November 02, 2010

My Munich

Sorry but this post is going to be very long.  Please skip if you don't feel like it.
そしてごめんなさい、No Japanese.

A friend of mine is in Munich, and he posted his whereabouts on Facebook. So I wrote a brief comment about my last trip to the city.

By writing that single short sentence, it felt like I had lost a jewel of my memories.  The jewel that had given me warmth over the years, that had been pulling me like a magnet to go back there.

But it does not make sense.  Sharing some memories does not degrade them.  Maybe I feel that way because I am reading the book "Giver".

So, Munich.

At that time I was a junior editor of landscape and urban design topics for an architectural magazine, and I traveled to Europe many times.
Most trips were organized around meetings with local contact persons, who were academics, architects, or editors themselves, and they often showed me around the city and new projects on sites.
My contact in Munich was an editor-in-chief for an European landscape architecture magazine.  He spent almost 2 full days giving me updates and showing me around. 

We were looking at urban parks and open spaces, so places we toured were sites under development outside the city, etc., places you would never go if you were sightseeing.  I am still an urban designer at heart (in my dreams), and this is the kind of trip I crave for.  I love seeing places while people are still building them. 

I remember walking around an outskirt of the city, around a pre-construction site, along asparagus fields.  The surrounding was golden and green, and the sky was so wide open.  There were really nothing there, we looked rather stupid to come all the way, walking 25 minutes from the last bus stop.  Then we took a new train to see an office park in the evening, which was lit beautifully, very modern, and very quiet.  On to the Olympics park, the famous white pavilions were lit dreamily in the blue moment.

We also visited a new, very modern designed cemetery.  It's one of the places I had seen many times in Landscape Architecture books, so I was pretty excited to see it in person.  When we went into a small wooden church, he told me then that he had lost his girlfriend from cancer, a partner he had lived with for 20 years, just 2 years before.  He was in his late 40s, while I was still 25 just fresh out of grad school, and I didn't know how to comfort him.

On the next day, he showed me around the city.  Through the plaza, the church, the shopping center designed by HdeM.  Towards late in the evening, we passed through one of the parks in Munich.  Not the English Garden, but a smaller urban park.  It was a fresh, comfortable, early summer night.  Suddenly we heard some exotic music floating in the air.  A pavilion in the dark park was lit by red lights, surrounded by flower beds, and there, a group of people were dancing tango.  The scene was so surreal.  Dark park, red lights, music, and people dancing.  It's one of the images that I treasure.

Before we said good night, the last stop was an outdoor ice cream parlor/cafe on a paved street.  I had a cup of strawberry ice cream, but he just had some coffee and watched me eating mine.  He looked so happy and content, a little bit floaty from a few glasses of wine.

I am glad that I wrote about it today, or the memory may go astray forever.


I still have lots and lots of images in my head, and I just don't know how to get them out and not waste them.  Sometimes I wish I were a movie director, then I can use those images for memorable scenes.  I wonder how everyone deal with their images... it sometimes gets too much to handle or to contain.  What do you do for yours?


Caryn Lynn said...

I too at times worry about losing the memmories that are precious to me, wondering if they will slip away with time. I use my artwork as my process to share my feelings. My blog(which I have been ignoring lately) also is a wonderful outlet to share my thoughts, happenings and photos of life.However at times it seems like nothing can ultimately capture it all.

Meri said...

You are completely right. Writing can only capture a part of it, and artworks too. So perhaps that's why we have to go out there and experience more, because nothing can beat the images in our head.

I realize that my life now is too static. My job is too static.

Retta said...

What a lovely memory. I recently realized that some of my memories of my favorite family stories are starting to slip away a bit and this makes me sad. I think I will take a video/voice recorder and go visit my family and start recording some of the stories to later write down and keep. I think The Giver played a role in making me think about my fleeting memories too.

Shelly said...

What a beautiful story, Meri! You have a way with words and images. I also think about losing memories a lot. One year I decided to just write one sentence on a calendar every single day. At the end of the year, I went back and read all of them. I was curious if I would remember each memory I had recorded in just one sentence. And I did. It was a pretty neat and effective exercise.

Meri said...

Thank you, Shelly, Retta. I wish my vocabulary was richer and wish I can write better, though. :)

Retta, I agree. My mother has incredible childhood stories, and she always tells me bits and pieces. It would be such a shame to loose them. I would love to hear your family stories someday, too.

Shelly, that's an incredible idea. I sometimes even forget what I did yesterday. Perhaps this blog & 750 words will help me remember things better.