Auf Wiedersehen und Danke schön!

goodbye

Nuremberg in Numbers:

Twenty-four: the number of weeks I was living in Germany.

Three and a half: the number of months winter lasted.

Eight hundred and sixty-four: the number of hours I worked.

Five: the number of wonderfully dedicated people who came to visit me.

Nine: the number of days I have left.

 

It has been a long journey, but it’s finally coming to an end. I feel like I’ve been here so long at this stage, that I’m pretty much a part of the furniture. However, I feel like a piece of furniture which is living in the wrong house. I have been put there for a while until my old home is ready for me to move back into it again, and every day for the last one hundred and seventy two days I have been looking forward to returning to my proper abode. I’ve been waiting (not always patiently) to come home.

Now, I am on the final stretch. The road before me is smooth and I can just about see the finish line up ahead. It hasn’t always been this way though. There were times along the way when I thought I would never reach the end. I felt tired and alone and I just wanted to sit down in the middle of the path and cry. Cry so hard that my tears formed a river beneath me and carried me the rest of the distance I needed to travel.

But looking back now, I’m glad I walked this route. It wasn’t something I was looking forward to and it definitely isn’t six months I would like to repeat again, but I feel a great sense of accomplishment, knowing that I can do this (and have done it!) on my own.

Despite the fact that winter here lasted what seemed like an eternity and was the coldest in Germany since way back when, I don’t want to paint a picture completed covered with thick, dark clouds, because I feel that would be unfair. Unfair to a city which, I’ll openly admit, is beautiful. The buildings here have been rebuilt and there is a wonderful mix of the old and the new. Riverside cafés, pretzel stands and bakeries filled with assorted glazed pastries on every corner, market stalls specializing in every possible knick-knack, along with an abundance of fountains and statues all contribute to the character of the city.

Of course there will be people and things which I will miss: my work colleagues (i.e my work friends) and the crazy conversations we have together and the uncontrollable laughter which follows, the friends I have made in the apartment complex, the public transport system here (seriously, why can’t there be U-Bahns at home?), the regular restaurants which I frequent and their welcoming staff and last –but by no means least- pretzels! Trying to imagine a world without pretzels is just heartbreaking! Although for the past twenty years I have survived just fine knowing little of their existence, I now find myself wondering “without pretzels, what’s the point?” I figure I’ll just try and stuff as many of them as possible into my case (and face!) before coming home!

So, to sum up, Germany –and Nuremberg in particular- is a very picturesque place. There are some wonderful people here, some great sights and some DELICIOUS breads! This has definitely been an experience to remember, something which has helped me to grow and become independent, and a reminder of how much my home, family and friends mean to me.

Thanks for all the memories, I’ll never forget them.

I guess all that’s left to say now is:

Auf Wiedersehen, Deutschland!

The return of the prodigal daughter

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Pandas know what they’re talking about!

Wilkommen zurück! Bentornato! Bienvenue à nouveau! Basically, welcome back! 🙂

Sorry for the lack of posts as of late, but as you know I was back home in Ireland for Easter. And it was GREAT!! I had such a lovely time with my family and boyfriend. I didn’t actually do that much, but that’s kind of what I wanted. Last time I went home with an agenda to do this and meet that person, and it was just too much! I was mad I didn’t just chill out more and enjoy the simple stuff.
So that is exactly what I did for this trip home: nothing! And it was EPIC!!
I mean I did small stuff, like go for walks with my mum and visit my grandparents and go out for dinner and go shopping and get pizza with le boyf, but nothing hectic. Also, I ate Easter eggs, as promised! My goodness, they should sell them the whole year ’round… although I’d be über fat afterwards and probably broke too… On second thought, maybe not!
It was super hard to get me to come back here. Not because Germany’s awful or anything *darting eyes* … but just because I’m a home bird at heart and I’m really only my happiest when I’m at home or with my family. At the start of this stint abroad everyone said “Oh, the experience will do wonders for you” and “You won’t want to come home once you have a taste of freedom and independence”. To these people I say, I have tasted freedom and it made me go:
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That is not to say that I am dependent on other people in order to survive… I’m just saying it makes things a lot easier! I’m obviously managing, because I’ve been here almost 3 months now (is that ALL?!) and I’m still alive, so that’s always a good sign! I’m simply saying that having other people around makes me A.) happier and B.) less likely to die by eating out-of-date foods because I forgot that not all foods last forever …Do you see why I need other people now?
Anyway, that said, I’ll try and veer this post back to the direction in which in started, i.e. my return from the homeland!
And now for social niceties: how was everyone else’s Easter? Do anything much? Eat as many eggs as I did? Tell me all!
I might get to post later today and if not then it’ll be au revoir until Monday (I’m not going away again, I just use the weekends to sleep… a lot! *See the above pandas*). Hope y’all have a nice weekend!
As they say in German- Viel Spaß!

hugs x

Homeward bound

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Ok, so as promised, today’s post will pertain to my trip home!

For those of you who don’t know me that well (shame on you!), I’m an Irish girl who’s currently living in Germany. I think that’s pretty much all you need to know!

Oh, and I love my family, boyfriend, friends and home country very much!

So, as I was saying, I’m flying home this evening so I can spend a few days at home over Easter (because who wants to eat a load of chocolate on their own!). This means that from this evening until next… *consults a calendar* Thursday (ooh, that’s a week!), I will be out of office, so to speak. I know what you’re thinking; “But Claire, how ever will we survive without your captivating mix of language and life related blog posts until then?!”, to which I say “Breathe. It will be ok. If you are anything like me then you’ll be spending the next few days gorging on vast amounts of chocolate, and will not notice much going on outside of the fridge”.

I am über excited (who says I’m not improving my German here!) about being home again. I am, of course, dreading the travelling again. Let’s do the math here:

Travelling = hard work

Hard work + Claire = Grumpy Claire

*

Hard work = stress

Stress + Claire = even Grumpier Claire

*

Stress = sweating

Sweating + Claire ≠ attractive

Do you see why travelling + Claire ≠ excitement? Now being home + Claire = EXCITEMENT OVERLOAD!! It’s just the travelling part I dislike.

And why? Well because it’s long and tricky and tiresome and there are too many suitcases and not enough aisle space and there are people everywhere and it’s loud and uncomfortable and it seems to go on forever…. like this sentence!

Some people love travelling. They think it’s better than the actual destination. To these people, I say this: [click here por favor]

I would just prefer to be able to click my fingers and *poof* be in the place I wanted to be in. Even when I’m at home this happens- e.g. I’ll be in my house and it’ll be late and my boyfriend will text and I’ll want to be able to just *click* and be out at his. I think this is probably to do with the fact that I am inherently lazy.

Digression aside, I just think travelling would be so much easier if there was no actual travelling involved. To myself, I say this: [one more time with the clickety click]

So to sum up: I’m going home, I don’t like travelling , I’m good at basic math and, as always, memes are fun! ^^

Peace out! xx

Whaddya think?

 

Our Family

Our Family

Ok, I’m looking to run something by you guys; it’s a poem I wrote for my mum for Mother’s Day. I just want to get some opinions and see what people think. Hope you like it 🙂

A snapshot of  you-

Sit down for a moment and open the photo album of your motherhood

The first page is a picture of you, wearing big, comfy pants with an elasticated waistband

You’re standing with one hand on your tummy, smiling proudly

The second page is a picture of you with a tiny baby in your arms

She is pink and squishy-looking, and you are beaming

The next few pages are littered with hectic pictures:

First bottles, colourful babygrows, friends and family visiting us

Then we move from the white hospital to our new home

The pictures taken show toys scattered everywhere, endless nappies in the bin,

You look tired, like you haven’t slept in two years, but you are still so happy

All of a sudden you are back in stretchy pants and luminous patterned tops again

You tell the little girl that she is getting a little brother

She secretly plots his downfall

Until she sees the new pink and squishy blob

And then she wants only to hold him and play with him

There are pictures of you with both of us on your lap

Stuck between a rock and a hard place; who would be your favourite

But you were more diplomatic than that

You loved us both equally

Even when we drove you mad

When we made a mess where you had just cleaned- you loved us

When we woke you every hour on the hour in the middle of the night- you loved us

When we wouldn’t eat what you put in front of us- you complained, but you loved us

The pictures of our childhood are a wonderful adventure

Of planes and foreign lands

Of cars and a land more familiar

Of beaches and sticky ice-creams that went everywhere but in our mouths

For every place we went, you brought us there safely

You put up with are we there yets and I’m hungrys

Even though you probably wanted to turn around and say-

Yes, well I’m hungry too and I want to fall asleep in the back, but I can’t…

You never did

You gave us everything instead

New bikes, dolls, trucks, marbles, skipping ropes, a swings and a slide

And when we got older and the wish-list got longer and more expensive

You gave us everything still, and more

The best clothes, perfumes, musical instruments which we couldn’t play, gadgets and gismos

The lot

The photo album captures the moments we didn’t even know were there

You worrying when we were late back

You frustrated when we wouldn’t do what you said, even though you were always right

