Tracking down anything remotely useful as part of a Halloween costume is no easy task in Germany… unless you got shopping during Fasching, a springtime carnival celebrated across much of German-speaking Europe. Munich seems to be particularly fond of the festival and, although the main celebrations aren’t meant to start until next week, there’s been many Fasching-themed parties and events all over the city, and the special festival cakes (a kind of doughnut called a ‘Krapfen’, amusingly enough) have been on sale for a while.
I went to one such event in a friend’s cellar last night, and I have to admit that the Germans don’t tend to do things by halves – most of the costumes would put the wardrobe department of most horror movies to shame. They do seem to have become slightly confused between Fasching (basically a springtime festival) and Halloween – there was a disproportionate number of zombies/ vampires/ ghosts – but I was pretty impressed by the costumes, especially as the extent of my effort was a 4euro hula skirt and borrowed garland. We had a pretty amazing night – the cellar broke off into different rooms, with some student DJs and, if I remember correctly, a lot of glowpaint.
This week I did a holiday course in Tort law (not as nerdy as it sounds – the official semester break is 2 and a half months long, and extra ECTS credits will take the pressure off next semester), and since I just had an open-book exam on Friday, it’s been a pretty relaxed week. After the exam I had coffee and cake with 2 friends from law – we went to one of the cafes in the main square in Munich and talked for a good few hours. Earlier in the week I saw Carmen with the same 2 girls. I didn’t think I’d spend much of my ERASMUS year in the Staatstheater, but tickets to see the Opera are cheaper for students than a cinema ticket, and exchanges are about trying new things. I don’t think I’ll ever be a huge opera fan (I was a bit lost after 4 acts of trying to follow the German subtitles), but I like how mixed up life is here.
The worst thing about ERASMUS years, according to former exchange students at least, is the goodbyes at the end of year, and I’m inclined to agree – I still have a semester to go in Munich, but over the last few weeks there’s been to many goodbyes to students only here for 1 semester. Generally, living abroad seems to divide people into two categories – those who are inspired to travel extensively and live in many countries in their lives, and those who realise (as a result of various degrees of homesickness) that they aren’t cut out for living too far from family, or out with their home countries. I’m surprised to admit that, despite a childhood spent poring over anything by Michael Palin or Bill Bryson, I probably fall in the latter category. However, even those who knew before they arrived in Munich that they probably wouldn’t want to live abroad again have (generally) had a great time here.
Next week is another holiday class. Our professor is probably the coolest 50-something year old American in Munich, which makes the (typically German) 8.30am lectures less of a chore. Apart from that, it’s more goodbyes (current facebook events: ‘last night in Munich:(‘, ‘bye!’ and ‘Vote RON in the EUSA elections, he’s a horse!’), choosing courses for next semester and trying to get my head around the fact that as of Tuesday, I’m exactly half way through ERASMUS.