On my unreasonable expectations of revision.

Distractions tend to fire at me from every angle during revision time – and this exam season, I am especially unarmed.

I know that one of my more dilligent and hard-working past selves would be disappointed in me right now but I’d like to think that future selves will be proud of me.

My confidence in my classes has definitely reached a high – I even asked the visiting (very attractive) Bürgermeister (mayor) a question in my lecture hall today (and no.. it was not ‘will you marry me?’ although that was the main question running through my mind).  It’s crazy to me because I know that 6 months ago, I never would have had the courage to do that.  You don’t really tend to notice that you are getting better at something until moments like these, the imrpovements only really manifest themselves in your head in retrospect. I remember being 17 and too nervous to phone people, like calling up the doctor to make an appointment or whatever.. and now I can speak out in a lecture theatre in a different language.  I’d like to think that small accomplishments like this tend to have the same weighting in defining our success in the same way that the big, obvious ones do, like exam results.

So this is why I am trying my best to sweep away these unreasonable expectations of revision.  I am trying to look at my year abroad as a series of small, personal achievements (with a side-order of embarrassing moments.)

For example, I’ve managed to control cravings and maintain a dairy-free diet for a prolonged amount of time.  And let me tell you, the land of no milk and honey isn’t all that bad. I’d also like to think that suffering through my first ever flu without a caring mother or father bringing me toast and lemsips was a huge achievement in itself! I will never forget the feeling of HEALTH after being eight days bedbound.  I naturally sprung up and embarked on a shopping spree which I have lived to regret. But I was celebrating my leap into adulthood (as surviving the flu definitely makes you an adult) and a girl gotta do what a girl gotta do.

And a girl gotta.. take lots of breaks.  I full believe that the time spent not studying is just as beneficial as the time spent studying during this time of year.

I’ll be honest – I’m writing this post to give myself a little boost.  To remind myself that everything will turn out for the best.  Mainly due to the sad fact that I have been revising for my Europarecht exam and so have been learning some set phrases that I found in a textbook for use in the exam.. after a few hours of this I suddenly realised that said textbook was actually written by my professor and that I could not use any of the phrases I had just memorised for the past few hours without my professor thinking that I am actually crazy repeating his own work to him.  Ooops. Lesson learned anyway.

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Aperol Spritz is a German/Italian beverage that is extremely tasty (and visually great)

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Education is great.  And it is great in Germany, in the best University in the country (and no.. not only due to the fact that it serves beer in the student cafes and study spaces). Germany really gets education – I mean they even were one of the first countries in the world to introduce compulsory (and free) primary education in the late 18th century. Sometimes studying law in the German language seems no more than a series of “je ne sais pa”s.. but I am really thankful that I have been given this opportunity. And in any case, we are all just daft people learning to be less daft. Even though it may seem like a struggle right now, it is manageable.

On another note, it is set to be 29 degrees this week and I usually turn into a swollen dehydrated slug type creature in this sort of heat so I better try and get some sleep now. Revision ramble over and out!

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.)

Trials of Law Student in Germany

This year abroad so far has certainly been very picturesque and fun-filled, but I may not have talked so much about how studying the law at Munich University is VERY DIFFICULT (yes capital letters are necessary). Obviously German is famous for its crazy long words, compiled nouns and sentences – and I can tell you first hand that the legal language is no exception. Because the legal terminology is so long and time consuming to pronounce and write, they use an abundance of abbreviations. A quick example is: BverfG = Bundesverfassungsgericht (Constitutional Court of Germany). I also came across this word the other day whilst studying: Rechtsschutzversicherungsgesellschaften. I’m not even going to try and attempt to count the number of letters in this word or I’ll end up with a headache but it basically breaks down to mean ‘insurance companies who provide legal protection.’ We need SIX words in English to translate this one German word! SIX!!

Mix these huge and complicated words with my professor’s Bavarian accent and I really start to believe that I am in over my head.

One thing that I have noticed about the German law that is quite refreshing is that there is huge emphasis on democracy. It’s highlighted in every text book and every piece of legislation. I guess that it is a product of WWII and the German lawmakers wanting to do everything they can to avoid a similar situation ever occurring again. Speaking of the war, last week marked the 70th anniversary of its end. A day to celebrate or a day to remember quietly? I’m not so sure myself.

