Before I start this post, I want to emphasize that I wrote most of what’s below while having a little breakdown on the flight back to the USA, the exact opposite place I wanted to be going. That does not mean, of course, that the feelings are not genuine. They most certainly are, and part of me posting this a couple weeks after to give you a better idea of why I’m going back to Berlin (as this was written before I had decided to go back). Some space, however, is nothing if not freeing – to be given some perspective. Reading and tweaking this reminded me of a quote I read recently.
“This is what travel is for, dipping your toes into unfamiliar water, seeing if it suits” The Travelers, Chris Pavone, p.32
It’s 5AM and just like that, it’s time to leave Berlin. I board a bus, a plane, and by tonight I will be back in the USA. I don’t want to leave Germany. I’m not ready to say goodbye to the friends that so quickly have become something more. There’s no law of physics that dictates all friendships ultimately fail in the face of distance. Oceans and borders are practically nonexistent in the face of the Internet, Whatsapp and Skype. We live in an age where I shouldn’t be concerned about leaving friends living as close as Berlin. Logically, I know this to be true. And yet. And yet, the morning of my flight was filled with uncontrollable sniffling and frantic searches for used tissues. I don’t want to leave Berlin. I’m not ready to bade farewell to Germany and the people I’ve met here who feel more like family than strangers of two months past.
There’s no way for me to adequately put into words the emotions I am feeling right now. I’m sad, horribly upset, worried, excited and nervous all at the same time. The quick hugs and kisses I exchanged as they lay half-asleep in bed felt strangely detached. It’s only a “see you later,” I uttered, confident that I will be back. But the sentiment is hollow when I’m sitting alone ordering tea that tastes like salt water in my mouth. Because a TTYL is still, at heart, a temporary goodbye and it goes against every instinct in my body. I want to stay, I want to cancel my group flight (not that I could), and remain without a visa (which I definitely cannot do). Anything that means I don’t have to leave this beautiful country and these indescribable people, it must be enough.
At heart, I know these connections I’ve formed are maintainable. If I have friends from childhood without the convenience of closeness, then what is a few countries of separation? Distance stands no chance against the disturbing jokes I can send through text and weirdest responses imaginable via photo. I know though, the way of the world is change, and I can no longer stop that than I can the orbit of the earth or the beginning and ends of people’s lives. But change like this, that’s not something I want. I don’t know where life is planning on taking me next. Despite not knowing practically anything about my future, I can confidently say that I will see these people again. I will make that a reality, regardless of what comes.