This is a story that should have been told a long while ago.
I had it written and re-written, but somehow it never felt right, like something was missing. I tried to put it into words, all the feelings and experiences and memories. But while most of the pieces were there, the puzzle was incomplete. I got to the beginning of the story, which I wrote as soon as I had the chance, when I was still in Germany. I had every intention to continue writing it after I got back from the vacation, but life (i.e. assignments, exams, dissertation) took all my time, and before I knew it, it had been a while. Going back to writing the story was not easy. It wasn’t because I had difficulties to remember what happened there. Quite the opposite. I remembered too much, and putting it into words somehow lessen the enormity of feelings and lessons I experienced there. Maybe it was one hell of an adventure that was too great to be written. Or maybe, I wasn’t as eloquent as I hoped I’d be.
And so the writing was left in my draft folder, forgotten. While the memories stayed vivid, my attempt to tell the story never went past the half-written memoir and a big batch of photos that needed to be sorted.
Two months ago, I opened my draft folder and I told myself, I have to finish this. Without me realizing, it’s been bugging me all this time, as I’ve been feeling guilty for keeping this only for me. I’m afraid I’d forget these incredible experiences, lessons, and feelings (although I very much doubt that). I owe it to myself to finish this story, and also to Marion and her family, who welcomed me with such generosity and kindness that was beyond my expectation. They made this story worth telling.
It all started sometime in 2012, when I met Marion for the first time. Before she left Indonesia, she told me about a German proverb, which later would become my favorite proverb of all time: ‘Man sieht sich immer zweimal im Leben.’
‘Men would meet at least twice in their lives.’
Isn’t that wonderful?
I so badly wanted to make that happen. So I bought a ticket to Germany, and flew there on the first of April 2014, and spent a week with Marion. Never would I have thought that 7 days would mean so much to me, that I would be heartbroken when I left Germany and Marion.
Seven days is not a long time, and yet it gave me an experience of a lifetime. I made it to my dream place, Schloß Neuschwanstein. I discovered and experienced the true meaning of the German word ‘Gemütlichkeit’, a word so beautiful and complex that not all language has a direct translation to it (English, for instance, doesn’t). I got the chance to meet wonderful people, with kindness so great that I’m not sure I’ll be able to return. I got to see the beauty of Germany and have another glimpse of the history and culture, and fell in love with everything, all over again.
This is a story that means the world to me. Two years have gone by, and it’s still the best story I’ve ever had. It’s 2 years late, but better late than never.
A week from now, starting from April 1st, I will post a piece of the story a day, for 7 consecutive days. It will be in the same order as I experienced it, on the same day, only 2 years apart. I’m trying my best to relive it and bring myself to that time, and if you want to follow along, I’d be really happy.
So let the story begin.
For the previous part, click here: