Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Je veux te voir

Jacket: Promode, top: H&M, shorts: New Yorker

Quick snapshot of what I wore out to an ERASMUS meet up tonight.  Not very patriotic I know wearing USA shorts but I've wanted some for a while but I was sick of seeing everyone walking around in the same shorts from TopShop.  I ended up walking into New Yorker with my friend a few weeks ago and finding these.  I never shop in New Yorker, their clothes verge in tacky and are very cheaply made but sometimes you find some treasures in there.  Like said shorts.  The night out was amusing to say the least, I spoke little French and even less German (thank goodness), met a lovely older student from Montreal whose number I sadly didn't get but I'm assuming I'll see him around anyway, Montpellier isn't such a big place after all.  The only thing I was shocked by was the price of a Corona beer: €4.50.  Painful.  But I've been drinking wine for the past week so needed to change it up a little.

My language course starts tomorrow, after today's test I'm expecting to be in the bottom group after my terrible performance but I'm not too bothered so far, I'm here to learn and if it means starting out from the bottom I don't have such a problem with that.  So far I've met some lovely people here including a girl from Cambridge who lives on my residences and she's great fun but sadly she's only staying until Christmas.  I've got language courses until the 3rd and then nothing until the 8th so going to plan in a trip to the beach some time.  I feel like the palest person in Montpellier at the moment and also possible the fattest.  French girls are so skinny, I feel a complex growing.  Less macaroons and more carrot sticks maybe...

Sunday, 28 August 2011

I've been a little less visceral

Welcome to France Kate and William.

So at the moment I'm sat on my bed in my studio flat in university halls.  I've said bye to my parents who leave tomorrow morning.  I'm not one hundred percent sure how I'm feeling at the moment, it's a strange mixture of sadness at my parents leaving, being scared about the university in French prospect and being excited at my big adventure that's about to properly start.  I moved into my studio this morning after Dad dropped me off with the last of my things.  The past two days have involved lots of IKEA trips and food shop trips, I've been on my feet non stop.  My parents have really gone through an big effort to make me feel at home here, I'm so thankful and grateful they could come with me and help me through all of this.  I've got some lovely pretty IKEA bedding and some pretty little lamps. I don't understand why the people who build these student accommodations think it's a good idea to fit halogen lights, the lighting is so ugly and harsh but it's been fixed thanks to IKEA and their ace lighting section.  We've even added one of those cheap curtains so there's a bit more warmth in the studio.  I've managed to shove all my clothes into the skinny wardrobe.  It's pretty packed in there and I've actually put all my coats into my suitcase for storage, I doubt I'll be needing them for the time being.  It's beyond warm here, even when it rains it's still 27 degrees. 

My language course starts tomorrow for which I am NOT prepared for.  But I guess that's why we're having this course anyway.  The majorly frustrating thing about being here is that my French is enough to partially understand people but I can't communicate my point properly, it's beyond frustrating. Not being able to understand what people in the street are saying as you walk past them or what people are saying in restaurants.  I have all the right words in my head, or so I think, and then I just can't say them at all.  Obviously the language barrier will be fixed in due course, it's just very annoying being in the position of not being able to express yourself properly.  This hasn't ever happened to me before, once I learnt English I could communicate with everyone.  I've not met anyone in halls yet, university doesn't start until the 15th so I assume most people will be moving in next week.  I've heard lots of people speaking German here, and one of the girls from Cardiff who is also here is now friends with a German boy from the same town as me.  I mean I love Germans and all, and meeting someone from the same town as me would be cool, but I doubt it would improve my French.  I'd be lazy and speak German probably.

But all these things aside, tomorrow my year abroad officially starts and I am excited.  I will be posting more photos soon, I've just not had a good few 'face days' and it's been too hot to wear anything fancy I've just been running around in shorts and strap tops.  Thank you for all your kinds words and support though, it means a lot.  It's been a stressful couple of days and I just want things to fall into place now.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Bienvenue en France

I realise I said I wouldn't update but it turns out that the hotel I'm staying at has free wifi, and who am I to resist?  This post is to simply gush about today.  After a relatively boring car journey starting at 7am and finishing in Montpellier at 6pm we made it here in one piece.  I'm already in love with this country and Montpellier.  The weather here is beautiful, the buildings here and beautiful and the pace of life seems to be a lot more relaxed than I've ever experienced.  I managed to order dinner in French without making too much of an idiot out of myself.  I'm so glad and blessed to be here.  Not many other people can say that they got the chance to live in the South of France for nine months.  I'm determined to make the best out of every second.

