LJ: Welcome back Viv, long time no see. What have you been up to?
Viv: A lot of moving, writing dissertation and getting frustrated by job or internship search. Awaiting biggest change in my life so far and as usually haven´t got a clue what to do next, only have tons of ideas and plans.
LJ: Don´t you worry too much about the future, sometimes the best things in life haven´t been planned (considering the high teenage pregnancy rate in the UK I should be careful with generalizations like that;-). You might have to do some less interesting jobs before finding the one that you really like. And even then it´s unlikely that you will stick with the same job all of your life. You might wanna change your career in order to progress through trying out many different things.
Viv: But isn´t that what the people in charge of great ´inventions` like capitalism and globalization want us to believe, in order to disguise that they actually were the ones that abolished nowadays considered redundant things like job security.
LJ: What makes you say that?
Viv: Well, when I look around me and see how this world and most Western societies function these days, or where the trend is heading to, then I see fun and entertainment seeking singles moving to wherever they find employment for the moment, loosening of their family ties, half-hearted commitments to ´Lebensabschnittspartnern` (partners currently part of your life)...
LJ: Mmmh, really? I currently only see couples and young pregnant women everywhere, but maybe that´s just because its summer and we are in the UK.
Viv: Probably, but I was talking about the bigger picture. Communities are eroded by globalizing tendencies promoting flexibility and mobility of the work force. Social networks on the internet try to simulate, but cannot adequately replace physical and emotional proximity and shared experiences. Capitalism fosters competition and a throw-away attitude that regards people as being exchangable. These forces affect people psychologically. More and more people suffering from burn-out syndrom or forms of depression, high divorce and low birth rates, all these things are only the beginning. Where will this end?
LJ: Probably in the US, ah no, that´s where it all started, isn´t it?
Viv: Must be, or can you think of anything good ever coming from the US?
LJ: Not from the top of my head, but I´m gonna keep contemplating deeply about this tricky question and the things you said before.
Viv: You do that. I´m gonna treat myself with a nice cup of tea, and maybe later some Burger King or Pizza Hut.
You are... 0% unique and 33% herdlike
(partly because you, like everyone else, enjoy music).
When it comes to friends you are lonely. In terms of the way you relate to people, you are keen to please.
Your writing style (based on a recent public entry) is intellectual.
Your overall weirdness is: 83(The average level of weirdness is: 28.
You are weirder than 97% of other LJers.)
Find out what your weirdness level is!
Last week I had Christiane over for a week. She lived in my student house during my last semester there and I should have spent more time with her back then. Thanks to icq we are still in touch and she turned out to be a great help with certain issues and also she is with me on the same page in terms of moral values, which is an issue that has become even more important to me, and I have been lucky with all the good friends I made this Uni-year, since they are all good people and made me feel very fortunate.
I took Chrissie ´sightseeing` around Norwich, to the Cathedral, to Ellie`s favourite cafe, to the market, and to the Sainsbury centre and our campus. As it turned out, Primark was a focal point of attraction as well, since we ended up shopping there twice. For some odd reason which is beyond my understanding, Chrissie loved England with its tiny houses, weird people, and our campus so much that she repeatedly bursted into enthusiastic appraisal-hymns on English culture and architecture. I blame the sunny wheather and the new environment for her excitement;-)
From Monday till Wednesday we went to London and after looking at a hostel in a dodgy suburban/immigrant area, we stayed at a nice hostel in Camden, where we found out about their major sight, a market (where I talked to a guy selling New Zealand carved jade. He was kinda spiritual and told me a few stories about how every piece had a story and a meaning, probably he said that to justify the horrendous prices), on the day of our departure. That is just one example of how well-prepared we were, since Chrissie thought I had been in London a million times before, she didnt bring her tour guide. However, we managed to visit the major sights: House of Parliament with Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, London Eye, Trafalger Square, Tower Bridge, St Pauls Cathedral, Millenium Bridge, Notting Hill, the Globe Shakespeare theatre, the Tate Modern, Piccadilly Circus (where we ate at Burger King and watched the tourists, while several police cars were blocking the roundabout and no one knew what they were looking for, but we have the incident on camera;-), and Harrods. Walking along Southbank on a sunny day and walking around London at night were probably the best ideas we had. We felt a bit out of place in the financial district where ´Anzugträger` (business people) were walking around looking busy and important. We found out that there are over 170 Starbucks spread over the city, which made sense to us, since we couldnt go for 10 metres without running into one. The tube turned out to be a means of transport that is easy for uncoordinated people to navigate with. Coming up from the underground into another part of the city, each time it felt like entering a different world with its own distinct flair, houses and people.
