Guest blog: Vignettes of a final parting

As the dumplings I’d ordered arrived, the choice became clear: buy a car and settle down or try my luck abroad. Suddenly, the lovely backyard of flowers, paper lights and wood of my favorite Asian restaurant felt oppressive; the loyal, patient man across from me once again felt like the wrong partner. I got into the mode I’ve known so well, picked a fight with him for no good reason. I ruined the date he’d planned for us with the little stabs of my worsening mood, hitting where I knew would be most irritating – not fatal all at once, but inching closer to the veins of our relationship until they’d burst open. But I just couldn’t stop. I couldn’t express my restlessness in a constructive way. I couldn’t be honest that I just couldn’t go with what he was trying to convince me to do. I’d never buy that car.

The futon he’d helped me pick, and which we’d shared so many nights in my apartment, was one of the last pieces of furniture to go. He insisted on keeping it for himself. He insisted on hanging out with me until nearly the last moment, but not until the very last moment, until the car – which I’d borrowed from my parents – pulled away, because that would’ve been too painful. I read breakup poems I’d written for him, in front of him and others, and said out loud that they were, in fact, for him. He turned red. He felt uncomfortable. Why did I insist on giving him these last few stabs? Why couldn’t I just leave peacefully, without leaving reopened wounds in my wake? I’d gotten what I wanted – except not when I wanted it. I was leaving Wilmington, North Carolina, just when I’d finally become happy there.

I stepped outside the hotel room I was sharing with my parents, as we visited my brother’s university in Orlando, Florida – my last trip before moving away from the U.S. The voice on the phone expressed regret that he wasn’t coming with me. But how could he? Leaving the home he’d managed to buy and friends he’d managed to nurture as family after so long would’ve been unthinkable. I couldn’t understand him at the time, although one day, several years older and quite travel-fatigued, I would. I spent the last weeks at my parents’ Miami-area home largely shut in, studying Danish on Rosetta Stone like a maniac, binging on “Dexter” episodes with my brother, spying on my ex on social media to see if he was already, or should I say finally, moving on. The feelings were mixed and results inconclusive.

Two large suitcases and a backpack was all that I could carry, and after much packing and repacking, I’d finally decided on the essentials with which to start my new life, alone, in a place I’d never been to. But somehow it felt so natural and right. This time I hardly picked any fights with my parents. The goodbye at the airport was as undramatic as possible; I think we’d all seen it coming for a long time, and my parents had learned to be happy for me from progressively farther away. As I sat at the gate waiting to board, as I stepped inside the plane, as I took my seat and got carried all the way to Copenhagen, I played and replayed the soundtrack of my life thus far, songs that reminded me of my ex on constant repeat, a bittersweet liquid filling my throat and chest from the feed in my ears.

Sitting alone on a grassy little hill at Roskilde University, I looked at my phone and saw a message from him, jokingly inviting me to join him at a concert back in Wilmington. Even after four breakups with each other and being so far apart now, we still stubbornly tried to hang on. But the end of our addiction was inevitable. Incessant new and exciting learning, daily dorm parties and excursions and fascinating new people, from all over the world, pulled me away, unsurprisingly. A smiley face in response to his question on whether I was dating someone would put a final stop to our regular chats. For him, it wouldn’t take very long to find the woman who’d turn out to be his love match, meshing seamlessly with his family of friends and the Wilmington lifestyle, according to photos on social media.

He stopped wishing me happy birthday. He asked her to marry him. I felt happy for him, and happy for myself for sincerely feeling so. It only took five years and three European countries since our final parting, and becoming deeply jaded from too many discoveries, bouts of continent-hopping, brushes with danger and a couple more devastating failed loves for my addiction to drama to finally wear out. I still feel pangs of guilt for the too many unnecessary stabs I gave him, and others since. At last, one important thing I have learned from living a transient, dynamic lifestyle in Europe is that there’s neither space nor time for cultivating open wounds – I’ve got to keep on moving, and learning and adapting to survive, and hang on for dear life to the kindred souls who understand and support this.

by Ana Beatriz Ribeiro, founder of Leipzig glocal

Geek or Nerd? how absurd! Rams as Champions.

A roller coaster ride to get to the top of the EPL, 6 seasons in all. A slow rise to the summit, and a hard climb at times. However, with a budget that never exceeded 20m I think I overshot my expectations.

