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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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

A word paints a thousand pictures

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Translating is an art form (as far as I’m concerned anyway). Everyone thinks that translating is so easy and that all you need to do is speak a few languages and then fluidly alternate between English and German and French and Japanese. Gee, yes- that sounds like something I could do in my sleep, give me a real challenge.

God some people are ignorant! Firstly, that’s interpreting. And yes, there’s actually a difference between interpreting and translating, but that’s for another post/rant. Secondly, I’d like to see these people, who supposedly think that translating is a job any nit-wit could do, actually do it.

Yes, you there- the condescending person who believes being fluent in more than 2 languages is a fairly meager accomplishment; Step right up. The name of the game is “Is it still easy?” and here’s how it goes.

1. You read a text in your native tongue
2. You are given a target language, which you are then to translate the text into
3. You have to translate not just gist or rough ideas, but every word on the page
4. You will have to rephrase sentences so that they make sense in the target language
5. You must remember that grammar, syntax and tense are very important
6. You will more than likely have a deadline for this task (it is normally around the time when you slam your head down on the table)

Do you still want to play? …No? Didn’t think so!

I’m being jovial course, but I’m just trying to prove a point here. Translation -and the people who spend hours translating various products/documents/etc.- should be given credit where credit is due. It’s not something to be overlooked. I mean where would we be without the hard work of diligent translators, who enable discussions between different-speaking nations to take place; the translators who make sure that children (and probably grown-ups too) in China, Latvia, Spain and approximately 65 other countries can enjoy reading the Harry Potter books as well*; and the translators that provide accurate ingredient-lists for infinite foods, making sure you don’t have a reaction because you’re allergic to الفول السوداني (bet you didn’t know that was Arabic for ‘peanuts’; doesn’t exactly look like it now, does it?).

*I’ve just realized that that sounds like I enjoyed the Harry Potter books myself and I feel I should point out here that I did not. Well, it wasn’t even so much that I didn’t enjoy them… Just that they were coming to the cinema in film-form faster than I was reading the books, so there didn’t really seem much point!

Anyhoo, my point is (and yes there is a point nestled beneath all this aggressive Irishness!) that translating is not for the faint-hearted. It is a process which requires much skill, knowledge and patience on the part of the translator. It doesn’t take much to say something eloquently in your own language, but it takes a lot more to say phrase it just as poignantly in another.

Sincerely,

All translators (nah, just Claire) 😉 xx

Appsolutely great!

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Today’s agenda: do apps really help when it comes to learning a language? And if so, which apps are good to use?

Luckily, I’ve got your best interests at heart and am here to guide you in the right direction! I’m actually so considerate that I’ve compiled a list for you. Here are Claire’s top 5 best apps for learning a language (Oh, and I forgot to mention- they’re all free! ‘Cause who wants to pay for apps!). Enjoy!

  1. Duolingo: not only is the mascot for this app a cute li’l green owl, but it’s also a really good place to improve your languages skills. Duolingo is a great app (and also a website, if you’re interested) and its advantages are twofold; a.) You get to learn a language and b.) Part of the learning process has you translating snippets/documents from the internet, so you’re actually helping the World Wide Web and other internet users too. It’s a win-win situation!
  2. Google Translate: this is probably the most loved and used language app available. Although GT is often seen as synonymous with dodgy translations (and let’s face it, there have been some seriously dodgy ones!), there’s just something appealing about copying and pasting large chunks of a document in order to get the gist of what’s going on (although more often than not, I spend more time on trying to translate Google Translate’s translation, than if I had just done it myself!)
  3. Babbel: offers courses for both beginners and advanced learners, so no matter what stage of a language you’re at, there’s something for everyone with Babbel (I should be being paid for the endorsements I’m giving these companies!). Anyway, here different aspects of your chosen language are covered through the learning of new vocabulary, songs and even tongue twisters- who would have thought that being taught like so would help you know how to use the language you so choose!
  4. Busuu: deals with lots of topics through the use of day-to-day occurrences, thus helping you learn in a ‘natural’ environment (as natural as learning from an already smarter than you Smart Phone can be). You can even use this app without an internet connection, which is über handy for learning on the go. What more could ya want!
  5. Byki: first and foremost, I like this app’s name; mostly because I pronounce it like ‘bikkie’ (in Ireland, and probably other places too- the slang word for a biscuit). But, I’m not just giving it points for having a fun title, it’s actually also an app worth looking into. It uses flashcards to help increase your vocabulary and it even remembers what topics you’ve already learned- so, not only do you not forget anything, but you also have a neat way of tracking your progress. Wahey!

Finally, I know it’s not an app (per se), but it’s definitely worth your while stopping over to the BBC Languages website. There you can find the news in other languages, along with games and videos to help you- and all with the help of more than 40 world languages. Check it out!

*sniffles*

Fluffy blankets here I come!

Fluffy blankets here I come!

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, it’s official: I’m sick.

I thought I had a sore throat when I was coming back from Ireland, but I was kind of hoping it was just the air from the plane being dry and full of other people’s germs, as it usually is. Maybe that’s where I caught this cold from actually… damn other people!
Anyhoo, I’m sneezing now like there’s no tomorrow and I have to do a big *sniff* in to try and breathe roughly every five seconds, which I know is probably driving my work colleagues demented (sorry guys!) but I need to breathe and when I breathe through my mouth I look like I’m trying to impersonate a bubble fish. No lie.
So, what I’m looking for are some quick and effective ways to beat the cold out of my system. Whether it’s food/drinks that help, something I can take, or even a chant to the Medical God- I’m willing to give anything a shot!

Thanks in advance for any help you might have,
Claire.

Mum’s the word

mothers day

Ok, so I know it’s celebrated in May in certain countries (America and Germany are just two that I know of), but Mother’s Day is just around the corner in Ireland! This Sunday, March 10th, mothers all over the country will (hopefully) be showered with cards and gifts from their children to show them how loved they are.
I have a very soft spot for my mum, as she is also my best friend ❤
We get on great and chat about everything with one another! Over the years our relationship has only gotten stronger, despite the odd argument along the way.
I am currently in Germany so I cannot physically be with my mum this weekend, but we will Skype and keep in contact no matter what. My brother at home has bought a few things for her, which I will reimburse him for when I get home at Easter. Still though, I would like to do something nice for her to show her how great she is and how much she means to me, and I’m just looking for suggestions off you guys!
Whether it’s a poem written for her, or something I can send home to her, or even something I can do for her when I get home- I’d just like to say thanks to my best friend, and to the best mother in the world!
Appreciate any help you guys might have, and also feel free to tell me about your own mothers… I always love a good mom story 🙂

Danke schön xx

p.s Here’s the link to a lovely (but definitely tear-jerking) blog post about a wonderful mother who is sadly no longer around. If you’re going to check it out, I advise bringing tissues!
http://k8edid.wordpress.com/2013/02/23/tea-with-my-mom/

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