Babies

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My new maternal cousin’s tiny hands

When I was little, my mom completed her degree dissertation and I vividly remember a party where friends asked her about it and she said something along the lines of, “Let me get my baby”, then fetching the book. A five-year-old desperate for a younger sibling, I felt kind of fooled.

This weekend, I got to meet my new baby cousin. He is adorable, has triangular toe nails and might just be the calmest baby ever. He didn’t cry at all even when we had to pull three tight pieces of baby garment over his head. “Are you going to have kids soon?” his older sister asked me. If I didn’t have the feeling of being fooled still in me, I might have said, “Oh, I already have one” – because the jubilee we’re currently preparing is kind of like my baby. A project very close to my heart. It is also like a baby in terms of being much more labor-intensive than originally imagined. Luckily, I have three motivated co-workers who willingly support me in all we have to do, be it taping table cloths to tables, using personal relations to ensnare the local media or handwriting dozens of placement cards. Plus the chairperson of the juniors who despite not being on site yet is a great partner in crime. Yesterday, I decided that she had to be the one getting the fresh rolls in the morning (because to keep costs low for the participants, we do almost everything ourselves).I emailed her, “I have just named you roll responsible, I hope you feel honored”. She replied, “That’s perfect, I’ve studied 20 credit points of ‘dough-based foods acquisition’ at university, so I feel I am up to the task”. It’s a pleasure working with qualified candidates!

As if there was not enough to think of with a list of very detailed and complicated logistics for this event, my Pax is moving in tomorrow. That was the date Ikea could offer and you don’t say no to Ikea. My friend Britta lent me her wardrobe for almost a year now and as she’s about to leave for Canada for a while, she didn’t need it back. The Pax barely fits into my bedroom but two wardrobes definitely can’t be in there – so I had to get one down to the basement. But I’m just a girl, how on earth was I supposed to manage that? I decided to give our online neighborhood community a shot and asked if someone could help me carrying down the wardrobe, carefully adding that I live on the ground floor. Would you believe it, within minutes a guy replied he could come by. A day later, the next one said he’d help. So tonight, two apparently praticed men came by and carried the wardrobe to the basement. I was amazed by their helpfulness and almost had to force them to accept some Merci-chocolate as a thanks. I guess you can say a lot about Dizzel but the Dizzel neighbors are good folks!

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My co-worker is drawing motivational things for me

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We got to design a new banner for our juniors. As you see, that made me happy. To the right the old banner, the left shows our new.

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I started seating plans today. One of the most difficult and most fun tasks!

Del 7 i citat-samlingen

“Jag googlemapar mig själv ibland. Det hjälper mot hemlängtan”.

“Min hjärna har tysta timmen nu.” – “Min har roliga timmen!”

“Det är fan ett heltidsjobb att vara hipster! Det kostar jättemycket pengar”.

Kollegan fantiserar om att öppna en tysk bar i Sverige. “Och så ska jag köra heltyskt och bara ta kontanter!” – “Nej, då får du mafian efter dig snart!”

“Sätt mig på cc i mejlet.” – “CC är en klub i Båstad.”

 

 

 

 

Sommmartider!

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How do you know summer is upon us? The list of sommarvärdar, summer hosts, for the Swedish radio is published! Like every year, I had someone, in this case my co-worker, read up the names for me and said which ones I knew. This year, I recognized eight. It doesn’t seem like I am improving on this self-imposed quiz! My co-workers reactions were hilarious though when I had no clue about people she really thought I knew. “What do you mean, you don’t know Bert Karlsson?”

We were blessed with non-humid weather in Dizzel this week, so refreshing it made me sing all the time at work. I have recently specialised in adapting Swedish schlager and pop to what we do at work, so when lunch break comes around, I sing “Vi drar till Rewe” , and if my extra colleague isn’t showing up in the lunch room, I go to her office and chirp, “Är du hungrig, Johanna, javisst är du det”, fika is preceeded by a happy “Jag går och fikar” . And because my co-worker is also already in summery vacation mode, she peeled her banana yesterday, intonating, “Jeg spiser — en banan”.

This afternoon, we acually took what felt like a class trip – we visited out external colleague who lives in Essen. Yet another town with a reputation in which the term picturesque does not figure. But that only means you get there and get your mind blown by the idyllic landscape presented to you. So. ridicuously. pretty! Including baby geese!

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Right: I had baked fika. Left: Behind the scenes of instagramming.

