Confessions from a Person Living Alone for the First Time Ever

During my 21 years in this world, I have never lived alone.  I have also never lived in a foreign country. Up until this year.. where I am currently doing both.

The first thing I noticed about living alone was the amount of STUFF you need.  SO MUCH STUFF.  Bin bags, basins, hand soap.  They didn’t just magically appear like they have done most of my life and I actually had to go out and buy them instead of spending my extra money on hummus and avocados, how mundane. This is what it means to be an adult in the technical sense of the word, I think.

I’ve had some times where I’ve been scared of the late-night creaks and shadows.  There have also been times where I have slipped in the shower and imagined them finding my body, days later.  But all in all, when it has rained it has not poured, it has merely drizzled. There have also been times where a sharing size portion of ice cream has found its way into my freezer and I have told myself that I want to be healthy and shouldn’t scoff it all, but on the other hand I really like scoffing ice cream – and in the end the latter has proved to be the more deeply held conviction.

I’ve learned that I can entertain myself for a few days without even seeing another soul. I have also become a master of Ikea flat-pack furniture. I have also learned that spiders are the enemy. But best of all I have learned that whilst I am a very sociable and chatty person, I am extremely comfortable in my own company. Life is all about lessons, they do say.

This is a very strange camera angle but I wanted you to get a feel of just how teeny weeny these little houses are in the Olympic Village. This is upstairs in the bedroom of my appartment. Small, but then again, I’m probably under 5 foot so I can’t complain.

Of course there are some disadvantages to living alone. You do have to be quite self-disciplined in your routines as it is much easier to press snooze on your alarm for the 4th time when you can’t hear anyone else up and about and burning their toast – 9am lectures are definitely a bit more difficult.  I can imagine that being a girl in a city isn’t exactly safe if you have to come home alone late at night after meeting friends at the pub but I am quite lucky in that all of my friends are also my neighbours here in the Olympic village.

I also don’t have to miss out on the cooking together with flatmates part of living alone because myself and my direct neighbour Emma do our weekly shops together and cook together a lot. SO because I do have really close relationships with my neighbours, I maybe haven’t quite gone the full way of living alone.

However, I have moved to a new country and moved into my own place and I have managed not to be lonely (even without a TV).  Pretty cool for someone who slept with the light on for 3 years after watching Paranormal Activity.  It is definitely a liberating thing to have done (even if liberating only means singing extra loud in the shower without feeling embarrassed.)

I can’t see myself living alone for the next few years either, this summer I’m going to live with my Granny whilst I do an internship in a law firm in Edinburgh, and then I’m heading home for a couple of weeks to my family home and then I will go straight back into Uni flat sharing for the next few years. However, I’ve proved to myself that I can do it and Die Zukunft steckt voller Fragen (the future poses many questions.)

Enjoying one of nature’s little surprises

Liebe Leser und liebe Leserinnen,

Dear Readers.

The last two weeks have mainly been dedicated to studying. I made a mistake with my courses and didn’t realise until six weeks in that I had accidentally chosen a Masters class and that this may be the reason I wasn’t understanding much (or…understanding anything). Almost everyone else in the class already has a law degree! Anyway, it was too late to change classes and this has lead to some frantic cramming. The exam was today and it went ok, although the lady sitting next to me introduced herself and mentioned that she was working on her Phd and I felt well and truly out of my league. And when I opened the paper to start the exam I did sort of feel more lost than Alan Partridge walking down the wrong side of the motorway singing Goldfinger.

I sat in the exam scrawling the longest German words you could ever dream of whilst simultaneously trying my hardest to undo the public law shaped knot inside my brain. I can only hope now. Not sure if I am in law school or in the Hunger Games at this point. The lack of sleep didn’t really help either – my next door neighbour locked herself out and came to my door at 2am last night so that she could climb onto my balcony to reach her open balcony door.

It is fine though, my only real goal in life is to have my own Wikipedia page and you don’t need to pass exams to achieve that.. do you?

In better news, the fluffy white stuff has made its home in Munich this week and the sunsets are still painting the loch.

