotty jumper that screams "unwanted Christmas present" and some rather big and tacky red jewellery.I am convinced it will look fabulous when I wear it though.

Despite my obvious slight bias (ie- the guy I fancy lives there),I can honestly say Flensburg is a lovely lovely city.It's insanely pretty and reminded me of Schleswig in places,although not as cosy and romantic.Then again I suppose being the third biggest city in SH (after Kiel and Lübeck) it would be quite difficult to be cosy and romantic.But anyway,the harbour is a really nice place with great views (my photographic evidence doesn't do it justice at all),every house and appartment building I saw was gorgeous (and I saw quite a lot of them,seeing as I got a bit lost like I did in Neumünster...),and the shops...

I believe the pedestrianised shopping centre is called Holm (another Schleswig reference),and it's fabulous.There's the Flensburg Galerie (where Mister Lady is),the Holmpassage and loads of shops on the main street.Most of which we have in Kiel,but on a bigger scale a lot of the time.I didn't buy too much actually,apart from my jumper and jewellery,I got my leather gloves from Cubus and this fabulous bracelet from my favourite German shop- Bijou Brigitte.



Gold and hearts,what more could you want?It's quite appropriate really,seems there's a lot of love going on in Flensburg- not as much as here,but quite a lot.I was just about ready to be sick if I saw another amorous couple.Just like here though,the men are all insanely fit but the girls are so plain.It's annoying.Oh,also on the love theme,I was quite surprised to see a wedding dress shop by the harbour.Of the plentiful weddings I've seen since I've been here,only one bride was wearing a proper wedding dress.The ones in the window of this shop were very nice though,and ridiculously cheap.

And what about the whole Danish thing?Well,I saw 3 Danish flags in total,we have more than that here.Actually,I think I saw more Italian flags than any others.OK,so they were all attached to restaurants,but still- it pleased me.It was also very cool to see buses with stuff in Danish written on them though,and loads of Danish cars and buildings with Danish names.I don't think there was necessarily a Scandinavian atmosphere in the city though,although it didn't feel like anywhere else I've been in Germany either.I've concluded it's a very special place :)

I didn't get many pictures- I was too preoccupied with shops and the increasing pain in my feet.Also,there was something weird going on with my camera that meant things weren't coming out right.But anyway,this is the harbour...



And this is a big fat seagull...(we do a good line in morbidly obese seagulls here in SH)



And this is a...thing in Carlisle Park,which I took a picture of because it looked strange being the only decorative element shoved in the corner of a huge park...



I know,it doesn't look that exciting from my pictures,but I'm going back in a few weeks when the Christmas market is on,and I have sensible shoes and the proper settings restored on my camera.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Everything you probably never wanted to know about Flensburg

Tomorrow I'm going up north to Flensburg- to see if the air quality is really as good as those kids said it was and to see if it's as attractive a place as some of its residents.But most importantly,to go shopping :)

It was a slow day at work today so I spent most of the morning reading about Flensburg- did you know the world's first sex shop was opened there in 1967?No,neither did I.Oh,and it's twinned with Carlisle.The city that is,not the sex shop.

It also has a rum distillery (I don't like rum,but how cool?!) a throwback from the days of trading with the Danish Virgin Islands.

Anyway,if the Wikipedia article is anything to go by,Flensburg is definitely my kind of place.It seems as Scandinavian as you can get without having to actually cross the border and be humiliated by the locals' perfect English and your non-existent Danish,and having to pay extortionate prices for...everything.The city's Danish past is still an important thing today.About 20-25% of the population is Danish and a lot of Danish names are still around.The two lions on the coat of arms represent Schleswig and Denmark,and some of the local media is bilingual.

Das Wichtigste is of course the shopping facilities- of which there seem to be a lot.I'm very excited.I know there's a Cubus there too- one of only 5 in the whole of Germany,so I'll be sure to go there.

Pictures and stuff tomorrow!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

It's been a while

So Sahlene once said.

Not much has been going on here.Due to my mystery illness last week I didn't see much other then bed and the odd crack of whiteness through the gap in the curtains.Like the trooper I am though,I brought some work home with me (what can I say,I love my job!),tried going back to work on Thursday but soon got sent home again.What I like here is that being ill and taking time off work isn't a big social taboo like it is at home.People want you to get better and don't expect you to go in to work when you're clearly not ready for it.Britain has a lot to learn from the German work ethic!

Anyway,this is my week:

Thursday: Go to work.Fail

Friday: Go to station to buy train ticket to Lübeck Airport for next day.After 3 attempts I am successful.(Queues at German rail stations are shocking and I couldn't stand up for more than 2 minutes at a time.Problem)A bio milkshake sorts me out though,although I still need to get a taxi home.Again

Saturday: Get same train to Lübeck as previous week.Overhear British family in front of me- mother moaning about how long it takes to get to Lübeck (to be fair I don't know where they started from),dad is in charge of drinks/snacks,kids (aged 8/9) come out with this gem: "Flensburg is beautiful,there's no air pollution there or anything.I really wish we could have stayed there." Not normal I'm sure you'll agree.Lübeck Airport is nothing more than an aircraft hangar,with wooden floorboards that creak and wobble when anyone walks past.



