Just an update on life: I’ve been in Germany for almost a month now, hoping to have at least learned how to survive shopping and dining in the German language. Moritz’s family has been so hospitable and I do indeed feel as if I’m part of the family (save my olive skin tone, petite stature, and Southeast-Asian nose). In the time that I’ve been here, they have cheered me up a mountain, fit me into a dirndl, and fed me till I felt dizzy (literally almost fainted once).
Of course things are never perfect, but when the weather is good, you do find yourself in your own fairytale. Here’s the best side of everything: (1) the cows are fat, healthy, and friendly (excuse the adjectives, but you would describe them the same way too). I pet one of them every time I pass their little patch of grass; (2) the sheep are actually really sweet when they aren’t scared of you; (3) it’s a refreshing sight to see people proud of their heritage: in Bavaria, people wear their lederhosens and dirndls everyday; (4) it is the most breathtaking experience to reach the peak of a mountain, especially when you see the valley and the other mountain peaks — the 3 hours of ‘suffering’ would feel like nothing; (5) food is good — period; (6) everything is a nice scenery as if from a picturebook; and (7) everything you need is literally a block away.
Though I haven’t had enough of the old beauty of Western Europe (or my ‘foster family’) just yet, I have opened my eyes to a more mature, more truthful view of what it means to live here. On my fourth week in Germany, I’ve come to the conclusion that though I’ve been having an amazing time, living a “normal” life in Europe is not as glamorous as it seems in all the Historical novels I’ve read or movies I’ve watched. Romantics such as I walk the cobblestone streets and are filled with recognition — it’s a life you would fit into perfectly, isn’t it? From Sound of Music to Heidi to Brothers Grimm to Pride and Prejudice, I remember all too well the dark forest woods, vast fields of mountains, the dry and cold weather, the bright pink faces of friends I knew so well (Mr. Darcy and little red riding hood included). Yet, when I first tried to climb my first Alpine mountain (Hoher Fricken — 2000m) two weeks ago, I underestimated the difficulty of it all. Heidi seemed to do it so well when she ran to her grandfather and his cows.
Alejandro and I trying to befriend the sheep
Sheep aren’t as cute as they might seem either. You think they’re soft, cuddly, friendly creatures, but you will no longer think so once you try to race them and accidentally step on a pile of sheep dung. I thought living the simple life in the mountainside would be the most relaxing experience. Do you know how difficult it is to be a farmer in the Alps? At 7am, rain or shine, warm or practically snowing, you have to bring your cows to the base of the mountain to feed on fresh grass. And that grass outside your beautiful home? That won’t mow itself. Jane Austen never mentioned that.
Biking through the Alpine valleys is something I would say everybody should do. Although you better make sure the weather is appropriate, as I got drenched in 7-degree-celsius rain — not enjoyable for a tropical girl like me. Despite that, it was just as beautiful as it looked when Maria ran across the grassy mountain singing “the hills are alive.”
Would I trade my tropical, urban-city-in-a-developing-country life for this stuff? I could never say. Can I have them both?