January 30, 2011

52+ Things Challenge: #53 “Brenna und die Kirchen”– Five Down, Nine To Go

My friend Brenna told me that she’d never been into a church before. Not that hard to believe considering that there are so many people in the world who aren’t religious but I believed that this was absolutely unacceptable for her to continue while she is living in Europe. Especially when she is surrounded by such beautiful churches. So, I decided to add a new goal to my “52 Things” list – take Brenna to all the churches in Munich. All of the big, beautiful, gorgeous ones, anyway. And so I will. Over the course of a few Sundays here and there, I will get Brenna into all of the worthy churches in Munich.

“Brenna und die Kirchen”
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Brenna visited 5 out of 14 churches on our list. Brenna, our friend, Stoney, and I ventured out into the city center, bellies full on a Chinese food buffet and we braved the freezing cold January afternoon and visited 5 churches – Michaelskirche, Frauenkirche, Alter Peter, Heilig Geist Kirche, and Theatinerkirche – spread out from Karlzplatz to Odeonplatz.



DSCN4393Inside Michaelskirche

Follow the link below to see the rest of Brenna’s kirche adventures.

January 29, 2011

52 Things Challenge: #6 Daydream in the Asamkirche

With the challenge of the 52 Things in Munich fresh on my mind, my friend Eric and I set off to tackle one of the easier challenges – a visit to Munich’s Asamkirche. It’s official name is the Church of St. Johann Nepomuk and it was built by the Asam brothers in the 1700’s. The architecture inside of the church, and the paintings on the wall, tell the story of Saint Nepomuk and it is a church that you absolutely can not miss out on. I can’t believe that I hadn’t been to it before. I love the churches here and I’ve made it a personal goal of mine to visit most, if not all of them, before I leave this city. I’m so glad that I found this one and I definitely did a little bit of day dreaming in there. It’s ridiculously gorgeous and awe inspiring – you can’t help it!





What was I daydreaming about? Everything. Mostly I was just standing in awe and marveling at how gorgeous this church is. But I was also thinking about how great my life is and how lucky I am to be here in this city, experiencing things like this every day. I don’t want to be anywhere else right now. It can be really difficult, missing home and the people I left behind, but for right here and right now, this is it. This is where I want to be and I am so grateful.

Check out my 52 Things list! One down, 51 to go! (At least until I knock out the ones I’ve already done.)

52 Things Challenge: How to Act Like a Local While Living in Munich

The other day my dearest Jessica posted a link on my Facebook wall to this amazing website called 52 Ways to Act Like a Local. It’s basically a bucket list of things posted by Munich’s local newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, that should be accomplished by tourists and expats alike while they’re living in or visiting Munich. Being the opportunist blogger that I am, I’ve decided to turn this into a challenge – a challenge that I hope to complete before I leave Munich.

Some of these things I’ve already done and some of them I know I won’t get to do. But it’s possible that I know someone who has done it and I’ll have some guest blogs for that. For all of the rest, I’ll gather up my friends and we’ll try to tackle the ones that we can manage. But until then, here’s the list in it’s entirety. The challenge itself will commence shortly.

city-of-munich21. Get naked in the Englisher Garten
2. Climb the Bavaria Statue
3. Order a “Schnitt”
4. Prepare a real “Brotzeit”
5. Spend a night in the Englischer Garten
6. Daydream in the Asamkirche.
7. Cruise the Isar River in a rubber dinghy
8. Go to the Wiesn before the Oktoberfest
9. Watch the sunset from the Hakerbrücke bridge
10. Set up a Maypole
11. Wash out your own Maßkrug
12. Be stymied by Munich’s public transport pricing system
13. Break a bench at the Oktoberfest
14. Enjoy a big-name concert for nix from the Olympiaberg
15. Buy something at Kustermann
16. Buy a monthly public transport ticket
17. Wash your wallet/purse in the Fish Fountain at Marienplatz
18. Drink an espresso at Café Tambosi
19. Stroll through the Viktualienmarkt in the early morning
20. Take a dip in the Müllerisches Volksbad
21. Lick back an ice-cream from Sarcletti
22. Have someone think you’re “Schickimicki”
23. Skate on Munich’s frozen ice
24. Make friends with Charles Schumann
25. Watch the TV series Kir Royal
26. Host visitors during Oktoberfest
27. Cavort in a fountain
28. Tell someone off for standing on the wrong side on the escalator (also, here!)
29. Take a dachshund for a walk in the Englischer Garten
30. Get a headache and blame the “Föhn
31. Bop with the locals at the Fraunhofer Schoppenstüberl
32. Swim in the Eisbach stream and take the tram home
33. Shoot some pool in the Schelling Salon
34. Watch all 10 episodes of Monaco Franz
35. Watch a game of football at the Grünwalder Stadion
36. Dance at the Kockerlball
37. Have a barbecue at Flaucher
38. Cycle with the Lord Mayor on his way to work
39. Count the steps of the “Alte Peter”
40. Drink a Maß of beer at 11am in a beer garden
41. Surf in the Eisbach stream
42. Go jogging in the Alten Nördlichen Friedhof (Old North Cemetery)
43. Down a glass of champagne in the P1 nightclub
44. Listen to the Glockenspiel from start to finish
45. Cycle to the Waldwirtschaft beer garden
46. Learn one of Karl Vanentin’s sketches by heart
47. Dial the number 32-16-8
48. Visit the Deutsches Museum
49. Catch a film at the world’s oldest cinema
50. Drink a beer with “Manila”
51. Go to the opera
52. Stroke the Residenz lions

