honeybees

Dancing through icy & blurry nights,
hiking around snowy forests telling each other stories from our childhoods,
overlooking streets while drinking steaming coffee & studying on the 5th floor,
walking through big cities with frozen fingers and oversized clothes.

Thrift Shopping, strolling around farmers markets & shopping centers.
Always with hungry eyes, hearts and stomachs.
Taking ridiculous pictures that got lost in each others phones and we’ll stumble upon in a few months.

You’re my honeybees,
we’re connected by heart, memory and sisterhood,
now we’re flying out to new honeycombs,
but this few months will stay with us forever.
It’s our honey, the result of our time together,
so incredibly sweet, rare and precious.

 

 

Time is running out

As most days I sit in the library and gaze at the seconds going by on my watch. 10 days, 17 hours, 6 minutes and 6 seconds left. 5, 4, 3, 2,1…

I’m scared of leaving everything behind. All these new friendships, hobbies, traditions, habits, memberships. Saying goodbye to my favorite study place, shopping place. To the new person I’ve become here. What if I leave her behind?

What if there’s not enough time to go to all the events. Try all the food and talk about our deepest secrets? What if we never get to hold each other and say what we really mean. What if time runs out to actually contribute something. Actually do something that has meaning and will change something somehow?

Why is everything going by so fast, every conversation, project, walk, trip. Every sunny day, snowy walk, rainy storm. Will time ever slow down? Let us enjoy what we have?

How can one cope with the feeling of time running out? Feeling like time runs through their fingers. With no possibility to stop that.

Marina Keegan said it beautifully in “The Opposite of Loneliness”:

“This scares me. More than finding the right job or city or spouse – I’m scared of losing this web we’re in. This elusive, indefinable, opposite of loneliness. This feeling I feel right now.”

Rollercoaster

My life right now feels like a rollercoaster. Everything goes by way too fast. I’ve lost perspective. I’m holding on to everything I can. I’m enjoying it, I really do, but everytime the ride stops for a second, just right before it dives down into a big loop or a crazy “free fall”, I think about how exhausted I am, how I miss my home and how soon it’s all going to be over. But those seconds are so short, I forget about them when the ride goes on. And it goes on and on and on.

Continue reading “Rollercoaster”

Campus life

Covered in merchandise of your university. Being so proud that you are a part of this community. Getting lost while running around campus hoping to get free food/ drinks/ plants/ anything actually.

Being friends with people after seconds because you were standing in the same line at some bookshop and you talked for 10 minutes. Sitting on the grass after class with your free food & drink (today a bagel and a package of timbits) reading the free book you got from the reading club.

Life is so exciting. No day the same. One freezing cold doing yoga in the park or dancing at a pep rally, the other crazy hot laying in a dress in the sun and getting a sunburn.

Your friends live either 15 minutes away in another residence or sometimes even next door. But that doesn’t really matter because you don’t spend any time at home. You’re too busy exploring and participating in all the activites. Sports, clubs, talks, drinks, dances, tours, readings, theaters, murder mysteries, walks…

Walking in a crowd of 25’000 students, going to interesting classes, studying in the library. You’re finally a part of something so big it blows your mind. You’re one of them. You’re a gryphon, proud, loud and happy. Smilingly you walk around campus, sun in your face, wind in your hair, the keys dangling on your chest, a uni mug filled with cheap coffee in your hand, a “gryphon facts” T-shirt tugged in in your jeans and you’re humming a song from valley.

That’s what you came all the way over the wide ocean for. That’s the feeling Marina Keegan described in her article in The Opposite of Loneliness in the yale daily news:

“It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt. The hats.”

Looking for familiarity

In a foreign land, way too far away from home I find myself walking into bookstores to feel less lonely. Books give me a sense of purpose, something to do even if the place I’m visiting is shitty or it’s raining or way too hot. Books distract me from the discomfort in dirty hostels, accompany me at breakfast, lunch and dinner and allow me to dream of different places.

Bookstores or libraries no matter the size or the language relieve me from stress immediately. I can spend hours reading the back of books, walking along the aisle of different topics and getting to know different writers.

But my favorite part about bookstores/libraries is to look for books I’ve already read and loved a lot. Once I found them I reread my favorite lines and feel a sense of familiarity and happiness. Even though I might be miles away from home and everything that I know, reading those lines makes me realize that I’m not alone. I can feel the books physically, read the lines with clarity and I feel at home in a different way. At home in a way that is not geographically defined.

And with that sense of familiarity I walk out of the bookstore with a smile on my face, more bravery in my heart and go on exploring the unknown.

How to not be “the silent girl”

Everybody always told me how much fun they had while they traveled and how many cool people from all over the world they have got to know. Friendships that stayed for a lifetime, love that brought people from different continents together. But then when I was actually on the road I felt really lonely. No one was talking to me and vice versa. I fell back into a “dark memory” of mine, being known as the “silent girl”.

To overcome this state of unhappiness and loneliness I wrote down a few tips for me and you on how to talk to people while you travel:

  1. Talk to your roomates
    The easiest tip is always talk to the people in your room in your hostel. Start off easy with  questions like “Where are you from?”, “How long have you stayed in this hostel/city/country?”, “Do you have any tips for the city/country?”
  2. Go on free walking tours
    The best mix of historical backround about a city, local tips and strangers you can meet in one package. And you can even pay/ tip as much as you want. The perfect opportunity to meet people and have little conversations while you walk around the city. You could start a chat with “That looks beautiful! Have you ever seen something like that before?” or “Hi, where are you from?”. And after the tour you can ask the nicest person of the tour what they have in plan for the rest of the day and if you can join them.
  3. Have a conversation in the kitchen
    While cooking you’re usually more relaxed. So in the hostel kitchen you can always say “Ooh, that smells nice. What are you making?” or simply wishing someone “Bon Appétit”.
  4. Join activites from the hostel
    Similar to the free walking tour, but the activities differentiate more. Some hostels make a pubcrawl, others a movie night, bonfires, hiking trips… there it’s pretty easy to get into a conversation. And if you’re still shy there’s a big chance that someone else’s going to talk to you.

And when you made the step to talk to strangers, embrace the awkwardness, don’t feel weird if a minute of silence comes along. You’re still not far from being strangers, and that’s totally fine.

Make those life long friends from all over the planet! Enjoy becoming best friends with strangers in just a few hours, appreciate the deep talks, the open conversations and the immediate connections. Because in the end that’s what really matters about traveling and what you’ll remember forever.

 

Leaving

For me leaving is physically and mentally painful. I can’t sleep, I can’t eat, I’m so emotional and want to hide in my room forever. Saying goodbye to my bestest friends, to my sister, my parents, my pets is heartbreaking.

Then why are we still leaving, if it is so freaking hard to do? Why do we push ourselves and hurt ourselves even though we know how painful it is? Why do we leave our home, our family, our friends, our jobs, our unis, our pets, our hometown, our comfortzone when we don’t have to?

The answer stays unknown to me. But even though I don’t want to leave at all right now I frequently suffer from “Fernweh”. The well known German word for sickness of the foreign life. The opposite of homesickness. The need to go abroad, away from home.

I think John Green captured the matter about leaving really genuinely in one of his beautiful books “Paper Towns”:

“It is so hard to leave—until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.”