With a little less than a week left of my time in Berlin, I wanted to reflect on my indescribable experience here.
Waking up on Sunday morning felt so surreal. The fact that within a week, I would be waking up in the United States. This doesn't make any sense to me. How could it be that my time here has come to an end? It feels so soon. It feels as if I just unpacked yesterday. I know I can't turn back time nor slow it down, but can an exception be made?
Who would have thought that a person who is afraid to do anything alone would end up flying solo to a different country not knowing anything or anyone. Even my own family was shocked. "Are you sure you wanna do this?" Uhh yeah. I can handle it. I wanted to prove to everyone, and mostly myself that I was capable of tackling this journey. And I am SO glad I didn't back down. Never once since being here have I thought about getting a flight home. Fortunately, I didn't have any struggles that would make me feel like I couldn't continue (okay, public transportation maybe). You always hear about the people who get very homesick in the beginning and then question if they made the right choice. For me, I was never homesick. And that's okay because everyone studying abroad has a different story and different perspective on things.
To say that I won't miss Berlin is false. Ever since I was little, I've always dreamed about living in Germany. Not just visiting, but living. Like everyone with dreams, I always wanted to go to Europe and just live in different places for awhile. I can say that I fulfilled that dream. But there's a part of me that wants to come back and live here longer for 3 months. I know my time in Germany is not going to be finished after I board the plane. Now I'm going to get reminiscent and tell you all what I'll miss and won't miss.
The thing I'm going to miss the most is my lovely Gastmutter (host mom). Without this lady I don't know how I would have been sane this whole time. You don't meet that many nice people in the world, but let me tell you, this woman has such a kind soul that I wish everyone could have the chance to come in contact with her. She has taught me a lot, more than I could have ever known. She's so wise with her words that sometimes I call her a preacher. I am beyond grateful to have been paired up with such a caring and genuine person. She's so easy to talk to, and I know that she is always there for me whenever I need her. Sometimes I feel like we're the same person. The best times I have with her are when we're laughing. They say that laughter is the best medicine. I don't know who's funnier, but when we're both together, there is going to be some miscommunication that always ends up with tears in my eyes from laughing too hard.
My favorite activity is when she looks over my German homework and I'm like "Oh god. She's an actual German reading my Google Translated assignment. Yikes." To say the least she definitely helped me improve my German speaking. Sometimes I would try to be cute and speak in German but then she fires back a response auf Deutsch and I'm like yup, definitely don't know why I did that to myself. Oh yeah, how could I forget about her cat? We've come a long way since the beginning. The cat is always happiest whenever I feed it. It's kind of like I have to buy its love by feeding it or else it'll meow at me until I go deaf. I could say so much more about my host, but I feel as if words cannot express how amazing this experience with her was. The memories I have with her will always hold a special place in my heart.
Friends! How could I forget you guys? I remember my first friend I made here. Her name is Allyson. To this day, she has been my friend ever since. I hope we continue our friendship until the end. You know, there are just some memories you make with people that make you feel really good on the inside. Allyson and I survived German class together. We also survived ordering and talking auf Deutsch (well, maybe not successfully for Allyson).
Another survivor of German with Allyson and I is Grace. Amazing Grace, how sweet the friendship. She is literally my twin, it's bizarre. Definitely another friend I want to keep until the end. You know those people who you just click with instantly and send Jersey Shore memes to? That's what the friendship is like with Grace.
Another friend of mine who holds a special place is Nanci. Unfortunately, Nanci's program ended a little bit earlier, so every moment I spent with her I really cherished it. I'll never forget when Nanci and I booked an impulse trip to Prague 3 days before we were set to go. With no itinerary, we explored Prague just off of what the hostel city map told us to do. I was lucky enough to have her as my travel buddy, as we went on most of our trips together. She's someone who has definitely seen me at my worst (bed head is the worst).
Lastly, my last close friend I made here is Muyang. Something that is so cool is that she actually goes to school in the same town as me! The only difference is that she's way smarter than me (she goes to Cornell). This friendship won't be long distance like the others, unless she decides to transfer schools. Muyang is so awesome. She always has something interesting to say, and she has such a great heart. Thank you Berlin for giving me such awesome friendships I will never, ever forget.
I'm not too sure if I'll miss the food when I leave. I mean, it's going to be pretty hard to get the Berlin currywurst, but I think I'll survive. I'm so proud of myself for stepping out of my comfort zone trying all sorts of new foods. I'm such a picky eater that if I had to try all these types of food at home, I would probably say no thanks. But being here, I feel like I had to at least experience the different types of meals here. I mean, how could I go back home and tell people that I've never eaten a schnitzel before or had sauerkraut? They would wonder if I was really in Germany. I'll have to admit, I kind of miss American food. What I do miss is the simplicity of going to the supermarket and being able to understand what I'm buying without hoping I'm getting butter and not goat cheese. It's a fun guessing game when I go shopping here.
Being in the city is another thing I'm going to miss. I'll have to admit, I've seen some strange things here but every time I see it, I always think, "Well, that's Berlin for you." Walking around the city is so freeing. There's so many things to see, smell, hear, and bikes you have to jump out of the way for. What I really liked about Berlin was how it wasn't a tourist city. Never once have I felt annoyed because the city was crowded with tourists asking where the Brandenburg Gate is. Another thing is you don't realize how close you are to everything unless you look for directions on your phone and it says you just ride the underground for one stop and then you're there. Speaking of riding, I am not going to miss public transportation. I mean, I'll miss my cute long rides to and from school, but I definitely won't miss when it failed me. Never forget the time I walked home for 2 hours because of that. That's definitely a story I'm telling my grandchildren.
With my tissues in hand, I am ready (although I don't want to admit it) to head back to my home. I believe I have fulfilled all I wanted to and more here. I couldn't be more grateful to have spent the best times of my life here. To many more adventures. I'll see you soon, Berlin. With a full heart, sage ich danke und tschüss.