… and a few of my own!

53. Take a picture of my friend, Brenna, in every church in Munich. (She told me that she’s never been in a church before! She’s new to Munich and I’m so making her a part of my challenge. Game on, Brenna!)

January 27, 2011

Hi. My Name is Heather and I’m Addicted to Technology.

(This one is a bit random and somewhat off topic for this blog but it has to do with me being in Germany… I think. Yeah… okay, it does. Somewhere near the end it becomes relevant. Bear with me.)

I’ve been a fan of technology for as long as I can remember.

I was 7 years old when I got my first Walkman and I’d upgraded to a Discman by the time I was 10. My family always had a computer – nothing fancy in the beginning but I was pretty damn good at Duke Nukem and, at the age of 7, I had mastered Mickey’s 123: The Big Surprise Party (I just got the most amazing wave of nostalgia watching that YouTube video. WOW. Also, only a seven year old would have the patience for that game. Oy vey.)

I was eleven, and halfway through the 5th grade when I started using the Internet. I hadn’t really cared much for it until I found out that Hanson was going to be doing a live chat on DisneyChannel.com and I ABSOLUTELY HAD TO BE THERE. When my mom and step-dad messed up the time zones and I found out that I missed the chat, I cried hysterically and threw a tantrum on the kitchen floor that unfit for an eleven-year-old. (I hope my mom remembers that one.) I cried and cried and cried until my mom let me go on the computer to find out when the next one was and then somehow, through that research process, I found myself immersed in a world of instant messaging, fan sites, online computer games, and web design.

At the age of 12 I taught myself how to write HTML and created my first web page, “All About Heather,” hosted by the now defunct Geocities in the “Enchanted Forest” sub-domain. As the years passed, I used the Internet (AOL namely) to fuel to my obsession with Hanson. I made friends all over the world through Hanson role play chat rooms (don’t ask), Hanson tag chat rooms (I said, DON’T ASK), Hanson fan fiction websites, and random early versions of social networking sites. By the time I hit the 8th grade, my mom had to put time limits on my AOL account because I was so addicted to the Internet. One hour a night. That was it.

In high school, I moved between two states and three different schools. My social life was not very active and it took me a while to make friends during the transitions. My friends on the Internet didn’t go anywhere. They moved with me! In my junior year, I managed to get ahold of Photoshop and Macromedia Dreamweaver and I taught myself how to use both of them. Then I took a web design class and ended up teaching 75% of the lessons for my teacher. By my senior year, and well into college, I was able to design beautiful web layouts, could transfer them to Dreamweaver where I made fluid, PHP websites and I could upload them online using an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program and I could go back and make updates, edit pages, and fix broken links without a second thought to any of it. During my sophomore year of college, I took an advanced web design class (I thought I wanted to double major in graphic design) and I learned how to create basic websites and programs using Flash.