London was great fun, but I have only seen a glimpse of what this huge city has to offer. I also still wanna go inside the Wembley stadium, on top of St Pauls Cathedral, and maybe take a ride on the London Eye (the ridiculous entrance fees prevented me from doing that this time), watch the change of the guards at Buckingham Palace, go inside Westminster Abbey and stand in front of 10 Downing Street, visit the National Gallery, and maybe watch a play at the Globe theatre. So little time and so much to do. It looks like I definitely have to go to London again, and Melanie still needs to go there anyways.
havent come around updating lately, too much coursework to do, with which Im finally done, and only got my dissertation left, luckily have time till September for this one. Easter holidays were much needed and much appreciated, went shopping a lot, and got tons of chocolate for Easter, brought 3 kilos of Marzpian bread back and am still eating from that, my new diet: Marzipan bread instead of real bread, haha.
The one week trip to Barcelona was awesome. My sister and I walked along the city and the harbour a lot at night, we went clubbing a few times without spending any money (either we were bought drinks or got them for free, also came into a posh club called Catwalk for free cause the bouncer apparently liked our natural look;-), and met cute Spanish guys, two of them turned out to be football players for the 2nd league of the FC Barcelona. I visited the Camp Nou, the biggest football stadium in Europe.
The Barce trip re-inforced my plans to learn more Spanish, eventually go to South America for a while, and maybe move to Barcelona for a few years, before leaving Europe for good.
It follows a quick update on the past week.
Although I feel like I didnt really get anything done, it feels like I have been quite busy, maybe that`s due to the fact that I have been hanging out at Uni with Mel most of the time, and Im not used at spending so much time there without having my usual naps.
So what have I achieved that week:
1) went to all (2 in total) of my seminars!
2) found a really interesting dissertation topic and finished outlines and literature research for my two papers due after Easter (special thanks goes to Heather, my tutor, who helped me narrowing down my ideas and finding a different paper topic since we decided to use my initial one for my dissertation: that was the most productive 20 mins brainstorm I ever had!)
3) won 10 pounds at a computer lottery experiment at Uni. Although Im really satisfied with that much money for 45 mins of computer klicking, some people were even luckier, but they well deserved it as well.
4) found a kinda cheapish accomodation for my parents when they are coming to visit me in May
5) got a little sun-tanned from reading! by the Uni lake (and takling pics of ducks and swans)
6) didn`t party this week, after the Cuban hiphop event let us down
7) stayed calm at witnessing a car vs bus crash in which an Asian drunken-head was tryin to go through the narrow bit of the bus lane with a bus still in there. No one got hurt, only material damage!
That was pretty much my week, actually quite exciting when I think about it, maybe thats Melanie`s fault, cause apparently she attracts excitement;-)
I have been too demotivated and lazy the last couple of days. Actually anytime I have been with Mel, we did so much fun stuff that I totally neglected my two papers I still have to work on. Well, I did have a very good brainstorming with her, which helped me a lot to order my thoughts and make outlines for these papers.
Last Tuesday I got some books from the library (and I have really helpful ones now, problem is that I am too lazy to read them), then I went to a really helpful lecture by Stephen Colman, and then we met my housemates in the Union bar, I was late due to the lecture, so most of them had gone already, and then Mel and I stayed to watch the cute Spanish football players of FC Barcelona winning undeservingly against Liverpool, but still getting kicked out of the UEFA cup for some odd reason, which has something to do with the way they calculate goals and stuff, and which is totally beyond any ordinary girl`s understanding.
