Monday, January 19, 2015

Blue Monday survived #MicroblogMonday

So apparently today, the third Monday in January, is known for being the most depressing day of the year for a lot of people. That's why it has therefore been nicknamed, "Blue Monday"! Probably due to some of the following reasons:

  • The weather is usually crap. Here it's been cold, grey and dark.

  • Everyone is still broke after Christmas and there's another week to get through before pay day.

  • January can be a bit dull. There isn't much happening after the Christmas party season and most people are detoxing and off the booze now anyway.

  • Plus if all that isn't bad enough, it's a Monday!

Actually my day wasn't too bad. Not any worse than most Mondays! The GerMann and I have booked a one week sun holiday for mid February so it helps having that to look forward to!

Did you survive Blue Monday?

Monday, January 12, 2015

Acupuncture part two #MicroblogMonday

Despite a rather disastrous less than positive first acupuncture experience, I decided to go back. I figured that it makes sense to try it a few times and give it a proper chance before making my mind up one way or the other and I've since been to two more sessions.

It has gotten somewhat better, maybe because I've gotten used to it now and I find I'm able to relax a little more. That said, I still don't really get what the hype is about to be honest and I often feel like a pin cushion lying there covered in needles!

The last time I went the acupuncturist gave out to me because I haven't been going often enough which she says means it won't be effective. So I've decided for this month I will do it properly and try to go every week. And then I'll probably just quit in February. She also recommends I do Osteopathy, more alternative stuff. Not sure if I will though, it's expensive and even less evidence that it does anything.

I've also decided to cut down on dairy a little just to try that for a few weeks. So I now eat my porridge in the mornings with oat milk, and it's quite nice actually. It tastes weird in tea though so I stick to normal cow's milk for that!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Christmas edition

Christmas this year was wonderful. The GerMann and I flew to Dublin a few days beforehand, and spent ten days there. My brother was also home from Australia and it was lovely having the whole family around. I also managed to meet up with most of my friends at some stage while we were back.

On the day itself we all pitched in to prepare the food which was a very traditional Irish Christmas dinner; turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes and vegetables, gravy, cranberry sauce and all followed by plum pudding, mince pies and custard. Delicious! After eating till we were totally stuffed we played some board games - cluedo and monopoly. The latter was just going on forever so in the end we just decided to count up who had the most money to decide on the winner (my sister's boyfriend).

We left Dublin with suitcases full of presents and returned to the freezing weather here. I found out the hard way that dragging suitcases through the snow is not easy! Luckily all our flights, buses and trains went as scheduled, not like a few years ago when my flight on christmas eve was cancelled due to the snow and I ended up missing Christmas with my family and not arriving back to Dublin until Stephen's day!

I was a little sad saying goodbye at the end of our visit as usual but I know we will fly to Dublin again in only a few months. It has also been quite nice here since we've been back. The snow is very pretty and I only had one easy day of work, since the office was quiet and now two days off. The GerMann picked up a cold in Dublin though and is suffering with a sore throat so we decided to stay in for New Year's Eve and have a nice evening zu zweit (just the two of us). We'll watch the fireworks in our neighbourhood.

There was a LOT of eating in Dublin and plenty of wine, so I think this month I will have to start going back to the gym to reduce some of the Weihnachtsspeck, which literally translate to 'Christmas bacon'. Haha, those Germans certainly have a word for everything!

How was your holiday season?

Monday, December 1, 2014

Book lovin' #MicroblogMonday

The idea of being in a book club always appealed to me and earlier this year I set one up with other English speaking ladies living here. Anyone can make suggestions what to read, then we have a poll and whatever gets the most votes wins. The aim is to meet up about every six weeks to then discuss the latest book over a few too many glasses of wine!

The great thing about being in a book club is that I get to discover other books and authors that I probably wouldn't have come across otherwise. That said, everyone's tastes are very varied and there have been a few books that may have won awards but we just couldn't get into or ones that some people loved and others didn't at all! This leads to some interesting conversations though.

Our most recent book is "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn which I just finished reading. I had heard quite mixed reviews with some people loving it, others hating it. It's about a woman who goes missing under suspicious circumstances and is written alternating from her point of view to that of her husband's.

There are some great twists in Gone Girl which I'm not going to go into as I don't want to spoil it for anyone but I will say I really enjoyed reading it and found it original and full of suspense. I could barely put it down and I'm looking forward to watching the film! It's usually better to read a book before watching the movie adaptation, I find.

Have you read Gone Girl? Are you in a book club? Any good book recommendations?

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving #MicroblogMondays

One of the things I love about being an expat is that you also get to experience traditions from other cultures within the expat community. For instance, I always bring my American friends out with me to party on St. Patrick's day and they invite us to celebrate Thanksgiving with them.

And since the GerMann and I have lots of American and Canadian friends here we sometimes even end up getting invited to two Thanksgiving dinners! I love getting to try new dishes such as sweet potato casserole, corn bread and pumpkin pie which we don't typically eat in Ireland and it's also just a lovely evening hanging out with friends.

Happy Thanksgiving if you are celebrating where you are!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Acupuncture fail #MicroblogMonday

A few friends had recommended acupuncture to me and I decided to give it a go last week. It began with a consultation where I was given lifestyle and dietary advice. Normally I eat a big dinner at lunchtime in the canteen with colleagues and then in the evenings I just have something smaller like a salad or Abendbrot (Bread and cold cuts, a typical German supper).