I have a point to this story – I swear. Using clever anecdotes, I’m trying to demonstrate how technology has affected my life. I’m sure the story isn’t much different for most people. Especially since Facebook started taking over the world, everyone is connected to everyone and everything. Movies, products, businesses, etc, don’t even have real webpages anymore they have Facebook pages. But as much as I want to sit here and complain about how much Facebook has taken over the world, I can’t… because I would be destitute without it. Okay… maybe not destitute… but I’d be pretty damn sad.

internet-addictionFor the last week or so my Facebook chat hasn’t been working. It says I’m offline when I’m not. It tells all of my friends that I’m not online when I try to send them messages. It sends me back all of my messages two or three times and half of the time, I’m not even sure that my messages went through at all. Basically, I haven’t been able to use Facebook chat for a week and I’m really upset about it. I only have about six or seven active contacts on Skype and although all of them are important to me, they make up about 1/16 of the important people in my life that I want to talk to while I’m thousands of miles away in Germany. Not to mention, Facebook chat is really great for planning stuff and communicating with local friends. Needless to say, I have been getting anxious and feeling crazy and alone – not being connected to my world of contacts. MY WORLD OF CONTACTS. Through Facebook. This sounds ridiculous, even to me.

I wish I could find an online graphic of it but once upon a time, when I was about 16, I cut out a Zits comic strip from the newspaper because it held so much relevance to me. It was a discussion between the teenage character, Jeremy, and his mom. I think she was questioning him about being on his computer too long talking to his friends. Something like that, anyway. And as a justification, Jeremy says, “I think, therefore I.M.”

What is the world coming to? Where would we be if we didn’t have the Internet – Facebook and its seemingly infinite possibilities for social connection, instant message and video chat services, SMS, wireless iPods and cell phones with Internet service, BlackBerry Messaging, email, blogs, Wikipedia, YouTube, online banking, online shopping, online everything. Nothing has escaped the world of technology, it seems.

I wouldn’t have this au pair job without the internet, without Google and it’s search capacity for au pair agencies and international contacts, or without Facebook status updates because, honestly, that’s how this whole thing started. A friend updated about her au pair experience in Munich and nine months later, I took over her job. And now that I don’t have a real job, now that I spend 3/4 of my day without working responsibilities, I am on the computer more than I can ever remember. Is it unhealthy? Am I living a normal life? I can walk away from it if I have plans and somewhere to go but if I’m at home during my off hours, without an agenda or a good book to read, at least, then I’m on Facebook, I’m blogging, I’m listening to music, I’m on YouTube, I’m catching up on blog subscriptions.

I’m kind of afraid of this dependency. And it’s not just the Internet. If someone were to ask me what I would take with me if my house were burning down, I’d grab my iPod. I would be depressed if I didn’t have my music in my hand, any time that I wanted it. I am programmed on a really high dependency. It’s scary. This last week of my life has made this bittersweet and somewhat sad but realistic truth painfully clear to me.

My name is Heather. And I am addicted to technology.

January 26, 2011

A Sacrificial Social Life, Our “Schnee Mann” Family, My First Ever Blog Giveaway! (Maybe…), and How to Make Someone’s Pants Fall Off By Magic

There is little to report in the world of this new German girl.

I didn’t budget very well for this last pay period so I’ve been without significant amounts of money for a few days. I bought a beer the other day with 50 and 20 cent coins. I bought a 1 EUR chicken burger at McDonald’s with ten 10 cent coins. I haven’t been buying a train ticket. I know, that’s unethical but what’s a girl to do? I get paid soon and I intend to learn my lesson next time. I’m holding myself back from buying unnecessary crap like spending 12 EUR on 4 beers in one evening. There is one unnecessary cost that I don’t need and certainly won’t miss:

  1. Cover charges at bars and night clubs. I don’t even like to get down and dance unless I’m uninhibitedly drunk so that’s another nine to twelve euros on top of the cover. I can do this once a month. But anymore than that, ain’t happening.

Other than that, I just need to watch myself when buying food, and budgeting expenses (like phone credits, train tickets, and other necessities). I’m going to Berlin in February to see my friend, Alison, to Cologne in March for Carnival, and, if I’m smart with my money, to Paris in May. And I still have an entire week off at the end of April that I need to fill with cool and interesting travel ideas. So I fully intend to save my money for all of that. And it will be worth sacrificing a little bit of my social life for that. At least I think so!

On the au pair front, things have been going well. The family is great – the girls are still as cute as they ever were. There hasn’t been a lot of crying and tantrums which I am always grateful to report. We make macaroni and cheese about once a week, we color (thanks Christy for the Disney princess coloring book!), we play with Legos, read books, play Solitaire, Rummy, and Go Fish, we make chocolate muffins, we do homework, and now that the snow has come back to Munich, we make snow men.



