You Say Goodbye, I Say Hallo

Evan Weyrauch
February 26, 2014

There are two things that I guarantee happen in almost every single conversation. Immediately there is the greeting like a hello, how are you, or the casual “what’s up.” Then of course the meat of the conversation follows (you could say that the greeting was one of the buns), which can vary in length and quality. Then, at the close, the final bun in this delicious conversational sandwich-metaphor is put on, the goodbye. These two components, the hello and the goodbye, have forever kept our conversations together like book-ends on a book shelf. Recently, I feel as though I’ve been saying my fair share of hellos and, consequently, just as many goodbyes. I’ve been done with classes since the 28th of January and since then, I’ve been mulling around my hometown (Rockford, Illinois) visiting old friends, going to the gym, going back to my old high school for errands, and going to sports events that my family is involved in (like my little brothers sectional swim meet). At all these different events and locations I run into friends and old acquaintances I have not seen in a long time. Teachers and counselors that helped me throughout highschool, coaches and teammates of swim teams I’ve swam on, and friends (both those that I am still very close with and those that are friendly, but not the closest). The conversation always starts with a well anticipated hello and moves on into countless different directions. The weird thing is, it always eventually leads to a discussion about my study abroad trip to Berlin. And when I say always… It means I can guarantee it takes place in every conversation. This is so true that (in more recent conversations) instead of being prodded about my college studies, I am the one that jumps to the fact that I am spending a semester abroad in Germany, because I know that, eventually, it will come up on its own (why spend all this time on meaningless small talk? Let’s get to the good stuff!).

For me, all these conversations reflect each other, or in other words, are very similar. I find myself repeating the same facts and I recognize that I tell people information that others have asked about or have deemed important in previous conversations. It reminds me almost exactly of my senior year in high school when people would continuously heckle (nice word right?) me about my major and college choice. But, even though these conversations are somewhat the same to me, I realize the different effects they have on others (more so on those who are closer to me). These people, my friends, family, acquaintances, counselors, teachers, and colleagues are saying goodbye to me for, what seems like to them, the last time they will see or hear from me for approximately 4.5 months. Most of them, are seeing me for the first time and rejoice with a happy hello and a smile that spreads from ear to ear, only to find out they will not see me for a long time, including the summer – which is when they normally would get to spend time with me.

All these conversations offer different advice and send-offs with different excitement. They say things like “Travel as much as you can!”  “Send me back a souvenir!” or the occasional “Don’t forget to work out! I hear that beer goes straight to your gut.” But one thing they almost always say is, “I’m going to miss you” which is usually followed by a hug and a sad goodbye. I feel sad, sometimes, but I can’t help thinking of one of the Beatles’ hit songs Hello, Goodbye as I walk away. In this song, written by Paul McCartney, the Beatles sing repetitiously, “You say goodbye and I say hello. I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say hello.” I’ll be gone for a long time, longer then I have ever been gone before, and I know that I will miss all those I am saying goodbye to dearly, but as they say goodbye I can’t help but feel the excitement of a new beginning and the study abroad experience, especially in Germany. I don’t know why you say goodbye, I say Hallo.

(Pictured left to right) My cousin, me, my mom, my aunt, and my uncle gather to celebrate my aunt’s birthday at a local restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio before I say goodbye to them and leave for Germany


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Evan Weyrauch

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Evan, I am a student at Carthage College in Kenosha, WI, and am currently a foreign exchange student studying in Berlin, Germany. I enjoy writing, reading, and photography. I meaningful experiences and I try my best to show that meaning through my work.</span></p>

2014 Spring
Home University:
Carthage College
German Language
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