Home > Germany, Personal > Irish Oz, Dr. J, and Die Bank (x2)

Irish Oz, Dr. J, and Die Bank (x2)

It’s important to remind myself how lucky I am, living and working here in Germany. The temptation to fall into thinking of my current lifestyle as routine and dull is always there, especially when I’m dealing with the tedious chores attendant upon any big move. Opening a bank account is boring wherever you are, the only exciting aspect of doing so on Wednesday was how I was signing documents I could not read and had to simply trust that they said what the banker helping me said they did. The driving snow and cold, windy air isn’t very conducive to blessings-counting either, but opportunities to appreciate this strange foreign environment abound if I look for them.

Such was the case Tuesday evening. I met Ross after work and went into the city, meeting a former ESO employee named Chun near the Ludwig Maximilian University. We went briefly into one of the buildings, a gorgeous structure that was clearly what American universities try to emulate in baroque architecture and large neo-classical statues of lounging philosophers. A block down, we went to a cheap Italian restaurant. Well, mostly cheap. The food was very reasonably priced, but we were all shocked at the expensive non-alcoholic beverages. The waiter was the first I’d seen who didn’t speak English, but I did get some good tips on basic German from Chun, in between discussing the merits of San Francisco (where he’s from) and Seattle.

After dinner, we made our way to a nearby Irish pub, where a large Australia Day celebration was in progress. As it was also Karaoke Night as well, I was treated to badly sung renditions of “Land Down Under” and “Beds on Fire,” accompanied by shouts of “Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie.” The Germans in the bar sang too, although they tended to pick rather depressing songs, and not a hint of Bon Jovi or Journey did I hear. Colleen, another ESO employee, met us at the bar not long after we got there, and did an excellent job on “Son of a Preacher Man” and then a duet with Chun on “Love Shack” that made me laugh out loud.

Wednesday was a fascinating look at a different part of ESO. I went early to work and met Claudia, Colleen, and two of the higher-ups, Herbert and Henri, and together we drove to Tegernsee, a small town just across the Austrian border on the shore of a pretty lake, about an hour away. We went there to work in a studio to record the latest ESOcast (the video podcasts produced by ESO). I was along because I had helped edit the latest script, about cleaning the giant mirrors at the observatory in Chile, but I was also interested in the process. Essentially, an ESO astronomer (Dr. J.) performed his part of the script in front of the green screen. Sometimes it took a few takes to get it right; especially as he would frequently adjust the script to better fit the spoken word. We filmed both the ESOcast and a Hubblecast (about science done by Hubble, in this case looking at Saturn’s aurorae). Claudia, Colleen and I got dropped off back in Garching so they could get something to eat and go to the bank, which is when I opened my account. If all goes well, I won’t have to worry too much about the banking stuff anymore, which is definitely a weight off my mind. Eventually we made our way back to work…for about two hours.

The next day I got into my current big project, putting subtitles on the complete ESOcasts. Claudia and I are currently kept quite busy by this essential, if tedious assignment. Still, we find ways to have fun, whether it’s discussing practical jokes or finding out what celebrities we look like (Ross apparently matched exclusively with women, including Eva Longoria, much laughter ensued). In the evening, it was once again time for Toytown, but first, Ross, Simon, Colleen, Claudia and I went to an Indian restaurant near Goetheplatz (named for the Faust author and affectionately dubbed by Ross “Go the platz”) right by the Paulaner brewery and Colleen’s apartment. The food was good although the Bollywood dancing/award show on the screen on the wall was a little disconcerting. Afterward, Ross, Simon and I went to that week’s Toytown bar: Die Bank. Apparently it actually had been a bank not too many years before, but now it was definitely a cocktail lounge, albeit with the German twist that means people can drink beer there and still be hip. On our way in, we saw Roisin, although only briefly as she was leaving with some guy who barely had time to say hi before they both hurried out. We met up with some of the weekend clubbing crew, Kristyn, Fraser, Jamie (the “core group” as Kristyn put it) and others including a new addition, a nice Dutch girl named Barbara. Apparently Kristyn’s task, according to Jamie, is to find girls to bring so they can be tested for inclusion in the group (he was joking…I think). Still it was amusing watching him interrogate her about her interests, her taste in men, and difficulty with his thick Scottish accent while sipping my Tegernsee beer. We called it a night around 11 and caught the train to Garching (Simon and I almost fell asleep we were so tired).

Today is Simon’s last day so this morning, he and Roberto, and I wandered Garching looking for the right beer to bring before Simon decided on a case of Augustiner. It will be sad not having him around anymore, and not just for his German translating help. Still, I wish him well as Roberto and I face our meeting with the landlord this evening to go over facilities and their use. This evening I will head back into Munich with Ross and the Toytown group for another night out on the town. I’ve made ambitious plans to see more of Munich this weekend but I’m not sure how I’ll feel when the sun rises tomorrow. It’s been a pretty full week and I suspect staying up all night won’t make me feel more energetic, but as Morgan said, it feels like it’ll be a good night.

Categories: Germany, Personal

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