From Island To Island

Dear readers,

My life has changed. Not only did we have another baby, we have also moved to Cape Verde, an island nation in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. What made us move here is a story for another day. For now I wanted to explore the options of this blog.

I have neglected writing for a while, if for a good reason. I mean, apart from this baby business, moving to a different country has shifted my focus somewhat. So life in the UK and the quirks of the Brits suddenly didn’t seem all that important to me anymore – no offence.

But then I love writing. Okay, I’m not a bored housewife anymore, so I won’t be able to produce anything too regular. However, after only a few days here on our new island I feel the urge to put my experiences into words.

I briefly considered starting a new blog, but then I am also an attention whore, so forfeiting a faithful, hard-earned WordPress followership of, believe it or not, 51 was absolutely out of the question. Plus, we do live on an island again, don’t we? So I have decided to highjack my own blog name and re-dedicate it to my new adventures on the island of Sal. I know I will have to adjust my About page and the mission statement but bear with me, there are only 24 hours in my day.

For today, I will leave you with an impression of what Christmas in a tropical developing country looks like. Cape Verde is an up-and-coming tourist destination but one of the many sustainability problems that needs to be resolved before long is rubbish. Here is a creative and very Capeverdean way of recycling:

Building a Christmas tree

Getting there

The finished artwork in all its splendour

Happy Christmas to all of you. May you get to spend some quality time with your families and friends and may the quantity of presents only play a minor role in measuring your happiness.

I am an accomplished writer now – I think

Thanks, Nathan, over at The Life and Times of Nathan Badley, for rescuing me from a predicament.

I have been in Germany for the last six days, collecting fodder for my special Valentine’s Day post. Incidentally, this has made it a bit difficult for me to get into the ranting mood in order to produce something by my usual Tuesday deadline.

Thankfully I am not German enough to lose any sleep over this prospect, after all, I like to think my esteemed readers will still enjoy this week’s post on a Wednesday or even Thursday.

Unfortunately, after returning to the island, the ‘mood’ usually takes a moment to kick in. Imagine this as an absence-induced writer’s block or a muse gone into hibernation due to being surrounded by utter non-Britishness for too long. Posts about something that ticked me off a while ago, while I happened to be in the UK, simply lack the acute frustration, exasperation and anger quintessential for a snarky tirade.

The other option was a week without a post at all, but after having seen the damage that my recent short holiday in the sun wreaked among my blog stats, I wasn’t quite ready to call this a real alternative.

award

This is how I see myself in a mirror now

Enter Nathan and with him the ‘One lovely blog’ award. My. First. Blog. Award. Ever. YAY!

Now, since I’ve started this blog in November last year, I have been convinced that sooner or later I will get freshly pressed. Hence my acceptance speech for this event is all done and dusted. However, I did not expect the high honours of being awarded such a lovely trophy.

To tell you the truth, I am not even entirely sure Nathan seriously meant to confer this honour on me. After all, what’s lovely about a blog whose main objective is cussing at the most unpleasant traits of a nation that happens to be resident on a set of islands?

In any event, I am going to accept the award. Now, instead of having to come up with a moderately funny post topic I just have to comply with the rules in the fine print the award comes with. Which are:

1. Thank the person who nominated you

I am not sure this is a formal requirement but I sure think it’s good form to do so, especially when the person in question is such a thoughtful and sincere individual with such great judgement. He happens to be pretty funny, too, so if you haven’t read any of his writings yet, go do it.

2. Reveal seven interesting facts about yourself

This requirement is often bemoaned among bloggers, especially those who receive such prizes left, right and centre, therefore running out of fascinating details of their lives worth relating to their audience. I don’t have these problems, because, you see, I like to talk about myself. You could say I’m a natural born attention seeker. So this is actually my favourite part of being nominated.

It also helps that I don’t care whether you find my facts interesting. Not much, anyway.

So, here goes, in no particular order:

  • I have double-jointed feet. No, really, ask my husband, he will confirm that.
  • I have a severe dislike for cooking. During the week I kinda have to, lest my little monster and I starve, or worse, eat fast food, but I am lucky enough to have married a man who will gladly take over on weekends, if only for his own taste buds’ sake. Maybe this self-sacrificial behaviour was even the qualifying feature that convinced me to marry him in the first place, who knows?
  • I own two Kindle e-book readers. I am not only that erudite but also generous enough to let my husband use one of them. Usually the older, chunkier one.
  • I have a second blog named Inselaffen (German for island monkeys). It contains the same posts, only in German. Go figure. If you’d like to practice your German, or just want to look up how to say ‘award’ in German, go check it out. In two days. That’s how long I usually give myself for the translation.
  • I don’t own an iPod. I know, I’m hopeless.
  • I used to be Berlin champion over 200 m butterfly in the masters class, age group 30 to 34. Those days are gone. After all, I don’t live in Berlin anymore and am not between 30 and 34 anymore either.
  • I am a heathen but I do like looking at old churches, all built on the backs and wallets of religious people. What a hypocrite I am!
  • I prefer warm and rainy over sunny yet ice-cold weather anytime.

