Mr. Charming and Beta-Girl

Today is the 4th August, meaning that there are way too many days left of this month for my taste. Why you might ask? Well, I am counting the days until the man I adore will be in town again. Pathetic, isn’t it?

But seriously, I did some work concerning my hitherto non-existing relationship with him and as it is, I may be getting a job in our Institute; that is if the Boss, the professor, agrees to this. The great thing is that it was not my idea but his. I had been searching for a reason to speak to him and during one of my beloved afternoon naps I got the idea to offer myself as a beta-reader for his work in English. Usually the scientific work in Germany is of course in German and anyone here could beta-read this, but I thought, since I study both History and British Studies would not I be perfect for this job? Because very few historians who work in the Department for the Middle Ages or the Ancient Empires know English well. He does, though (another reason why I like him, nothing is worse than someone speaking English with a broad German accent…) and well, too. He got his Ph. D. in an English speaking country (I won’t say which one) but thankfully he does not copy the funny accent there.

So naturally he is able to write articles about his scientific work in English but thought my offer to beta-read it not ill-mannered or impolite. Considering our different positions here at university it was still somewhat risky to ask. Anyway, I am very happy I did and he was so delighted that someone had actually read his work (with obvious interest and enthusiasm) and had approached him to talk about it. Seems to me that not a lot of others ever did this, although the topics he works on are indeed important and I did not have to feign any bit of my interest.

Considering that until then I had been hardly able to talk to him this was a huge success, we talked about 5 minutes (alone) until we were disturbed by one of his colleagues who needed some misplaced key. He asked me to hand in my notes on the article I’d read by him and I reluctantly agreed. Reluctantly because remembering my position I played the humble one (I do admire his intelligence and knowledge though, so this came very naturally to me). However, he asked me two times more, always with a smile and I more than happily consented.

Next time I saw him was two weeks later, due to some holidays, during his visiting hours and I was freaking nervous. I had hoped my excitement and anxiety would lessen with each try to talk to him but it really doesn’t. He makes me too giddy and does not even realise this!

At first, he did not remember the reason for my coming and I thought: “How embarrassing!” I reminded him and handed over the few sheets of paper. While he browsed I explained that I had corrected the work as if I had beta-read an essay of a fellow student; something we do now and then. In fact, it had taken me five minutes just to read the first sentence because I had kept blushing and hiding my face with my hands. To me reading his words was like getting to know his very own thoughts and I almost felt like trespassing on his privacy. Ridiculous, isn’t it?!

Then, in one moment I am still hoping he won’t notice how tense I am, in the next he tells me about this book they (the department) want to publish in English and that they are searching for someone to proof-read it; whether I could imagine myself working for them? Of, course I could! Now, the draw-back is, that the professor, as I already mentioned, has to agree and he has been out of town these last two semesters, so he is not really up to date concerning the number of students that work for his department nor whose contract might run out, etc etc. He also did just very recently get married and is somewhat … errr distracted. I really, really want this job! I would not only be able to spend some time with “the man I adore”, I could also learn a lot and get to know all these very intelligent people. This might be helpful in finding a job later on!

In September the decision will be made whether I may work there or not. I have handed in no application, nothing. I was not asked for anything like this, because the whole plan is as up until now just an agreement between him and me. It still astonished me very much that he is doing this for me, although he hardly knows me. I mean, I must have made a very good impression on him so far!

Just one thing is annoying me a little, though. Whatever happens, he does never approach me first. Once, after an excursion we (some students and some professional historians) sat together in a café, we were even in an easy talking distance. He smiled, I smiled, our eyes met now and then, but for 2 and a half hour we never talked… well, I hope we’ll get to that in due time.

Since then I had some other smaller chats with him. It’s great, I can always ask him about his research or my may-be job… or better to say, I could. He’s not in town and I can not even run into him in the supermarket or a café, not that I ever was so lucky. However, when I had the chances of being with him, the first moments were always horrible (because of my giddiness and inexperience and because he’s sooo handsome). But when these are over, it is so much fun, he’s fortunately very easy to talk to (good for me!), funny and delightfully charming even though I guess he is not trying to or oblivious to his own abilities.

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High Tide and the lisping dwarf

With the lectures behind me and the exams ahead, the things I really should think about are my studies. But being the person I am, I am of course distracted by other thoughts and smaller mishaps.

