Thursday, 22 November 2012

Breaking down barriers

I don't think this Year Abroad was ever meant to be easy. Enjoyable? Yes. An experience? Yes. But not easy. If it were easy, what would we really accomplish from it? It's about getting thrown into a different environment and doing something you're not used to doing in working, studying or teaching in a different language in a different country. So far, that's exactly what this year has thrown up at me. I'm working on a full-time basis which is something completely brand new to me, I'm surrounded by the German language for the majority of my day, I can feel my language improving and I'm finding myself in situations that I never thought I'd be in.

For example, I never...NEVER thought I'd utter the words "I miss working in Finance", but it turns out I do. Obviously, my usual life plan wouldn't have me working in Finance since that isn't really meant to be one of my strong points. That's what this year has thrown at me though with this rotating internship...I've spent time working in Finance and getting to grips with the tasks on that side of the business, and I really enjoyed what I was doing. Maybe it's because I was being given jobs to do for a reason, rather than having tasks for the sake of having tasks...maybe it's because I was given responsibility and tasks that I wouldn't have thought were really best given to an intern. Who knows? 

In the last two weeks though, I've not been working in Finance full-time and have instead been integrated into the wonderful world of SaSu. My job there has been fairly one dimensional though...I knew it would be before we started and the staff apologised for not having the most exciting work for me, but it's a job that needs to be done. I don't even need to look that far to find the positives though, since it's given me chance to use some different tools and pieces of kit on the computer so I'm now comfortable using those. In short, I've had the joyful task of seeking out a couple of hundred customers and tracking down the bonuses that they're rewarded when they buy x litres of fuel a year. Find the files, copy them, scan them, go through them, compare the bonus in the files to what three different computer programs say, match them all up and then if they're not all singing from the same hymn sheet, take the issue up with other staff for them to resolve. As I say, it's not exciting, but it has to be done...I may as well do it.

As a result of all of this, my jobs in Finance have slowed down considerably but that was because my boss knew that I needed to finish this stuff off. Through the dozen or so trips that I've had to make to the filing room in the last two weeks, I go through their office most of the time and have a quick chat. He knows that I'm pretty much maybe I'll start getting some more work thrown my way again.

We finally bought a washing machine last week after two months of using the laundrette up the road. I wasn't completely set on the idea of buying one, but it made sense to get one...and in the long run, it'll be cheaper than a weekly trip to the laundrette and spending 5 Euros a go to get some clean clothes. So it came at the start of the week and spent a night sat downstairs. We moved it upstairs on Tuesday and then after leaving work early on Wednesday to wait for a plumber to install it, he didn't show up. Or he did show up and didn't call me or knock on the door like a normal person. I'm not sure. Either way, I ended up fitting it myself with some assistance from a Skype call to my Dad. I've seen him do it before, but doubted my own skills to be able to do such a thing. Turns out I'm an idiot and it's really not that difficult once you've had things explained...I'll admit that having looked at it earlier, I was pretty much right in thinking what needed to be done, needed to be done. Always nice to have it confirmed. So that's another thing I can say I'm able to do.

It's all about breaking down barriers. Put your mind to it, virtually nothing is impossible.

I've really started digging Everlast in the last week or two. Brilliant timing since I spotted a poster for a gig he's doing next month. On that basis, I might start listening to Foo Fighters and see if they want to announce something. ;) So here's one that I stumbled across while listening to his stuff in work. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Thoughts from the weekend

I haven’t really been overly bothered about my birthday for the last few years. With the exception of getting more post than usual and getting gifts (and most of the time, cake), it’s just a regular day. Living away from home in a different country meant that I really couldn’t have cared less about turning 21. Since the vast majority of my friends are of a similar age, I see people planning big occasions for their 21st and I know that I’ll be missing 95% of them and its case of if I’m on a rare occasion of being back in the UK, I’ll celebrate with you. If you’re in Germany with me, then I’ll certainly do my best where appropriate.

