More owls… and pigeons… and peacocks!

And more sightseeing.

I took a bus to Harcourt Arboretum. It’s not that far, 30 minutes. But the bus. Didn’t. Come. Just when I made my way back to the city centre, it finally rolled down the street and I had to run back to still catch it. Anyway, it took me to this beautiful park.

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A reminder of Australia. This is a sign! I shall go back!

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By now you may have noticed the peacocks. Well, while I was exploring this log a peacock sneaked up on me and started exploring MY things. It started picking on my bag and I was rather scared it would pick on the camera. Luckily it didn’t! However, I was banned to this log for a little while. (You can see me watching the peacock approach from behind!)

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And I found another owl… It HAD to be done: Owl-Selfie!

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When I made my way home I was 10 minutes early for the bus. But – you might have guessed – it didn’t come. 5 minutes passed, 10 minutes, 15, 20, 25!!! I was already considering taking the 1,5 h walk back to the city centre, when it FINALLY turned up.

Next stop on my to-do list: go back to the Pitts River Museum. It inspired me for some lovely stories I might write…

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Shrunken head… uaaah…

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These are called “worry dolls”. You put them under your pillow and they take all your worries away.
I like the idea, however, the guide was rather suspicious of them.

I also finally managed to have a closer look around Bodleian and Radcliffe Camera.

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Divinity School

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We went to the Creative Writing Showcase, where the students from last year presented their work. We will have our own showcase next year, so it was interesting to check out what awaits us.

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And I finally had some time to bake again: Apple crumble cheesecake. Mhhh..

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A few days ago I felt very restless so I just went for a walk around the city and the University Parks. The weather was changing between sunny and cloudy and rainy (as usual). I was listening to the Lord of the Rings audiobook. All together, this was such a nice experience. After all, Tolkien strolled along these parks himself…

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Yesterday I took a day trip to Winchester and visited a friend. She is soon moving back to Norway so this trip was just as overdue as it was really last minute. Winchester is a very remote, quiet and idyllic city. I had a lovely time there.

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We had some lunch in the sun outside of Winchester Cathedral before going inside. It is one of the largest cathedrals in England, with the greatest overall length of any Gothic cathedral in Europe. Also: Jane Austen was buried here!

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Some weird submarine equipment in the Cathedral… What’s that about?

We actually had to go to three different coffee houses to find some Scones. Come on, we’re in England! But we finally did find some in a very lovely shop. And my verdict: Yummmm! So now I even have an entry for Winchester in my (long-neglected) Scone-chart!

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We walked along a little river, which was so idyllic and quiet. It is amazing how peaceful it can be in a city. Charlotte spotted a little duck and she said “look, how cute, it’s a duck!” As it turned out, it was a dead pigeon. Swimming upside down in the stream. It then went on to haunt us. It was a horrific and yet somewhat comedic sight, and along our way it kept turning up. So now the pigeon joined the groups of owls and peacocks that kept following me around.

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For some reason I really liked this door knob…

There is a very nice College in Winchester, apparently an all-boys school. Although it was officially closed, we just walked in looking very determined and nobody stopped us. So we got to have a quick look around. Again, just like Harry Potter…

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This was hanging in the hallway. Needless to say, I took a picture. LEO!

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The city’s emblem. A lion and a unicorn!

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While the train ride to Winchester was really quick, and with my new rail card not even that expensive, the way back was rather annoying. I missed the last train straight to Oxford by a few seconds (I saw it driving off!). Then I had to take a train to Bersingstoke, to Reading, to Oxford – so already change twice. The train to Oxford was late which made me miss my connection and I had to walk all the way home. Although it’s about 30 minutes and it was late and dark, it wasn’t all too bad. I listened to LOTR again and walked briskly, which kept me warm as well.

All in all, it was a fantastic day trip and I had so much fun with Charlotte. We both laughed a lot which makes up for any annoying train rides!

But then this morning… the pigeon returned…

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WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Fun fact:

One third of Europe’s land area is covered by forest, although Britain is one of the least-wooded countries in the continent. No old-growths or true wildwoods remain in Britain. There are, however, ancient woodlands, defined as areas that have had continuous woodland cover since 1600.

