#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee… On July 30

Hello my lovely booklovers,

how are you? Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a blog hop by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster. Every weekend we get together for virtual coffees and a little casual chat. How has this past week been for you?

If we were having coffee today, we’d stay inside and watch the rain. The weather has turned again and it’s actually pretty cool again, considering we’re meant to be in the middle of summer. I NEED to relocate somewhere warm.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that my thesis is coming along, although my computer continues to play up. If you’ve got any suggestions for a decent but affordable laptop that’s good for writing on the go and editing pictures, (and compatible with Windows 7-10)  I’m all ears. I seriously need suggestions.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that two weeks off work go by way too quickly, and I didn’t get half the stuff done I wanted to. My sleep rhythm (already pretty out of whack) is now completely screwed – it was too hot most nights – and I’m nowhere near rested. Work on my thesis was slower than I wanted it to be, but that’s due to my laptop crashing and playing up. Rebooting takes time. I feel like some days I only got a paragraph written because it crashed that often. I am sure I’ve lost a few unsaved paragraphs along the way as well. I had hoped my laptop would at least hold out until after the thesis is done, but that is not going to happen.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I am well jealous of all the people who already got their hands on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Mine is pre-ordered, so I’m hoping it’ll get here tomorrow or Tuesday at the latest! Are you a Potterhead? Because I am. Hogwarts is home. I’m pretty proud of being a Gryffindor. And I’m freaking out about getting new material. “Even after all this time?” “Always.”

If we were having coffee, I’d have something non-bookish to show you. You may not know this about me, but once upon a time I was a dancer. I spent every free minute at the dancing school, even helped to teach a few Intro and Advanced classes here and there. And that’s Ballroom and Latin American dances, by the way. I come from a dancing family – my grandparents danced for years and later supervised youth courses and even served as competition judges. My parents met at dancing school and went on to dance competitively – their discipline of choice was Jive. And my granddad was a gifted Slow Fox dancer – to the point of if someone was offering three cheers to him, instead of “hip, hip hooray”, everybody would say “Quick, Quick, Slow.” I myself started dancing at 14. Always just for fun, never at competitions. I met my dancing partner Patrick in 2000, while we were in the same school production. The last time we danced together was in 2007. In Brisbane, Australia. I was on my Gap Year, he was an exchange student down there, and we met up and decided to look around and dance. We found the dance night at the Queensland Irish Association, and a guy called Patrick and a red-headed girl called Conny with fluent but hard-to-place European English accents passed as “The Couple from Ireland” all night. And we played along. You should have seen their faces when we told them we learned to dance in Germany – “why yes, we went to Germany specifically to learn how to dance.” As if. We were best at Rumba, Cha Cha Cha and Jive. Then life got in the way, I couldn’t find a proper dancing school near my university, then couldn’t afford the fee once I did. We both moved away. My ex had two left feet and dancing became less and less a part of my life. Then I twisted my hip 3cm backwards, and once that was sorted slipped two discs in my lower back. Sometimes just standing for a few minutes hurts. I haven’t seen Patrick in about 5 years. And then he wished me a happy birthday out of the blue. While trying to create a backup copy of my desktop in case my laptop crashes irretrievably, I dug around that external hard-drive, and lo-and-behold I found some old, forgotten videos of Patrick and I, dancing. And now I miss it more than ever. The videos are horribly underlit, mostly out-of-focus and one has a running commentary from a drunk friend, but I wanted to show them to you. Excuse the shoddy camera work  – the lesson I learned is never trust someone else with your camera settings. But yeah, I wanted to show you guys, that once upon a time, I knew what to do on a dancefloor. And I’m using the videos as incentives to get my back and legs finally back up to strength, because at the moment, my back wouldn’t let me do two Jives back to back painfree.

