Friday, March 30, 2007

Day 414: Another daily rant, how dedicated am I this week. Here I am with my very last Twinings Lady Grey Teabag. I brought 200 of them with me back in 2004, and they have lasted till now. I was right in thinking they wouldn't be available here (although you can get the loose leaf version in the equivalent of David Jones Food Hall), but I've since realised that its the bergamot flavour I like, and that is the point of Earl Grey tea, which is readily available here, even in Aldi. So, farewell to Lady Grey (and Lady Jane for that matter.) Another twinge in the balance between home here and home there. Not sure if I will be so keen on travelling through Sydney Airport now though, I read yesterday that there will be new security measures including body frisks, and of course the restrictions on gels and liquids in hand luggage. In inimitable Aussie style, the new security staff will be wearing bright yellow t-shirts with the slogan "Pack it right, enjoy your flight" printed on the front. Now call me sensitive, but I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of someone working under that particular mission statement having legal access to a feel of my 'inside leg'...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Day 413: Totally disorganized at the moment, about 4 hours behind on my German study and too much homework to do before tomorrow to head to the gym. Did do quite a lot of walking though so probably won't blow up just yet! In this photo I look a bit blurry because I was actually spinning round on the chair, it would have been cool to be even more blurry but I don't have time to experiement with timers etc so it will just have to look more farty than arty for today.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Day 412: Not exactly a self portrait, but at least it was my idea! We have some very beautiful sunsets here and I try very hard not to think about the connection between stunning sunsets and particles in the air from all the factories and industry in the region. Speaking of which, I rode past Dunlop (the biggest industry and employer in Hanau) and it smelled exactly like a new pair of Dunlop Volleys, which ironically you can't buy in Germany. Oh I remember in my day the old D.V.s were cheap and unfashionable, yet sturdy and reliable. In the past few years they became fashionable and so the price more than doubled.
I have to record for the whole world that yesterday I went on a 35km bike ride. Impressive don't you think? Slightly unsettling that the only after effects are in the knees, hopefully not a portent of things to come. I must say that the ice cream I had at the destination village, so the half way mark, was the most delicious and guilt free treat I have ever eaten!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Day 411: Conversations NOT to have in German, with a naked Greek Bodybuilder, while in the shower.

Yes my amazing linguistic prowess has marvelled not only me but others, yet again. Here is a conversation I had last night while having a shower at the gym after my workout. Its one of those big shower rooms without partitions, with a soap dispenser on the wall at the end. I'll give you the english version, its what was heard. Senf... Seife... who knew??

Shwarzeneggeresque Big Guy: Is there shampoo in there? (pointing to soap dispenser I had just used).
ME: No, I don't believe it is shampoo, I think it is only mustard in there.
SGB: Huh?
ME: No, I have forgotten the word. Shampoo is for hairs or not? Those word is for cleaning the skin. Excuse me, mustard is of course a food, for your little sausage.
SGB: (recoils slightly) My little sausage?
ME: Excuse me, my German is not so good. What is the word for it?
SGB: Are you from England?
ME: No, Australia.
SGB: Oh, Australia. I think its a very beautiful country, nicer than here. You should stay there.

At least I maintained my facial features, if not my dignity!

Monday, March 26, 2007

DAY 410: Its curious how things turn out. In the middle of my little homesickness tizz I got some truly lovely affirmations from friends old and new, which really went down noice as they say in Fountain Lakes! Then more bizarre than one could imagine, today my inlaws came back from the supermarket with two wattle trees! Huh?? Yes, for some reason the supermarket here had a big display of Australian trees for sale (they survive in pots and need to come inside for the winter), and without knowing anything of my wistful mood NOR my deep love of wattle, they just saw "Australien" and grabbed a couple of pots. Apparently it was a bit of a scrum! Today was also warm enough for us to bring all the other plants out of the cellar and back into the garden until around November, so the world feels right again. If even ONE of the 75 verbs with prepositions I've translated today stays in my brain, I will be even more delighted. Actually if Jeanine gets evicted from Big Brother tonight, I will experience total contenment... did I just admit to watching Big Brother? Oh how the mighty have fallen (me, not her!)

