Yay, a review of the year! 2012 was … interesting. It started great, went on to be good, then it became exhausting and nerve-wracking, then I fulfilled a dream of mine, then obstacles were put in my way, and somehow it’s ending with a whole lot of bad luck. Oh well. 🙂
I spent New Year’s Eve, just as I’m doing it this time, alone at home and in peace with my mum. It was a nice start into to the new year, with raclette and bubbly. I read John Green’s latest book and cried like a baby. If you enjoy reading and haven’t had a look at The Fault in Our Stars yet, it is definitely recommendable!
Also, the English Drama Group at Paderborn University premiered our play, I Hate Hamlet. Well, “premiered”. We only had three performances total. In any case, we certainly celebrated well afterwards with pretty strong cocktails. How I regretted it. 😀
I went to Olderdissen, a small native animal park in Bielefeld, with a few friends from Twitter. I hadn’t been there since my early childhood, so it was immensely exciting. Though I used to only go there during summertime, never in snowy winter! But it was pretty awesome and great fun, despite it being really cold. We also had the two other performances of our play, as you can see in the second photo. It was really nice being on stage again, although I didn’t think too highly of my acting qualities in this one.
Around mid-February was the baptism of my sister’s daughter, for which we flew to Ireland (where my sister lives with her boyfriend). They own a really nice little terraced house and a big, cuddly dog (now they even have two of the sort!) And my niece is just absolutely adorable. She’s about two months old in the picture. 🙂
On top of that, February is my birthday month … and this year it had a great surprise in stock for me: three of my dearest friends (Stüffs, Sophie, Vero, see photo from left to right) drove four hours from Berlin to Paderborn JUST FOR ME, to see me for a few hours and then drive all the way back again. Crikey! I literally screamed out lout when I saw them in the staircase. They didn’t tell me a word beforehand! Best surprise ever.
In March I made full use of my semester break and went travelling in North-Rhine Westphalia. Well, not just there. First I went to Berlin, where for the first time this year I had my wallet stolen. While I was there, the Hunger Games premiere was taking place at the Sony Center, which I found out purely by accident, so I made a spontaneous trip to go see it. When you have nothing else to do. 🙂 I was lucky enough to stand right in the first row behind the barricades, right where the limousines were stopping. Didn’t get any autographs though; I didn’t have anything to sign with me, anyways, and was also squeezed half to death by overzealous fanboys behind me. But hey, Jennifer Lawrence!
For the first time in over a decade I’ve also been to Wuppertal, where I visited my friend Jule. It was great to see her uni – where I discovered that great yarn bombing you see in the photo. First one I saw “live”. 😉 And oh, the Wuppertal sky train! I had very vague memories of this from back when I was a kid. It was fun.
I also visited Carry. She and I have known each other for ages, from the first forum I ever joined on the internet. Although we lived quite close to each other, we rarely met up though. This time I used my student ticket and took the train to Osnabrück. I know the city a little bit, because my dad lives there, but nevertheless Carry could show me a few new and interesting places.
For Easter we’ve had my family visiting again. Family, that’s my brother, his wife and their two sons. By now it’s getting really crowded with them in our flat though, especially because the boys are now used to a relatively big house at home. I still love to have the four of them here though. Just like last year, my eldest nephew and my brother took part in Paderborn’s “Osterlauf” (translates to Easter run, an annual sports event). Originally I’d planned to take part in one of next year’s runs, but now it’s looking like I won’t even be in Germany for Easter. We’ll see.
I’ve also had my hair cut again. Just the usual: get the fringe back, some layers, trim the ends. 😉
For Earth Day I’ve also attempted to make sugar cookies. And noticed yet again that I just lack the patience that’s needed for baking. Despite enough flour the dough was really stick, but brittle at the same time! In the end, I exasperatedly threw away half of it and only made one tray of cookies, which I decorated with coloured royal icing in world map design. At least they looked kinda cool in the end.
In May I went to Berlin once again, this time with my mum for the annual networking event. They always have a great buffet in the evening, so I had an excuse to throw on a pretty dress, hehe. Afterwards we stayed in Berlin for a few more days, at the Hüttenpalast. It’s a really cool hostel: instead of rooms you get a few caravans and log cabins in an old, small factory hall. Those who like a bit more privacy won’t get very happy here, because the caravans and cabins really only fit the beds and you hear everything the other guests do. My mum and I liked it very much though. The staff of the hostel was very nice as well!
I’ve also visited my brother’s new home for the first time. Very pretty. I’d seen the house once before in the middle of their renovating craze, and although I liked it very much, I couldn’t really imagine that it would ever feel as much like “home” as their old flat did. I was wrong. Barely arrived, I already felt at home. I feel really comfortable there. Well, I would anyway: they have a tomcat. Wherever there are cats, I could move in right away. But they also have a stunning view of the countryside!
In June I finally saw Oxford again. To see my ex. God, I love this city! It’s so beautiful, has so many nice places, kind people, good shops, it’s close to London, but not quite as expensive. Want. To Move. There. As a souvenir I brought a little donkey hat back for myself. Hehe.