I know, I know, these are actually eight facts. I told you I like talking about myself. Deal with it.

3. Pass the award on to ten other worthy blogs

Now this obligation is tricky because it single-handedly changes a wonderful thing – an award for your achievements in the high art of writing – into something as trivial and annoying as a chain letter. ‘Hey, have you read this atrocious and hateful blog over at …? Let’s give him an award, this way he will have to deal with all those tedious requirements, hehe!’

I have therefore decided to copy others before me and just give you a (non-comprehensive) list of blogs that I follow and thoroughly enjoy reading. I leave it to the respective authors if they want to accept the award and its side effects.

Rangewriter: Often philosophical and always entertaining and thoughtful posts with the odd, really enjoyable, fiction sprinkled in, Linda is one of my favourites.

Mostly Bright Ideas: Charles is a master of the word who possesses the unique gift of making people think. I simply adore his insightful and wise pieces.

Phytoplanktonic: Not only is Laura stranded in the UK like me, we also used to study marine biology together. She successfully juggles her PhD, her love for nature, art and a boyfriend and still finds time to write awesome blog posts about her endeavours.

Where Do Gaybies Come From? I am the straight mother of only one child, and I sure appreciate the troubles and curiosities that raising a kid entails. Jerry is a gay dad and, together with his partner, he is raising twins. I suppose stuff like this can only be digested with a huge portion of humour and sharing your experiences through a – tremendously successful – blog.

Way Too Much Free Time: Max is a hilarious writer who accomplished the feat of getting freshly pressed on his second ever post. That’s how good he is. Considering how much free time he allegedly has he is also refreshingly restrained with the number of his posts, i.e. your inbox doesn’t get cluttered when you follow him.

 

That’s it for today, back to the normal ranting routine next week. And aren’t you looking forward to it?

Gee, yet another blog!

Blogging is fashionable. So fashionable, in fact, that I am afraid it will be out of fashion really soon. Oh well, I was never an early adopter of innovative technologies or new ideas.

I am aware that the net is full of blogs and no-one really has the time to read yet another one. So what. I know of at least one person who will be grateful for it: my husband. Why? Well, that way he gets a break from having to listen to my rants which usually include variations of “where I come from…”

Which brings me to the reason why I am writing this: I am an alien. A German in the UK. A big-city girl in a backwater town. In Essex, of all places. I am trying to make the best of it. Which is hard.

Mainly because Brits are weird.

Weird beyond their strange insistence on driving on the wrong side of the road. Or maintaining an expansive Royal Family which has no real job other than supporting poor tabloid journalists in making a living.

The other day, after one of my tirades, my dad asked me the German equivalent of “Is there actually anything that you like about living in England?” “Apart from being able to be with my husband?” I replied. “Sure.” And it’s true, there are things that I positively miss when I’m in Germany. Rhubarb crumble. British comedy. Hedges of fuchsia (hence my photograph in the header). Bed linen that costs only a fraction of what one would have to fork out in Germany (It can’t be the sheep, can it? After all, it’s not New Zealand!).

But then there are so many things that drive me nuts on a daily basis. No examples given here now. If you’re curious, you’ll have to follow my blog. Or pop in again at a later point. I can promise you it will be ugly. Nasty. Vicious. In real life I am trying to steer clear of swearwords for the temporary benefit of my 2-year old son. I might not be equally G-rated here. It’s just so bad!

There, that’s my justification for boring you, who intentionally or unwittingly stumbled across my blog, with my insights. Which leaves only two questions to be answered.

  1. Why on earth would a German blog in English? Well, that’s easy. I am not just a nagging bitch, I do care about the Brits. And how are they supposed to see the errs of their ways if they couldn’t understand a word of my constructive criticism?
  2. What the heck is an island monkey? It’s the literal translation of the German word Inselaffe which is one of the nicknames we call the Brits by. And I would like to make it clear that it is a term of endearment. Really. A bit like they like to call us Krauts. All very innocent. Would I call myself an immigrant island monkey otherwise?

Oh, one more thing: Along the way I might even get a chance to refute the common misconception that Germans don’t have a sense of humour. Let me know how I’m doing.