A Very French Morning!

Look what came to our doorstep this morning!

French-themed pastries from Le Petit Cheri! :D

Two weeks ago, we stumbled upon their FB page and read about their contest. Whoever gets to upload pictures that portray the French culture and lifestyle will have the chance to win French macarons and cupcakes. Since Carissa knows the owner of the store as well, we decided to give it a try. As it turned out, we – Gianna, Carissa, and I – were the only people who joined the contest. Ha-ha. But that doesn’t mean we uploaded crappy pictures!

Gianna Monteagudo: Parc Monceau, Paris, France (Sept. 26, 2011)

Carissa Limcaoco: Nice, France (Sept. 13, 2011)

Carissa Limcaoco: The French spending a sunny afternoon drinking coffee in a cafe.
Nancy, France October 2011

Fielle Ignacio: Arc du Carrousel – Paris, France. (October 22, 2011)

French pastries from a random pastry shop in Paris! :)

I shall try to drop by their store one time and see if they have decided to put our pictures up their walls. Ha-ha. Oh the joys of traveling!

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Walhalla

October 2011

We visited a Grecian architecture called Walhalla in the outskirts of Regensburg. It’s a good 30-minute bus ride from the city center and the buses only arrive every one hour. We also had to walk all the way up to the place for 15 minutes.

I’m not really sure if it was patterned after Greece’s Parthenon but it sure hell looks like a renovated version of it.

We weren’t able to go inside the place since it’s still under construction and we didn’t think it’s worth paying 2 euros just to see an unfinished inside. Besides, it’s just full of German busts. What’s more interesting in this place though is the majestic and enchanting view of Regensburg from the top.

Used my camera’s second lens to mega zoom. Forgive me for using these camera terms loosely. I’m no expert in this.

Sparkling like glitters under the sun

Sam, I, and Anna. It was warm that day and we were all wearing shorts.

Took me a lot of effort to climb those big steps

Spot me! :)

Oh, this is a cute one :)) We found a couple doing their pre-nup photoshoot in Walhalla.

So much cheese!

I found Walhalla very pretty and peaceful. It’s one of those places where you can sit on the grass and do some meditation.

November 2011

So when my mom decided to visit me on November, Walhalla was part of our itinerary.

It was already cold when she went there. Notice the foggy surrounding and the lack of tourists? We were the only crazy people who thought of climbing up the place on a cold, cold November day.

Instead of the average 15-minute walk, I think it took us around 30 minutes to get to the top.  I was already begging my mom to walk faster but she confessed that it’s been a while since she last did some exercise and her body is certainly not prepared for this. I think she’s getting old.

We packed lunch and ate there. My mom prepared salad and dumplings which were really, really good. We laughed when we saw a pregnant woman and her husband touring the place also. I teased her about it, “Daig ka pa ng buntis Ma, nauna pa sila nakaakyat dito.”  We stayed there for an hour, just observing the view and talking about life. Like me, she was also amazed with what she saw and felt thankful for having the opportunity to witness such. We finally decided to go down when the cold weather became unbearable for us. It certainly was a fun and memorable mother-daughter bonding experience.

Yeah, like a terrorist.


DULT! (2)

September 2011 (follow-up post)

Dult is like a mini Oktoberfest held in Regensburg. It’s a regular festival in the city wherein people gather to drink beer, have fun, and meet new friends. It’s like a perya in the Philippine context except that the Germans wear costumes (Dirndl for women and Lederhosen for men).

For those who prefer enjoying the sun while drinking cold beer, beer gardens are the place to be.

Those heart-shaped cookies (Lebkuchenherzen) are always present in any event. Each cookie has a unique cheesy line written in white frosted icing (Ich liebe dich = I love you, Ich vermisse dich = I miss you, Du bist suss = You are sweet, etc.)

Aside from sweets, pastries, and souvenirs, varieties of German bread were also sold in the Dult.