The departure lounge.Seriously.I end up sitting there for far longer than I'd have liked.Birds going into the engine mean an engineer has to fly over from Dublin to check it out.This means a 3 hour delay.I feel like I'm in Hell.Yes I've done a few bad things,but seriously,do I really deserve 20 kids running around the aforementioned creaky floorboards screeching?!

Because the tannoy system is awful (due to being drowned out by screeching kids,planes taking off etc),I can understand neither the German or English announcements.I ask the lady sitting in front of me,and it seems she knows more about what's going on than the people who work at the airport.I would have gone mad if I hadn't started talking to her.I sit and chat to her and her son (he's 8,but reminds me so much of me when I was 8,that I can't help but like him) for the rest of the delay time,and on the plane too.The little boy makes me laugh with his pointless statements made at mad times- eg- when crossing the tarmac to get on the plane,whilst another plane is taking off "Chico was on X Factor" That he was...What could have been a goddamn awful afternoon is actually alright- I make my first Facebook friend since being here :) Oh,and she tells me if I can manage working in North Germany,I can work anywhere.That's encouraging :) Get home in time for X Factor,but am bitterly disappointed Austin went :(

Sunday:Visit everyone.See Bear Grylls on telly and think "mmm...he's quite nice actually."Rejoice that there's a new series of Top Gear that I didn't know about.Something else for me to watch when I get back to Germany.

Monday: Do nothing.It's bloody wonderful.Have traumatic time in the evening taking Dima and Marko to the vets.However,see a really cute puppy called Elvis who I want to steal and keep.

Tuesday: My birthday.Anti-climatic really.Last year was exciting,but when you're 22,that's just a normal age that will lead to 23,another normal age...Basically you've had your last exciting birthday until you're 40.I am unofficially engaged to be married when I'm 40- to someone I don't want to marry at all.So I hope the next 18 years drag a bit :) Get haircut and revel in reading the trashy magazines in the hairdressers.Amusement comes when an old Asian lady comes in and asks the hairdresser "are you a hairdresser?" When she answers yes,the Asian lady seems really surprised,but happy.She leaves.Decide I prefer shopping for clothes in Kiel,despite the Scandinavian prices (that's what you get from Scandinavian shops though I guess),and aim to raid Cubus when I get back.Have Chinese for dinner- oh,and I had bacon for breakfast :) Real bacon.In a roll.

Wednesday: Security guy at Stansted annoys me by telling me my liquids/cosmetics are in "the wrong bag".It's seethrough and I've taken it on 5 flights now- STOP BEING A FASCIST!!!" Watch Sky News- it's all about Obama obviously.I don't do politics (like Russia,I'm an ex-communist.Now I have a bit of money,I couldn't care less what happens) and I'm not the biggest fan of America- but I can't help but be quite happy about it all.I don't know why.Flight isn't so bad,apart from the obligatory screaming kids.Damn them.Come back to the greyness I left.Wait at Lübeck Airport station (or rather- platform) for a freezing hour.Get back to office for my prior engagement,an English discussion group not led by me thank God.It's a laugh.Come home to my present from Keira (photo next time) which makes me happy,then chat to my friend in Flensburg for the first time in 3 weeks.He sends me a virtual MSN birthday cake,which is nice,as I didn't have a real one.We watch Bayern Munich v Fiorentina on Sat1,and I acquire a few new songs.It's great to talk to him again- last night was very amusing ;)

Thursday: Manage to control myself and stop talking to Rouven at just gone midnight.Am still tired when I wake up this morning though.Get to work to find a present on my desk (it's in cute wrapping paper with tigers on it and everything!) and it turns out to be Fördewasser,a crime novel set in Kiel by a local author.She's doing a reading from it here in a few weeks (so our marketing department has told us),so I knew about it already and thought it would be a cool book.Am very happy I have another present :) Email Keira a lot.Piss off a man in Eastern Europe.Endure meeting.Come home and do a bad thing :/ I so hope I won't be ill tomorrow.But it's been cold here,the meat can't have gone off.I don't think...

I didn't want to come back here.But there's something magic about walking along Holstenstraße in the cold and dark at 5 in the afternoon.I may be miserable,I may moan about the people,the boredom and the weather,but I know now what that all means- I'm becoming a real Northern German.

Look look!

Yeah I haven't written on here for a while...Oh well.I will sometime.In the meantime (like Greenwich Meantime but not really),here's another blog.Now I love Europe but it ain't that adventurous to move from one EU country to another.Japan is far more adventurous- my boss called it "echtes Ausland" (real abroad).My cousin Leanne (or Snow White apparantly) is working over there now.Read about it here!