My first week in Munich has turned out to be great. I arrived at the airport last Friday, and the signs (a lot without English translation) all around soon reminded me that I had entered a German speaking world! Cultural shock came out soon as well. It took me a while to figure out how the Germans are still obliged to buy transportation ticket when there is no fare gate at metro station entrance: there are plainclothes who randomly check the passengers’ tickets and would make fine as high as 60 Euros to fare dodgers (in German they are called “die Schwarzfahrer,” the black riders!).
The place I live is in the southern part of the city. It takes me 40 minutes every time to go to Carl Duisburg Institute to take the German course. I enjoy the time on U-Bahn, because it gives me the opportunity to observe the life rhythm of ordinary German people. After an interview, the institute instructor assigned me into an A2 class. The teacher insists speaking German only in class, which was challenging to me (since my German had been a little rusty) at the beginning, but I can feel that I am getting accustomed to it. Besides me, there are only five students in my class: a Japanese, a Brazilian, a Korean, a Pakistani and a South African: a very international team! The South African Pedzi is a PhD student (like me!), whose specialty is modern theater. He has talked to me a lot about the project that he is working on, about how genocide is memorized in modern theater, and I feel it very interesting and inspiring!
Munich is a beautiful city. This weekend I will have time to pay a visit to the famous historic scenes in the center of the city: die Frauenkirche (the Church of Notre Dame), die Residenz (the seat of residence and government to the Bavarian rulers from 1508 to 1918) and etc. As a historian, I am really looking forward to it! And, I will enjoy the famous Bavarian Schweinshaxe!