See that brown bread with white confectioner’s sugar? That’s Krapfen – the original Bavarian doughnut.

Inside one of the beer tents

Of course, what’s the use of being inside a beer tent if you won’t drink beer? ;)

German pretzels are the best and the biggest. Hard outside, soft inside, and sprinkled with rock salt. (They also have pretzels with butter inside which are my favorite) The sign says “cheese, pretzel, and fish”

Told you they’re big.

PROST! 

In response to our Philosophy professor’s parting message

Sir Roy’s parting message:

Sa kanyang nobelang DANDELION WINE, inilalarawan ni Ray Bradbury kung paanong namimitas ng bulaklak ng dandelion ang isang mag-anak, ginagawang alak, at iniimbak sa kanilang bodega. Sapagkat tumutubo lamang ang dandelion sa tag-araw, naiipon daw ng alak ng dandelion ang init at galak ng panahong iyon. Kapag kumagat na ang taglamig, bubuksan nila ang isang bote ng alak ng dandelion, at muling lalasapin ang tag-araw na nagbibigay init at ginhawa sa kanila.

Naipaskil ko na ang inyong mga marka para sa panghuling pabigkas na pagsusulit, at diyan nagwawakas ang mahabang tag-araw nitong JTA 2011-2012. Tulad ng isinalaysay ninyo sa akin, gusto niyo mang lasapin at sulitin ang panahong ito, patuloy ang pag-andar ng oras, at unti-unting nagiging alaala na lamang ang mahabang tag-araw na ito. Subalit, kung susundin natin ang payo ni Ray Bradbury, maaaring pakaingatan ang mga alaalang ito, nang, sa pagsapit ng taglamig sa ating buhay, muli nating mararamdaman ang init ng pananabik sa paglalakbay sa ibayong dagat, ang galak ng pakikipagkaibigan, at ang ginhawa ng muling pag-uwi.

Ako man, babalik-balikan ko ang mahabang tag-araw nating ito.

Maraming salamat sa inyong pasensiya. Maraming salamat sa pagiging guro sa akin. Magpakabuti kayo. Hanggang sa muli.

Sir Roy

————————————————————

Last semester, I made a post about the professors who truly moved us and inspired us in JTA sem 1. However, I failed to include the person who inspired me to “think beyond” and “rediscover” the meaning of being human since he left halfway of the 1st semester to study abroad (too). We met again this semester and I couldn’t be thankful enough that he was assigned to teach us Philosophy again.

Sir/”Manong” Roy Tolentino – I’m pretty sure everyone in the block can still remember the first meeting we had back in JTA sem 1. How could we forget that simple prayer you led which, I think, already summed up our whole JTA experience even before it started?

“..and that wherever we may be, may we always find our way back to this place.”

Thank you sir for being a “jouissance” in all those management subjects that we took and are currently taking. I will always remember Heidegger’s Being and Time, Marcel’s Reflection, Descartes’ Thinking Thing, Arendt’s Forgiving and Promising, Jonas’ Death, and Levinas’ Solitude of Being and Face of the Other and the way you patiently explained them to us in the midst of our frustrations and, for lack of a better term, “sabaw-ness”. Oo sir, sa Philo ko natutunan ang pagiging tunay na sabaw. I remember my first oral exam with you wherein asked me about death which I think was an awkward and creepy question since it was already 7pm that time and almost all the lights are out in the department. I remember philosophizing in my dorm common room at 3am in the morning, preparing for that final oral exam, speaking my thoughts out loud as if I’m trying to raise somebody from the grave. Also, those seemingly simple questions that you throw at us such as “What is a bag?” and “It is raining… what is it?” that got us thinking for nights and days and still remained partly unfathomable even up to now. I remember being so frustrated on my quizzes and exams because no matter how hard I try to dig in deeper, I can’t manage to get a grade higher than B.

