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did that really happen?

Surprisingly enough, as I look back on my year in Germany, it's not any synonym of "amazing" which springs to mind but rather surprise. Did that really happen? Did I really go there? Was that an actual place? It's so surprisingly unbelievable at times that it's almost hard not to write it all off as being one very vivid, detailed and quite lengthy dream.

As I sit here at my computer drinking highly pasteurized milk with Milano cookies, the adventure to which I was a participant only a mere month or so ago seems distant and hard to connect with, yet the memories and souvenirs are just as strong and real as ever. Did Germany surprise me? No, not really, but I managed to surprise myself by doing things I've never done before and feeling entirely at ease while doing so. I made instant friends with complete strangers, both domestic and international, and headed with them into scenarios that I never would have felt comfortable being at any other time, except with the best of my older friends.

Just now, as I walked to the fridge for a new cup of milk, I remembered a very vivid moment from my stay in Tübingen. While sitting on a high wall- wait, make that sitting on the edge of a high wall- which overlooked the Neckar river, I sat and attempted to ignore the chilly weather around me, instead focusing on the friendly company I had brought with and the cone of gelato in my hand, conveniently melting at a perfect rate on account of the low temperature. I remember looking down at my feet, kicking out into the air above the river, in which a few non-spectacular fish were slowly swimming about and attempting to eat whatever they could find.

What's surprising is that I manage to have a "pause" of this moment saved in my memory. In the world of my mind I can turn my head left, right, or anywhere I choose and see the spot as if I were actually physically there at this time. My mind recreates the traffic on the bridge slightly to my left, both the nondescript pedestrians and the flashy colored public transportation buses. My friendly company is nowhere to be seen in this memory, perhaps a result of events concerning them which happened at a later point in time than when this memory was created, but there is no feeling of loneliness, only that of a happy kid. A kid who is kicking his feet against a medieval wall and into the air while watching the river flow by and people shuffle on their way.

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