Going to the Hairdresser in Germany

Going to the Hairdresser in Germany

Pre-PS– *If you’re keen for more details, a little story or additional visuals, check out the Youtube video I’ve linked at the bottom of this post*

A big topic not alot of people adress in expat life is the day to day routines, this including lifestyle routines and today I am talking about hair. For me this has been a big point of stress and not only is it tricky to avoid the wrong cut while trying to communicate in a second language but if youre one for reular colourings, this can be verrryyy hazardous.

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I have had my fair share of german hairdresser horror stories ( both appearence and wallet related) so please let me give you a hand with some tips to avoid disaster.

First things first, if you have not found your dream hairdresser who can assist you in english, here is some basic vocabulary to help you manage the perfekt cut:

  • schneiden (cut), waschen (wash), föhnen (blow-dry)
  • lang (long) – kurz (short)
  • länger (longer) – kürzer (shorter)
  • vorn, vorne (at the front) – hinten (at the back, also, in the neck)
  • am Hals (in the neck)
  • an der Stirn (at the forehead)
  • an den Seiten (at the sides)
  • rechts (right) – links (left)
  • über die Ohren (over the ears), hinter die Ohren (behind the ears)
  • ins Gesicht (into the face)
  • gleich lang (the same length)
  • glatt (straight)
  • stufig (cut in layers)
  • fransig (fringy)
  • der Scheitel (the parting)
  • der Pony (the fringe)
  • der Schnitt (the cut)
  • die Frisur (the hairdo)

If you are looking for some colour assistance, refer this vocab:

  • Farben (to colour/dye)
  • heller (lighter) – dunkler (darker)
  • Strähnen (Highlights)
  • Blondieren (bleach dont confuse with blonde highlights!)

*note on blondieren, this is essentialy a full bleach wash. Worst idea ever if you dont want to look like a platinum blonde mess. Would not recommend, also can easily be mistaken. so heeaaaddd my warning fellow bottle blondies

Choosing a salon and what to expect

I like to think of myself as a bit of a salong expert as the things I to my hair are pretty tedious and extreme…now in the past four years I have popped around to many salons in Munich-high end to low end- and let me tell you, times are tricky. In the lower end casual salons most likely youll get a decent price but the customer service is not the best and of course they ask if you want to blow dry your own hair ( what?!) even in the more bougie salons this can happen oddly enough ( German things oder was?) compared to the states there is not so much a full service aspect to it. Dont expect to automatically get your cut/colour and then a blowout with styling included. Often times this costs extra to have your hair dryed and styled after. And when it comes to the hairdresser, small talk usually wont happen. Like most in the German service industry, its a get in and get out transaction. In all honesty, youre best bet is to get a recomendation.

Luckily for me I found a fabelhaft hairdresser here. Her name is Buba and she is a wizard with the ways of hair. She works at a salon here in Munich called Kazu . I have recommended so many people to her as; 1. she speaks fabulous english 2. super friendly and chatty 3. has never let me down.

If you are in Munich definitly book a slot with her and tell her Aspen sent you (;

If you’re in another part of Germany, then my dear I wish you the best! If ever you need some more specified vocab help or hair advce in this glorious country, write your girl a little note

xxA

( If you’re interested in how tipping for hair in Germany works, I mention it in this video below )

How to wear a Dirndl

How to wear a Dirndl

Many ladies come to Munich excited to try on one of the gorgeous local outfits; the Dirndl. However at first it can be rather intimidating as there are so many options and styles to choose from. So with the help of my friend Schatzi Dirndl, I have for you a little example guide.

The Vocabulary

First things first, what the heck are these dress pieces called?

The Dress: Dirndl

Corset or bodice: Mieder or Dirndl oberteil

Blouse: Bluse

Apron: Schürze

Bow: Schleife

The Traditional Dirndl

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Here we have a simple style in some very typical colours.

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 1.28.01 PM  Traditional Dirndls are often found in Red, Blue and Green ( particularly Tannenbaum grün) They are paired with either a checkered dress or schürze and a full shoulder covering bluse

The Modern or Couture Dirndl

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This Dirndl is a very unique option to show the modern flare seen nowadays at Oktoberfest. In Some areas and zelts it can be a very big fashion competiton and many woman strive to have the most unique dirndl.

In General, the modern dirndl is highlighted by the variations of colours and patterns. Some years I have seen them with wild patterns, mountains of ribbons, jewels and even pearl embeleshments.

Two other differences would be the mieder and Bluse

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 1.34.12 PMThe modern bodice style is still rather traditional but instead of ties, goes together with man hidden metal clasps. In terms of the blouse, this is often a longer 3/4 sleeve style, often with a bit of lace or decorative piece around the collar.