On Thursday Mel and her housemate Ole just brought me along to Jan`s birthday. I guess one person more or less would not be noticed;-) To be fair, I did invite him to my birthday, since I ran into him at the bus stop that same day. To make matters short: we had an awesome time, after leaving his house party and going to town, we all totally crazed out at the Optics (I know: its a chav club with horrible ancient pop music; but I liked it, cause I knew the lyics of almost all songs, hihi), everyone was just dancing like they normally only would in their very private realms of their own private room or shower or maybe even car, thats why it was so hilariously much fun. After we had finally sorted out the sleeping arrangements, I ended up sleeping in a double bed with Ole and Mel in Jan`s housemate`s room. As I woke up early in the morning I was only shortly away from falling out of bed, so I cautiously decided to sleep on the floor, where I had much more space. After Ole had left at 8 in the morning, after having accused me of lying on his second sock, I psread out in the big double bed, and noticed that there probably would have fitted four girls in there quite easily. We did feel a bit bad that we just had invaded this girl`s bed, while she was away, but we needed a place to crash...so sorry about that.
On Friday then, after not getting too much sleep, but nevertheless being very awake , Mel and I went to town...enjoying the sunny weather (it has been sunny almost for a week now...something must be terribly wrong here, cause last time I checked I was still in Britain). Since the stores closed already around 5pm, and we had seen some nice clothes we wanted to check out, Mel cooked me supper (we went to Lidl and I got Marzipanbrot in egg form: I had craved for that since Christmas...mmmhhhhhh). I ended up staying at her place and squeezing both of us into her tiny room, which makes me appreciate the size of my room much more now. On Saturday, we went into town again, buying clothes we dont need but which look so pretty on us;-) And eating carrot cake at Starbucks, while watching the people passing by, especially the famous Puppet man, who gathered quite an audience when performing together with some other ´homeless-looking` guy. The comment of one girl was: "Oh look, old people dancing!" Like dancing old people were some kind of tourist attraction nowadays, she probably has never seen the Musikantenstadl and other German Volksmusik gatherings: Lucky her!
On Sunday, I could not escape the social-ness of my house and ´had` to entertain guests . I ended up taking my laptop downstairs, chatting to my cousin over icq and doing totally un-useful stuff for facebook. I should seriously be working on my two essays now, I should not have had time to even write this post.
Shame on me, shame on me!
this is just a quick update to remind me of all the things I have done this week.
Sunday: watched Happy Feet and The Queen with HMB and Teatime.
Wednesday: International Party (loads of international food and dancin); note: Mel is hilarious. And I miss dancin to great music.
Friday: went with Mel to Language Fair; note: would like to live in a hall on campus for a change, for the social and fun atmosphere (and gettin to know tons of people)-> it was so sunny today that English boys were already wearing shorts (for UK girls its normal to freeze, since they wear tiny skirts and slippers even in the midst of winter); shared fish and chips with Mel and had ice cream on campus, note: too much sugar makes Mel very hyper, which she expresses through a lot of singin, in which I have to join in, and which is a lot of fun, but might be annoying to other people, especially on the bus. Becca`s 1st birthday celebration: dinner at Zizzi
Saturday: were hiding lemon cake from Becca as she came home early from her London trip with her parents; with Mel went out to pub and house party of classmate, note: English guys often look younger than they actually are, their names often only consist of 3 letters, and they like a lot of drinking and goin crazy (which we already suspected).
Sunday: Becca`s birthday!!!!!!!!! went to Cromer with HMB, HME, HMG, HMJ, HMD, Teatime and Mel. Lots of fun, had fish`n`chips at the sea, walked along the sandy/stony beach, and almost fell asleep on comfy couch in a cafe.
Thats a very short update, which I hope to expand on at a later stage.
