At last, a long-overdue update. Firstly and foremostly- I have moved. I now live in the Schwabing-West neighborhood of Munich, and for this city, it sure is a funkypants neighborhood. Last night we had a celebratory dinner at Drugstore, a rather wacky local establishment. I had gnocchi (and: winkwink, if you want to know write me a letter), tomato soup and chocolate kuchen mit sahne. (Note: our house was built in 1860. It is charming and cozy and everything you could possibly want in a house, I think.)
Mia and Anna started school today at the International School in Starnberg. It is gigantic and is part of some old castle grounds. There is a German tradition that you get a paper cone on your first day of school filled with goodies. Mia got a princess cone with fairy-related accoutrements and Anna had a dinosaur one with pirate loot. I told her that my mom used to dig for dinosaur eggs and she was very impressed. We tried to go to the Auslaenderbehoerde today to get my twelve-month visa but it turns out you have to make an appointment to get it. Also, we have to pay yet another visa fee, which makes me truly believe that all these visas are a grand governmental scheme. But as they say in Czech, pohoda. At least this country gives you health insurance.
Last weekend we had a great deal of excitement. Saturday was a packing day with a lot of sweat but the highlight was going to a Turkish supermarket and getting free boxes and a pat on the shoulder from the jovial owner, wishing us good luck with our move. On Sunday we took the BOB (a Bavarian train but it is called the Bob, isn’t that great, yes yes I know) to the Alps to celebrate our friend Inga’s birthday. A bunch of other folks came too and we went to the Tegernsee. I had my first Alpine experience and from now on you need to call me Heidi. There are some alternatives as well if Heidi doesn’t suit a formerly named Naomi, so you can try Ermengarde or Gretchen too. It was ridiculously beautiful and there were sailboats and trees and the view was, well, Alpine. Yodelayheehoo. We had celebratory drinks at the beer garden at the top. Following this we ate Mexican food at the party at Inga’s sister’s apartment…omnomnom.
Yesterday was also a packed day with the kids. We went to the lake at Starnberg and went swimming. Anna is learning how to swim and really likes the water. I must also comment that Kinder Eggs have been redesigned. I am kind of appalled by this, but at the same time, the world rotates on its axis and things change, as I have often learned. (Note: I was just informed that they still make the old ones but you have to be hyper-observant at the store.)
Finally, my mom inquired about German stores. So a few notes, then:
supermarkets are pretty much the same as American ones except most of them have the delish in-store bakeries and elaborate cheese and sausage counters. To rent a shopping cart you have to deposit a coin and you get it back at the end, so no one can steal the carts, ostensibly. Other food shops work a bit differently because sometimes they are more specialized, so for example, the fruit and veg shop just sells fruit and veg with perhaps some jams and honeys and wine as well.
The post office sells automatic stamps from a machine and you can select their costs which is sort of nifty. And I do like the yellow colors of the Deutsche Post.
Bakeries- well, here is where I really do love the country for this; the bread is spectack. Nothing much else to be said but- oh, the coffee is good too, and croissants…drool, coffee and pastries. Ah yes. And cake. It’s probably best I bike and walk everywhere or I might turn into a tuba from an oompah band.
The one thing that I suppose I have to get used to is the German language but specifically the sound of it. It just sounds a bit fruity and militaristic simultaneously to me. Especially the oooo sounds. And I have to stop my new habit of saying “super” all the time the way the Germz do.
Till next time, pfirteich.