How did you end up in Munich?
My heritage is Czech so I grew up learning about my Czech heritage. My grandmother and grandfather moved to America and my mother was the first generation born in America so I learned about my heritage all my life.
Did you know how to speak Czech?
No. My mother grew up learning some Czech and speaking Czech at home. But for me it was mostly kid songs and how to say good evening, good night, just little phrases. But there was something that always interested me. I just had it in my mind all the time. So when I graduated from the college I decided to move to Prague. So I sold my stuff and packed everything I could in two bags and I moved to Prague. I thought I’ll move there and see what happens.
So you moved there without a plan?
Yeah. Well I signed up for a one-month TEFL course because I thought that might be helpful. I had that as a plan, so I could get a certificate. it gave me something to do: go to class and have a structure. Then I got a job in a computer helpdesk call center outsourced from UK. Right before starting, I came to Munich for a week, I went to a pub and met Stefan. Then I went back to Prague, started working, we dated long distance and eventually we decided that I should move to Munich.
I moved to Prague in 2008 and then I went back to US for a little bit and I am in Munich since 2010.
How was your experience when you moved to Munich?
Challenging. I guess I was expecting a culture shock when I moved to Prague because it was so far away from the US. And then when I moved from Prague to Munich I was like I had visited Munich a couple of times, I have been there and it is only 5 hours bus drive. I wasn’t expecting to go through all these stages of culture shock again.
What was most challenging?
I don’t know what was most challenging but I know I definitely wanted friends… That feeling of loneliness. I had Stefan and that was nice but I wanted friends, buddies, girls to hang out with. That was hard. Also the German language.. Wanting to be able to read signs, look at menu… But making friends was the biggest thing.*
What do you like about Munich?
I really appreciate the public transportation and the walkability of the city. I like to walk and be outside. I have thing for cobblestone streets and Fachwerk Häuser and when they are together I am so happy. Aschaffenburg was such a place, it was great!
I feel like Munich comes alive in summer with trees blooming and even though I have allergies I do appreciate it. I often contrast it with Prague because it is the other city I have lived in. You have the river, bridges architecture that is amazing. Of course I know that the seasons are changing in Prague but because I was looking so much at the bridges, river and architecture, these stay the same also in the summer. But Munich- it also has a nice architecture- has something special in summer: the trees, so many parks, English Garden… I like the summer in Munich so much!
What I love Germany in general or Europe in general is the work – life balance. I feel if I say I am going on vacation and I am not doing anything on vacation people would say “Yeah,totally!”. But in US even if the person goes in vacation they check emails. There is not so much vacation and if you are offered 10 days vacation there is this feeling that the person taking less vacation feels like more committed than you. Also here if you are sick, you call in sick. So I really love the work-life balance in Munich.
Thank you Dana for meeting me and answering my questions. I am glad that you live in Munich so I got to meet you and we all get to watch the videos you make about Munich and Germany!