My Bar? No Yours Bar!

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I’ve already written about Yours Australian bar before, but about their brunch. I’ve found myself back here a few times though recently, so I thought I’d write a little more about it.

If there are any fellow Nintendoites out there I should start by saying – they take meal vouchers here! Though not for the drinks, I guess. They do pretty good cocktails here though I really love the homemade lemonade. It’s the type that is full of rock sugar to crunch on OM NOM NOM.

Their food is pretty good, too. A burger loving friend of mine swears that this is the best burger in Frankfurt but sadly when I went to burger here I went by someone’s recommendation and got the emu burger which was dry and tasteless.

The picture above is one of the few vegetarian options; a hummus wrap. The hummus was pretty awesome but although it said there was falafel in the wrap, they should have said that slithers of falafel may be hiding in very small amounts in the wrap.

As usual the staff were friendly and smiley and it was pleasant there.

Find Yours Australian Bar at Rahmhofstr. 2-4 (Schillerpassage) 60313 Frankfurt

Being an Expat – The Media Gap

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My brother has just finished up his final exams at uni and is putting together information to go and teach and live abroad. I was speaking with my mum about the things that matter when you’re an expat – she was saying Malaysia would be a great place to live since they have British shops there so it would be just like home, but actually I think it would be a really tough place to live. When you live abroad, it’s really the smaller things that matter the most, like when I was ill, the difference between how we do things in England and how they are done in Germany was a little tough. In Japan, even something like the toilets could get to you, since it’s not all super robot toilets – get to the countryside and it’s all “squatty potties” and I even went to a place where the “toilet” was a massive hole in the ground that stank of ammonia. In Malaysia the toilets often don’t have toilet paper, but they all have little showers and a lot of the time I walked into a cubicle to find the whole place wet. That kind of thing is fun and novel on holiday but could get very annoying if you lived there.

In Germany there aren’t so many things that are different that could cause annoyance or displeasure in being an expat here. Sure, the shops being shut on Sunday is a pain in the bum, and it often feels like you have to have a paper to give you permission to even breathe here sometimes, but on the whole it’s fairly easy. But sometimes I feel like I’m living in a huge cave while I’m abroad. It’s not a German thing; I had it in Japan too. When I go back home I find myself, for example, asking my sisters what the song is that’s playing in New Look and they look at me as if I’ve asked how to boil an egg and say “duhhhhh she’s, like, the biggest thing right now”. Only, she’s not big enough to be involved in this little expat world I live in.

I find I miss out on a lot of things. Not just with music; when I was home at Christmas I discovered Come Dine With Me (no seriously, click it. It’s an awesome show) but it was almost past it’s prime in England by that time. I discovered Mad Men while I was in Japan – about 2 years after it had started showing. It meant I could do a massive marathon with it (though Mad Men isn’t very marathon-able, it’s a bit too dark/deep/complex for that…) but still, I was out of the loop all together.

I do feel very dependent as an expat on media suggestions from people over Facebook or Twitter and now I use Tumblr a lot and find myself asking my friends if I should be watching Sherlock or Game of Thrones. But it is pretty hard to get a good sense of what is good. I turn on my proxy and look over the iPlayer of 4OD and just don’t know what is good, what isn’t… what is being hyped up or what isn’t worth clicking on.

I’m interested to see what the other expats out there do. Where do you find your media knowledge? Do you bother to stay in the loop?

Frankfurt Tower Festival

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Last weekend I had SO much planned. The boyfriend was away and I had planned a nice weekend full of plans with girlfriends and with groups of people, but then I got sick, and had to cancel much of it. I did, however, get to enjoy a lot of the Frankfurt Tower Festival, which happens every 5 years here.

The main part of the festival were the trips up Frankfurt’s iconic towers but there were lots and lots of things going on in town as well that you could go see for free. Above there was a zip-wire for people to go on!

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The highlight for me was the free concert that they had – with Blue, Status Quo and Nena (99 Red Balloons). I LOVE Blue, and so, even though I felt like I was on my deathbed, I dragged myself off of the cat-iful sofa and went over to see the boys. I didn’t snag a great spot due to my lateness, but it was amazing anyway.

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But like I said, the towers were the focus of the weekend. Months before, people like myself had woken up at a stupid time to get ready to reserve tickets to go up them – I was online from 7am and was refreshing like crazy until a friend of mine finally got me tickets at 10am. We went up the Silver Tower, which, luckily, is next door to where I live!

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The weather was terrible so it was hard to get decent photos. But I like the few shots I got anyway.SONY DSC

 

See? Frankfurt isn’t THAT grey… ok maybe it is!

Hot Yoga

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So for a month or so I’ve been going to a thing called “hot yoga” (otherwise known as Bikram yoga) with a girlfriend of mine. She’s been doing it for a while and finally persuaded me to go along with her. Bikram yoga is like regular yoga, only in 40c heat and 40% humidity. And also, where in normal yoga the routine changes each time depending on the students, Bikram yoga uses the same 90 min set every time.

If it sounds scary, that’s because it is scary. The first time I went, the teacher told me that if I feel dizzy, like a want to vomit or black out, I’m doing it right.

So why am I doing it??

In actuality it’s not that bad. Often, going into the pose I feel really ill but once I’m there and I’m breathing as the teacher is telling me to, I feel stable and not like I’m going to throw up. And I sweat. Everyone sweats. You have to bring a full towel to cover your yoga mat because you will sweat so much it’ll be as wet as if you’ve dunked it into a swimming pool by the time you’ve finished.

I went for the first time because I was looking at lots of photos of yoga people on Tumblr and I decided I wanted to be cool like them. I am ridiculously influenced by things I see around me. I’ve just finished painting my nails green after seeing a girl at work with green nails and deciding I want green nails too. I made the boyfriend a strawberry – avocado – spinach sandwich the other day because I saw a photo of it online and decided I wanted one. And so with yoga, I decided I wanted to be the people in the photos and so I joined my friend in her class.

I’m going to be completely honest here and say that while mental pictures of me being cool and flexible were what brought me to Bikram yoga, it is the changes to my body that keep me going. Sure, it’s water weight. But you burn about 1000 calories each class, and I do see a difference the morning after every session. My legs look amazing. So amazing I just go out wearing knee high socks and I don’t even care. I’m 26, I go to the gym often, I eat well and now I have this one thing that boosts my confidence and my legs look amazing and I don’t even care if I’m not “meant” to wear knee high socks.

The other reason why I keep going back is that I have pretty weak knees and the heat in the room makes the exercises a lot kinder to my joints. I’m a lot more flexible in the hot room, and my knees aren’t nagging me nearly as much any more. I feel they are much stronger which is great.

The downside is that it IS super scary. Being told that wanting to pass out is normal is usually a sign that you should get the hell out of there. I still can’t do the whole routine through. There’s this pose called the camel pose which looks simple but comes towards the end of the routine and I can’t even start to bend back – I just want to vomit. The best I can do it kneel “Japanese style” and wish for the day that my Bikram sea sickness goes away.

The last scary part is that the routine and the teachers push you. If you clicked on the camel pose video above you’d have heard the teacher say “it’s supposed to hurt”. Things like that are said often. They want you to push yourself beyond your boundaries and stretch that little bit more but often it’s said in ways that sound like they don’t have your health as their priority. However, when doing this kind of yoga you really need to just listen to your body – you know your limits – and use your common sense.

HERE is a nice video showing each of the poses in the routine. It’s pretty positive. But if you search you can find lots of negative things about the yoga and its founder. Personally, Bikram yoga makes me feel better about myself and as long as I look after myself, I don’t see it having a negative impact on me.

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