I just did a mid-term examination on Naturrecht. During the beginning of the lecture about this particular topic I scribbled notes on Environmental laws and other such things involving nature.  Little did I know that we were not discussing how to protect animals and trees but rather were knee – deep in legal philosophy and the law of morals.  Of one’s Nature. EMBARRASSING. Can I blame that one on the language barrier?… WHat did I say about being in over my head…?

Anyway, I’m not a philosopher (trees obviously make a noise when they fall?!) but the content of the subject of Naturrecht v.s. Rechtspositivismus (legal positivism) in Germany is really interesting.  A Mr. Gustav Radbruch had a theory that judges should not just have to apply laws to individual cases and follow legislation – if there is a situation where a law does not follow the rules of equality and treating everyone the same or does not follow the rules of justice etc, then a judge should be able to make the piece of legislation void.  This was crazy for me to hear, I mean, judges don’t have that power.. they’re not elected and they have to just go with the laws that the parliament gives them.  But Radbruch and many other Naturrecht supporters believe that judges should not be left defenseless like they were in the time of Nationalsozialismus in Germany (and like they are now).  I could delve into this for hours and I’m sorry to all the non-lawyers/philosophers if that was boring – I can almost head the eyes of anyone who reads this glazing over.  Just some food for thought!

I passed that exam but I’m struggling a bit with my German studies. I knew that it was never going to be easy. I only have 9 weeks left and 5 exams to do in that time as well as trying to pack everything that I need to do before I leave. 9 weeks + 5 exams + a trip to Italy + packing my life up + everything else = not enough time. However I never have been good at maths so I’m hoping that my calculations are wrong.

To continue on the moaning, I am also really struggling with problems in my back and having to attend physio twice a week. Can I just say that I can’t be the only who, when I heard the words ‘sports massage’, didn’t expect there to be screaming involved?

Buuuuut….. I’m making up for it by following this month’s motto of ‘Essen Sie sich Glücklich’ (eating yourself happy) and trying to try out loads of different restaurants and ice cream bars (who knew vegan ice cream was so delicious). Shout out to the German health system anyway for being so helpful in the case of my pesky stressed out back.

Well I think that’s enough of this blog of self-indulgent complaints so bis nächstes mal, ciao!

(I’ll end up with a pretty photo taken on my phone of the English Garden, where I eat my lunch most days (in a bid to be more German as they LOVE eating outdoors) to relax everyone after wading through legal phliosophy)

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Weeks left in Germany: 9

Favourite German Name I’ve Come Across So Far: Heiko Wunderlich

Eierschalensollbruchstellenverursacher. Yes that is an actual word.

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?

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Amazing Autumn colours on our walk on Saturday.

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.

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Our little house in the Garden for the weekend. Many cows outside.

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.

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Neuschwanstein castle.

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.

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Watching the Bavarian Orchestra in the beautiful Residenz.

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).

On Observations

Practical People

Walking around the town centre and never in my life have I seen so much sensible footwear. Mostly boots. There are no questionable sandals you bought in Primark that will only last a week – there are only thick, outdoor, comfortable sandals. They may not be pretty – but it’s their utter practicability that actually makes them more attractive.

There are hardly any pedestrian accidents here. As I’ve mentioned before, they only cross roads on a green man. Unbelievable isn’t it? In Edinburgh the red man is taken as a mere suggestion.

Private and Secure People

None of the young Germans who I have met and subsequently became ‘friends’ with on Facebook have had their real name as their display name. Also there is very little shared on their newsfeeds. A lesson some of us could take perhaps?

You can pay by card almost nowhere. Even Lidl and Ikea only want your cash. In the UK I’ll pay for things under a pound at the self-service in Tesco with my VISA card, something that I totally take for granted.

And getting set up with the overly secure German online banking system was almost as difficult as my experience with peeling tatties with a 99 cent Ikea peeler. Hint: very difficult.

Direct People

The Germans have an utter disinterest in small talk. The cashier doesn’t care how your day has been whatsoever.

Friendly People

Lots of asylum seekers have gathered in the Olympic Stadium this week.  There has been a huge campaign from the Olympic village residents to help them in any way possible – clothes, translating etc. And it’s amazing. Seeking asylum is a human right that I feel carries so much controversy in the UK.

Another example being that my flat mate for September gave me a kettle.

Logical People

After a lecture or a presentation in class has ended, the students do not clap. They knock. On the desk with one hand. At first, you can imagine my baffled face as it happened, but I was not surprised in the slightest when it was explained to me – the Germans knock with one hand so that they do not have to waste time to clap with both. So that they can keep writing notes whilst showing their appreciation to the speaker. Wonderful.

