There comes this surprising moment when you’re living abroad in a country that speaks a different language, and your brain flips a switch without you needing to tell it to. You turn on the TV and your mind doesn’t go- Oh crap, it’s in German. It doesn’t do anything, it’s something you hear everyday so you are now used to it, and in fact you even start to piece together what it means without real effort. You are finally, thank goodness!, on your way to making this country your home.
And because it’s your home-away-from-home (and eventually your home-that-is-actually-your-home), you are now free to criticize certain aspects just as you would, say, Miami (one of my least favorite cities in America). So thus begins my critique of Munich; the city that reminds me the business district of all major cities. It’s populated by the well-off, it’s incredibly expensive, a bit boring, and although very historic and beautiful in some ways, disappointing in others. And the visit to the US Embassy there, well that’s a story I’ll be brief about.
We got into Munich on a relatively beautiful day about 2 weeks ago. We walked around for a bit, and I began to realize that Munich is much bigger than Nürnberg. 5 minutes of the train, I nearly got hit by a car that was trying to sneak past me into the gas station, only to realize that cars actually can sneak past a person. I jumped out of my skin, the car mere inches from me. There was no apologies, no hand waving, nothing… this was a disturbing moment for me, but it’s not Munich’s fault. We had lunch at a lovely Italian bistro called Grano, if you’re in the area, try it. It’s funky and reminded me of NYC’s East Village, although step outside, and the funkiness was lost among the boringness of it all. We went to the famous produce market, which I always find very fun, but it made me yearn for my Nürnberg one; it was incredibly busy for a weekday afternoon and people kept bumping and walking into me. No big deal, that happens in Nürnberg sometimes too, still not Munich’s fault.
We stopped at Wir Machen Cupcakes, an American style cupcakery. Whenever I can, I try to find American style pastries and desserts, since as a professional pastry lady, I’m always looking for the next big thing. We went into the cute and cozy cake spot, to find some delectable treats. I cringed at the price of 3.50 euros a pop, but we were there so better try it. G-Man got an extremely chocolate one, and I got a mango coconut one. We went to a little cafe nearby, and sampled. And were disappointed. The cupcakes either have a vanilla or chocolate base, nothing fancy, but saddening because they were both flavorless and dry. The frostings were tasty, and that’s where you get the flavor you ordered, but I’m not a lover of frosting, I love cake. I wouldn’t suggest Wir Machen Cupcakes in Munich, if you have a sweet tooth, go visit ANY German bakery and get something there. Gosh I love German bakeries.
So the US Embassy happened. We got there 20 minutes early, and of course there was a longish line, but that’s to be expected. We stood there, moving at a snail’s pace until some German guy tried to cut all of us German-American couples/families, and that’s when things got a little funny. Everyone yelled at him, and then we were all talking to each other, and it was by far one of the friendliest experiences I had in Germany. I was really happy, until it was our turn and the guard at the US Embassy only spoke German. Yes, only German. I spoke English to him, but I could tell it wasn’t really registering. He couldn’t find our name on the list, so he threw us out of line, despite seeing a confirmation email for the appointment, and told us to call and make another appointment for another day. Needless to say, my temper was not in a good place, we took a two-hour train to Munich, spent the day waiting for this appointment, and now this? One angry phone call later, and apologies for yelling on the phone, the guard eventually brought us through. One good thing- everyone inside of the embassy was a delight, and so friendly! It almost made up for the 70 minutes we endured outside.
After this long day, I was ready to go home. We walked through the park and saw bunches of older men playing Bocce, which is by far my favorite game. This redeemed my experience a bit, but I still wanted to get home to my city; fun and funky with tons of little festivals, Nürnberg has this relaxed and welcoming feel to it, and although I really enjoyed Berlin too, this is by far my favorite city. I’m falling in love with the back streets of this city, the bakeries on every block and especially the one right across the street (although my diet would disagree), we went to Star Wars in Concert during Blaue Nacht, which was watching the Nürnberg orchestra perform the Star Wars score for an hour while in the balcony Darth Vader and other characters watched on, and it was ridiculously awesome. The Italian festival where you can pick up fresh coconut macaroons, lots of sundried tomatoes and fresh loaves of bread, and many italian delicacies. The Altstadt Fest in September when the city transforms into a picture from the past…. the list goes on.
I’m happy here, at this moment, I don’t want to live anywhere else. This was a long, long post, but a happy one. I wrote this post about twice and each time the internet died before it posted and thus was deleted. And on other notes, I’ll be out enjoying the opening of Columbia Bakery Cafe in Fürth this Saturday, so if you’re in the area, go check it out for American sweets!