Mysterious appearance of owls…

Time is running out. Make the most of it! That’s what I’m telling myself at the moment. Although I’m looking forward to going home (my actual home, Hamburg!), it is always sad to leave a beautiful place. And Oxford certainly is a beauty!

Writing this blog I realised there was so much that triggered my memory: mostly TV Shows and books, but also sweet memories from my childhood and my stay in Australia. This right now is really a time of nostalgia…

I’ve been sightseeing a lot lately. It’s a sightseeing marathon really. First, I visited a friend in London. After living in the UK for 7 months without seeing each other, we decided it was about time.

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I watched the show Mr. Selfridge, so I wanted to see the real thing.
People looked at me strangely for taking pictures of a door instead of buying things…

To continue with the TV Show themed London tour:

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And of course I had to go into the Disney shop!

Then I had lunch in the sun in front of the British Museum and afterwards strolled through the amazing building…

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I don’t know why they displayed an ancient toilet?

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Downton Abbey, anyone?

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IMG_5289 And this one reminded me (obviously) of Daryl Dixon (The Walking Dead).

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Some impressions of London:

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Hyde Park

Next, I went to Germany over the Easter Break and enjoyed some family time. Do you know that feeling of going into your old room and thinking “This is home”? I love it!

Home sweet home…

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Those who watch Hannibal will get this…

 When I came back I had to really get down to business and get my uni work done! I handed in my submissions last week on Thursday, which was the official last day of classes. For me that probably means my last day at uni forever. Strange feeling. Time flies.

This weekend I had two good friends from Australia visiting, who are honeymooning through Europe. We haven’t seen each other in 5 years and it was awesome to finally catch up! They brought me my favourite cookies in the world (which is not the only reason I was happy to see them… But still: thank you guys so much!) This reunion brought up so many pleasant memories of my times in Australia. I really miss my little island floating about down under. In my head I’m planning a visit, maybe this time to New Zealand… Of course only as an excuse to get a TimTam-milkshake at Gloria Jeans (do they have them in NZ?). Anyway, they’re to die for (Disney reference, get it?!).

IMG_4403Irene and me being happy with TimTams 🙂

 

I showed them around town and we went to see Hertford College, which triggered my craving for more Colleges.

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… and had a great dinner (Indian, followed by a gigantic – my favourite – waffle sundae! Mhhh).

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Albert, Irene and me!

When they left again (way too soon!), I decided to continue the sightseeing and went to see some colleges. I finally made it into Brasenose (remember, it was the first one I saw when I came to Oxford and I fell in love with it). Some of the colleges are surprisingly large! You think “Oh, that’s pretty, I’ll step inside” and then there are these enormous gardens and parks surrounded by fascinating architecture.

Brasenose College (Who of you can recall the reason why it’s named Brasenose?)

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This door looked awesome and, see, there was a sign, so I thought it meant I could go in. So I did. But then this man came running after me “You can’t go in there, miss!” Yeah, well. I like adventures! After that I deliberately wandered off in some of the colleges. IMG_5372

First owl (watch out for more…)

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I
t has been raining here for the past few weeks, so when it was finally sunny and summerish, everyone enjoyed the warmth outside…

Lincoln College

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Eternal door and coconut flower

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Wadham College

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Keble College (this one really surprised me, I thought it would be rather small…)

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I realised, I’ve been living in England for months now and never took the typical photo of a telephone booth… So here it is!

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Tadaaaa!

St. John’s College (this one also surprised me with its grand park grounds. And it’s always amazing how quiet it is in there, even though it’s right in the city centre.)

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I wonder where that door leads to…
I always find myself imagining little stories when I see things like that.

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Bleeding hearts. I “borrowed” some…

I went to the Museum of the History of Science, where many of the displays reminded me of the Golden Compass.

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Pink!

And also to the Natural History Museum. This looks amazing from the outside, which was already enough to excite me! Even after living in Oxford for quite a while now, I still enjoy the sandstone buildings so much.

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… another owl… keep that in mind for the next post! (It will follow in the next few days)

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Invasion of zombie animals & a reminder of my friends from Australia.

 Oh yeah, and I got my first article published in a newspaper! Amazing to see my own words in print!

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Bleeding hearts in my room & Mad Hatter Tea from the Alice in Wonderland Shop.

