I feel I’ve let Scotland down slightly this week. Apparently my German no longer sounds ridiculous because of my Scottish accent, but I now sounds Dutch when I speak German – or at least this was the verdict at an International Food party I attended this week. We were all asked to make some kind of food from our home country, and I brought ingredients to make shortbread. I like to think I’m fairly good at baking (if I wasn’t a law student, I’d be a baker), but somehow I managed to make chewy shortbread. I blame the flour – of course the Germans aren’t satisfied with ‘self raising’ and ‘plain’, and the flour comes in numbered types. No-one at the party had tasted shortbread before, and so seeing as I neglected to mention that something had gone wrong with the recipe (or I’m just a bad baker), they are now under the impression that shortbread is chewy. Sorry, Scotland.
After another fairly busy week, I was knackered Saturday night and ended up watching The Apprentice with a cup of tea, and skyping a friend from home. This seems to be a fairly British weekend – yesterday we went to see Harry Potter (and were slightly ashamed when we were surrounded by German schoolchildren who had no problems with watching the film in English), and then went out for pizza. Today, we are having some kind of Sunday-roast-to-counteract-homesickness, although my contribution to this is going to be Lidl cherry pie, Spekulatius (German Christmas biscuits) and Sangria.
However, it’s very easy to feel in tune with German culture when Munich is so Christmassy – Marienplatz smells like Gluhwein and roast almonds and there’s Christmas lights all over the city. My local shopping centre also has a fairly alarming Christmas display consisting of 4ft high soft-toy wild boar, mechanical squirrels, and tiny Christmas trees that make the animals look pretty intimidating – but the local children are all very excited about the display, so I’m assuming that the boar are standard in Germany.
I’ve fallen in love with Munich in Winter, but German techno still hasn’t found itself a place in my heart. We went on a spontaneous night out on Thursday (a lot of people seem to have ‘accidentally’ ended up with Friday off) to a free techno student night, but the music was pretty repetitive and I ended up crashing at a friend’s house eating chips and cheese (promise I wasn’t homesick and went on a 3am quest for British culture – nights out are just better if they have chips at the end, if there aren’t chippies in Germany). I woke up the next morning to find her flatmates cleaning the floor around the couch – apparently sleeping visitors do not disturb cleaning schedules in Germany – and then headed home to get ready for my day at Kirkland and Ellis LLP. The law society were very welcoming to ERASMUS students, as were Kirkland, despite my obviously imperfect German and although events at law firms aren’t really a typical part of an ERAMUS year, it was really interesting to learn about ‘office culture’ in another country and a bit about international law.
Unfortunately I had to leave the office early (I did manage not to miss the distribution of free camping mugs, though – an unusual but decidedly German choice of free gift) to make my 6-8pm lecture. The LMU is an amazing place to study, but the lectures are very much messing with my dinner time: I finish classes at 8.30pm one day, and 8pm another. And don’t get me started on Strafrecht at 8am.
On Friday night I negotiated a ‘komm gruen, geh blau’ party (‘arrive dressed in green, leave drunk’ is the best translation I can offer), leaving at a reasonable hour because I was tired after speaking German the whole night and because I refused to be hungover for Harry Potter. It’s been a little bit hectic, especially with the odd mixture of British and German culture I’m experiencing every week, but ERASMUS is still pretty awesome.