However, my chinese acupuncturist told me that I'd been doing it all wrong, that I should be eating a warm meal in the evenings (her suggestions: soup or noodles) and that I need to cut out dairy completely (milk, cheese, yoghurt and even chocolate).

After the consultation she put the acupuncture needles in (some painfree, some hurt) and left me in the room for about 20 minutes. One of my friends had told me that acupuncture makes her feel like she's floating so I was expecting some sort of amazing experience but I didn't find it particularly relaxing. (And I couldn't help being reminded of that time Charlotte from Sex And The City tries acupuncture but can't quiet her mind).

Afterwards I went to work and at the end of the day I felt a bit itchy under my top below my neck, and while scratching I realised that the acupuncturist had forgotten to remove one of the needles!! So that also didn't exactly warm me up to the whole experience!

To be honest I suppose I just feel a little cynical about the whole thing and wonder if it's actually worth doing or if it's all just a placebo effect. I know some people rave about it but I think it's not for everyone. Spending the money getting a massage would be a lot more enjoyable and relaxing! I guess I could cut down on dairy a little but there's no way I'm giving up chocolate!

Monday, November 3, 2014

The spookiest night of the year #MicroblogMonday

Traditionally Germans don't celebrate halloween at all. However recently with the influence from other countries I've noticed this is starting to gradually change, but it's still not a big event here. Some kids might dress up and a few even go out trick or treating (in German Süßes oder Saures) but it's not something that they all do. There also wouldn't be any firework displays, bonfires or other halloween traditions such as bobbing for apples, pumpkin carving or barnbrack.

Halloween first originated in Ireland and then all the Irish immigrants introduced it to the States from where it became even more popular and widespread. When I was a child I always looked forward to the 31st of October when you would dress up and go around to your neighbours' houses collecting goodies.

I think it's a shame that it's not celebrated that much here but I guess the Germans have Fasching which is enough for them! We had visitors over from Ireland last weekend and we all got dressed up and went out to a halloween karaoke night in the local Irish pub, which turned out to be really fun! Where else would you get to see zombies rocking out to Bon Jovi?

How do you celebrate halloween?

Monday, October 20, 2014

A little Liebster love

I was recently nominated for a Liebster award by Nearly Irish. If you haven't seen her blog yet, you should really check it out!

A liebster award is a way for smaller blogs to get some recognition in the blogging sphere. It's also a little like chain mail - someone nominates you and at least 4 others and they each answer questions made up by the initiator and then nominate at least 5 more bloggers in turn sending them new questions to answer and on and on it goes around the internet world! Liebster actually comes from the German word for "beloved". I was also nominated two years ago, but back then I didn't realise I was also meant to answer the set questions (I think an alternative seems to be just listing 10 facts about yourself). So this time I'll do it properly!

1. Name one thing that you always bring back from a holiday in your native country (and why)

Just one thing? Then it would have to be a box of Barry's tea bags. German tea just isn't the same or as good so it's comforting to have a taste of home! If I have lots of room in my suitcase then I also pack Tayto's cheese & onion crisps and McCambridge's irish soda bread. And recently I've also been bringing over Odlum's brown bread and scone baking mixes.

2. What is the most unusual question you've been asked about your expat experience? And what did you answer?

That's a tricky one actually. Nothing too crazy springs to mind. The questions I hear most frequently are; why did I come here? Why did I leave Ireland? Do I get homesick? How long am I staying? Am I a student / studying here? I suppose I always find the student question a bit unusual, as it surprises me that so many Germans assume I'm only over here to attend university and don't consider the fact that I could be working and living here.

3. What do you miss most from your home country?

The people! I miss being able to see my family and meet up with my friends more often. From living in Dublin I miss the fact that there's always something going on - shows, musicals, festivals, concerts and new interesting restaurants and bars opening up. And also that you don't need to go that far to see lovely sights - a walk along the Dun laoghaire pier, Killiney Hill, or the Wicklow mountains. And I miss just being near the sea, even though it's often too cold to swim! And even the small towns have stuff going on, a local pub at the very least. Here a lot of the suburban areas don't have much so you need to go into town for pubs and restaurants.

4. What cultural or lifestyle aspect of your host country did you embrace straight away?

Beer garden culture springs to mind. I love that there are so many outside places where you can sit and have a coffee or a beer in the sun. Also there are more outdoor activities in general such as cycling and hiking. It's a healthy lifestyle.

5. What local custom or tradition surprised you the most?

Hmmm. That they celebrate Christmas day on Christmas eve! I'm still getting used to that! Instead of celebrating Christmas on December 25th like we do with the presents under the tree which Santa put there the night before, here the Christkind comes on the 24th of December in the afternoon to leave the presents. That took some getting used to. Fasching was also totally new to me. That's a festival which takes place normally around February or March when people dress up and there's a big parade.

Ok, now I would like to nominate the following blogs for a liebster: Any my questions for you are as follows (if it's too many, just pick 5 from the list to answer!):
  1. What do you mostly blog about?
  2. What do you love about blogging?
  3. What is your favourite movie?
  4. What makes you happy?
  5. Tea or coffee?
  6. Do you have a favourite song?
  7. What's the last book you read?
  8. Name three places you would love to travel to, if money were no object.
  9. Why did you start blogging?
  10. What’s your favourite post that you’ve written? (Link, please!)