If We Were Having Coffee… On March 26

Hello my lovely booklovers,

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a blog hop that was started by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster, but has now moved to a new home with Emily at Nerd In The Brain. 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 sit outside in the glorious sunshine, soaking up the sun and fresh air. For the first time this year it’s warm enough to leave your jacket at home. Spring is finally here!

I know I’ve missed another Weekend Coffee Share last week. Well, on Monday, 13 March, my hometown got a bomb threat. Now, we’re a fairly smallish town, with one shopping centre around the corner from where I live and work. It turned out to be false alarm, but if there had really been a bomb and had it detonated, we would have been in the zone. Bomb threads are not common at all in Germany, so for us to get one was more unexpected than scary. Like, why would you bother with a small town like ours?? It didn’t make sense. And I refuse to buy into fear – after all, the aim of terrorism is to spread terror, and panicking wouldn’t have helped.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that my new teaching job is going pretty well so far. Of course there are still a few problems as with any new job you start, but the boss has got my back and I’m learning to be stricter. I have never been trusted this much before, and people have never believed in me and my skills/talents like this before, and I’m a bit overwhelmed by it all. It makes a nice change from being talked down to and taken for granted.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that we’re still moving house. The first lot is done, but we still need to clean out various cellars that especially my dad kept stuff in (but eventually migrated our stuff across to make space somewhere else). We need to get them cleared out by the middle of April, and I’m dreading it. At least I know that not a lot of it is mine  – an old stuffed animal, a few photo albums, some souvenirs and childhood memories. That’s all that’s left for me to move.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I am well aware that I’m once again behind with my reviews and other updates on this blog. I sometimes feel like my life is not my own at the moment, and I’m constantly exhausted. I read, but I can’t find the concentration to then sit down and write properly. I work my normal job (and within the first 3 months of 2017 I’ve worked enough unpaid overtime to take a whole month off in theory), now I teach 3 afternoons per week, have to plan lessons and then look after my gran and my dad and drive them places or go shopping with them, and I’m getting sick of being the only one who always has to drop her plans because nobody else is available.

All I can ask you is to bear with me. It’s not just this blog that is currently falling behind. I don’t even get left alone enough to study for my TEFL certificate (although I need this for my job!!), research for my PhD project proposal, spring-clean my flat, heck, some days I don’t even get enough time to eat properly. I’ve been averaging one meal a day and a bowl of cereal to hold me over. So everything non-essential, and as much as it pains me, this blog falls into that category, is currently only possible if I got a breather from the rest of it all. I need a holiday – the last time I was able to just relax for a week was in 2012 – and I’m reaching the end of my tether. My hypnotherapy is going really well, but at the same time, I’m getting a lot more emotionally exhausted. I’m hoping the sunshine and warm weather will help with that. I’m a summer child, and I’m glad the winter is finally over. I need to get out of here, and away from all this responsibility I’ve been lumped with, especially as I never get any thanks or appreciation in turn. I just want to be alone, somewhere quiet and warm, maybe walk through nature or sit in a cosy but warm spot in a forest and read. I want to go somewhere I’ve never been before, explore a new place, be myself again and recharge my batteries because I’m running on empty.

Anyway. On to books: On last count, I now own more than 850 books. I have just finished the Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab and I can’t recommend it enough. Instant new favourites! I even got the hardcover versions signed and she personalised them to me! And yes, I’m well aware, that’s book collector gold!

Have you read them? If you have, I’d love to talk to you about dream casting those characers. Especially in light of Gerard Butler having bought the rights and adapting it for film.

Anyway, I think that’s it from me for now. Thank you for having coffee with me and giving me a chance to sit back and soak up the sun for a few minutes! Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers, I’m sure they’d also love to see you!

Same time, next week?

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If We Were Having Coffee… On March 12

Hello my lovely booklovers,

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a blog hop that was started by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster, but has now moved to a new home with Emily at Nerd In The Brain. 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, we’d sit outside for the first time this year and soak up the spring sun! It’s finally starting to get warmer here – I can’t wait for long and sunny days.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I’ve been teaching my first few classes, and so far, it’s been pretty good. Of course I’m still finding my way, but I guess that’s natural. I also found that teaching my native language German is much harder than teaching English – despite being bilingual, I had normal English lessons at school, so I learned it as a second language and concentrated on grammar. By the time we focused on German grammar, we’d already been speaking the language 10 years, so the approach to the language was completely different, and questions about irregular German verbs and rules flummox me, because I know them all instinctively.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my flat is still a mess, though I have been making progress. My bookshelves are all rearranged, and I actually managed to fit all my books on them with space to spare! Which is good, because I already have more books on the way.