During the last few days it rained very hard and very long. The skies seemed to have an endless supply of water to rain down on northernGermanyand soon the problem was not so much the water from above but the water standing on the streets as well. In no time the lake next to my dormitory was filled to the brim, went over its borders and flooded the adjacent small meadows between our different dormitory buildings, the street and the parking lots. It may not be too high (or deep), only 20 cm or so, but I am nevertheless annoyed.

Thankfully though, I live upstairs and do not have to worry about water invading my room and another plus is that the guys from the THW (like fire fighters on a voluntary basis, but they help you in any catastrophic situation, be it a storm, a flood, a fire or whatever) are there and use a huge pump to make the water flow into some nearby canals and further into the sea. This is great help and I truly appreciate it! I do. Otherwise the water would surely have reached a higher mark. It’s just that at night I have to remind myself of this more than once because their water pump is seemingly getting louder and louder and its noise depraving me from sleep as if the splishing and splashing noises from the fish and my neighbours downstairs were not strange enough, not to forget the eerie light on my ceiling created by the reflections on the water. What a strange July!

Here’s another thing that has happened to me in the last days and which I am still confused about. This semester I learned Old Hebrew. I will not explain the why and how here, because it would take too much time. Suffice it to say that I like the language and that learning it was quite fun. In the middle of August there will be my exam in Old Hebrew and to prepare myself for this I met with a fellow Hebrew student and one of her acquaintances, a guy I hardly knew. We had seen each other sometimes before Hebrew lessons when he had joined our group.

Maybe I should mention here that we had our lessons at the Theological Faculty and most students and teachers there are very friendly. Meaning really, really friendly in a way I had to get used to first, because otherwise I would have thought them to be sarcastic (which they are not).

So when this guy approached us saying that he could help us with Hebrew it seemed to be just a friendly philanthropic gesture. Well, I am not a good team player (too ambitious mostly) and prefer to do things on my own so I declined his offer but I talked to him now and then for a few minutes.

Now, imagine him as a short 28 year old guy, with naturally white blond hair, a pink complexion and small sweaty hands who is also a little chubby, lisps and has still such a baby face that any granny or auntie would be tempted to pinch his round apple-cheeks. Not the typical Prince Charming, right? Just a harmlessly nice guy.

This Tuesday I had agreed to meet up with him and my fellow student to have a look at our mistakes in our last test. I had been all day at the library working on my paper about the British Mandate onPalestinewhen I got there and was already a little exhausted. We met in front of the Theological Faculty and from there went to the ESG (a place where Protestants from our university can meet and spend time together). In their cosy kitchen we sat down for an hour and worked rather unsuccessfully. I was very glad when my friend suggested that she would like to stop and go home. He offered to do some spontaneous translating with me, something I liked best during lessons but I said no since I saw no use in staying (he was a rather confused Hebrew tutor and as I mentioned unsuccessful). Therefore we all went outside and I just wanted to go home. My bike was still locked securely at the Theological Faculty but I did not like the thought of retrieving it because a) I was already halfway home and b) I was convinced he would go that way. So went my friend said goodbye the following happened:

He: Where are you going now?

Me: Home, I guess (indicating the direction of the railway station).

He: Oh, I wanted to get some money before heading for the Café K. (The opposite direction.)

Me: Well then…

He: But isn’t there some (I forgot the word, you know these machines, automats where you put your bank identity card inside, enter your personal code numbers and get money from your account?) XYZ at the railway station? Then I’ll go there and accompany you.

I was not too happy about this and when he started rambling about this evening prayers and this morning prayers and so on (he is one of the truly religious sort) I only felt worse. You see I am not Christian. I believe in Judaism and do pray but I do not like people talking about it so openly. For me praying is a private matter and we were just acquaintances. I was at a loss for words and had no idea what to answer. So I stayed silent.

I guess he noticed this and changed topic accordingly by asking me whether I wanted him to carry my laptop bag. Actually he made a grab for it while asking and before I could answer anything. The bag was indeed heavy and had it been anyone else asking, I would have said yes but here I wanted to make a point. I do not know if it is coming across but I felt like he was trying to create a kind of intimacy I was not willing to have. I am generally not a person to let people get too close (except when I find them very sympathetic) and avoid pretending to be friends with people I do not really like.

