Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Good things come in threes. Or possibly fours

Good Thing Number One: the return of the sorely-neglected purple cardigan! The second sleeve's done, and I've joined both to the body (dunce that I am, I really couldn't visualise how that bit would work. In fact, I'm not entirely sure even now that it's done). It's actually finally starting to look like a cardigan, rather than an ungainly mass of wool with Lebensraum ambitions, and now that the end is in sight my enthusiasm's been upped accordingly. I even had it all stashed away (the cardigan, that is, not my enthusiasm) in a bag for some S-Bahn knitting, but that never quite got off the ground, because checking my postbox on the way out what
should I find but...
Good Thing Number Two! Or maybe that should be Numbers Two and Three, because in a fit of indecisiveness I ordered both of these at the weekend. They arrived just in time, as I can now jilt my stupendously ineffective oven (I'm pretty sure I could warm food more quickly by breathing on it) in favour of my wok. My earlier comment was slightly misleading, though - the books weren't actually in my postbox; I had one of those "while you were out..." cards instead. So, obedient instruction-follower that I am (must come from adhering to knitting patterns so diligently...), I trundled off to my nearest collection point, which, the card informed me, was at 71 Manteufelstrasse. What it neglected to inform me was that 71 Manteufelstrasse was in fact an off-license. Undaunted, I had a hopeful wander round, just in case a pile of parcels was lurking behind the East European beer section, but nope, it really was just an off-license. I headed despondently into the carpark, where I stumbled upon...

Never underestimate my ability to overlook large, bright yellow things

These things are amazing! They scan the barcode on your "while you were out" card, you sign the screen with your finger (oddly satisfying), and then one of the compartments in the grey cupboard-y bit slides open, revealing - ta daa! - your parcel. Why don't they have them everywhere? I mean, if you're going to put them in off-license car parks you may as well go the whole hog and have them outside, say, post offices. Just a thought. Anyway, the whole experience was sufficiently exciting to count as Good Thing Number Four, or at the very least Number Three and a Half.

As for the final Good Thing of the day - and this will appeal to an even narrower audience than the Amazing Yellow Parcel Retriever - I've found some really good value language courses at the TU! I won't be able to start till January, but I'm going to go along for a test next week so they can sort me into a group. Hopefully it'll be a bit more rigorous than the procedure at the Humboldt, where they accidentally put me in a class alongside German teachers. (I lasted precisely one and a half days. Perseverance is severely overrated.)

ETA: I've just realised that today marks the end of my first month in Berlin! So, as a mini-overview of my time here so far, I present:

number of places lived in:
four

number of sights seen, museums visited, and tourist attractions generally patronised: none (unless the zoo counts? What a culture vulture I am)

number of new words learnt: erm, about five. I should probably try upping that rate a bit, I suppose...

number of times said "einmal Laugenbretzel, bitte": enormous, shame-inducing number

things I miss most about Britain: Sainsbury's; skimmed milk; my kitchen equipment; supermarkets which deign to open more than two tills at busy periods; wooden spoons (have you ever seen a German wooden spoon? They're weedy, half-formed, eminently snappable things! I've been cooking with salad servers); toast; Marks & Spencers lingerie department

things I miss least: the weather; public transport; the conspicuous lack of excitingly yellow parcel-retrieval machines

And just to prove that I have left the flat at least once: (click for a version you can see without the need for a magnifying glass)

The Berlin Aquarium (right and left), and on the steps of the Franzรถsischer Dom (centre)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I will start a petition to introduce those parcel machines in Britain

The Wooz