If we were having coffee today, we’d talk about Buffy the Vampire Slayer turning 20 this week. I can’t believe it’s been 20 years since Buffy first aired  – it’s little things like this that show me I’m getting older. I’ve been a fan, a Slayerette, a member of the Scoobie gang from Day One, and I loved the fact that there finally was a show with a kick-ass (literally) female lead character who was so much more, and capable of so much more, than anyone gave her credit for. The same goes for Willow Rosenberg too, by the way. And of course there was Giles, the fatherly Watcher, magician, librarian whom I simply adored.

If we were having coffee, I’d ask whether you’ve read V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series. I’m eagerly awaiting my copy of A Conjuring of Light, the third and final part of the trilogy. I’m simply obsessed with Kell, Lila, Red London and everything else concerning the story. It’s been a while since a series has drawn me in like this, and it has quickly become one of my favourites.

If we were having coffee today, that’d be it from me. Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers as well, I’m sure they’d like to see you too.

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

If We Were Having Coffee… On March 5

Hello my lovely booklovers,

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a blog hop that was started by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster, but has now moved to a new home with Emily at Nerd In The Brain. Every weekend we get together for virtual coffees and a little casual chat. How has this past week been for you?

I apologise once again that I had to miss yet another update last week. My life has been busy, but things are finally starting to fall into place for me! As far as that is concerned, my motto is “Let the good times rule”, or as the people of New Orleans would say “Laissez les bon temps rouler!”

If we were having coffee today, I’d first of all tell you my exciting bit of news: I GOT A JOB! During the Weekend Coffee Share on February 19, I told you guys that I had been offered a job at a language school as an English teacher, despite not having applied or interviewed for the position. Well, I got it!! I officially started as a language instructor on March 1, teaching English as a Foreign Language and German as a Foreign Language! I’ve had my first two English classes (which are 1 Business English / Conversational course and 1 UK primary school prep course) and I’ll teach my first German lesson tomorrow! I am so excited about this opportunity! A bit overwhelmed as I have no idea where to really start, but I can do this! I’ve still got my part-time day job and I work as a freelance language instructor, but there’s a chance I could get taken on permanently if I prove myself. Native German & English instructors are apparently hard to come by, so being a bilingual native speaker of these languages who can teach is a pretty good situation to be in. The school is really supportive in terms of resources, and they will even sponsor me to get my TEFL certificate (which I started but never finished due to my MA).

I FINALLY got recognised for something I’m good at and work doing something I like.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you about last weekend.  I gave a talk / presentation about the UK at the Naturefriends house, and I was asked to provide tea and scones as well. It’s been marked down for months, but I didn’t get a chance to prepare much. I was up all night Saturday to sort through 6 years worth of photos to use. It all went swimmingly. Apparently, the talk was interesting, just the right length, and fun for everyone. It also brought back a slew of memories and now I miss the Lake District something fierce!

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you about my trip to Cologne yesterday with my cousin Fabian. We hadn’t seen each other in almost a year and were long overdue a get-together. So we decided to go to Cologne and shop for books, as there’s one huge bookstore that has an excellent English-language section. I ended up buying Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, and an absolutely gorgeous Penguin Threads edition of The Wizard of Oz!

Penguin Threads edition of The Wizard of Oz & Cologne Cathedral ©theliteratigirl

Penguin Threads edition of The Wizard of Oz & Cologne Cathedral ©theliteratigirl

Next stop was The English Shop, where I stocked up on Twinings Tea, Bakewell Tarts, Hobnobs, and 2 Guardian newspapers, as well as the book The House at Baker Street. In this book, Mrs Hudson and Mary Watson team up and it sounds like they’re showing Sherlock and John how it’s done. I’m all for BAMF Mrs H, so this is right up my street! My legs are still sore from the long distances we covered yesterday, but eventually we found ourselves next to Cologne Cathedral at a Kölsch brewery where we had a well-deserved beer. At the station I found one more book though, and I had to buy it, considering the title:

 

Enid Blyton for Grown-ups: Five on Brexit Island. With National Express rolling stock on the railway tracks of Germany. ©theliteratigirl

Enid Blyton for Grown-ups: Five on Brexit Island. With National Express rolling stock on the railway tracks of Germany. ©theliteratigirl

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that dad has now moved out of my childhood home and into the house I live in, though there’s still lots to be done. I’m just glad to have had a weekend’s rest from moving boxes.

