Munich in English - selected by independent Locals for Cosmopolitans, Newcomers and Residents - since 1989

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December 2000

Team Spirit

Three cheers for one of MF’s most valuable players

Most months, I profile a local English-speaking expat for the first page of our News and Views section. Over the last two years, I have had the pleasure of meeting musicians and politicians, artists and shopkeepers and even a guy who sells paper lanterns. During those same 24 months, I have had the great fortune of becoming well acquainted with a journalist whose story, for obvious conflict-of-interest reasons, I wasn’t able to share with you. Now I can. Our Managing Editor, Lisa McAlister — a worthy profile victim if ever there was one — will be leaving us this month. Before she runs off to romp in the Rockies and write articles for publications that don’t require the occasional umlaut, we decided it was time to honor her, “roast” her and say thanks for more than four years of total dedication to this magazine.
Like many Munich transplants, Lisa followed her heart here. The Arizona native traded scorching summer days — and “damn good Mexican food” — for the Isar city’s long winters and the love of the Bayer she would one day marry. Arriving in 1996 — her in-transit-punctured water bed and James Taylor CDs followed several weeks later — Lisa immediately set herself the task of learning how to communicate with the townies. Within months, our protagonist, without shame or shyness, dished out insults to the best of the city’s rudest salespeople — albeit with complete disregard for tense, case or gender. Though the dative case still plagues her — “Kann ich Sie helfen?” — Lisa’s circle of Munich buddies marvel at the linguistic strides she made in such a short time.
With deep affection and respect for Bavarian culture — as well as with a mouthful of Boarisch — she has taken up the practice of joining hardcore regulars at the Weisses Bräuhaus on Sunday mornings for Weisswurst breakfast. Right-handed and dying to cut and switch, Lisa always holds her fork in lefty/European position — not because she wants to fit in, but because she does.
With a degree in English, a yen for a career in journalism and remarkable tenacity, Lisa turned her brief stint with odd jobs into freelance editing work and an internship at Munich Found — when the magazine was under the leadership of ten-year veteran publisher Kate Walsh. As openings at this, the only English-language Munich-specific monthly, were, and still are, hard to come by, Lisa resigned herself to crossing “t”s, dotting “i”s and confirming telephone numbers for DM 100 per issue. Her ensuing, and more lucrative, Associate Editorship led to her appointment as Managing Editor in 1998, shortly after the magazine began sporting a hip new look — and the names of its new publishers, Neil and Angela Wilson. This is where I come in.
I was hired at MF at a time of transition — the owners were developing their strategies, the “old wave” had moved on. Those who remained struggled to accept change and a redefinition of the norm. On my first day in the sunlit offices on Lilienstrasse, I parked my pen and pad at an empty desk space next to Lisa. As most “newbies” are, I was reluctant to interrupt coworkers with stupid questions — “How do I save a file?,” “Where do you keep the sugar?,” “What does this thingie do?” and the like. I believe it was shortly after I bumblingly revealed myself to be fairly computer illiterate that Lisa flashed me a warm smile and said “You aren’t bothering me! Ask me whatever you need to know.” Three laughs later I knew I had found a colleague of the “good egg” variety and my partner in humor crime.
So, here comes the gratitude part. We thank you, Lisa. Thanks for all the organizing and arranging, editing and nailbiting entailed in creating the issues, schmoozing potential writers, rejecting articles on extraterrestrials living in Munich and coming up with interesting ideas during your one-woman “brainstorming” sessions. Vielen Dank for your words on food, wine, travel and your long-awaited piece on volunteering in Munich. Thank you for taking much of the stress involved in cranking out each “mag” upon yourself so the rest of us could sleep! Herzlichen Dank for allowing me to scratch bruise-inducing notes on your bananas and write bawdy text into finished articles, only to watch your shocked facial expression as you proofread.
Though, on account of the bicultural lifestyle she plans to lead, Lisa will no longer act as editor at Munich Found, readers can expect to see her bylines in future issues. I would say that we will all miss her, but, lucky for us, we don’t have to. At least six months out of the year, she will be eating her dinner with a fork in the left hand and a knife in the right. <<<

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