Dienstag, 29. Juni 2010

It's coming home, it's coming home...

... it's coming, England's coming home! Again, it has been long since I last posted anything, but in my defense, there is a world cup going on! Admittedly, I don't have too many friends left after Germany blitzkrieged England on Sunday, but Jess and Maxi came over for a couple of days, which meant that I didn't have to cut back on my socialising. But, much as I'm THRILLED for Germany's win, I'm also quite bummed that it had to be like this. I would have liked England to stay in the tournament a bit longer, and not only because the mood in the country is quite subdued at the moment (today's Guardian front page of despair says everything, really). And the ref's decision not to give the Lampard goal was a blooming injustice, of course. I still think that it was about bloody time that a ref started favouring Germany, especially after the Serbia match, but even the most ultra German supporter has to agree that the ball was about two feet behind the line.

On Saturday, when all my British friends weren't yet resolved to hate me for the rest of my life, it was Gareth's 26th birthday. Luckily, it coincided with the Hard Rock Calling concerts in Hyde Park, with main acts Pearl Jam, Jamiroquai, Stevie Wonder and Sir Paul McCartney, so we gathered our picnic paraphernalia and traipsed to Marble Arch. Gareth had invited a huge crowd, and even though we're all dirt poor and had to stay outside the gates of the main stage, we could still hear the music and had a good time in the sun with cider and heaps of food. At about half eleven, we went on to The Intrepid Fox, on of the tourist trap places near Tottenham Court Road and had a bloody great time dancing to atrocious (except for the time they played Johnny Cash) music and fending off the advances of even more atrocious hairy men (well, some of us did). I believe on the way back I started an argument with an increasingly panicky Byron (the lad to my right in the first picture), demanding to know why I'm always stuck talking to the awful mates of the guys my friends end up snogging by the end of the night. He couldn't get rid of me fast enough, while I ranted on to everyone who would (or wouldn't) listen.

All this, of course, means that I got barely any work done during the last week. I went to the library again on Friday (and the St Pancras reading rooms are worth another post at another time, but feel free to skip it if you're only interested in my drunken adventures), but they closed early that day, so that didn't really help either. I met up for lunch with my friend Alex who I met in Russia and hadn't seen in more than a year, and who luckily isn't a football person (he's into archery and huntin' shootin' fishin') and had a blast catching up and discussing Buffy and Angel's relationship with him (no, I'm not obsessed, there's just a lack of romance in my life due to recent events). He pretended to be having a good time as well.

Again, this is it for now, because the Paraguay - Japan match has just started and I have to concentrate on Roque Santa Cruz's thighs. As always, I wish you all a stunner of a week and thank you for putting up with my ramblings!

Samstag, 5. Juni 2010

New Hair! (and other things)

Mes chèr(e)s, lots of good things happened this week. First of all, I finally got my bank account approved and I am now a proud customer of Lloyds TSB, their slogan appropriately being "For the journey". I'll go with that any time, since Barclay's "One small step" turned out to be a bit of a euphemism and trust me, you don't want to get me started on HSBC, and anyway, I might get sued. Well, a few days ago my debit card was delivered and I went on a bit of a virtual spree on Amazon and I now call Zach Braff's brilliant dramedies "Garden State" and "Last Kiss" my own. Well, I paid for them but they haven't been delivered yet.

Also, since it is important enough to end up as the headline of this post (which of course has nothing to do with the fact that I couldn't think of any witty pun to use as a title instead), I went to get my hair cut today. I've been complaining about it for a while now, and even though the new colour is still lovely, the ends were in absolute shreds and I was desperately in need of something new. You can't really tell from the picture, but I had about two inches chopped off and I also got a sideways fringe. It is still taking some getting used to because it keeps falling in my face so I can't a) see and b) eat. Still, the things you do...