 

Anyway, that’s it from me. Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers, I’m sure they’d love to see you as well!

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

If We Were Having Coffee… On Feb 19

Hello my lovely booklovers,

Welcome to the Weekend Coffee Share, a blog hop that was started by the lovely Diana over at Part Time Monster, but has now moved to a new home with Emily at Nerd In The Brain. Every weekend we get together for virtual coffees and a little casual chat. How has this past week been for you?

I am so sorry for not having participated much this month. Life has been really hectic, and I barely got anything done. If we were having coffee today, we’d sit on all sorts of boxes and crates while I offer you coffee or tea to drink.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that my dad is moving house this month, and he is moving into the house I live in. His office will be above my flat, and his new flat will be above that. But that means moving all his stuff out of a place he has lived in for the last 35-odd years. Since January, mum, my sister and I have been emptying out our own basements and flats to make space for whatever we want to keep from dad’s place. But that’s taken longer than expected. We’ve also cleaned out dad’s basement (more or less) and we have taken countless bags of clothes to charity donation boxes. On Feb 9, we moved the first lot of stuff across, mainly dad’s home office. But at the same time, they dismantled the furniture in my old room, which I wanted to keep. So I had to clear out my own wardrobe and shelves, move them away and make space for a “new” wardrobe and shelves. I am still sorting stuff around because getting dad’s things sorted for the move took precedence. I also got my old desk back, which is still the best desk I ever had and fits better into my flat as well. Let me just say I am sick and tired of boxes, and I am not going to be moving anytime soon.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I sort of got offered a job this week, teaching English at a language school. I accompanied my dad to his Conversational English course because I had to drive him, and the teacher (and owner) kept asking me questions which kept me talking for about 1/3 of the lesson. Afterwards, he told me that he is currently looking for teachers and asked whether I’d be interested.Even though I don’t have my TEFL (yet), I could start out on Conversational courses and then take over the normal classes as well. He wants to get in touch next week so we can sit down and discuss this further! I am super excited about this opportunity! Especially as it was offered without an anxiety-inducing and nerve-wracking application process.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I want to get so much done. Not only do I want to catch up on my reading and reviews and blog posts, I’ve got quite a few Coursera / FutureLearn / edX courses lined up that I want to do. Plus looking for a job and PhD opportunities, writing more, putting together a recipe collection and work out more. It’s a bit overwhelming, to be honest.

If we were having coffee, I’d also tell you that I now own 815 books and there are at least 7 still on the way (I’ve ordered 7, but I’ve already planned on ordering at least 8 more, all 15 of which will be signed!). I found a little, independent book shop which holds signings every other day, and even if you can’t attend, if you order and ask for a signed copy, they’ll get it signed for you. I’ve finally found something worthwhile to collect!

Anyway, that’s it from me for now. I hope to have some more time to myself and for this blog after next weekend. Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers, I’m sure they’d love to see you as well!

Thank you for having coffee with me! Same time, next week (hopefully)?

 

If We Were Having Coffee… On Feb 5

Hello my lovely booklovers,

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?

I know I have been avoiding you all last week and I apologise for that. I’ve had a lot on my mind and not much time to myself, let alone time to write. It’s all been a bit much, really.

Yesterday we would have met up in Düsseldorf with a friend of mine. We would have gone into the Old Town, had a lovely lunch at a Creole restaurant (which is pretty uncommon over here), and then strolled through the rain to bookstores and ended up at a café to while the afternoon away.