So the trip to Frankfurt during the last weekend of October sort of doubled up as a chance to celebrate my birthday. Our plan of going to see Steel Panther backfired since we took far too long to getting everyone to commit to the weekend and then by the time things could be confirmed, tickets had gone. Not that I’m surprised...those tickets would have flown out. To be honest, I don’t think we needed that gig in the end and we had an utterly awesome weekend doing our own thing. As I said in my last post, I definitely missed that crew far more than I’d realised, so I’m already counting down the days until the next gathering...though I’m not totally sure where/when that is. I think I know, but it’s pretty difficult to know for sure since it’s kind of late, I have no internet access at the time of writing this and I’m in a hotel room in Oberhausen.

If you’re wondering why I’m in a hotel room in Oberhausen, I’m here because of the wXw/CZW weekend that’s going on at the moment. Three shows across three days (plus a cinema screening of the wXw/CZW/BJW Triangle documentary which was brilliant) with a whole host of talent from across Europe and then some US guys with CZW that I’ve previously had little/no real interest in seeing. Though having seen some of their matches, I suspect a fair portion of that was because of prejudices towards what I’d heard/seen on the internet of CZW being trash wrestling, but having seen their guys work, they’ve got a pretty solid crew who can work both straight matches and hardcore matches. It’s fair to say that I’ve changed my perceptions of the hardcore/deathmatch style to professional wrestling in the last few days, so that can only be a good thing. I really hope I did bring my camera cable with me to Germany since I’ve got some cracking pictures on the camera from the first two days.

NOTE: Turns out I did! And you can see those lovely pictures of wrestlers, blood and me on my Facebook page.

As twisted as it sounds, my favourite picture might be of me and Drake Younger. He’d just come from a street fight against Matt Tremont where they were bleeding heavily pretty quickly in the match, they went around the building (including spilling some blood onto my coat as they battled past having done some twisted stuff right in front of me), and at the conclusion of the match went to intermission so the ring crew could clean up. Both guys went to the merch tables to take photos with the fans and say hello, and it gave me a chance to get photos with those guys and thank them for the match. They’re both still covered in blood and Drake has a great big smile. As I say, I’m not usually a fan of that style of match but I’ve found myself coming round to them in recent weeks (largely thanks to an insightful topic on deathmatches on UKFF with some cracking reviews from Richie Freebird).

Also, Greg Excellent loves Kenny Loggins. He was super surprised when I was able to rattle off a couple of Kenny’s songs and join in singing a couple. Those strange Americans...

Going back to my birthday, it was actually a pretty good day. Work was never going to be super exciting, possibly because it’s never super exciting. Interesting, yes...but not exciting. Not unless they’ve got the secret jet pack development hidden away or some sort of dirt racetrack for racing bikes and cars during lunch break. Thank you to everyone who threw me a message on Facebook to wish me a good day, they were all read (almost all were replied to) and all of them were appreciated.

There was a group of about 7 of us from Leeds who were about in Hamburg since there was a state holiday in parts of Southern Germany, so a couple of people headed up north to see friends. It gave us a good excuse to go out into Hamburg for a couple of drinks and catch up, which led to a pretty fun evening. A few drinks, talking to some strangers and making friends with them and then finding ourselves in a karaoke bar on Reeperbahn and stumbling across a group of English guys from Birmingham (who were terrible at placing accents if they thought Kirstie was from Leeds...). Fun place though, and of course...this is me we’re talking about, so I had to try a couple of songs. You can never know how well they’re received...but I stick to the plan of going for songs that aren’t technically difficult and just require some energy and enthusiasm to make me look great. Also, do it when people have had a bit to drink and you sound even better than you might do if people were completely sober.

Very good to see some more people from uni though, and it was good to get out there and meet/talk to some new people. That’s definitely something I need to do a little bit more (including perhaps getting some phone numbers to be able to see them again...).

Plenty to look forward to, but for now I’m just looking forward to going to bed since it’s rather late and I’m tired. It’s a bit strange to think that this is being written on Saturday night but won’t be published until Monday afternoon, so it’s already a bit dated. We’re on course to making this more regular than the very sporadic bi-monthly (and sometimes less frequent) posts, let’s keep this up!