Me: It’s okay. I am an independent woman. I can carry it by myself. (I know this argument does not really work here, but this is what I came up with first)

He: Well, but this does not mean that I can not offer to carry it for you, does it? (His hand still on the bag while I held on to it)

Me: No, it does not. But I was raised in a matriarchic family and like to do this on my own.

Here he gave up, however, it did not last long before he tried his next advance. Finally standing in front of the railway station we stopped.

He: Well, I guess, I will see you tomorrow then?

Me: If I am not mistaken, we agreed to meet again on Thursday, not tomorrow.

He: Yes, but I will surely see you at the Faculty?

Me: No, I have no reason to go there.

He: What about the books in the library. You could use the ones on Hebrew for learning.

Me: The books I need I already have at home.

He: So, is there no way I can persuade you?

Me: …no.

I was a little bit more polite of course. He tried to hug me for goodbye but I extended my hand before he got too close and shook his clammy hand. Then I turned and went away, fast but not too fast without a single backward glance.

I dislike such situations. He seems to like me but I never ever encouraged anything in this direction and have now the problem to get … well rid of him without hurting him too much. I have not a lot of experience in this since some years ago I was seemingly invisible to all guys. The grotesque thing is that comparing this guy to the man I adore (note here the different use of terminology “guy” and “man”) he can only lose. Too short, too religious, too chubby and not as intelligent, charming and charismatic. I should add that he also had very bad timing considering that I am facing two endlessly long months during which I will not be able to see my “man”, my only consolation being that I can expect one or two e-mails from him. This man is if you read older entries still the one I was smitten to all these last months (I miss him!) and having him write me an e-mail although I am not attending any of his seminars nor will do so in the next semester implies shared interests and contact beyond university and is something I have worked on since the end of June. I was more successful that I had expected but there is still a lot to do. About this though, I will write another time.

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A family tree discovery (rhime!^^)

The new term has started, I am back at university and feel like I am not the same as I was before March. I have always been interested in family trees and had some look into my own. I did some research here and there about my surname and badaboing! I have Jewish ancestors. Really rather far away, but there they are. I would never have thought it, considering the absolute atheistic way I have been raised. My mother did not even know about it, so I guess my dad did not either. Anyway, this discovery was like an revelation to me (laugh).

My first name is a Hebrew one. My parents did not choose it because of that, they simply thought it a pretty and suiting name for me, chubby little baby that I was then. As a child I really did not like my first name very much. I thought it boring and too long. When I found out about its meaning (it is Hebrew for my favourite flower – lucky coincidence!) I learned to like it and even love it now! Since then a strange fascination has been working on me concerning things Jewish. Just like I cannot explain why I love everything British so much nor when it exactly started, I never could make out what was so interesting to me about the Jewish people. Long story cut short: Could it be that I have always known unconciously about my ancestors?

So when I found out about my family tree it seemed to me like a sign or at least a really good reason to find out more about the Jewish people and their beliefs. I did some reading up but felt like I really should start reading the Bible, too. I would have preferred a Torah but you have no idea how difficult it is to get a Torah in this small town and part of the country. I did have an edition of the Bible from the Jehova’s witnesses (my family got it once for free for listening to them and after that it lay at the back of the book shelf), but while reading there were some words and terms which I thought might have been strangly translated to fit into the beliefs of the Witnesses.

The region I live in is rather atheistic or better to say non-religious, just like the one I come from. Those who do believe are mostly protestants, with a few catholics here and there and because of the international students there are surely some muslims and hindus, too. We have this little shop that only sells things connected to protestantism and Christianity and so on. I felt a little out of place to go there but the clerk is such a nice and friendly person that this did not last long. He asked me if I needed help and I said: Thank you, no.

I thought that with my education and general store of knowledge it should not be too difficult to buy a Bible. How wrong I was! I browsed the store, found a huge shelf full of Bibles and stood in front of it completely confused by the great number of different Bible versions and translations… I simply wanted a Bible without any ideologic tendencies of any separatist groups (I really hope I do not get the terms mixed up here, no offense intented!). I must have looked somewhat helpless when I turned to the clerk again asking for some help and he explained to me the aspects of the different versions in a patient manner which helped me a lot! I know own an edition which is used for theologic studies at university and fairly recent. I have been reading it almost every night before going to sleep, two or three paragraphs at a time.