Today was slightly more hectic, I’m afraid. Brunch with the family, and then emptying out the basement. You see, my dad is moving house soon, and we’ve got 30+ years of accumulated stuff to either pack or get rid of.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that this move is a colossal effort. Dad’s only moving two doors down (into the house I live in, in fact), but we need to empty the flat and 3 cellars. Yes, three. He didn’t really give us any heads up that movers will move the first lot of stuff next Thursday – which is the busiest day of the month at work!! – and he currently can’t walk properly or lift much, so mum, my sister and I have been going through wardrobes and cupboards and sorting stuff out. So far, we’ve donated 10+ bags of clothes, towels, and plush toys to charity for the refugee houses in town. We’ve thrown away boxes and boxes and probably dozens of bags worth of broken things, outdated things, school work and knick-knack nobody will ever need again.

But that’s not all. I’m actually keeping part of my childhood room furniture. It’s still in tact, it doesn’t look dated, and I’m in need of a proper wardrobe and a desk I can actually work on. So I will need to clear out my own bedroom, move the shelves I currently use as a makeshift wardrobe, and sort out my own cellar too. The one I’m currently using is filled with stuff belonging to my dad and sister, plus a few of my own boxes. I finally got my own cellar today, so we’ve put up a shelf and cleared out all those empty boxes of gadgets we no longer own and all the stuff my sister won’t keep. We’ve filled a whole garage with rubbish we’ll need to take to the tip when it’s open next week. That leaves me with moving my stuff across to my new cellar and making space in my flat to rearrange the furniture. It’s a mess. On the plus side, I’m going through my parents’ home library as dad won’t be taking many of his books with him. Unfortunately the ones I’m most interested in – mainly by Grisham, Le Carré, Clancy, Hailey and a few assorted others – are the ones dad wants to keep. I did find a few that I’ve been able to add to my own home library, though, especially more Agatha Christie, Dürrenmatt, and a collection of world literature.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I feel like a failure. I said in a previous Weekend Coffee Share that I would be applying to PhD programmes. Well… deadline for research proposal submission was Feb 1 and I didn’t get mine done in time. Mainly due to the moving and sorting stuff out business. I’ve been way too stressed to research properly, wasn’t given the peace and quiet I need to work on this. But I’m also proud. When I realised I wouldn’t make the deadline, I stopped worrying. I actually took a step back and said “I’m taking a break from this” instead of stressing to the last minute. I didn’t want to hand in anything that rushed, and I wouldn’t have been able to save the proposal in those last 3 hours. So I decided to stop there for the moment, and once the move is dealt with, I’ll go back to researching properly, take my time formulating the question better, find more literature, and contact students and alumni of the programme(s) I want to do and talk to faculty. There’s no point handing in something this important if it’s half-arsed. I’d rather do it properly, even if it means waiting a year for my chance, than hand in something I’m not happy with right on deadline. I’m still disappointed, though. I’m not usually a quitter, so this feels like I let myself down, though I know that the stress around me, in combination with bad episodes of my SAD, has made it hard for me to function properly this winter. Who knows, though, maybe I’ll have published my thesis by the time the deadline comes around again – my professor keeps urging me to find a respected and peer-reviewed journal to publish in.

If we were having coffee today, I’d talk more about books. Just yesterday, I received 4 signed books all the way from BookPeople in Austin, Texas. Moonglow by Michael Chabon, The Girls by Emma Cline, Swing Time by Zadie Smith and The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden. The latter is even made out to me! BookPeople has rapidly become my favourite bookstore, even though international shipping isn’t cheap. They host dozens of author events, readings and signings per month, and even if you’re too far away to attend, if you order the book before the event and let them know you’d like it signed, they’ll get it signed for you no extra charge. You can even ask for personalisations, though those are at the author’s discretion (Katherine Arden was happy to personalise, Zadie Smith wasn’t but that’s fine!). The events are usually close to the release dates of the books, so chances are you might even get a Signed First Edition! And they’ll keep a few signed copies in stock, so as long as it’s listed as a signed book on the website and you ask for a signed copy, you’ll get one! Moonglow and The Bear and the Nightingale are both signed firsts! I’ve already ordered for an event in March, because I don’t want to get to the end of the month and discover my money doesn’t quite stretch that far anymore. Because on March 1, they’ll be hosting V.E. Schwab, the author of the Shades of Magic series. I’m currently reading it and can’t wait for book 3, A Conjuring of Light. I knew I’d order it from them and ask for a personalised signature. So I emailed the shop, asking if it was at all possible to get all three books in the series signed if there’s time, and they checked and said that V.E. Schwab would be happy to sign all three. so yeah. Sometime in March I’ll have a complete signed set of the Shades of Magic series on its way to me! I love it. Books make me happy. And with signed books, I’ve finally found something really worth collecting.

