..or a fire alarm, depending on personal preference.
I celebrated my leaving party on Monday.
I invited everyone who’s worked with me, and who I’ve worked for, since being here (4 and a bit years). I even invited my soon-to-be-ex colleague – it WAS kind of held in his honour after all – but he luckily didn’t come.
In the invitation I asked for volunteers to help me with preparations. There were so many helpers – not only beforehand, but also during and after the party itself – that it makes my head reel a bit just thinking about how lucky I am to know such amazing people. Some brought cake, biscuits or chocolates, one made a galoptious potfull of curry, some decorated the conference room, one helped me bake scones, some made sure the food was hot before carrying it in, others moved tables, collected dirty plates or washed up. There are probably a whole lot of people who did things I didn’t properly notice but who were busy in the background ensuring everything worked out.
My own part in the proceedings was largely unhelpful. I basically wrote a list of jobs I thought were necessary and left them to it while I busied myself with torturing pieces of cheese-and-pineapple with pointy sticks in the kitchen.
At exactly half past 4 they called me into the other room and sang “for she’s a jolly good fellow” (rather off-key and with a range of different lyrics, but who cares about tunes and words :))
The ‘party room’ looked fantastic, I’d brought fairy lights and candles and food and told my helpers to have fun playing. They’d mostly disregarded the ideas I’d had, but it was so much better their way 😉
I declared the buffet – if you can call a table of scones and cakes a buffet – opened and made a beeline for the tea.
I’d made several trays of food at the weekend, things like pasta bake that just needed warming up. I left everyone to their plates and went to put the trays of food in the oven – a posh job, where the oven racks/shelves are attached to the door and the whole thing opens like a drawer.
I was standing in the kitchen talking to the ‘curry-lady’ (who was cooking rice for me) when they called me into the other room (again). I left her to look after the oven as well as the rice and went back to the party.
One of my bosses gave a speech and presented me with a bunch of roses, Cornelia Funke’s Tintenherz trilogy and a hedgehog made of “waschknete” (plasticine you can use as soap) with rolled up money stuck in it as spines. Even those who couldn’t make it to the party had contributed and written in the card.
What started off as simply checking the state of the cheese, turned into something like the tablecloth trick only less elegant. The drawer was heavy and opened slowly and the pasta tray stayed put in the middle of the oven. I shut the door again in the hope it would be pushed back on to the rack and announced that it was falling off. Unfortunately no one understood what I meant. The helpful person next to me apparently thought I was too weak to open the oven and hurried to my rescue. He opened the oven door with full force and was privy to the best view of the tray emptying itself all over the bottom of the oven.
We scooped up as much as we could and I went back to the party, taking the curry with me.
Next thing we knew, was the fire alarm was blaring and a horde of fire engines was rushing to the scene…
Still, if you’re going to leave, you might as well make your mark first.
I really really hope nothing actually burned elsewhere while the firemen inspected the cheese-lined oven.
Earlier this week:
My soon-be-ex-colleague is sitting at a table with 2 or 3 others drinking beer. I’m at my work bank, making prettifull molecules* for a couple of people who have just graduated/completed their PhDs.
An Indian customer comes in with a box of glassware to be repaired. He officially ‘belongs’ to a different workshop, but their glassblower is off sick and we’re close by and he usually comes to us if it’s urgent.
Indian, to colleague, in English: “Can you mend some glass things for me?”
Colleague, not understanding: “hrmph?” (his version of, excuse me, can you repeat that?)
Indian: repeats himself
Colleague, ranting, in German, and gesticulating wildly in my direction: “No. I don’t see why I should do all the work. I’m not the only glassblower in the place, ask her if she can make time for you, etc etc etc”
Indian, to me: “I’m sorry. I don’t understand what he is saying, I think I have made a problem for you…”
Me: “not really, he’s always like that”
Indian, shrugs: “mmmf, he’s German”
We discuss what he needs and he walks towards the door.
Colleague: “…and next time bring a translator with you!”
I go back to the molecule, and my colleague to his beer and a monologue on foreigners and artistic colleagues.
* if anyone wants prettifull glass molecules please get in touch 🙂
(I had this idea on Thursday while working out what to do with my Hauskreis and started thinking this post on Friday. I didn’t get it down on screen paper until today.)
I have a LOT of things, people and events to be thankful for right now, and a lot to look forward to next year.
Advent itself is also already full of things which are [hopefully] going to happen. Since getting on the train I’ve written a list of all the things I need to do and/or pack before Christmas. I covered 3 sides of A4 and had to stop before I had a breakdown because I ran out of paper (the 4th side was used up before I started).
So that’s Thanksgiving and Advent sorted, but what are the 2 days in between for?
I think ‘just being’ is as good a thing as any.
I spent just under 48 hours in Berlin, during which I made a huge lasagne, helped DB make and decorate 4 trays of biscuits, went shopping twice, picked DB’s folks up from their cruise, visited them, made and hung up 24 chocolate-and-nut-filled serviette-bags (DB’s Advent calendar), and generally dossed in a comfortable sort of way.
Someone out there appears to have been meddling.
I haven’t found out who they are, but I’ve found the result of their work.
What exactly they were trying to achieve is a little bit unclear, and how they got there is beyond mind-boggling, but there you go.
I present you….
(or in this case leopard-slugs, since they were playing monkey-tag at the time of the photo)
Habitat: damp pavements and steps
Size: 10 – 15cm long, 1 – 2cm thick
I’ve seen them a couple of times now, and meant to publish them earlier, but better late that never…
“A work colleague (a nice one) and I are going to visit a super-glassblower for a couple of days and be shown how to do clever things with glass. I want to bring him and his family a cake to thank him for his time and for organising the whole thing.”
I did it! 🙂 I made and decorated a cake and carted on and off multiple trains before presenting it to him 🙂
He was very impressed, even if he did think I’d ordered it. When I told him I’d made it myself he was even more impressed 🙂
I’ll add a picture soon.
Task: divide unknown length of glass into 3 equal pieces without measuring anything…