On my last night in Germany, Marion and I went to the city center to have dinner. We shared a pizza, and had a nice, long conversation about my time there, and walked around the city center before we went home. If Regensburg hadn’t captivated me before, this walk surely would’ve done the job. I had never known a city could be that beautiful and comforting.
When I started it all, on the bus to Gatwick Airport, a week had seemed like a long time, at least long enough to explore some places and spend time with Marion. And yet, as it came to a close, I was hit by a sudden pang of sadness. It was hard to believe that 7 days had gone by so quickly and I’d be leaving the next morning.
That vacation instantly became a favorite of mine, far ahead the others (and if you know me, that’s a pretty big statement since I’d always had a hard time choosing a favorite). Fun as it was, it also gave me the opportunities to meet wonderful people and make a childhood dream of mine come true. To say that it was remarkable is such an understatement.
There were many things that could easily be the reason why it was my favorite. For one thing, we were very flexible. We didn’t decide where to go until the night before, and along the way, we stopped whenever we liked, never really cared about the time. We never had schedules anyway. I stopped so many times to take pictures, and Marion told me to take my time. So we walked, stopped, walked again, had some ice cream or coffee when we were tired, walked some more, and so on. The weather was nothing but friendly, which made it even better.
That morning, we were a bit late, so we rushed to the station to catch my train. We didn’t have much time to say goodbye, and just before I boarded the train, Marion gave me a sweet farewell present and a card, catching me off guard. It was a Sportfreunde Stiller CD, a band whose song we heard on one of our drives. We waved goodbye just as the doors were closing and I read the card as soon as I got a seat.
All the way to the station, I’d been feeling a lump in my throat, and I’d managed not to cry, until I read the card. That’s all it took to reduce me to tears, much to the astonishment of the fellow passengers.
When I arrived a week earlier at her place, I hadn’t thought I’d feel like being in my own home with my own family. Leaving a wonderful place with all the love and kindness was really tough.
That time, we proved the proverb, ‘Men will meet at least twice in their lives’. We did, and I couldn’t help feeling so sad as I thought, well, no proverb says anything about third meeting. Will we ever meet again?
I was starting to feel deflated when I read this one sentence she wrote, at the bottom of the page:
‘… I’m excited and curious to find out what the next place to meet you will be.‘
And that’s when I knew, there would be other meetings.
I knew that I’d always loved Germany, in an ineffable way that made me unable to explain how it started and what kept me infatuated for so long. What I didn’t know was how it became the best vacation I’ve ever had, and the particular feeling of happiness and comfort that I hadn’t felt for a while. Words will pale in comparison to what that moment felt like.
That memories of that week still remain, vivid as ever. Meeting Marion again and her parents. Marion trying to cook asparagus and potatoes with Hollandaise sauce for dinner (and told me not tell her mom about the mishaps in the kitchen). Learning German. Experiencing snow for the first time. Finding a new love, pistachio ice cream. Letting myself go into the fantasy land for a few hours. Learning how simple acts of kindness could go a long way. Discovering and experiencing the true meaning of the word ‘Gemütlichkeit’. Falling for Germany, all over again.
It was one hell of an experience.
And for that, I’m forever grateful.
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