Oh, my reviews are forthcoming. Once the big move is underway and I don’t need to sort boxes anymore I’ll resume the reviews. I’ve read a few really good books lately and I can’t wait to share them with you!

Anyway, I think this is enough to be getting on with. There’s more to tell you, as usual, but it’s getting late and I’ve got a busy schedule for the rest of the night and tomorrow.

Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers. I’m sure they’d love to see you too!

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

 

If We Were Having Coffee… On Jan 22

Hello my lovely booklovers,

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?

Actually, it’s been two weeks since I saw you last. I am sorry for my absence last week but I was so busy that I did not get to sit down and write.

If we were having coffee today, we’d probably be very cold. It is -5°C here, but windchill makes it seem much colder. I’ll be happy to supply all the coffee, tea or cocoa you’d like to warm back up.

If we were having coffee today, I’d start to talk about the yesterday’s Women’s Marches all over the world. I loved seeing that outpouring of solidarity, and the crowds that took to the streets. I would have loved to join, but we’re prepping dad’s house move and we had to use the whole weekend to sort out the flat. But not being there in person does not mean I’m not there in spirit. I am with you, sisters! Always! There’s a German song by Die Ärzte called Deine Schuld (Your fault) and it has this line in it: “Go fill the streets again, go demonstrate, because those who don’t try to fight anymore can only lose. Those who are trying to screw you received votes, so let them hear your voice because every vote counts!” In light of the Women’s Marches, it should come as no surprise that my Bookstagram Book Recommendation for this weekend was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s We Should All Be Feminists.

If we were having coffee today, we’d inevitably talk about Trump’s inauguration. I still can’t believe that a dimwit narcissist like him now has nuclear launch codes. That’s a frightening thought. I watched parts of the inauguration, mainly because it was a trainwreck. You know the feeling. It’s bad, but you can’t look away. His inaugural address alone was of such poor linguistic and grammatical quality, it could have been written by a primary student. And don’t get me started on the all the hate he spreads. I am so glad to see people pushing back.

I somehow doubt Trump will meet his challenges with the class, respect and dignity the Obamas have shown throughout the last 8 years. Speaking of which… I don’t think I’ve ever shown you the photo I’m proudest of, have I? The picture I took in May 2007 in Reno, NV when I met Barack Obama – obviously before he became president – while doing a Visual communication & Photojournalism summer session at UNR Reno.

Then-Senator Barack Obama during a rally in Reno, Nevada. May 2007 ©Cornelia Kaufmann

Then-Senator Barack Obama during a rally in Reno, Nevada. May 2007 ©Cornelia Kaufmann

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that mum, my sister and I have spent all weekend sorting out dad’s flat. We all moved out, but we had kept some stuff behind. Mind you – my stuff amounted to a small box, a shopping bag, 3 folders and 3 board games, while mum’s stuff so far filled 10 (!) clothes donation bags for the Red Cross. And we’re not even done yet. It was weird going through all the drawers and cupboards in my childhood bedroom again, especially as none of it still contained proper traces that I used to live there. During the coming week, mum, dad and I have to sort all the books in the living room – my parents had a whole wall of shelves, each two rows of books deep, and we need to decide who gets which books and what to do with the rest (our literary tastes vary greatly).

My upcoming week is already shaping up to be another busy one. There will be lots of writing for my PhD Research proposal, reviews for this blog, applications, and normal blog posts, next to sorting flats and basements, getting on with reading and having various other appointments scheduled. I’d wish I could get some time to myself to relax and do nothing and just sit somewhere nice and warm.

Anyway, if we were having coffee today, I wouldn’t want to keep you much longer. Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers, I’m sure they’d love to see you.

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

If We Were Having Coffee… On Jan 7

Hello my lovely booklovers,

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?

Can you believe we’re already a week into the year 2017?? I rang it in last Sunday with the Season 4 premiere of Sherlock and O.M.G. my poor babies! That show is brilliant and devastating in equal measures. It continues tomorrow and I have already ordered the DVD. Did / Do you watch Sherlock? What did you think? I have so many theories after The Six Thatchers!