Summer also means I want to use my balcony which is 8 metres long and one metre wide. I started planting stuff last night and made one wrong move which left me slowly inching back into the apartment with serious back pain. Luckily, I have heat wraps, heavy medications and know how to google “ischias exercises”, don’t I sound like an 80-year-old? But it helped at least and I could work today. I could even go to the store tonight and buy three balcony chairs! Club 8×1 is opening tomorrow, I’d say.

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When you really want to sit on your balcony but don’t own a car

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I’m considering putting up a Turner above my sofa. Any thoughts?

Luxury

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In an attempt to be cultured, I attended the Düsseldorf Photography Weekend. It was not too impressive. This shell was a loudspeaker and looked like an ear.Profound!

Today, I am enjoying a luxury. That is to say it is ten to three in the afternoon and I am sitting on my sofa, with the sun shining in, with a cup of tea and I have just finished watching an episode of my new superfavorite TV series Borgen. (A Danish show about a female prime minister and politics interplay with media. Made for me. The big plus is that they speak Danish which both fascinates and amuses me.Thanks to my stepdad’s birthday present I now even own a real screen to watch it in all its glory.)

The luxury in all this is that it is a regular Thursday and I am not sick. There may be some annoying things with my job but one of the really good parts is that I get to take time off when I’ve worked overtime. So this morning I worked from home (which also is a privilege not granted at any workplace) and this afternoon I am free. It’s nice being free a Friday or a Monday as well but Thursday is such an  out of the ordinary, no one will be at the supermarket kind of free.

Of course, I have lots of stuff to do anyway. There are still three large moving boxes haunting me in my bedroom (which on the whole looks like a messy storage). Not to speak of the preparations for Saturday (which include counting my bed sheets).

 

One location tried to win me over by calling their menu suggestion “Swedish Berlin”

These past days, I’ve been busying myself with buying a new bike because my old one was stolen in front of my door while being locked to the bicycle stand, hosting my first dinner at the Blue Table feat. Domizil Lux, and at work, I’ve been looking into good locations for our big event in November. We also kicked off the planning for the junior jubilee – such fun! I had a brainstorming with my comittees and the day after, with my co-workers and we came up with some really good ideas. I’m still working on getting my two co-workers to write an anthem for our junior organization and to perform it with me at the jubilee. Our brilliant student assistant suggested masking ourselves as Crown Princess and go on stage as The Three Victorias. Frankly, I think that it a great band name.

Well, now I should get going to make use of my free hours before the working people hit the supermarkets…!

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First Dinner at Domizil Lux

The move from hell

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There is a good chance this has been my most terrible move so far. You would think hiring movers and paying them a serious amount of money would simplify the process and save you energy but no. At least not with this company. My stove is not working at all (after they installed it, it went beserk heating up a random hot plate to the maximum while showing that it was off so it had to be taken from the electricity), my lamp is broken, my posters buckled, screws lost and plants hackly. The water pipe under the sink is leaking, the lights in the kitchen only partially function and the cabinets not completely reassembled…and this is not even all that I am listing. In addition to all that, their boss apparently has trouble estimating time because they needed until past 9 pm on two days (!) to get done.

Luckily, my mom came and helped me, with impressive patience and endurance, to assemble an IKEA closet (a serious pain…taking several hours). I spent the evening unpacking and cleaning up after the movers that thought it absurd to clean up any mess they made or even discard their coffee cups.

But now I am home, at least in my Lebensabschnittszuhause [life phase home, in German you can even have a life phase partner if you don’t plan to grow old with her/him], a new word I discovered on Twitter and find very fitting. With my washing machine and my dishwasher, and my sofa, such luxury. Many of the neighbours came by already yesterday, introducing themslves with their last names (“I am Frau Müller, welcome to the house”), and in 90 percent informing me of the high risk of bulgaries and to under all circumstances lock everything I can. I am only a little scared now, but the neighbours seemed to be friendly, respectable people.

And the one thing that did not go wrong with this move: the internet worked at once.

My home is sterile

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There is a lot of things I despise about moving but there is also a few I love. Like declutterig deluxe, you know when you are standing there, the person who helps you move next to you, hectically asking, „Are you keeping this?“ And then suddently, the sentimentality is toned down in the face of „Will I pack, carry and unpack this without resenting myself for my decision?“ I can ten more easilly part from old flower pots, extra sciccors and bottles that I had thought to become romantic candle holders.

