On flying like a puffin-billed-penguin-y-puss*

My sister is always adopting animals. This time she must have decided it was my turn. She left a small animal with my parents for me to collect and look after.

Unfortunately I don’t know quite what it is. I thought it was a baby puffin, my parents said it looked more like a penguin and my sister is adamant that it says it’s a cat…

Whatever it is, this was its first passenger flight. The trip is quite a long one, made longer by various delays, but it was very well behaved. 

I’ve documented the journey for the photo album ;).. If you have better captions, let me know in the comments

Always wear your feetbelt on the train

Dance if you make it through check-in undetected
Remember to bring chocolate if you think there’s any chance of delays
Get excited when you can finally see something happening
..but hide before they can see you
Too late to turn back now
“please attend to your own oxygen mask before helping your puffin..”
Isn’t flying exciting?!
Fast asleep..
..or not, as the case may be
“I’m bored! Are we nearly there yet?!”
Land in sight!
Finally reacquainted with the luggage πŸ™‚ EasyPeasy!
Oops – must’ve missed the partial escape
Time for bed

* Like a duck-billed-platypus only different…

On timing

Life could be so frigging easy!

And yet it isn’t.

Yesterday I received notification that I passed the project part of my last exam, and am invited to defend it on the 29th.

That means sorting out a presentation. It’s almost 2 weeks away. No problem.

Except.

I’m away for a long weekend at a glassblowing convention starting from Thursday morning. And I had 2 boxes of aquarium plants waiting to be planted. And I promised the secretary I’d translate 4 pages of text for her.

So. Yesterday I planted the plants. All the plants. All evening.

This morning, my alternater belt jumped off its wheels.

Yeehaah.

Or something.

This evening I’m going to work on the translation.

On sleeping in my car

Okay, so it was nothing like a Roxette song, but it was an adventure. There’s not much more freeing than packing your stuff into the back of your own car and driving into the sunset. And there’s not much more grown up than realising when you are really really tired and should stop to sleep instead of charging on towards a goal regardless of all danger..

***

Lorries, even sleeping lorries, are loud. Lorries full of animals are cruel at the best of times, but are especially cruel when they have to travel so far that there are overnight stops. Those animals are [understandably] even louder than the refrigerator lorries.

The rain, when it falls, is loud. The choice between fresh air and a wet car is difficult to make while half asleep.

The seats are only so long. I’m a fairly short person and my car is fairly big, but my feet spent a lot of the night trying to find something to rest on/against.

The sun comes up on its own terms. There are no curtains in a car. You can’t choose when to turn the lights on. You get what the weather fairy gives you.

There are many things which could be considered suboptimal.

But. None of them cancels out the sense of adventure and the feeling of being alive. In fact they add to it.

So would I do it again?

You bet!

πŸ™‚

On ice cream and no spoon

My younger self spent many (MANY) hours sitting on benches in various parks and town squares, eating icecream. Sometimes by myself, sometimes with friends, sometimes (and probably most often) with my siblings.

This was such a common occurrence, that we each kept an emergency spoon in our bags or wallets.

Yesterday I found myself alone in a new town, with a couple of hours to kill. It was incredibly warm, I had my luggage with me so I couldn’t do much easy sight seeing,  and to be honest, I really couldn’t be bothered to go anywhere or do anything. Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing to spend time doing.

On the other hand, I hadn’t drunk anything since early in the morning, and dehydration isn’t fun. 

I walked from the train station to the nearest supermarket and looked at all the ice creams on offer. Then I remembered that I no longer carry my spoon with me.

It’s been years since I had opportunity to use it… That was extraordinarily upsetting. I don’t know how I let such an integral part of my identity slide so far without even realising it.

In the end, I bought a packet of mini-milks. They have wooden sticks and taste like walking home from school as a little kid.

That was an adequate substitute, but I intend to find my spoon when I get back, and put it back in its rightful place in my purse.

πŸ™‚

On hurting people without meaning to

I’ve just been jolted out of an uneasy sleep in an uncomfortable aircraft seat by a food trolley. The absent minded trolley pusher rammed the trolley into my knee. I can only imagine it wasn’t intentional, so I can’t really be cross, even if it a) hurt, and b) woke me up. 

It seems like a good day for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

DB bashed me with my suitcase as he lifted it out of the car. The guy behind me at security bashed me with his tray while trying to juggle with it, his paperwork, a phone and his bag. A lady bashed me with her bag when she turned round waiting for boarding. 

