No Kangaroos in Austria

When I got invited to go to Munich for a final job interview, I immediately checked the map to see where exactly it is and which interesting places it is nearby. Seeing that Austria is close to Munich left me daydreaming. I sat there at FL's apartment in Paris and imagined The Sound of Music and the beautiful scenery while Mozart's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik played in my head. I knew right there and then that I would definitely visit Austria (I assumed that I'd get the job and move to Munich. Good thing, my assumptions were correct).

Fast forward to four months later...


Luckily enough, I met Nav, who became my first friend in Munich, a few weeks after I moved to Munich. We immediately hit it off! If there's such thing as friends at first sight, then that's what happened. In one of our random conversations, we talked about Vienna and the next thing I knew, we sat on the train heading to the capital city of Austria.

Shiok In The Red Dot

Shiok, a commonly used term in Singapore, is an expression of happiness and pleasure.
When I think of Singapore, also known as The Red Dot, these words pop on my mind - food, friends, food, and glorious food!

Singapore served as my second home for almost four years. I had so much fun and met so many amazing people in this small city-state. Living in Singapore opened my doors and windows to infinite possibilities, great experiences, and challenging adventures. And most importantly, the country fed (no, I sound like a pig here) nourished me with so much delicious food that sometimes I wonder why I left. 

For you and me

The brave souls truly live,
For they are willing to take risks.
The patient doers achieve success,
For they do not stop to make things happen.
The passionate dreamers reach the stars,
For they are not afraid to fall.
Be Brave. Work Hard. Dream Big.
Miss A

Happy First

One year in Munich... wow! Where did time go? 

I was reminded that I've been living here in Deutschland for a year now when my friend sent a message on LinkedIn about my work anniversary. Time really flies so fast when you are having fun. 

I can still remember the day I moved to Munich. I was hungry alone and tired from the long travel from the Philippines, but I was so excited about new beginnings. I did not care if I was carrying my 35-kilo luggage up and down the staircase in the train stations. I used up all my energy dragging my luggage on one hand while reading the map on the other. I was super excited that I ignored the cold weather  as I navigated my way to the hotel. And sure, Munich did not disappoint. I am enjoying my stay here and definitely loving everything about the city. 

This post shall give you a summary of what I have learned, experienced, and embraced since moving to Munich. 

1. Sprechen sie Deutsch? Ja, ich spreche ein bisschen Deutsch! After 12 months of living in the city, I can now introduce myself, order food, buy groceries, and exchange greetings in Deutsch. I came to Munich without knowledge of the language, so that's kind of an achievement! ;-) My German language proficiency is still a work in progress. But I am definitely motivated to be able to speak better in Deutsch. It is difficult, I know, but it isn't impossible. 

I often make mistakes and my pronunciation is really terrible. But I don't shy away from criticisms because that is how we learn. In fact, I am thankful for friends who correct me. I still have a long way to go, but I'll get there someday... 

2. It's all about the B-E-E-R! Do not ever think that I am an alcoholic. I was not a huge fan of beer before coming to Munich. Maybe because I thought all beers tasted the same. But no, Munich has the best beers in the world. And depending on your taste, you can choose from six breweries - Löwenbräu, Hofbräuhaus, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Spaten, and the local favourite, Augustiner-Bräu

I like the Augustiner Helles, but I can only drink one 500ml bottle. Yes, I am a super slow drinker. Most of the time I order the Radler, which is a combination of beer and lemonade, for the taste and its lower alcohol content. It really is a must-try!

When the weather gets warmer in Spring and Summer, everyone enjoys eating and drinking at the beer gardens every where in the city. The beer gardens are definitely not just for adults; kids are welcome, too! There are non-alcohol drinks to choose from. I truly like the beer gardens in Munich. You can enjoy the beer, food, company, and the view (Hirschgarten, Chinesischer Turm, Olympia-Alm, and the Viktualienmarkt to name a few).

Speaking of beer, I am reminded of my first Oktoberfest experience in Munich. It was memorable!!! You have got to experience it at least once in your life. If you want to know more about the Oktoberfest, let me know and we can talk about it over beer. Yes? ;-) 

Trivia: Did you know that most places in Munich are named after beer gardens or beer houses? For example, Stachus, Harass, Flaucher, and the list goes on... Now you know!

