It was time for me to go back to Munich, and I was feeling pretty deflated and sluggish- not just a direct result of mass turkey consumption. The novelty of abroadness was, truth be told, wearing off, and two weeks hadn’t been long enough for me to see all the people and do all the things I’d wanted to; yet it had been long enough for me to have got back into my old life, which was why I was feeling awkwardly displaced. Returning after Christmas is always the hard part, I’d been warned- and sad to say, it’s true. The permanently dark and dismal weather didn’t help (and considering I come from Cardiff, that just tells you how grim it must’ve been in Munich.) There is also such a thing as too much snow. Trust me on this one. I had bought heavy-duty winter boots which I wore from mid-September onwards, and by the end of February I was getting increasingly soggy socks as the soles wore through. Not ideal.
My birthday was drawing closer alarmingly quickly, and aside from work, I really wasn’t sure what to do with myself. Although it wouldn’t be my first one outside the UK (I had my 4th birthday with family in the Philippines), it would definitely feel different. Finally I decided to spend the day itself in a laid-back fashion- going for sushi and a late-night swim at the Müller'sche Volksbad, a beautiful public swimming baths with quaintly old-fashioned changing cubicles. The building reminded me of the Roman Baths with its elegant arches and pillars. The next day, I summoned everyone I’d befriended and we ate, drank and were merry.
My boyfriend came to stay for intersemester break. We took a guided tour around the main sights of central Munich, almost contracting hypothermia in the process- but it was worth it to learn that the people had once attempted to put out a fire in the theatre with beer, with disastrous consequences; and that the police apparently stole the airport’s maypole and only gave it back once promised great quantities of food, beer (no surprise there) and a party! Wahnsinn...
We also visited Dachau, which was a thought-provoking and sobering experience.
And for any Discord-goers, I have but one word to say: Rockstudio. And, oops, another two: Go there. The night we went, the guitarist from Marilyn Manson was choosing the set- there was an interlude which consisted purely of Irish jig-type songs. You will never see anything funnier than black-clad German goths in their heavy studded boots and curtains of hair linking arms and riverdancing. Really.
There was also Fasching to look forward to- officially a celebration of the dawning of the (so-far non-existent) spring, in practice, an excuse for shops to sell their Halloween stock in February and an excuse for all Münchners to have a half-day, dress up ridiculously and party with friends and copious amounts of... yep, BIER! Clouds of confetti littered the snow, a brass band blared from a stage on Marienplatz, and the whole city centre was a glorious, teeming chaos of colour and sound.
It was a triumphant end to my time in Munich. I arranged to see all my friends one last time, did my final open mic evening and got myself abgemeldet. At times it had been stressful, it had been hard, but it was also a wonderfully enriching experience. I’d felt completely at home there, and was sorry to have to leave. But I’m sure I’ll be back.
Bis bald, München!