Another good thing that happened was that on our way to the hair salon, Lauren and I found a non-dodgy-looking charity shop on Askew Road and decided to pop in (my new-found love for charity shops is definitely worth another blog entry at some other time). It had quite a large selection of books, so while Lauren was browsing the hangers for dirt cheap but still wearable designer gear, I quickly located a copy of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes (yes, the very same book I'm writing my thesis about and which I unfortunately forgot in Germany) and, even better, a coffee table edition of Stephen Fry in America. While this alone would absolutely have made my day, when I was waiting for my turn at the hairdresser's I found out that it had been signed. I now own a book that Stephen effing Fry signed to some wretched creature named Tom "with admiration, love and thanks" who then proceeded to sell it at a blasted charity shop in East Acton! I'm at a loss to grasp how someone could be so wretchedly ignorant, but then I suppose it takes all sorts. Rest assured that, had it been me, this book would be sitting on a specially made altar and I would bore all my visitors to death about how I came to possess it. Come to think of it, this is probably what I'm doing now, so sorry about that.

Last Sunday, I had a visitor from Oxford (Andy) and since he can get hammered at a pub in Ox any time, we decided to embark on a proper London adventure and went to Mudchute Farm, which is situated on the Isle of Dogs and, according to their website, "the largest city farm in London". Once you enter the grounds, you feel like you're a million miles away from the pandemonium that is London, even though all you have to do is look up and you can see the skyline of the City. Anyway you'll find nothing very exotic there (except some llamas), but they had cute baby lambs (who were very shy and didn't want to be petted), two ducks called Carl and Ed, an overly tactile cow (it gave me a good shove with the head when I tried to pat its head) and fluffy baby bunnies and and and... it was a good Sunday, even though I tried to kill Andy (and Lauren and Steve) by clogging their arteries with home-made schnitzel and deep-fried chips afterwards. I'm currently trying to upload the pictures to the this blasted mess of a blog, but it's not working the way it's supposed to, so I have to use my Photobucket instead. So here's the Mudchute pictures:

The City skyline
Andy and a sheep
me and a sheep

I don't think that all the other little things that put a smile on my face this week are worth elaborating, so I will mercifully shut up at this point. Have a lovely Saturday night all of you (myself, I'm going for a drink with a lad from Wolverhampton I met at quiz night on Thursday), enjoy the stunning weather and don't do anything I wouldn't do! xx

Montag, 24. Mai 2010

Let them have plane-shaped cake!

Dearies, I know I've been awfully quiet in the past two weeks - partly due to heaps of guilt for abandoning my studies for an entire week when I went to Berlin and trying to make up for it by being extra swotty and going to the library with Lauren, and partly because the weather has been absolutely stunning these past few days, and thus a fair bit of socialising in the sun was required. Plus, I've had a couple of visitors - first, my sister graced my humble abode with her presence (bringing along her friend Saskia) and then my friend Linda kicked of the stream of visitors from Leipzig. Again, I know you're only in it for the pictures, so here they are:

My sister in front of Big Ben (I know, I know, it's not the tower, it's the bell etc. etc.)

This is Teresa and Saskia in their shiny new Primark glory, minutes before Saskia had to go see "Grease" at some Westend venue. Please pay special attention to how Teresa spent twelve quid on the dress and the skirt and then proceeded to wear them both at the same time, thus making sure she had a totally original outfit that cost next to nothing in a way THAT I COULD NEVER PULL OFF? Also, the denim shirt that her friend is wearing is from the men's department and still looks effortlessly stylish. Sometimes I think my fashion gene got lost in the mail.

I felt that a trip to England is not complete without a visit to the pub, so after the Oxford Street maration (on a Friday afternoon! I ask you!) we nipped into one of the Leicester Square tourist traps that guarantee a "genuine English experience" for a quick drink before Saskia had to see Grease.

Unfortunately, none of the pictures I took with Linda are any good (lots of satan eyes and red shiny fizzogs on my part, I'm afraid), but since her visit consisted mostly of shopping, I suppose they wouldn't have been worth your while anyway.

The other really good piece of news that I have for you is that my flatmate Lauren might have got me a bar job in one of her locals, the Old Suffolk Punch in Hammersmith. The money is poxy and bar work is tough (I vaguely recall from previous experience), but it's walking distance and beggars can't be choosers, right? I'm pulling a trial shift this afternoon, so I suppose we'll see how it goes.