It not only helps me to understand religious people in general, but also in many cutural aspects I see much clearer now. Considering that the Bible is such an old book there are of course lots and lots of associations, proverbs and the like which I did not understand hitherto. And it is also helpful for doing crosswords. ^^

I never have thought that someday I would recommend reading the Bible, whether you are religious or not, but I do. At first it may be a little dreary, but I was reminded very much of oral tradition with all the repititions and so on. Another funny thing is that I started learning biblical Hebrew for university and oh it was such a mess! I was not told exactly which course I had to take to I thought Ivrit would be perfectly okay and anyways it seems much more interesting to learn a living language. But at the end of the third week of the new term they told me I was in the wrong course and I was very lucky that I still allowed to enter into the biblical Hebrew course… It’s five times a week plus two times voluntary pratices and from these 7 only 3 fit into my time table. I will have to work really really hard. My teacher told me that I should consider not doing the course or at least not the exam at the end. But this only made me want to succeed more! This is while instead of enjoying my Easter holidays I have been studying the Hebrew alphabet. I had to start from the very scratch but I am honestly relived that like the other languages I learned before it seems to come naturally to me, phew! I was a bit afraid since it looks so foreign and it is a semitic language and not a romanic or slavic or germanic. It works! And sometimes I allow myself to believe that this could be because of my distant relation to the Jewish people! 😉 I am rather proud of this relationship!

My next posts thus may be about my experiences of how I try to find out more about what this relationship and the question of my personal sprouting religiousness means to me. But I have definitely some other news about my normal life and love life to share! Yes, I am still thinking of my I. and trying to finally find the courage to make a hit on him without trying to err… make a hit on him… . Well not to obviously… nah. I’ll tell you then. Shalom and cheers!

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Still alive

Hello there, I know it’s been a while. I had lots and lots of exams and guess what? I passed them all so far! So far means, that I do not have all results yet. From the two papers I had to write, I already handed in one (about dear Beth Brant) and got four weeks more for the other (historic seals) because our library has been closed during most of the semester and was only very recently re-opened.

Anyway, I am very happy about these four more weeks. As soon as I heard about it I stopped working and enjoyed some freetime which I had already been craving for. During my work on the two papers I would get up around 7 am, eat breakfast whilst reading and then start writing. I would only get up from my desk to visit the kitchen or the bathroom. I admit some (or many) games of Solitaire, when I had a break and some phone calls to my mum, otherwise I did work. However, I got on sooooo slow! Horrible! I am really glad, that I am almost through with all this. (Well, except that this is what I will do in my job later on for years…. but then I hopefully have more enthuisiasm about it).

Did I mention that I managed to get myself poisoned with cheese? Geez, that was a really, really nasty experience! Can’t recommend that! And it was two days before my last oral exam… bad timing, too. So, be careful with Parmesan.

These last days I have spent with shopping, tidying up the flat (my, my, you would not believe how much dust there is when you have been occupied otherwise for some days) and carrying my Small Rabbit to the vet. Nothing serious. He had (note the past tense^^) some “naked” spot at his neck which was caused by some kind of fungus, wherever he got that! Dear Bingley did not and does not have anything like that! And I would surely notice something like that. With all his fluffy, white hair a naked spot would shout “hello!”. 🙂 But the vet advised me to apply some special medicine and although Small Rabbit did not like being “nursed” that way every day (the medicine has a rather nasty smell, baah) his fur is growing back quickly. The only thing left is a only slowly abating suspicious behaviour towards me. I guess, I will have to earn his trust again. ^^

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Dreadful thinking… 14th is coming

I am horribly tired. It’s only two days until my exams start. Two on Tuesday, the next on Wednesday. I have been studying the whole day, read hours and hours about American History (this is for my exam for Cultural Studies as part of my British /American Studies B.A.) and I cannot help wondering:

How come that the history of the United States can fill a huge volume, a tome (!), when it is not even 300 years old?! Okay, if I count the colonies, too, it’s maybe circa 400, but still in the eyes of a historian (like me^^) this is nothing. Even my hometown is older (777 years old)! This is something that has been bothering me today. I guess I won’t make it through the whole volume. All of tomorrow I’ll need to freshen up about UK history and my other exam in history… Where did all my preparation time go???

