Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Remembering our roots.... (Oder, Wir erinnern uns an unsere Wurzeln)

Just to show, after all that LINGO in the previous post, that we haven't lost touch with our European heritage. Although Jan had to be pressured quite heavily into setting foot into a Bavarian brewery. He was totally okay with the pretzel though.

Oder:
Nur um zu zeigen, dass wir unsere Europäischen Wurzeln noch nicht vergessen haben. Aber Jan musste ziemlich stark gedrängt werden in eine Bayrische Kneipe zutreten. Es ging aber einfacher mit der Brezel...
Have to say, I have only just noticed the sign behind me AND that guy eyeing up my pretzel...

Monday, 24 February 2014

On sugar, medicine, Sochi and such.

Well, it has been an interesting couple of weeks.  Apologies - again - for not posting for a while (it is starting to become the official theme of this blog!), but in my defence I have been living the vampire life for the past 16 days. Minus the blood dinners, of course. Unless you count medium rare steak as a blood dinner - although that is purely for medical purposes.  (Well, okay, not entirely for medical purposes, but insofar as it is medicinal it certainly beats the banana/vomit flavoured medicine I had to take as a child).
Gratuitous beef shot
Annnnnyway, back to the point. The point being ... erm... oh yes, my exciting overnight shifts covering the Sochi Winter Olympics. Actually it was pretty good fun. I loved watching all the snowboarding and skiing, whilst secretly fantasising that that's how Jan and I look flying down the mountains once a year. Snarf. I'm more like Bambi on ice, but it doesn't hurt to dream. 

Having watched around 128 hours of coverage, I can safely say that despite all the politics and such leading up to the Games, Russia seem to have pulled it all off rather well. Yes, there were complaints near the start about the hotels and some of the courses for the different mountain events, but by the end everyone seemed to be singing Sochi's praises and were really happy to be there and competing. The only person who looked like he didn't enjoy it at all was Vladimir Putin. But then he was probably panicking about the heavens opening and rain of biblical proportions washing all the snow away, due to the sudden influx of gays into the country.

Working nights has also given me the chance to chat to more people, which has been lovely too. That old team spirit really kicks in around 3am in the morning when you and everyone around you are inexplicably awake and subtitling the curling.  I mean, come on - curling?!  What kind of ridiculous sport is that?! I would rather be beaten about the head with those silly brooms than be subjected to another game. Still, I suppose the players have wonderfully sparkly floors at home. The office also kept us fed on a steady stream of biscuits, crisps and sweeties (or LOLLIES as they say over here. Get me, learning the lingo and everything. They sent me to the garage at 11pm at night for a bag of LOLLIES, cos, you know, I'm that fluent now), so a bit of sugar mania also set in at some point. Probably when I started shrieking at the TV and getting overly emotional when anyone won anything. Cos, you know, DREAMZ, being all FULFILLED and stuff.
Coogee sunrise.  Not a bad view to come home to!
In other news, we have had a very lovely house guest staying with us for the past couple of weeks. Our Aussie friend Kym (who we met in London several years ago when she was globe trotting) has just moved across to Sydney and is staying with us while she hunts for a flat share. It's great having her here and we have broken out the barbie quite a few times and had some lovely dinners on the terrace. She has also been keeping Jan company in the days when I have been zonked out on a serious sugar/caffeine crash, twitching with curling flashbacks.
The lovely Ken the Barbie.  Geddit?!?!
The magic that Ken creates.  It's MEDICINAL, I say.
Happy tums - thanks to Kym, the BBQ genius! 
Barbie Brekkie - see me squinting at the strange ball of fire in the sky...
Jan has been busy too, doing lots of good stuff.  He has been contracting since December and of course the company he is working for LOVE him and want him to stay, but he is playing all hard to get - the big tease. In fact he is really enjoying contracting and the flexibility it gives him. We sometimes have breakfast at a cafe before he leaves and he doesn't have to rush, or he sometimes leaves early in the evenings, so it is not quite as all-consuming as work in London was. Also, undeterred by the recent shark incident, he has had more surfing lessons and is loving it.  He can catch his own waves, stand up, and turn in one direction (only the one, though!). As we say here, good on ya, mate!  (See? MORE LINGO!). He is still taking his Hausfrau duties seriously, though, and has put in lots of effort on making the terrace nice, weeding the garden and buying some new plants for the balcony. It's looking pretty good at the moment - all ready for me to get some sunshine out there now I am back in the land of the living.  I fully intend to take advantage of that situation while I have the next few days off - and shall only be coming inside to update the blog more regularly!

