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that's what jazz is for me

Aug. 27th, 2013

08:50 pm - home sweet home

here are good things:
1. my request to defer my acceptance to phd school was okayed, i have another year to save up monies and reconsider, i am relieved and delighted.
2. in the meantime, i'm going to take an undergraduate math class on monday nights
3. and i think i'm sending myself back to kickboxing? maybe brazilian jiu-jitsu? because i told adam that i want to have an afterwork learning time and an afterwork sporting time.
4. oh man, today at work i found a briefing note from january 2012 in which somebody called someone else completely incompetent and this is just not done in government, i don't know who wrote this but right on. it was so magical that i printed off a copy to show my colleague and she was aghast because of the content and also because the note claimed to be for a deputy minister meeting but, in addition to being contentious, it was quite poorly written, oh man.
5. we're moving on saturday, i am so excited so excited, i have hated this apartment so much.

Current Mood: the adverts - 'bored teenagers'

Aug. 21st, 2013

06:40 pm - who'll be my role model...

1. skyped with former roommate max tonight and on monday. max is worried that his fellow students will think he is a german stereotype while he's on his semester abroad in scotland, he means the german stereotype of being a serious/no-sense-of-humour dude and i did not have the heart to tell him that this is not the main german stereotype1. the point is that max is reading joke websites to practice telling english jokes but they are all the worst/best puns and dad jokes and i kept laughing but also saying DO NOT TELL THAT ONE but oh man, he is going to rock this. he is also reading harry potter to be able to discuss british literature, max is the best.

2. max asked how i ended up in the government again since i moved to germany to get away from the government, and i know i know i know; we blamed capitalism. my job so far seems kinda like a better version of every other government job i've had: a group of super dedicated workers, management seems surprisingly strong AND supportive, and there is a whole lot of work getting done; but, it's still government and ultimately i am not sure if this is for me. it's not bad, though, and i don't know what else to do.

1i said this to adam and adam said that being a serious/no-sense-of-humour dude is definitely the most well-known german stereotype and i disagreed because: nazis, ostis, techno maniac, pervert nerd, come on dudes DIETER FROM SPROCKETS. adam got the last word by saying that dieter was the definitive serious/no-sense-of-humour dude, so, okay.

Current Music: paul simon - 'i know what i know'

Jul. 10th, 2013

06:26 pm - no free lunch OR money talks OR not all dreams can come true OR at least i would work with emily

the best thing about today's interview was the free lunch but the second best part was being told that i might get hired in part because clients have complained that this office doesn't seem to hire women outside of admin positions.

in related news, i might not get to be a phd student in september, i might get to be a yuppie.

Current Music: greg macpherson - 'good times'

Jun. 17th, 2013

08:34 pm - we've since seen things that we thought then impossible

1. adam never told his sisters that we got married last month, he wanted them to think we will get married in august, they were understandably mad when someone spilled the beans on saturday. adam's aunt deb seemed pretty pleased, though, she told me that she didn't tell anyone that she was married for three years. she kept snickering and repeating 'it's nobody's goddamned business'.

2. adam's uncle paul told us very seriously that we need to follow our dreams, but i am pretty sure that is terrible advice to give anybody.

Current Music: matthew maaskant - 'you only dream to test me'

Apr. 12th, 2013

09:50 pm - is the billy bragg show in toronto sold out?

1. last 72 hours in town. today: closed my bank account, notarised copies of my diploma, finally mailed this dumb box of stuff that doesn't fit in my suitcase, confirmed the time for my phd candidate interview (over skype !), ate sweet potato pizza, confirmed last meeting-everybody times. i really like berlin. i would like to live here again, but i would also like to live in edinburgh, maybe living in toronto will be great too.

