29 July 2008

Expat Life: The Daily Routine

Here I thought I would be all clever and actually write a few posts in advance. But as luck would have it, I managed to post them too hastily, so I actually do have to write something today on expat life (I was hoping to cover that base with the post about the car boot sale on Sunday).

My Daily Routine

To give you a little idea of what an average day in the life of an expat freelance writer is like, I thought I would talk about what I have been doing, day in, day out, for the past four months or so (not counting the two months I allowed myself to nest).

First, I must again acknowledge just how thankful I am to have the opportunity to pursue my passions for writing and creating at this time in my life as well as a mate who completely supports me in it.

I usually wake up around 6:30 when the Big Guy gets up and crawl reluctantly out of bed at 7:15. I am totally excited about what I am doing, but that doesn't make it easier to get out of my warm, snugly bed. I make a large cup of tea and drink it from my favorite mug, the 'puppy in a sweater' mug. Matthias leaves for work after downing a bowl of muesli with yoghurt and reluctantly taking the fruit I hand him.

Drinking my black tea, I write out two or three pages longhand about whatever it is that comes to my mind. Sometimes I scribble about what happened the day before, what I have planned for the day ahead, things that bother me, my dreams, and once in a while I gain some insight and enlightenment about things that have been holding me back or standing in the way of my personal development. These are my morning pages; something I have been doing since the beginning of my writing endeavors as a result of working with The Artist's Way. 

Most mornings, I let myself get distracting in between pages by emails, but I manage somehow to finish and am out the door by 9am for my morning walk. I take a spin around the neighborhood with a one kilo weight in each hand and an Ipod loaded with inspirational, self-help podcasts. Currently Dr. Wayne Dyer is my personal favorite and before I had been listening to Oprah and Eckhart Tolle talk about A New Earth. By the time I am home and showered, it is 10am and I start with my first writing session.

I schedule my writing into blocks of time because, well, after an hour or so sitting at the same screen I loose my focus and get sucked into other computer distractions (Facebook, email, Ravelry). So, after completing a block of uninterrupted brainstorming/idea generation, research or writing (ie intellectually demanding), I am most effective when I get up and do something physically demanding. And just around 11:30, after having 90 minutes to complete my writing tasks, it is time to start lunch.

I need usually about an hour to prepare something for Matthias and me. When we were house hunting, we made it a priority to live nearby where Matthias worked since he isn't fond *at all* of commuting (no one drives as well as he does, or so he likes to think). And in the early months of being totally alone in a new country, he came home every lunch hour to be with me.

Now, it is a great way to share a meal together, I get to cook (and if you know me, you know that I am like a pig in mud while cooking) and Matthias gets to have a break from the humdrum of corporate life. It is a win-win situation all around. Today's meal was especially pleasing to the German meat monster: ground beef sauteed with onions, garlic (of course), 3 bell peppers, 2 small zucchini and a can of organic chopped tomatoes including the juice (added at the end) served on couscous (my new favorite carbohydrate!). Quite good if I do say so myself. And so easy.

By 1pm, my DH is usually gone again and I have already got most of the kitchen cleaned up and the leftovers put away (I don't cook everyday now). I use the time from 1 to 2pm as another writing-related work session. Today it was devoted to idea generation for a travel blog I have been writing for.

At 2pm, it is  'me'-time in which I watch old ER reruns and usually knit. Depending on what there is to do, I will have on eye on Dr. Luka Kovac and Nurse Abby Lockhardt and the other eye on the nearly 200 RSS feeds I read daily. For those of you who are not familiar with RSS, it stands for Real Simple Syndication, and it is an easy way to get the web content you read regularly assembled in one place for easy consumption. Brilliant. Today I split my time at County General between the ironing board (hey, someone's gotta do it) and the sock  I am knitting Le Monstre.

The hour block between 3 and 4pm I have dedicated solely to the search for new leads and job applications. I scour the web daily for ads looking for freelance writers, translators and editors.

From 4 to 6pm, I block time to continue my writing work or whatever needs to be done here. The last few days, I have devoted the afternoon hours to some writing projects and especially my blogs, which I am trying to post at on a daily basis. Today I spent one of the hours scrubbing the rings off the shower basin and bringing our en suite to its once pristine state of cleanliness. Glamourous, I know, but let me tell ya, necessary.

Now it is nearing 7pm and it is time to start thinking about our evening forage.  Matthias and I have always done dinner German style which entails eating open faced sandwiches you make as you go with the ingredients on the table. To our 'Brotzeit' or bread time, I have introduced the salad. And the carnivorous German is gladly on board.

The night is spent on the couch with my DH.  I knit and flip through books and make intermittent comments about just how crap British reality television really is. We are usually in bed by 10pm, read until half past and then lights out.

That is the extent of my average day. I now have other fun activities like 2 four-hour shifts at a nearby charity shop on Wednesday and Friday mornings and a new knit gathering I would like to go to, but requires an hour travel each way.

Now that I think about it, so much for this lovely routine I have established over the next few months. This coming month, I will be required to adapt my routine, while tending to my many guests from Germany....

1 comment:

Tamagosan said...

The adaptation will be interesting; I look forward to reading about it... As to the daily grind, you're so disciplined-- please pat yourself on the back for it!!