Dear loyal readers,
It seems sad to say but this is the last personal blog post for #madeinmunich. Apologies to those who have only just started following – it’s not you it’s me. Despite the fears of many – the brand “madeinmunich” won’t die. Next time I’m in that beautiful city, I solemnly promise that this blog will recommence. The blog may from time to time be of use to me and I may use it again very soon. So it’s not goodbye for good but it is goodbye for now. Thank you to everyone who made the past year the best it could have been.
Leaving Germany – a topsy-turvy and ultimately wonderful country where tramps pay for their newspapers, prostitutes have pensions and large sections of motorway have no speed limit. The bureaucracy is bureau-crazy but it’s worth it if trains run on time even if you have to fill out a form and get a licence for everything – I was surprised that I was allowed to brush my teeth without filling out a few forms and heading to the Zahnamt.
Arriving in Great Britain – a funny-shaped group of islands off the coast of Eurasia where 20 degrees means it’s summer and overweight builders think it’s appropriate to wander around topless. Bacon & eggs, fish & chips, petty politics, page three models, friendly and comprehensive customer service, pints, miles per hour and not having to guesstimate my height in centimetres.
A few mistakes were made: signing a 24 month phone contract when I only needed a dozen months, failing a German driving test for slow driving (amongst other things). I like to think these were outweighed by great experiences and good achievements: becoming fluent in the German language, understanding the culture on different levels (national, regional, city) discovering new countries, visiting university friends and sharing their experiences, getting to know a diverse mix of people from all over the globe, working for the world’s bestselling premium car manufacturer, running the half marathon for charity, going to three beer festivals, spending three weekends in a row skiing, having friends to visit, making connections and generally getting another perspective on life not to mention trying to integrate with society.
I’m glad I’ve made all the mistakes I’ve made so far in my life because they have lead me to this miraculous time in Munich that has satisfied my hunger for exploration and adventure before inspiring me to do it all again.
If I started to thank individuals I would never finish this post. I would like to say a massive thank you to Leeds for having Year Abroad as part of their languages programme – and all the support we were entitled to. Thanks to the European Union who told Frankfurt to allocate us a load of cash which enabled us to make the most out of our time on the continent. Thanks to BMW and especially my bosses and international department for giving me an extra special intern contract for a year which enabled me to gain some skills and experience in a professional environment meet fantastic people and learn the tricks of the trade. Thanks to all the interns, from the first generation to the third, who were always willing to learn from each other. They were right – I couldn’t have had a better time anywhere else. Thank you to all the people who made my adventure what it was, from minor roles in the blog to main characters, on and off stage you surpassed my already high expectations. I have been a proud ambassador for the University of Leeds.
In my last week in Munich at the end of August I said “Auf Wiedersehen” at the Seehaus to Jenny & Ricardo, before they went on holiday to Italy. My penultimate Saturday was the day of my leaving event: Fabianerfest. The location? Fabianerplatz, Englischer Garten. Here is a map for those of you who don’t know.
We rose early on a gorgeous Saturday morning for the picnic dressed in trunks with an armful of Pretzels. You know who your mates are when they rearrange their weekend visit home and then get up at early to celebrate with you. We set up camp on the bank of the Schwabinger Bach and for a while it seemed like maybe no-one would come. Eventually numbers started to climb and all the most important people to me came to see me and have some food and drink in the Gardens. Thanks to Max for actually sticking with me the whole way through! Chris was planning on doing a run etc but a beer was thrust into his hands – and that, as we said, was that. I want to thank everyone who came; it really meant a lot to gather in the sun with friends and come to terms with the fact that whether I liked it or not – I had to leave them all behind. But it wasn’t all bad – I was excited to see my family and friends in London and Leeds.
Max & Marcus starring in Made in Munich.
At about 19:30 ECT it began to bucket with rain. It was raining Katze & Hunde in my gardens.
089 is probably my least favourite club in Munich – from the security to the layout to the clientele to the poor yet overpriced drinks selection – the establishment leaves nothing to be envious of. However, sometimes it can be what you make of it. No matter how shoddy the event you can make it work in your favour and this is something we achieved as we carried the party on until the late hours of the morning. Red Bull was in part to thank as well as Max’s clever games. The weekend finished with a day to recover before my final working week.
In the office I had begun to start to say goodbye to people, lunch became a nightmare where I wanted to go with everyone one last time but realised there weren’t enough days in the week. Coffee had to suffice. I wasn’t the only one leavning though and had what must have been at least one Weißwurstfrühstuck Ausstand per day. No momentum was lost in the week and those that weren’t celebrating their leaving at work were doing so at rooftop parties. Laura was one of these people.
On the Tuesday it was Laura’s Abschied party & After-Work @ the Telekom Tower. We started off at hers and made our way into town. What is shamelessly referred to as an After-Work describes an event where many Germans dress up in what they should have been wearing at work and pretend to be about to dance to very loud music whilst trying to outdo each other in a game which translates to “ordering expensive cocktails”. The game can last all nightor until someone makes a joke that is considered “on the edge” at which point many people would inevitably tut and decide to back to their WG in Schwabing. Pretentious is a word that crosses the mind. That said, me and my little band of interns like to think we got the party started by actually forcing people to dance. This worked for a time, unfortunately though – although its motives pure.
By mid-week I was so tired of being up and about, if it hadn’t been my last chance to do everything then I would have of course had a few nights in. When Wednesday came along it became clear that I was to be expected at Stammtisch @ die Bank where I was overjoyed to be able to introduce Evie to all the other BMW interns who had made it down. Lots of people to look after her now. Niklas, the person who has always been there for me in Munich also stopped by even though he is extremely busy with his studies. What a fantastic chap. I really enjoyed introducing him to the Nachfolger of Ingo’s Nachfolger, Giulio – I knew they’d get on like a Hochhaus on fire and they were the best of friends in about ten seconds flat.
Staying in Baden-Baden in a nice hotel where the family straightened out their backs after a week of camping on the Romantic Route. After two nights we had eaten well, bathed and enjoyed the hotel’s facilities and great food, we were ready to start the engine and follow signs to London-London. The journey went smoothly, apart from panicking in a French service station at the chaotic service, lack of attention to pricing and unhygienic location of the toilets. I knew I was in for a real treat when I arrived back in Angleterre. We were soon in Calais after listening to a few Radio 4 podcasts. It seemed like French border control at Calais had transformed into the set of a new Lacoste advert as some official approached the car with his arm outstretched and whispered “explosive détéction” longingly into the driver’s window before caressing the car with what looked like a microphone. After yet another Burger King we we’re on the train sous la Manche. And my Year Abroad was officially over because I was no longer abroad. I was home.
Thanks to my parents and brothers for coming to pick me up with all my stuff – I wish I could say that no brothers were harmed in the process. And thanks to my family for looking after me whilst in London and moving me up to Leeds – couldn’t have done it without you! I’m glad I had time to see grandparents and Auntie Sue – see you all very soon.
Al I have now are the memories, many of which have been preserved in this wordpress blog. Thanks should go to you too, wordpress. A great site for blogging, so great that it was able to convert my good friend Nath from antiquated blogspot.
I look forward to hearing how everyone’s Year Abroad went. Currently preparing for final year at Leeds University, settled in now and great to say hi to all my Uni friends!
I wish everyone back in Munich a great start to Oktoberfest this weekend, it seems strange that a year ago I was preparing myself for the Wies’n. Feel free to send me some photos if you want to make me miss Munich even more than I already do.
I miss you already – you know who you are.
Viel Spaß euch!