I don’t much appreciate being bashed, yet none of those bashes were on purpose. No one set out to hurt me, they just did, without realising until afterwards, or in the case of the lady, not at all. And they all apologised (except the lady).

I wonder how many more times people will bash me before I get to my brother’s house. I wonder how many times it’ll take before I actually get cross with the basher.

I wonder how much I hurt people by mistake, just by living, just by going about my day. I wonder how many people I hurt without even realising it. Not just by wielding my suitcase carelessly, but also with my words, my choices, my actions. I wonder how many of those people never say anything, how many wait until they’re really mad at the world in general to snap and say something, or yell something.

On therapy

The first session starts in 14 minutes.

I feel totally unprepared, but I hope it won’t matter.

I am also quite sweaty, which is worse than unprepared. The 18 degrees they promised us this morning when I put jeans on, have turned into at least 25, probably closer to 28, and the leisurely walk  I meant to have via the bank to the station, turned into a rush to get there before being late, and included locking my card because I couldn’t remember the pin number.

The reason I was rushing in the first place, is that I couldn’t work out how to get the printer to print my health and illness history onto a single page of A4 (or 2) as opposed to spread over 9.
Theoretically, I could have written it on paper, by hand. Or into word, where I can see the edges of the paper. Instead, I wanted to use excel. Theoretically, even that would have been a good idea, if properly executed. Which it wasn’t.

Instead, it was fussed over, in tremendous detail, until I realised I had to leave a couple of minutes ago, then rushed, without formatting or spellchecking, to get it at least printed, in whatever form possible. 

I am trying, by way of writing this out, to bring myself back out of panic mode, and into, ‘try and get a grip’ mode.

If not quite succeeding counts as preparation for therapy, then I guess I am prepared after all….
Wish me luck, or good questions, or whatever you feel is appropriate…

On the eve of a new year

Hello people πŸ™‚ I hope all your Christmases were fantastic, and wish you a brilliant last night of 2016, whatever you choose to do with it.

I’ve just got back to Berlin and am already at the second ‘party’ of the evening so I’m going to put my phone away and be marginally sociable…

I’ll leave you with a picture of a tree we drove past this morning:

Isn’t it pretty?!

The whole world was white for most of the way across Germany

On the news

“The news” (as a whole) keeps telling me that scary things are happening in the world at the moment. I’m not too keen on scary things so I plucked up lots of courage as I walked past the newspaper salesman and risked a passing glance at the headlines on my way to the station. According to the main local paper, someone has found something poisonous on a bus in Berlin.

It seems “the news” was right. That’s pretty scary. I hope whoever found the poisonous thing is ok and won’t need too much therapy/anti-poison-medication.

On firsts

Today was a day of firsts.

Not only did I drive the best part of 600km across Germany, I also ate at a restaurant by myself :).

In addition, there were a whole heap of smaller and/or tiny firsts, including mending/editing the directory of the work’s computer to get it to recognise the user profile, diluting antifreeze for my windscreen wiper water, buying my first own iced coffees in a supermarket (I’ve only ever drunk/stolen DBs’ up to now), poking the button on a car park machine to provide me with a ticket and make the barrier go up (had to back up and try again to be anywhere near close enough to reach it! ;)), unwrapping and eating toffees while driving, changing the radio station while driving, driving on a motorway in the rain, overtaking 3 lorries at once (admittedly not in the rain), driving at 160-170kph (for more than a few seconds), driving through an 8km tunnel, navigating the million traffic cones in a roadworks-labyrinth in the dark, driving in a pedestrian precinct (by mistake), not finishing a meal in a restaurant..

The pedestrian precinct by day. This is where I found the way out πŸ™‚

I am now incredibly proud of myself, and even more incredibly sleepy.

πŸ™‚

πŸ™‚

πŸ™‚

Good night all.

πŸ™‚ zzzzzzzzz

On driving across Berlin with a fridge

While it wasn’t nearly as cool as hitchhiking round Ireland with one’s miniature fridge, I’d argue that driving accross Berlin during rush hour with a nearly-full-sized fridge on the folded down back seats of your car is slightly more nerve wracking, especially if it’s dark, drizzling, and the rear windscreen wiper doesn’t clean the top third of the window and the fridge covers the bottom half. Even more especially if you usually park under a lime tree and the entire car, but most notably the mirrors and windows, are slightly sticky, dusted in yellow grit and decorated with bird poo.

The fridge, the car and I all made it back in our respective one pieces* and that was the end of another educational day.
*as in, ‘got back in one piece’, except there were three of us. Not to be confused with onesies. There is no way I am going to dress either my car or my fridge in a onesie. The chances of me wearing one myself aren’t much greater.