Other random tidbits of information:

  • Last weekend I went to Oxford to see my friend Andy. It was pissing down pretty much all day, so I didn't see to much of the town (what I saw was lovely though). Nevertheless, lunch was bought for me and dinner cooked, and Andy let me watch House and Bones and drool over David Boreanaz. He would have let me drool over Jesse Spencer as well, but his new barnet makes that pretty unnecessary.
  • Steve had another Man vs. Food challenge the other night. He made a chicken curry with no less than 8 red chilis in it and ate the entire thing. He didn't even cry (although there was a fair bit of sweat on his forehead).
  • Two more people told me I sound Australian. Yesterday a Kiwi told me I sounded English. I'm getting more and more confused.
  • I went to have Thai food with my friend Jess and had a chicken curry. When I got home, Steve told me that the place we went to was entirely vegan. I have no idea what we ate.
  • Steve and I were watching the food network channel and there was something about a bakery that makes these really special cakes. Delta Airlines (yak!) was one of their customers, and they wanted a cake in the shape of an aircraft for the launch of the "NYC goes orange" campaign to end world hunger. Is it only me or is that slightly disturbing?

Again, I hope I haven't swamped you with too much information. Have a lovely week everyone!

Mittwoch, 12. Mai 2010

Mittags, halb eins in Deutschland

Heute ohne Bilder, weil ich noch ein letztes Mal für ein paar Tage nach Deutschland geflogen bin, um meiner Freundin Jenks (die sich gerade für den Abschluss ihres Medizinstudiums in Hongkong mit einer ausgiebigen Europatour belohnt) Berlin und Leipzig nahezubringen und natürlich mein Kartenlesegerät in London vergessen habe. Bilder von mir als Touristin im eigenen Land gibt es dann (versprochen) beim nächsten Post.

Viel Interessantes gibt es auch gar nicht zu berichten, abgesehen vom Wetter (Bild titelte heute "Bibber-Wetter: Der kälteste Mai des Jahrtausends!") hat sich sowohl Berlin als auch Leipzig von der besten Seite gezeigt, die Grand Tour (a) Brandenburger Tor, Humboldt-Uni, Holocaust-Denkmal, Reichstag, Museumsinsel, Unter den Linden bzw. b) Albertina, Bundesverwaltungsgericht, Auerbachs Keller, Völkerschlachtdenkmal) war ein voller Erfolg und auch eine kleine Schuhkaufkrise konnte uns den Spaß nicht verderben. Alles in allem hätte es eine perfekte germanische Arbeits- und Denkpause werden können, wenn nicht...

(tut mir leid, ich muss nochmal ausholen).

Ich glaube ja manchmal, dass ich ein bisschen zu oberflächlich für diese Welt bin (zu viele meiner persönlichen Dramen involvieren Schuhe oder pinke Ponys). (Simone findet das auch.) (Flo auch, aber er ist klug genug, das für sich zu behalten). Anyway. Ich glaube aber auch, dass irgendwo irgendjemand über uns Buch führt, und darum bin ich der Meinung, dass eine einzelne Bahnfahrt in Leipzig meine drohende Wiedergeburt als Mistkäfer um ein paar Monate vertagt hat. Anyway, I digress.

Jenks und ich fuhren also mit der Tram Richtung Innenstadt, als sich zwischen Hauptbahnhof und Augustusplatz folgende Szene abspielte:

Ein junger Mann mit Käppi, Bärtchen, abgetragenen Klamotten und allgemein "alternativer" (hasse das Wort) Ausstrahlung belegt einen kompletten Vierersitz mit Beschlag; eine junge Frau mit Kopftuch bittet ihn, sich setzen zu dürfen. Der Jüngling, welchen ich bis dato für einen Angehörigen der Connewitz-Fraktion gehalten hatte, antwortet langsam und deutlich: "Wenn ich gewollt hätte, dass du dich hierher setzt, dann hätte ich schon Platz gemacht." Die junge Frau äußert irritiert ihr Unverständnis, Typ fühlt sich genötigt, seine Antwort zu erläutern: "Nimm erstmal das Ding ab und geh dahin zurück, wo du hergekommen bist."
Frau: "Was ist denn das für ein Benehmen?"
Typ: "Das ist richtiges deutsches Benehmen."