So currently I'm sat in my bed in the super cute dinky hotel we're in, making a list of things to do tomorrow and listening to 'Bones' on tv.  My French isn't good enough to handle synchronized tv shows yet.  Listening to it makes me pay more attention rather than me being distracted by the good looking men (I've only every watched 2 episodes of the show in English so I have no idea what's going on).  Tomorrow I get to view my apartment, I have a sneaky feeling I'm living in the ghetto, I made the mistake of looking at google street view... I shall let you know.

Also there was some interest in what the little stuffed dinosaur in my last post is all about.  It's a souvenir from my boyfriend and mine's last trip until further notice to London together.  It's super sentimental to me because it was our last trip together and I've always loved stegosauruses, plus he's my lucky charm.

On a none dinosaur related note, it turns out the country Montpellier is in, produces more wine annually than Australia.  Safe to say I will enjoy it here.

Quick post

I've arrived in Montpellier, staying in the cutest little hotel ever,  I shall post some photos this evening.  Montpellier so far looks absolutely stunning.  Plus this hotel has free wifi so I'm generally winning at life.

Monday, 22 August 2011

When you're around me I'm radioactive

1st row: Mini make up bag from Bobbi Brown sadly not filled with Bobbi Brown goodies, my RayBan's, French phrase book, journal and 64GB iPod touch
2nd row: Moleskin diary and pen, key rings for my future flat house key, normal flavored carmex, my hard drive, lucky dinosaur from the London Natural History Museum, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Bag: Urban Outfitters

Just a small snapshot of some of my more organised packing, my own handbag of course.  This is going to entertain me for the 10+ hour drive down to Montpellier tomorrow.  I'm also having my laptop on me so maybe I can bash some episodes of Dexter out (I'm already towards the end of season three).  This is probably going to be my last update for a bit, I need to sort out internet in my flat.  No idea how to do that in French but we shall see.  I can't live long without internet so I can't imagine I'd be without it for long, it's more about having the time to post.  But I'm sure I'll work something out.  Today I am generally feeling relaxed and a little bit more excited than yesterday.  Partly because the weather on my dashboard for Montpellier is a straight row of big yellow suns with '27' written underneath.  Some summer sun at last.  The other reason I'm glad to be getting on my way to France is that simply I'm sick of my mother.  We normally have a good relationship, seeing as I'm only really home every 4 months and then I stay a month at the most.  The less we see of each other the better our relationship is.  This has been the most time I've spent with her since last summer and we drive each other mad.  I can't handle her OCD of how to fold the hand towels properly for much longer.  I love her to pieces but this has just been too long, I'm at the age now where absence really does make the heart grow fonder.

So I am packed up and resigned myself to the fact that I have no idea what to expect from this year abroad.  I know what I want.  I want to be able to say I enjoyed it and gave this year everything I have.  I want to travel and share France with my other half when he comes, I want to see as much as possible and speak as much as possible.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and it's going to open so many doors in my future.  I'm going in with a positive attitude.

On another positive note a new Marina and the Diamonds song was released on youtube today.  At first I was making the 'que?' face whilst listening to it and now I love it.  Not like her first album at all, but still amazing.  I got to see her live last November in Cardiff and that gig holds a special place in my heart, not only because she was note perfect but that was the first time I was ever second row at a gig, I get really bad claustrophobia in crowds (being 4ft11 probably doesn't help).  But her music has been the background to some not so good times so I'm grateful to her.

So this is me saying goodbye for a little bit (I'll say this and then I'll hack into the hotel's wifi tomorrow evening), but I should be back at the latest on Sunday evening when I move into my flat properly.  I'm staying with my parents in a hotel until we sort everything out.  I'm excited to share this adventure with you guys and thank you for sticking with me so far :)

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Keep calm and drink tea

So my days here in Germany are numbered, France is happening on Tuesday.  Today has been a strange mix of emotions, from waking up wanting to burst into tears, dad having to partly fill in my paperwork because my hand was shaking so badly, to relief and then stress at the lack of packing that has been going on.  I normally enjoy packing because it means I'm about to start a mini adventure.  This is so much bigger than that.  This is a 9 month commitment in a totally new culture.  I am both excited and bricking it.  