2. came back from the north sea by train yesterday. when i left berlin for the coast, i had a persistent patch of icky dried skin on my thumbs, a really gross rash on my right hand that f side-eyed me for googling ("why is rash on my hand?") (the answers were not very helpful), a maybe swollen thyroid. one week later, i am cured, even the rash, EVEN THE RASH, which let's be honest started back in january when i was stressed about my thesis and i thought it was never going to go away. f's hometown is one of the traditional spa destination towns, there is still a swanky spa somewhere, but breathing the clean air is free, looking at the sea is free, wandering around cute little towns eating cute little brezeln costs €0,90. we went to the beach, to the wind turbine factory, to the town's jewish museum (there are currently zero jewish people listed in the census for the entire district, f's village priest was the volunteer who led us around the museum and he was lovely, the museum itself was grim), we oooohed and ahhhhhhhhhed in the rescued sea lion centre (for injured or abandoned seals, sea lions and walruses!! this is not a zoo, the animals are not performers, they are at a tiny chic recovery centre!). i really like the north sea.

Current Music: billy bragg - 'shirley'

Mar. 24th, 2013

12:17 pm - hi livejournal

1. so my final assignment as a research assistant to a prof is to write the first draft of her poster for a conference, without instructions regarding the audience or necessary content, the prof just sent me a link to her website and my questions re: her expectations went unanswered, only the deadline is certain and that is tomorrow. so adam gave me Professional Writer advice and i have googled How To Make a Social Science Conference Poster for ideas and i guess that this is academia.

2. my other job is even more of a gong show, i'm copy-editing for a marketing company, my boss called me 'too pedantic' last thursday and this was fantastic for a number of reasons including: he is already dieter-esque but can you imagine dieter calling your copy 'too pedantic' and, as a follow-up question, how would you ever stop laughing?

3. turns out that getting a masters in economics has not made me any more or less employable, i am just more prone to wincing when i read or watch david cameron's speeches, more critical of economists in general, i am actually still a huge fan of taxes, and yes i would love to explain why increasing public funding into higher education (and training!) is a valuable investment which will benefit the entire country, in other words i am maybe more or less insufferable.

Current Music: lee reed - 'big spender'

Feb. 6th, 2013

09:48 pm - only into it if if it is french-canadian folk music or andrew wk

1. josie bought my ticket tonight, my computer crashed while trying to book my ticket and we didn't want to miss the seat sale, we are going to dublin from march 1-4. in addition to writing our theses side-by-side in the library, we are working at a ridiculous internet startup together, we never received any job training and we do not have a sense of direction regarding our job's purpose or understand what our german coworkers are saying to us, but we are getting paid €11 an hour, which is quite a lot in berlin where there is no minimum wage and, to give context, my entire monthly expenses (inclduing rent! INCLUDING RENT) are less than €500. the point is, we are stressed about school and what comes after school, and we are making monies at a job that might just be an industrial psychology experiment in dysfunctional workplaces, and we are looking forward to spending a small portion of our monies on greasy potatoes and maybe a hike to a castle.

2. adam bought my ticket, i don't have a credit card and he loves me, i am flying back to toronto, via copenhagen and reykjavik, on april 15.

Current Music: les cowboys fringants - 'awikatchikaën'

Nov. 23rd, 2012

11:44 pm - dear livejournal,

1. applying to phd programmes. this is hard and i don't know what i'm doing.
2. writing my thesis. this is hard and i feel pretty great about what i'm doing.
3. my boss offered to extend my contract as a research assistant. this is good because it means that i will not run out of money in march, as i suspected that i might, and it is great because the prof thinks i'm worth keeping on, but it's a mixed bag because it means that i'll stay in berlin until mid-april instead of mid-march.
4. also, this is an issue because the dude whose room i'm subletting is coming back april 1.
5. so, i asked my friend f if i could stay with her for two weeks, and she was enthusiastic.
6. then my flatmates said that moving is silly, i could just keep staying here (here being the apartment, i would probably camp out in the living room). to be determined, but options are nice.
7. getting a cold, drinking three litres of sage tea per day. what is up with germans adding sage to everything, this is amazing. it almost makes up for how i can't just buy neo-citran or generic-citran or nyquil or anything i expected to buy for my cold, because germany frowns on many things which i never considered as frown-worthy before moving here, but maybe they have a point (see further: germany's ban on antiperspirant, most of youtube is blocked, there's talk of banning bubble tea because tapioca balls are questionable). sage tea, sage throat lozenges and sage-smelling dish soap are still pretty great, though.

