I spent this past weekend with my Bavarian friend in her family home situated on the lush green land that is Bavaria. And I couldn’t help but get the feeling that her family literally personified Germany for me so I thought I’d write a little about my time there. As well as learning that an Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher is the tool you use for taking the top off of your boiled egg (my love for this gutteral, overly precise language grows every day) – I experienced many new things.
From the cow outside the house with the bell around its neck who wouldn’t sit still the whole night to being served a basket of bread (pretzels, cheese rolls..you name it) with every single meal.. it was an experience. And I am slowly becoming OK with the combination of carbs and..more carbs. Not so much OK with being kept up all night by a large cow who has to wear a bell incase it wanders up into the Alps and gets lost.
(Kuh is the German word for cow. And it is pronounced koo – just like how the Scots say cow. I notice hundreds more links between Scots and German all the time and I will probably write a blog post on that in the future for all you etymology enthusiasts.)
I know I keep harping on about the whole ‘Germans and their directness’ thing, but I think my British self still isn’t quite used to it. When they answered their house telephone, they just picked up the phone and barked ‘Wolf” into the mouthpiece (Wolf being the family’s second name!) Not even a Hallo. I would have personally found it quite terrifying to be on the other side of the receiver. Side note – the family call themselves the Wolfsrudel which translates to the Wolf Pack. How cool is that?
The weekend was lovely and the beautiful weather provided us with an amazing display of colours. Every morning her little brother proudly wore his Bayern Munich Tshirt as he sat scribbing away trying to make sense of his English homework (one girl, two shes?) and we set off to embark on some outdoor activites, as the Germans love to do, such as hiking and walking around a lake. Her little sister who is 16 attended a club in the nearest town on the Friday night and I couldn’t help but think how weird that seems to me – with the age for clubbing being 18 in the UK. Her Mum expressed her dissapproval on the lower age limit for drinking but I’m not so sure.
I didn’t have much phone signal out in the countryside but it was nice – when you finally get to put your phone down and only have the people in front of you to talk to. However this was very tiring – and at the end of a whole weekend of speaking and thinking non-stop German, I lost the ability to speak English. For example I tried to construct a sentence in English when I got back and ended up saying ‘because I the toilet need’. For all you grammar geeks out there (oh.. just me then?) the Germans put their infinitive verb to the end of the sentence after a subordonating conjunction like ‘because’.
It was also nice to not have a phone all the time because this meant I did not have to get reminded constantly through Twitter and Facebook that I was missing out on Guy Fawkes back home! I surely can’t have been the only one who didn’t click that I’d miss out because Bonfire night is obviously only a British thing.. actually let’s be honest, I probably was. Embarrassing.
There have been countless more events in the past week or two – from an unexploded WW2 bomb having been found near the University and no body thinking it was a big deal to someone stealing the Arbeit Macht Frei gate at Dachau concentration camp (blog about my experience at the camp can be found if you scroll down the homepage a bit!)
And as I saw on the train back to Munich (which was exactly like the Hogwarts Express from Harry Potter with cabins and everything..yes I was delighted) I couldn’t help but be shocked by that typical ‘time is going too fast!’ feeling. It just felt like the day before I had sat on the train going to the girl’s house.
I have also discovered that the childhood curiosity of discovering new things and exploring different places most definitely does not go away just because you’re a so-called adult. I went to watch the Bavarian Orchestra perform today in the Residenz and at one point the conductor stopped the music, turned round out of the blue and said to the audience – ‘find a connection to the music and just stop, and feel and experience everything you hear.’ And that’s exactly what I’m trying to do with everything before my time is up.
The weeks are just whizzing by with only 5 weeks before Christmas and I can’t do anything to slow down time but I do know that I am definitely being challenged – and becoming more aware of myself. I would never say that dreaded clichéd phrase that I am ‘finding myself’ because I don’t think life is about finding yourself at all – it is about making yourself. Doing the things that you choose to do and that you love so that you can build yourself into a better person every day.
Tip of the day: never buy a stool the same colour as your carpet. As it will camouflage into the carpet. And you will fall and cry and not be able to walk up stairs for 1 week (and counting).