On one-upmanship

My dad’s arms are this big!

My dad’s are much bigger – and stronger..

Mine’s been training; working out and everything.

Mine’s been training for 10 years – chin-ups every morning before work.

Mine’s got legs like trees

Mine doesn’t bother about his legs – he says no one can see them in the club. He’s got the strongest arms though.

etc etc etc

round and round in circles

***

I know it’s a thing, because it happens in loads of books featuring kids on playgrounds, but until half an hour ago, I don’t remember ever hearing anyone showing off with their respective dads’ strength for real, especially never amongst 20(ish) year olds…

On saving the world, a pint at a time

This morning started the same way most mornings do – in a bid to stay in bed and pretend the world wasn’t actually expecting me to get up and be useful.

I spent longer than I meant to looking for the paperwork I needed to take with me, which resulted in missing the train I originally wanted to catch and in turn having to wait almost 10 minutes for the next one. On the plus side, I got to the final-station without missing any stops and so having to go back (that happens more often than I want to admit.. especially when I’m reading ;)).

So anyway. All was as it usually is. Nothing told me it was going to be a special, heroic, Jesska-saves-the-world sort of day.

When I reached my station, I walked along the platform to the steps…

-sniff-

-sniffsniff-

-sniff-

…smoke.

Not the sort of smoke that cigarettes or cigars produce, this was the sort of unwelcome plastic-bag-in-a-bonfire kind of smoke.

-sniff-

-sniffsniff-

The kind of smoke that makes the end of your nose wrinkly and your mouth go all scrunched up.

-sniff-

Ah! A dustbin on fire. Joyous.

Everyone else walked past it, either oblivious or unconcerned or busy or late or whatever causes people to not care about what’s going on around them.

I had no water on me, and nothing else in the way of fire-stopping material (odd that ;)) and there are no taps and no Security People at this station.

Now what?

On the one hand, I think the Fire Brigade have enough serious problems to deal with, without being called out to put out smoking dustbins on platforms.

On the other, I didn’t know who else to call*.

By this point I should have been at work already. I’d spent 9 unnecessary minutes waiting at the first station due to missing my train, and I was getting later and later with every thought about smoking bins. I very nearly went to work and ignored it, but there’s something in me that can’t do that.

When all else fails, find a baker.

Most train stations in Berlin (and a fairly high percentage in the rest of Germany) have at least one ‘resident’ bakery. I haven’t ever bought anything from this one, but I generally smile on my way past, or wish him a good “Feierabend” (literally: “Party-evening” = evening of not working = what’s left of the day when you finish work) depending on whether I’m coming or going. This morning, instead of smiling and walking past, I went in and asked him what he thought I/we should do about the burning dustbin. He just shrugged, which irritated me for a couple of seconds until I realised there wasn’t actually much he could suggest, restricted as he was to his 6mΒ² of shopfloor and oven full of half-baked breadrolls. Not to mention the steady stream of customers.

I asked him if he had a bucket, and if so if he could fill it with water so I could do my best firefighting act. He is a very obliging baker, even if he did look at me as if I was the strangest thing he’d seen all morning.

This is the closest he came to having a bucket:

As jugs go, this was a fairly big one. As buckets go…. well… *sighs*

Naja.

Neither beggers nor Jesskas can be choosers when it comes to buckets, so I thanked him and made my way back down to the platform.

A couple of trips up and down the steps later, and the bin had stopped smouldering and was now standing in a puddle.

I gave the baker his jug back, wished him a good day and started out in the direction of my workshop.

A few metres up the road (where the lift is) I saw this:

A brand new, shiny, dustbin, presumably meant as a replacement for the one that had been on fire.

Someone must have phoned the train company (something I hadn’t thought of doing… :S).

***

When I came home this evening, none of the bins had been replaced. I feel almost heroic πŸ™‚

πŸ™‚

πŸ™‚

 

 

* Ghostbusters didn’t seem right either…

On a platform strewn with confetti hearts

20160610_201037.jpgI missed what happened, I just saw the aftermath – a million (more or less) shiny red hearts.

I don’t know why they were there, but it made an otherwise unmemorable platform a little bit more special.

Do people get engaged on platforms of busy stations?
Married?
Set off on their honeymoon?
Are some people met by confetti throwers when they get back from wherever they’ve been?

I have no idea, but I hope each of those hearts – and there were a lot – stands for a handful of special moments for whoever was involved.