Thursday, November 4
Layout UpdatesI'm in the process of updating a load of my Post-Its, because a number of the blogs I used to read have either ended or become something which I don't want to read any more. I've also discovered a few new blogs which make for great reading.
My personal everyday blogs are on the left, and to the right is the list of blogs which link to me. If you do link to me, drop me a line (without _antispam_) and I'll put you on my next Post-It.
And yes, I'm also updating the archives lists, because they're very much out of date. Apologies for taking so long with that one.
Oh, and the reason for some Post-Its being different colours is that my latest stack is of the Super-Sticky version. Guess how they're different from normal ones...
PS. If you ever want to get hold of me instantly, I'm usually on MSN Messenger with the email email@example.com (take out the _antispam_ bit. Stupid spammers).
So There's This Girl, Right...Yet again I find myself in the slightly awkward position of writing about someone who reads this blog. How I get myself into these situations I shall never be able to determine, but so be it. At least it makes for interesting reading for everyone else, even if I have to be very particular about what I say. These are the times when I wish my blog was anonymous, or at least that I didn't tell my actual friends about it.
I know a few of them read it, including one of the Exeter girls here. I'm not sure which one it is, but I know it's one of you. And I'm coming to get you... [Insert evil cackle here]
Anyway, here goes nothing. Give me a shout when you read this, just so I know that I haven't offended or upset you. x
It all started on Friday night, what with the going out drinking and everything. Well, not strictly drinking, in my defence. I went to the apartment of an American guy that I'd met in a bar a few weeks ago for a house party of sorts. He'd invited me earlier in the week, and I'd figured that I should go to give my liver a night off from what promised to be a very hectic weekend's worth of drinking. Or to give it a warm-up, depending on how you look at it.
It wasn't one of those drink-as-much-as-you-can-and-then-throw-up-in-the-toilet house parties, more of a social gathering. Which was cool for me, since I'd been to far too many of the former already. They're fun until the first person passes out. Then the ambulance comes, often with the police, and it all goes to shit. Stupid house parties.
I was amongst the minority, in that I was non-Russian, but we were all speaking German, which was fucking brilliant for me. I need the practice, believe me. I had a few beers, was chatting to a load of people, when it suddenly occurred to me that I should learn some Russian.
I like to know how to say the basics (hello, goodbye, please, thankyou, how are you, good thanks and you, cheers) in as many languages as possible, and here was the perfect opportunity to learn them in Russian. My teacher was also a very pretty blonde girl, which helped me pay attention.
I spent about 20 minutes learning how to say the above words in Russian, and ended up writing them down on a piece of paper to take home with me. I wrote them phonetically, so I'd know how to say them again, and it's worked. I can pretty much remember at least 'hello' and 'goodbye' off the top of my head, which is a fair old achievement. Now for the other 6,547,453 languages in the world.
I was at this party without my usual bunch of friends, since they'd planned to go to a club that evening, so it was a a bit of a surprise to see the front door opening and a good few of them trooping in. They knew I was there, but didn't really know the host. Nevertheless, in they came, and soon made themselves at home. Quentin (the host) was very accomodating, and didn't seem at all put out by their arrival, thank Christ.
They'd missed the improptu Russian singalong which happened a bit earlier (their loss, it was actually really funny), but were still able to get sociable with everyone else there. We left sometime around 1, and headed up to The Dubliner for the second day in a row. Damn us. The Dubliner's gone a bit downhill in my opinion, but we still like it there.
Especially as it's open until 3am on a Friday. Always a mistake when you go in with a load of drunken girls. We got back on it, and I was pretty much half-cut when I left. Not completely pissed, you understand, but a little. Pleasantly tipsy, you could say.
And so to the girl. Seeing as I've named her on this blog before, I'll use her name again: Jillian. I think she and her friend Erin were a bit pissed, because they kept ringing me up, asking me to come round and see them. I must have answered my phone about 3 or 4 times whilst in the Dubliner, and always making an excuse as to why we were taking so long. It wasn't that I didn't want to pop round, it's just that we were enjoying ourselves and somehow taking ages with our drinks.
I should add here that this isn't the first batch of drunken phone calls I've received from the pair of them. They're hilarious when drunk together, and are always egging each other on to do random things. Such as ring me. On the previous Tuesday, they were at a bar called Amadeus, which is the standard Tuesday night place for foreign students. I didn't go, because for one reason and another I was knackered.
Thankfully, I remembered to turn my phone off before I went to bed quite early, because when I got up in the morning I had 4 txts and 2 answerphone messages waiting for me. The second message was bloody hilarious too. It was Erin, explaining that the pair of them were laid on top of a car outside Amadeus, for no good reason, and were disappointed that I wasn't there to have fun with them. Genius phone message. I almost burst out laughing in the middle of the bus as I listened to it, which would have been a little weird for everyone around me.
I still didn't think / realise that there was anything in particular between myself and Jillian, mainly because I simply didn't expect there to be. As I've said on numerous occasions here, I'm terrible at reading any signs, and even worse at acting on them.
This time, however, I went round to their place. It's only 10 minutes by foot from mine, so I could easily make it home whenever the night drew to a close. I never did make it home that night.
There were a few other Americans about, all of whom I already knew, and everyone was well on their way to being quite pissed. Jillian and Erin had sobered up somewhat, but insisted on reminding me every five minutes that I "should've seen them an hour or two ago." If only for comedy value, I wish that I had.
It got later and later, and the numbers dwindled. Eventually there was only me and Jillian left. We went into her room, next door to the kitchen, and chatted in there for a while. I was thinking about leaving, but also thinking about staying. It was getting very late (or early, if I think about it), and I should have probably been in bed already.
I don't know who suggested me staying there, I really don't. I simply can't remember that detail. I'll blame her (private joke).