Current Music: barry louis polisar - 'all i want is you'

Oct. 17th, 2012

09:38 pm - had another dream about a song, had a dream that you died, had a dream that we fought about a movie

1. got a letter from the government today, opened it and read and it said that i am officially recognised as a thesis-writing student, i am expected to complete my studies this spring, i am expected to succeed.

2. taking a 10-week intensive german course, mon-thur, and it is way hard. my housemates have been helping me with my homework, in between making fun of my homework and teasing me for not having learned very much german during the past year. maybe we will be back in germany next year, maybe not, but i doubt that i will ever regret trying to learn.

Current Music: the mr t experience - 'naomi'

Sep. 27th, 2012

07:31 pm - she's smart for a woman, i wonder how she got that way

1. thought i had bedbugs! every fall i think that i have bedbugs and every fall i remember that i get hives on a fairly predictable schedule. this time, the bedbugs theory seemed more plausible since i had slept in six different beds over a ten day period, three of those beds were in my own place while we shuffled around sarah&nick, max's girlfriend& a guest, plus stephan's grandparents, along with beds in prague and hannover and a pre-hannover sleepover. i don't seem to have bedbugs; i still seem to be allergic to autumn.

2. my thesis is underway. and by that, i mean that i have secured two supervisors and my proposal has been approved and i have read more than the titles of a few papers. the first supervisor is my favourite professor, he is the loveliest, and the second supervisor was a prof i didn't know, and he is maybe great and/or completely bonkers. i met the second guy this morning after exchanging emails yesterday afternoon, he is (a) very enthusiastic about my topic, (b) passionately dedicated to studying class conflict, and (c) confident that i can succeed despite my concerns that i am maybe not really an economist. we talked about how i may have to redefine success if i have trouble finding enough current data in one of the subheadings, though, meaning that i might need to decide that the conclusion is Increasing Tuitions: Bad for Human Capital Reasons, although i hate the term 'human capital' and also this is pretty much just a high-falutin' way of saying Limiting Education Opportunities: Bad Economics, which is a very obvious and kind of bland conclusion, especially when what i really want to say is Why Is Britain Trying to Stop Me from Getting a PhD: I HATE YOU BRITAIN.

dudes, tuition is set to triple from this year to next year in britain. tuition is still fairly recent development for britain and so their bursury & loan system is wacky, and by wacky i mean really gross. this is a separate issue from how i am pretty sure that phd programmes should not have any tuition; students should be paid as researchers and not be required to pay for the privilege of providing high-quality reports and acting as low-paid teachers. oh, plus i found two great programmes for me, one in england and one in scotland, so this affects me, i am so full of eye rolls both for the british tertiary education system and for myself.

3. assorted brags: i had a dinner party on sunday and it was maybe a success; with one grade still outstanding but unofficially known, it appears that all my marks from last semester are all A+s, meaning that maybe i can be more confident about looking at phd stuff; adam keeps coming up with really great and adorable wedding ideas.

Current Music: parliament - 'i wanna testify'

Sep. 18th, 2012

08:02 pm - tonight the streets are ours

1. sarah and nick came to visit me in berlin; they were fantastic guests. we did tourist stuff, we hung around the flat and drank tea, it was a great visit. they both adored my flatmates, to the point where we had an actual conversation consisting of which do we like best, and the answer is both are the best.

sarah teased me about this last point. the first few days of living here, i'd reported back to her that what i liked best about max and stephan is their independence. we were on friendly terms but mostly doing our own thing, no stress. except, after two and a half weeks, now i think they're both the greatests and want them to like me the most and we are already making inside jokes and this is the exact opposite of having a pleasant-but-distant relationship. why would i not want to be friends with people who are enthusiastic and full of information and we are getting pretty good at pulling off some excellent meals between the three of us.