Football manager 14 seems to have a couple of tweaks needed, i.e. Full and Wing Backs tend to be poor or too aggressive, and quality regens a real rarity.

The 2019/20 season was surprising in many ways. My normal strategy of using 2 formations and one back up spun out of the turn stiles, when early on I realised a 4,1,2,2,1 formation brought no results. Flipping this on its head by concentrating mainly on 4,2,3,1  formation and for stronger teams emulating the real Liverpool of last season by hitting them hard from the onset of each half with a very high tempo, playing either attacking or counter with direct play and drilling crosses in the first twenty mins. Switching it up after this to attacking and early/floating crosses. These were my strongest players in the said formation.

Click image to enlarge!

2015-04-19_1903 Although I only got to the quarters in the ECC, knocked out by Madrid 2-5,  I used my 4,3,1,2 formation more frequently there than in the EPL.

My squad through the season had a main weakness at DR/WBR. And maybe I could have done with another good keeper. However, the Defence Mids I played as MCs worked well, but also I alternated to using a box-to-box mids such as Holtby or Ramirez if I really wanted to dominate.

2015-04-19_1900bWithin the squad my strongest positions were at GK and AMC, with Fuentes providing 22 assists as well as scoring 15 goals. Along with Hughes, Ramirez and Holtby as great foils and back up to the top striking force of Olivaries, Niang and Cornelius. My regen Croatian keeper was a killer for his age, and just like Man Utds De Gea kept an older more experienced player (Steele) from between the posts, by having consistently safer hands.

These are the five things I (re) learned –

Be willing to take risks mid game , and switch off the tactics suggestions

Even though you should have a good defense, make sure you have attacking depth and not one sole killer striker

Substitue week defenders or strikers even in first 15-30mins of the game

Use your own tutoring strategy as often back room advice backfires

Do not worry if you have 23 in your squad, especially if your competing in ECC, specific players for competitions allow for better fitness and injury avoidance

Despite having a 15-1 chance to win the title I managed to take the crown with two games in hand after a good result against Arsenal, and regardless if their and Man City’s resurgence. As well as beating my rivals to make the title deserving of a bucking Rams squad.



Never in my classroom – hard sell

A vital part of Business English is understanding the strategies that companies use to lure their customers into purchasing. I tried a new lesson taking a look at this, and adapted in mid-lesson in response to my students reactions. The orange sections are those inserted due to lack of interest or a slightly miscued pedagogy.

* Plan is for a 90 minute lesson, but can fill up to 2 hours.

10 mins – 1-1 interview – What was your last purchase you made that was influenced by the advertising/marketing/sales concept of a company?

10-15 mins – Sharing with the group encouraging the class mates to declare if the product/service interests them or not.

*observed the students were listening in on the discussions of the others

10 mins – Mix and match phrases for strategies (note – more than one option may be possible



leading someone







* initially set as a task where they had to add a verb to the section B, was taking a little too long due to the high flying students being absent, so added section A


into a trend

to a niche/target group

to customers needs

to market demand

an image/ideal/msg

to believe in something that is not true

what customers does not know they want/need

with USP or groupings of special interests

30 mins – Discuss in small groups if your company, a business field uses particular strategies and/ or if you can recognisea strategies that are used by a particular culture/country

10 mins – Show 3 adverts from different countries for similar products with the volume muted, students have to guess where the advert is from.

* the ads I used for Telecommunications, but you can find a range for any kind of biz field

02 from the UK


T Mobile from US

Orange from India

 15-20 mins – Show the adverts again, and ask the students to decide which strategies from above or other strategies are being used.

Extension, follow up tasks as homework or projects 

* as I have some groups that are following similar syllabi try to run tasks that can now be done as spoken or written depending on what the students have to improve or skills they lack

1) Find good examples for adverts that are playing on customers preconceived notions of




* Had 10 mins to spare so did this in the lesson but with a three groups, each finding only one example for one type

2) Look at the marketing/sales concept of three rival providers of a service/sellers of a product and analyse the Strengths and Weaknesses or Pros and Cons of the strategies, and if you think they are successful in capturing their intended traget group.

Present as a short Pech Kucha presentation


Write a 400 word report



Never in my classroom: top 3 lesson plans 1Qrt 2015

Been kinda quiet on my blog front, as I have been focusing on my non-profit org and creative writing/performing. Time now to share my three most successful lessons from the first quarter of 2015.


