Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Broken laptop.

March 22, 2010

Dear Readership,

It is with great regret that I have to report that my laptop is broken. Syria reportedly has a reputation for breaking people’s laptops.

This impedes me from replying to emails and writing blogs of great length and interesting content.

Photos a no-no.

Things to look forward to after this drought:

News about heating system and photograph of The Tadfa’a (Oh Hallowed Tadfa’a).

Stay well.

Remember 8 hours of knitting on trans-Europe trains?

August 26, 2009

pas de pictures. desolay.

So France isn’t that far away from Heidelberg as it turns out. Having said that, you do have to sit on an ICE train for 3 hours. And they travel so fast, it makes you dizzy. I was unlucky enough to be sitting opposite the direction of travel so I felt quite sick, at 320 km/h. Fast.

I was sitting next to an Australian girl who had just been on some package travel thing around Europe.. Greece, England, Paris, Berlin to name a few of the places she was in. She was interesting, but I knitted a lot so I think she thought I was weird (a woman passing double-took and stood staring for a few seconds. I smiled at her).

I got into Paris at 10 to 5, Monday and had to fight my way out of the station and onto the metro system. Other than being sold a ticket by a man who spoke lots of French at me (turns out the machines don’t accept notes – only cards and coins), that went pretty well.

Paris is one of those places that convinces me I’m already living in a dystopia. The metro’s really sad. People just sit there, ignoring each other, and the walls of the tram are plastered with adverts for stuff. I looked at one in particular that made me think this, but I’ve forgotten what it was now. A really pretty girl (on the second metro I took) had her eyes closed for the majority of the one-stop trip. When she did open them, she looked at me. And I got one of those European, unashamed eye-contact locks. I didn’t look away, neither did she. But one of us had to. So I did. When I looked back at her, she was eyes closed and swaying again.

So empty. So tiring and painfully independent. Weird posters. Posters advertising belief, particularly, strengthen it. It’s so difficult to write about in hindsight now, but it’s so strong at the time – so painfully dystopic.

Oddly, it’s also one of those places that fills me with loads of romance. All this stuff has been written about before, of course. People bum on about how Paris is romantic city and is filled with all this crap, but.. I’ve never really noticed it for myself. Being there, yesterday, riding the trams and being entirely independent there just made me want to learn French. For the first time ever. Shocko.

On the second train (another 3-hour event), I sat next to a pilot. Air France pilot. He chain-watched PowerPoint presentations about lots of places they fly too. It was quite interesting to see how much they have to know about each of the destinations. Like the descent and how they taxi along the runways and into the terminals. And all about altitude and the physical geography all around it. It was all in French, so I couldn’t nosey all that much. And I was knitting again.

Plenty of homosexuals in this country. Everywhere. And the average hotness of all people is higher than England and possibly Germany.

I’m quite jealous of Fay for having the opportunity to spend her year abroad in France; it’s so much more romantic and the country of legends than Germany. She so much more likely to have a steamingly romantic year abroad here (not in terms of traditional ‘romance,’ I mean romance of the place itself).

So I got off the train in Clermont-Ferrand, having not understood a word of any of the announcements made on the train. I feel so bad that I can’t understand a single word of French here.. It’s so painful. And I’d just got used to the idea of being surrounded by foreigners, but still being able to speak to them. I had to remind myself that I could in fact speak their language, but here, I have to go back to being a dumb Brit, at whom all the French people can sigh and then feel superior.

I had to fight through some throbs of people to find Fay and when I saw her, I had to point out a woman who had been sitting opposite me on the train and was wearing fantastic trousers. 3-quarter lengths, but really baggy and open. They really suited her. And looked fab.

So Fay and I hugged. It was ace to be here finally.. Hadn’t really thought that much about being in her company and, now, it’s a bit difficult to make it seem as big a deal as it really is, but I know just as well as I should that for me to feel the right emotion at the right time is difficult and I always end up being emotional about stuff way after. Probably endemic of a lot of people, but nonetheless, it’s a pain.

Fay and I walked back through the soaking rain (light, but still soaking) towards her place. We bought pancakes. She’s really good at banting with the natives, which I’m a bit jealous of. I’m only just starting to be able to bant about with the people that I’m getting to know in German (like LPaul and Sabine and Veronika (even though we speak English a lot!)). I wish I could just relax into it more. I think I worry more about the situation that Fay does. She’s really good.

So we slept.

Today, Tuesday, we got up really late. We were still bumming around in pjs and watching TV at getting on for 2. The cleaners came in and I looked really dumb in all directions while Fay banted at them. One of them is Moroccan and they chatted about Ramadan (Fay’s fasting, which makes my want to break my unenforced fasting difficult). From what I understand, this woman, later became known as Zohra, invited Fay to join her and her family to break her fast with them in the evening. Trés gentile. Damn, wish I could speak more French.