It’s snowing like crazy today. Big, fat, fluffy, wet snow flakes. It’s never ending. The entire neighborhood is turning white. It’s never been this white before. I’m glad that the girls are at a ballet recital and I’m off for the night. I’m thinking I might hang out on my window seat with some pillows and a blanket and watch Ice Age 2 and do crossword puzzles. My life is amazing. I’m not being sarcastic either. It really is. :)

In blog news, I received an email last night from a woman who represents CSN Stores and she wants to sponsor a blog giveaway on my blog! She contacted me via a different blog that I write but I’m hoping that it will work for this one. It will be my first and since I have no idea how to do a blog giveaway, I hope I can figure it out and get it going. That would be really cool and would get me a lot of traffic and advertising. Not that I need it BUT there have been multiple instances where other girls who read my blog came to work in Munich or emailed me for information about doing it and I love that I can be a resource for them AND that I can meet new au pairs through my blog. I think that’s pretty damn cool. So I’ll keep you posted on the giveaway.

Also, I thought I’d share with you some of the keywords that I find through Google Analytics. These are search words that bring people to this blog. Commentary included.

how to make someone’s pants fall off by magic
Well, I really don’t know. I can’t imagine how my blog led you to the conclusion that it could help you but I do hope you found a solution, or at least, were able to book a ticket on the Hogwarts Express.

is it snowing in Munich now?
Why, yes… yes it is!

is Liberal Studies a waste of a degree?
That is open for interpretation. I have yet to use it so ask me in a few years.

Munich surprised me
Me too! But it was a pleasant surprise!

sweet German girl Jessica
She is a sweet German girl, isn’t she? Miss you, Jess!

the Lost Symbol last part boring
It was boring. I didn’t even finish reading it. I hope that my blog convinced you to do the same thing. Pretty sure we’re not missing much.

dirndl dreams
I do have dreams of my dirndl. Sigh. I can’t wait to wear it again…

meet housewives in Munich
How’s that one working out for you? Good, I hope.

Oh yeah. And please check out my music blog – The Music and the Hope. I’ve pimped it out here before but I just recently gave it a make-over and have been posting a lot of stuff so if you want some new music suggestions or just something to listen to, please visit. Danke!


January 24, 2011

I Get Paid to Do Stuff Like This (Part 2)

I shouldn’t have to explain why my job is so great. I’ll let the pictures do the talking on this one. Also, it should be noted that when I was in the 1st grade I pretty much won every coloring contest that Mrs. Miller threw at me. I mean, I’m not bragging or anything but…. skills like that really shouldn’t be wasted.



January 23, 2011

I Get Paid to Do Stuff Like This

I started to write this entry about people watching in Munich but realized that it was a) boring, b) really boring, and c) definitely not as lovely as what follows. So, I started over.

I haven’t babysat the girls in a while so I thought I would do something fun with them tonight since their parents went to a dinner somewhere. They're always so silly and they love to do fun and crazy stuff. And this was the end result of my brilliant ideas. Make-up party and finger nail polish.



My job is awesome.

January 21, 2011

Early Spring in Munich? Please, oh PLEASE.

I went for a walk on Monday because it was absolutely gorgeous outside. The sky was blue, the sun was out, everything was ridiculously beautiful. But what else is new? Munich never ceases to surprise me. I really hope that this warm weather and sunshine is a foreshadowing of an early spring and an early and long, rainless summer. Because I won’t be here for much of it and I want to enjoy all that I can. With weather like this, I won’t want to leave!



January 18, 2011

Deutsch oder Spanisch? Das ist die Frage.

I have a confession to make.

I have been cheating on the German language with Spanish. I know, I know. It’s really weird. I’m in Germany, trying to learn all about the German culture, but I’m learning Spanish instead. (Actually re-learning since I’ve already spent four years of my life studying it.)

I decided that, after spending (and surviving through) seven months in Germany and being completely immersed in the language, and with only five months left of my time here, it doesn’t make much sense for me to go on to a German language course. I’m not going to use German later in my life (unless I happen to come back to Germany someday) and I didn’t want to spend my money on it. I know enough to get by, it’s fine. I’m not worried about not knowing the language. It was a decision that I made a few weeks ago and, so far, I have yet to regret the decision.

After finding out about LiveMocha.com through a Blog Carnival a few months ago (I got 30% off LM prices for participating!), I looked into it as a resource for online German language lessons. I didn’t go through with it – it would have cost me more than I could afford at the time – but I kept Live Mocha in the back of my mind for future reference.

