Thoughts Outlet: Memories

How is it possible to miss someone you barely know? Or even long for a place you don’t usually frequent? How is it that during times of uncertainty and ephemeralness, you make the best memories?

Maybe the downside of having too good to be true memories is that, after everything has been said and done, you’re left with the bittersweet aftertaste. You know it’s never going to happen again. You know you might not see again the people you shared those good memories with. And you know, as time goes on, you’ll eventually move on from what happened and what now appears to be a vivid and beautiful photograph of that night will eventually become a blur — a bokeh of events.

What if I do not want to move on? What if I want to hold on to that memory, to that feeling, to those people? Would that be too much to ask?

Life goes on, they say. Things happen and you just got to accept whatever comes your way. Laugh if you must, cry if you must – but you should always, always, always keep going.

That is what I am trying to do now (even if every limb of my body tells me not to…not yet). Moving forward, getting by, and trying to shove down those memories in a box where I can preserve them for as long as I can. It is the same cycle as with the other memories before…but that does not mean it hurts less now.

 

Because no matter what I do, the feelings are there.

I still miss it. I still miss you. 

Doing Business in Asia

During the start of our semester, I made it a point to myself not to take too many subjects since I really don’t want to end up stressed and frustrated because of school works (again) when in fact I should be enjoying the time of my life here.  Anyways, I was only required to take 2 management subjects and 3 free electives (which were already covered by our Deutschkurs last September), thus, allotting more time for leisure and travel. But then as I was scanning through the list of management subjects offered by the University of Regensburg, I saw an interesting subject which I think would be very applicable if ever I pursue my career in Asia. “Doing Business in Asia” by none other than Lüder Paysen, the former VP of BMW and in charge of the company’s international sales. Despite it being only 4 ECTS (they call their “units” ECTS and since we need 3 units per subject in Ateneo, we have to take subjects with ECTS multiples of 6 here), I decided to take it as an extra subject. I was curious and at the same time, thrilled.

“You cannot map out your career. Sometimes you think you have it all planned out only to realize you’re already pursuing another thing.” – Lüder Paysen

It proved to be one of the most nerve-wracking subjects I’ve ever had in my entire life. 4 meetings with 4 hours each. Sitting in a small “conference room” and listening to this great man talk about his ways and business practices which led to the booming sales of BMW in Asia, it’s hard to keep your mind focused and alert. He presents business and culture problems he encountered in Asia before and asks us one by one what steps or strategies should we implement assuming that we were in his position. He walks around the room as if looking for a target and once found, he stands across that person’s desk, looks at him or her in the eye, and asks the most dreaded question, “What would you do?” And because we often don’t have time to think through our answers, I just say the first thing that comes across my mind – which is almost always about the culture differences of Germany and the Asian country for the day, as I, being an Asian, have an advantage over that matter. He frankly points out the leak in our proposed solutions and in turn, gives a more sensible (though sometimes, unorthodox) one. That part where he reveals the true solution always leads us to that “Aha!” moment – why nobody among us didn’t think of that or maybe if someone did, he or she wouldn’t have thought it could work. For me, it’s also during that time that I realize why he held that position.

It was during our second meeting when he revealed that the two best people in his class would have the opportunity to intern or study or do whatever he or she wants in China next year, all expense paid. I didn’t make it. But I honestly hope I did.

Rarely do I find a professor who can give me goosebumps whenever he or she enters the classroom. This is one of those rare moments. But curiosity didn’t really kill the cat, you see. It made her learn. Yes, I wouldn’t deny that I had a great time learning. I saw it as a blessing and a privilege, being taught by the VP of my dream company. And sometimes, I’ve got to admit that I need to be challenged and to be nerve-wracked once in a while to realize things.

A glimpse of Universität Regensburg and an afternoon at Biergarten

University of Regensburg or Universität Regensburg is one of the biggest school in Bavaria which houses almost 20,000 students – 1,400 of them are international students. According to the QS World University Rankings, UR is classified as a “large” university – whereas Ateneo de Manila University is only a “medium” university. As for UP, it’s an XL.

The famous big ball. If you try to google UR, you’ll always get pictures of the big ball. I don’t know the reason why they put it but it sure looks odd and weird…in a good way.

View from afar

On the left side: copy shop, mini grocery store, bank, book shop, etc.

Our cafeteria

And yes, we have a  pond inside the school.

…and also a bridge.

Pathway leading to the other buildings

Lots of trees and greens!

This is a new building, I think? We took a tour inside the Philosophy and Theology building and it’s seriously old! I felt like I was inside Hogwarts at that time. The walls weren’t painted and they have brick floors. Plus the ceiling is really high. You can actually hear your footsteps echoing. What’s amazing is that all the buildings are connected by an underground passageway so that during winter or when it’s raining, you don’t have to go outside just to transfer to another building. Cool, isn’t it?

Walking back to the big ball

These poles are found outside the Wirtschaft (Management) building. Call it art but those look like boils to me.

After our university tour, our tutors brought us to a Biergarten. Here I tasted my first ever beer in Germany and daaaamn they weren’t kidding when they said they produce one of the best beers in the world. And for them, beer is like a source of nourishment (heck their beers are even cheaper than mineral “un-carbonated” water). Unlike in the Philippines where beers are so unhealthy because of too much preservatives, theirs are made up mostly of organic ingredients. That’s why I found a lot of families spending their time in the Biergarten. Even the kids drink beer here. It’s really in their culture.

International students gathered to drink beer together

I ordered half a liter of Radler – beer and lemonade. It’s a girl’s drink.

After that, we walked to Hauptbahnhof to do some grocery for dinner

An interesting street. Straβe means “street” in German.

Waiting for the bus home

And beer pasta for dinner. So much beer for that day. And have I told you…

…we have beer vendo in school?

