Running for Gold

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There was a time, before my wrinkles set in and my back flipped out, where I was, what we would describe as… ‘bleh-Olympics’. “They could be spending that money on better things,” I would cry from my pedestal, scoffing brand name food. “It causes unnecessary stress for residents,” I would shout over my unnecessarily loud Music System, turned up to drown out the obnoxious cries of my neighbours. “It destroys the country side”, I would proclaim looking out my metropolitan window. But now in the age of my own city’s hosting, I feel the pang that any hipster too busy being alternative has when he sees people genuinely having fun.

Never having any predisposed association to my home country, I wasn’t unpatriotic so much as I was preparing myself for being an “Earthling” for the inevitable alien invasion. It does evoke a sigh to see so many people enjoying their contentious attitudes against something as internationally sporting as the Olympics. To be honest, I think we’re all just jealous that we can’t live in the Olympic Village which must just be the greatest orgy of hormonal, perfectly chiseled young athletes that this planet has to offer.

I’ve never felt more British than when I came to Heidelberg. For me, I wasn’t just in Heidelberg, I was in Germany, a different country from my own. Suddenly I was aware of what cultures thought of my own and which idealistic planes we met upon and those which we differed. But thankfully, as linguistic and cultural comparisons dwindled, this little town stopped being an object of its own and became home. There must be a transitory period, different for all, where a place stops being a novelty, and becomes truly a home. There’s home and then there’s home. Heidelberg for a long time was the former, a place I felt safe, rested and happy in, but it was still something other. Now, in the final few weeks, it feels as if it’s become somewhere I could spend the rest of my life, I feel as I imagine I would one year into a new city or job, where finally your place is found and you can see its future stretch before you. A place of true home-grown independence, and a place of home to return to in the near future. I think nothing of speaking German now, given last year I didn’t even know what “what” was “was” in German.

But as Marina said, it’s always good to get a little German in me. Just tell me his name and I’ll happily oblige.

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Paparazzi

My flash is pretty fly but my hips just don’t lie

By the time I had learnt not to poop my pants, I was considered many things; house-trained, a member of society and a University Student. But with every new experience comes further understanding. As numbers have dwindled and more people leave for their home countries, I’ve found myself in a different domestication. Since a young age, I’ve been told that sitting still was never a concept I could quite grasp, and this became especially true when I entered Surrey. Throwing down the slightly more introverted side that had taken over, the Uni lifestyle hit home with striking accuracy. This became more true with Erasmus, where refusing to sit alone in an empty dorm room, a unanimous effort for all became to experience as much of the city, country and continent as possible.

It was about alcohol, the energy, the bouncing-off-walls and leaping across the stalls, finding new friends and bigger distractions. But I won’t lie, a lot of this was a distraction. It must be concluded that I am an exceedingly boring person, as I can’t bare spending more than one evening with myself alone. But with the broadening of experiences and horizons, so has appreciating a piece of life I thought was long since gone. Diving fork-first into collectively cooked casual meals, letting the television tantalize and indulging in pure enjoyment of a day-to-day existence. I’d always thought continuous stimuli was the key, a project here, a production there and a line of boys behind me. I haven’t lost the previous spontaneous social spectrum, but I’ve gained something much more. Life is a game of tetris and so long as you can fit everything together, that theme tune will forever be in your head and it’ll be glorious.

Another glorious thing I have gained of late is the going-away present of a brand new camera. An old wannabe filmmaker and photograph obsessive (much like every regular facebook user my age), I have found this new present to be a fantastic way to cap off the final week. Given my recent success with technology, this specific device has been chosen for it’s “TOUGH” title, surviving high drops and workable underwater, it is essentially Laurence-proof. Chances are if I drop this beautiful brick, it’s less likely to break and more chance of the earth being thrown out of of orbit.

