Thursday, February 18, 2010

Galina besucht Göttingen pt.1

[ Galina visits Göttingen ]

Last year, wrapping up the winter semester at the University of Michigan, I had already known about my acceptance into the CBYX program for a number of weeks. I really wasn't sure what exactly I was getting myself into [ I've been here now half a year, and I am still wondering what I am getting myself into! ] and I kept the news to myself for a while. I would dodge questions about which courses I was taking the next fall semester, what job I was looking for in the summer or which dorm I would live in the coming year - all the while some image of me in some German city and some chilling notion that I spoke no German would run though my head.


After a few weeks, there was really no turning back - I broadcasted my [no longer breaking] news to the world in the most preferred way my generation knows how - via Facebook.

My status update was something along the lines of "12 months of studying and working in Germany through the CBYX scholarship - time to start learning some German" and I would say that within minutes I had a response from Galina [ I think even with an expletive or two] "Germany?! we need to have coffee now!"

Galina has been a friend of mine for quite a few years now, and the news of my departure to Germany was one that I think had her elated, but also most likely a little pissed, if I can make an assumption. We had spent many lunches and dinners together over the semester talking about her German language class she was taking, as well as study abroad programs that she was looking into, including Italy and France. Not being so sure myself of the potential of my scholarship application I kept any notions of possibly going to Germany [ even the invitation to my interview ] to myself. I had no idea things were going to turn out the way they did either. At the time of the facebook updates, the news had already soaked in for me, but was a big surprise for others.


Fast forward 9 months, and I am in Germany half a year, speaking acceptable German, and Galina followed through to apply for a UofM semester abroad in Paris and was flying over the Atlantic to move in. Before she was comfortable in her Parisian flat, she made a detour to Germany to visit Göttingen [ with a few bumps in the road along the way - but what adventure abroad with Chris Crachiola doesn't have detours, getting lost, or travels on ridiculously long alternative train rides just to save a few Euros...] Without even really realizing it, we were both in Europe just months after fantasizing over Mojo dining hall dinners of the possibilities of studying abroad in the future. Next thought, we are sitting in the train on the way "home" in Göttingen. Inge and Andreas welcomed Galina with some great German cuisine set for dinner, and Galina [ probably terribly Jet lagged ] also got a chance to meet some of my friends as we met up together in one of our favorite kneipe in the city.



With Göttingen already feeling like "my city" and a cozy home, it was exciting to give a sightseeing tour through the streets. I have stolen Galina's photos for the posts of her visits to capture her views and what inspired her. In the mean time, her excitement and fascination with small streets, little boutiques or postcard perfect architecture - all things normalized already for me passing them everyday on the way to classes - opened my eyes to the incredible place that I live - even in these dreary and chillingly cold days of February.