Tag Archives: Munich

Travel Log: Holzkirchen, Part I

At what point does a place stop being a vacation-destination and turn into a temporary-home?

I’m sure the answer varies, depending on the situation. But, in this situation, I am pretty sure I’ve passed that mark…

For the past five weeks, I’ve called Holzkirchen, Bayern, my home. Those 30-odd some days may not seem like a whole lot. But, they have been. Trust me.

Thinking about where to start on with my reflections on Holzkirchen somewhat overwhelming. It’s easier to think of the day-to-day monotony than the grand-scale of all I’ve actually experience.

I suppose it’s best to start from the beginning…

After a day filled with travel and anticipation, we arrived in Holzkirchen on a Thursday night.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from my family. There was a mom, dad, son and daughter. Basically, a nuclear family, if there ever was one. I also knew this was their 20th year with an exchange student, so it be hard to throw them any curve balls. They even knew I was vegetarian, and were willing to deal with that.

That night, we had a good dinner and appropriately awkward conversation. Then they allowed me to settle in my room and prepare for the weeks still ahead…

Little rest for the weary, as the next morning I was up bright and early for the first day of school.

The next highlight came night. All of the students, professors and host-families met at the school for “Kennen Lernen,” or a meet-and-greet. There was beer and bretz’n and a burning desire to get out of the school building and see what Bayern really had to offer.

Fortunately, that chance came soon enough, as it happened to be the celebration for summer solstice. A lot of the nearby towns were hosting traditional bonfires, and my host-sister invited me and a few other students along.

It was a fun opportunity to unwind a bit, while still engaging in something uniquely German.

That Saturday passed without much incident. A good run occurred, from what I can remember.

The next day, I was invited to join my friend Rebecca and her family for a hike. We drove to the “Vor Alps” region, in nearby Tegernsee.

After a good hour-long climb up, we reached my first good Bavarian viewpoint. I figured I could get used to things like that…

Fortunately, the next day I was offered the chance, as my class took a trip out to Tegernsee. We did a little, less strenuous hiking, but no complaints there, because it offered a good view of the lake.

The next day was far-and-away one of the high lights of the trip. My sister and aunt were on their way to Italy and were able to make a detour through Germany.

I got to spend the afternoon with my beautiful sister, in a beautiful country, speaking about beautiful things…

My time with my sister offered me a bittersweet taste of home. It was wonderful to say hello and hard to say goodbye…

I didn’t have much of a problem with finding my enthusiasm again. That Thursday my class went to Munich for the first time.

It didn’t take much for me to fall in love…

Actually, while that little glimpse of sweetness sealed the deal, I was already quite enthralled with Munich. Unlike the cities of the north, Munich has a unique Bavarian charm about it.

Those first few days settled my qualms about my family, my food and my potential for exercise. I knew I could get along just fine. Fortunately, it all turned out to be a little better than “fine.”

Part II to follow…

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A few confessions

Aside from my recurring nightmare, there have been some other things keeping me up at night. Since I am really starting to miss this thing called “sleep,” I’m hoping a few confessions will help rest my mind.

#1: I admit that I’m single-handily responsible for ravishing my family’s supply of peanut butter.

Today’s assault of the PB jar was complemented by a bowl of oats, a fresh white peach and a good ol’ blob of jelly.

When my host mom wasn’t looking I may or may not have stolen an extra spoonfull, with a direct connection to my mouth…

#2: I admit that sometimes I worry my passions are wasted on things of insignificance.

When I spend so much time swooning about peanut butter and thinking up new recipes, it can be a little difficult to make room for matters of actual consequence to the world.

Nothing makes me more aware of my inadequacy than seeing the epitome of selflessness in the name of a cause.

“Stand up for what you believe in even if you are standing alone.” -Sophie Scholl

Sophie Scholl was just 22-years-old when she was executed for participation in resistance to the Nazi Movement.

Her crime? Words.

“Die Weiße Rose,” a group of students and their professor, was responsible for writing, producing and distributing six anti-Nazi leaflets during WWII.

On Febuary 18, 1943, Hans and Sophie Scholl were caught distributing the sixth leaflet in the entrance of the University of Munich. They were executed just four days later, charged with treason.

Still, the beauty of words is that even when the author dies, the importance lives on. Today the members of “Die Weiße Rose” are remembered as heroes.

As someone who believes language to be the strongest weapon and the greatest gift, I can’t help but admire the bravery of “Die Weiße Rose.”

Yet, even with that admiration, I don’t know if I can imagine sacrifing so much. I wish I was brave. I wish I was passionate, dedicated and undeterred in standing up for what is right… But I can’t say that I am.

#3: I admit that I occasionally like to drink my problems away.

That confession may have been a bit misleading, considering that my beverage of choice today was actually Diet Coke.

Still, I sucked that sucker down in 10 seconds flat. I was always told that was bad etiquette, so I’m feeling a little guilty about that.

#4: I admit that sometimes I like to carbo-load, even when I have no real reason to do so.

With little interst in beer and even less in schnitzel, I had a pretty limited selection at the “Augustiner Bräu Bier Garten.”

I could have gone the totally healthy, über-bland route of a salad. I could have gone the cheesy, buttery route of Käsespätzle. Instead, I decided on a compromise of a baked potato. Not to thrilling, but actually quite satisfying.

(Note: I asked for the cheese on the side, but between my imperfect German and the table of 13 hungry students, I guess my request got lost in translation.)

#5: I admit that sometimes I like to be a little weird. I like to be a little isolated. I like to be a little active. I like to be a little goofy. I like to be a little tough… I like to be a little “me.”

And, maybe that’s something I shouldn’t be apologizing for, anyway.