Tying the Schürze

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One of the most frequently asked questions for dirndls is which side to tie the bow.

When tying the schleife on your dirndl, the location in which you put it can send off a couple different messages.

Left: This means you are in a relationship or married

Right: Single ( and ready to mingle)

Middle: Child or virgin

Back: Kellnerin or widow

What do you think about Dirndls? have you gotten yours this year yet?

I hope this post helped you out a bit! let me know if you have any other dirndl related topics and I’d love to chat with you

Happy shopping

xxA

Dirndls curtesy of Schatzi Dirndl  and Trachtlerin

How to kill it in the Munich expat game

How to kill it in the Munich expat game

One topic I hear a lot is about Americans not being able to make it abroad. Namely in Munich. Germany in general is a very different cultural climate but Munich is the cream of the crop when it comes to culture shock on us Americans.

We all know how reserved Germans are and how this, in the start, is different for Americans. However, In Munich it is much starker. It is a very conservative city and the people are a bit more closed off then in some of the other major German cities, but honestly I feel these are just excuses. Sure there are cultural differences everywhere, you wanted to be abroad and now you are, so this brings me to my first point:

Get a thicker skin

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From my expat friends the thing I hear the most is the endless complaining about how cold Germans are. Well, tough deal babycakes. Maybe don’t be so sensitive. You are an expat for a reason, mainly being you wanted to live abroad. And with that comes cultural differences you must a just to in order to thrive ( if this is what you want). My first and biggest tip would have to be simply avoid sweating the small stuff. Don’t try to stay in your comfort zone. Embrace the difference, not be offended by it.

 

Find your social circle

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We as humans are very social creatures, not having a circle of like-minded individuals to share with can be rather devastating. A lot of my expat/ attempted expat friends have said this fact was the make or break to the whole game. Which I toootallly agree. My first year here I was rather miserable. I chose to hit the books and work constantly, so next to being the odd American out I was also  flooded with feelings of loneliness. Which did not help my adjustment one bit. It really made me doubt my ability to strive and thrive. I know people who had similar situations and eventually went home, blaming it on the city and saying they just weren’t allowed to make it. Honestly though, you need to try to work on finding your peeps first thing. It makes alllllll the difference on your progress. There are so many resources for meeting people. Meetups, expat groups, expat-german groups, sports groups, language exchanges..it’s endless. You just need to go out and search.

 

Find your purpose

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toughened up, Check

Friend circle, Check

Whats next? Finding something you enjoy. I’m not talking like go grab some hobby, jog or knit a scarf. Find something that gives you a reason to wake up in the morning. Most of us expats are here to study or work ( or if you are a spouse, same samesies) but that is not enough to be a happy camper. We have so much work here adjusting, learning the language, adapting cultural practices,  sometimes we face the fact we’ve lost ourselves a bit by trying to be an other person in this new life. Essentially you need something to combat all the work, and balance it out. For me, I found running. It’s great because it allows me to have a routine by myself but there are also many group in Munich where I can combine multiple things I enjoy; running and speaking German. So get on out, take a cooking course, get your sporty spice on, travel,  volunteer a bit. Just focus on finding something for you.

 

Find out how to do stuff

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Last but not least, let me remind you to get down to business. There is nothing more alienating than not know how to do basic life tasks in your new home; setting up a bank account, finding a language school, knowing what store to go to, filing taxes etc etc.. It drove me bananas. At first arrival I felt so limited and lost. You cant expect to branch out and hit your full potential, you’ve gotta go forth and find those resources,  be independent and learn how to get things done. Youre self-esteem will shoot up and everything else will be a breeze. I mean, honestly, yea it’s a bit intimidating at first, but three years in now everything is eassyyy peassyyyy.

I’d recommend googling some blogs, or checking out these sites for some help on day-to-day Munich questions:

Toytown

Expat in the City

Internations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best online resources for new expats in Munich

Best online resources for new expats in Munich

Moving abroad it a task, boy oh boy do I know. Once you have made the leap there are still so many questions that need answering.

  • Where to find a flat?
  • What language schools are best?
  • What areas of the city have the most night life?
  • How much do Germans ( if they do) tip?
  • Why are Germans so into recycling everything?
  • How and with whom to make friends?

etc.. etc..

Lucky for us we live in a time when all the answers we need are just a hop, skip and a google away. The question then however is, what are the best resources? Here are my top 5 picks for Munich’s online solutions.