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Olympiapark yesterday

The Austrailians (and others who have trekked here from faraway lands) are treating their first snow like it is their first love. But who can blame them, who doesn’t love snow? The thick, fluffy kind that falls softly and silently in the night. You wake up in a totally different world – it’s magical.

I think it’s the nostalgia of it all – the white stuff whisks you into a time machine straight back to your childhood. Straight back to all that childlike fascination and joy. Walking to uni was silent today on the snow-carpet beneath my feet, except when I walked through some that was deeper and I felt that oh-so-satisfying crunch of the snow under my wellies. It’s the simple things.

When the Olympiapark was clothed in snow there was nothing more enchanting. It was all just silence and snow and you’d be forgiven for thinking that the only reason it was there was to make things look beautiful. And there was nothing better than the feeling of sitting in my room with my cup of tea and my blanket watching the snow fall by candle light. The world was like my very own snow globe.
BUT as the days get colder, we all need to start having warmer hearts. And by this I mean doing things that make us happy – for example NO STUDYING!

We piled up snow my friend's door as a joke while she was out at an exam so she couldn't get in.  I got a text to say she had found her exam had gone badly so I immediately felt horrible and frantically tried to bash the snow down from her door failed miserably as it turns out, snow freezes very fast and had turned into an ice block.
We piled up snow my friend’s door as a joke while she was out at an exam so she couldn’t get in. I got a text to say she had found her exam had gone badly so I immediately felt horrible and frantically tried to bash the snow down from her door failed miserably as it turns out, snow freezes very fast and had turned into an ice block.
Sledging
Sledging in Olympic Park behind my little house
Stopped to take a selfie mid sledge, little did we know that this man was doing 40mph down the hill towards us.. moral of the story is that selfies are the root of all pain
Stopped to take a selfie mid sledge, little did we know that this man was doing 40mph down the hill towards us.. moral of the story is that selfies are the root of all pain and embarrassment

Having had more than my annual fair share of study moaning, I have got lots to look forward to after all the studying is over. I’m off to Vienna for a trip shortly and I have been ordering some work- appropriate clothes for my official start in my new law office job next week. However that has lead to problems of its own. I got a delivery from the courier of some new black boots for work at 8am yesterday and I answered in my pyjamas. The postie man said that he might however have to come back later because he needed me to sign something to confirm I had received them but that he had forgot the electronic signing device thingy. I went out and had my day at uni, met my friend for lunch and taught an english lesson. Came home around 5pm and got back into my pyjamas – y’know, for optimum comfort – and yep, this is when the postie decided to return. From his point of view, I looked like the laziest student ever who sat around in her pyjamas all day, no amount of ‘oh by the way I have been out today’ could end his smirking face of disapproval.

Anyway! Here’s to more sun and snow! I don’t think I’ve ever come across a pair more suited to one another!

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A lonely little schneeman in the Englisher Garten

Law school Germany fact of the day:
The Bavarian Reinheitsgebot (purity law) was brought in by Albert IV Duke of Bavaria in 1487 and specifies that only water, hops and barley could be used to brew beer. The European Union Court in 1987 decided that this Reinheitsgebot was unlawful because it prevented free trade within the EU because other countries could not import their beer to Germany as their beers did not comply with the law. Lots of Bavarian beers however still proudly present ‘Gebraut nach dem Reinheitsgebot’ (brewed according to the purity laws) on their beers. The Germans LOVE a good quality beer and want to know exactly what they are drinking!

Home from home: Munich Olympic Park

Sorry for the lack of posts! My laptop decided to die conveniently during exam time in December but he’s all back to life now – just now with a German hard drive which is making my life slightly more difficult – who knew computer talk in a different language was this complex?! I’m back from spending Christmas at home in Shetland and I have found myself really appreciating where I live in Munich. Especially when I got on the plane and the pilot said “The weather is very similar to Edinburgh in Munich.  Except in Munich it’s not windy or rainy or cloudy.’ And not to mention my new Professor is called Rudolph so this makes me very happy. So we took a long walk today.