Today I had to get up very early (7.45am), cause over-sleeping would have actually cost me 10 quid. Explanation: for the Working in Politics Day of my Uni everyone who had signed up but didn`t show was threatned by being charged a fine...which is actually a great strategy to put people off from signing up rather than promoting the event. But obviously no one had asked me for my advice. I met up with Melani in the foyer of the Elizabeth Fry building on campus (finding this place actually made me realize how big of a campus that is). I filled her in on John Street aka ´The Claw` who chaired the first bit of the meeting. She found him to be very charismatic, fun and entertaining, one of the few Profs who still love what they are doing and are actually also good at it. The speakers at the conference were all involved in politics one way or another (as researchers for MPs or the BBC, political advisors, journalists, councillors, MPs or workers in party politics). Their talks were very interesting and there were some heated debates argueing over the representativeness and ´democratic-ness` of the current politcial system and some steering questions from the aspiring politicians in the audience. One very idealistic MP was claiming to be himself a liberitarian who wants to change the political system, bringing it closer to the people by less centralised and more local politics. Furthermore, he wanted Britain to quit the EU. A question from the audience was from one English girl who "...would like to work in Europe". My comment: with that lack of geo-political knowledge she will have problems finding Europe to start with. And that libertarian MP should be thinking about also quitting foreign politics then. My comment as a ´continental European` from a EU country: (1) The British are more European than they wanna admit to themselves, that`s why they constantly and desperately try to convince others that they are not. (2) Britain wasn`t truly committed to the whole EU thing to begin with, and that`s why we (and I take the liberty to speak for the whole EU here;-) wouldn`t even notice if they were gone.
Nevertheless, Melani and I have learnt from this conference that we need the following essentials in order to start a career in politics:
(1) networking!!! start chatting up random people everywhere and make them like you, they could recommend you to your future employer.
(2) extra-curricular activities!! start getting involved in politics or journalism at your University or other local places, which is also a starting point for making connections to future employers (which feeds back into point 1).
(3) skills! develop your organizing, being-a-workaholic, and adapting-quickly skills, but most of all develop a breadth of knowledge and you might wanna think about taking acting classes, cause they might become handy when you present yourself in public or already in an interview. As someone who is working in politics you need to be able to pretend that you actually know a lot about what you are talking about, although you might have just been briefed on it five minutes before you had to talk about it.
And always remember: the political world is rough and ruthless, it won`t be impossible to find a job there, it will only be ´almost impossible`. I have to disappoint my dad then, because unfortunately this conference did not give me any totally new insights or inspirations about how and most importantly what job I should pursue. But as a concellation for him I should add that most of these people working in a variety of jobs in politics and the media did end up there by chance without much planning ahead. And I made it till here without much planning involved, and so far I have turned out quite well (and I am pretty sure even my parents would agree with me on this one), so I am just gonna try to be optimistic.
After these bright prospects in getting a career (not only in politics or the media, but basically anywhere in ´McWorld`), as a mood uplift Melani and I went to see Music and Lyrics with Hugh Grant. Hugh Grant with his famous ´popping hip` is just too hilarious is his portrayal of an aged pop band idol. I had such a fun time today.
Looking forward to the International Party on Wednesday, where I hopefully will have the opportunity to show some of my incredible dance moves;-)
I have finally been to the sea (meaning: I`ve actually seen the sea; unlike the time we went to Maestro`s place and only reached the sea after dark).
Last weekend Elli took Becca, a friend and classmate of hers, and me (obviously), to her cottage near Ipswich. Now some cynists (Gull and James!) might say that Ipswich is even less exciting than Norwich, and they are probably right, however on a very sunny Saturday (very untypical for English conditions, because: too pretty to be true;-) Elli took me on a guided tour along the coast, towards the north of Ipswich, which was very exciting indeed. First of all its very easy to get me excited: just bring me to the sea. I don`t know what it is, but being a very continental European who has grown up in a medium sized town not close to the sea (although only a 4h ride away), I love the sea and the beach and get already very enthousiastic by the smell of salt water. I could sit on the beach for hours and just stare at the sea. Although we didn`t have time to do that on Saturday, I did get to several beaches along the coast, took heaps of creative pictures, had chocolate cake and apparently the ´best` fish and chips of Suffolk, if not of entire East Anglia (the long queue in front of that fish´n´chips shop in Adleburgh suggested it was at least the best one in town). To sum up: a very relaxing and holiday-like day.