I just don't understand how I seem to be under the impression that I have 'nothing to wear'.  Not pictured in the second photo is the crate of shoes that I am taking, my coats and my second crate filled with personal things such as my make up bag and little bits and bobs.  Dad has just helped me pack up and through some utter miracle it's managed to fit into my blue samsonite and my red board case.  The crates are just being put into the car, thank god I don't have to fly that would be impossible to do.  Once I pack up in France I need to seriously streamline my wardrobe, this can't carry on like this.  It was actually hard packing up my personal things because I can't take that many with me, everything that comes with me also has to come back.  I've only taken my favorite books which are Jane Eyre, The Old Man and the Sea, So Bright and Delicate: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne and The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Then I've also got a pile of printed out photos to decorate the walls in my new place, including the order of service sheet from my Godfather's memorial. which I take everywhere with me.

Then there's the other essentials: tea and a French phrase book.  I'm not sure what brand of tea there is in France and I am super picky about my tea.  According to Mum who's been to France a few times herbal tea is big over there.  But I can't be long without my Earl Grey.  If this runs out by the time my other half comes in November I'm making him bring me a big box of Yorkshire tea.  Now that my suitcases are packed I'm just resigned to what's going to happen.  I'm looking forward to a new adventure, my last one was coming to uni two years ago and I'm so ready for a change of scenery and to meet new people.  I think once I get to France lots of things will click into place and I can't wait to go traveling around France and Europe.  One of my friends is in Bordeaux for the first semester and then in Venice for her second semester so visiting for sure.  It's about time my adventure started, I'm going to make the most out of it.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Paperwork state of mind

(Please excuse the purple Disney Heffalump on my bed, didn't realise he was there creeping until it was too late.  I'm a sucker for all things Disney... what can I say? He was a birthday gift from the bf who knows my Disney Store weakness only too well.)

Another day, another post about my rapidly approaching year abroad, apologies.  First off thank you to those of you who have commented and wished me luck.  I really do appreciate it and am very grateful for your support.  Today I started out feeling a lot better than yesterday afternoon until my Dad came back from Oman.  He had to split his holiday this summer so he and mum can take me down to France.  He arrived armed with a whole folder of my paperwork.  Most of the things were photocopies of the things I need to open up a bank account (copy of my passport), and copies of everything that prove my identity.  Including my UK tax income number (which I was very excited about getting last November).  So meet my stressed makeup less face and my pile of paper work.  It was that moment when I saw the big pile that the realness of the situation hit me.  On Wednesday I will be viewing my new flat and starting to move things in.  It's freaking me out.

My paperwork collection currently exists of:

  • copies of my passport, ID, birth certificates
  • my National Insurance Number
  • my tax income number
  • my Canadian and German passports
  • documents on how to open a bank account
  • documents on how to get flat insurance
  • my enrollment papers
  • maps of the university
  • insurance slips
  • papers for my grant
  • insurance papers from Cardiff
  • learning agreements
  • an end of year report
  • a certificate of attendance
But anyway, god bless Cardiff University, they get it so wrong sometimes but then also so right.  I changed my address to my German one so I could receive the pre year abroad pack whilst I was in Germany.  So where did the ERASMUS department send my pack? To Oman of course.  Thank god dad was at home otherwise I'd be having a big panic round about now.  For a department that as been so badly organised, this time round they're going something right.

I got this nice little booklet (expired Canadian passport not included), which to be honest fair play Cardiff, this is helpful.  It's got sections on travel (which I think I've largely mastered already) and a very useful section on how to deal with culture shock, as well as the reverse culture shock of returning back home after the year away.  It's important to highlight that, especially as I know some people who've never travelled anywhere and their biggest move was from home to university.  I'm not being condescending, in a way I am actually jealous of them because it's what I wish I could have had so badly.  I reckon the first month is going to be crazy and I don't think I'll have time to miss Cardiff because it'll be so busy, but once the routine of the second month kicks in I reckon that's when the blues will settle as well.  Then vice versa, leaving France is probably going to be difficult as well.  For now I'm trying not to look further than November when my other half is planning on visiting.  It's all about baby steps because other wise I'll freak myself out even more.

