Having the opportunity to grow through and work for Muenchner Kuenstlerhaus while in Munich was nothing short of unbelievable. For a few months, I managed a team of a few people who worked on some advertising campaigns, set up some templates for mailers/posters/pamphlets/etc., and installed an original film piece through the Lithographie Studio in front of the Haus.
M. Kuenstlerhaus is one of the oldest non-profit organizations for the arts in Munich and was founded in 1800- originally across the street from a gallery space built out of glass. During WWII, the gallery space was destroyed but Kuenstlerhaus was left standing and continued on to act as a space for artists, intellectuals, & literary-types to convene, discuss, and bond. These days, they house a lot of musical events and rent out rooms of their historical Haus to those looking to throw a swanky event. I was lucky enough to one day climb through jungle gym of original attic beams and windows through a system of magical ladders and eventually out onto the roof. The view from atop the Haus was spectacular:
By day, the Haus was something to behold. By night, the Haus came alive. Most “days at the office” began around 9:00 p.m. and included attending and taking film footage of nightly events. Through Kuenstlerhaus, I was able to meet some of the most interesting artists working out of Munich today and enjoy working from within a global network. Here are some shots of my daily grind:
Just about when I thought I was feeling the beginning twinges of homesickness, wonderful family friends Franz & Ingrid invited me for a weekend at their home in Austria. My family’s relationship with them started when I was about eight years old when my dad began working for a German company with Franz. He was sort of an older gentleman even then, but with enough spunk to rival that of my young brother and myself. While Franz spent months at a time living in the U.S. away from his family, he sort of became our surrogate Grandpa. We cooked meals at our house together, saw movies together, and even went paddle-boating together. One of my most magical childhood memories includes having a family snowball fight with Franz on a frozen, December lake.
Anyway, Franz drove from his tiny town of Graz to my flat in Munich and picked me up. I hadn’t seen him in over a decade, but his floral reading glasses and genuine grin were exactly as I remembered them. I couldn’t have asked for a more loving, familial home to spend a weekend in and I had an amazing time exploring Franz and Ingrid’s city with them, riding bikes, cooking meals, and exchanging stories.
Believe me, I love the arts. Paintings, sculpture, dance, musical performances- you name it. That being said, it’s also usually ridiculously expensive to participate in such events and are unfortunately reserved for those with the time/cash to devote to them. This is why I was over the moon when I found out that a trip to the city operahouse had been planned. We saw a performance of Ariadne auf Naxos which turned out not to be my favorite opera of all time, but was beautiful nonetheless. Truly, the house itself was what had me slack-jawed. I believe I said at some point that if I were a ghost, it would be the building I would choose to haunt. It was probably one of my favorite buildings in Munich.
This past July, I was lucky enough to celebrate yet another year of breathing, among other things, in a foreign land with plenty of opportunities for “think about your life” kind of moments on park benches, mountaintops, leisurely cafes, etc. I shirked some responsibilities (oops) to spend a reflective, relaxing day by myself. It began with opening the love-filled package from my family that had arrived the day before- and enjoying the confetti, gifts, had-written notes, and incredible drawing of a “birthday whale” from my brother. Birthday breakfast was had in an italian-run cafe (see below)
Then a little exploring was in order (as customary, on any good birthday). I had heard about this fountain being somewhere in the city. It’s a) gorgeous b) old c) swimmable:
Next, I knew I wanted to spend some time in the sunshine and couldn’t think of a better place than the lovely Englischer Garten. As always, it was populated with happy, loungey people. The combination of these two activities inspired me to make my way to Schloss Nymphenburg (Nymph’s castle) where I saw The Hall of Beauties and extensive on-site gardens (see below)
After such an introspective day, I was ready to spend some quality time with some positive people. Luckily, my good friend Anne from home and my wonderful flatmate Isabell were there to celebrate with me with a little ladies night. Complete with candled dessert, birthday songs in two languages, and some traditional predictions of where life will take me before my next birthday- I could not have asked for a sweeter, simpler night.
Check out that sunburn! Or maybe I’m just glowing from such a nice day. Absolutely, a birthday I will never forget as long as I live.
Okay, here’s the update:
I am back home in the U.S. of A. in the loving arms of my family and friends. The last month or so of my time abroad was spent trying to pack in the memories/activities and I sort of fell off of the updating wagon…BUT! Now that I’ve (kind of) settled back into homelife, I’m going to finish sharing my German journey — my Jourmaney, if you will. Aaaaaaand, GO!
Growing my hair out is going well; more updates coming soooooooooon.
Living in Munich has certainly shaken up the daily shuffle for me; it’s going to be hard to go back.
“In the safest, most boring country, the worst lone gunman shooting happens. The worst in the world, in history. But it will not make our country worse. The safe, boring democracy will supply him with a defense lawyer as is his right. He will not get more than 21 years in prison as is the maximum extent of the law. Our democracy does not allow for enough punishment to satisfy my need for revenge, as is its intention. We will not become worse, we will be better. We lived in a land where this is possible, even easy. And we will keep living in a land where this is possible, even easy. We are open, we are free and we are together. We are vulnerable by choice. And we will keep on like that, that’s how we want to live. We will not be worse because of the worst. We must be good because of the best.”