Hometown Glory

Please allow me a pre-emptive apology should this blog post result in the violent murders of several Germanic workmen. Sitting in this sweltering room that’s already more moist and sweaty than the Pope’s underpants in a children’s playground, I am to be blessed with the continuous banging of a long object pummelling into a hard surface. Nope, my flatmate isn’t having sex. Instead, the carpark which is going under an exceedingly unnecessary 5-month-long renovation, has employed a 50ft Jackhammer drill to vent national frustration into the pavement at one second intervals. No matter what they’ll say in court… these murders will be worth it.

So yes, despite saving a couple of glasses from being shaken off the shelves, today has been disorientated at best. Waking up in a friend’s house after a fairly limp-wristed night out, consisting of many street corner loiterings, deciding where to go next; a question the philosophical prowess of which was clearly beyond us. At least we didn’t end up going back to the Monkey. Even if we did begin our night there. Woken by Aaron coming into the room exclaiming “Oh Christ” upon seeing me still in bed, we made ourselves pretty and went out for the most retardedly slow bubble tea experience. Methinks the poor girl believes a couple of mental patients had escaped from a local asylum. After which we engaged in a couple of games that border on being illegally intrusive to those around us. I’m not sure that winning this… erm, Brush Up game, is something I should be proud of. Grabbing (whip-free) coffee with my dominatrix co-star Annemieke, I have now returned to my room, hoping to blog away, despite the valiant efforts of the workmen outside. Hairy twats.

In June 2010, my friend Luke left to go on work placement. Having been a close buddy for months, and a second year whose house I could escape to when halls became too much, I was not prepared for his departure. Far too many alcohol-induced evenings occurred, and one too often a drunken conversation of “emotional depth” too. All this for a boy going to placement in London, 1 hour away. The following year it came time to go to Germany. 72 hours, 100 drinks, and 3 separate parties later, I still didn’t quite feel ready to leave. This year, for all of its cruelty, the Erasmus experience of departures offers you the opportunity to toughen the skin. There isn’t one big bang and you’re all gone, people trickle out through the fingertips of the day. Leaping from one coffee-hop departure to the next allows you a chance of individual reflection that fast paced society rarely offers, proving a life in transience can be the greatest remedy for enjoyment; you’re never left with the same stodgy cycle, it’s something new each time. It’s enjoying the movie even if you stay after the credits.

Writing on a foreign laptop that doesn’t recognise English has worrying effects on my linguistic confidence when every word has a red underline. Red… like the blood of these noisy workmen. Time to load my snipe gun, mustn’t let my oncoming migraine prevent what must be done. Toodlepip.

Leave the pigeons alone!

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Dear blog, I know we’ve had our differences; you wanted to be a tumblr whilst I kept waiting for you to turn around and become a published novel. But despite our infidelities and broken promises, if you would be willing to take me back, I would be so grateful.

So Chris came and went. Oi, oi. One of the easiest weeks in a long, long time, we learnt a lot of important lessons; when in Würzburg, it’s important to get a map, that fortresses are so aptly named because of their impenetrable tendencies and that you can spend months apart and yet reunite without a hitch. Whether our failed attempt at getting to Strasbourg, an adventure that included missing two connections, due to the stops having THE EXACT SAME NAME, to buying tickets in France only to then ask for a refund five minutes late, not to mention then being mistaken for foreign drug dealers, sitting at the platform of a country-border train station, or our brilliant excavation to Konstanz including a fantastic chilled swirl into Swiss waters under the relaxing tones of Norah Jones, Fleetwood Mac and Jason Mraz or just brilliant Heidelberg adventures, in and off stage, up and down mountains, every high and not a single low, I can confirm that a great week was indeed had.

A week that segued oddly into this collection of days. A collection of goodbyes. Drinks by the Neckar, swims in the lake and adventures on the Alte Brucke, this is the week of toasts, hugs and unfortunately, exams. Proving that it’s better to leave somewhere you’re going to miss than stay in a place you don’t care for, these goodbyes have been the opportunity to know ourselves in each others departures, and with them laugh at the horrible things we wish we could forget. The humidity is making me far, far too moist, so it’s time to indulge in a nice frappucino. Because hipster is mainstream.

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Back to the Empirical Logic, part II

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So the first performance went well. I’m doing my best to not be affected by the fact that when I appeared in my boxers, the audience burst into laughter. Hopefully that means I was fulfilling the fleshy duties of my role.