Silent Sunday


Thursday, 6 February 2014

All Quiet on the Eastern Front...

Apologies for the lack of any meaningful content on here of late. I'd like to say it's because we have been out and about experiencing the wonders of our new environs - but mainly it's because we have been on the "Work, eat, sleep, repeat" cycle. Turns out working and living in another country is - well - pretty much the same monotonous dross world over! Although with the added benefit that my bike is not part of any trade union, thus has no workers' rights and therefore cannot fight for them by going on strike and refusing to take me to work - hah! Although it protests in its own malicious way by attacking me with its spiky metal pedals when I'm not looking - so I guess all is fair in love and capitalism.

I would love to give you all updates on the large amount of beautiful furniture and personal possessions we have in our new flat - but I can't. Because they are still out there in the ether somewhere teasing us - "Yes, the mattress for your bed will be no less than four weeks"(said 4 weeks and 1 day ago), "Yes, your container has arrived in Sydney and is waiting for someone to be bothered to unpack it" (oh), "Your sofa has to be made in Shanghai and then returned, but yea, verily it will be with you in March...". Hrrumph.

I suppose the most exciting thing that has happened recently is - we went to the beach! Jan learned to surf! There was a shark in the water! Yes, a real shark! Not that we saw it - I squinted out at the waters expecting (in some "took-Jaws-way-too-seriously-as-a-child" way) to see an ominous black fin gliding through the waves (to a backing track of the theme music, natch), and there was just.... nothing. Well no, actually, there was a drunk girl refusing to leave the water - until the lifeguards went in and dragged her out (well, accidentally hit her in the face with a jet ski is more accurate) so that was exciting. Also Jan got another free surf lesson in recompense. And the shark was chased away and didn't end up getting cruelly and unnecessarily baited and shot like its west coast counterparts - so everyone was a winner really.

We have had some very exciting news recently - but I am now going to behave like one of those frustrating friends you have on Facebook who tantalise you with some snippet of gossip or emotion or mystery event and then claim they can't/don't want to talk about it. I mean seriously - PUTTING SOMETHING AS A STATUS ON FACEBOOK IS THE OPPOSITE OF NOT WANTING TO TALK ABOUT IT! LEARN SOME COMMUNICATION SKILLS DAMMIT! Ahem. Anyway. Exciting news will be forthcoming once I have full permission to unleash the joy.

Other than that, the next big thing is this:
Yes, that's Jan and, no, he is not competing. I "created" my own Olympics image as I was too scared to use an official logo - I don't want the Russians coming for me in the night for violating their rights or anything...

I am HIGHLY excited for the Games though. Partly because a small bit of me has died in envy at all the skiboarding trips people are participating in right now (IT SHOULD BE USSSS!!!) and this will be my vicarious ski trip. Also partly because I am now officially working nights for the next two weeks to caption the coverage live. AWESOME! Well - it's one of those things that seems like it could be awesome in the abstract - in reality staying awake all night working will probably suck the actual living soul from my body, but hey-ho, it's only for the next two weeks, right?  Erm, right. So if the next post turns into some teeth-gnashing, angst-ridden, nonsensical drivel fest - please point me in the direction of the nearest caffeine drip (to be inserted directly into my eyeballs).  Thanks so much, and see you on the other side....