2. tagged along with nick and sarah to prague for four days and loved everything about that place. i don't know why we each had kinda low expectations of prague? it seemed like it would be nice enough, we knew about the pretty castles and the messy history and everything, but dudes prague deserves all of the hype. the most surprising part was the size of the city, which is maybe a reflection of how little i knew about prague, that place is huge and chock full of everyting.

sarah and i celebrated rosh hashana together, we held a tashlit service over the vltava river, we tried to find the statue of the golem but we only found a bunch of vicious-looking knights.

3. i might be sleeping over at c's tonight and going to hannover with her and her flatmate first thing tomorrow morning, or her flatmate might be kind of bonkers (she is kind of bonkers) and so c and i might just be having a sleepover. to be determined. i haven't had a sleepover in years? no wait, c and i had a sleepover when we were writing a paper together first semester? nevermind?

Current Music: nina simone -'take me to the water'

Sep. 3rd, 2012

11:42 am - clash city rockers

good things:

1. i came home around midnight-thirty on saturday and the kitchen was a mess, completely gross. this was a huge relief! my sometimes-messiness is maybe not going to ruin everything! when i got up in the morning, stephan was cleaning up and i helped, and we talked about his date the night before. he confided that he is gay, which was the least surprising piece of information i have received in months, and we talked about the differences in union influence in canada and germany.

2. max cooked supper last night and i baked cookies and we watched max's favourite tv show, which is a german detective show that seems to have more in common with murder, she wrote than law & order. stephan translated the more confusing parts (i thought one character's mother was his girlfriend), and i learned that the verb 'bleiben' means 'to stay' and not, as i had thought, 'to believe'.

3. max's girlfriend stayed the weekend and she is very sweet and a bit nervous around me. max got a package of anarchist vegan books today and he was SO EXCITED and showed them all to me over breakfast. max told me that you can't have a revolution with people who are on drugs and i never stopped laughing.

Current Music: the beta band - 'needles in my eyes'

Sep. 1st, 2012

11:23 pm - a good beginning

1. patrick and anna-lynn helped me move yesterday, and then matthias teased me last night for deciding that i needed three people to move my stuff: one suitcase, two backpacker-type backpacks, adam's guitar and three grocery bags of kitchen stuff (mostly tea). i would have asked more people, except christina is on vacation in turkey, franziska is at her parents', and i guess i knew that i only needed one person to drive and one person to eat a falafel with me.

the highlight of the move was when we got lost on the way and patrick laughed so hard that he almost exploded.

2. at matthias' last night: leif asked how the gentrification is going, but i live in the other part of the district, the part that has really cheap tahini in the corner smoke shop and no banks and seems to be populated only by crusty 40-year old punks and not-crusty immigrants. leif asked me if i felt safe here at night and i said that i didn't know, i had never been here at night, but anna-lynn interrupted to say i'd be fine. as usual, anna-lynn was right; i was completely fine walking home from the s-bahn. the berlin definition of a rough neighbourhood and the toronto definition of a rough neighbourhood are not very similar.

Current Music: glen campbell - 'don't it make you want to go home'