With some early practise for my new role at Surrey as Marketing and Outreach Officer, marketing of the production is going well, with 3x the amount of interest in the past couple of days alone. This comes in perfectly for the sudden requirement to begin on a brand new set of hausarbeiten, ripe and ready for the new holiday. Now would be a good time to have some actual idea what the fuck to write about. Received a letter from Surrey this week, asking us to detail our final deadlines and end of placements as we’re now reaching the end. A feeling beyond the words of even my pretentious vocabulary. September, Heidelberg felt like an indefinite lifetime, this was my home for a year. Now, Heidelberg feels temporary, short term, with the end of it rushing up to meet me. Neither of which feelings did I have a bloody clue how to handle.

Anyhow, proving once again that people have a habit of literally accepting anything they’re told and are even capable of forming an opinion based on no evidence whatsoever, Facebook today was blasted with a series of photos detailing how it was the day of the future that Marty McFly arrived at, in Back to the Future 2, a world filled with hover boards, flying cars, alternate fuel and motion controlled video games. The photos showed self-congratulatory chastising of the ignorant futuristic predictions, idly sidestepping their own incorrect information with beautifully elegant irony. Forgetting this folly, and moving past a slight loss in humanity that even on facebook with all the net at your disposal, people are still so willing to jump on an unsupported bandwagon, given the fact that Back to the Future predicted video phone calls over inter-connected computer systems, people uploading all their profiles with likes and dislikes onto this system for ease of access, money being transferred from account to account at the push of a button, recycled produce as energy fuel, holographic walls and video screens capable of containing many windows at once all displaying video systems, not to mention ID chips and retina recognition, I’m half expecting hover boards to be on the market soon. Especially given hover flight has been achieved just without ease of motion. I wonder if had these predictions not been made under Zemeckis, would some of them have happened in real life? Much like how Spiderman invented the concept of the GPS tracking device, go Spidey! We still love you, even if the Avenges don’t.

Mind you, criticising those not looking for empirical evidence does leave a funny taste in my mouth, given I’m supposedly a Christian.

Nimble Nibbler

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So England lost to Italy yesterday? I guess that ball was just too greasy for them to handle. Normally I approach football like I do any other form of entertainment; follow its progress, enjoy the games, discuss and banter over it with my mates. Like watching a film, when the game is on screen, I feel the fun and ride the excitement, and when it’s over I turn it off and return to my daily life. Last night however was possibly the first time I’d actually felt a sense of disappointment continue post-match. I’ve looked at Football fans when their team lose and fail to conceive just why they would let something so detached from the real world negatively affect their emotions. Even now, I find it ridiculous. Football, and its following, is the geekiest thing in existence and the emotional discharge is just as illogical. I admire any passion, and look up to anyone who can harbour such love for a pastime, but can only shake my head in confusion when actual depression follows failure. I may have already announced my loyalty to the German squad but still I feel England could have, or possibly even should have, gotten further. Alas.

Somewhere that could have done with going further and perhaps in the right direction was mine and Zoe’s escapade to Bülder Haus in Rohrbach. Just some casual rock climbing to pass a sunny evening. One and a half hours later, and we were still searching for the bloody place. It would appear that Germans, like Lawyers, will insist on giving you an answer even when they have no idea whatsoever. It was this process that left us being confronted by American Military Guards, characteristically not speaking a word of German, and getting stuck in a surreal Ghost town of children’s playgrounds, fenced-in front lawns and dark windows that is Mark Twain Village. I’m sure that if the literary realist and charmingly witty pontificator was aware that a village had been constructed in his name he would have been confused at best. Throw in that it’s a military town and I dare say mister Twain would’ve thrown a whimsical fit.

A few cheeky hours later and I saw evidence as to how rock climbing genuinely outclasses sex, after all, you can choose the length and width of your rope, leave your protection for guys after you, there’s lots of cracks and the only rubber you wear is on your feet. Either that or I really need to improve my understanding of intercourse.