October/November update

Time for the latest installment. It's over a month since the last one. They seem to be getting further apart but I have to do it this way to maintain my image of endless parties, orgies, debauchery and general merriment/divilment.

My updates may also be getting further apart due to a decreasing news-value impact in the stuff I see around me.
Even mad shit seems normal after a while, especially when surrounded by it all the time.

To launch into an example, I was out with three Irish fellas a couple of weeks ago, and we ended up in a bar which had them looking nervously over their shoulders when one of them returned from the toilet to proclaim "this is a gay bar". He had seen pictures of naked men on the wall. To me the bar seemed normal - a pretty quiet café-type place, complete with women and all. I told them just because there were pictures of naked men didn't necessarily mean it was a gay bar. "This is Berlin. They like that kind of stuff," I told them.
I went to investigate, and found the controversial pictures to be more artful than explicit, black and white, taken in the 1960s or sometime when clothes were frowned upon here, and featuring naked women too.
I reassured the lads, but poor ol' Jim was shaken. He had seen a picture of oral activities apparently.
I still wasn't convinced, but the line had been crossed for the lads who told me I'd been living too long in Berlin if I didn't think a bar with pornographic images in the toilet was a gay bar.
No matter. We had just received our drinks, and we agreed that even if the place was full of rampant homosexuals, they weren't going violate us unless invited to do so.
In the end we had to leave before we were asked to do so, after a heated discussion broke out between Jim and Mark over the sovereignty of Norway or something.

The Irish definitely have a different take on stuff over here - my own viewpoints are a constant source of amazement and amusement for my new German pals - but even I can notice subtleties in thinking which are just not found among the local populace.
Barry, a friend of mine despite being a Kilkennyman, came over for a few days recently. We turned into vampires towards the end of the week as is liable to happen in Berlin - getting up when it's dark and going to bed when it's bright - it was 11.30 going to bed one of the mornings.
We found ourselves in a couple of dodgy places to say the least, one of which, Barry told me, had two fellas "at it" in the toilets. Thankfully I didn't need to visit the gents at that time. (I'm not sure that was a gay bar either.)
But my original point centred on the differences in thinking between the Irish and the Germans. We went for a couple of kebabs one night and he ordered a "large" orange, not realising a "large" orange is actually a one litre bottle. After barely making a dent in it, he decided he'd have to get pissed that night so he'd be dehydrated in the morning to enable him drink the bottle of orange. Irish logic for you. Anyone else would have just left the bottle there, or better yet, just taken the "small" orange.

In a previous transmission I complained about the shite tea in Germany. I think it only fair now that I revise my position. I have since discovered that it is only their "normal" black tea which is shite - the stuff imported from England. In fact, hardly anyone here drinks that slop. There are instead a million varieties of other exotic teas, which have even diverted my attention from my beloved Barry's Tea. (Nothing to do with the above.) Yes, there is a world of tea beyond Barry's. I want to stress that in no way is this meant as a slight on Barry's Tea, but I now understand why the crap black tea they have here isn't a front page issue.
As I write, I'm sipping "Inca Tea" - apparently a herbal infusion with Lapacho orange spice. Listed among the ingredients are pimento, fennel, cardamom, coriander, cloves, cinnamon and Lapacho bark (48%), some exotic tree I presume. It's lovely, even if it didn't do the poor ol' Incas any good.
Anyway, that's all I'll be writing on the subject of tea for the moment.

I've decided to sacrifice personal vanity in order to see better. Last week I went to an opticians and bought glasses. It's been a slow process. It was last January when I actually get my eyes tested and your man told me I could do with glasses. My eyesight hasn't improved in the meantime, so shortly I'll be known by the moniker Furniture Face Fahey. It has a certain ring to it, but even still, I'm not enamoured with this development.

I've spent the last month or so trying to get a job, and I am happy to report that I've finally been successful. The down side is that it's not in journalism, but the flip side is that, as a result, the money is good (for Berlin). I'll be earning at least ten times what I've to pay in rent every month.
I'm going back into sales, selling export marketability to customers in the Americas and Asia. The crowd I'll be working for are pretty cool. http://www.exportpages.de/ I even told them I'd be heading off for Christmas and then for a month to Central America, so they're happy for me to start on February 2nd! They made a big point of telling me that they pay Munich-based wages even though we're in Berlin, because staff-welfare and morale is very important to them. The interview lasted an hour and a half and it was all in German, so I'm happy, for the moment, with how the language is going, even if it doesn't seem to be progressing much lately. Apparently, once in a working environment, the language will come on in leaps and bounds. We'll see. I thought it would come on in leaps and bounds once I moved to the damn country but I'm still only at Pidgin German stage.

There were a couple of options for me to stay in journalism but the money on offer was insulting in both cases. The first was with Bild, Germany's thrashiest tabloid "newspaper" but one with a circulation of four million people a day. I would have taken the job even if it was working from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday as a "Praktikant" for €400 a month, but thankfully they found someone else with both fluent German and English instead. Apparently, they're going to give me a call in December with a view to me starting in January.

The other option was with Deutsche Welle, but after travelling to Bonn (598 fucking kilometres away), and doing a current affairs test, radio test and translation test, your wan tells me there is work for me, but only if I move to Bonn. Why she couldn't have told me that before I booked flights and overnight accommodation in Bonn I don't know.
Anyway, Bonn is shit, and there are too many reasons for me to stay in Berlin, so I politely declined her miserable offer. Maybe the whole experience will serve me well, but I can't help but feel it was an avoidable waste of time and expense.

Anyway, to celebrate getting a new job, I booked myself flights to San Francisco in a couple of weeks. Just for a week - can't go too mad. I think I need a holiday after the summer I had, and the idea of putting a flower in my hair seems like an ideal tonic to the stresses of looking for work. I also have to get used to the idea of starting work every morning at 8 a.m. That's EIGHT in the morning. Crazy Germanians.

It feels I'm on the last leg of my Sabbatical. I'm not sure I made the most of it, but I aim to make up for that between now and February. Tomorrow I fly back to Ireland for a couple of days (strictly business), then it's straight back here into a couple of parties on Friday and Saturday. I'd like to think they'll be quiet affairs, but I have I feeling they'll be fucking crazy - too many things are coming to the end for too many people for them not to be.

Thankfully, the football league is back up and running. We had our first game last week. We lost. 12-1. However, we celebrated the goal we did score as if we had won the World Cup. We ran around screaming and shouting, hugging each other and jumping up and down for about five minutes. The other crowd, 8-1 up at this stage, must have thought we were mad. They promptly scored another goal once the celebrations died down.

There's loads of shit I could and would like to write, but I'm conscious this email is already probably too long. A lot of people have been at me to join Facebook for some time now but I steadfastly refuse. Instead I'm going to look into starting a blog - seems the "in thing" to do now among the young people. Then I can just ramble on and people can read what they want to. I'll also be able to throw up pictures and stuff like that. Once I figure it out how it's done and it's up and running I'll let you know.

Meanwhile I will, of course, respond to personal correspondence and queries on the meaning of life, love and Norweigen sovereignty.

Mit freundlichen Grüßen,
Ciarán

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