Saturday, February 18, 2012

A new story: Swopping sunshine for snow

It was 32 degrees when I left Cape Town and I arrived into temperatures of -19 in Munich. Dressing appropriately for such an extreme weather change was a challenge that I have yet to meet successfully. I think the only way is really to pack a proper change of clothes in your hand luggage.

The occasion? To check out the Bavarian capital as a potential new hometown and decide weather I want to take on a new career challenge in Germany. So why would I want to move to a city 'where the sun never shines,' as my friends from sunny South Africa like to call it. Well, I guess I've always had a dream of living in Europe for a while and Munich is fairly central. It's also not too far away from my beloved Eiffel Tower, so perhaps my Paris and Pomegranates blog will finally get the chance to live up to its name.

In the meantime I also really like the Glockenspiel tower in the new city hall on the Marienplatz in Munich. It dates from 1908 and consists of little figurines and bells that reenact the story of Duke Wilhelm V and Renata of Lorraine. Every day when the clock strikes 11am, the romantic wedding tale unfolds, complete with brave knights on horseback. The bottom part of the story involves a dance of hope. I move along a little to try and keep my body temperature up.

At the end of the 15 minute show, a tiny golden bird tweets three times. It might be a little more fun to stand there and watch in the summer, when the story also plays out at 12 noon and 5pm. My hands are so cold I have to put them in my coat pockets, gloves and all, to keep them from aching.

My potential new office is just a short walk from the Marienplatz and I am wholly enchanted by the snow crunching under my boots. Snowfall is really not something I have experienced often in my life, having only lived in sunnier parts, such as Cape Town, Phuket and Dubai. For me, this is still something completely magical. I am grateful for the layers of warm clothes I have managed to borrow from my British friend, Andrea, in Cape Town. Without it, I surely wouldn't have been able to survive. A little Zara gift should be a perfect way to thank this fashionista.

After a week in the city, all the pieces suddenly click into place and as the golden bird in my mind chirps three times, I am ready to move to Munich. I'm excited to pick up old friendships again and get to know my new hometown in a few months' time. My basic German should finally be useful.

Besides the new work opportunity I also think it would be a great experience to live in Bavaria, so close to the Alps and to the rest of Europe. What's more, if I'm ok in temperatures of -20 now, I think I'd be ok to live here and give winter a chance (and shop for a few of my own coats and gloves). After all, if I really struggle to get through the deepest of the dark winter, my sunshiny home is only a plane ride away.

No comments: