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!

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A Translator’s Daily Prayer (!)

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Lord, help me to relax about insignificant details beginning tomorrow at 7:41:23 am PST.

God help me to consider my customers feelings, even if most of them ARE hypersensitive.

God help me to take responsibility for my own actions, even though they’re usually NOT my fault.

God, help me to not try to run everything. But, if You need some help, please feel free to ask me!

Lord, help me to be more laid back, and help me to do it EXACTLY right.

God, help me to take things more seriously, especially laughter, parties, and dancing.

God, give me patience, and I mean right NOW!

Lord, help me not be a perfectionist. (Did I spell that correctly?)

God, help me to finish everything I sta

God, help me to do only what I can, and trust you for the rest.

(And would you mind putting that in writing?)

Lord, keep me open to others’ ideas, WRONG though they may be.

Lord, help me be less independent, but let me do it my way.

Lord, help me follow established procedures today.

On second thought, I’ll settle for a few minutes.

Lord, help me slow down

andnotrushthroughwhatIdo.

Amen.

“Happy Longest Day of The Year” Day

Summer_Solstice_Sunrise_over_Stonehenge_2005

June 21st 2013 celebrates the Summer Solstice or the longest day of the year. It also marks the beginning of summer for those in the northern hemisphere. Here’s some information on the event and a few fun things that you can do to honour the occasion!

Firstly, it is important to note that there are two solstices per year- the Summer Solstice and the Winter Solstice. A solstice is an astronomical phenomenon, whereby the sun reaches either its highest or lowest point in the sky relative to the celestial equator. The term comes from the Latin words sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).

The Summer Solstice takes place during a hemisphere’s summer, which means that Europe, North America, Asia and parts of Africa celebrate the occasion between the 20th and 22nd of June, while those in Australia, South America and Antarctica mark their Summer Solstice between the 20th and 23rd of December each year.

It is also referred to as the longest day of the year (for those in the northern hemisphere), as the event occurs on the day which has the longest period of daylight. For those south of the equator it is simultaneously the shortest day of the year with the least sunlight.

For those of us who thought that winter would never end, June 21st marks a special day: the start of summer! So, as a way to celebrate the date, we’ve compiled a short list of some fun things to do this Summer Solstice. See how many you will do and remember to enjoy the extra daylight (and sunshine!)

1. Cook outside / BBQ

2. Plant a tree

3. Go camping

4. Make a birdfeeder

5. Go swimming

6. Sit outside and read a book

7. Fly a kite

8. Eat some ice-cream

9. Take a trek up a hill / mountain

10. Watch the sun set

Poetry smoetry

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As it is currently Poetry Month, I have decided to try my hand at writing verse. This will probably not be the last poem I write, so please feel free to comment and critique. Also, I’m not claiming that this is any good at all, I just like the medium of verse and want to encourage others to give it a go too! Thanks for reading 🙂

That girl

To call me a loner is to be misinformed

You, in your ignorance, have jumped the gun

Like all the others

You have seen this girl and thought

That she prefers it this way

Chooses to be on her own

You, in your ignorance, are so wrong.

This girl is not a loner

She is alone

Not by choice, but by circumstance

She wishes it were not the case

She longs for time spent

With other people

Longs for company, for talk

For someone to ask- how are you?

And actually wait to hear her response

Actually, I’m not so good

This girl goes to and fro

Alone

Eats, alone

Sleeps, alone

Lives, alone

Sometimes it feels as though

She hasn’t opened her mouth

To say a word for weeks

She forgets what her own voice sounds like

She hears others, passing by

Everything is blurry though

She hears the words, but does not stop to listen to them

What is the point? They will not talk to her here

Her feet keep moving beneath her

Bring her where she needs to go and back

The time taunts her

She counts the seconds, every one of them

Knowing it will be a long time, still

Before she is back home again.

You may call me loner

But I, I call myself brave.

Sounds like…

how-do-you-express-anger-in-german-if-everything-sounds-angry

The German language is not exactly renowned for sounding romantic. It is actually renowned for sounding the exact opposite: unromantic.

My work colleagues and I went out last night, and this topic came up in conversation.
Colleague #1: “So, how do you find the German language to speak?”
Me: “It’s not easy… there are a lot of difficult sounds to try and master”
Colleague #2: “Like what?”
Me: “Well, you’ve got the shhh, zzzz, cchhh, tssss and *general guttural sound*”
Colleagues #1 and #2: *look at each other and then start laughing*
Colleague #1: “Oh my goodness, you’re right! And those sounds come up all the time in German. In some words you even have a few of those sounds put together- that must be really hard!”
Me: *nodding emphatically* “YES!! It is hard! Like trying to pronounce… eh…”

And that was it. I couldn’t think of any words! How pathetic is that? I struggle most days with German words that I cannot pronounce, and yet when it comes to giving an example of one measly tongue-twister, I am utterly stumped!