I'm trying to keep very positive; first off my parents are coming with me so I don't have to be alone, then there's the simple fact that I will be in the beautiful south of France for a whole year. I can eat pastries, go for early morning jogs through the city, go to the beach, try to eat 365 different cheeses (the French literally have 365 different cheeses) on freshly baked baguettes, I can pick up my groceries from the market, I'll be able to buy Pink Elephants and I'll be able to improve my French so much more which will hopefully make me more attractive to employers.  So yes, for now I'm actually making lists of the positives, there are obviously so many more than negatives but the situation feels very intense and a little overwhelming.  But I'm sure it'll be worth it.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Oh No!

Print dress: H&M (€24.95), Fox ring: New Yorker (€3.95) and Watching the English

When I don't feel good I do what girls do best, emotional shopping.  I only went into town today to pick up my photographs (they weren't in the shop yet booo) but instead I ended up hitting the shops.  I saw a blogger whose name sadly escapes me, showing this dress from her H&M haul and I knew I had to have it.  Anything black with little animals is a must for me.  I've worn my cat blouse from Zara to death already.  This dress is a good length and is a simple cut with a little string to tie around the waist but I'll probably replace it with a leather belt.  Finding dresses that suit me is actually really hard because of how small I am.  Most of the proportions on dresses are off on me, especially the waist area which on normal dresses for averaged sized people hits me on my thighs sigh, so the simpler the cut the better.  Can't wait to wear this with coloured tights (I'm thinking blues and dark reds maybe?) and wedged heels.

I've heard lots about Watching the English and can't wait to start reading it and find out that I can actually relate to a lot of the things in it.  Britain has adopted me and has had a massive place in my heart since I first started learning English at 5, and even more so when I moved there at 14.  I can sing verse one and two of God Save the Queen but can only manage the first two lines of the German national anthem.  I think that put things into perspective.

But shopping aside this was all to cheer me up and ignore what's happening next week, namely I'm packing off to France.  I came back this afternoon to my email being full of emails from the lady who is organising my student accommodation.  My to do list is getting longer and I'm getting more stressed.  I've been emailing my landlady in French this afternoon which proved to be a struggle as I ended up pasting her emails into google translate and have been heavily relying on wordereference.com to tell me what the French verb for 'to move in' is.  For your information it's emménager.   I feel like I've been posting a lot recently but it's mainly because after all the 7 million birthday parties in July, my August has been peaceful and undisturbed.  Until yesterday.  My to do list for France looks like this at the moment:

  • getting a letter from the bank to confirm my rent will go out of the account on the 5th of every month
  • setting up a HSBC account in Montpellier
  • setting up an electricity bill
  • set up an internet connection
  • fill out enrollment papers for the university
  • take passport sized photos for said enrollment paper
  • go to IKEA for pots, pans and general living needs
  • sort out a French phone number and get a phone that's not locked to Orange UK
My mantra of the moment is 'it'll be fiiiine', but inside I'm running around in cricles going 'NO NO NO IT WON'T BE FINE'.  A cup of tea is in order.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Pre year abroad jitters

So my pre year abroad jitters are kicking in.  It's about time.  

It's about time that I move to France and it's about time that I start feeling nervous about it.  The whole process of starting this year abroad has been going on for such a long time now.  Starting my first year my year abroad seemed so far away, and look here it is.  Talking about destinations and universities last September also didn't seem real, neither did sending off my top 3 choices for France during the Easter holidays.  It didn't even feel real once I got told that I got my first choice Montpellier.  Once the paper work started rolling in and the daunting task of finding a place to live for a year, the reality of the situation started to become clear.  But now it's the middle of August; I have a flat, I've got my paperwork for my grant to fill out, I've been given the information from my university for enrollment week and I'm heading to IKEA this week with my mum to start buying things for the flat like pots, pans and general.