(Which leaves us with a great transition to this time’s fun fact:)

Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, was a real girl named Alice Liddell. She was the daughter
of the Dean at Christ Church, who was a friend of Charles Dodgson (A.K.A. Lewis Carroll),
who taught at the College. Dodgson spent much time with Alice and her family,
and immortalized her in his books.

Chirping of crickets

Oh my, it’s been so quiet here again. But your patience shall be generously rewarded! There are some great stories to tell and now you will read all about it!

Alright, alright, alright.

Before I left for my vacation I had another work group meeting with my lovely class mates and I was the host – yikes! I made some very yummy muffins and, understandably, they loved them. Because they were deliciously delicious Apple Coconut Muffins!IMG_3854

You can find the recipe here: http://iadorefood.com/recipes/apple-and-coconut-muffins/

Oh, and we also made good progress on our work of course.

Some days in February/March already felt like spring was coming…

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But most of the days were still glum. The day I left for my mini-vacation in Mallorca (of course), it was foggy, wet and cold in Oxford. So I was very glad when I arrived and saw this:

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I had a lovely time with my Mum. I didn’t expect the weather to be so nice, but we were able to sunbathe and let our bodies be charged up with sunny warmth.

One day we kidnapped a baby and then hiked up the Ermita de Betlem. Well, the baby part isn’t true, but it looks like it, doesn’t it? It was a nice tour, not too long, not too hot and offering very nice views.

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At our hotel Cap Vermell we made a new furry friend who was very trustful and didn’t want leave us again.

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 And followed us wherever we went….IMG_3959

We drove to Sóller, which is on the west coast of Mallorca. The drive was nice, we stopped in a mountain hotel for some lunch, which was a little awkward cause it was so quiet and we were the only ones. But the place was stunning.

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Port de Sóller itself felt like a ghost town. Of course, it’s off-season, but it really felt like a city of the dead. So we quickly left again. I guess in summer it can be nicethere – the pictures aren’t even bad – but when we were there it felt depressing.

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It is nice to have the feeling of “coming home” even when you’re on holiday. I love our little Spanish family in Canyamel.

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Remember the fog from the day I left Oxford? Well, I had to come back eventually and here it was again…

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Now, lets take a moment and have a little lesson about British weather. The difficulty with that is: there is no British weather. You can get any sort of climate and weather every day and usually you get more than one within an hour. So it would be foggy (see above) then it would be a beautiful sunset…

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… then there would be a sudden hailstorm
(I was wearing wellies and a coat, hence the awesome knee-wetness)…

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… then it would be summer!

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You get the idea…

For two weeks now I’m living according to Metabolic Balance. It is a health plan to enhance your metabolism and help you reach and maintain a healthy weight. According to your blood results you learn which foods are good for you individually. It evolves mainly around proteins and there are some very strict rules that you have to stick to (only eat every 5 hrs, each meal starts with a protein, …) There are four phases which help you accustom to the new lifestyle. It all gets easier with time. I can say: it works! And if you’re all thinking now: well, well, just another bloody diet! Hold your horses, because it’s not (only a diet)! 2 weeks in and I feel more energetic and less hungry! And I will prove to you how diverse and delicious this eating plan is. Just look at these awesome pictures of some of the meals I’ve cooked so far:

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Vanilla/cinnamon porridge with apple// salmon with herbs, asparagus, broccoli

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Goat’s cheese soup with cauliflower, courgette & mushrooms // chicken with avocado, mango & salad

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Chickpea salad & chickpea pancakes (!!!!) // salmon again with green sauce & veggies

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Egg omelet and rye pancake with strawberries & strawberry puree

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Chickpea pasta with spinach, mushrooms, paprika, papaya & piri piri!!! I never had chickpea pasta before but it was really good and it is much healthier than regular pasta!

I’ve been asked to write a guest post for Amelie kocht about my experience with Metabolic Balance in England. She has some really great recipes on her blog, so if you’re looking for inspiration for a healthy meal, head over to her blog and check it out! (Unfortunately it is only in German. I am thinking of creating a food blog as well with recipes for healthy (MB)-recipes and not so healthy ones, but just as delicious. What do you think? Go for LeoFood? 😉 )

For the past month we had a temporary new roommate. A German! She was lovely, and we had some fun times together. She worked at Oxford University and so she was able to take us into some of the colleges. We went to see Trinity, Balliol and Magdalen. Unfortunately, Brasenose was closed, but I will definitely go see it before I leave.