As part of my preparation for my return to reality in June, I’ve been researching the jobs that are available in California and that’s when I made up my mind to get back into Spanish lessons. 95% of all the jobs that I’ve come across in the area of education or child development have a bilingual requirement. And if it’s not a requirement, it’s a suggestion and that means that if I am bilingual – I’ll be chosen for the job over someone that isn’t. So, therefore, I thought… I am going to do this again. I studied Spanish for four years over the course of high school and college but I never became fluent. I can’t speak it and I can barely understand it. So, hopefully, over the next few months while I have nothing to do during the day I intend to continue with my Spanish lessons and hopefully gain enough fluency practice to be able to use it when I search for jobs this summer. German Schmerman!


I’m finding that LiveMocha is a really, really great program. I am very satisfied with it. I think that the success of LM comes from the fact that it’s based on social learning – you join a community of people who are all learning a language. Native speakers of the language you are learning help review your lesson submissions in writing and speaking and then, in return, you do the same for those who are learning your native language. LM translates their critques to your lessons but I find that the further I go through my lessons, the less and less I need to translate. Within the review submissions, the reviewer can provide audio comments so that you can hear how it is supposed to sound in a native tongue. I find that I can’t get enough of it. Last night I spent about two hours straight just going through the English language lessons of people from all kinds of places – Brazil, Portugal, the Middle East, Mexico – and I couldn’t stop reviewing. I’m not a master at the English language but I like to think that I have a pretty good idea about what’s going on. I don’t know the details but I love helping people correct their grammar or provide them with audio so they can hear the pronunciation. It sounds crazy but it’s kind of instilled in me the desire to be an ESL teacher. I think I would LOVE to do that. I’m going to look into it the more that I learn and interact with LiveMocha and get better at Spanish. Fortunately I already have a BA in education and have taken courses in Spanish, linguistics, and teaching so becoming an ESL teacher would not be very difficult for me. I am very excited to have a goal ahead of me that I can see!

I was talking to one of my best friends about this and I mentioned that Germany is opening all kinds of doors for my self-renewal. I feel like I’m this brand new person with a big, wide open heart for the world and all of the possibility within it. That’s corny, I know, but I have really embraced the self-discovery of this whole experience and I am so excited to live my life everyday from now on.

Vielen Dank, Germany!

January 17, 2011

The Englischer Gartens: A Blog Spotlight and, Rightfully So, a Photo Overload

I can’t believe that it’s taken me seven months to put a spotlight on the Englischer Gartens. It’s a travesty – I should have done this a long time ago. The EG is my favorite place in all of Munich – maybe even in the world. At least what I’ve seen of it so far, anyway. It’s comparable to New York’s Central Park only it’s in Europe and it’s bigger. I think. I’ve never actually been to Central Park. So don’t quote me on that.

The Englischer Gartens (aka the English Gardens) stretches from the main city center, near Odeonsplatz, to the city’s northeastern limits. It’s about 1.4 square miles of beautiful landscaping, walking, bike, and horse trails, rivers, lakes, over 100 bridges, beer gardens, and playgrounds. It was created in 1789 by an Anglo-American guy named Benjamin Thompson, who was also a Bavarian war minister, and was extended and improved upon over the years by some other German guys. It started off as a military garden so soldiers could have hands on knowledge of agriculture and a safe haven for recreation but that didn’t really catch on and in the spring of 1790, the English Gardens was opened to the public. Over the years, the park grew and soon gained the reputation of being one of the world’s largest urban public parks.

Below the cut, a million and a half pictures and my loyal adoration for Munich’s most treasured park. Enjoy!

January 16, 2011

Happy Returns: One Week Later, the View from the Top, a Lazy Sunday, and a Foreign Language Dilemma

Friday, January 14th
Week one of my return to Munich is over and in good time too! It was a rough week coming back. I felt incredibly antisocial for some reason. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I’ve been sick which invariably lead to exhaustion and a general distaste for anything that involved cold weather and unnecessary exertion. I haven’t had German beer in over a week. I think that’s a record since I arrived in Munich. I haven’t been homesick necessarily, just anxious to get home. Does that make sense? Not really. Either way, I love Munich and I am happy to be here until June but I just really want winter to be over. Winter is rough. It’s so dreary and depressing here right now. It’s been raining and stormy but with some 50, 54 degree days. It’s crazy how much it reminds me of the first few days that I was here. Even though it was the middle of summer it just rained and rained and was cold and wet. It’s somewhat reminiscent of that now.