Holy fantastic idea Batman!
OK, so who's expecting a replay of the first time? Afraid not, nothing of that sort happened. If you're only reading this post for that sort of material, sorry to disappoint you.
For those who recognise that I still only possess "all the authentic fumbling uncertainties" (taken from the Observer article about me and this blog) of an innocent, wide-eyed little boy, this post is more aimed at you. Well, not aimed at you, but at least in your range of interests.
So yeah, we didn't go any further than kissing. Honestly. It was great kissing, very passionate, but no further. Which is good. As you all know, I go very slowly, almost continental-drift-like, when initiating anything of this kind, and this just about fits in with my usual style.
She didn't seem to mind either. At least as far as I know. There were no complaints, at any rate.
We spent hours kissing and talking before eventually catching a few hours sleep as the sun came up. I think we woke again in the late morning, and resumed where we'd left off. I remember Jillian having to go answer the door to her apartment block, where I heard her talking to Erin briefly. It was a funny conversation too.
Erin: So, are you alone in there?
Jillian: I'm not answering that...
I eventually made it home at about 2 in the afternoon, which isn't bad going. Ahem. I kept trying to leave, but then snuggling back down with Jillian for another 20 minutes of kissing and so forth. Damn her and damn me.
So, is anything going to come of this? I'll write up Sunday night's events before I answer that one. How's that for a cliffhanger ending? I should write for a TV series.
Sunday, October 31
Pictures UpdateRighty, I've just got myself completely up to date with the PhotoBlog, so go have a look at the pictures there.
Oh, and this means that I will probably forget to update it for a good while, as has been my habit so far with that blog. Meh.
Speaking Some GermanWell, I suppose I'd better do it at some point, right?
A friend of mine told me on Tuesday that there was some kind of social gathering for all of the Erasmus law students on Wednesday evening, and that I should come along. I still don't know a whole lot of people from my course, so it seemed like a clever thing to do. It would be good to meet with another group of people too, even if I would get criticised (again) by my friends for not being with them. Meh.
We met at one of the university coffee shops, where the Erasmus co-ordinator gave us a little talk about what was available to us if we ever needed help or advice. She said something about forms that we had to get sorted out, but I'd stopped paying attention by that point. I have the attention span of a not-very-attentive thing at times.
After she'd finished, she disappeared pretty sharpish and left us to our own devices. I got chatting to a few people, including a French girl, a couple of Polish people, my Belgian friend, a Lithuanian and others from all across Europe. We're very multi-cultural, you see?
I was blatantly one of the worst German speakers there, but at least I was trying. I found myself constantly changing the form of the verb as I was speaking, just to get it right. This made my speech a little jerky and stopped any semblance of flow, but at least I was grammatically correct by the end of it all. Hopefully it'll become second-nature to me soon, and I won't have to correct myself.
Everyone was picking up on my accent, which is quite strong when I speak German. Everyone can understand me (except for the inept people in the petrol station whenever I ask for some bread rolls), but I know that my English accent comes across quite clearly. There's just certain sounds that my accent emphasises differently from a normal German accent.
For instance, the letter 'r' in German requires a sort of throaty sound as you say it. It is in fact impossible to represent it in written form, but take my word that I simply cannot say it. I can't get my throat to make that sound when I say and 'r', no matter how I try. It thus sounds flat and English, which is a little embarrassing and annoying.
I don't know why I can't make that sound, because I have no problems doing a similar one when the letters 'ch' appear. I can make that sound convincingly German and throaty. It must be one of those things, I guess. I can make do without an accent, at any rate. I'd rather be correct with what I say than sound German but make no sense.
After chatting in this little cafe for a while, we decided to go grab some dinner at the Mensa (student union) and head to a pub for a drink. Incidentally, the Mensa is absolutely amazing. It's not like an English student union, which is just a bar. It's a massive hall, with loads of tables and a huge buffet-style food area. The range of food is fantastic, as is the quality of the produce. It's very cheap too, since everything is paid for according to the weight of your plate. You could have a plateful of meat, and it would cost the same as a plate of rice. Fucking brilliant, it is!
You also can't be in there without bumping into 74 people that you know. And that's right at the start of term, when you barely know anyone. I can't imagine what it'll be like by the end of the year, when I know more people. Although will I remember their names? I'm crap with names, and always forget them. It's thoroughly embarrassing when they know your's and you haven't got a fucking clue what their's is. I can get away with it in English, because I use "darling" or "mate" all the time, but it's a bit more difficult in German.
We then went to a new pub, a great little one which I hadn't been to before (no, I don't remember the name. I know where it is though), and chatted some more. Sometimes I got a bit lost, since a few of them speak perfect German and very quickly too, but mostly I understood what was going on. They were still intrigued by my accent, and also by the Anglo-American law system.
Continental systems are very, very different from the English model. For a start, they barely have any case-law. It's all books of laws, whereas we have a Common Law system of precedent. Here, you need to be able to reference a certain paragraph number of a law book, whereas in England you need to know a case, its name, the arguments in the case, and the ratio decidendi of the case (its deciding factor, and hence its impact on the law in that area). I'm not sure which is easier, but it could be that I naturally find the English system more intuitive, if only because I've studied it for a couple of years.
We didn't make it into a late night, which was a Godsend, since I had a 9am lecture the next day. It was a good time, however, and I'm so glad I've found a few more friends in my lectures. Till now, I've been making do with a girl from my home uni, my Belgian friend Erik and a Swiss girl who I can't remember the name of but is really good fun. She's probably told me her name, but such is my lack of memory, I've once more gone and forgot.
I should stop killing all of those brain cells with alcohol.
Stay tuned for the tale of a couple of night's drinking. Dammit.