A new branch of the Road House opened in Paderborn. An American Diner. I thought it was … well. Average. The food was okay, but overpriced, and the ambience was more “standard German restaurant with one or two retro decorations hanging on the wall.” Nothing “authentic” about it. Ugh.
Oh, and I’ve got new shoes! I’ve been looking for something like these for ages, until I found them online at a reasonable price.
July was pretty uneventful. I was busy writing term papers, the semester break began, I lazed around at home most of the time … so one sleepless night I decided to draw in all the countries’ flags in my Moleskine’s world map. Does look pretty, doesn’t it? I’ll do this again in next year’s planner. (Oh dear!)
The nice knife I got from Paderborn’s annual big fun fair, Libori. The other day I also discovered it in a shop in Oxford. Made me laugh. 🙂
And hey: I was accepted at a UK uni for my year abroad! Woop woop!
I also ordered a passport for the first time in my life. And I’m very happy about it. At the back of my mind I thought it’d be good to carry around my normal ID in my wallet to be able to prove my identity, and should I lose that in London, I’d still have another form of ID to leave the country (or prove who I am). Wise. Very wise.
I had a visit from my friend whom I’ve tried to show Libori, Paderborn’s fun fair, for ages. Finally he decided to come, et voilà! We asked one of the clowns who were running around making balloon animals, to make us a pair of swords. Because we’re cool like that. Ferris wheel rides and chocolate covered fruits and roasted almonds were also parts of our fair adventure.
In preparation for London I also bought a laptop bag. First I feared that this one wouldn’t fit, because it looked absolutely huge, but it ended up just right. And such a cute design!
From Juliane I got a cross-stitched frame as a goodbye present. A line from my favourite poem!
Towards the end of August, mum and I visited my paternal grandma for her birthday. I love that side of the family. And it was great to meet (almost) all my cousins again in one place! You can see all of them in the picture, with my grandma and I. Only two cousins were missing, who couldn’t attend the party.
Time for change! September was my first month in London. Living alone, new uni, new people, new country. Oh boy! I have to say, if I could decide again, I wouldn’t go to this uni. I’m not very happy here. Although the lectures themselves are good fun – something is missing. I also found out lately that this uni is ranking on the second to last place on the UK’s university ranking. Oops!
At least the view from campus is pretty cool. You’re looking out on the Docklands and part of the Thames, and in the distance you can see Canary Wharf. Especially sunsets can look really pretty (see the picture).
One of my first experiences in London was to visit Westminster Abbey, where I saw the tomb of Elizabeth I. And almost cried. Shhh.
October is to blame that I fell a little bit more in love with England. Free admittance to museums, Comic Con right next door and cute little craft shops. I’ve written more detailed about the Natural History Museum in this this entry.
The craft shop in Oxford (Darn it & Stitch) was pretty cool, though I found it a bit disappointing that they had next to no embroidery thread. Or at least nothing by Anchor or DMC, which are the two most common brands, but just very small coils and little colour choice, which were also really overpriced. But should I pick up knitting or sewing, I’ll definitely go back there again.
In November I was infected with Christmas fever. Already. I baked my favourite Christmas cookies – Vanillekipferl – which turned out really great (self-praise, self-praise!), bought a small Christmas tree and decorated it, and went on a crazy Christmas shopping spree for gifts, or made plans on what to buy whom.
Apart from that Starbucks sucked up to me big time, by putting peppermint syrup back on their menu. Two years ago I’d ordered a peppermint mocha at Starbucks in England and fell in love. Peppermint and chocolate is the best combination in the whole wide world! Since I can’t have caffeine anymore, I opted for hot chocolate this time around. Ordered one at least once a week and was in heaven every single time. I’d marry peppermint chocolate, if it were possible.
In the last picture I stole my friend’s glasses. I think they suit me better than him. 😛
Oh God, it was so difficult to pick only four pictures for December! So much as happened! This is why you won’t get any Christmassy pictures here and I’ll just talk about the other things. 😉
First off, I went to a new hairdresser and got myself an entirely new haircut. Short! A bob! Ahh! And I love it! I don’t think I’ve ever liked a haircut as much as this one. I was really shocked at first though. Although I said I wanted it quite a bit shorter, I was used to my hairdresser at home who generally leaves your hair 2 inches longer than you wanted to, and now they were actually short. And so pretty! I’ll definitely go back to this hairdresser. She was so lovely! And so good at what she does!
At the Southbank Christmas market (right by the London Eye) I tried kangaroo meat for the first time. Somehow England is making me adventurous, foodwise. While I was there I tried prawns for the first time, as well as that kangaroo burger, and I’d love to try more. There’s one restaurant that serves things like zebra meat or crocodile, but it’s unfortunately pretty pricey.
The highlight of the month was definitely the Hobbit premiere, though! We paid more for the tickets than I dare to say out loud, but it was so worth it. I’d love to go again next year, but I could basically start saving for that now. 😉
And as I talked about in my last entry, we also got to meet the author of Scott Pilgrim and talked him into taking a picture with us. Yay!
Not such a great experience was that my wallet was stolen for the second time this year. It’s not that I don’t watch my stuff at all! Ugh.
So that was my 2012 in pictures. I wish you all a good and happy new year!