Yesterday it was storming like crazy. I had to go pick up the girls from school and take them to their music class like I do every Thursday and when I checked with my host-mom about doing it in the rain and wind she never got back to me. So I made my way through the rain to their school and then the three of us braved the walk around the corner to their lesson. We tried to use my umbrella but it was so windy that it just swept inside out and I could barely hold onto it. Umbrella fail. Eenie thought it was hilarious and couldn’t stop laughing. Silly girl. We just ended up walking really fast and while they did their lesson, I sat in a nearby café and read Jane Eyre and ate a chocolate croissant. Oh, the life.

The family has left for Austria for the weekend and I’m unsure of the weekends plans. Tentatively, I am supposed to go skiing with some friends but I’m ill prepared, I’m afraid. I don’t have ski pants or any proper snow clothes, really, and I’m worried about paying money for something that I won’t be able to do the right way. Hopefully everyone will go skiing again because I do want to learn but I think I just need to better prepare myself. In lieu of that trip, I hope that my friend Bria and I can go in Garmisch and go hiking instead – through the partnachklamm or up the mountain. The weather is supposed to be fairly nice and I will be able to see my Oma Kathe, too. Which is always nice. So, we will see!

Saturday, January 15th

On Friday night Fio and Laura came over for dinner and we watched half of a movie because we were all too tired to finish it. I made the decision that night not to go skiing and organized a hiking trip to Garmisch with Bria instead. But I got up early on Saturday morning anyway since Fio had stayed over and was getting up to go skiing. Bria and I met at Hauptbahnhof at 9 and jumped on the 9:30 train with our Bayern ticket. Oma Kathe met us at the train station and took us back to her house for a recap of our game plan and some baked goods. Bria and I thought about hiking to the partnachklamm but, at the last minute, decided to ride the cable car up to the top of Eckbauer instead. Once we made it to the top we had some breathtaking views and were reminded just how wonderful our lives here in Germany really are. I felt so blessed to be standing there – in the middle of so much majesty. The Bavarian and Austrian alps surrounded us on either side and it was so peaceful and serene. We were glad we made the right choice in going up there.

DSCN3941Riding the cable car from the Olympic stadium

DSCN3949The Alps off in the distance

DSCN3987At the top of the mountain, there is a café and Bria and
I just sat here and enjoyed the warm sunshine and peaceful moments.
Two California girls, completely at peace.

DSCN4008I think this is my favorite picture that I took while we were up there.
Such a gorgeous place to be.


Oma Kathe took Bria and I to the US Army Commissary after our excursion and we snagged some pretty coveted treats – like ranch dressing, French’s yellow mustard, Ruffles Sour Cream & Onion chips, Thomas bagels, and Bria bought Valentines Day cake mix and pink frosting. We were feeling deprived of American goods. Ha. We hopped back on the train to Munich at 4 and were back in town with time to spare before heading to a friends “Welcome Back” house party at 10. Once there, we were able to hang out with friends that we hadn’t seen since before Christmas and had a good night of German beer (I broke my no-beer streak) and random street wandering. Fio and I finished off the night with Turkish döner kebaps and retired back to my house for good sleep and a late morning. Saturday night success!

Sunday, January 16th

Fio and I didn’t do much of anything today. She was tired from her skiing adventure and I was just ready to enjoy the day. It was beautiful outside with blue skies, sunshine, and even some warm weather. We lazed around for most of the morning – I cleaned, she Facebooked. She moved into her new apartment today so we took some of her stuff over there and she lives in such a great location in the city. I’m excited to help her get used to her new place and explore! Afterwards, we attempted to meet up with friends but we took too long and missed them. So we just ate pizza and walked around in the English Gardens. A worth end to a delightfully wonderful weekend.

DSCN4100The English Gardens never cease to make my camera very happy.

DSCN4088A peaceful, easy feeling in the EG.

