Saturday, April 28, 2012

Under the apple blossoms down by the Isar

My new hometown of Munich is all apple blossoms and sunshine. Pale Europeans are bearing all next to the Isar River, soaking up an abundance of Vitamin D after a long and snowy winter.

That’s right, they’re not shy. The Germans are known for being fairly relaxed about nudity but it still takes me by surprise. I was quite taken aback when I went for a jog in the park yesterday and one of the bikini girls took her bottoms off to have a wee in the garden, within full view of, myself. Besides me doing a double take no one was batting an eyelid. Might have been an abundance of beer involved there too, who knows. Hm, always interesting to discover new cultures.

This year I’m lucky enough to have double summer, since I’ve moved from the southern tip of Africa to the Northern Hemisphere. Just as the first cold front hit Cape Town, I stepped off the plane into the European sunshine. Mid-April worked out to be a great time to arrive in Germany. Not that Munich is the sunniest city on earth and I probably won’t pack away my winter jerseys in a hurry, but the weather has been just fabulous with temperatures soaring up to 30 degrees.

I count myself lucky to live in a street lined with apple trees in bloom, plus a few pink cherry blossoms peeking out here and there. As though that’s not enough the bulbs are popping out of the grass all over the place, gracing the streets and the parks with bright coloured patches of red and yellow spring flowers.

My German language lessons are coming in quite handy. I’m surprised every time when people understand me and answer back like its no big deal – every sentence I say correctly is an achievement for me and I kind of expect applause for getting it right! I guess getting a normal answer to a normal question also means that I sounded pretty normal which, when it happens, is super.

Going to the supermarket is still an adventure for me, as is discovering different beers and breweries. Living in a country as an expat is a whole different experience to being a tourist. I haven’t been rushing around to see attractions, for that I will have plenty of time. For now, I’m just trying to get a sense of my place in this new MΓΌnchener world.

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