28 Dezember, 2007


I got back last night after a pretty stressful day of traveling. At least it was all delayed by enough time that I still managed to catch the train from Reading I was booked on so I didn't have to buy a top up to my ticket so I could travel during peak time. It was nice to get back though, Neil collected me from the station and then cooked dinner pretty much instantly after we got home. Then we watched some things on video that he had taped while I was away, Have I got news for you was funny as always, and Omid Djalilli still makes us laugh.

this morning Neil got up early for work, and once i got up and unpacked I did a few loads of washing to get it done and then I met Neil in town during his lunch break. Lousy day out there, but I still wandered around town for a while. I can't believe how busy it is now, almost worse than it has been before Christmas!

My time at home was very nice. I went to my 10 year high school reunion which was a very bizarre night. Very surreal to see people again after over 10 years, and to see that some people hadn't changed at all. Still same haircut and fashion sense... And it was fun to see people's faces when I they heard my answer to the obligatory "and what are you doing now?" question. Seemed like hardly anyone thought I would be the one to go on and get my PhD... but who cares really. At first I didn't even want to go to the reunion, but my mom and also a friend of mine kept saying I should go even just for a little bit, because I would regret not having gone later. And it was nice to see some friendly faces, but it becomes more and more difficult to talk to people. Our lives are just so completely different that we just don't have that much to say to each other.

I also met with a few school friends for dinner one evening and with them it is very much the same. The three of them are very much settled where they are and they don't really understand much about what I do, and vice versa. so it is hard to have good flowing conversation, but I have learned that it is always a safe bet to ask one of them about their new babies and they can talk about that forever.

Christmas was nice and quite really, with one very few annoyances caused by my dad, as usual. He doesn't particularly like Christmas, or maybe it is just the fact that we get together with the whole family, but my mom and I really enjoy that part of Christmas. So anyway, Christmas eve we spent at home. I watched The Muppet's Christmas Carol and my mom cooked a delicious duck roast dinner. Then we exchanged presents and watched more christmassy stuff on the telly. Christmas day we went for a meal at lunch time with my mom's side of the family at a really nice restaurant. Very nice food again and then went to my aunt and uncle's house for coffee and cake in the afternoon. Then out of the blue my dad decided that he wanted to go to his parent's house which my mom wasn't quite as happy about as she pretended to be. We had hardly finished cake at my aunt and uncle's and then left. At my grandparent's house it is always busy, nearly all 9 of my dad's brothers and sisters were there with children, and now even some of my cousins have started having babies, so loads of people, and some of the small ones can be very very moody, which is not always fun to watch and listen to. Boxing Day one of my dad's brothers came over in the afternoon, otherwise the day was pretty nice and quiet and I had to get packed for my trip back.

17 Dezember, 2007

pre christmas cheers

since I got to Germany it has been pretty much just eating different christmassy things. I arrived Thursday night about an hour later than I was supposed to as the plane left late, but all else was ok. Friday my mom and I went to Hamburg for the day to just window shop and also to have steak. We always go to the same restaurant, and they can cook steak like no where else. It is so nice... After the day of shopping we dropped by my grandma's in the evening for an hour and then we came home to be lazy. Saturday we went to my grandma's house again for advent tea, coffee and cake in the afternoon. My mom's oldest sister and her youngest brother with family were there as well, so there was lots of cake... one of which was this one

it is my favourite christmas time cake, mostly because my grandma always makes it at this time of year, which is odd because it is even better with fresh strawberries, these ones are frozen ones... anyway... after we finished coffee and cake we got dressed up warm and went to a christmas market a few towns away. It was so nice to see a proper German Christmas market instead of the tiny one in Exeter... but it is still nice enough in Exeter. But the evening was spent there wandering around drinking Glühwein and Heißen Apfelpunsch.

oh yes one thing I do miss from Germany at Christmas time is what we call "Naschteller" something like munchie plate in English would be the closest... when I was younger my mom would make one for each of us here, now it is usually just one for all three of us. But this was the one at my grandma's house...

Yesterday my mom and I stayed in for most of the day, watched The Holiday on DVD and then later went out to have pizza at our favourite pizza place (I think you can see a theme there...)

Today we want to go to another Christmas Market, the one in Bremen as it is very big and very nice. I will try and take some photos... but can't promise anything. We went last year as well and really enjoyed it. Not sure how long that will take. But speaking of it, I better get in the shower and dressed now so we can head off.

More soon...

15 Dezember, 2007

Teignmouth Beach

CIMG1346, originally uploaded by ivo_loves_london.

I took this photo earlier this week on Teignmouth beach. Neil had the day off and we thought we should drive to the beach, and so we did. The drive was through very pretty countryside. We wandered through the town for a bit and along the beach and then we hit the archade on the pier and played on the 2p machines for a while. Somehow they are quite addictive. We didn't win much, and what we did win we put straight back into the machines. Very much fun though.