I also think that the language (literally) speaks for itself on this one. I could list examples all day but I’ll leave you with just one: Staubsauger. This translates to dust sucker. Which we would call a hoover. How great is that?

Body-Confident People

We’ve all heard that stereotype that German woman are, how to say, not bothered about the gardening. Although I cannot confirm or deny this stereotype as I have not had any direct experience – I can say that the people are extremely body confident. The sheer Adam and Eve nakedness in swimming pool showers and saunas would actually be illegal in the UK. I feel like our whole attitude to the naked body in the UK could do with a lesson from Germany, why are natural things made out to be so provocative in our society? Why are we so embarrassed of our bodies? Maybe a question for another day.
Another thing that I have noticed is that here in Germany, children are children for much longer. The little girls dress like little girls up to a much higher age than in the UK.

Environmentally Friendly People

Even the students take the time to sort their food waste from their paper waste here. You receive ‘pfand’ (money back) for empty bottles you are finished with that you take back to the supermarket. It’s a great money-saver for students. Money saver student tip number 2: sleep through breakfast and go straight to lunch so as to save money on food.
(I’m kidding)
(Except this may have happened today)
(But it was karaoke night last night so I can’t blamed).

Anyway, whether you like their behavioural ways or not, Germans probably made your car, your washing machine and brewed your beer. Being the dominant country in Europe today, both politically and economically, they’ve got to be doing something right.

I’m sure I have a lot more still to note about the German culture so watch this space. For now, I’m excited about going out every day and learning something new about this city I love and call my home – and like any true love its totally and utterly unpredictable.

On Contradictions

The more time I spend travelling around Bavaria, the more I can’t get away from the fact that there are so many beautiful contradictions in this corner of the world.

It’s the perfect mix of old and new – from forward thinking green renewables and recycling to picture perfect castles nestled in the alps. Where I live in the Olympic park, swans glide around a lake placed in an unspoiled landscape – next to an impeccably maintained Autobahn filled with brand new, top spec BMWs zooming along at 120km/hr.

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A mountain top tiny village we stumbled upon, just after we walked through the Partnachklamm gorge on Sunday.
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Porsche Pavillion
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Bavaria is a Catholic state and the place is brimming with breath-taking cathedrals.

Shops that shut on a Sunday to mark the day of rest and the lack of wifi connection everywhere you go is just unimaginable in the UK, with our 24 hour Tescos (Germans gasp in awe that these exist) and internet in almost every shop and cafe. In Germany there are butchers and bakeries on every street corner, and they’re busy. There can be upto 4 bakeries on the same street, and they are all full of normal people. I always just grab my meat and my baked goods at a supermarket back home, it’s sort of sad. I feel like Bavaria is better in touch with its past than we are in the UK.
However this massively contradicts with the clean, futuristic environmentally friendly techonolgy and amazingly well thought out ideas and projects that the place has to boast. The modernity of the area is clear. Just one example being the astonishing transport system around Munich – it is faultless and everything runs like clockwork, with your ticket you can enjoy the underground, the trams, the buses and the overgrounds trains.  The train stations are all decorated differently – flowers for one station, a mosaic for the next.  All so that illterate people can differentiate between stations.  Its little things like that that are so impressive.

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A tiny and traditional beer garden, equipped with lederhosen and music, we found at the top of Eckbauer – a mountain we climbed yesterday.
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Nymphenburg Palace – where King Ludwig was born and spent some of his childhood. I can only hope that the buildings we build nowadays will hold so much beauty and be enjoyed as much by our descendants as we enjoy the buildings of our ancestors.
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Two towers displaying brand new Volkswagen cars.
Motorway under the Olympic Park
Motorway under the Olympic Park

I could go on all day about the different contradictions that I have slowly come to love in this place. But I won’t. It just seems to me more and more than these contradictions compliment each other beautifully and go in hand in hand – there is no conflict.

I feel that we, as humans, are also full of contradictions and are not one thing or the other and that this is why I have become so fond of this region. I’m having such a good time but I know it is going to fly by and that before I know it, it will be over.  I’m making memories that I can’t wait to feel nostalgic about. I think I’m going to have be dragged kicking and screaming back to Scotland at the end of next year.

Wenn dir das Leben eine Zitrone gibt…

Mach Lemonade daraus.. oder frag nach Salz und Tequila?