If we were having coffee today, we’d sit inside, wrap up warm in blankets, and sip hot beverages. I got my new Senseo coffee maker working, so I am offering coffee, hot cocoa and tea. It’s -5°C outside and the streets and pavements are covered in black ice – I actually had to hold on to the picket fence in front of the house, grab the concrete bin boxes and lastly crawl across the driveway on my hands and knees so I wouldn’t fall again, because I’ve already landed on my behind once today. We’re halfway up a hill, and the driveway is split into a level entrance and a basement parking structure, so the top of that ramp is incredibly slippery. Unfortunately, it’s also right outside my door. My fingers were burning it was so cold, and my coat stuck to the metal of the bin box doors.

Have you read any books yet? I have joined the Goodreads Reading Challenge and set myself a goal of 70 books this year. I have read Ajax Penumbra 1969, which I loved, and I am currently reading A Darker Shade of Magic and listening to How the Marquis got his Coat back. So far, I have been asked by one author to review their book (which I will do next), and I have purchased a few books from an indie bookstore in the US that not only stocks signed copies, but also organises readings and signings. Two of the books will hopefully be personalised next week when the authors hold their readings there. I’m also making an effort to support more of my Nanohana (the FB NaNoWriMo family of writers) and my first NaNo book of 2017 will be Grae Beginnings by the lovely Ronnie (R.R. Virdi). Have I mentioned that it’s not hoarding, when it concerns books?

My plan for 2017 is to review everything as soon as I’ve read it – and I am still playing catch-up with the reviews I know I should have posted in 2016. Those will be back-dated and should be going live on this blog oer the next few weeks.

Writing-wise, I have quite a few little projects in general this year:

  • book reviews and posts for this blog
  • a recipe collection (preserve gran’s recipes)
  • a novel (NaNoWriMo?)
  • a new research proposal

Yes. A new research proposal! And I will have to write this very quickly, as my deadline is Feb 1. That’s because I have decided that I want to continue my studies and hopefully start the journey towards a PhD. There’s a university about 2 hours from here that offers an international PhD programme focusing on cultural and literary studies, which sounds perfect to me. And I even had an offer that, should I get the place, my tuition fees will be paid for me (for a private source, though it’s just €300 per semester, so not that bad). We also have friends in the university’s town, so I might be able to stay with them until I find my own place or they could at least help me orientate myself there. BUT, deadline for the October 2017 start is February 1, so I don’t have much time to prepare. I’m a bit worried, because it all stresses me out. Getting my M.A. while battling mental health issues was hard, and feel a bit overwhelmed with the idea of doing it again. But at the same time, I’m good at research, and by moving away I will get a bit of distance from everything here which should help me a lot. I’ll also be starting hypnotherapy on the 17th, so I hope that this time around I will be better-equipped- Having said that, I DID graduate summa cum laude, so I didn’t do too bad, it was just hard. I have no idea where even to start with going about it all – applying for a PhD in Germany is not as straight forward as applying for other degrees is. I’ll be reaching out to current students next week to get a feel for the programme and how they applied. Fingers crossed!

Despite that, I am still looking for a new job. The problem is, I never know what job titles to look for. I need to sit down with my sister at some point – she’s a pro at getting good results from job sites.

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I am starting a proper effort to lose a considerable amount of weight and get fit again. Not only do I have to fit into a (decent sized and emphasised at the waist) knee-length Rockabilly-style Maid of Honour dress by October, I also want to improve my health and flexibility. So I’m doing DDP Yoga, I’ve had a food intolerance test done and will avoid quite a few things like dairy, wheat and yeast in the future, and I have joined weight watchers. Between all of those, I hope I can get closer to my goal.

If we were having coffee today, that’d be it from me. It’s got even colder outside, so be careful on your way to the other Weekend Coffee Sharers! Take care out there!

