Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Spring sprung

It´s true- there really are seasons in Europe. One day I´m walking around in a thick winter jacket with four layers of clothing underneath it, keeping my head down to avoid the snow which constantly falls and riding home in the dark at four pm and literally the next day the sun is shining, the birds are chasing each other around the park for lascivious reasons and it´s almost ten degrees. Boiling. The sun has been waking me up in the morning and it´s a wonderful thing.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Soccer soccer soccer

It´s begun. I´m sitting in my room listening to my flatmate and his friends shouting at the TV screen while Germany plays the US. The World Cup is sooo not going to
be fun. Can´t wait for that one.

Today the weather was amazing- I was riding back from work when it began to snow- but the sun was still out so the snowflakes were spinning in shafts of sunlight. It was incredible. It´s moments like that which keep me here- the feeling of experiencing a whole new world of fundamentals- weather, language, diet, body language. Like being a child again but with the benefits of a full-grown body and brain.

I just hope Germany loses so I´ll be able to get some sleep...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Sun worship

Last weekend it was actually sunny and we have proof. Every parent in Kiel was sledding with their children- it was so cute to see these rosy cheeked things wrapped up in layers of clothing being dragged up hills by ever patient parents.

Pictures of our new room... for Emma!

Our new room is great- so much so that I actually dreamt last night that I had to leave it and was really, really sad. Odd, considering that the state of the weather lately has been making the entire state completely aggressive and depressed, always a happy combination, and I have been considering jumping on a plane to just about anywhere that´s got over five degrees. But having a laptop and a cosy room, and beer and potatoes, is holding me over. For now. If it´s not sunny by April I can´t be held accountable for my actions.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

White daze

It´s a miracle- I have seen the sun now for four days running. It has still been arschkalt (if it´s not to do with pigs, it´s to do with your bum…) but very pretty. There´s still snow everywhere and the combination of white covered trees, houses and pretty much anything horizontal and an endless blue sky is breathtaking. Where I´m teaching the apprentices has a little wood next to it with a disused railway track, and there´s a pedestrian bridge which goes over it quite high up. When I looked out on Monday it was white as far as the eye could see with two black tracks stretching out into the distance below me. Kind of reminded me of a British crime mystery, where an unidentified body is found in the snow. Creepy.

This week has been dull, Simon is recovering from having a tooth out and can´t entertain me and because I am broke from working so little over the last few months I can´t really indulge in retail therapy. Damn it. The nicest thing about this week has been moving into our new place, which is smaller than the old one but has many plusses. It is also a bit older and worse for wear, but has a very well-stocked kitchen with great knives, a dishwasher and some very lovely flatmates. We also have a great room with a much more comfortable bed that doesn´t squeak every time you breathe. And I finally have a bike again, which has been great in this weather.

I am starting to feel like all this shifting around is normal and that the life I have left behind is a bit of a dream- a normal reaction I suppose but odd nonetheless. Last night I dreamt I was unpacking boxes in my old room at Mum´s house- which has not been my room for almost ten years- and I kept finding all this stuff I didn´t recognise. It´s starting to feel normal to have only a few friends who live nearby, to never know where anything is, to ask for vocabulary all the time, to weigh the vegetables and print out a little price ticket yourself and to be really exotic. Actually that thing with the vegetables is a lie- I´ve never managed to remember and then I always have to hold up the whole queue. Bloody foreigners.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Yo ho ho... and clowns

Please note that I am not smoking- I hate cigarettes even more now that I am surrounded by them in closed rooms- we were just using props for the photo.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Too much Cologne

The weekend in Cologne for Carnival was long, hard and at times really exhilarating. But I think on the whole I have exhausted the possibilities for acting like a teenager and drinking and parting all weekend- there were times when I felt too old or too critical to be dressed up as a pirate singing songs about God and getting drunk. Symbolic of the weekend was the fact that the Cathedral was closed so that when we finally did get in an old grumpy looking priest threw us out with a curt "NO visitors". So much for Christian kindness.

From the moment we arrived at the train station we knew we weren´t in provincal Kiel-there were people of all ages dressed as clowns, pirates (we were not as orginal as I´d hoped), playboy bunnies, cowboys, dinosaurs, bears, American Indians, Bavarians (!!), devils, clowns, go-go dancers and of course clowns. Anyone who has a fear of clowns should not go to Carnival in Cologne. They tended to roam in packs of about six or seven, dressed in identical wigs and shiny sequined bodysuits. At one point on Friday evening we found ourselves in a small bar entirely surrounded by clowns, even the waiter was one. The barkeeper in his toga was a happy exception.

The main point of Carnival, and we weren´t even there on the really crazy days, Merry Wives Night and Rose Monday, is to go wild and "go foreign" ie. cheat on your spouse for one weekend of the year before you repent your sins and fast. But that´s just the theory, from what I could tell the main point was to get absolutely smashed first thing in the morning and keep drinking until you couldn´t stand up. All the while singing songs about how much you love Cologne and God, and drinking.

My favorite part was being allowed to dress up like an idiot and go out, and know you were in good company. Oh, and of course the many marching bands which randomly marched through the city playing oompah music.