I really just want to bury my head in the sand, or fall asleep and not wake up until the middle of September when the worst is over.  I've been drinking endless cups of tea, reading blogs and starting books all to avoid thinking about the fact that I'm moving into a country where I will only understand 50% of what people are saying, go to a French university and be expected to pass their exams and adding to this I will be living on my own for the very first time.  I think that is what is scaring me the most.  Not understanding people is something I can deal with (I invested in a phrase book) and I'm sure that after a few months the language barrier should be less of an issue.  But it's the living alone in an apartment that is freaking me out.  When I was in boarding school I was never alone.  I shared a room with at least one person until my last year where I finally got my own room because I was deputy head of the boarding house.  Then my first year of university I lived in halls and shared a tiny flat with 4 people, and this year I was in a house with 5 of my friends, plus my boyfriend essentially lived with me too.  It'll be scary coming back to an empty apartment after a day of being overwhelmed by all the frenchness of Montpellier.  I did have the option of looking for a room mate, but the last thing I wanted to worry about was finding someone to live with, knowing my luck I would have ended up with someone absolutely mental.  At least I can have a good cry and sat in bed watching Dexter without feeling too bad and not have to accommodate someone else's issues, sounds selfish I know but I need my year abroad to be as easy and pleasant as possible.

So yes the nerves and the reality are finally kicking in.  Thank god my parents are coming down with me.  My dad doesn't speak a lick of French, and my mum on the other hand is fluent.  So I'll be clinging to my mum like a five year old again.  Opening a bank account is what is scaring me the most about starting out, but I think my mum is only going as a support and is going to try and let me handle most of the talking.  I'm not afraid of speaking French because talking was always my strong point in school, but I'm just frightened of saying something stupid or getting something so obviously wrong.  I'm already researching the word for boarding school, I used to wrong word once and said that I went to a mental institution rather than an all girls school.

For now I'm just going to keep drinking tea, watching Dexter (beyond addictive as a first time watcher) and hoping that everything is just going to fall into place.

Monday, 15 August 2011

Science & Faith

Cardigan, v-neck, shorts: all H&M
Low tops: Converse
Wayfarers: Ray Ban
Hamsa hand necklace: Claire's Accessories
Rings: various
Bag: TopShop
Lips: Wonder Woman Collection Russian Red by MAC

I don't pretend to be a major fashunista.  I'm a simple kind of girl but I think that the clothes I wear look good on me and I know what works on me and what doesn't.  That's probably why I don't look very trendy this summer (also partly because we haven't had a real summer), this summer was all about crop tops and little shorts.  Not a good look on slightly chubby vertically challenged me.  The bad weather we've had here is just making me want to have Autumn already.  I'm so excited to start wearing winter clothes, oh the possibilities of dresses with tights and knitwear.  HEAVEN.  I probably get so excited about A/W because until I came to England at 14 I never experienced real seasons, just the 'hot' one and the 'less hot' ones in the Middle East.

So fashion aside today my mum, brother and me took my Grandad back to the town he spent his early childhood at.  He's pretty sick and isn't in great shape and he has so many amazing stories to share.  Mum wanted him to show us around so we could remember the stories and pass them down.  We went to a little church on a hill and I swear I've never seen my Grandad so happy.  He remembers the American's arriving in the town at the end of WWII , and the villagers blew up the little bridge in town to try and stop the American's from reaching the town, but obviously the American soldiers had those amphibian cars so going through the river was no big deal.  He also remembers getting lifts from a GI in his jeep around the village.  It's sad because the village is pretty empty, the houses aren't lived in and there are a lot of old people.  It just reminds me that once we are dead and there's nobody there to tell our story we all well and truly gone and almost in a sense irrelevant.  The war stories in my family are passed down because they are so important to us, but I forget the names and connections to my family and it makes me sad, but such is life.  After a few generations things start to become blurry.  My brother is 11 and obviously very curious and is already very conscious of his German nationality so the stories form the war and what my Grandad has to say are very important to him.  They're also very important to me because despite not feeling German at all, I get defensive whenever someone insults Germany or Germans and the war stories have shaped me as a person.

Have there been any family stories that have really affected you?