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

 

If We Were Having Coffee… On New Year’s 2017

Hello my lovely booklovers,

and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

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, I’d invite you to have a nice hot cuppa with me, testing out my new Senseo which my family gave me for Christmas. They also got me about 9 different types of coffee, so we’d have lots to choose from, including hot cocoa. I can also make you tea (again, loads of flavours). It’s a crisp, clear day here in Germany, blue skies but about -3°C – if you’re up for it, I’d suggest wrapping up warm, grabbing our coffees and spending some time in the garden to enjoy the fresh air and clear our heads for the year ahead.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I have a lot planned for 2017, chief amongst those plans is to finally establish a proper posting schedule for reviews on this blog. Others include getting fit, writing more, changing jobs, possibly continuing my studies, and doing more for my mental health by making time to be creative.

And I am done apologising for being me. So from now on, I will be completely unapologetic and unashamed of my geekiness. I’m proud to be a geek girl, a reader, a writer, a lover of magical realism, fantasy, sci-fi, who gets obsessed with TV shows and characters and actors and likes to talk about all the things that interest me. 

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I am challenging myself to read 70 books this year. I’m not going to go by themes this time, though. I currently own 733 books and I still have to read a few of them. And I actually already started. I decided to stay up after getting home from the New Year’s Eve celebrations and I started and finished reading Ajax Penumbra 1969 by Robin Sloan, the prequel to Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Let’s see how many books I can get through this year.

If we were having coffee today, we’d talk about the return of Sherlock tonight. I can’t wait, it’s been 3 years since the last full season. As a major fan of the original Sherlock Holmes stories, and having a literary crush on John Watson (which only intensified when they cast one of my favourite actors Martin Freeman to play him) I am so excited to see what the Baker Street Boys will get up to next.

Thank you for starting your year by having coffee with me! Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers as well, though!

Same time, next week?

#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Having Coffee… On Christmas Eve

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?

Happy Holidays my lovely readers!

If we were having coffee today, you would be warmly invited to celebrate Christmas with me and my family. Here in Germany, we celebrate Christmas on Christmas Eve.

If we were spending the day together today, we’d have to go to the shops early. I still have to pick up beef and turkey from the butcher for Christmas dinner tonight (don’t worry, it’s pre-ordered and we’d be in and out). We’d also pop in next door to get drinks for tonight.

All my presents are wrapped and ready, so we’d have a bit of time to kill until just before 4pm. I’d invite you to come to church with me for a family-friendly service in my local church, where the female pastor greets everyone with a hug at the door and the service consists mainly of the nativity play and a few Christmas carols. We’re not a religious family, Christmas is the only time we actually attend in a year, aside from weddings, funerals and christenings. But we’ve been going to this particular service since I was 12 and one of the kids in the nativity as preparation for my confirmation. I love that even though it’s the main protestant church in town, it still feels like a family affair, and the family service is always translated into German Sign Language by pastors from a different parish. Everybody gets a candle, and towards the end of the service, the children are invited to approach the altar and light their candles on the Peace Light, which has been lit with the Eternal Flame that has come straight from the Nativity Grotto in Bethlehem. That sea of candles is when Christmas starts for me. And not even the organist who is always waaayyyy too fast (and who happens to be my high school music teacher) can ruin it for me.

After church, which lasts 1 hour 15 mins maximum, I’d pick up my dad and we’d make our way to my gran’s for Christmas Dinner. It’s just dad, gran and me tonight, my mum is at her parents’ and my sister is with her partner and his family.

We’ll have meat fondue tonight, as it’s been our family tradition for as long as I can remember. So we’ll have beef and turkey bites to dip into the rechaud, and enough baguettes, herb butter, sauce hollandaise and red sauce (my dad’s concoction) to make dinner last hours. But before we sit down for dinner, we’ll exchange gifts – don’t worry, we never go overboard on presents.

What are your holiday traditions? What do you celebrate? I’d love to hear more. One of the reasons I wish happy holidays is because my friends are so diverse, they all celebrate different holy days. And even those who do not celebrate in December, are still likely to have winter holidays or time off for bank holidays and  New Year’s.   This week, I’ve been celebrating the winter solstice with a Pagan friend of mine, and loved it. It was a small outdoor gathering on a local hill with an amazing view. I for one am glad the days are starting to get longer again.

So I hope that you’ll join me for part of my Christmas celebration today, just as I will be happy to celebrate your holiday with you! You’re more than welcome here and there’ll be plenty of food.  Check ou the other Weekend Coffee Sharers as well, though, to spread the festive mood!

Same time, next week?