Local business analysis

I have done/run this in two ways, but with the same focus. I work in an Applied Sciences Technical College whereby employees for Deutsche Telekom come from all over Germany. As their studies are pretty intense they only get to discover the city around the college and their hotels, with for most maybe the occasional visit downtown. These exercises gets them to analyse the local market and maybe pique their interest in their surroundings.

First choose some local businesses

For techie students

Find out if the company is clicks and/or mortar?

What is their core and peripheral target group?

What do you think is their marketing concept?

How do you rate their internet presence?

These are the companies I used

For “business” students

Reused (brown) land.

What was the venue used for originally?

How do they use it now, how was it revamped?

How do they engage with the end client?

These are the venues I used

Spinnerei – an old textile factory that now is an arts hub

Panometer – an old gasometer that now is a immersive exhibition space

Alte Messe – an old trade fair area that is now used for various outlets

note – with this as an additional task they can try to predict the modern day usage as a brainstorming exercise before they investigate/research.

  • Present your findings as a short 3- 5 minute presentation.

Follow up – a 400/600 word concise business proposal outline for expanding their business portfolio and/or likewise improving their internet footprint/marketing.

No 2

Mergers and acquisitions

In businesses success is often dependent on external or internal factors, with this in mind I devised a lesson plan for looking at failed mergers and acquisitions, see docment. This was my source on the net for the companies. I find these “news” lists a good source for lesson ideas in general.

Coming together

No 3

DIY Manual

Take a DIY video from youtube such as this one.

With higher level students with some construction knowledge show them the video without audio first, they then have to predict the content and instructions.

Play the video once with audio, pausing at relevant sections (as it is a lot to take notes on), and then a second time in full.

Lesson aim: to create a written handout/manual.

Objective: creating concise sentences using the infinitive. Recall and sequencing.

Enjoy trying out these lesson plans, expanding them, and please give me some feedback.

No 1 will be followed up with the business proposals in a month, as I think  the results will be intriguing.



Geek or Nerd: start of the footie fight back

Someone once said combining your passions is a good thing. So Willkommen to my footie and computer strategy blog theme.
RB Leipsch and the Rams are my two teams I follow the most, and with both the passions of their prevailing & pitfalls.

Macca & Tunni strike back

Macca is doing really well with the Rams since Cloughie was cut and moved to the Blades. My fingers are crossed that he will have the same success as I have had with footie manager 14. Back in the EPL and won the Championship with a team no one gave a chance at the beginning. Take a look at the  curtain call before I take you through the highlights of my first season with my good ole Rams,  and what I learned on the way.









The start

At the outset I decided I needed to find a feeder, and parent club, as well as clear out the dead wood and bring in some fresh legs.

For me Buxton was more old school and a defender a bit in the mould of  Vinnie Jones, so I would palm him off. In the middle I dumped Coutts not coz of a lack of quality but he would not suit my formation and someone on the left to mirror him was my squads big weakness. Cancelled the loan of Leon Best not coz he was a tree hugger but not really my kind of player or ruthless and flexible enough.






As I knew I wanted someone like Casteels, and I did not have to splash out for the Championship but more for the Premiership. He wasnie interested so I needed to bring in a second string Keeper who Grant could have under his wing. The Villians Siegrist worked out to be a safe pair of hands for the cup competitions and the weaker teams.

Feeder club was Gillingham and I was surprised at the acceptance of a club I wanted to slightly emulate but be a bit more ruthless than they have been for my parent.





Choose them cause of their possession, passing play and general rep. But knew I would start with tactics that may not be so associated with them.

2 sets of formations/ tactics were decided on coz of guys like Hughes (to be my Shadow Striker/ box to box mid), Thorne (Deep lying playmaker/Regista) and Russell (Trequista/ Inside right forward) in my team.

With at the start an as of then undecided third back up formation, which ended up being 4 -3- 1- 2 to play against teams who did not play wide or were known for counter attacks. Which I decided for around the Jan transfer window after a nice autumnal success.






This result against one of the Rams big rivals showed we could really come back from a losing position. This was part of my reactive tactic of going  from counter/balanced in response to their goals and on the attack when the midfield were dominating and the attack picked up. This tactic worked till the end of the season. With the exception of what I considered my worst result of the first season also as it happens against our rivals dirty Leeds.






In hindsight I probably should not have started with Richardson, but Thorne was not fit.