Zwischenbemerkung: Die Bahn war komplett voll. Kein Sitz war frei (abgesehen von den drei Plätzen, auf denen die Füße und der Rucksack besagten Arschlochs ruhten). Ein paar Leute schütteln den Kopf, sind aber sonst sehr damit beschäftigt, ihre Füße anzustarren. Keiner, niemand, nicht ein einziger fühlt sich genötigt, den Mund aufzumachen. Ich, Herzrasen, schweißnasse Hände, Rauschen in den Ohren, : "Entschuldigung, das will doch hier wohl niemand hören? Wie widerlich ist das denn bitte?" (oder irgendwie sowas in der Art, ich erinnere mich nicht mehr ganz genau, jedenfalls war ich nicht sonderlich eloquent). Worauf sich der Unmut des Fascho-Fahrgastes natürlich auf mich richtete (Einzelheiten erspare ich dem werten Leser lieber).

(An dieser Stelle wird mir gerade klar, dass es so aussieht, als wollte ich für meine Zivilcourage gelobt werden. Möchte klarstellen, dass das nicht so gemeint ist. Ich bin immer noch dermaßen geschockt, dass in einer vollbesetzten Bahn, mitten in Leipzig, am hellichten Tag jemand so offen derartige Sprüche ablassen kann, ohne dass sich IRGENDJEMAND genötigt sieht, etwas dazu zu sagen, dass ich finde, dass mehr Leute darüber Bescheid wissen sollten. Ich hab die Geschichte heute schon viermal erzählt, alleine das Tippen lässt meinen Blutdruck schon wieder steigen).

Bestimmt war das jetzt kein so arg bemerkenswertes Ereignis und sicherlich gehört es auch nicht unbedingt in einen Blog, der sich mit meinen Abenteuern in London befassen sollte (wo sich tagtäglich deutlich schlimmere Situationen abspielen, in die ich mich nicht einmische), und besonders lustig oder gut formuliert ist dieser Eintrag auch nicht, aber (und das ist ein großes Aber) es ist mein Blog und ihr könnt absolut nichts dagegen machen, dass ich hier schreibe, was ich will. Jedenfalls hatte ich heute ein ungewolltes Aha-Erlebnis, und zwar: Feigheit ist wirklich die niedrigste Eigenschaft, die ein Mensch haben kann.

Over and out.

Sonntag, 2. Mai 2010

My language skills, my self

As some of you might now, I tend to obsess about random things every once in a while (tall blond Australian doctors having cameos in my dreams, the size of my bum, Obama, why Buffy and Angel can't be together, things like that). Even though to some people (especially those who are close to me) it may seem like these phases last forever because I refuse to talk about anything else for days, but the truth is, these obsessions usually come and go (even when I develop an irrational hatred of someone and for some days literally anything can set off a rant about that person, it usually doesn't last longer than a couple of weeks for me to get over it. Except for the guy with the piggy little eyes who sometimes sits in class with me. I've been fairly constant there and I can't find any redeeming quality in him WHATSOEVER).

Anyway, where am I going with this? Oh yes. One thing has been on top of the list for the best part of the last, uh, seven years maybe, and that is my accent when I speak English. There's one thing that I hate more than anything in the world (oh dear, she's at the superlatives again), and that's being recognised as a German when I speak English. Luckily, this doesn't happen often (else the body count in River Thames would be considerably higher than it is now), but people still feel the need to comment on my accent a lot. Here's a list of things that have been said to me in the past (in no particular order):

1. "You sound quite posh."

I ascribe that to the fact that my first "proper" contact with the English language happened in a public school for girls where we were chastised for saying things like "serviette". That and the fact that I consider Stephen Fry a huge role model and I try to imitate him a lot.

2. "You sound British."

Unfortunately, no British person has ever said that to me, only Germans, Canadians and Americans. I try very hard to get it right, but the truth is that as soon as I talk to Americans or Canadians (or ingest large quantities of alcohol) I can feel my accent become more Yankee-y by the minute. Luckily enough, I seem to be the only person to notice, because my good friend Ross (Canadian) once said to me (after I confided this particularly embarrassing piece of information): "You're not. I'm sorry if that's what you're trying to do, but you don't sound American at all."

3. "You sound American, and your friend sounds English."

Said by an Argentinian who Jess and I met at the hostel two weeks ago. 'nuff said.

4. "You sound Australian".

Belushi's, some random guy trying to chat me up, thinking this was the way to do it. He was wrong.