And I remember being even more frustrated (and needless to say, heartbroken) knowing that I won’t be able to take Philosophy as a minor, let alone as a double major, because that would mean extending my stay for another year (and my parents certainly won’t allow that). I cried for not getting the only thing that wasn’t imposed on me by neither my friends nor my family. Despite all those frustrations and – in the words of my mom – impracticality of the subject, I still fell in love with Philosophy. And I think it’s one of the few things in my life that I would always look back on and ask that miserable question, “what if?”

Thank you Sir Roy for everything. I think I’ve already made it clear how big a part you played in my journey towards rediscovering myself and my capabilities. And yes, wherever we may be, may we always find our way back to this place.

“Ang nakaraan ay tapos na, ang kinabukasan ay wala pa, at ang kasalukuyan ay dahan-dahang dumudulas sa ating mga palad.” – Sir Roy’s first lecture

“Ngunit pagkatapos masabi ang lahat ng masabi, ang pinakaimportanteng sabihin ay yung hindi masasabi. At ang masasabi ko na lamang ay maraming salamat.” – Sir Roy’s last lecture

Up until now I still miss you. And I can’t imagine the day I won’t.

It’s getting harder and harder for me to update my blog mainly because I’m still suffering from a major JTA hangover. Yes. It’s hard for me to close that specific chapter of my life. It was the perfect getaway for me and I became the person I always wanted to be — happy and without a care in the world. Going back to the Philippines meant facing school and stress again. Up until now, whenever I wake up in the morning, I am always burdened with the realization that I am not in Germany anymore. I am not, in any way, brainwashed by the prosperity of the country or with the fact that it really is a greener pasture. I know and I am sure that I can be successful whichever part of the world I may be. It has something more to do with the people — friends and families — I left there. They taught me the real meaning of goodbye. Saying goodbye to your highschool classmates during graduation or to your ex is one thing; I’ve bumped into some of them a number of times in malls, in schools, and in some events. While saying goodbye to people  who gave you a window for turning into a new leaf and whom you know will be living on the other side of the world, thus, it is as close to impossibility as to seeing them again, is another thing. It’s more of the feeling that I consistently felt for 6 months which I know I can never feel here. I felt at peace. I felt free. Sitting for the first time at the side of the Danube River and seeing the beauty and tranquility of the place, it was then and there where, for the first time in a long time, I felt my heart beat for no one but myself. I rediscovered a side of me that never really got to surface until left alone by all the worries and stress. It was there that I realized I can do better, that I was being too hard on myself, and, that life is beautiful if only we will allow ourselves to see itAnd that there’s so much more on the other side, if only people will know how to break the walls of their comfort zones.

That’s why when people say, “you can always go back there someday” I know it would be altogether, a new experience. Being there as a student and as a tourist are two different things. I want to re-experience the past 6 months of my stay. I don’t think there would be a more stupid request than that. But I can’t help it.

Going back means putting boundaries again. Because that’s how reality is; unless you are already fending for yourself and making so much money, you are still limited with what’s available in front of you.

I know it’s a bad thing to escape from reality, to always live in your dream scenario, but face it — if you were in my situation, I’m sure you would have wanted to stay too and never go back.


6 weeks

You get a strange feeling when you’re about to leave a place, like you’ll not only miss the people you love but you’ll miss the person you are now at this time and this place, because you’ll never be this way again. 
– Azar Nafisi, Reading Lolita in Tehran

Got this from my blockmate, Dianne, who’s currently in France for JTA.

If only we were allowed to extend our stay.

I don’t wanna go back yet.

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.

OKTOBERFEST!

September 24, 2011

So here it is! THE Oktoberfest. I used to think that “Oktoberfest” was just a concert held yearly in the Philippines and  sponsored by this local alcohol company with rock bands playing noisy music. After seeing the legit, I realized we’re doing it the wrong way.