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Kristi stole my camera…

Trinity College: 

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Kristi, me, Morgan, Michelle

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Oh my God! A CAT!

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He/she was rather unimpressed…

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Easter feeling vs horror feeling

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We felt rebellious and walked on the grass, which is usually a privilege reserved for professors.

Balliol College:

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Interesting: Spring-flower Lawn… first plant listed: winter aconite…

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I was sitting in Dumbledore’s seat!!!

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We were having fun in the food hall, but then decided it would probably be more appropriate to be rather serious…

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Those who know me can probably guess, that didn’t last long.

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In my defense: we were almost dressed exactly the same. He WANTED me to do this!

 

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Magdalen College: (definitely one of my favourites now…)

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They have deer!

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It was a fun, sunny day with much laughter and when we got home we were all tired and happy. Our parents would be proud if they knew how much time we spent outdoors!

Last but not least: I finally went to the Ashmolean Museum this weekend with two friends. It is a great museum that offers many different fantastic exhibitions. We even took part in the kids’ challenge and had to sketch something in the museum. It was great fun! Did you know, that most of the museums in the UK are for free?

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Kind of weird to think there was (maybe still is?) a dead person inside…

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They had such lovely instruments, most of them Stradivaris.

Now, as usual, boys and girls, lets end with a fun fact (of the month):

Oxford’s Ashmolean Museum was the first museum in the world to be opened
to the public
when it was officially opened in 1683.

Tap, tap, tap…

… that’s all I seem to hear these days, for I’m writing like mad. I’m making great progress though on my story. Right now I’m focussing on a new one actually, which will be a novella. The research I’m doing for it is really interesting as well, but that’s all I have to say – no spoilers.

To prove how unexciting my life outside my “mind palace” is – yes, deliberate reference to Sherlock; just to remind those of you who haven’t seen it yet, to watch it already!!! – here is a picture of one of my most exciting encounters of the last days…

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A squirrel on campus on my way to class…

I came upon the UNICEF tap challenge. You can do some good by not touching your phone. From February 14 to 28, (2 days left!) the UNICEF Tap Project challenges the world to put down their phones. For every minute that you don’t use your phone, UNICEF’s sponsors will donate funding equivalent to one days worth of water for a child in need. I made it to 3,5 hours the other day – then I had to take a call. To take the challenge, go to tap.unicefusa.org using your mobile phone (obviously it only works on a mobile). It’s a really great idea and you can help so much with just this simple task of putting down your phone for a while.

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I finally tried to organise the bookmarks in my browser and came upon all these recipes I’ve saved over the years. Oh, I should also mention that the idea for the novella I’m working on came from a link I saved months ago as well. What do we learn from that? Our Mums were right all along: cleaning up can be really worth it. Going through the recipes, I decided I could start baking more and bring some joy to my belly and to my friends. So my first attempt was a Cinnamon Crumble Banana Bread and, oh boy (or oh banana?!), was that good!!! The first banana bread I’ve ever baked and ate –  and it was really yummy! If you want to treat yourself to something delicious and share it with your loved ones, this is perfect! (Unless your allergic against bananas, like one of my friends. In that case – just… don’t!)

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 Here’s the original recipe (I added some Brazil nuts):

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http://www.hungrycouplenyc.com/2014/01/cinnamon-streusel-banana-bread.html 

I also made some Strawberry-Brazil Nut-Muffins (you may recognise I’m nuts about those nuts… Too lame pun?), but they were massively overshadowed by their predecessor. Sorry, muffins. I’m sure to stay on track and bake again soon! (But no, this isn’t turning into a food blog… yet).

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Some Clotted Cream on top… mhhhh…

On Monday I had a telephone interview for a traineeship in Hamburg. I was really nervous about it, especially because I don’t like talking on the phone. I think it went rather well though. I had to do some exercises in 60 minutes, but that was actually quite fun. Let’s see what will come out of this.