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade… or ask for salt and tequila?

So there have been more trials and troubles for me this week. From cracking my uninsured iPhone screen whilst leaving the Apple shop (ridiculous I know), to getting served Earl Grey tea passed off as normal black tea (why do Germans not drink normal tea?!), to getting caught dancing in my room to ‘Come on Eileen’ due to a misplaced mirror in my room being angled in such a way that my neighbour has full view of my bedroom from her balcony. Can I be blamed though? The song is a true Ohrwurm (ear worm – how the Germans brilliantly describe a catchy tune..).  With an ever growing to do list and a very unhealthy ‘stuff to do’ vs ‘time left to do stuff’ ratio, life is most certainly giving me lemons.

Anyway, I’ve already said in prior blog posts that on Sunday all the shops are closed.  On the signs in the windows of the shops’ opening hours it doesn’t just say ‘geschlossen’ or ‘closed’ next to the word Sunday.. it says ‘Ruhetag’ which literally translates to ‘day of peace.’  I love this German outlook on the day off.

So, on Sunday it was 24 degrees and we therefore decided to take the long trip to hike up to the the so-nicknamed ‘Eagle’s Nest’ just outside of Berchtesgaden. The journey included train strikes, a good few wrong turnings, trekking through private property with scary Bavarian farm owners, plenty of Google mapping and a lot of guessing – but we did in fact make it to the top of the 1,834m high mountain. The view was stunning – you get a real 360 degree view over Austria and Germany: Berchtesgaden, Salzburg and Königsee.. I think that the idea was that Hitler could have a full view of the ‘Vaterland.’

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At the top there is das Kehlsteinhaus. This beer garden/resteraunt was orginally a 50th birthday present for Adolph Hitler in 1939 and it was to be his retreat. Hitler loved this area and even built his own home lower down the slope. The beer garden is so peaceful and idyllic. Its difficult to compare this unspoiled, peaceful landscape with the evil atrocities that Hitler brought upon Europe during his time of power. Whilst we sat at the top chatting happily with a beer and a Schnitzel, it was strange to think that perhaps Hitler had once done the same.

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Me looking rather dishevelled at the top after a long journey.

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But I do not think that this amazing mountain and area should continue to be associated with Hitler and the many awful plans he hatched here. It really is an area of complete beauty and deserves to be known for this.

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das Kehsteinhaus. Hitler’s retreat in the mountains.

The week also ended nicely including a trip to the top of St. Peter’s Kirche and a visit to an ice cream parlour Verrückte Eis (crazy ice cream) that served flavours such as Champagne and Beer (however I did get served lychee tea when I asked for a cup of tea… LYCHEE flavour! Come on Germans, you need Tetley’s).

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View of Munich from the top of St Peter’s Kirche. Had to climb 306 steps to reach the rickety platform on top and my fear of heights took over just after I got this snap.

SO  I’m still hoping for a change in luck when it comes to the frequency of my stressful situations. However as Autumn hits you in the face here due to all the trees, you really can’t but help but feel the change that Autumn brings about. The leaves are now a rusty brown, the air is now crisp and colder (very cold in fact – I’m currently waiting on a care package shoe box from home full of winter goodies including some ‘Handschuh’ – hand shoes. Yes, that does mean gloves. I really do love this language sometimes.) Change is definitely necessary – without it we’d be stuck with the sweaty summer forever … or in my case with bad luck forever. I’m hoping you carry me along with you Autumn and I can experience some of your change too.

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The town hall earlier this week on a cold but sunny Autumn day.

On Immune Systems and Stressful Situations

(I’ve added a few more pictures from my camera than normal into this post! Click on them to make them bigger if you want to see them in more detail.)

The stress levels have been up this week. From trying to cook mince, tatties and veg with only two pans, paying the extortionate sum of 3 euros for a small packet of pine nuts, accidently crossing the road on a red man (illegal in this country) to rollerblading on some dangerously slippy leaves – it has not been easy. So we visited Thalkirche Tierpark (Zoo). This zoo was seriously cool – from the clever design of the enclosures making you feel like there was nothing between you and a lion to the funky beer gardens. I decided to enter the bat cave – big mistake. There were bats everywhere, flying in your face and everything, it was carnage. I made a quick exit.