You watching over us when we slept

Of course there are pages of tantrums and fights and arguments

Of sulking faces and slamming doors, when things didn’t go our way

But there are pages too of uncontrollable laughter, so much that we cried

Pages covered with happy memories and smiles and that warm feeling in your tummy

Dinners we’ve shared together, crosswords we’ve done, car journeys we’ve taken with one another

That passed in no time due to the fun we had on the way

The photo album is bursting with pictures of you and of the three of us- your family and greatest fans

It is far from finished yet; there are still countless blank pages waiting to be filled

With pictures of exams and graduations, travel and study, work and play, holidays and birthdays,

Christmases and New Years’ gatherings, smiles and tears

But flicking through everything so far, our hearts are so grateful and proud

That we get to call you mum.

The little things

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Ok, so I’ve just realised that my blog has gone seriously off target! The aim was to write a language blog (hence the title) about my language experiences in Germany. I stayed true to this aim for about 11 of my current 20 blog-posts. That means that 9 of these posts have strayed into topics not previously designated for them.
At first I was disappointed with myself for having lost focus so early in my blogging career. However I have now accepted that a part of me will always have to come through in my posts, and so I am now content to write some (but not all) of my posts about languages and language-learning etc., and some (but not all) of my posts about life in general. I figure it’s a happy medium for my little blog.
Anyway, today’s post will be a life-related one. As some of you may know (those of you diligent enough to follow my blog- I appreciate it, you guys!), I visited home last weekend. For me, Ireland is home. I was only back for 3 and a bit days, but it was brilliant! Seeing my family again and getting to spend time with my boyfriend was fantastic. I was suddenly aware of how awesome the little things were: the fact that my family do the crossword in the Sunday paper together on a Sunday evening; the way me and my boyfriend get smoothies when we go into town on a Saturday and usually end up swapping flavours; and everything else in between, from particular foods you can always find in our fridge, to the smell of mum’s dinners cooking (yum!).
I really enjoyed spending some downtime with the people who mean the most to me, in the country that I adore. I’m curious now as to where home is for anyone reading this blog, and what makes it so special for you? Leave any comments below telling me about where you feel most at home 🙂
For now, hugs xo

37 more hours:

il_570xN_216363172_largeThe amount of time that has yet to elapse before I will arrive home. This time has to include the following activities: packing, travelling to the airport, waiting at the airport, a short flight from Nuremberg to Frankfurt, an hour and a half wait in Frankfurt and a slightly longer flight to Dublin. It also has to include today’s work, tomorrow’s work, eating, sleeping and last minute panicking/excitement overloading. When you think about it, that’s actually not that much time to do everything. But if it kills me I will get everything done and I will get home with a smile on my face and a suitcase (probably overpacked) by my side.

It’s not as easy as just going home though. You see, I am surprising my brother for his 18th birthday and so he does not know that I will be home in 37 hours (hence the surprise). This means that I must pretend I am still in Nuremberg and doing mundane Friday evening activities, when instead I am actually amidst a whirl of planes, trains and airports. This also means that I must have a story in place. Normally my family and I Skype one another in the evenings, over dinner if possible, so it feels like we’re still all together. Seeing as I will be en route to the airport tomorrow evening, I will be unable to Skype home. Do you see the pickle I am in? My brother will wonder why we are not Skpying unless there is a reason for it, and the reason is this: my internet will not be working tomorrow evening.

I know what you’re thinking- but Claire, you said in your last post that your internet isn’t working any of the time: true (and well done for reading my last post). The internet situation is as follows: there should be internet in my apartment; there is not. I am currently using the wi-fi of another inhabitant in my building, who lives two floors beneath me (don’t worry, he knows about it; he gave me the password- it’s not illegal, I swear). I have complained numerous times to my landlord, but he has chosen to ignore my complaints. As of late he is rarely present in the building, in fact he could have died and I would be unaware. Therefore I cannot throw a hissy-fit in front of him like I had planned to do. This makes me sad and angry simultaneously.

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked here. The point is, my internet connection is rather fickle as a result of the fact that I am using wi-fi from two floors beneath me. Therefore, it has happened before (and it will happen again tomorrow, mwahaha) that my internet has lost its signal and will not let me connect again for several hours. That is le plan to cover the fact that I will not be Skyping tomorrow evening. Now we must move on to my mother’s cover story.
My mum is going to collect me from the airport and I genuinely cannot wait for that. I will literally run to her like they do in the movies where people are reunited once again and dash to meet one another in a warm embrace. I will strive for this, but more than likely I will see her, start to run towards her, then promptly trip on my suitcase/big poofy coat and end up smack bam on the ground, my teeth rattling around in my head. I’m ever so graceful.