Saturday, 13 August 2011

"I don't want to go to heaven, none of my friends are there" - Oscar Wilde

So I've had a wonderful week despite the very upsetting news concerning the riots in the UK.  On Monday I got a train to Frankfurt Airport to pick up my best friend.  It was a very lovely and smooth trip up thank goodness because I was on the ICE train and those are fantastic trains.  The landscape going down the Frankfurt is so beautiful as well, a lot of the times the train line runs along side the river Main so all in all it was a pleasant journey if albeit a little strange.  When I usually travel to airports it's because I'm flying, not picking someone up so it made a nice change from the usual.

I won't post too many pictures of my friend because I don't want to put too much of her out on the internet without her knowing, but here she is on the left.  She looks averagely tall next to me but baring in mind I'm only 4ft11 (1m49), she just about come in under average height.  We've only known each other for 2 years but it feels much longer than that, we became friends in freshers week at university and just clicked straight away.  We have a great friendship in the sense that we don't have to talk all the time and we can just enjoy each other's company.  She tells me off when I'm being unreasonable (this only really happens after I get argumentative with my boyfriend after a few too many wines), and I try to keep her cheerful when she's down.  It's a good balance.

So we did all the touristy things together, I took her to the Residenz where the new version of The Three Musketeers was filmed last autumn.  Yes Orlando Bloom, Christopher Waltz, Matthew Mcfayden and Logan Lerman (amongst others) were in my town and I had no idea about it.  Kicking myself as we type.  To add insult to injury the tour guide told us that during the filming they were still doing tours, so seeing Orlando Bloom would have been a possibility.  I hope they enjoyed filming in the beautiful Residenz and they also filmed on the fortress on the hill overlooking the town, and you get this fantastic view.  I forget how beautiful this town is sometimes.

Meet me and my stumpy legs.  We walked to the top of the hill to get to the Fortress and had a nice lunch in the beergarden there (pommes frites and bretzel, what more can you want?).  Then the next day we took a boat up the river and went to the palatial summer residence which has an amazing garden with a lake in it (see first photo).  I don't usually see these things unless I'm showing someone around so being a tour guide reminded me of what a nice place I live in, even if I struggle with some of the German traits that I'm not used to after living in the UK for so long.

Cardigan: Zara
Top: H&M
Jeans: TopShop
Bag: Urban Outfitters
Camera: eBay
My best friend was also a superstar because she lugged my latest ebay purchase with her: a white mini Diana lomo camera.  More about that in my sunday sessions tomorrow.

You can't go to Germany without eating a Schnitzel, at dinner mine resembled the USA slightly.  I made it to the midwest before I had to admit defeat.  

In Franconia we make the best wines ever.  True fact and non disputable.  Plus in the beergarden you don't drink it out of a wine glass so it doesn't feel quite as dangerous to get drunk off.  There is seriously nothing better than sitting in the late afternoon sun with your best friend drinking wine.  The other upside is there here good wine is not expensive, makes a nice change from the £4.99 bottles of wine that I drink at university.  

Cat blouse: Zara
Jeans: TopShop
Boots: River Island
Knitted cardigan: H&M

The on the last evening we went out for a few drinks, I've never been on a night out where I live so that was interesting to see.  We ended up on a boat in the river, it's interesting to see what Germans wear on a night out.  I'm used to feeling underdressed in Cardiff next to all those girls with their fake tan, high heels and tiny dresses.  This time I was overdressed.  Most people were in jeans and t-shirt.  Kind of cool but I think in the long run I'd get bored of everyone wearing the same thing.  One thing that I know I'm sick of though is people wearing jeggings as trousers. JUST NO.  But jeggings aside I've had a wonderful week.  I miss my friend terribly already but now it's time to start writing out to do lists for my move to France, we're not leaving until the 24th now so it doesn't feel so soon but the end of my summer and the start of my ERASMUS year is creeping upon me. Squeee.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Riots in the UK

 Solidarity in Hackney: people who came together to volunteer to help with the cleanup unite.