However, since then I have thought of several and I am also looking for more suggestions from you guys out there. Here are just some I’ve come across:

Streichholzschächtelchen (little box of matches*)
Ausschließlich (exclusively)
Schlittschuhlaufen (skating)
Eichhörnchen (squirrel)
Geschwächt (weak)
And even the very basic
Szene (scene)

*By the way, before anyone gets all “Ooh, but how often do you need to say ‘little box of matches’ in German, really?”, I know it’s not something you’re going to need to say every day, I was just including it for the purpose of demonstration.

Also here are just two links pertaining to Germany and the German language itself, which I find very funny ~No disrespect intended, it’s just a bit of fun~
Sarah Chalke (Elliot from Scrubs) speaking German
Dylan Moran on Germany

Bis später!

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

Another Eggscuse for Chocolate

*drool*

*drool*

*WARNING: this post will contain numerous Easter puns (see the above blog title), all in very poor taste. It is your job, as dedicated readers, to A.) Find all of these puns and B.) Add your own ones in the ‘comments’ section below. Eggstreme dedication and patience required*

Easter is just around the corner and we all know that means one thing: Easter eggs! Eggsciting stuff, right? That’s right, Tesco (American version = Fresh & Easy, I think) are offering their ever-tempting deal of 2 eggs for €3 (I’m not working out the dollar/ any other currency rate) and I plan on scrambling to the store and taking advantage of this offer when I am home (I’m flying home tomorrow night for a few days over Easter… but more about that in tomorrow’s blog!).

Anyhoo, as I was saying… Easter! Basically, if you’ve been living under a rock for the last few hundred centuries, then Easter is celebrated at the end of Lent in memory of Jesus’ death and resurrection. More recently though, the tradition has become a lot more commercialized (hasn’t everything?) and the notion of Easter eggs has gradually seeped into multiple cultures. In Ireland, for example, the Easter eggs that we have come in an eggscellent range of sizes; small, medium, large (you get the gist!). In Germany, I’ve noticed that the eggs seem to be much smaller (but I could be wrong, that’s just what I’ve observed from my time spent shopping in Aldi).

Personally, I love Easter eggs, because for some uneggsposed reason the chocolate they use for the eggs tastes absolutely AMAZING and WAY better than it does for the rest of the year (even though I’m presuming it’s the same chocolate that they use… odd!). And yes, before you ask: I am a self-confessed chocoholic (Dairymilk and Galaxy are my favourites!)

But I’m not actually writing this blog post to inform you about my eggstra strong love for chocolate. I’m actually here to tell you a little bit about how Easter is celebrated in some other countries, because what is life without diversity! So here we go:

*Sidenote- This is, of course, just a very tiny sample of some Easter customs, as I am not an eggspert in this area. Please feel free to add traditions from your own country/ any other countries whose traditions you know of. I like to learn about new places! Thank you *

Germany- is regarded as the birthplace of modern day Easter icons like the Easter bunny and the Easter tree. Children in Germany have to find eggs and chocolates hidden by the Easter bunny (Osterhase) on Easter Sunday. Other traditions include baking lamb-shaped cakes and hanging painted eggs from the Easter tree with colourful ribbon.

France- incorporates the Easter Fish and Flying Bells into its Easter festivities. On April 1st, as an April Fool’s Day trick, the children try and stick a paper fish onto the backs of as many adults as possible. The Flying Bells (Cloche volant) symbolize the mourning of Christ and are rung on Easter Sunday morning to bring chocolate and eggs to the children.

Russia- participates in the tradition of decorating the Easter eggs. Eggs are usually painted red, to symbolize Christ’s blood. The family dinner is also a very important part of Easter in Russia. Cakes known as kulich (кулич) are baked and families play games with the eggs, such as smashing two boiled eggs off each other and seeing which one breaks.

Hungary- does things a little differently! A bucket of water is poured onto a woman of the Palóc minority on Sunday and Monday. The woman wears her traditional clothing while she has the water thrown at her.

Norway- also cherishes an interesting tradition. Not only do they carry around pieces of bread in their pockets on Holy Saturday, but there is the belief that all murders will be solved at Easter and so detective films are usually shown on the television and magazines publish crime stories.

And that’s Easter in a nut shell… or should I say in an egg shell! (Oh c’mon, someone had to say it!) I look forward to hearing any other egg-related puns you may have to offer, but please remember- try to be original with them, we’re trying to crack people up here!

As always, hugs xo

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