Friday, January 27, 2012

A list before yet another post about books

I'm completely out of the habit of writing - I may need to start just writing in a notebook every day because for the last couple of weeks I have even logged on here and just completely drawn a blank about what I might possibly have to say for myself.  I do miss it though and could definintely do with letting things out so will have to try actual writing with a pen for a few minutes every day at least.

I am generally feeling much better.  Better enough to realise that the last time I thought I was feeling better (less depressed etc.) I wasn't really.  I'm very nervous of falling back into the hole though.  I can feel myself beginning to find enthusiasm for things again when even just a few weeks ago the thoughts of doing things was still enough to stress me out quite a lot.  Of course, the danger then is taking on too much and just ending up overwhelmed again.  So I want to move forward and I do want to do some things but am trying to bear in mind that I can't do everything I want to and that it's better to move slowly.

In order to at least get most of what I keep thinking is a good idea to start doing now out of my head, I decided it would be a good idea to put together a list.  Perhaps then I will be able to let go of some of it and just retain enough to tackle one or two things first.  Some of these things also cost money so it's also a case of reining myself in in that respect and remembering that I still have a good few months of paying of my credit card left. 

  1. Do a French course - I do have to do some French correspondence now and although I can speak French enough to get by if I really need to, I don't speak it very well and not at all fluently.  More importantly, I have never learned any business French.  While my French is sufficient for my purposes at the moment as most of what I have to do involves just using the same letter or email that was sent last month, it would be nice to feel confident enough to be able to put a couple of sentences together on my own without reference to any templates.  So first I think a refresher course is a good idea to catch up on the basics (which I was pretty good at in school - but I left school 20 years ago this year so it has been a while) and once I have done that, a business course.  Also have to sort out what I can get work to pay for and soon since they seem to be heading into another round of cost-saving.
  2. Do a German course - obviously, I do speak fluent German.  But again, it has been a long time since I actually did a course of any kind and it would be nice to at least know how I test now.  I have tried to leave work early to make it to the local community college on time to do a test several times in the last couple of weeks but it hasn't worked out yet.  Will try again next week.  I would like to know where I land on the international scale of A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2 (A1 is absolute beginner, C2 is bilingual/native speaker) but also to know how I fare in doing a test.  Because speaking and writing in a language every day is far removed from a school-like environment.  And, to be perfectly honest, I was very lazy about learning the grammar basics in German when I was in school (hated it, loved French, funny how I ended up here), which is the kind of thing that is bound to show up in a test.
  3. Decorate the apartment - got the phonenumber of the friend of a friend who I spoke to last summer about possibly coming in and painting the place.  Of course, that will involved moving furniture and things around and I do still keep shying away from it.  However, I know I would feel much better if the place were done up.  The other thing I'm thinking about now though is to ask him if he also does wallpapering.  It's possible some of the paper will need to be replaced anyway - Germans are very fond of what's called Raufaser, a kind of textured wallpaper that you paint over.  However, apparently after three or more coats of paint, it can start to peel away from the walls and there have been court ruling (honestly) that tenants at that stage need to replace the paper (tenants are responsible for that in Germany, rather than the landlords - the only time you have a chance to argue the toss about this is just before you move in).  But the Raufaser in my not very big hallway is painted a horrible orange colour.  In a big bright room, it would be delightful but in the only room with no outside light and barely wide enought for two people to stand side by side in, it is dark and oppressive.  I am thinking about something like this - the paper on the left with the leafy pattern, possible in combination with the stripey one as shown in the photo of the room with a pram below, except the pink rather than the green colours.  But for the most part I'm fairly sure I will end up painting everywhere white because choosing colours, never mind choosing wallpaper is head wreckingly difficult.
  4. In addition to redecorating I have been contemplating what is quite a simple moveabout of furniture but would undoubtedly actually involve a couple of days work.  I have two couches in the sitting room.  One I bought (it's a double-bed as well) and one I was given by a friend.  While I find mine far more comfy to sit on, I do have a comfy armchair as well and although it's nice to have seating for six people, I rarely have even one extra person in my house so I don't actually need it.  In the meantime I am still sleeping on a single bed and stressing about when I might be able to afford to buy a decent double.  So I want to move the sofabed into the bedrrom and use as a bed but this time, instead of moving the singlebed/daybed (one of these from ikea) that I currently have in my bedroom out to the sitting room and ending up with even less space, I am going to take it apart, put the metal bits down in the cellar and keep the mattress under the sofabed, available for anyone who might come to visit to sleep on.  But that will involve moving wardrobes around in the bedroom and I sort of feel like it would be better to get the place painted before starting all of that.
  5. Save enough to go to Australia on holidays at the end of the year, find a great flight option, read lots about Australia and generally plan a holiday properly for once.
  6. Research PCs vs. macs vs. ipads vs. whatever else there is to come up with a defnite good option to replace my defunct laptop, fill my requirements and last for a long time.  Save money for same.
  7. Join carsharing programme.
  8. Try to invite someone to dinner (or breakfast or lunch on weekends) at least once a month.
  9. Try to go to a lecture, play, concert or any kind of event at least once a month.
  10. Keep on top of keeping the house clean and relatively tidy.  Sort of getting there again but not qutie there yet.
  11. Start going for long walks at the weekend again.
  12. Start cooking properly again.
  13. Start getting things in place to be able to have a full summer of preserving without being too disorganised.
  14. Start going to the bio-garten again on a regular basis.  I think it's a good idea to not go every week at first - I really think I'm going to have to build up to that, not least because it involves getting up on Saturday, not terribly early but earlier than I would get up if left to my own devices and without an alarm clock waking me up.
  15. Go to the library at least once every two months.
  16. Get back to using twitter.
  17. I knew there was something else.  The other side of the reason why I want to get my German tested (see 2 above) and one of the potential courses I am thinking about doing is a translators course.  Someone suggested this to me before christmas and I said that I wouldn't be able to do it here because as a native English speaker I'd have an unfair advantage and wouldn't be eligible.  Coincidentally a few weeks ago a discussion started elsewhere and it seems that actually you do tests in both your native and your second language.  Although I'm not interested in a full-time job translating, I do quite a lot of it in work and, importantly to me, it's one job I could potentially do part-time from home and it would be useful to have something like that.  You don't have to have a qualification to work as a translator here but you do have to have a qualification to become "staatlich anerkannt" (state registered) and that's what you need to have in order to do things like translate birth certificates, marriage certificates etc. for bureaucratic purposes.  So it's definitely something to look into and consider seriously.
  18. More to be added later as they occur to me.

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