Tag Archives: Life Changes

Out Of A Job – And Into A New Blog!

It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. I’m not in the habit of plagiarising Dickens, but the two of us do have one thing in common: We were both paid by the word. Were being the operative one in this lamentable context. I shall explain…

Tuesday two weeks ago, at 11 am, I received a devastating call. I had lost my writing gig. “A change of corporate focus,” I was told. A decision taken by management in a far-away head office, by people I had never had any direct dealings with. Unlike all the other times, this latest reshuffle within the company, which had supplied me with a steady flow of work for the past twelve years, had not turned out to my advantage. To put it mildly.

There would still be some work for me, I was assured. However, it was going to be of a different nature and – as far as I could tell – there wasn’t going to be enough of it to keep me in fodder.

In short, it was the kind of news which puts the wind of existential panic up a freelancer’s arse. Or make that a hurricane.

The state of red alert lasted for about 24 hours. A fellow freelancer, bless her kindly soul, shuffled me a contact promising me regular work in my field. A couple of days later, another potential client registered an interest.

Maybe, just maybe, I was going to be OK.

But August being August, nothing happens fast, so I’m having to exercise my very puniest of mental muscles: my patience. A bit of distraction was called for, and seeing as I’d been sitting for absolutely ages on the desire to start a fresh blog venture, I decided to go for it, and my brand spanking new dedicated language blog Multilingual By Choice (it’s meant to make me sound like a purposeful and focused individual who doesn’t spend three quarters of her day lounging around in pyjamas ogling cake porn) was finally born.

No need to groan quite so heartily, people – I won’t be attempting to “make grammar fun” or go on about the aspirated phoneticisation of gerundiated nouns. It’s going to be more about life than linguistics. Take a look: http://www.multilingualbychoice.blogspot.com

But before you dash off to coo over my shiny new baby, do have some cake! I’ve a splendid selection prepared for you, all sampled and approved by yours truly:

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Holiday Cake 🙂

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Lemon sponge cake. One of my Mum’s creations.

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Posh Shopping Centre Cake

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Made by one of my Mum’s friends with apples from her garden

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Another friend, another cake 🙂 Apricot & custard this time.

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And here it is in its entirety

 

Oh, and I’ve got a new blog, did I  mention that?! http://www.multilingualbychoice.blogspot.com

 

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The War Of The Shoulds

I’ve been poorly for the last couple of weeks*. Nothing serious, hold the grapes and the flowers (but do send the chocs). In short, my life has been very much restricted to the sinister Computer-Bed-Bathroom Triangle.

At times like these, suddenly nothing is more compelling than playing mind games with oneself, like the Destructive Thought Spiral (this involves making up future-life scenarios so horrendous that not even Quentin Tarantino could have dreamt them up in a booze-fuelled, fever-ridden nightmare). But absolute favourite mind fuck, by a long shot, is The War Of The Shoulds.

It’s a wretched battle, where one’s brave little Think Positive soldiers, deployed by a ramshackle, atrophied Self Esteem Unit, are macerated in the maws of the Shoulds. Not only are the Shoulds invincible, but they multiply with every blow they are dealt.

My last skirmish Waterloo went something like this:

I should call the Student Loan Company. It’s this week’s BS (Big Should/Bullshit). They wrote to me, I need to negotiate new payment terms… I so don’t want to make that phonecall! Fret, fret…

My Spanish should be perfect by now. This spawns another whole slew of Shoulds: I should be living in shared accommodation (meh!) with Spanish speakers. I should get a part-time job that has me interacting with the general public (double-meh!). I should get myself a Spanish boyfriend (mehmehmehmeeeeeehhhhh!)

I should maybe colour my hair. Then I could go blonder and blonder and blonder in accordance with The Middle Aged Women’s Directive. I’m fascinated by this phenomenon, you see, especially here in Spain, where hordes of greying, swarthy females with smouldering black eyes suddenly feel compelled to reach for the bleach bottle in a quest of fulfilling their life-long ambition: being a Blonde Bombshell. Now or never!

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Fun. For Halloween.

I should aspire to be a homeowner. Good God, as averse as I am to dealing with day-to-day mind-numbingly boring crap, I’d be sprouting even more grey hairs every time the roof tiles needed changing, the gutters dredging, the termites shooing, etc. And then there’s the damp problem. There is always a damp problem. And no taking up sticks and leaving it to the landlord to sort out his shit hole, no, it’ll be up to me. Not in a million years…

I should have had a child. Only kidding. This is the one thing I’ve always known for sure I should NEVER EVER do. On the other hand, I could at least have offered my squealing, blood-dripping first born to the Student Loan Company, seeing that I’ll never be able to repay them in actual money, even if I live and work until age 101.

KnotI should have internalised the ins and outs of the German spelling reform. It came into force in 1996. That’s nearly two decades ago. I’ve a 105-page pdf clogging up my hard drive, which explains the whole shebang, in gruesome minutiae. Sometimes, when I’m feeling brave, I take a peek at a random chapter. But, but, but…. THIS IS JUST NOT HOW I LEARNT IT! It used to make sense to me, German spelling, I excelled in dictation tests. Now my Teflon brain twists itself into the Gordian knot. The only way to make any of this newfangled codswallop stick, it seems, is when my friend Tanja posts withering corrections below my comments on facebook (“Look, I’ve explained this to you before – if ‘ss’ follows two vowels, it becomes ‘ß’!”). Oh God, I’m slowly turning one of those egits I despise with a passion – people who cannot string an intelligible sentence together in their own bloody language! And down I careen into a Destructive Thought Spiral, where I’m mute and illiterate, languishing on a street corner with all my possessions crammed into a laundry bag. And donning a head of golden locks.

I should do more housework. I’ll do it tomorrow. Right after I’ve called the Student Loan Company.

[*I’ve fully recovered from the lurgy by now. I’ve even had some positive thoughts. Mostly about cake. ]