I have been deeply disgusted and upset by the footage of the riots in the UK over these past few days, but especially today.  I can't comprehend the sheer greed and disrespect shown by all these people, taking advantage of an unfortunate situation.  This has gone beyond a vaguely justifiable situation.  I feel for the police who are trying their hardest to keep the cities safe but just cannot control the sheer number of youths.  They are blaming the 'rich' people saying it's because of them that this is happening, and yet they are looting and taking things that they have never strived to work for or deserve.  It is so easy to blame the government, but when an individual doesn't do anything, or very little, in their power to excel in their own personal situation what can the government do about that, when they try to give opportunities such as education and financial aid?  Whilst always not sufficient (and let's not talk about student university fees), the situation could be a lot worse.  The selfish behavior is ludicrous when you think about the men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq, where just day to day life is so dangerous.

I love the United Kingdom with all my heart and seeing cities I have visited and love being destroyed by selfish teenagers who think they can get away with this senseless violence is breaking my heart.  My deepest sympathies go to all those who have been affected by the riots.  I am not a David Cameron fan but I know and trust that his promise of punishing those responsible will come into effect one way or another.  There is so much more I could say and so much anger I have, but for now I am just overwhelmed by sadness that something like this is happening in a country I love so much, and have so much respect for.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sunday session, photos from the week

The most make up I wore this week.  My laziness is growing from day to day.

I've always loved seeing street art when I walk around town.  Here in Germany graffiti is seen as art and on certain walls it's actually encouraged.  The town I live in was destroyed to 80% in an allied bomb attack at the end of Word War II so there are a lot of ugly post war buildings but the colorful graffiti adds a nice touch and I think it's a really great way of people expressing themselves  especially when this town looks so grey because of the horrible post war buildings.

I found some of my old boarding passes.  Sorry that this photo is blurry but I didn't want to have my surname repeated over and over on the internet just yet.  They don't look like a lot when they're laid out like that but there are 43 boarding passes here.  I've kept them in an envelope and only recently found them again.  I started becoming a frequent flyer when I started boarding school at 14.  
My average year of flying looked like this: 
3x half terms = 6 flights (there and back)
Christmas and Easter holidays = 4 flights (there and back)
Summer holidays = 2 flights (to Germany and then back to the UK)
That comes to 12 flights a year not including school trips.

I was in boarding school for 5 years, so times 12 flights a year by 5 years and you get 60 flights from my boarding school time alone.  It's pretty amazing and I don't think my carbon footprint is looking too good.  I always used to fly Emirates or Qatar Airways from Manchester airport and it got to the point where the check in staff started to recognise me, as did the people working at Starbucks.  Flying alone used to be a lot of fun because as a UM (Unaccompanied Minor) you get looked after and usually there are other UM's traveling as well but after the increased terror threat it's just stressful.  It's not so much the security checks that bother me, I'd rather be safe but it's the people who complain about their liquids being taken away and totally ignorant of the safety procedures that annoy me.  There's always one person who is all 'I didn't realise I had to take my belt/jewelry/coat/shoes off'. RAGING.

(Translation: The Cult book of England: Everything we love from Ascot to the Yorkshire Pudding)

I'm a little 'this is my adopted home country' homesick so when I spotted this in the library I grabbed it straightaway.  It's clearly written for a German audience so at times it's almost a bit of a joke and has things about Eton and the bowler hat in it, but it's still essentially cute especially the page dedicated to queueing.  It's become slightly predictable to talk about Britain and queueing together in one sentence but it is something British people do exceptionally well.  I'd never been in a shop which called out which cashier was free until I came to England.  Amazing.  I've also found British people are so polite when it comes to queueing too.  It's a big shock to come back to Oman and have to queue for a visa at the airport where queue jumping almost appears to be the national sport.  But my 'German reserve' has been replaced with 'British ballsiness' so I'm never silent when someone commits the queue jumping crime.

1st row: So Bright and Delicate: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne, my journal, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, 64GB iPod touch
2nd row: a little toy stegosaurus called Wordsworth that my boyfriend bought me from the Natural History Museum in London, That Gal from Benefit, Liberty of London special edition MAC lipstick in Bright Pink, my blackberry, hard drive filled with all my TV and writing, Hypnôse mascara by Lancome, touche éclat by YSL and normal flavored carmex
3rd row: The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemmingway, my MacBook and my lucky dollar that my aunt found in the sea in Oman when I was 6 or 7.