So mum is driving two hours up to Dublin to collect me and will then have to drive us two hours back. She will be gone ca. four hours (excellent maths right there). She has decided she will tell my brother she is going to a table quiz on the eve of his birthday to try and win him his present (she’s hilarious like that), he will roll his eyes, mumble something along the lines of “Ok, whatever, I’m going to play x-box” and thus the conundrum will be solved.

In less than 37 hours normality will be restored (well, as normal as my family can do). In less than 37 hours, I will be home.

Coming Home

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I have been waiting for the last almost seven weeks to get to see my family and my boyfriend again. Saying goodbye to them all that time ago was hard, very hard. I remember when mum and I arrived at the apartment that Sunday evening and it seemed as though everything was wrong (namely because everything was wrong). There was no internet (still isn’t), there were no shops open for us to buy any food for that evening or for breakfast the following day, there was no duvet or pillow for the ‘bed’, and basically everything else was wrong too. I remember becoming hysterical after Friedie had left. I couldn’t contain my sadness and my disappointment and every other emotion that was whirling around inside me. I was terrified to face this new place, where I knew no one and nothing, alone. Luckily the one person in the world who means the most to me was with there beside me to comfort me when I needed her the most. I broke down and cried uncontrollably, huge, wet tears running down my face and onto my clothes and into my hair. She let me wail into her shoulder until she too was covered with foundation and mascara. I could tell she was holding back her own tears. Of course, she did cry, but I knew she would have cried more had I not needed her so badly to be strong for me. She told me I had to stop crying, so I did, because she is my mother and I do what she tells me (some of the time). We had to go and get some fresh air. It seemed like we had been sitting inside for an eternity. It had started off with Paul driving us to the airport that morning. I say morning, but it was really more the middle of the night than anything. From there we waited in the airport. That was hard too, because every second I spent with Paul beside me, I knew I was getting closer to having to say goodbye to him. When I eventually did have to say goodbye, I started to cry. I found walking away from him seriously difficult to do, and the only reason I actually did it was because mum was there to console me when we got to the other side of the frosted glass. She was there the whole time-on the plane beside me as I slept, when we arrived at Munich airport and had to try and get train tickets to Nuremberg, on the train journey that seemed to last another eternity. I was so tired and sick of sitting down, but she was always there to my side to make small talk with. We both knew we were just trying to pretend like it wasn’t all really happening. Mum had been dreading that day for months, ever since she’d found out I would be going abroad for six months as part of my college course. I hadn’t really started to worry about it until the very end. Then, on that long train ride to my new place of abode, I began to fear like she had feared. That evening when we eventually arrived and during my sobbing session, I pleaded with her to bring me home with her. I know I wasn’t making it any easier for her; in fact I was probably breaking her heart with my desperate attempts to return home with her. I couldn’t face the thought of her leaving me the next day and me not seeing her again for what would seem like forever. The idea of her boarding a plane without me made me break down even more. That was when we went out and got food. She knew me so well. The food helped, but still didn’t change the fact that at that time I was truly miserable. The next morning would not be any easier. Waking up almost as early as the morning before, we arose to the tiny room that was, and still is, my living space. I think we had a granola and a Rice Krispies cereal bar for breakfast that day, luckily mum had brought them from home. I asked would I walk with her as far as the train station. She said no, she would go on her own. I don’t know was this so she could cry in peace, or so I could have another few minutes rest in bed after she left. Seeing her go was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to face. Closing the apartment door after the elevator had descended and taken my mother out of sight was so hard. Rushing to the window and opening it to the freezing cold air, so I could stick my head out and wait for her as she left the building was easy. I heard the front door open and saw my mother leaving. I waved frantically at her, and although she looked up towards me, she could not see me behind a part of the building that jutted out. I could not yell down to my mother, four floors beneath me, as it was still too early and I thought I would wake people up. Even if I had yelled down, I don’t know would she have heard me. There was a sharp breeze outside and my calls could have been carried away by the German wind. Or I could have opened my mouth to call out to her, and perhaps no words would have come; only a dry and course whispering sound. That was the last time I saw my mother in person. That was almost seven weeks ago. The time has passed, but slowly. I have not hugged my mother in almost seven weeks, and for me that has never happened before. Even at home if we have a flaming argument about something, chances are we’ll be back hugging one another again that same evening. It’s just how we are. She is my best friend in the whole world.

This weekend I go home for three days. It is a surprise for my brother’s 18th birthday. I have been waiting almost seven weeks for this one weekend. I’m coming home