Free Bratwurst is the Bratbest

02 Aug 2015

(Originally posted on my old personal blog, Adventures with KHill!)

Hallo Leute. What if I typed this whole post in German? Wouldn’t that be a fun challenge for my handful of loyal readers? No? Okay. I’m really tired right now and the slightest bit loopy because of it (note blog title - who do I think I am??) so bear with me. Or don’t. You were warned.

Speaking of interesting, this week! It was my last full week of work in the Rathaus and I got to do a variety of cool things. I think I wrote my last blog on Monday, so I’ll start with Tuesday. I got there and started reading in Herr M’s office because there wasn’t a whole lot going on and I think he felt bad about not having anything for me to do, so I requested to go read elsewhere from the Rathaus and rejoin him for a meeting later. I got to walk around town a little bit and finally see the Kloster (monastery/cloister..that’s an English word right?), which is absolutely gorgeous and felt straight out of the Sound of Music. Yes, I remember that the Sound of Music takes place in Austria and the Germans are the bad guys, BUT if history was completely altered and the story had somehow been set in Germany, I’m pretty sure all the scenes with Maria and Mother Abbess and the nuns would have been filmed at the Kloster in Stadt F. Anyway, I sat in the pretty gardens of the Kloster and read my book about the state’s responsibility to take in homeless people. After a while, I picked up and headed to another place I really wanted to see, the Stadtsbibliothek (city library). Coolest library ever! It was something like 5-6 floors with a ton of books (obviously) and a lot of little seating areas and cozy places to read. It also has this big castle-looking tower that you can go up inside and see views of the city. I kind of wandered up there by accident so I’m not totally sure that you are supposed to do that, but I can confirm that it is possible and I enjoyed it. Here are some pictures of the Kloster and the library:

Inside of the coolest library ever
Inside of the coolest library ever

So, Tuesday was pretty great and low-stress. Wednesday was more time spent in the SB with Herr M. I don’t recall anything too significant happening, but I am really thankful that he has let me basically be his shadow for as long as I have. He didn’t have to spend so many of his work hours showing the ropes to a clueless American, but he has done so happily and is always wanting to know what else I want to learn about. Lunch time was significant, though - one of the departments of the Rathaus moved to a different building a couple of blocks away, so the mayor threw a little lunch office-warming party for everyone in the Rathaus to attend. There was free bratwurst and I was feeling really fortunate to partake in that. There was also free awkward socializing with coworkers and other Rathaus employees who probably had no idea who I was or why I was there.

On Thursday, I helped more with some online registration stuff for the Ferienprogramm - entering who has paid and who still needs to for all the events happening this week. I’ve got the hang of that task now, so it was good to feel all useful and efficient. On Friday, I did that for a little bit in the morning before heading to the Rathaus again. I spent this day doing a bunch of errands around town - taking keys here and there, buying snacks for a meeting later in the day, and the biggest responsibility - accompanying one of the city’s Obdachslosenhilfe clients to his new apartment and making sure everything was in working order. I even got to sign the document as if I’m an actual employee (or even adult, for that matter). It was a good, productive last day in the Rathaus.

Friday evening, I was very tired and feeling burned out on socializing, but there was a Summer Fest being held in a beer garden in Stadt F and I had unknowingly given someone a confirmation that I was going and the order for what kind of food I wanted a few weeks ago. This is one of many times that I’ve said something or committed to something without realizing it. This time, though, it worked out in my favor, as I felt obligated to go and I ended up having a good time and getting - get this - free bratwurst! It was strange and funny but also nice to see everyone in the city government - including the mayor - dressed all casually, hanging out, drinking, eating, and dancing. The food was really good (and the bratwurst wasn’t actually supposed to be free but someone offered to pay for mine and who am I to turn them down?) and the atmosphere was funny. There is consistently a really odd selection of American music played at events I’ve been to here. This time, a husband and wife duet were doing covers on the keyboard and electric violin on such classics as “Shake Your Booty” and “Achy Breaky Heart.” One of many times that I sit there and think, “That cannot be the song they are playing right now. Surely I am imagining this.” But alas, the evidence against it being my imagination keeps piling up and I don’t think I’m creative enough to invent this stuff. A really interesting way to spend my last Friday night in the Munich area and I’m glad I didn’t miss it.

Saturday, my host mom, sister, and I went into Munich for a while. The first task was an errand returning something to the pharmacy, but then we just walked around, shopped, and ate. I realized later that this was really my first time ever going into the Munich inner city with the host family. Both of my host parents work in Munich, but they don’t spend a lot of time there outside of work - and especially not in the most tourist-heavy parts of the city. It’s just funny to see from their perspective how Munich is just another city and they don’t find it all that special or interesting because they’re just used to it. I suppose it would be strange for me, too, if I always saw a bunch of tourists in my hometown taking pictures of things that I see every day and find pretty ordinary. Anyway, it was fun to spend time with them and we had a really great lunch at a brewery. My host mom and sister headed home in the afternoon and I stayed a couple of hours longer to finish up some gift shopping for people. That night, my host sister painted my fingernails and we watched Balto followed by 21 Jump Street (the latter film after the 8 year old when to sleep).

Today! Sunday. It’s been fun. We had a leisurely morning getting ready before heading out to a village about an hour away called Bad Tölz. It’s at the foot of the German Alps and they have a fun little park there that has ski slopes during the winter and a chair lift and “Rodelbahn” in the summer. The Rodelbahn is this long, winding, concrete chute that runs about 5 kilometers down the mountain that you can slide down on these little sleds with wheels. I am quite possibly the least adventurous person you know when it comes to anything fast-moving, winding, roller-coaster-y, etc. so I was pretty fearful at first, but I was able to ride by myself and thus move slower than Christmas the entire time, so it was really fun and pleasant. The view of the little towns below was really wonderful. I also gripped my phone in one hand and filmed the whole thing, which was very much worth it. After that, we went to a Gaststätte and got some delicious food and I am still full roughly 7 hours later. Then, we took the long way home through pretty villages and grabbed some ice cream in our neighborhood. It has been such a nice weekend here and - as usual - I feel incredibly lucky to have my host family.

This week is my actual last work week, but, as I may have previously mentioned, I’ll be working on the Ferienprogramm instead of in the Rathaus. Basically, each day, I will be a chaperone on a different day trip to a different fun place in the vicinity of Stadt F hanging out with tiny Germans. I’m really looking forward to getting started and I think it’ll be a great end to my summer of work here. Then on Friday - VACATION with the host family! Crazy to think that I just have about two weeks left here, but I am feeling confident that they will be some of the best yet. Life is good in the Deutschland hood, my friends.

Lastly, thank you to all the sweet friends and family members who keep me afloat. Even when things are going great, it means a lot to get messages/calls/ugly snapchats from my favorite people back home. Looking forward to seeing everyone soon and drinking giant sodas with ice and free refills together.