Then we decided – being both lazy or fasting and lethargic – that we’d go and see a film. We shopped around the local cinemas and decided to go to the one around the corner. We watched a VO (version originale) film (means it’s in English with subtitles – for my benefit), called Sita chante le blues. I really, really enjoyed it. (Spoilers until end of paragraph) It’s a link between a modern-day love story (which is pretty linear – woman gets dumped by boyfriend) and the Hindu story of Rama and Sita, whilst still being witty and snidey about the modern Hindu’s knowledge of the Ramayana. It was really cleverly written and very entertaining and has consequently made its way into my top 5 films, somewhere. Must buy a DVD of it.

On the way back, I realised again how much more exciting France is as a country than Germany. It makes me want to be all romantic and go see films spontaneously or develop habits, like seeing a film every day or every other day or something. I can do all of this in Germany, but there’s something in the language that makes it more difficult.. Less exciting and immediate.

Now, I’m writing (about to knit) and Fay’s snoozing-loozing.

Kiss kiss mes amis.

Remember the swelling of bells?

August 23, 2009

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Sundays in Germany.

This is something I need to learn and probably quicker than I can. All shops for sources of groceries just shut on Sundays. For the whole day. They’re not even open for 10 minutes. At all. So now, as I’m sitting here, with some distant monotonous ringing bell-swelling, fattening and thinning every 30 seconds or so, almost as if it’s being coned in a certain direction and spinning like a light house.

Sophie claimed to have found language errors (of spelling or grammar (pah!)) in my blog. This has yet to be proven. (Typos are accepted).

I’ve struggled thinking about something specific enough to write about for a while now. A lot of things that I’d’ve dedicated an entire post to have come and gone, but I think the novelty of them has worn off. I haven’t updated since Thursday… So I’ll go through a boring-mode list of what’s happened since then. Thursday was the hottest day of my life. So I moved as little as possible. Then when it was cooler, I went down to BigPommes on the high street and bought myself falafel, sat opposite Marc O’Polo and feasted, whilst half-crying about missing the falaf times with Pol, Fay and the crew in Durham. Friday, I bought tickets to go and see Fay in France (leaving tomorrow, returning Friday) and then went to get ice-cream in the evening with Hans and Sarah. Which was yum. During ice-cream, LPaul texted me and invited me to go over to hers to watch a film with Danijel and her. So I texted eagerly back, left the ice-cream crew (they were off for a film anyway) and leapt onto the 23 (bit rashly) and called her. She hadn’t got my text, so it was a small surprise. Then I struggled getting into her house, but it was a really nice evening once I was in. We spent most of it speaking in English (booooo!), but I can bant more that way. Plus, Zaolo (another resident in LPaul’s house whom I have yet to meet)’s sister was there and her English was better than her German, so we Englished. I missed the last tram home and had to walk through the city at 2am, but I survived.

Saturday, yesterday, was a big day of knitting. I ran out of stuff to knit early on Thursday or Friday evening, which was a massive bummer. I got really itchy hands and very nearly stormed down to the wool shop on Hauptstrasse to buy some wool, but, considering I have all the needles I need and all the wool I need on their way in a big box, I abstained. But I decided I’d start something.. Something simple and easy (even though it’s turned out to be a bit of a mammoth project.. knitting a cowl in sock yarn, for those of you who understand (noone?)), which I can just pick up, knit for a few hours and put down. So I casted that on yesterday and I’m a few inches in now, having spent a cumulative 6 or 7 hours on the thing since yesterday afternoon.

I popped in to see LPaul at work a couple of times too.. Just wanted to chat to her.

So today is Sunday. Veronika’s around in Heidelberg again so I’m hoping to meet up with her and sit somewhere doing some knitting in the sun or something, then I have to pack for France. Also need to shave. The European mainland has made me very hairy. (or lazy).

Other things that have happened that have nearly warranted posts of their own: I learnt how Germans say “Heel!” to their dogs (“Fuß!” or “bei Fuß!”), I learnt a new word which has probably got to be one of my faves (“Rührgerät” = electric whisk, type thing), I got approached by a man carrying a sign upon which was written, “Sind Sie heute bereit für die Ewigkeit?” (“Are you ready today for eternity?” or something better translated) who was shocked by a man ‘crocheting’ – I corrected him; I saw a gay couple walking down the high street, one of the guys with his arm around his boyfriend’s neck – v obvious; I realised I have €0 and £0, which is making things difficult and realised why I haven’t received the bank card to my German account yet (which is about to have €900 in it) – turns out you have to have your name on your letterbox. I did think about that briefly, but it didn’t occur to me to add my name to our letter box. (I think the German for “being on the letterbox” is “beschildert sein”.. Confirmation needed). I  became tangled in Ravelry last night and listened to some BBC Proms this morning (Rachmaninov and Shostakovich from earlier this week). Video-called Marwood and had a chat about her and her royals.

That’s pretty much it. So this has been a boring post. And I apologise. But it’s not for you. It’s for me. So sod off.

Remember 5. Stock, Kaufhof?