On Wednesday I went to the cinema with Dave and watched the Last King of Scotland: an amazingly powerful film with great performances by the main actors; a definite ´must-see` raising awareness for the civil-war-like conditions in African countries like Uganda in this film, that European news information outlets tend to ignore or only insufficiently report about (my advice: do your own research on issues, a good starting point is wikipedia, although the truthfulness of its information should not be taken for granted, and also read online newspapers and magazines, although I could not think of any British media outlet that I could recommend for this purpose). That also reminds me to express a ´must-read` recommendation for the fascinating history book Postwar by Tony Judt, that I am reading at the moment (and probably will still be reading a few months from now, cause its a 900 pages monstrum, but definitely worth the effort). Judt sketches the big picture of how todays Europe came about, giving insightful details and drawing interesting connections between events (e.g. he explains Fascism as ´the bridge linking heterodox, marginal, and often controversial notions of economic planning with mainstream post-war economic policy`). That reminds me of another interesting thought recurrently addressed this week in my Cultural Issues seminar: history-as-account regarding the different versions of the GDR history explained by East and West Germans and historians. I think the issue hasn`t sufficiently dealt with and addressed by the government`s cultural policy (e.g. in museums or memorials). Generally, East Germans tend to ignore the negative sides (authoritarian system making extensive use of the Stasi to get rid of their opposition and of free speech in general; high escape and suicide rate, especially among intellectuals; too centrally planned economy deemed to fail due to over-emphasis on set production-quotas) and focus too heavily on the positive sides (no unemployment, very low crime rate, no competition). I think the goverment and intellectuals should encourage a public debate on a proper, value-free and emotional-free account of GDR history in order to support more effectively the growing-together of East and West Germans today.
I leave you with these deep and profound thoughts (which reminds me: I should read more and enhance my sad and ignorant little mind)
I am looking forward to my Uni`s Working in Politics Day this Saturday, which hopefully will give me some (or rather any) inspiration on what purposeful job I could do after my studies.
I am also looking forward to next Wednesday`s International Party at the LCR. Melani (German girl from my class) and I already bought the tickets and I hope some more people that I know will join.
And most of all I am looking forward to the numerous visitors that announced themselves to pop by my new home at one point or another (my parents obviously; Christiane, from my former home in Maastricht; and Kerstin, possibly with her boyfriend, a good friend from Maastricht as well)
And I am still looking forward to the Barcelona trip with my sister during my Easter break: Viva Barce!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Im sorry for not updating you in a while, but last week was very exciting.
Unfortunately, on Wednesday it was the day on which I turned 23, so Im officially old now...well, actually thats what Im telling myself since I turned 20.
On Tuesday I took the girls out for dinner, my original plan was to go for pizza hut, cause I like it and I always intended to go but never made it, then Georgie suggested the Waffle House which is apparently the best restraurant in town, and Becca and I havent been there yet, so that was settled then. The idea of having savoury waffles seemed a little weird at first, but since I would try anything (well, almost anything) at least once I gave it a shot and wasnt disappointed. I had something with Avocado which tasted really yummy. And for dessert we had four sweet waffles with loads of unhealthy and fattening but incredibly yummy ingredients. Now I`ve just used the word ´yummy` twice in a row, so it seems to sum up the evening pretty well. Later that night I started a little floor dance because I had this A-Team tune in my head, since the guitar player at the Waffle House had randomly managed to build that into whatever else he was playing. HMG fortunately had the song on her laptop and so I initiated one of our spontaneous floor dance sessions. And shortly after midnight I was ´surprised` by the girls and was already given my birthday gift. It developed into a tradition to jump into the birthday girls room shortly after midnight on the day of her birthday, in order to be the first one to congratulate. For HMG`s birthday we even sang to her. Well, for my birthday I even already got my gift shortly after midnight. And how much I liked it is pretty obvious from the pictures that were taken while I opened it. That was a pretty good gift, cause I had been talking about wanting to have Family Guy on dvd for quite some time, however I didnt seriously consider it as a good birthday present, since they wouldnt know which season to get, since I didnt have any yet. Well, my housemates are pretty clever girls so they got me the latest season, which is just swell (probably i spelled this word incorrectly and also not sure if I used it in the right context, but just it had just popped up in my mind, so I dared using it)
On Wednesday morning (after I got some sleep) my mom called to wish me all the best and ask if I received my parcel in good order, and if the Bacardi was still in one piece. Well, I had just got up and found the parcel in front of my door, so I hadnt opened it yet and didnt know the answer to all these questions. The only thing I knew was that apparently UK customs hadnt opened my parcel and hadnt confsicated my alcohol, which was a big relief to me, cause I was made nervous about the whole duty free and alcohol taxes issue the day before. Anyways, I praised my mom`s good timing since the parcel had arrived exactly on the day of my birthday....at least so I thought. Later that day Becca told me that it had arrived earlier and they had been hiding it in the garage. Again: Its unbelievable how smart these girls are.