InterNations

InterNations is an excellent place to connect with others abroad. It is a social media site created epecially for expats. They organize events and meetups, have resources for jobs, and have groups for nearly everything.

All you need to do is sign up for basic membership( free!) state your country of origin and choose the location for the community you would like to join.

Blogs

Easy peasy lemon squeezy. Congrats youve already found one. I find expat blogs perfect because there exists so many of them. They dont just answer basic questions but provide many different solutions to everyday problems people face living in a foriegn country, combined with great ( or not so great) opinions about it. I think its always refreshing to hear another persons point of view on the matter. Sometimes I dont agree but sometimes Im just like yas, spot on, you got it girl.

Toytown

Toytown is a good online resource for the local english speakers community. It has many different discussion boards and forums for information on everything from childcare to questions on where to find the best hairstylist. However, I must add FYI,  for some topics it can be a bit outdated and the posts quite old.

 Facebook groups

ahhhh yes good ole Facebook. Last but not least we have the king of social networks. For me this has been a great resources for finding groups and information. There are many groups such as: sale , housing,Stammtisch, aupair etc… one in particular you may find helpful is the Munich International Friends group.

Moving to Germany, 2 years later

Moving to Germany, 2 years later

As many people have asked, and continually do so, I have finally decided to sit down and answer a why German post. Coming from Hawaii to Munich always seems to baffle people in conversation, and when the initial shock is over questions about the expat experience come up.

Where are you originally from?

I was born in California, raised in Hawaii and then moved back to Cali for a couple years for college. I would say Im not from either 100% but a good solid west coast mix.

 

What made you decide to move away from the US?

Have you ever been to California or Hawaii? paradise. ok you got me. However, economically it is a disaster.  At some point I found myself beginning to get trapped under mounds of debt and realized that having no health insurence was not a way I wanted to live my life. I was in dire need of some stability. So I packed my bags and searched for a new home with more opportunities and benefits.

 

How did you decide on settling in Munich?

I initially did some test runs in my search for a new home. I had some time in Geneva, Paris and London, but all the while I had a nack for visiting Munich and eventually fell in love with it.

 

Do you have family or live alone?

Most of my family is gone now ( one of the major reasons I left America) However, I did start out in Munich as an aupair but now I am a full fledged adult and live alone. On occasion I will visit my German family so I cannot say I am entirely out here alone and roughing it.

 

Was it easy making friends or adjusting to the culture?

HAAAAAAAAAAAAA. Oh boy is this the question. I could write a thesis on this bad boy, and have probably verbally done so many times. The German culture – in contrast to American- is a very hard nut to crack. In America it is easy to walk out and talk to any old Joe on the street and build an ever lasting friendship eventually. but no, not here. Germans are very reserved and very exclusive. You meet people basically only through other people and if you cant speak German at all it can be very difficult. I mean I must admit I have heard Munich is extra difficult regarding this and if I was in another city it may be easier..but I chose the hard route. All in all I cannot fully complain though, in a way I really appreciate it a bit more in comparison to the over friendly American style. I find here when you actually can get into a social circle, the friends you make tend to be far more loyal and valuable.

How do you cope with homesickness?

In all honesty I do not have so much homesickness as Munich feels to me more like a home than any other place I have previously lived. Sometimes though, when Ive had a hard day or want to cry from studying the language I will go get a Starbucks. It may be over price, under quality coffee but it does taste the same in every country.

 

How long did it take to learn German?

This is a pretty reletive question. First things first, German is extremely hard. Most expats I have met tend to avoid learning it. They find when everyone here speaks english it doesnt make so much sense but also I takes a loooootttttt of work and investment.  I was lucky. I chose to start my Munich transition as an aupair so I had some good time in between working hours to hunker down and focus on studying. I did sacrfice a lot of my free time to catch up from a life of single language living and many a times cried because learning German grammar is a night mare. Now I am about a B2 ( just under native speaker) my comprehension is about perfect but since I work in english my speaking is not soooo ideal.

 

Do you feel at home yet?

For the most part I can answer this yes. In my first year it was really hard and I often felt very alone and reminded I did not belong. I did not know the city well and was very shocked by the culture. Going into my second year ( and once I learned German) I began to feel more at ease. Now that the second year is nearly over I can say I am very well settled. I have a perfect flat, job, my language skills are blooming, the social situation is..almost solved.. all in all I am just about as cozy and content as an expat could be. I’ve come to find that calling somewhere home is not about being happy because everything alway being perfect, its about feeling happy when nothing is going right. It is always a struggle in some way or other to make it here but at the end of the day I find it always works out well for me. Some way or another.