The first video is of us in 2004 at the Christmas Ball at my local dancing school. We’re dancing Rumba (my absolute favourite). And fun fact: the couple mostly to our left and in front (until the very end when the camera pans right) are the parents of German Football World Cup winner Christoph Kramer. Small world (yes, he’s from my hometown). I used to serve them drinks at that dancing school for a few years (I was working, you can see my name tag). 🙂

The other video is that last dance night in Brisbane at the Tara Ballroom of the Queensland Irish Association. It’s not our best work – we’d not danced together properly in at least a year, so there are a few missteps but at least we’re having fun. We’re dancing 1 1/2 Jives and half a Cha Cha Cha before the video cuts out. But the girl who filmed this saw us interact in town, and actually took photos of us walking away together completely in sync, from our steps, how we turn our feet, the swing of our arms and even the way we held our messenger bags (basically it amounts to several pics of our behinds, and I’m sparing you those). I think that just goes to show we were so used to each other’s rhythm, we’d automatically fall in step. If nothing else, feel free to use the “couple from Ireland” bit in your writing, or the fact that two teenagers / early tweens (in the first video we were 17 and 20, in the second we’re 19 and 22) would go out of their way on the other side of the world to find a “traditional” dance party that plays Ballroom & Latin rather than going clubbing. And yes, we were by far the youngest. And before you ask, the discussion at the start of “Johnny B. Goode” was about me wearing worn-out, second-hand shoes I would have lost if we’d done any proper Rock ‘n’ Roll kicks.

So that’s my show and tell 🙂 Do you miss any old hobbies?

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I am honoured to have been asked to be a bridesmaid for a very dear friend from university next year. In Cardiff. I guess next to the dancing, fitting into a nice bridesmaid’s dress is another incentive to get back into the swing of things. That and the fact that there seems to be increased interest in the Fitness Journals I sell on Etsy through my shop LifeInNotes. I do have a few other reasons as well, but I’m not going to bore you with those.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask whether you’ve seen this week’s Top Ten Tuesday about the things books made us want to do or learn. Is there anything reading a book made you want to try or find out more about?

Anyway, if we were having coffee today, I’d leave you with one last video. This is a music video for the song “Heimat – Ich komm zurück” by Jan & Jascha. They’re a local band (and used to be part of the band FreiFall),  the song is about always coming back home, and because they’re local lads (they’re actually Patrick’s classmates) the video was filmed in and around my hometown of Solingen (and neighbouring Wuppertal – the bit with the “hanging train” or “upside down train”… It’s called Schwebebahn here). So yes, this is what my neck of the woods looks like. There’s a line in the song about “the hills and valleys looking really good, you’re [the town] my personal trainer, it’s always going uphill…” As someone who lives halfway up a hill and has to go further uphill to reach any part of the inner city, I can only concur.

The lyrics translate like this:

You often sink in the rain,
you’re misty and grey,
commuters stand in traffic
on your streets each morning.
You’re not famous,
you don’t set trends;
you’re more like a Polo
than a Mercedes-Benz.

But every time I’m not here for a while
because my Fernweh got the better of me
I realise quickly that I need you,
my old nest, my habitat.

I’m coming back, I’m coming back
Here is my home, here I’ll find my luck.
I’m coming back, I’m arriving
you’ll be my home, as long as I live.

Your old buildings
could tell stories
you’ve got magical fields
in which castles stand.
Your hills and valleys
simply look great
you’re my personal trainer
it’s always going uphill

You attract me
you’re my magnet
no matter which continent I’m on.
My compass always points to you
you’ll never lose me completely.

I’m coming back, I’m coming back
Here is my home, here I’ll find my luck.
I’m coming back, I’m arriving
you’ll be my home, as long as I live.

You get by without a skyline,
you’re charming, not arrogant.
You don’t need a big show
You’re not built-up
not too loud,
You’re enough
You’re enough

I’m coming back, I’m coming back
Here is my home, here I’ll find my luck.
I’m coming back, I’m arriving
you’ll be my home, as long as I live.

So yes, a very musical Weekend Coffee Share. Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers as well! I’m sure they’d love to see you.

Thank you for having coffee with me. Same time, next week?