For a brief background, Oktoberfest is a celebration that showcases the Bavarian (southern part of Germany) culture. It’s celebrated every year, running from September to first week of October. People all over the world gather in this big event not just to drink beer – well actually that’s what most people do here: get drunk and pass out – but also, to be immersed in the Bavarian culture and tradition. Just in case someone’s still not aware, drinking beer is a tradition and a culture here. So don’t judge if you always see pictures of me drinking beer. HAHA. I swear it’s a different experience here. Strangers talk to you in a friendly manner and when they say “Prost!” you have to raise your glass and drink. They’re so nice you’ll think you’re all friends. =)) Well I got to admit, alcohol sometimes bonds people together.

2-hour train trip to Munich with some of the international (or Erasmus) students. L-R: Gael, Anna, Conrad, Sam, Giannis, Alejandro, and Nicolas.

Yes, it looks like Dult. Only bigger and crazier. :))

Also, they have these heart-shaped ginger breads known as “Lebkuchen”. Each bread has a different message and people usually just wear them around their necks to match their Dirndl and Lederhosen.

Someone bought me one. “Du bist suss” = “You are sweet” in English. Thanks! :)

Of course, Paulaner. The best beer in town. :)

One of the many beer “tents”

…and the people waiting to get in. They stopped letting people go inside the beer tents at 12pm. The crowd’s so thick and people are pushing their way in. FYI, I’m talking about Caucasians with big bones and towering heights here so yeah, I wouldn’t dare get in their way. We got there at 7am and waited in line for 3 hours since beer tents open at 10am. Still, we weren’t able to get in. :/

So we just sat outside and ordered our beers which are 10x MORE EXPENSIVE THAN DULT BEERS. Oh well. Experience.

L-R: Anna, Gael, Benj, Veikko, Sam

 10-euro drink in my bellaaaay.

After that, we went around the fair and saw lots of drunk people And by lots, I mean LO-T-S. They’re EVERYWHERE. Young and old, males and females alike, and they were literally lying on the cement. Some of them passed out and some were still barfing. It was just around lunch time then. Medics were all over the place, attending to those who seem like they can’t go home in one piece if left alone. We saw one guy with a dextrose and another one with a bloody, broken nose. It wasn’t a nice sight but that didn’t stop the people from enjoying the 200-year old tradition. That’s just how they roll.

Told you. Alcohol really has a way of bonding people together. :))

And yeah, before we left, Benj, Sam, and I rode this ride:

It doesn’t seem dangerous and the tracks aren’t that steep but this actually almost killed us. Why?

Because they don’t have “neck supports”. :| Seriously, that feeling that your head’s gonna fall off any second or your neck’s gonna snap and break?

Never again.

Dult

..to continue my super late posts.

September 10, 2011

Dult is a mini-Oktoberfest in Regensburg. I find it more interesting than Oktoberfest itself since it’s less crowded and the people here are a lot nicer.

It’s a counterpart of perya in the Philippines – only with more decent booths, safer rides, and bigger beer tents.

Game booths and rides

Loving the bread here. So yummy!

One of the beer tents…

…and inside it.

My usual beer – Radler. Nicked this glass after ;)

PROST :)

People dancing up on tables. Guys traditionally wear Lederhosen while girls wear Dirndl.

Everyone gathered just to have fun and drink beer. Nice. :)

Live band

Got a special shoutout from one of the vocalists of the band. “Greetings to our friends from the Philippines!” :) He raised his glass to me and went down the stage. Haha. Everyone’s kinda tipsy already and truth be told, I was flattered. But then looking at the pictures in a sober state, I just realized he kinda looks old.

Me and the bouncers. Blurry pictures, slurry speeches.

Forget about Auntie Anne’s. This pretzel’s legit.

The Dom at night. Still majestic as ever.

Ending the night with a big  (wasted) smile. :) Definitely one of the best experiences I’ve ever had.

And yes. I’m gonna go back here someday and do this all over again. Someday.