New Years in Not-Germany

This Year.
This Year.

As this blog does have somewhat of a travel component… at least when I’m feeling up to describing my adventures in a way that isn’t only palatable to my friends and I, I thought it would only be appropriate to have an ‘ending of traveling abroad’ post.

We’re at the end of 2013, somehow, even though it seems impossible that 12 months have already passed us by (I suspect a massive hole in the time vortex, but it could be a number of things… time vortex though). And I’m returning to the United States with a bittersweet feeling that I can’t shake.

For the past year, I’ve been traveling. That is honestly the most apt way I can think of to describe 2013. From Iceland, to England, Wales, Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands – it’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year. Magical even. But here we are, and the New Year is coming in an hour in the EST at least.

Venice: The Grand Canal
Venice: The Grand Canal

The reason I’ve titled this post ‘New Years in Not Germany’ is because that is how, at least for now, I see the world. There are no different countries, only Germany and Not-Germany. That’s a bit of a simplification of course, but nevertheless – I feel as though I’ve developed a different perspective from 2012. It seems an age ago, but really only 12 months – it’s difficult to believe that I had perhaps seen not even half of what I’ve seen this year.

And the people! I can’t describe the joy that surges in my heart when I try to think of all of those amazing people I’ve met this year. Whether it be my workmates in London, the amazing friends I lived with and traveled with from England outward, or the fantastic people that made up my Study Abroad group – to me it is stunning the diversity of people one meets abroad. Especially when you add in the Couchsurfing component…

This Year.
This Year.

It might be the people who have made this year incredible, rather than the places I’ve visited – because I believe I’ve met friends for life, kept up old friendships with the ones you trust to the bottom of your heart, and seen things far and wide with them. New Years brings a bit of sadness in that sense. Because many of the people I’ve built friendships with will no longer be in the same range that they once were.

I’ll be leaving Germany. I’ll be saying goodbye to the home I found for 4 months. I’ve already left London, my 2-month home. And in less than two years, I’ll be leaving Boston.

But in other ways, 2014 isn’t just about closing a year full of excitement. It’s about starting a new part of my life, going to a 2-week post-graduate course, and getting (hopefully) my first security studies internship this summer. And it’s about realizing that I’m going to be leaving college soon and entering the real world.

So in saying goodbye to Germany, the goodbye is not just to a country. It’s to a part of my life that I feel strangely detached from. There’s nothing distinctly different, but in a mushy gushy sort of way, I can feel already as the minutes tick down – something, or lots of somethings, have happened – and now things are not the same.

Completely vague and unhelpful, I get it. But it’s the truth. There’s no concrete way I can describe the difference between this year and the next, whether it be meeting new people, being in Not-Germany, Not-England, and a lot of other Nots. It’s just different.

2014 comes with that bittersweet tang (or is that the champagne). And as far as I’m concerned, New Years resolutions can wait – because I probably won’t do jack to complete them. 2013 will always be one year I treasure, and I hope that in a million years – I never forget the great times I have had.

I welcome the New Year with eyes wide open, so I won’t miss a thing.

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