In other news, I’ve made the decision to forego taking German lessons while I’m still in the country. My reasons behind this are justifiable. In my opinion, anyway. I’m not going to be here for much longer and I feel that I’ve had enough immersion thus far to be able to survive the language barriers for another five months. I have a Berlitz language program here with me that I bought at Barnes and Noble before I left and, so far, it’s been helpful in keeping me at a steady pace with the language. I’ve been using it a lot more often and will keep it up until I leave. Therefore, I don’t think that a language course is necessary, especially since I probably won’t use German later in my life. I am, however, going to attempt to take Spanish courses over the internet. In doing job research recently,I’ve found that most jobs that I want to apply to that fit my degree have bilingual requirements. Spanish is a beneficial language to know when living in California and since I’ve taken more than 4 years of Spanish language courses throughout high school and college, I feel confident that I can relearn the language and finally become fluent. Wish me luck, I’m going to start doing it soon! Luckily, ToyTown Munich hosts Spanish-speaking stammtisch so Fio and I will try attending a few and practice what we know of the language with other people who speak it. Should be fun!

January 12, 2011

Out of Town… Er, Country… I Mean, Continent

I feel like an asshole. I had no idea that there was a shooting in Arizona until about ten minutes ago. To be fair, I was never the type of girl to know all of the news or keep up to date on CNN in the first place – even when I was in America. Whenever I had a morning class in college or had to work the morning shifts for whatever job I had at the time, I always got ready while watching either the local news station or the Today show. That is about the extent of my news watching prowess. And no, I don’t watch the Colbert Report or the Daily Show either. In fact, the most regular “news” that I got on a consistent basis came from the Weekend Update on SNL. Jokes aside, at least I knew what was going on in my own country thanks to the radio, local news channels, and, most often, Facebook status updates. Being stuck in Germany has its downsides, I guess, but really, do I have a worthy excuse? Not really. I could have been proactive. I could subscribe to news feeds from American papers or news channels. I could actually watch CNN, the only English language channel that I have available to me. But I don’t. And now I just feel like an asshole and know that it’s my own fault.

It’s funny because moments like this constantly make me realize how much I take for granted living in America. Not that Germany is completely lost on news stories – I’m sure they’ve covered the shooting here somewhere but I just don’t watch it because I don’t understand the language and I can’t read German. From this point on, I promise myself that I will be more proactive about knowing what’s going on in the world. I feel like an idiot and I don’t like that. And when I get home, I fully intend to pay more attention to this kind of stuff.

In other news, life is back to normal in the world of this au pair. The family is back from their 2 1/2 week vacation, the girls are back to school, and the world spins madly on. I’ve been outside about three times in the last three days. I went on a super duper walk when it was snowing the other day and then I went outside two more times to get my mail. Ha. It’s cold, I don’t have any money, I don’t have a train ticket, and I started reading Jane Eyre the other day which has sufficiently sucked me in. Pretty much everyday at about 1:30 pm, I lay in bed intent on reading and then I end up falling asleep until about 4. My bad. I get paid on Friday so I fully intend on 1) having money, 2) buying a train ticket, 3) seeing my friends before cabin fever sets in, and 4) eating something that definitely isn’t kid friendly. Because I’m getting tired of kid friendly stuff. Spaghetti, rice, cucumbers. Damn. It’s boring! And when it gets warmer (who knows when that will be) I also intend on running again. Which usually only lasts me for a week or two before I get bored. I will force myself to do my Berlitz language course though. I still haven’t made it past lesson 4. Ha.

So, for now, this au pair is a self-proclaimed hermit.


Best Quote Ever

(I found this draft in my Windows Live Writer and I can’t remember when she said it but I intended to and needed to post it. Just because I love her and the crazy shit she says.)

My best friend, Sarah, commenting on the difference of time zones between Montana and Germany:

You are from the future… literally!


January 9, 2011

Six Days in London, Four Days with Lauren, 162 Days Left in Munich

Okay, I’m not really counting down the days until I leave Munich but, to be fair, it’s really hard to come back to my normal life after I’ve spent two weeks on vacation. And what an amazing vacation it was, too. I really needed it. After spending four incredibly boring days alone in Munich with nothing to do and no one in town to see, I left for London to spend six days with my friend, Fionnuala, and her lovely family. I was treated to some proper Irish hospitality by her mother and I really enjoyed all of the homecooked meals and conversation. Fio and I ventured into the city everyday and had the perfect New Years Eve celebration on Friday night. And remember when I posted my list of London resolutions? Well, I met almost all of them! Also, my best friend from college, Lauren, came to visit me for a few days while she was in England visiting her boyfriend and it was like nothing had changed – except that we were in a foreign country and she refused to learn German and speak it at Starbucks or the bars. Ha. I had so much fun seeing her again and look forward to the summer when I’m back in California and can see her (and all of my other friends) more often!

Now… for the pictures…