…And on the seventh Day God created Dirndls

It’s often hard to admit to yourself when something is coming to an end but whether I like it or not I will not find myself waking up in Munich tomorrow. There are so many aspects of my life here which I’m going to miss with my entire being: the friends, the language, the city – but these are all the things I’d be expected to miss. As a retrospective look back at my Year Abroad. I’ve compiled a list of the top 10 not so obvious aspects of Munich life that I’m going to miss. And it goes a little something like this…

10. German Keyboard

The german keyboard is almost identical to your standard keyboard with one major difference; the Z and Y have swapped places. Add to this the addition of the ä, ö and ü and you’re on to a real winner. The number of times I have been tzping on my computer and ended up with a Z when I needed a Y is testament to this behemoth of the keyboard world.

9. Being a Foreigner

Before I came to Munich I wouldn’t have considered myself to have lived too sheltered a lifestyle. However, it gives you a totally new perspective on life and your own lifestyle to live in a foreign city and you come to appreciate how hard it must be for people who move to a country that isn’t as accepting as Germany. That said, I was met in a less than friendly manner on two occasions with Greggers and I told to ‘go back to your own country and stop destroying our culture’. Naturally a verbal slinging match ensued and after a while his threats subsided.

8. European kiss-on-the-cheek greeting

This is something so unfathomable for the British (think Hugh Grant in ANY film) but is something that the Europeans take to with absolute ease. Whether your meeting someone for the first time or greeting an old friend the greeting is the same – a kiss on both cheeks. It’s just so effortlessly friendly and in my eyes removes any of the british awkwardness usually associated with meeting someone for the first time.

7. Flexi-time

Behind #2, this is the best invention of all time. Fancy another hour in bed? Done, just stay a little longer than usual at the end of the day. It really doesn’t matter when you go to work as long as you fit in all 38.5 hours per week into your schedule. This phenomenon has seen me starting work anywhere between 8am-11am and occasionally even finishing as early at 1pm on a Friday! Any future employees reading this, just remember I’m gonna be needing flexi-time.

6. Relaxed attitude to going out

Whenever I think of nights out back home it always fills me with dread. What with Cruise being pretty much the only club even slightly close-by there is naturally always a queue. I remember one time when my friends had to arrive at the club at 9:30pm to even stand a chance of getting in. Even in Leeds, the taxis would almost always need to be booked for around 11pm and there was hardly ever any room for adjustments. Munich, however is far better. Not only do I live within walking distance of all the city centre clubs but they’re just so relaxed. There have been numerous times where pre-drinks have been so much fun that we haven’t even left the house until gone 2am. It helps that the German system involves clubs staying open until around 5am or 6am but all the same, it’s just so much less stressful.

5. Boardgame Nights

It’s safe to say that I have always been a huge believer in Board Games. It was something that I tried introducing at Uni last year as an alternative to watching TV and it didn’t go down particularly well. And these games were your classics – Monopoly, Cluedo – games that only take an hour to play. In little french Thomas I found a kindred board game spirit. His selection of board games was massively impressive and spanned across 4 nations. But it wasn’t the games that made these nights such fun, it was that everyone had a genuine interest in playing the games, even though they often lasted into the early hours of the morning. Admittedly I never manage to win but it’s the taking part that counts right?

4. Being told I speak good German on a daily basis

Imagine having a little friend that complimented or congratulated you for something on a near daily basis – that’s basically what this was. Being English, nobody expects you to be able to speak another language due to our lazy and ignorant stereotype. This leads to surprise on behalf of anyone you end up meeting and they are more than willing to let you know how impressed they are. My finest moments have got to be those where people think I’m German. It’s a hugely satisfying feeling.

3. Beer

Germany (and in particular Bavaria) wouldn’t be Germany without their ability to brew fantastic beers. Whether your tipple of choice is a Helles, Weißbier or Pils the variety of different beers is astonishing and it all tastes so good. Many of my friends who’ve been in Germany have all come to the same conclusion as me – Bitter and Ales are the way forward next year. There’s absolutely no part of me that’s looking forward to a nice refreshing pint of Fosters. It’ll feel like cheating on my frothy bavarian girlfriend. The lack of any German beer in England is ridiculous, with Erdinger being pretty much the only one to have made its way to our country. I’ve done a little research into the topic and found that Tesco stock their very own ‘Bavaria Beer’. Although it’s actually brewed in Holland.

2. Dirndls

Simlar to Babian’s First Theorem, everyone looks better in Dirndls. But it’s also the culture behind Dirndl/Lederhosen wearing that I love so much. Whether young or old, everyone wears Trachten during Beer Festivals and it creates a wonderful atmosphere of acceptance. I’ve become so accustomed to seeing them around town that I don’t even bat an eyelid when I walk past a man in Lederhosen, it just feels normal nowadays! Here are a few pictures of some friends of my to illustrate my point.

1. Multi-Kulti friendship group

By far the most rewarding aspect of my Year Abroad has been the wide variety of different nationalities, cultures and backgrounds that I have met and befriended in my time here. On my last count it was no fewer than 34 different countries and it just ensures that there is always something to talk about. You can’t get bored talking to someone who has lived an entirely different life to the one you live youself. Plus, there’s nothing better than learning a few swear words in another language.

Greece, France, England and Germany combine

In short, a huge thank you to everyone who has made this Year Abroad bloody brilliant. I can’t believe that it’s already over and I am going to truly, truly miss it. If you’re interested in finding out about the worst 10 things about my Year Abroad, stick around as there will be a new post up this afternoon!

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