Four Triumphs

I seem to be entering a new phase of my European experience. The initial novelty is wearing off, the realities and the challenges confront me more frequently and at times there are overwhelming moments of frustration. At the same time there are also so many things to experience and enjoy. In other words, life goes on, wherever you are. So here are four little happy endings to some of the frustrations I have experienced recently.

A week after I slid down an entire Alpine ski trail on my butt, hips and face we revisited the exact same trail. My new technique served me well and even though it wasn't picture perfect, I made it down the hill without feeling scared or out of control. At the end of the day, I tried it one more time with the girlfriend of a friend of M.'s. It was icier and full of moguls but we took our time and still I was able to navigate it. What a difference!

Ludwig Beck
The shopping situation has taken a turn for the better. I found my way to Ludwig Beck on Marienplatz (thanks for the tip, Megan!). It is a five story women's department store with every style, designer and price range you could think of. I found a nice suit for work a couple of weeks ago and actually see a lot of other clothes for work and weekend that I would actually wear. Shopping is fun again!

Mexican Food and other Americana
M. dropped me off in the city yesterday because I was feeling the urge to do some shopping for clothes, a costume for a Fastnacht party and I wanted to cook something special for dinner on Sunday. Cooking here has been amazing, so long as I wanted to cook new and delicious things as opposed to the old faithfuls. Even when you are cooking chicken soup here, it is different than it would be in the US.

So, M. told me about Kaufhof, where they have an international grocery store on the lowest level. Here, he promised, I could find any American food that my heart desired. My heart desired a Mexican dinner. It seems there is a contradiction in my last two sentences, but Mexican food has become such an integrated part of the cuisine in America that it is a staple of many people's diets.

I spent about an hour walking around the store and found Heinz ketchup, Kraft mac and cheese, Canadian maple syrup and... a wall of Mexican food ingredients. Some may have heard my story of searching for black beans in Frankfurt a year ago. I took it for granted that black beans would be available everywhere that when I planned my menu, I didn't give it a second thought. Long story short, after hours of trudging from store to store, I came home with both one can of standard black beans and one five pound bag of dried black beans. M. has never let me live that one down.

Anyway, tonight we will have fajitas!

And I get bonus points for knowing to ask the lady at the fresh herb stand at the Viktualienmarkt for Coriander, when I wanted a fresh bouquet of cilantro.

Last but not least, I found Claus. The time had come for a haircut and some color and believe me, nothing struck more fear into me, especially after looking around at the damen haare in Munich, than the thought of letting a German hairdresser touch my hair. I kept visualizing ending up with an asymmetrical, shaggy mullet, with too short bangs in a fine jet black and mahogany red.

M.'s friend recommended that we go see Claus, so we set up an appointment. We were forewarned not to be afraid of his appearance. He scheduled me for 6:30 PM last night because we had called on rather short notice, were referred by a friend and because I'm only in Munich two short days a week.

We arrived and I was glad we had been forewarned to not be afraid of how he looked. His whole head was shaved except one little shock of long black hair on the top of his head. He had a big ring through his nose like a bull, combat pants and a black t-shirt on.

He brought us into his beautiful studio and after a consultation, the hair processing started. M. decided to stay, coaxed on by Claus's recommendation to pop into the bar next door and get a bottle of Prosecco to share. So for three hours we colored, cut, gossiped, shared champagne, chocolate and Swedish cookies. It was a haare party and it was fun!

Best of all, at the end of the party I had a cute new haricut, subtle highlights and color and a new hairdresser I liked.
Posted from Munich


James said...

Congrats on finding your American food. I know how good that feels. :) Also, congrats on finding Claus...

Expat Traveler said...

I'm sure the hair cut must have been great. I never found anyone in Switzerland mind you the cost is an arm and a leg too!

Berlinbound said...

Nothing makes life feel right - like a good haircut!

megan said...

...just make sure you're clear on the communication with Claus if he ever gets to color your hair. You've seen all the purple heads around town by now... there is a reason. :-)

kj said...

man i was hoping youd have a hair cut like his... thaaaat would have been hot lol...

i'm still happy about the skiing progress

quick question: why is it spelled fasnacht here? different from how you spelled...


J said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J said...

LOL! Claus sounds great!

After reading your blog and James', I now realise that I need to visit a real city (as opposed to my village of 100,000 inhabitants) that has a Kaufhof with a supermarket (the Kaufhof here doesn't have one).

verniciousknids said...

LOL finding a good hairdresser is the hardest thing...it took me 6 months to find a good one in Tokyo!