Because in my mind I'm already packing up my things and going to Montpellier (that's not happening until the 24th though, phew) I thought I'd show some of the things I cannot live my life without.  I'm a super sentimental person and on top of it a hoarder so it was hard to choose only a few things, but I think all those things really reflect me as a person.  I've got a lot more things that need to come to France with me but I have limited suitcase and car space so I'll have to leave some of my favorite books here which is almost torture for me.  I need a traveling library to keep me sane. 

Friday, 5 August 2011

Die Leiden des jungen Werther, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Am 10. Mai
Eine wunderbare Heiterkeit hat meine ganze Seele eingenommen, gleich den süßen Frühlingsmorgen, die ich mit ganzem Herzen genieße. Ich bin allein und freue mich meines Lebens in dieser Gegend, die für solche Seelen geschaffen ist wie die meine. Ich bin so glücklich, mein Bester, so ganz in dem Gefühle von ruhigem Dasein versunken, dass meine Kunst darunter leidet. Ich könnte jetzt nicht zeichnen, nicht einen Strich, und bin nie ein größerer Maler gewesen als in diesen Augenblicken. Wenn das liebe Tal um mich dampft und die hohe Sonne an der Oberfläche der undurchdringlichen Finsternis meines Waldes ruht und nur einzelne Strahlen sich in das innere Heiligtum stehlen, ich dann im hohen Grase am fallenden Bache liege und näher an der Erde tausend mannigfaltige Gräschen mir merkwürdig werden; wenn ich das Wimmeln der kleinen Welt zwischen Halmen, die unzähligen, unergründlichen Gestalten der Würmchen, der Mückchen näher an meinem Herzen fühle, und fühle die Gegenwart des Allmächtigen, der uns nach seinem Bilde schuf, das Wehen des All-Liebenden, der uns in ewiger Wonne schwebend trägt und erhält; mein Freund! wenn´s dann um meine Augen dämmert und die Welt um mich her und der Himmel ganz in meiner Seele ruhn wie die Gestalt einer Geliebten – dann sehne ich mich oft und denke: ach könntest du das wieder ausdrücken, könntest du dem Papiere das einhauchen, was so voll, so warm in dir lebt; dass es würde der Spiegel deiner Seele, wie deine Seele ist der Spiegel des unendlichen Gottes! – Mein Freund – Aber ich gehe darüber zugrunde,  ich erliege unter der Gewalt der Herrlichkeit dieser Erscheinungen.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

racing thoughts

Dress: TopShop
Red sequin flats: Kenneth Cole
Denim jacket: vintage
Belt: Primark
Orange ring: vintage
Silver ring: from Oman
Book: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Also no make up today.  I've been lazy recently.

I literally ploughed through The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and was up until half past midnight finishing it and then stayed up until 3:30 to watch the three part BBC adaptation.  I couldn't help myself  There were so many familiar faces from other period dramas including the wonderful Toby Stephens (Mr Rochester in the 2006 adaptation of Jane Eyre) be still my beating heart and Tara FitzGerald (Mrs Reed also in the 2006 adaptation of Jane Eyre).  I can't resist a man in period costume, much less when he's got a Northern accent.  So despite the fact that I have a huge pile of new books to read I'm going back to Jane Eyre.  The newest adaptation with Michael Fassbender (one of the few Germans I find attractive) and Mia Wasikowska has made me want to read the book again.

I really recommend that if you ever get the chance to go up to Haworth and see the Brontë parsonage do! It's such a wonderful experience and really enriches your reading of all the sister's novels.  Being in the the middle of nowhere and having all this fantastic Yorkshire landscape around you changes the way you perceive the books and they become more alive than they already are.  I've been twice, once with my parents in Spring and then on a school trip in November when it was chucking it down with rain and we ate roasted chestnuts.  Really fond memories and when I read the descriptions of the landscape in Jane Eyre I feel really nostalgic and the writing really touches my heart.  I think that's the sign of exceptional literature.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

darling you can be so unforgiving

Hat: TopShop
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban
T-shirt: TopShop
Bag: Urban Outfitters
Shoes: Unisa
Turquoise bracelet: vintage
Red bracelet: present
Flower ring: TopShop
Ring with squares: market stall
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