Last night was my last night in Munich. I celebrated that by sneaking out of the 7th floor window onto the roof of the guest house and watched a lightning storm. One of the students here, from Zimbabwe, sat with me and we discussed literature, what makes a genius, marriage, death, and a million other things. He is studying philosophy and writing a dissertation here in Germany. He wears a beaded string bracelet that is wrapped 5 times around his wrist. We compared cultural differences between the US and Zimbabwe.
In my last class yesterday, my classmate from Japan gave me a bracelet she had made as a parting gift. We posed for photos and I thought, I have only been here 2 weeks! It’s strange how two weeks in a foreign country, despite not sharing a common language or culture, we make an impact on each other.
A few people at the school have asked me if I liked Munich. I found it an easy place to navigate, a place with an interesting history, and a place with good diversity. There are 3 Persian restaurants I could walk to from the guest house. Also, there is a bakery on every corner it seems. The night I stayed out for Die Lange Nacht der Musik, Germans were packed into a tiny restaurant excited for jazz. The public transportation is easy to use. The English Garden is bigger than Central Park and there are plenty of green spaces. Plenty of people speak English, I even found an English used bookstore. Munich is really livable.
I can’t say I love this city yet though. It’s strange jumble of old churches and modern buildings and remanants of Nazi architecture make a weird amalgam of something that isn’t quite aesthetically pleasing. There is a missing vibrancy on the streets. Germans in Munich seem purposeful and are getting it done, with the it being the business of Its a strange place where they do their duty of accepting refugees, but as one Syrian student said, in some towns the refugees are not free to come and go as they please. They can’t go out. And in Munich, I saw 2 different Pediga (Patriots against the islamitization of the west) events, where they set up signs with their 10 thieseses against refugees and speak on a loud speaker. Of course who am I to criticize when my own country is also divided.
They do NOT cross in the crosswalk on red and they stick to the rules. They walk faster than anyone I know and I, despite my long legs or 5 miles of walking a day, could not keep up with any German on the street. They ride bikes super fast, ringing their bells, deftly weaving around people, who clearly don’t understand they are walking in the bike lane of the side walk (must be foreigners like me). People say Grüß Got here as a greeting and have excellent manners. But they just don’t feel warm and inviting. It’s hard to imagine what romance is like in this city.
I know someone else can read these opinions and say I got it all wrong. The internet is full of that these days. And after all it’s only been 2 weeks. I did meet friendly people. I had a great time. I ate a lot of bread.
Now onto Prague.