It’s All Germane To Me (Part Zwei)

Four months ago you would have found me crying hysterically in the Lufthansa terminal in New York clutching my stuffed Dalmatian, yelling at my mom on the phone to come pick me up. As I sat anxiously contemplating the next four months, my biggest apprehension was not the language barrier, but that I wouldn’t make any friends.

I have put off writing this blog for the past week. Mainly because every time I sit down to write I get distracted: by mindless television shows, snap chatting, and daydreams of Freiburg. Although I have only been home for one week, it feels as though my months in Germany were just a dream—and that is an unnerving realization.

As I type this from my local library on Long Island, I can proudly and firmly say choosing to study abroad was easily the scariest and best decision of my life. Before I left, everyone advised me that I was about to embark on the best semester of my life. At first I was skeptical: four months in a foreign country with no one I knew? It sounded terrifying. But as soon as I stepped off that plane, my gut told me they were right.

I drank wine under the Eiffel tower. I discussed the granny crisis in a cramped studio in Madrid. I slept in a tent with three best friends in the middle of a field in Munich. I argued about Catalonian secession in Barcelona. I danced until 6 A.M. in Prague. I walked along the remnants of the Berlin Wall and touched the Coliseum in Rome.

All of that fades away when I think/remember how much I loved in Freiburg. I loved brezels, schnitzel, and glühwein. I loved the backdrop of the Black Forest as I rode the tram each day. I loved learning about the European Union and its impact on the global world. And I loved getting to know 47 strangers and their unique perspectives about living abroad.

Last Friday you would have been seen (and heard) me whimpering and pouting my way through the Frankfurt airport. As I sat gloomily clutching my tiny t-9 word German Samsung phone, my biggest regret was not telling each of those 47 strangers how much they helped me grow, both intellectually and emotionally, this semester.  Looking out the window as Germany faded into France below me, I slowly started to process the past one hundred plus days that had just flown by.

And my initial fears were confirmed: I didn’t make any friends. I made family.