Guess what, I don’t like exams. Indeed, I never did. Who does? But this time the pressure is really getting to me because a lot depends on me passing these exams with at least average marks. This time I feel like I could have studied more, like I did not everything I could have done… but then maybe I am lucky and get only asked questions I know…

My mood has been a little bit low these last two weeks. Not only because of the exams. It’s also that I am all alone in my flat, the other girls enjoy their holidays or stay with their family since it’s so near. I admit I do not feel as lonely as I imagined I’d be. I suppose this is “thanks” to the exams and because I try not to think of Im. too much. I miss him but I cannot let myself dwell on this. Firstly, I have more important things to do. Secondly, I will see him (hopefully) again in the next semester (that is April) and thirdly, Valentine’s Day is coming up.

I love Valentine’s Day and I hate it all the same. I do not think of it as a very commercial day, although it maybe is. I like the thought of celebrating love. I know, we could celebrate love everyday, but we don’t just as we do not show our appreciation for our parents every day (as opposed to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day). I always dreamt of spending Valentine’s Day with my beloved one, my boyfriend. Problem is, and always was, that I never had a boyfriend around that time of the year (what an understatement).

Anyway, every year around Christmas I get melancholic when I see the couples walking hand in hand, when they are all spreading so much love and harmony that I want to get sick. Then I always cross my fingers and think of Valentine’s Day, hoping and wishing that I won’t be alone then. This year, I really had hopes for a change. But, bah, who am I kidding? I cannot even write a Valentines card… that would be way to childish…

Truth is, I will sit alone at home with my two rabbits and study till my head steams for my most horrible exam on the 15th and try to pretend I did not know it’s V-Day. Or maybe… I just came up with the idea, maybe in case I am very lucky, I’ll meet him in the library! Which is not the best place to start a conversation least to get into the real Valentine’s Day mood but I’d be already happy to greet him and be greeted in return!

(Which would mean he remembers my face. I have a teacher here at the university whom I’ve studied with for 2 years and he still looks completely confused whenever I greet him on the street, tz tz…)

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A sudden realisation: I am serious about it

Yesterday I met my friend L. again. We went to the same restaurant as last week and talked and talked and talked for hours. I felt very good and somewhat relieved after I had realised something very important to me. It was really rather strange. I thoroughly realised it while I said it the second time.

Okay, I’ll try to tell you the whole story. It actually began on Thursday after Choir. On my home I was accompanied by a friend, S. . We study both history.

S.: I was astonished that you changed your status (on a social network website). Did you meet someone new?

Me: No.

S.: So it is still about him? You know who?!

Me: Well, yes. It really took me some thinking before I changed it [my status from “single” to “in love”]. I did not do that because I was just in the mood. I am serious about it.

This sentence “I am serious about it.” astonished me at the time but I really realised its full meaning while retelling the story to L. yesterday in the restaurant. “Being serious about it” does mean “I am serious about him.”, doesn’t it? It does not only mean that I don’t like someone to joke about it or to mock me about it. It does not only mean that I admire him and fantasise about him. It does mean that I do not only smile at him to feel my heart beat quicken. It does indeed mean that I do not want to play with his feelings. Flirting is always like playing, too. It is supposed to be fun. Some flirt because they want fun, some flirt because they are serious. There is a difference.

I can say that I never just flirted for fun. Indeed, flirting felt like working to me. I wanted to persuade someone to think I’m witty, I’m nice and caring, I might deserve to be loved, too. I was always afraid that I might not succeed and indeed, I never succeeded so far as to get a male heart for mine in return. My problem apart from never really revceiving what I wanted was that I was horribly afraid to receive it. I was panic-stricken the moment I thought it might be possible to happen (i. e. to be liked in return). And this fright was always bigger than my interest for the person. It was like an invisible wall I could not walk around, a red line on the floor I just could not cross, a doorway I could not possibly pass.

I still feel like there is this line but somehow it consist of thousands of little lines all arranged in a long line and when I do not look too closely it seems it is all but one. But indeed, there is a possibility to step in between two of these little lines and take a look nat the other side. I will still feel afraid, I will still be more excited than neccessary, but I might gain some beautiful new experiences if I just hold on.