Making plans for the future is both frightening and uplifting. Since I’m still struggling with feeling at home here, I look forward to moving on – wherever I will end up moving on to (although right now I lean strongly towards Hamburg again). But frightening as well, because there’s not much time left and so much to do. I wanted to travel the UK and see so many things and places and now I already feel like I’m out of time. Well, better improve my time management then and plan ahead.

In homage to my kind of regular visits to the gym (at Iffley Road), lets finish off this post with another fun fact:

Roger Bannister, a 25 year old medical student, was the first man to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. This feat was achieved in 1954 at the Iffley Road track in Oxford.
His time was 3mins 59.4 seconds.   

Bannister Record

That face tho… 

I took a Walk on the Wild Side…

So, in order to get my recent feelings of homesickness and sadness under control I have started to structure my days much more. With the storm ravaging Oxford, there’s not much motivation to do much at all. My days usually start with going to the gym in the morning and then in the afternoon I go to a café  to write. This has worked pretty well so far and I am making great progress with my major project. Although I have to do a lot of changes again. But there is still a lot of time until I actually have to hand it in. Because the story is set in Australia I have done some research on my second (third?) home again; since then my wanderlust has started tickling my wings again.

Actually, up until a few days ago I thought apart from the storm that Oxford was quite well off with the weather. Waking up and looking out into the garden proved me otherwise.

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Another attempt to get more active and energetic again was to get back to exploring Oxford. The weather was absolutely gorgeous yesterday. I believe it was the first real spring day. It was sunny and warm and I decided I should go see more of the pretty things in my city again. And it really helped me. I feel very happy today.

So I decided to walk up to Port Meadow. Checking Google maps it looked like a huge park, so a perfect destination for a sunny walk on a Sunday. Passing Magdalen Bridge I first realised how much Oxford IS affected by the storm and rain.

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This is usually the boat house to enter the punts and the park seen from Magdalen Bridge.

When I found the little trail next to the Thames I was really astonished at the scenery. There were signs of spring everywhere; the houseboats were so cute and lovely – they did remind me of the gypsies in His Dark Materials of course, probably Pullman was inspired by them as well?; the houses that are right next to the water are so lovely, I can actually imagine myself owning one of those and just hopping into my little canoe early in the morning with the mist still lingering over the surface…

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This tree had curly hair 🙂 

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Even the pigeons were enjoying the sun… 

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Definitely my favourite boat… Sherlock!! 

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When I found the entrance to the park, the first thing I saw: horses! Perfect!

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But then there was a huge puddle that blocked the way to enter the park. I talked to a very nice lady with two very cute dogs and she had the same problem. She decided to wet her shoes and just walk through. I suggested we could walk through barefoot. Well, her shoes remained on her feet – mine didn’t. Oh, it was like walking through pure ice. And because there were rough stones underneath I couldn’t even hurry through. But it was worth it and in the end my feet were much warmer than my hands…

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That’s where I had to walk through… brrr…

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The Nature Reserve reminded me a lot of Australia again.

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Standing next to the water was so peaceful. The sound of the waves against the stones filled the air, birds singing, dogs barking – the sound of spring!

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I cuddled with a horse on my way out of the park, which was where my shoes finally got muddy.

To finish this off nicely I met a friend for lunch at the Italian place Zizzi in George Street. Yummy!

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It was a very nice day, which now leaves me hopeful that summer is to come this year after all!

A fitting kind of nature-related fun fact about Oxford this time:

The name Oxford comes from the old term ‘Oxanforda‘ which literally meant a ford (shallow crossing) in the river where the cattle (Oxen) could cross safely.

Everyday impressions:

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The Sherlockian Mistery

When I returned to Oxford, there was a red note for me. A “something for you” card form the Royal Mail. Here in England you have the option to schedule a redelivery – free of charge. So I did that. It was supposed to come 2 days later, on a Saturday between 8 am and 6pm. I cuddled up on the sofa with some tea and a book for uni (The History of the World in 10 ½ Chapters – quite funny actually!) I waited, and waited, and waited. And waited a bit more. Nothing. So I called them again on Monday. I was told it would be quicker to just go and collect the parcel myself from my local Delivery Office. Well, this was about 5 miles away. I decided to combine this with a run. Through rain and storm I ran and ran, arriving with a red, hot face. Exhausted I put my red note on the desk, explaining the loss and the phone call. “Sorry, Miss, the system says the parcel was delivered on Saturday. We don’t have it.” Even though I ensured him I was home all day on that particular Saturday, he insisted the parcel was not to be found. Back at home I called the hotline again. Another Scottish person picked up – I could barely understand him. I scheduled another redelivery for Wednesday. Couch, tea, book; you get the idea. Parcel? Negative. At 4pm I called the hotline again and was told I should wait until 6pm. At 5:58pm I called them again. A woman picked up, she sounded rather annoyed that someone would dare to call her 2 minutes before her  shift ends. Mysteriously I got disconnected and when I tried to call back (it was after 6pm by then) I was told the hotline was not available anymore today. So, I wrote an angry email. I think at this point I should mention that I had no idea what this parcel would be. I didn’t know who could have sent it or what it could be. But this whole story was making me really excited about it. Sleepless nights, tired days. Who could it be, what would it be? A book? A bomb? A car? Well, anyway, on Thursday morning I called again. They weren’t even able to tell me where the parcel was right now. They said there was just one thing for me to do. Guess what: schedule a redelivery. So there was another day of staying on the couch planned: Saturday. On Friday I received an email that stated the parcel had finally been located and would definitely be delivered on Saturday. Well, once more I was hopeful. By now I thought, after I went through all this trouble for a parcel it must be something really awesome to be worth it. Like a cat, cause I really want to have a cat here. Believe it or not, but as I was curled up on the sofa, reading yet another book for uni (Notes on a Scandal – good as well so far!) there was a knock on the door and my “parcel” arrived. After all this running around, numerous phone calls and emails I expected a huge parcel – since it said it was too large to be delivered. Well, it was a brochure. From the Fattoria La Vialla. No offense, but seriously?! All this trouble for a bloody brochure? At least they could have put some pasta in there. So this whole thing was like a really bad detective novel, where in the end there is neither a corpse nor a murderer.

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Here it is. The parcel that could not fit through a letterbox slot…

Finally released from that constant tension, I was able to return to my normal life again. With my friend Mr. Holmes  (yes, that’s really his name!) I went to a charity event for the orangutans. It was held at the New Theatre and was a comedy show with four stand-up comedians. The main act was Bill Bailey. I’ve never heard of him before, but he was brilliant! I can absolutely recommend him. Not only is he fantastically funny, he is also a musical genius. He plays every instrument. Just on this occasion he played an e-piano, a guitar, an electric guitar, a drum, three different other guitar-like instruments, a honky-thingy, … Definitely go check out some of his videos online.

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Such a disturbing photo. It was really hard to take that picture. Every time the photo was about to be taken, the picture on the screen changed. But it was worth it!

Of course there is another reason for this Sherlock-themed entry: In January the third season of Sherlock was released and it is epic!!! (And I failed to mention it before… Shame on me!) There is so much humour, self-reflection, tension and inside jokes in it, just everything a perfect show needs. I think it is impossible not to like. Unless you watch the German version of it, where Sherlock Holmes just seems to be an arrogant, self-involved, stuck-up A-hole. So, to all my German friends out there: Watch Sherlock, and please, watch it in English with subtitles. Trust me. I live next to (a) Mr. Holmes.

Apart from that, I’ve finally signed up for the Oxford University gym today with two friends of mine. Highly motivated I waited for the gates to open and for me to start sweating on a treadmill or something. But I was not granted this privilege yet, because there is a compulsory induction. So tomorrow morning at 10.30 I will try to summon all my motivation again and start my new fitness plan! I will take a break from TaeKwonDo for a while, so I need another outlet for my energy and a new challenge.

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I’ve seen quite a few good films recently: Gravity, American Hustle, About time. But I got especially hooked on the TV show “Orange is the new black”. It’s set in a women’s prison and it has a very unique sense of humour and comedy. Due to my weird interest in accents I am especially fond of the character Lorna Morello (Yael Stone), who has even been acclaimed to have the most beautiful accent on TV.

I’ve also applied for a few jobs and traineeships, so let’s see how that goes. Oh yeah, and here’s a fun fact about Oxford, since I didn’t do that in quite a while and, you know, it’s important to train your brain. And stuff.