2nd Day

My room. I have a big window which I can open either vertically or horizontally. I love how I can easily see the sky first thing in the morning. Makes me realize how lucky I am for being granted another day to spend with God.

My bed. On it — a blue travel journal, Bible, wallet, cellphone, eye mask (I got this from Emirates HAHA), and my thick, comfy Spongebob blanket which I haven’t spread out yet. It’s kinda messy right now.

This is what my dorm looks like from the outside. I’m in house 7 together with one of my JTA-mates, Anna. Sam is in house 3 while John and Benj are in house 5. We all live in the same dorm anyway, Wohnheim Konigswiesen.

Our street

Regensburg Hauptbahnhof/Regensburg Arcaden

This is the train station. Inside it is the Regensburg Arcaden which is equivalent to a mall. We go there to do our groceries but there’s also a grocery nearer to our dorm. I still haven’t visited it yet. See how the clock says it’s already 7pm? That’s how it is here. It doesn’t get dark ’til 10pm. 8pm here is just like 5pm in Manila. Wish we also have longer days back home.

Nice cars all over Germany. Bikes are pretty popular too! I want to get one since it’s been a while since I last rode a bike. There’s a flea market here that sells bike for as low as 30 euros and they say it would also be easy to re-sell it. But then I’m thinking if I really should since I can’t use them anymore during winter.

McDonald’s in Germany – I believe it’s a haven for travelers who are looking for a safe place to eat in a foreign land.

Exploring Ikea. Yes, my thighs are fat. I love them anyway.

I don’t know how to end this better than posting a maple leaf that I randomly found on the road. My first time to see one, you know. We don’t have this in the Philippines.

Crossing Borders

I left Manila at exactly 12:20am. For some reason, I didn’t cry that much. I think it hasn’t sunk in yet that time that I was leaving my family for a while. Emirates was kind enough to give me an assistant during the whole process since it’s my first time to board the plane alone. They guided me through the immigration, check-in, and made sure that I am seated comfortably in the waiting area. I boarded the plane at the exact time.

Inside the plane

I love how they made it look like stars are shining down from the ceiling. I didn’t sleep well, though. My seatmate kept her TV on and I was distracted by its brightness. So I just watched Pirates of the Caribbean – On Strangers Tides and X-Men First Class. Those were really good movies.

After 8 hours of flight, we stopped in Dubai.

Dubai at 4am

We have 4 hours of layover time. It’s just 4am in Dubai but I decided to call my dad immediately. He’s in Saudi Arabia right now. I was actually expecting that he’d come and see me. I was supposed to ride Qatar Airways which stops in Doha (nearer to Jeddha, KSA) but we  had last-minute change of plans and decided to take Emirates instead. I think Dubai is far from KSA? I’m not sure exactly. Anyway, I talked to him for an hour or so while I was finding my way to the next gate. Dubai Airport is soooo much bigger compared to NAIA. I walked for around 10 minutes just to get to gate 144. When I finally I arrived there, I took a nap because my head was aching so bad.

Time Difference

I left Dubai at around 8am, Abu Dhabi time.

Dubai airport is so big that the passengers had to ride a coach from the waiting area to the plane. It kinda reminded me of LRT since the coach has no seats, only poles and handles.

Leaving Dubai

The stewardesses serve food every 2 hours and I must say, I LOVE THEIR FOOD. Especially their last meal…spicy chicken with bell pepper, tomato, and potatoes, apple juice, bread and butter, assorted crackers with different sauces, mixed veggies, strawberry and cream cake, and Mars chocolate for dessert. YUM!

After 6 more hours, the plane finally landed in Munich. It was raining when I arrived and I was one of the last ones to get their baggage from the carousel. I kept an eye on the carousel and another eye on the clock since my shuttle service will leave at 2:30pm. It was already 2:15pm at that time. When I finally got my baggage, I pushed my cart and started to look for the Mietwagen. Munich Airport is smaller than Dubai but bigger than NAIA (or at least that’s what I think). I was so nervous since I don’t have any idea what will happen if the shuttle leaves without me. I don’t know how to get to Regensburg by train. Plus, it was raining that time and my baggage and carry-on’s combined weight is around 37kg…more than half of my weight. Luckily, I found the service counter of my shuttle with the help of some Germans.

Outside Munich Airport

The taxis are mostly Audi and Mercedes Benz. You don’t get those in the Philippines.

Rainy trip

After an hour and a half trip, I finally arrived in Regensburg. The driver was really kind to me. He even opened the windows for me so that I could take pictures. Unfortunately, all my shots are blurred. He dropped me off at the University Mensa and I gave him a small pack of dried mangoes which I got from one of the airplane meals. I feel so grateful towards those strangers that I’ve met before, during, and after my flight. I wouldn’t have made it here without them. I’m a girl who has no sense of direction and I would have easily gotten lost if I hadn’t asked the right people. They made my 18-hour flight bearable (all in all, my September 1 is 30 hours long). My longest day EVER.

Searching for a new flight

My scheduled arrival is ahead of one day from my Regensburg-mates.

I am supposed to leave the country on August 31 and arrive in Munich on the same day but then, dorm admission would be on September 1 so that means I have to spend a night in a hostel.

The plane trip will be okay since I just have to sit and wait for the plane to land. It is the trip from  Munich to Regensburg that would cause a serious pain in the butt.

It is my first time to travel on my own in a foreign country. Well, I’m fine with the whole idea before I knew the locals there do not usually speak in English. And I am bad with directions.

Bayern ticket costs 25 euros and it is good for five people. I do not want to shoulder my ticket alone.

I need a flight that would bring me to Munich on the morning of September 1, my Regensburg-mates will arrive at 5:45am.

I am scared I might get lost and never reach Regensburg.

P.S. I still do not have a visa.