5. "You've been losing your accent quite a bit."

Walkabout, a fairly intoxicated elderly Fulham fan, after a conversation about Werder Bremen and why I hate Hamburg so much (football-wise).

6. "You know what's weird? Your accent. Talking to you on the internet, I didn't think you would have one, and now you sound quite German."

My good friend Andy during our 45 minute (almost tearful, on my part, after this comment) reunion last week. We met four years ago when we were both travelling, had a mildly crazy night in a hostel basement with a bunch of Aussie pissheads playing truth or dare, then went on our separate ways but kept talking on MSN a lot (relationship advice featured heavily in our late night conversations). We always meant to get together again, but somehow it never worked out - until it did last Tuesday. I was quite nervous (which I only realised at the last minute) so I had a mild case of verbal incontinence, but Andy was a perfect gentleman and didn't tell me to shut the fuck up. Cheers.

7. "You don't sound German at all."

Some English guy I met at a spontaneous knees-up in a friend's kitchen in Southwark. I normally don't cross the river unless I absolutely have to (I want to get the "I've been living here forever" thing going on as quickly as possible so I'm trying to fit into as many cliches as possible. This being the "arrogant North Londoner" stereotype. Am I doing well?) but my old school friend (actually I don't know if that's the correct term since we weren't exactly friends back then) Jan called me up and I had no plans so I said yes. Anyway, nicest compliment I've heard in a while.

Anyway, I have only one picture for you today. It's my friend Jess and me at Cherry Jam, a small and quite fancy (read: bloody expensive!) club in Bayswater we went to last night. We had originally planned on going to Tiger Tiger (we even were on the guest list) but just before we were about to leave, it started pissing down big time, so we decided to go somewhere a little closer. However, it sucked, so we left approximately an hour after we came (and paid eight quid at the door and another 17 for a bottle of white wine), got KFC and called it a night.

Sonntag, 25. April 2010

Picture Round

So - I know the reason why you bother reading my blog at all is that I promised to put up pictures at some point, so here they are. I already told you that my flatmate Steve usually cooks us a huge dinner on Sundays, but in the past few days the weather has been superb, so today we had a barbecue on the roof instead. This is Mel, the Australian girl who used to live in the room that I occupy now. She's going to Scotland with her family tomorrow, which is sad because she is great fun.

This is my room mate Lauren and her friend Johnny. She's from up north so her accent is almost as unintelligible as Gareth's (for those not in the know: he's Northern Irish). Apparently the reason why they wanted me to move in instead of the Swedish girl who was also really interested is because I can understand her.
This is Mel (again), Canadian Lauren who lives upstairs and Angela, another Aussie girl who lives two streets up. I would put up a picture of Steve the Kiwi but I could get hold of his feet only. It's ANZAC day today so we're going to Walkabout (an Aussie bar) for a drink later, maybe I'll have better luck when he's a couple of pints down the line. I shall let you know.
This is the living room (see that big telly there? We have SKY! I love this place so much already). At the moment it's really messy because Mel had to move all her stuff here when I was coming, but as I said she'll be going to Edinburgh tomorrow (boo hoo!) and the place will be spotless again.
This is my room - well, kind of. It's the bed in my half of the room. Of course it took me only about half an hour to get the place cluttered, but in my defense... well, I don't really have anything in my defense except I'm a messy person and I can't help it. I need to decorate a bit (maybe become a cliche and put up a gigantic German flag) but that's not top of my list of priorities.

Other than that, I went to watch Gareth's team play football in Fulham today. They played quite well but still lost. It seemed like the ref really had it in for them, plus I'm thinking it didn't help that everyone drank really heavily last night. Emotions were running pretty high when one of the other team's players got sent off for mouthing off and "our" goalie nearly punched the ref (the four-letter count went right up there). I think I'll be back next Sunday.

Dienstag, 20. April 2010


Following a piece of advice from a friend not to post too much, today I will only let you know that I won't be leaving this country quite so soon. Smarter people than me might have already guessed that this would happen, but - more fool me - I remained hopeful. But today Ryanair cancelled my flight on Saturday due to the demonic Icelandic ash cloud and no one knows when schedules will be back to normal. Thankfully, I'm not yet paying rent in London.