"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." [Mark Twain]

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Riding Munich: Fahrräder, Nacht & Männer

One of the best gifts I've ever received? 

Mein Fahrrad. 

So it happened last Friday after such a busy day/week at work on a nice cool day in Munich. After rushing to finish all of my work and being asked to help with things even after 5pm, I finally took off from work at around 6ish to head straight to Munich's city center. I was off to meet Heather and a bunch of other friends at our beloved Happy Hour spot by at least 7pm--the start of the 3 € per liter of Augustiner beer Happy Hour. So it was just Heather and I sitting at the bar and chatting with our friend Annabelle who works the bar. :) Out of nowhere, she tells us that there are all these left behind bikes in their courtyard and takes me to check them out. All 5 of them were in good condition, but I took the most ridable one of course!! So, there was my bike. I was searching for one on eBay for about 3 weeks and trying to find one in Munich beforehand that wasn't too killer expensive. So, to say the least Annabelle was my first Friday night Lebensretter (lifesaver). Saturday I went to pick it up and have been enjoying it's speed and views ever since--minus the extremely high seat and the light that doesn't work at night! Now I can bike to work or even visit the city center in about a 20 minute ride! Amazingly lucky.

To continue on that Friday night, I drank 3 Maß of beer (3 liters) from 7 to 9pm and had to take off for some sleep before 10:30pm! It was such a memorable night--learning new drinking games, meeting Australians, and having good friend time. Jäger's is definitely a Happy Hour Hot Spot!! :D 

So my first time ever singing karaoke was in 2008 in Frankfurt, Germany. To reinforce my karaoke tradition, I continued my vocals at Shamrock's Irish Pub last Tuesday night. We sang so many songs: Spice Girls, Maroon 5, and whatever else was movin'! That was also the first time I gave myself a curfew to go home early enough to get up awake for another day at work. Curfew at 10:30  

Dating in Germany is pretty common as in the US it is pretty much fading out. I have been on a few dates here, but no one has really caught my attention at all. They have all been really nice and good-looking, but I find no passion in them, which tends to be a real turn off. I'm not 'looking' for any guys here at all actually, but it is always best to try a chocolate covered olive just to see how it is. After the langweilig (boring) dates and dull make outs, I've come to realize that German boys are just not my type and I will probably not end up trying them out anymore. They have all been about the same in attitude and their kissing--lacking passion. So sad, but true. But, I'm sure there must be at least one German who can disprove me. FYI: Of my international kissing scene, Germans have been by far the worst. Looks can definitely deceive! :D 

Festivals and parties in Munich are always in action. To know the action, one must join the action. Therefore, I have spent countless evenings rushing from work to go home and change for the next event in Munich. Sommerfest in Olympia Park was the entire month of August--FREE--with live concerts every night, German/Turkish fair food, roller coasters, and spinning bar carousels. Last Sunday was the best. I felt right at home. About 8 friends and I chilled out on a spot of grass with the numerous mosquitoes and tried to play different games we knew, shared some beers and fair food, and jammed out to the Bluegrass Band adjacent to us. Bluegrass music on a nice spot of green park grass wearing a skirt made me feel so at home and happy. I can't wait for the next Bluegrass concert in Munich!!! 

There is SO much I do here in Munich that is extremely hard to keep up with jotting it down and having a horrible memory can't help any! So I just write what I'm thinking about at the moment and hope that the rest will just come to me. :)

New Experiences
Owning a bike in Germany
Having a chocolate covered apple (from the summer fest in Olympia Park)
Having a German working for BMW tell me that my German is better than his English (I felt amazing since almost everyone here in Munich speaks pretty perfect English!!)
Hosted my first dinner party

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Everyone Needs a Little Weekend Blush

My workweek is just so hectic nowadays. I just love Thursdays because I know the next day is Friday, which means a handful of managers in my office 'working from home.' Not that I don't do the same amount of work on Fridays as every other day, it just means there is less of a chance that I will get assigned even more work! So, after spending some thinking time trying to decide how to balance my life out with all of this work, the lovely friend Heather came to my rescue. 
Heather on our adventures through Munich! This was the monument tribute to Bavaria right in front of the Oktoberfest grounds.
After work on Friday, I collected all of my junk in my extra large backpack and even brought my laundry along for a sleepover weekend in Heather's mansion!! Wow. It was SOOO relaxing. Just about cured my desire for relaxation. :) We spent Friday night cooking up some Swäbisches Mahltauschen, which we are both in LOVE with! They are like large pocket raviolis with spinach stuff inside and then you just throw some sauteed onions and chives on top and vuala! Then I finally got to watch Mary Poppins for the first time ever!! Now, I love musicals and old films, but this was just extremely weird and not entertaining at all. If I wouldn't have had Heather there or our friend Zainab singing along in her sleep, then I would have turned it off. What a waste of good actors: Mr. Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews.  
Another one of King Ludwig I's castles. You don't have to venture far for this one, Schloss Nymphenburg, since it's placed right in the heart of Munich!
On Saturday, we slept in and took our time getting out for the day. Ahhh...it was sooo nice not to have to rush anywhere!! We went exploring the Oktoberfest grounds where they're setting everything up. Only 1 more month 'til the festivities!! We met up with our friend Eric and went to go meet our other friend Harry in Marienplatz so we could journey to Schloss Nymphenburg. Even though I've already been to see the castle, I love the scenary, the gardens, and the rows of statues in the backyard of the castle. After we took some pictures and enjoyed the beauty, we set off to go back to the city and have a drink at my favorite brewery! :) Of course we get on a bus that takes about an hour longer than it's supposed to take!! Oh well, we finally arrive dehydrated and hungry, so we find a table in the crowded Schneider Weiße Bräuhaus to enjoy some delicious spinach spätzle and beer. Then we take Eric to Jäger's for 3 Euro liter Augustiner beers (a typical liter beer usually costs around 7 Euro per Maß). It definitely is one of the best places in Munich for Happy Hour! We finished out the night missing our friend for a club meet up, but still met some really interesting people as we hydrated ourselves with some delicious liters of Augustiner. We ended up going home early and me giving Heather some peaceful sleep with my snoring. ;) 
The Tribute to Bavaria that overlooks the Oktoberfest celebrations. 
Munich preparing for the 200th Anniversary of Oktoberfest!! See the tower with the lion on top? That's the Löwenbräu tent I will be celebrating in with my co-workers!! :)
Enjoying my favorite beer at the good 'ole Schneider Weiße Bräuhaus!! Freshly brewed 0.5 Liters of Aventinus for only 3.80 Euro! :) I love to indulge here every other week or so with a delicious platter of Spinatspätzle. Mmmm. Can't get better than this! 
New Experiences