August 13, 2009

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Family Rajpar made my year today.
The last leg of Safiya and Jaffer’s round-the-world tour was in Heidelberg and, ages ago, we provisionally made plans that I meet up with the pair of them, if I was here by that point. So, Safiya texted me this morning to tell me they were on their way to Heidelberg from the airport. Fay then texted me to ask whether I’d heard from Safiya about them coming to HD yet. I replied to them both, then, a little while later Safiya called me to ask whereabouts I was and whether I’d be able to jump up and meet her and Jaffer. I told her I would, and that she should ring me when they get into the city centre.
Safiya rang me and told me she was outside Kaufhof. I told her to wait inside because of the rain and put on suitable shoes and went down.
Got there, and Safiya beemed up in beautiful smile and I ran up to her and gave her a big hug. I congratulated her on being my first visitor and we started chatting. When we finally made it up to the 5th floor, where I’d been told Jaffer had sat down to get a cup of coffee sorted for us 3, Safiya pointed into the coffee place (I was mid story, so looking at her, and not ahead) and there stood Fay! It was so amazing!! We made a massive dramatic scene and hugged loads. I couldn’t believe it! I’m so far out in Heidelberg.. So far away from everyone else and yet there was Fay! Odd thing was, I was thinking today about how close we’re all going to be in 4th year and how it was true that I’d made some really, really close friends in Durham.
So we sat down and had a cup of substandard tea each, after Jaffer had mounted a round-Heidelberg trek alone. After Fay and I returned to the table, having collected said tea, Safiya presented me with a white bag with gifts from America in. I was so embarrassed at being showered so lovingly with gifts. Safiya had mentioned in our email correspondance that she wanted to bring me stuff back from America and had asked what I wanted. I didn’t dodge the question, so much as completely forgot to address it. So, apparently, she’d asked Fay what kinds of things I liked.
So on opening this bag to discover a white polo-shirt with red horizontal stripes, countless loudly striped colourful sox (ideal for mis-matching), a Berlin Phil and Karajan recording of Sib 2, Finlandia and the Swan of Tuonela, I was infinately joyed. But the best was yet to come. Inside the bag with the CD in were two karas. I’ve been after a kara ever since I lost mine in first year and to be able to wear one again is such a fantastic feeling. I was – still am – so, so amazed with how attentive Fay is to the small things I say. She’s such a fantastic friend and I love her so, so dearly.
We went to a Thai restaurant, ate well and learnt the word for chopsticks (Stäbchen).
Add wool, add ease of exploration

Family Rajpar made my year today.

The last leg of Safiya and Jaffer’s round-the-world tour was in Heidelberg and, ages ago, we provisionally made plans that I meet up with the pair of them, if I was here by that point. So, Safiya texted me this morning to tell me they were on their way to Heidelberg from the airport. Fay then texted me to ask whether I’d heard from Safiya about them coming to HD yet. I replied to them both, then, a little while later Safiya called me to ask whereabouts I was and whether I’d be able to jump up and meet her and Jaffer. I told her I would, and that she should ring me when they get into the city centre.

Safiya rang me and told me she was outside Kaufhof. I told her to wait inside because of the rain and put on suitable shoes and went down.

Got there, and Safiya beemed up in beautiful smile and I ran up to her and gave her a big hug. I congratulated her on being my first visitor and we started chatting. When we finally made it up to the 5th floor, where I’d been told Jaffer had sat down to get a cup of coffee sorted for us 3, Safiya pointed into the coffee place (I was mid story, so looking at her, and not ahead) and there stood Fay! It was so amazing!! We made a massive dramatic scene and hugged loads. I couldn’t believe it! I’m so far out in Heidelberg.. So far away from everyone else and yet there was Fay! Odd thing was, I was thinking today about how close we’re all going to be in 4th year and how it was true that I’d made some really, really close friends in Durham.

So we sat down and had a cup of substandard tea each, after Jaffer had mounted a round-Heidelberg trek alone. After Fay and I returned to the table, having collected said tea, Safiya presented me with a white bag with gifts from America in. I was so embarrassed at being showered so lovingly with gifts. Safiya had mentioned in our email correspondance that she wanted to bring me stuff back from America and had asked what I wanted. I didn’t dodge the question, so much as completely forgot to address it. So, apparently, she’d asked Fay what kinds of things I liked.

So on opening this bag to discover a white polo-shirt with red horizontal stripes, countless loudly striped colourful sox (ideal for mis-matching), a Berlin Phil and Karajan recording of Sib 2, Finlandia and the Swan of Tuonela, I was infinately joyed. But the best was yet to come. Inside the bag with the CD in were two karas. I’ve been after a kara ever since I lost mine in first year and to be able to wear one again is such a fantastic feeling. I was – still am – so, so amazed with how attentive Fay is to the small things I say. She’s such a fantastic friend and I love her so, so dearly.

We went to a Thai restaurant, ate well and learnt the word for chopsticks (Stäbchen).

Add wool, add ease of exploration