Aug. 23rd, 2012

01:42 am - oh my heart oh my heart oh my heart

1. rosalie didn't like warsaw at first, but i did.
2. we both loved krakow. we loved everything about krakow: the smallest church in the middle of the square, the dragon myths, the tour guy who told really great stories and who loved his city and knew about so much, the sad parts, the terribly tragic parts, nobody was playing chopin anywhere, the pierogi festival, etc. we loved all of it.
3. then we ended up back in warsaw to switch trains to berlin and we had SO MUCH FUN in three hours and everyone we met was the greatest person ever. also, we couldn't get a reservation for the last train of the day so the train station people just told us to sit in the dining car, but they told this to a bunch of people so the train was massively overbooked. also, the train stopped unexpectedly for two hours in frankfurt am oder, and the german police came through twice, and we still don't understand that part. anyway, rose and i played haiku games and eventually the main dude in the dining car snuck us into the first class section because he liked my boots and we were so sleepy.
4. wedding planning with adam via skype, telling adam all of my best jokes via skype, adam is still the best at jokes.
5. i learned a new word today: bershon; "a facial expression of distaste, disdain, sulkiness, exasperation, or all four simultaneously." this is important!
6. no, we're not having an engagement party, those are boring. ugh, a wedding shower, what?? of course not! also, the questions about babies. also, adam's mother invited all of her friends while at a wake last weekend and she's mad about having to uninvite them because we don't know any of these people. i am viewing it from the point of view that adam's mother is so excited that she was literally taking over someone else's funeral to brag about us.

Current Music: r.e.m. - 'überlin'

Aug. 5th, 2012

11:16 am - adventure time

it's adam's last full day in berlin. we've spent the past week having adventures, having laughs, getting engaged, swimming in krumme lanke, etc.

he's packing right now and i can't watch, so i'm hiding in the kitchen.

Current Music: the ronettes - 'be my baby'

Jun. 30th, 2012

10:25 am - blurring the lines between real and the fake

1. this is the video to watch while writing a paper on the economic impact of volunteers:

the shrug at "everybody knows it, it's a fact" at 3:06, the uptalking not-excited voice saying "do you think he'll buy me lots of die-a-MONDS?", eyerolls all over the place at money and the american dream. i like simple messages, okay.

2. end of the semester party last night. adam met my thesis supervisor; i love all of my classmates who said that adam needed to come too because he's a part of the group; c and me were told that one of our classmates expected to hate us (we are kind of loud, maybe?) but instead she's been envious of us, how we've been laughing at each others' jokes all year, how we always seem to be laughing; we haven't always been laughing but it is very nice to be remembered this way; gave side-eyes to my professor who keeps pushing for me to do my phd at soas, it's flattering but i can't afford it, he asked whether i meant the tuition or living in london and obviously the answer is both, i can afford berlin and berlin-type costs only; maybe i could just stay in berlin. exams and papers to go and then thesis-ing beginning in october, it's going to be weird not sitting in a classroom for a while. everything about this programme has been the best.

3. a thing that i have been saying all week to c: redefine success; develop a definition of success that looks like something you actually want to achieve.

4. had a dream last night in which a classmate confessed to breaking my mug. woke up this morning and couldn't remember if it was real; my mug really is broken, but the most likely suspect is still adam.

Current Music: CCR - 'have you ever seen the rain'

Jun. 27th, 2012

09:32 pm - don't cry about it, don't cry about it

1. on sunday, i applied for a research job at my school. this morning, the prof called to set up an interview for this afternoon.

2. met with my favourite professor at noon and he agreed to supervise my thesis. this is very exciting! his main area of research is class mobility, specifically barriers to class mobility, and this is the thing i want to research, specifically how the costs of education are limiting class mobility. he was very excited and bought me some tea and we talked for an hour and he gave me two papers to read and i was very excited.

3. while we were meeting, this professor told me that he knows very little about canada, although he visited once in 1982. his ex-wife's uncle had a place on vancouver island, he chose that particular place because it reminded him of his childhood home in the black forest, he chose to move to canada because he had been a prisoner of war, he'd been held by the canadian military and he had been so amazed by how well he'd been treated by canadians that he resolved to move to canada. IS THIS STORY NOT BANANAS I THINK IT IS BANANAS.

4. after the meeting, on to the interview. turns out this other professor wants help researching and editing a paper on a subject i'm interested in. we talked and talked and she told me that she wants to hire me but has to interview at least one more person to make this a fair interview process. she said she'll call me tomorrow either way.

5. came home to an email from the interviewing prof who asked me to get all of my tax card info together for tomorrow, along with a question about my preferred start date, plus a reminder that she still can't promise me the job until tomorrow afternoon. ummmmmm.

