My Week In Photos

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It may be a new week but the craziness of last week is still with me…

I did some more standup comedy on Thursday. I did a set about language, and about my kids at the school I taught at in Japan. It went down pretty well but I have a little way to go yet… including my posture on stage, apparently!

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There was a Japanese film festival called Nippon Connection throughout last week. I have a whole post lined up about it, but here are some cute kids playing with the Wii U that was on display there. I couldn’t help but back-seat game when they were finding it hard to use, though… whoops.

 

 

 

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And of course the yearly film festival is great for getting those Japanese snacks we crave. I had a pickled plum onigiri rice ball. It wasn’t as good as the “real” thing…the rice tasted really bland for one. I should make more of these at home I guess. I have noticed, as well, that the Asian supermarkets are selling seaweed that has the plastic around it so you can make your own onigiri packaging. Pretty neat idea, I think!¬†

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I had LOTS of time to hang out with the kitten monkeys last week. Yannik likes to sit ON my computer so I cannot type and only pay attention to him. Because he is the king of everything.

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Whereas Norina likes to do a great impression of road kill on the sofa.

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As it’s getting warmer and we use the balcony more, I get worried that she WILL become road kill since she pays around there all the time. This is her twitching because there was a bird in the tree. I was having 40 fits while this was happening.

 

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!

Krank in Frankfurt

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I’ve not blogged much this week because I’ve been really really sick. It started off with a sore throat and then just exploded into the worst cold I’ve had in ages. As a Brit, I have been taught that when I have a cold I shouldn’t go and bug the doctor with it but just brave being ill alone, using things you can buy in the pharmacy.

But this is Germany. The pharmacies here don’t stock anything worth using, really. Where in the UK we have Boots pharmacy with rows and rows of good-strength medicine, German apoteke shops have a few items for dried feet, a few cough sweets and not much else. If you want medicine you need to ask for it at the desk – and even then the stuff they give you is pretty weak compared to the stuff you can get over the counter in Boots. I think to get the good stuff you need to go to the doctors…

One good thing to add at this point is that the pharmacy in the main station (the underground part) is open even on Sundays and holidays – very handy when you are in need when the doctors are closed.

It’s interesting living in an international setting like this to see how people cope with things like being sick. In Japan people don’t blow their noses in public and will instead sniff over and over. On the other end of the scale you have the Italians who blow their noses as if they are trying to empty not just their noses, but also their entire heads. It’s amazing!

Over the time I’ve been sick, I’ve tried to keep my nose activities to the toilets but sometimes I have blown my nose at the table (while turning away from everyone) and I noticed my American friends being a little shocked that I had done this, so even between Brits and Americans there seem to be differences.

It’s been over a week now and I’m at an annoying coughing stage which I hope is over soon. I’ve asked my mum to send me a Boots medicine care package though just in case…

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