Category Archives: Random Thoughts From Me

Requests for Posts?

Occasionally I get emails with questions – mostly relating to making inserts. If there is a specific tutorial you would like for making inserts or any content you would particularly like to see then please either email me at arandomenglishlife@gmail.com – there’s a hyperlink to the right which you can click to email me rather than copy and pasting or leave a comment below on this blog! I will try my best to answer them as quickly as possible.

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Furoshiki – Japanese Wrapping Cloth


Yes I’m Emma Roberts, no I’m not THAT Emma Roberts

This is something I find really funny. My name is Emma Roberts, which is also a name of an actress who is the niece of Julia Roberts. Occasionally, people will bring it up that it is funny I share a name with Emma Roberts, or they add me or comment on Social Media that they love my films – at which point I am like eh? and then I remember that there is THAT Emma Roberts – the movie star and I have to inform them that yes I am Emma Roberts but no I am not THAT Emma Roberts. Here are some facts about my name:

Prevalence of Emma in the world:

  • Ranked number 1 in the United States, Canada, Belguim, Norway,
  • Ranked top 10 in Austria, Catalonia, Denmark, Finland, France, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland
  • Ranked number 19 in Scotland
  • Ranked number 20 in Northern Ireland
  • Ranked number 60 in England and Wales

Most Common Surnames in the UK

  • Ranked number 10 in the UK
  • Ranked number 42 in the United States

So my first name is very common and my Surname is fairly common too. So the chances are Emma Roberts is also quite a popular name – and judging by Facebook and the fact people add me and find out I am the wrong Emma quite often; or they cannot find me because there are too many people with my name.

It just makes me laugh that people think I am THE Emma Roberts. Does anyone else have a name they share with someone famous and get mistaken for them all the time? Do you find it funny? Are you an Emma Roberts?


German: An Update

This is just ending a series I have previously written on. I am no longer learning German. Whilst I still love the language and the culture and still have Ostalgie and collect things – I am just no longer actively pursuing learning German.

The reason for this is because my interests in my research have change. I originally decided to learn German as my research interests were in German history, in particular, life in the two Germanies and the Holocaust. Whilst these topics are still close to my heart, circumstances beyond my control made me have to switch to a different department. It was a tough choice and I do miss researching the Holocaust, but ultimately switching departments was very much needed.

I am saddened that I can no longer follow what was once a passion and as a result I have stopped learning German because it saddens me, knowing that the reason behind learning German is no longer there. Right now it is still a very raw decision. I may pick up my learning in the future but for now it’s not an option.


Wait, I have a blog?!

It’s been so long since I’ve written a blog post, I had almost forgotten about it and was pretty sure everyone had stopped reading it! This week though I got an email from Stephen who asked for help with making inserts and he was kind enough to say that my blog was ‘one of the most readable, interesting and intelligently written.’ He also wished it would be a shame to lose it and I should persevere with it. So in honour of Stephen I have written a blog post…and hopefully this will be the start of a new trend. I think for the time being I will aim to get one a week and try to work on posting regularly.

My interests have changed a lot over the past year so I’ll be updating some of the types of posts that will be on here and ending a few threads.

So watch this space where hopefully something will happen…


Hello again

It has been a long time since I have written a blog post. I think I just about remember how to do it! I can’t believe how popular this blog still is. I’ve been months since I have written anything but I am still getting around 2,000 visitors every month. I even have people subscribing, even though it has looked like I will not be writing for a long time.

Well it’s a new year and I am going to try my best to revive this blog! I have a few new interests since I stopped this blog and I am going to have a reshuffle and move around some links on the main page. I also have an increasing to do list of blog posts to write so with a bit of luck I’ll be getting on with writing them soon.

So thank you for those who still check out my blog and I hope you enjoy the posts to come.

Emma.

 


Ostalgie

Ostalgie is a very whitty pun and a merging (well really it’s dropping of a letter!) of two German words Ost, meaning east and Nostalgie, meaning nostalgia. It is a term that is used to refer towards showing sentimentality for the east, particularly for the Deutsche Demokratische Republik, or as we called it, East Germany.

In 1989, The Berlin Wall fell and Germany ceased to be two divided countries and reunited into one. Although it was seen as a victory for the West, it was often quite traumatic for those living in the East, especially as parts of their cultural identity had been stripped away. This led in part to a turning back to the DDR with fondness and nostalgia. Today, elements of DDR life such as TV Shows (such as Unser Sandmännchen), Food, and the Ost-Ampelmännchen (The green man on crossing signals) still play a part in daily life.

I have a friend who was born in the DDR and still lives in former-DDR territory. He is a die-hard lover of the DDR and he jokes that he hates leaving the DDR to go to the West. Over Christmas, he went home to his Mum’s house and showed me some old coins and DDR maps that he had. I adore old coins and maps and I saw these and instantly decided I wanted to get a DDR map and some coins and join the Ostalgie bandwagon.

I was able to pick up some lovely items.

First is a 1 Pfennig coin dating from 1961. This was the year the Berlin Wall was established. I thought it would be perfect to set it in a coin mount and have my own lucky penny necklace. At first I couldn’t find a coin mount to fit with the standard English penny coin mounts, but luckily I live in Birmingham, home of the Jewellery Quarter, so I was able to find someone to make me a bespoke one. I really love this necklace.

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Second, I found a 1990 5 Pfennig coin, this one is slightly bigger than the 1 Pfennig, and 1990 marks the final year these coins were made. This one sits in my Filofax. I don’t really have a set use for it, but like some of my other coins I collect, they are just nice to pull out occasionally and look it.

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Finally I have this beauty, a wonderful map of Berlin, complete with red line marking the Berlin Wall and a little icon for the Brandonburg Gate. My absolutely favourite feature of this though is the refusal to even draw West Berlin on the map, leaving it instead blank. Under the Hallstein Doctrine, West Germany had refused to acknowledge the existence of East Germany as a separate country. In addition, any country that formally recognised East Germany and established connections with it, would be denied diplomatic relations with West Germany. Although by the time this map was created the Hallstein Doctrine had been abandoned in favour of Ostpolitik, relations between East and West were still frosty. Hence the refusal to acknowledge West Germany on a map. I am currently looking into a frame so I can hang this map up on my wall.

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