My biggest surprise was the development of Ugwu, and will loan him out in the first EPL season to have him come back strong for my second season. And of course the medias was –



Never in my classroom: only the teacher teaches

I often get my students to teach each other, but today I had added a twist. I was looking for a fun activity to challenge my technical English students, and came across one when recently watching a QI episode hosted by Stephen Fry.  I always find the end of the QI series  very intriguing as it takes me back to my secondary school physics lessons.

If you are a teacher or even a curious viewer watch the following video below from 39 minutes in without the sound, and try to figure out what the heck is happening.

I then set my students the following task –

1) What? is it showing

2) How does it work? the tech or physics behind it

3) Are there any real life applications?

4) How would you explain it to secondary school students?  * create a handout, summarised to a page and include diagrams if necessary

Two other lessons I have had my students create are underneath.


Explain to secondary school students in a lesson format with a handout the function of the following –

Inductors , conductors, resistors, line cards, transmitters, base stations and MOSFETs.

Senses & Tech

Create a lesson comparing the function of one of the senses to a technological device.

Feel free to road test them and let me know how you get on.

Often the drawback of students specialised in a particular field is that they have broad specific vocabulary, but not necessarily so in regards to general or comprehensive vocabulary. Likewise they are unable to at times paraphrase or simplify. The above tasks/lessons I find help with alleviating this, and broadening the scope of their communication skills. Plus they tend to have great fun pretending to be dumb pupils.

I will give an update to this blog entry when I have done more road testing of the above lessons.



Create 5: Sunday sofa stories; major influences – songs

In my early teens I was really more into the Beatles and would not say I was so much into real rock. Some soft metal maybe, but not what I now consider good rock music, spanning from Led Zep to BRMC to RatM.

Two bands  were the catalyst to that change, and two songs influenced a change in my music tastes at that time.

The first was a real random discovery through reading a magazine my brother collected on the Vietnam War and then getting into Tour of Duty. If you were a teen in the late 80s you would know this series, and either hate it or love it. But the song in the intro was by the Rolling Stones. Although I had heard songs by the Stones, Paint it Black was the first to hit me and started my rock music fandom rolling.

Maybe the lyrics some how keyed into my teenage angst, but I also became a  Stones prude, as I am with Indie music, U2 and Pink Floyd. With the Stones it was and still is more about Brian Jones than the effervescent Jagger. Unless you are a real fan, you will not know the story, but it is worth looking into the guy who started it all and became mixed up in a lot of the seedy side of music and fame.

Since being broken into the Stones through this song it has become almost an anthem of my teens. And you could see me in clubs in the North West rockin’ out to Paint it Black. Not so sure I would like the Tour of Duty now. As there are many things from that part of my life that lose their gloss with age, like the film Rumble Fish.

Tune in next week for the second song that rocked me out of my safe music taste rocking chair.

More Euorpean: What I would miss from Leipsch!

As promised a bit of an insight into what I think I would miss if I were to go back to the UK. I have lived in Leipzig for well over a decade now and see this as I said as my home. This is the place I have settled and set down some roots in for sometime, and even if hard at times the challenge has been worth it.

Let me put on my imaginary world hat and think about what I would miss from here.

In the UK other than around Preston I never was in such a great city for cycling than Leipsch. Many cycle paths and five minutes to the forest make it a great place for my wheels. Even if we have no hills ( well one hillock), unlike the Peaks I loved in the UK. Having lakes nearby is also an added bonus.

This is a cliché but something that I know holds true even with others who have moved here. It is harder to make friends than with other more gregarious cultures, even for a social butterfly like me. Now, a lot of Germans see the Brits as reserved. But any who have lived there for sometime and in different areas may hold a contrary view. There are exceptions in the UK and Germany, but I do believe the mates & acquaintances circle is larger quicker for Brits. However back to my point, once you have broken that Germanic exterior friendship tends to be on very solid foundations. So of course I would miss my German friends as much as I have missed some of my friends from the icckle island. Maybe because it takes longer to get to that close friends thing here.

Even if I am self employed, the Public holidays would be something I would certainly miss.  Even after a decade here I forget when they are. I am sure all my German friends have them solidly locked in their dairies or calenders despite there being so many. Even with German holidays in my google calender they still creep up on me in a nice pat on the shoulder way.

