Less is More

The first day, the house was really empty. A wardrobe and a shelf that I had bought from the previous tenant. That's it. But I loved how uncomplicated and simple it felt. A few walls, a few windows, and the bright sunshine filling the room with light. At that time, I was reading "Everything That Remains" by Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus. It is a wonderful book about minimalism and my house at that point in time was really minimalistic. I decided to do an experiment. Instead of going to IKEA and buying everything that I thought I needed, I would buy it on demand and only after being sure that I needed it.

I do recommend this book :)

The first time I ordered at IKEA, I bought a bed. That seemed quite necessary. But I did not own a table nor chairs until two weeks later, which made me really be aware of the value of having dinner sitting instead of standing. I have done my best at only buying things that I need or that I really enjoy. I never actually went to IKEA since I knew that the moment I entered the store, I would be bombarded with things that I apparently "need" at all cost. I only went once to a physical store to buy a vacuum cleaner and I still regret it. The salesman did not let loose until I did buy the more expensive model that I did not really want.

Minimalism explained

I do not agree with everything in the above book, but most of it makes a lot of sense. As they say, "the problem with homes, however, is that once we establish a long-term dwelling, it's easy to accumulate a bunch of junk we don't need". The problem with that is that "the more you have, the more you stand to lose". Thus it is better to only have the things that actually add value to our lifes. And most importantly, "Love people, use things. The opposite doesn't work."

Am Campeon

The office of my new job in Munich is literally in the middle of a park. The nearest train stop is at the edge of the park, which means that I must walk about seven minutes through the park to reach the station. At first I thought this was a disadvantage, but then I realized that otherwise I would never take such a walk on a daily basis. A lake surrounds the office buildings and the trains float past the wide park greenery as if it were toy trains on a model railway. Ducks and gooses live in and around the lake. One can literally see the little ducks grow as weeks pass by. That park is the best refresher one can have after a full day of productive work.

The lake surrounds all of the twelve buildings that form the campus

The sun sets over the train station at the border of the campus

The many paths that cross the park are great for a short walk after lunch on sunny days

A duck swims in the lake as the sun sets behind the clouds

Housing

Two months sounded like a lot of time to find an apartment. Well, not in Munich, or at least not to a reasonable price. At one point, I even started meeting the same candidates at the different houses I visited, and we wished each other luck. It is no one's fault that the demand exceeds the offer by far. The good news is that in most cases the offer is on average better than in Madrid. The bad news is that it is very hard to get. Fortunately, the search ended well and just in time before the two months of temporary housing are over. It has been a nice place to stay for the start of my new bavarian adventure :) Before I move out, here a few pictures of my nice but unreasonably expensive flat in trendy Haidhausen:

When I arrived, I was surprised that the kitchen had wooden floor! Now it seems normal :)

The living room is the largest space in the house

All of the rooms face south, where a square with trees allows for a green view

But it was not always green: a comparison when I arrived end of March (bottom) vs. now (top)  

Footsteps

Snow. A lot of it. All around us, everything was white. We had underestimated the hike to Jägerkamp, a summit at 1746 meters near lake Spitzingsee in the Bavarian Prealps. While spring had arrived to Munich at the beginning of April, it had not yet melted the thick layer of snow (~2 to 3 meters) that covered the mountains. The trail was by far not visible, but we followed the frozen footsteps that others had left. The views were breathtaking but we were running out of daylight. In a painfull rush, we managed to reach a road clear of snow in the last minutes of dusk. The relief as we escaped the dangerous snow was enormous. We learned the lesson.

The greenery at the bottom of the picture are not bushes but tree crowns buried in snow

A few hundred meters below the summit, everything looked like spring

Near the summit, one could get a "hiking stamp" but the ink was long dry

The view from the top of Jägerkamp

Change is good

This is it, I guess. Three years after coming back to Spain, I have again a one-way ticket to Germany. I have hesitated to take this decission, but I believe that change is good. The hardest part is to leave behind the people who have shaped the past three years. I regret not to have found the time to get to know many of them better. I leave with the feeling that I am missing out on extraordinary people from whom I still had many things to learn. A few weeks ago, I organized a farewell event at work. I was amazed at all the love and good wishes from everyone. I am afraid not to have let them know how grateful I am for all their support and affection.

Farewell cake on my last day at IMDEA Networks

This event woke me up from this comforting routine in which we often fall and that sets work, entertainment, and materialism as priorities. However, all of this shrinks to an insignificant stub of nothing when compared to the power of getting to know and learning from the unique people that surround us. My plane has not yet taken off and I already miss them.