Sunday, September 28, 2008

Feeling Fragile For Farewells and Further Faffing-about..

Wednesday, 24th September.

Our last full day in Freiburg. We had a good party last night, much jollity and good food and I didn’t get too tired.. after sleeping half the day it’s not surprising! My family gave me some fabbo goodies - chocolate made in the very village where my sis-in-law grew up; a Winnie the Poo pencil (for reasons I don’t fully understand, they associate WTP very strongly with me.. I may have sent one of the girls a “Pooh” present when she was a baby???), and a good shower back-washing/scratching thingie.

Today we really spent most of our time getting ready to leave (ie leave Freiburg/Germany) - a long period this morning sorting through possessions getting ready for another uber-post (15kg this time! - M is sending home the most books of any parcel this far); to do this effectively we ended up half-packing and making sure that we found and segregated items to be returned to the family.

We lugged the postables into town, and the post office experience wasn’t too bad - we know how to make up the flat-pack boxes now, and with M’s good German nothing much goes wrong. But we are always tense cos there’s an implicit system about how you do it - do you buy boxes first and then pack?; or do you head for the counter first so they can sell you the right sized boxes? or a similar thing but where they tell you a different way to do it so it’s cheaper overall??? I dunno. There was no shouting, it didn’t cost any more bombs than usual, and we left feeling virtuously empty-handed. A small celebration at an Italian cafe ensued.

Then time to get to grrrrips with The List. I still have gifts to purchase for my girls, M needs a Net fix, and I want to go to the fabric and wool shops I found on Monday. M talks to me in circles about the timing and how long to take and when to be back etc etc and I get cross. Why ask what I think if he’s already made up his mind??? ARggggg..


This out of the way, we dealt with a minor crisis when we got to the square and it was the wrong church. What??? But we worked it out quickly and forged ahead to the other square and then I knew the way. As we went along we dropped into various shops to get lil things for my younger niece for her birdy. We had a most satisfactory pile of girlie-bits and pongs when we’d finished (and she loved them, was having fun trying it all on and smelling the purrfume and so on when we left tonight...). I got samples for me too! Excellent.

The fabric shop was very, very good. Also very, very slow. And there were two women who seemed to me to be arguing over who was first, slowing things up even more. M sat patiently on the husband chair, then impatiently, then coldly, then shiveringly, before finally coming inside (his chair was in the arcade) and trying to ask politely how many more hours I’d be. I was kind of wondering that too... I shopped quickly for the fabrics, and once the duelling dragons had paid and left I had Herr ShopKeeper’s full attention. And his English is quite good, which meant I asked more questions, so... a fairly big chunk of ze inheritance is gone again kids, sorry! I gots wools and silks and felts and wunderbar things and superior quality remnants and such goodies!!! M said rather sourly that it looked like I’d replaced the entire postage weight. And???? I’ve done it before, says she defensively. Oh well. I have to brag that one piece is a bit of honest-to-gawd Missoni fabric, from the Italian fashion house. Ner. It’s a sort of folk print of braids and simple hand stitches and such, useful to me because little bits of it will be purrfect in a quilt, and a big bit of it will make a very unusual and bright skirt or cape for moi. It could be the only international designer brand item I ever wear! And, therefore (come on keep up!!!!) entirely necessary. And I’ve packed it all away purrfectly easily in my suitcases and then it will go in ze post in Helsinki (Friday) and no-one need worry at all.

I’m sad there was no time left to go to the wool shop, but even I could see that I would end up with just too much bulk. And the excitement of schlepping hundreds of bags has totally worn off, if indeed there ever was any to start with. We’re down to our ‘low’ version of numbers of cases atm, and I hope we now stay there until we get to ‘bought it Duty Free when jet-lagged, exhausted and incompetent’ things in Seoul and Hong Kong airports. Oh, not that I’m PLANNING anything....

Our last family meal was delightful, the girls singing and everyone telling jokes. And FOUR purrfumes competing for best around the table, cos I gots everyone some. Well, except for M, but he doesn’t mind. Sometimes he has a bit of mine; sometimes he uses the geranium oil which is so calming. We are clean enough that we don’t need it as camouflage!

I am now looking at an extremely tidy motel room, a line of bulging suitcases and packs sitting where a colourful tumble of clothes, gifts, purrfumes, books, scarves and bits of food used to be. This is a very good motel - it gets the most ticks on M’s comparative list, especially in the ‘room on each side and at the end of the bed’ list item. It fails only in two areas - no kettle/bar fridge, and no hair dryer in every bathroom. I asked and was able to borrow a very good dryer though, so this is only a comment on the lack of it as a standard item.

Tomorrow we leave at about 9.30 to go to the station for a 2-3 hour train trip to Frankfurt. We arrive there about 2pm, then I must post that fabric (and a tin of coffee and five packets of chocolate - the Lindt flavours available in Europe are much more varied, and I deeply regret not buying the one in the Baltic states which is 70% dark chocolate flavoured with a pinch of salt!). I am firmly in GOING HOME mode. There may not be much more text written in museum/sites/sights mode. Somehow this last few weeks has been a haul and a trek, and the time with my family here has made me see how much I just want to go back to my normal domestic environment and return to taking pleasure in the little things. Enough with the kulcha! Begone, fine dining. Face me not oh splendid vista. Give me a cat, a cuppa tea and me back yard, maybe some washing flapping around, and that’ll DO.

M feels similarly, but still has energy for kulcha. He enjoyed his time in Heidelberg, finding various nostalgic sites (his music teacher’s house; a particular pub; that sort of thing!) and having a break from the intensity of avec moi.

Maybe in Seoul I’ll be intrigued enough to go outside and see what makes Koreans different from other Asian cultures I’ve experienced. But don’t be surprised if all you get is photos of the different colours of taxis, like I took in Bangkok!

Today brought to you by a whole list of things: Essence de Hubby; ‘Magnifique’ in large doses; Calvin Klein’s ‘Euphoria’ for my sissy; ‘Kate Moss’ by Kate Moss; and Laura Giagnotti’s ??? (sorry, the docket is buried too deeply for now, I promise I’ll look it up asap) for my younger niece. M had some Magnifique on him cos he hugged me when my wrists were still wet. And the shop assistants in the ‘Müller’ department store gave me about 11 samples of some Estee Lauder Anti-Wrinkle Didja Know Yer Getting Crumbly Cream.. that smells quite nice too. I don’t expect it to have any effect beyond competent moisturising.. g’night.

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