Happy Holidays, my lovelies, whatever you may celebrate this month!

xoxoxo

#WeekendCoffeeShare: If We Were Haing Coffee… On December 17

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, I’d offer you a chocolate Macchiato or a steaming mug of mulled wine to get into the Christmas mood! Can you believe Christmas is less than a week away?? Where did the year go?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that this week has been all about Christmas presents for me. It all started with me receiving a mystery envelope, that contained a Doctor Who charm bracelet. This time there was a note, and it came from my bestie! She really does know me.

All week I’ve been trying to find presents for my family members. And I am happy to say that except for one I still have to pick up, I’ve got all of them together now. It’s such a relief, now I just hope my family likes them.

My Secret Santa parcel has arrived and it came all the way from Utrecht, the Netherlands. And boy, did my Secret Santa Marleen spoil me! Just look at all the amazing stuff she got me:

My #tbtbsanta Secret Santa presents from Marleen! @theliteratigirl

My #tbtbsanta Secret Santa presents from Marleen! @theliteratigirl

I love all of them so much! Now I just hope that my own Secret Santa liked what I got and made for her! I’ve been checking her social media bút she hasn’t posted yet, but through parcel tracking I know she has received it!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that I attended a classical piano concert last night. My friend, Hungarian pianist Elöd Ambrusz played his second solo-concert here in Germany, showcasing the works of Liszt, Schumann, Beethoven, Chopin and Rachmaninoff, as well as an on-the-spot Jazz Improv of Silent Night as an encore. He was incredible and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that his auditions at some of Germany’s top universities and music academies next week will be successful. He is already one of Hungary’s top young pianists as a student of an elite Budapest music high school, and his concert last night was proof that he has truly mastered his instrument. Because Elöd’s father works for my dad and we’ve known the entire family since Elöd was born, the entire office was invited for gulash at my gran’s house after the concert, and it ended up a really nice night with easy conversation, music and gran’s home cooking for 10 of us.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I tried to get press coverage for Elöd’s concert and sent a note around to the publications in town, asking to be added to their cultural calendar and suggesting reviews and/or interviews. I even provided info on how to contact Elöd, that he’s fluent in German etc. While the two main daily papers didn’t follow up, a “news outlet” that’s pretty controversial to start with sent me the rudest reply. And not just some “reporter”, but the CEO. He went on an all-out attack, asking whether what I sent was meant as a press release and suggested I got my M.A. from a gum machine and he didn’t want to read all that. Well, my email included the flyer that had the main info on it, I just provided additional info and it came from my private email, not from any official capacity as event organiser or PR person. And as far as press releases go, I have had to work with far worse. It took all my willpower not to respond in the heat of the moment, because in the end I guess I’m more professional than him. But he chose the wrong person’s leg to piss on, and asking around with friends and family (some of whom hold political positions in town) revealed that he treats everyone this unprofessionally. So instead of giving him the satisfaction of rising to his bait, I’m doing something else. Guess who will have official complaints lodged against them with the German press council and the German Union of Journalists? Two can play that game, mate. And unlike him, I DID have journalistic training. He runs a glorified news blog that publishes press releases verbatim (maybe he didn’t like mine because he would have had to rewrite it) and aggravates everyone he comes into contact with. Because he holds a position within the GUJ aimed at young journalists, I will simply ask whether behaviour like his is really the sort of example a role model for young journalists should be setting in his official GUJ capacity and provide a screenshot of his unprovoked outburst…. That should land him in a bit of trouble. Especially because I will ask those who have been treated like this by him to report him as well. And because we’re fairly well-connected in this town, we’ll be suggesting that he and his organisation get blacklisted and removed from media mailing lists of all groups, activities and events we are in some way connected with, even if it’s just friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend. Might even mention his conduct to his sponsors – pretty sure they would not appreciate being treated like that either. If he lashes out at a civilian who informs him of a classical concert like this, I can only imagine how he treats others who have to deal with him and genuine news sources. As I said, two can play that game. And frankly, he’s exactly the sort of journalist I hate the most, because his behaviour reflects badly on all of us who are trying to do their job well.

Anyway, that’s it from me for this week. I’m not usually this vindictive, but I simply don’t tolerate crappy journalism and rude behaviour. How was your week?

Check out the other Weekend Coffee Sharers as well. I’m sure they’ll love to see you too!

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