Today, the moving men dissembled my kitchen for transport and I was shocked to see how much dirt there is in the places you hardly can reach for cleaning. Winnie, the leader of the movers who told me about all the celebrities he helped move („My last move to Düsseldorf was the neighbor of Verona Pooth!“), waved aside my disgust with the top of my dish washer. My home was more or less sterile, he said, compared to what he usually sees. The movers also thought I had a very well-decluttered home, „owning almost nothing“, and when I opened to basement for them to take my belongings stored there out, the smallest of the pack, looked at me unbelievingly. „That’s all? I rarely see a basement with so few things.“

Maybe their utterings were just psychological tricks, what they know they need to tell people who look at the full moving truck and cannot believe how much baggage they are carrying around with themselves in life. But I prefer to take them as compliments for my domestic success.

Laminate and Lucia

There is the quiet before the storm and in my case, there is also the slump after the storm. Since the grand event in the end of November, it feels like much of my energy is hibernating.

Some things, of course, still put me in high gear. If you are an attentive reader, you know we have entered Lucia times and so I didn’t need to be told twice that the Lucias at Ikea in Dortmund needed additional Lucias with solid “Så mörk är natten“-experience.

One of the major misconceptions I have had about the region here is that every city is only ten minutes from the next. It is true, of course, that when you drive through from Dortmund to Düsseldorf, a lot of well-known large cities come up every few minutes Bochum Gelsenkirchen Duisburg Essen and between those it’s only a few minutes but if you go the entire route, it actually takes an hour. It only takes half an hour to Cologne and it’s about the same distance from there to Bonn, but that means it is in total one hour from here to Bonn. I can either explain this with ‘Maths has never been my strong side’ or with the fact that when going to Hamburg for four hours, the way to Dortmund always seems very short with one hour.

Lucia

I also attended the Lucia celebrations in Düsseldorf, passively.

However, even after understanding that a kilometre is still a kilometre even in the Ruhr/Rhein area, I did not let the Lucias down. In a train (that musically could not be compared to the Hamburg Lucias) we treaded through the furniture store, inducing delighted looks on children’s faces. The adults, I think, believed us to be some kind of elaborate flash mob with an unclear political message. (At least I hope no one mistook the stjärngossar [star boys] for Kukluxclan members.)

I received this wonderful baked advent calender from AnnaIMG_1467

My move is drawing nearer, too. The weekend after this I will already be unpacking boxes. Unbelievable, isn’t it! In Germany, finding an apartment to rent is not as hard as in, say, Stockholm. But there is another peculiartiy about the rental market: most times, kitchens do not come with the apartment. It is perfectly normal to bring your own kitchen and in my case even your own floor. I have grey PVC flooring in 80 percent of the apartment, giving off the charm of a school room in the 1970s. So I went all in SIW  Mode (Strong Independent Woman Mode) and went to the hardware store with my friend Jonna. I have hated those building stores since childhood and it does not help that I have to pay the stuff myself now. I am rather free of DIY knowledge but the friendly shop assistants helped us pick out what we needed. You think you’d only buy some laminate but really you also need skirting boards and other stuff that I cannot even translate but which costs a fortune. Jonna and I then rented a car, heaved the twelve laminate packages into it and unloaded everything at my new home. Let me tell you, laminate is very heavy. Especially when you have twelve packages.

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So much fun at at the Baumarkt. Not.

 

 

Everyday insanity

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Let’s start with the very good thing: I do not have a cold. In November, you should not take that for granted.

Otherwise, things are happening. I finally decided on my move, signed a lease, set a date, called my landlord to propose my friend as a next tenant. That’s a common way to be able to shorten the notice period. Being German and all, I did not want to terminate one lease before having securing a new one. Too bad my landlord informed me that he wants to renovate my apartment after I move out and he can’t say if he can start earlier. In the worst case scenario, I am paying two and a half rents for an empty apartment. If you know anyone who needs a beautiful but empty apartment for 10 weeks in central Hamburg, do not hesistate to contact me. Meanwhile, I juggle attending to my three landlords (old apartment, current apartment, new apartment) and subtenants and potential subtenants, moving helpers and up-for-painting-walls-friends.

At work, we are approaching D-Day as well. D-Day is in our case the big gala evening next Thursday that I am responsible for. By now, we have come down to the details of the details. Today, we had to send the name badges to the print shop and geez, it was such a hassle. One thing is the computers not wanting to cooperate, another is the constant calls to all places imaginable checking titles and protocol, then there is sudden cancellations, and at some point you think you have too many or too few participants. My co-worker and I have gone through that list so often by now that I actually know the participants by heart. With their company titles. That’s quite something when you have 195 people on a list!

Note to colleague "I found two more plus ones! CRISIS!"

Note to colleague “I found two more plus ones! CRISIS!”