3. Cycle to work and play. I've always liked the idea of cycling to work. I witnessed this cycling culture in Tokyo a few years ago, and I got fascinated by the thought of being able to ride your bike to work, to the supermarket, and to anywhere. Unfortunately, in the places where I lived, I could not do that because of the hot and humid weather - both in the Philippines and Singapore. You already know you wouldn't arrive smelling and looking good in the office after cycling in those tropical countries.

I think there are more bicycles than people here in Munich. It does not matter what season it is. People are out on their bicycles to get to work, to explore the countryside, and to go about their daily lives. In fact, Germany launched its National Bike Autobahn recently. This is good news for the cyclists! 

I wish one day the Philippines or my hometown, Cagayan de Oro, will be as bike-friendly as Munich. I am sure my dad will like that! And I am sure that it will reduce traffic congestion, lessen air pollution, and help people to stay fit.

I bought a second-hand bike from my Chilean friend, Pato, and I named it Cooper (in honour of  Sheldon Cooper).  During Spring and Summer, I was always out with my bike and I'd cycle to work, to the parks, to the city center, and to church. It was crazy! I loved every moment I was on the road. Now that Spring's here, I am excited to take Cooper for a spin!

4. No beach, no problem! Growing up, I was always surrounded with the beaches, springs, and rivers. Family outings were mostly spent at beach and spring resorts. The rivers are reserved for the rafting adventures. Thus I was always used to being on the beach.

There are no beaches around Munich. The nearest beach will probably be somewhere in Italy. But that's not a problem because there are a lot of lakes where you can swim (if you are brave enough to swim in the cold water). You can hop on the train and in less than an hour, you will arrive in big swimming lakes such as Starnbergersee, Ammersee, and Wörthsee. 

My favorite lake is the Eibsee, which is about 100 kms away from Munich, but definitely worth the visit and the swim! 

Overlooking the beautiful Eibsee
If you don't like the idea of spending hours on the trains just to swim, you can also jump into the Eisbach in the English Garden. I spent a lot of my summer afternoons there. My boyfriend, FL, would wait for me after work and we'd cycle together to the English Garden for a mini picnic and swim in the Eisbach. My friend, Cris, who came to visit, loved the river and was so happy that I took him there for a swim. It can get very crowded sometimes. But it's 2 kms long, so you can still find a place for you to enjoy the river. And oh, you can also see the river surfers here. Though I have not tried river surfing as I find it more difficult than the (usual) surfing, which I learned in Bali.

5. Always learn new skills. As they say, you're never too old to learn new things. Since moving to Munich, I have learned knitting and skiing! Wohoo! 

I spent most of the evenings at home during the colder months and I thought of making myself productive. I know that my friend, Aiza, likes to knit, so I got in touch with her and she sent me links to online video tutorials. She encouraged me to do it and gave me tips on which yarns to get. I instantly got addicted to knitting. I can knit for hours. There even came a time when I spent my lunch breaks at work knitting my scarves. I managed to make two scarves, but I intend to practice more and use all the yarns I have - thanks to my friend, Anna, who gave me a huge bag full of yarns! 

I always wanted to learn how to ski and be able to gracefully ski down the alpine slopes. When ski season arrived, I made sure to enrol in ski classes. I did it! I am not the best skier in town, but I managed to ski down the slopes with minor blunders and no injuries. Sad, I didn't finish my third ski weekend course. But I am going back to the ski school next winter. Skiing can be difficult to learn, but just like what Nike Adidas (OMG, it's not Nike!) says, nothing is impossible. You just have to get up when you fall and do it again. I fell countless of times and I even joked that I have mastered the art of getting up after you fall. But hey, I persevered and in the end, I managed to ski! 

Skiing down the alpine slope in Austria
After living here for a year, I still feel like I'm kind of the new girl in town. There are still so many places to explore in and around Munich. There are so many interesting stuff to learn about the German culture. I am slowly integrating into the society and enjoying every minute of it. Thanks to my 3Fs (family, friends (new and old), and FL) for the love, support, and encouragement! They made it easier for me to fight homesickness and boredom at times. 

Now I can say that Munich is my home... away from home. Ich liebe München! <3

Miss A