  • Watched Mary Poppins for the first time
  • Had my first sleepover weekend in Munich
  • Made Schwäbisches Mahltauschen!
  • Tried my first Löwenbräu Triumphator beer
    • This was the first beer I've never been able to finish!!! It was disgusting!! I've never been able to say this about a German beer. How disappointing. Good thing Aventinus is still made! :)

Mission for this week: Job hunt, send postcard greetings, get more sleep, Shamrock's Tuesdays, find a dirndl for Oktoberfest, and a bike for convenience and of course exercise! :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

2 Months Later

My first picnic in Germany!! Heather and I grabbed a table near the Chinese Tower in the English Gardens to enjoy some good food and nice sunny Munich.
I've always wanted to share my experiences and stories with family, friends, and anyone interested. NOW, I've finally found the time and encouragement from Heather to sit down and start sharing my stories and adventures.
Just one of the many depictions of what makes München so special. 
Geschwister-Scholl Platz near Ludwig Maximilian Universität, which is where the White Rose campaign against the Nazi regime started by the Scholl siblings. I did a research report on this so it's just amazing to see the actual place of action! 
Let's start with me arriving in Munich, Germany on June 2nd, 2010. I'm sure you will figure out the rest of my history as the stories develop. Why am I here in Munich? Well, that started last summer when I studied here for 5 amazing weeks (after studying German for 2 years and International Business for 3) and fell in love with the efficiency and management of BMW. So, I tested my luck with a simple on-line application and telephone interview and now here I am. Living my dream.
My Dream come true made possible thanks to BMW!!

I work for the BMW Group, Alphabet International, and absolutely LOVE my job. After an unbelievably fast 2 months have already gone by, that means I only have 3.5 to go! I really do not want to abandon lovely Munich and all the amazing friends I have made here, so in these 3.5 months I will be on the hunt for an opportunity to extend my stay for a few years--if not more! :)
Karlsplatz Fountain: this thing never stops as nor my busy life in this city!
The most famous tourist site in Munich! Welcome to the center of Munich--the architectural beauty, Marienplatz!! This is also a central meeting point for many of my adventures. 
Aside from work, Munich is the city that sleeps, but just has something against me sleeping. There is just SO much to do here, things are always changing, and I'm always meeting new friends and enjoying time with the old that I have lost my balance. When I studied in Texas at St.Mary's University for those 4 amazing years of my life, I found my balance most of the time and rarely got side-tracked! I would wake up every morning at 5:30am and go for at least a 2-mile run plus some or hit the gym for an hour, then be ready for my 8am class, finish class and go to work such as when I interned at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), finish around 5 or 6pm, then go to my closet of a dorm room and write papers and study, then hit the bed around 11ish. That was the life. I hate routine, but with so much going on, it is very difficult to balance everything. That is the last time I found my balance between work, play, and my health. Now, the enticements of Munich have killed all of my attempts at establishing a balance. So, after 2 months, I am still on the search for balance and have not yet found my code. However, tomorrow is a new day and a new beginning for overcoming this battle of mine.
The Bavarian enticement (and work reservation to attend) of the annual Kocherlball. It's held in the English Gardens at the Chinese Tower with over 10,000 people starting at 5:45 on a Sunday morning and lasting til around 11am every July. A few amazing hours of the full on Bavarian culture: sat at our reserved tables with liters of beer, white sausage with sweet mustard, giant pretzels, German doughnuts, liederhosen and dirndls, and enjoyed Bavarian bands and dances!!  

*New Experiences of the Day (will catch up with the rest later! :))
  • Cooked Tortellini in a homemade spinach-tomato sauce!!
  • Got begged by the client whom I won over to come to the meeting in London with my boss, only to turn her down since I'm just an intern!!
  • Made it to my Deutsche Bank during lunchtime.