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Thalkirche Zoo – no zoom used on this picture, you are actually that close to the lion.
Having a chat with a baboon - just before he turned round and showed us his colourful bum
Having a chat with a baboon – just before he turned round and showed us his colourful bum
An elephant shrew. Aka the cutest little thing in the world.
An elephant shrew. Aka the cutest little thing in the world.
Anteater up close.
Anteater up close.
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The leaves make it dangerous to rollerblade but on the plus side they are also making it very pretty around here. Especially for someone who comes from a no-tree island.  This was taken in the Englisher Garten.
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The Isar River looking pretty in Autumn one night last week.

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When I got home I watched the news and learned that the first Ebola patient had died in Leipzig. I had just visited Wolfsburg the week before to visit the Autostadt (very cool place) and we had driven past Leipzig. At this point I was already applying the hand sanitizer and worrying when I decided to google ‘Ebola’. Huge mistake. Turns out a major carrier of the disease is bats. Obviously I immediately started to feel ill. I have been assured that I should be OK, however I couldn’t help but move seats on the UBahn today when a man was sneezing near me.

I decided to ditch the daily pilgrimage to the bakery for a pretzel (and yes they have actual pretzel vending machines here – mind blown) and chose instead to eat some fruit and veg. The courgettes are especially fresh here. Time to boost up the immune system I think.

Oh and I also entered a maths lecture by accident this morning and had to endure the walk of shame right from the back to make a swift exit after 10 minutes. I sit at the back not because I am a badman, but because I do not want anyone to be able to read my jumbled half-English half-German notes and therefore have my cover blown as the year-abroad kid.

However, there is nothing quite like the arrival of a 4 day weekend (Fridays and Mondays off) to cheer a stressed-out student up. That and the discovery that all the fitness classes run by the council are completely free if you’re under 21 – how amazing is that? I do need to firstly overcome my lazy ‘Innerer Schweinhund’ (inner pig dog – yet another untranslatable but beautiful German phrase) before lacing up my running shoes. Maybe I’m just suffering from the ‘wow this is new, everything is better’ year abroad student mindset but right now I really think the Germans have things sussed a little bit better than we do.

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Just one last leaves picture – sorry – I can’t help myself! I could stare at these colours all day

On the familiar and the art of anticipation.

Above is Munich University.

Population of Lerwick: 7,500

Population of Munich: 1,378 million

July you are so easy.  Working my old summer job.  Living in the same house I have always lived in.  Everything is so overwhelmingly familiar.  I’m writing this in the room I grew up in, surrounded by all of my things. The wonky shelves that can’t hold too much because my Dad can’t do DIY… the cat paw marks all over my window.  It’s the small things you miss. I am away at University for months at a time – but nothing changes here and it is so effortless just to slip back in.  I really love it here.

But with the easy comes the difficult.  I find it so easy to get stuck here.  Stuck in this room, stuck in the easiness of little Lerwick.  Everything just kind of hangs here. Everyone knows everyone and everything is so comforting and expected. There are no more essays and no more exams. I am so incredibly satisfied yet.. unsatisfied here.  I find myself living free and happy – but I feel so unchallenged. It’s all too simple here. I am filled with a sort-of sadness of my nothingness.  I always feel like I am just waiting here.. waiting to go away again.

I need to be changing something, doing something.  I’m already two decades in and I need to make this count.  I’m wandering off into the unknown that is Germany in 7 weeks and 1 day and I feel excited about this leap of faith.  I need to be shaken up and lose the familiar.  A foreign country, a foreign language and not knowing anyone.  I’m moving to Germany and I don’t really even like meat or beer (help).  But this is the only way I can thrive.  I mean, I don’t even have a place to live yet.  I might not even get home for Christmas.  SO September I am scared of you – I have no idea what you will bring me.   But I suppose this blog and I shall find out together 🙂  It’s strange but it seems like everything feels so much more straightforward when it is out of my control.  I just hope I don’t have to go through any crises (…and yes I had to google the plural of crisis) as I can barely make it to the shop and back without locking myself out or forgetting my purse. When I was younger I thought 20 seemed such an old age, and that you were definitely an adult at 20.  That you had everything all sorted out.  Yeah… nope.  Still waiting on all of that.

I’ll miss the familiarity and everyone.  But I have sort of come to terms with the fact that wherever I am in the world, I will always miss someone.  And I know that all this familiar will still be here when I get back 🙂  Anyway, this blog has rambled on far too much and I have lots of things to do – food to cook, tidying up, tea to drink.

I do wonder if things will all work out. If this is a risk worth taking.  I also wonder if it should be a concern that I’m still scared of the dark?