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Day 409: (It's actually today!) Yes, finally up to date with the blog photos, I wonder how long it will last? Probably until next weekend when I realize that I again haven't uploaded any photos for a week. Oh well. Here I am in the flash of sun we had this morning, I managed to get up at 10, which is 'really' 9, so hopefully the school week earlier starts won't be too painful. I have been a bit homesick or restless or something this week. My Dad is deteriorating so rapidly, there is a real drive to jump on a plane and somehow 'fix' things, even though this is a completely irrational drive. I miss the energy of King Street and Enmore Road, I miss the ocean, I miss a sense of connection and community that comes with a shared language, even if its superficial. I miss a sense of mastery and competence in 'something', its amazing how much of my self identity is wrapped up in being a competent communicator and user of language. At the moment my head is swimming so frantically trying to learn German I am even unsure if my English is correct a lot of the time. At least I've mastered baking with Plain Flour, although of course cakes are off the diet until further notice! I miss being called "love" or "darl" by the ladies in the supermarket at Forster. I have a sense of grief that most of the friendships in Australia I felt were important and meaningful have proven impossible to sustain. I feel very sad that my youngest niece is now 4 and a half months old and no one has yet sent me a photo of her. Apparently "its what Jesus would do."

Meanwhile, I love feeling "at home", even if some days it only exists within the garden walls (I also love having a big garden!), I love having a very enthusiastic and professional teacher helping me learn this crazy language, I love feeling part of a family who celebrates me and wants to spend time with me, I love my studio / work room and need to harness the discipline to utlilise it more effectively. I love walking in the same woods the Brothers Grimm walked in, and imagining fairy tale characters hiding behind trees. I love having interesting plans for Easter, and the possibility of very easily visiting the Hildegard Abbey on my birthday. Of course the one reason I'm here in the first place is what makes life meaningful in jedanfall (any case!) I am resolved to knowing I will not be thin and gorgeous on my 40th birthday, but will at least be thin and healthy before I reach 41.

Day 408.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Days 398 to 407.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Day 391 - 397.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Days 381-390: Frank Thring????? How VERY dare you!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Days 374 - 380 (slightly out of order I think!) Here I am in full Karnival Regalia. First for the local parade on Sunday, which is a very fun community event. We invited various cousins and family members over, watched the parade and had a BBQ where I created authentic "Aussie Burgers" for all. It was 15 degrees (almost 20 degrees warmer than the same day last year!) so we were able to sit out in the sunshine. The next day we headed to the Rosen Montag (Rose Monday) parade in a small town called Selingenstadt, which hosts this very professional and elaborate parade featuring more than 100 floats, bands, groups of dancing girls, costumes of every description. Every single person in the crowd had a costume, or at least a funny hat or bit of glitter on their face. It was an amazing experience (although it had turned cold again and the parade is long. 4 hours is a long time to stand on cobble stones in a hawaiian shirt!)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Days 368 through to 373: Don't be alarmed, this series is getting into the time when we were getting ready for the fancy dress season of Karnival, it doesn't necessarily indicate an alteration of socio-cultural values!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Day 367: But its VERY slow, so that's your bloomin' lot.

Day 366: Nice to be in the second year of this body shape changing project... while looking like I'm in the fourth trimester of a pregnancy. Not to worry, have been right on track and the kgs, or at least portions of kgs are melting away! Have had sufficient treats for sanity and warding off hunger most of the time. I must stop reading dietary advice online though, its the age old story that for every approach someone endorces, someone else decides its going to kill you.

Day 365: Poo bum wee. the photo uploading thingy works again after 2 days, so I am unable to blame technology and pack it in!