After class (yes: I actually went to class on my birthday....what a nerd I am; but I made that up by not going to class the next morning at 9am...I mean who gets up at 9am anyways? Well, HMG maybe...) I baked a cake and then headed off to the grad bar where I was supposed to meet friends for a little pub crawl at 7pm. Well, since HMG always takes a little longer with deciding what to wear (and she also needs to consult everyone in the house several times during that crucial process), we finally made it to the grad bar, where Becca, Tom, Carsten, Eike, and Gull were already waiting. HMG and I picked up Dave from the bus stop, from which he had called me earlier to ask where the grad bar was. (/me still wonders why he didnt ask that a day earlier, ...but on the other hand he always walks around very unorganised and unplanned, confusing the date of my birthday like three times or more, and asking several times if I already had his phone number...he should probably just get one of these electronic organizer/planner gadgets to write all the stuff down that he either doesnt wanna remember or cant remember due to information overload;-)
Anyways, we had a good time at the grad bar, when it was time to move on and meet Ellie and Justin in town. My two alibi Germans already took off and also my classmate Emily said good-bye, cause she actually intended to go to the 9am class the next morning; what a good girl. Becca and I took the bus to town, while HMG was left unattended with three guys (Gull, Dave and Tom) to drive them in her car to town. Although the bus took quite some time, somehow Becca and I ended up being at the Murderers before HMG and the blokes. (Mhhhhhhh) Well, but she also had to pick up HMJ (her fioncé). So Lil`B (everyone should get funky HipHop nicknames!) and I spotted Joe at the bar. After the reunion with the big group, and with Elli as well, Maestro made an appearance, and also initiated a birthday song for me (unfortunalety he didnt make an entrance singing HappyBirthday accompanied by him playing the accordeon; later he told me that he dropped that idea cause he thought that might have been too embarassing for me). Unfortunately, the evening ended way too early, and the pub crawl had involved only two pubs:-(
But luckily my birthday was stretched over a few days, and so on Thursday, after a nice sleep in, Becca, Elli and I got our make-up done at Givenchy. That part was for free, while it was obviously intended to make us wanna buy the products, which was unfortunately a marketing strategy that worked on us pretty well. Luckily, the second part of my birthday gift was that I could chose some make-up stuff, which I happily did. But then I also bought stuff with HMB together, which was actually not totally necessary. When I think about it, it might have paid off, since some guys at the geek meet in the evening were buying us drinks, very likely that the make-up had increased our chances;-) Unfortunately, I still had to pay the meal myself:-(
On Sunday then things changed...we were invited out for dinner and movies by a good friend of Elli. That was the best night in a long time. Not only due to the amazing food (I actually slurped an oyster) and two bottles of wine, but most likely because Maestro is just so entertaining and the bunch of us are somehow hitting it off. I dont even know how we could still make it to the cinema, all typsy and giggling and singin, they shouldnt have let us in. At this point I better refer to the pics I put on facebook for further info on that night, cause pictures sometimes say more than words.
Big hug to Meastro at this point!
Only one more thing: Im excited to announce that I booked the flights for my sister and me to Barcelona during my Easter break. I really always wanted to go there and am overly happy that my sister finally let me persuade her to come with me.
Furthermore, I also booked the flights for my parents to visit me in Norwich at the beginning of May. At least this time they actually keep their promise of visiting me, bearing in mind that they had also promised to visit me in New Zealand while I was there for a semester abroad....guess what? They had never made it:-( But I will forgive them, and am now looking for someplace for them to stay, cause hotels are freakin outrageously expensive here.
Adios ...for now