The first book was printed here in 1478 and now the Oxford University Press
is one of the largest publishers in the world. 

Aha!

Other stuff that happened to me:

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I’ve had many smiling paprikas lately…

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And shrimp.

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We lured our neighbour’s cat it. Then he didn’t want to leave again.

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When it was sunny I went for another run. (No parcel involved! But swings involved!)

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I had Macarons from around the corner. And shared a delicious Waffle Sundae at G&Ds.

A German Christmas Tale…

In a hole in a ground, there lived a hobbit… Oh, wait, wrong line… Once upon a time, there lived a fair blond maiden, in a nice house with her family in Germany. But the blond girl grew up and decided to give in to her wanderlust. The most important stops were Australia and Mainz, where she studied. She decided to leave Germany again and so she relocated to the lovely Oxford, far far away (though not as far away as Australia obviously) in the United Kingdom. She moved into a small, very British house (which comes closer to the hobbit hole). The house was creaking and reeking and squeaking – and as of today – leaking!

Then the winter came along and the holiday season started, so the blond maiden decided to go back to Germany for a while and experience some adventures there. And that she did. Spending time with her family again, meeting her friends, falling in love with the beauty of Hamburg all over again. The beautiful Christmas lights at night, illuminating the Alster, the white tents with the bright stars at the Christmas market (and of course: Schmalzgebäck, the divine sweet treat you can only buy at Northern Christmas markets!).

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The journey took her to Grevenbroich, Cologne, Mainz, Frankfurt and Berlin to visit her friends and family, whom she missed dearly.

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A real gold coin from Smaug’s treasure// Hanging out with the girls at “Funkhaus” in Cologne

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MAINZ!!!!

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Frankfurt’s famous “love locks”

She watched “The Hobbit” three times, “Fack ju Göhte” three times (Awesome movie!!! For someone who is a harsh critic when it comes to German movies, this statement means something!), Wolf of Wallstreet, finished numerous books (reading Wolf Hall right now), …  Even though she lived in Mainz for almost 4 years and studied film studies, she never made it to the film museum in Frankfurt.  This time though she managed to do it, and was really happy with what she found. Other than in the “Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe” in Hamburg, this one wasn’t cramped with scribblings by five-year-olds in the bodies of pretentious 40-year-olds. If you’re ever in Frankfurt and you are even just slightly interested in films: the film museum is really worth a visit! The hobbit, errr, the maiden (!) also went to see the musical “The Phantom of the Opera”and was amazed by the excellence of the music and the lyrics, the choreography and scenery.

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Film museum – so awesome!! // At the luxury Savoy cinema, where you can enjoy “The Hobbit” even more… // Waiting for the Phantom!

Of course, there was a lot of eating. (There will not be many pictures of this though, as this blog is turning into a food blog according to the people.)

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Christmas goose // Kaiserschmarrn at new favourite restaurant “Tschebull” //
Delicious goat’s cheese with lavender and honey

So many reasons to celebrate: Christmas, New Years, Birthdays…

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The maiden relaxed by going to the Spa, getting massages, boosting her health with acupuncture, cuddling with horses, …

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There is no snow in this Christmas tale though, until the last few days when the temperatures suddenly fell below 0°C and turned the streets in Germany into dangerous slopes. (And there were enough skiing accidents for one season!)

Then the maiden fell in love. He is perfect. Some call him Maxi, some call him Fellini. He has nice, soft hair, likes to cuddle, even likes TaeKwonDo and is perfect to watch TV with. Here he is. Unfortunately, all the kisses she gave him haven’t turned him into a human prince yet.

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Find the cat…………..

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He decided a hand would be a perfectly fine place to take a nap on. Sure, why not…
At least the hand was warm then!

(She has become a true obsessed cat lady now…)

After a month, the maiden (who finally got a hair cut!) needed to return to her second home in England and was welcomed with sunshine and warm temperatures. She hasn’t made any New Year’s resolutions, but there definitely is the desire to travel more again, see more of the UK before it’s time to leave. Because once more, what you can take away from this tale is: time flies! Only a short while ago she set out to move to England, now the first semester is over already and only six months remain. Better make the most of it!

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