I consider myself unbelieveably lucky to have landed accommodation in the Olympic park for my year abroad. Although the Olympics were held here way back in the summer of 1972 when I wasn’t even dreamt of yet – the place is more alive than ever and you can do just about everything here – skating, boat hire, mini golf, tennis, outdoor cinema, swimming, ice skating, football, flying fox and so much more.

Die Heiteren Spiele – The Happy Games

As the motto of the 1972 Games shows, the Olympic park was centered around creating a new image for Germany – this was their chance to put history behind them as the 1936 Games were held in Berlin under a Nazi government and the Germans were well aware of the connection people had between Germany and the Olympics because of this. The intention of representing a new democratic Germany was clear. They wanted a ‘Demokratisches Grün’ (democratic green) Olympic venue. And so they decided to call this place I call home the Olympiapark as it fit well with the whole ‘green’ theme.

Unfortunately The Happy Games were overshadowed and are still remembered today for a most unhappy event that unfolded to be one of the most shocking tragedies of the 70s. The organisers’ intention of creating a new image for Germany was indeed clear however it is hard to get past the fact that when someone mentions the Munich Olympics, the first thing that comes to mind is the Munich massacre. Sadly this amazing place comes along with a horrific history. 11 Israeli athletes and a German police officer were brutally murdered.

On September the 5th a Palestinian Terrorist organisation stormed the Olympic Village and took these athletes hostage in their own apartments. Anyone who wants to know more about the events of that day should watch a documentary called ‘One Day in September’ or Steven Spielberg’s ‘Munich.’ I cannot imagine how horrible the atmosphere was in the village on that day and it is almost impossible for me to imagine how such a brutality could have happened in this happy, welcoming place. If anyone is interested here is some footage of News Anchor Jim McKay announcing the news. ‘My father used to say that our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realised. Tonight, our worst fears have been realised… They are gone.’

In 1972 was the first time a terrorist attack had been broadcast live across the globe.  With the attack in Sydney only a few weeks ago and yesterday’s attack in Paris – it doesn’t seem like we are moving any further forward.

Upon moving in to my apartment in the village I knew that the hostages were held in one of these apartments but it did not really hit home until I was out for a run one day and stumbled upon the exact flat:

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‘The Israeli athletes lived in this building… they died a violent death.’

The Park

I hope I haven’t depressed everyone too much with that and I’ll move on to more happier things. The way that the Germans have kept this place alive is really amazing – to live in such a huge green space in the middle of a city is indescribable. It’s a beautiful area. I took a walk today through the park and was able to see the Alps in the distance.

The Alps in the distance
The Alps in the distance
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The lake in the park frozen today

The weather was a bit warmer when I arrived in September so I bought myself a pair of skates from a Flea Market (basically a car boot sale) and got skating.  The olympic park is just MADE for exercising.

Us skating
Us skating
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View from the Tower.

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Now lots of famous bands perform in the stadium every month.  Kylie Minogue was just here and so was Ed Sheeran.

The Village

The Olympic village is a happy and welcoming place.  As students, we are allowed to paint or ‘graffiti’ whatever we want on our little houses. Here’s some pictures I took of some of my favourites (sorry it was a bit of a grey afternoon).  I think its so cool that the students are allowed to express themselves and brighten this place up – and that all the paintings are happy and colourful and no one abuses it.  I still need to paint mine!

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Finding Nemo
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Care Bears
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Mario Cart
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The tardis
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Madagascar
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The Lion King
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Alice in Wonderland

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All in all it is a beautiful place to live and perfect for students.  I think its really remarkable how the Germans haven’t just let this place go but have kept it going and now the history of the games can live on forever.  I just hope that this place can be seen for more than just the location in which a brutal attack took place. No person is perfect and in the same sense no place is perfect – I have sung Munich’s praises in my blog up until now but it wouldn’t be true or fair to not address some negatives.

This place today is just proof that the Happy Games really did succeed – happiness will always be more powerful than terror. Just as Hollande said yesterday following the attacks – liberty will always be stronger than barbarity.

The Park is definitely worth a visit and you might even catch an old person zooming by on a scooter as that seems to be a popular method of transport here. Also if you want to fit in, bring outdoor gear.  The Germans love their North Face and Jack Wolfskin kit.