6.i'm moving to neukölln in september, adam bought me ä new cömpüter to replace the broken one, i made a pretty funny joke and two people laughed, chocolate pudding is cooling in the fridge.

Current Music: lana del rey - 'this is what makes us girls'

Jun. 18th, 2012

10:11 pm - transport is arranged

1. my laptop broke, the fan stopped working so it keeps overheating plus the monitor died. adam said he'd buy me a new laptop, after he offered to give me his ipad and i gave him stinkeyes because i'm not writing my thesis on an ipad or on my phone. i'm not being fancy, i'm just saying. also, my tax refund is missing, also where am i going to live in september, also why are all of my papers due in three weeks.

2. baby ducks. non-baby ducks too.

3. school is my favourite, my friends are my favourite, adam got his tax refund last week even though i mailed our junk in the very same envelope which at least means my stuff arrived in ottawa.

Current Music: the replacements - 'my favorite thing'

Jun. 3rd, 2012

06:01 pm - your rent is a social construct

1. germans are so organised that they househunt 3-4 months in advance; so, i'm apartment hunting now for september. it's rough because my german vocabulary is insufficient, because i'm worrying about money, because i don't really want to move away from this very wonderful neighbourhood. simultaneously, it's fun because i love new adventures, i love so many neighbourhoods in berlin, and because people want to live with me and i like feeling like a preferred option. i may have found a sublet in wedding, or i might be moving to schöneberg with C's boyfriend (this afternoon i baked us some chocolate peanut butter cookies and he told me that he is learning how to vegan-cook for me), i will probably not be moving into the place i'm checking out on tuesday not too far from here, i will definitely not be moving into the place i saw this morning because it was Not Good.

2. adam is looking for a place in toronto and is stressed because his rent will be, at the very least, 250% of my berlin rent and he may end up living in a garbage bin. m pointed out that most people in toronto make more money than most people in berlin, he assumed that we were making more than 2.5 times the amount of money when we lived in toronto compared to what we are earning here, and while the first part is true the second part is more questionable because we are making exactly zero money here in berlin.

2a. every city we investigate costs more than berlin, we're looking at rent and food and transit costs, but adam is sick of not speaking german and has said that he would even prefer england to living here again. so, okay, i'm looking at bristol and manchester, and adam is still cheering for stockholm, and maybe he wants to live in london, but dudes, i am okay with speaking my terrible german since it means that we can live off such a small amount of money. this is the trade-off: we have no money but we don't really need money; we don't want to work and we don't need to work.

3. stop the presses, i have neon pink and green nails.

Current Music: pj harvey - 'let england shake'

May. 1st, 2012

12:03 pm - and my follow up question is 'what about kanye'

1. berlin is so organised that the riots run on a schedule, and there's a doozy planned for tonight. every year on may day, starting at 6pm, i have been told by germans to get off the street because there will probably be a lot of car fires (in kreuzberg) and clashed with police (everywhere). there were eight police vans in front of mauerpark yesterday afternoon, with officers standing around and checking IDs, so i took my passport with me last night when i went to my classmate's party on the other side of town. so, anyhoo, i will be going to a may day party in tempelhof, but leaving with enough time to get home by 6pm.

2. carolyn vs was in town last week and we did all of the touristy stuff that i had wanted to do and she wanted to do but adam hates doing. we went on two walking tours of the city and i got to show off my favourite places to eat things and we hit up two of the flea markets, etc.

3. i went for a walk along the spree with my buddy g on sunday, followed by a walk through the tiergarten and on through to museum island and then we sat around and had a lazy snack in hackescher markt. i spent two thirds of the walk commenting on how lucky we are to have lives like this, i was really tired and maybe kinda boring but g laughed at my jokes and yesterday she credited a joke to me that i didn't remember making. we have both been looking at phd ideas, including some of the same programmes, but we have the same stresses about money and why would anyone even want a phd.

Current Music: paul simon - 'i know what i know'

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