It is hard to compare like to like. But this has been a annoyance of mine when going back to Lancashire.  A bus service that runs so badly over the Christmas and New Year means taxis make a bomb from now stranded occasional visitors like me. I would miss the tram system of Leipzig. It is a great alternative to the wheels. Not perfect, especially the awful heating system. But they run regularly and during holidays.

The Reluctant Gambler by Ralf

Although this is changing in the UK due to austerity and alcohol prices, the drinking culture.  It is not as simple as how much is drunk, cause Germans drink enough to sink a small battleship sometimes. However, in general you tend to go out later and drink steadier over a longer time . Of course binge drinking exists, but being a night owl this means my later hours in the UK were generally spent clubbing.

Sitting out in the summer in Leipsch till 1 to 2 in the morning, enjoying beers & cheers, all for shits & giggles is just fab. And if I am not too far out of my tree, cycling home at this time is a pretty nice end to the jollies.


More European: UK missing you, well kinda!

Like a lot of ex-pats I see England as my vacation land now, but lots of the locals here ask me if I miss home. Not oodles, but here be a few things I do find it hard to replace after over a decade in the Europe of the East.

With the youtube age my music input has changed so much since my early screamager years. Jools Holland and Jo Wiley were my musical sources for years in the UK. I knew I could rely on them to bring me a least one top tune or band every week or two, and a dodgy tone deaf one or two as well. Of course I watched Top of the Pops, but at College/ Uni more Top of the Pops 2 as this was my phase of getting into music older than my jeans. Good ole Jools and Joe I miss in Germany. And to be honest the lack of music diversity on the radio kinda sucks here. But this variety for all I know may also have disappeared on the airwaves in the UK.

Yes in Germany, I have gone through my phases of Uncut music mag, and now the Mahogany/Balcony/ Black Cab sessions. But “Later with Jools Holland” was one of those weekend things I looked forward to, or catching up on an episode or two through the mystical medium of VHS. Number one!

 Starsailor was one of my very first Jools gems. A great Wigan band that really only did two good albums in my honest opinion. And took their name from a great Tim Buckley album.






 For awhile I thought I missed the beer. But tastes change, and I am now a full convert to Hefeweisen, Schwartzbier and Czech/Polish pils or lager. Working in pubs in the North West and having frequented often with the O’erish I do miss a good Guinness or even stout. Murphys I can drink in Germany, but Guinness is my snobby thing. In that once ya have drunk the good shit ya cannie stomach poor imitations. Guess it is a bit like once ya have drunk good coffee ya have a hard time getting ya taste buds round weasel water Nescafe or Muckefuck.


A game of pool in a pub, sometimes for a few quid.As a boy I was a snooker guy, living in the East Midlands and growing up in the time when Stephen Hendry was just hitting a dominance similar to that Vettel had in F1 for awhile, it was kinda cool. Also a badge of honour was to be a honrary member of the working mens club in my local town, where they had the good tables. This all changed when I moved to the North West, where the smaller and lighter cue, and different tactics played out. It was a bit like going from chess to draughts (checkers). Going to a pub to meet friends, or just a pick up game was my life for neigh on half a dozen years.


A good butchers. There are some here, if you look. But often I lived in the UK where I could have a butchers (pun intended) at the different meat other than pork, what  the local cleaver wielder was offering.


Second hand English book shops. Before Waterstones became the beast that it is, these were a dime and a dozen. I could spend hours in them, browsing and discovering new authors. I was almost like the Cheshire cat from the Japser Fforde books. A cheeky quite content cat grin from ear to ear.


On the flip of these five and to keep some of you curious cats happy, I will write about the 5 things I imagine I might miss if I were ever to go back to blighty.

Create 5 challenges – duet to trio or more

We all need new challenges and sources of inspiration. When it comes to art and performance and business I luv collaboration. With the right partners you bounce off their ideas, they bounce back. You ride the wave of great vibes. So far I have done duets with the wonderfully polemically passionate Rima and surging back to Renaissance Maeshelle. They have contained some of the best moments to treasure.

Next up I would like to do a trio. Inspired by these guys, and I would like to big them up. Admirable poetical passion –

My fav line from this vid is –


“this is an apology in the form of an unsung telegram, I sometimes watch too much TV and screen go save, but one day this world will turn fast food chains into second hand book stores, and finally we will be well read.”

Still working out the collaborations. Lets see what avenues of expression this fosters. Exciting times.

Bring em on!


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