I can hardly say what this man does to me. Last Wednesday made me feel so happy. I might imagine it but I think I felt some kind of connection, something in the air like the first gear got into motion and step by step the whole machinery would start to move. Like a first spark. I do think there was a spark, I think we were flirting without words just using our eyes and a smile now and then. Nothing too obvious. Rather subtle.

And because it was so subtle I will have to check again on this spark next Wednesday to see if I just imagined it or if it is still there or if it got company maybe by a second spark or a firefly. What I can be sure about is that he noticed me (something which I cannot take for granted, I used to be/feel invisible in grammar school) and that he knows I am intelligent. I can see that from the way he picks me first when I have an answer to one of his questions in the seminar although there might be others who are raising there hands, too, others indeed who raised their hands before me. I can read it in his face then that he just knows I will say the right thing and I am happy not to let him down.

This way we seem to begin to connect in lessons will of course not lead anyway, at least not neccessarily. Especially since next Wednesday will be the last session for this semester. My next chance to see him would, in the earliest case, be in April, except for me running into him in the library which is not very probable. And a library is not the best place to start talking, is it? But I do want to talk to him (in the near future). I will. I do not just admire him from afar. Not this time.

My friend L. told me that since she met me (which was around July, I think) I changed. She says I radiate a lot of joie de vivre which is almost contagious. That I seem a lot happier than in July and that I smile more often. This really gives me hope. Thank you L. for your feedback!

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The geek had a great week

This was a really interesting week. My gosh!

I was kind of stressed out with university, the exams and papers comung up and me being behind with learning! Arrgh, but I somehow managed to do lots of things that were on my to-do list and have nothing to do with my studies. I got a new lock for my bike, but whilst trying to fix my bike and prepare it for spring I somehow let the air out of my rear tyre and have a flat tyre now. Great! Bah, I guess I’ll ask a friend to fix this for me.

I got a new hair cut. Well, actually, it is not really new. It is a little shorter and I got a real fringe now. I like it very much and feel beautiful. Everytime I walk past a mirror I smile! ^_______________^ Although I wanted to save some money after last month’s Christmas expenses, I just had to get that hair cut right away, because otherwise my beloved I. won’t see it. I want him to see me with my new hair and see my happy smile it created. I am soooo relieved that I calmed down, meaning that I am not always giddy and nervous around him, like I was before Christmas. This Wednesday, I really enjoyed his seminar again and he sat next to me, again! Although, I did not sit myself on a seat so he would have no other chance. It was mere luck! Yeah!

After all the Christmas concerts last year I was kind of exhausted and was not really looking forward to go to choir, but I am so happy I did. We got a lot of funny and beautiful songs for this summer and as I went home afterwards I was humming to myself. I almost forgot how much fun singing is! Now I will definitely go to choir with a much better attitude than last time and give my best as I always do!

I met yesterday with a great friend, L., whom I had not met for three months at least. It was fantastic, we have so much in common and it was no problem that we had not seen each other for so long. It was like we’d meet everyday and I can talk with her about everything. We laughed, we tried out a new restaurant, we talked and talked for hours and exchanged book recommendations. It’s been so fantastic, that we decided to meet again next Saturday. I am definitely looking forward to it!

So, concerning university I knew this morning when I woke up, that I had to get started, the earlier the better. I’ve read some Beth Brant today, some of her short stories and already found good material for my paper about her. I also worked my way through some of my notes for my Middle Ages lecture and then… I kind of got lost and have learned lots about the Hebrew alefbet. It is sooo interesting! I love different alphabets and I am at a loss which language to choose if it comes to my next semester: Will I learn Hebrew (which I am very interested in but which is said to be very hard to learn) or Old Greek (Which is easier and somehow more useful for my studies)? I’d love to do both but I guess this is just to much work.

Anyway, what’s important: I am happy! And feel good and confident! (Nevertheless I have to get back to work, at least for the next 2 hours and then I’ll relax in front of the TV watching this ridiculous German TV-show “Ich bin ein Star-Holt mich hier raus!” (it means: I am a star, get me out of here! It is about a group of hardly famous people who live in a camp in the Australian jungle and have to pass very strange tests to earn their food). I mostly watch it because it is really weird and because I like one of the stars Mathieu Carrière. I once met him myself in Babelsberg near Berlin while he was starring in a Winnetou-Show. He is great and really handsome for his age.

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