Thursday, October 1, 2009

And then it hit me

There is that feeling that one gets tapping the table recklessly with your fingertips, jumping out of your skin with too much caffeine, regretting that you had that extra cup of coffee. I only had one cup of coffee this morning, but that caffeine feeling - an unnerving feeling for the unknown evening and living situation ahead -has lingered for hours afterwards. It is departure day and I had no anticipation whatsoever how I was going to feel.

I had woken up far too early given the fact that I didn’t get to bed until around 4 o’clock after returning with Adriane from my extremely enjoyable outing to the surprise party the evening earlier. At 6:30 sharp my Nokia ring went off – my daily alarm for Deutschkurs at the CDC – Darn it… why did I not turn that off. Something – maybe already the adrenaline of “last day nerves” – lifted me from my bed and I headed to the shower and just got ready for the day – a day that really serves as the first turning point of this year.

It has been a stressful few days to say the least. I have most definitely been having an exceptional time with my host family helping host parties or heading out to other events and parties in the area, but along with that I had other things I my mind, like completing my resume in German to submit to my program, my final German exam, figuring out how to transfer luggage and get train tickets here in Germany, anxiously wondering what Göttingen will be like [… is this the first time I am mentioning Göttingen here in the blog?! Ja... I recently learned that is my next host city, living there with the Graf family and attending Georg-August Universität… now you know as much as me – let’s go buy a train ticket!]

Being up so early, I was able to see Klara off to school, and then have Frühstück with Angelika, Stefan… and Boris and Aunt Gaby spent the night here last night?! … Essentially an entire part of the family. Everything was normal, with just a bit of a solemn mood- heck, even the weekly house cleaner seemed a little bummed I was going and hoped to see me again during the holidays.

Angelika and I skimmed through the blog together and looked at some of the photos – many of which she hadn’t seen yet and had a great time reflecting and also had a few laughs. She especially liked the post about the “shitting paper is over” as the whole situation came back to her, and then she made another priceless comment in German – In this family we always have good champagne but you never know when there won’t be toilette paper. She then asked me, like she would any morning we had breakfast together “Was soll ich für Abendessen machen?” – what should I make for dinner, until it struck her again that I wasn’t even going to be there and that realization made her frown.

Everyone went along with their daily tasks, and I got my luggage together and took one last trip downtown to get some flowers for the new host family I would meet in the evening.

I had mentioned a few weeks back that I found it odd that I felt no anxiety about being in Germany for a year, let alone any realization of how long that was. Today changed that. The caffeine-like anxiety was running through my veins the entire morning… I woke up at 6:30… my train was at 1… how many hours do you need to pace by your bags to see that they are zipped up alright?

Anytime my departure time would cross my mind however, I had another anxiety jolt – another new host family… I don’t know what they look like… 10 months?... is my German good enough… I have to find a job before the holidays… am I ready to jump into this feet first?

I think I already did two months ago but this is just the first time that I needed to come up for some air.

The family all returned home – or for Adriane and Eva with their late nights like me – woke up, and it was just more awkward pacing for me. Lots of smiles, Angelika telling me that if anything Scheiβ happens that they are always there, and well… more awkward pacing through the house trying to find something to do with myself.

I didn’t know what to think, today was not the end of a two month summer youth exchange program… this was something totally new and foreign for me… I was leaving one family I just truly bonded with including host sisters that were exceptional and great friends, and now I wasn’t returning to the states as if the experience were over… I am going to a new city that essentially begins my educational year in Germany. I had to start all over...

We all loaded my stuff into the car and everyone had to rush over to the Hauptbahnhof – I was already pushing it. And when I say everyone, I am even including Aunt Gaby here! We arrived with only 14 minutes before my train and from there everything felt rushed. Platform 1. I was smiling, but I felt fuzzy – departing at the train station was a feeling of limbo – going from one foreign place to the other…the train only taking me to my next destination… not that I even knew anything about it beside the fact that it was my home for the next 10 months.

[ I am so bummed the exposure on this photo didn't take well... everything was too rushed to realize that it wasn't good. but it is really sweet anyways. ]

In front of the train we had 5 minutes. In the blur of events – thank you so much, hugs, standing in an awkward circle, vielen Dank, more hugs – and then Adriane pulled out a surprise for me. This is when the past 2 months all came full circle. Eva and her had created a beautiful accordion photo album with pictures with all the family members in all different events of the month – wow, I really had done so much. Paris, cooking with the host family, the cow at the Oktoberfest party, my first evening traveling to France and Germany in one evening - I was beaming. I don’t even remember after the fact if I was speaking English or German but after more thank you’s I was pushed on the train. Everyone found my window and waved until I pulled away.

I just left home here in Germany – I think that is a fair explanation. The Weber’s are truly special people sharing so much zest for life, spontaneity and generosity. Now I am on a train blocked in by my baggage here in my seat – German forests streaming by on my left with my flower bouquets at my feet. That is what “what did I just get myself into” feels like. A few minutes before 7 and I will be setting foot in Göttingen and a new host family that I have no idea what they look like will be waiting for me at the gate.


  1. your blog makes me smile :)

  2. now you have made me nervous!!! hurry up and tell me everything is fine =)
    Maria K.