Missing you

I hate coming back here.

I hate coming back here without you.

I hate to see these hills and this wall, these white and red buildings for when I return to this school knowing that you’re not there, somehow I’m still expecting; hoping too see you here, living the same life you did before we left, as if graduation had never happened.

I hate seeing the rooms we lived in without you in there to welcome me back home to the place that was my home once. I hate smelling the familiar scents of the houses we shared without you to fill them with the live I was once used to. I hate walking down the corridors without the possibility that you might hide behind one of those closed classroom doors, studying.

I hate seeing the pond without anyone to jump into it, and even more so I hate the memory of jumping into it without you there to think back to that together. I hate walking these paths without you to greet me when passing by, without you to know my face, to know that I am no stranger but belong in this student village. I hate going to the mensa without you to share my meals with, I hate going to the library without finding you bent over a math or chemistry book and I hate walking down the streets of a city in which every corner has a life of its on, showing me scenes of what has happened a year or two ago and is no more.

They say this is the way it goes, they say it’s beautiful to see the new faces around. And I know that. I know all about the beauty of time and the passing of generations, know that this is part of the and also my journey. Not only at UWC but in life in general.

But it is so hard.

It is so hard to not be recognized, to be a stranger in a place I called home. It is so hard for me to accept that a place that once granted me the comfort of being known and settled into a community no longer holds this feeling of safety.

It is so hard when having to leave before check-in and not being allowed on campus after that. Not getting the names when my firsties talk about their firsties and being an outsider to the insiders of a community I used to be a part of.

And this time it is even more difficult than it was when I visited the school in December, because this time my firsties are leaving, too.

The few people who still had open corners for me this year, my keycards to the memories and stories of last year will soon be gone, too. Away, like you. I can’t grasp the fact that this is their graduation, already. Don’t understand their feelings of wanting to finally leave now, even though I felt the same last year.

I look around and see you everywhere and I should be happy for all these moments we shared, but all I feel is loneliness.

When I see our firsties hugging their firsties goodbye, tears streaming down their faces, I want to cry too because I know what it feels like to part and not to see each other for one whole year by now.

I do appreciate what we had. I know it was so much and so hard on us that it was good it ended. But now I miss you. I just miss you.

Advertisements

Here’s to myself

2:50 am. Summer Break. Sleepless nights, restless mind. 

What I have to say this time is another one of these things that are usually well locked away within me, kept from being expressed by silent lips that guard the way of thoughts from my mind to spoken words. It is the type of thing that comes so hard to me to realize, accept and even believe in and maybe that’s what makes it so hard to share, what makes these words feel so wrong and untrue. Until now. And that change, I guess, is part of this story.

And so here’s to myself. Two years ago, I was 16 and I had already dealt with health issues for years, but nevertheless applied to this school of free minds and idealists because I believed in positive change and the possibility of good in others. And for this, I had traveled to the other side of Germany with two strangers, me, somebody who fears meeting new people so much. I had participated in the selection weekend and with that I dared to do two interviews even though the minutes in front of those doors right before these interviews felt like standing on hot coals for an introvert like me. I had held a mini presentation and led a discussion even though I had lain awake the night before, scared of this task and everything that could go wrong.

When I arrived at college, I forced myself to speak English every day even though I wasn’t even comfortable talking at all, neither in my mother tongue nor in a second language. I found the courage to speak up in class and opened up about my health journey which is one of the things that I struggle with the most. Even when I didn’t feel like there was anyone I could rely on and even when my body let me down, when I overslept classes due to exhaustion and was crying alone when everyone else had Christmas Dinner I didn’t even think about quitting and going back home. I talked about this with my grandma recently and only now realized that somehow, in the deepest mess I didn’t even see the option to leave but only to carry on and work on myself.

Here’s to myself for going grocery shopping multiple times a week when everyone else was eating in the mensa, collecting hundreds of receipts and cooking by myself when everyone else had nice conversations over lunch. For running up the mountains of the black forest three times a week, often more, to treat the body that stopped me in my academic pursuits and for walking past every single doorstep into meetings with teachers and staff even though my heart was pounding in irrational anxiety.

What startled me recently was the realization how through all the obstacles of the past years I seem to have found a way to change to the better. Every time I spent trying to get myself back on track, every hour I used working some more on that essay and every single of those Math questions out of the entire book I finished made me finally emerge like that phoenix from the ashes, healthier from my misery. Here’s to myself for studying Math every day even though I felt the least self-confident every time I approached it. Here’s to myself for trying on dresses even though I was scared of anybody including myself seeing me in them. For talking about my body image issues and allowing myself to find people who could relate with me through that. For going to the gym countless times and being patient with myself. For creating every single of those Biology flashcards and keeping an open heart, leaving behind so much bitterness that I had fostered before.

Here’s to myself for finishing the journey I have selected for myself and sitting through every single of these exams. For signing up for and going to college interviews and overcoming my fear of listening to my own recorded voice when practicing for my IOCs; for trying again and again. For accepting myself more and more, for fighting no matter what bad feedback I would get back on essays I had sacrificed my sleep for and doing my TOK presentation by myself even though I had no clue what they were trying to make me do. Here’s to myself for saying ’no‘ when it most mattered even though it is hard to do so, for learning to voice my most honest thoughts and stop using false excuses.

Here’s to myself for bringing me to where I am today, stronger than I was two years ago.

Perception

This is not the post that should follow my last one, not the continuation of my thoughts on leaving UWC or my feelings about being home. This is a post written a long, long time ago when I was another person than I am today – But

For the sake of the contrast – people evolve and change and let things behind that once controlled every single aspect of their lives. I did. 

February 1, 2016. Written in blue ink on the first pages of a new notebook. B12 deficiency and hypothyroidism. Minds. 

Es fühlt sich an wie 2012, als ich jeden Tag in ein Word-Dokument geschrieben habe, das ich nach Monaten oder vielleicht auch Jahren gelöscht habe, um wegzukommen, von dem albernen und melodramatischen Teenager mit Hang zur Melancholie und schwarz-kitschigem. Oder wie all die Bücher, in die ich manchmal nur sporadisch, manchmal täglich meine Sorgen ausgeschüttet habe; in denen ich die Hormonphasen mitgemacht habe, für die ich nach außen hin viel zu reif und rational und introvertiert war. Blaue Tinte oder Bleistift, das Datum in der Ecke und so dann Dinge festhalten, die im Rückblick ein Bild ergeben das mich mich selbst ein bisschen besser verstehen macht. Immer wieder die gleichen Themen, die selben Abgründe und eine langsam sich verändernde Schrift. Zwischen den Sorgen und Gedanken Kritzeleien, Gedichte. Es ist erstaunlich, wie viel meiner Persönlichkeit ich in ihnen sehen kann, lesen kann. Von Abschnitten in meinem Leben die begonnen, endeten und sich überschneiden, und dazwischen jemand, der erwachsen wird und doch schon irgendwie so erwachsen ist wie auch noch Kind. Und jetzt ist wieder blaue Tinte.

Heute war eine Achterbahn. Verschlafen, denn gestern hielt es mich bis fünf Uhr morgens wach, zum ersten Mal seit Wochen das Gefühl, eine der anderen Hosen in meinem Schrank anzuziehen, sie ist eng. Gerade noch halb pünktlich, zu Mathe, es ist langweilig, ich bin müde aber eigentlich auch nicht und muss mich zwingen, mich zu konzentrieren. Mittagspause, allein wie immer, essen, dann im Zimmer auf Youtube von Elfentänzen träumen. Zu voll. Zu Geschichte, den Film sehen und gerade sitzen, aufmerksam und nachdenklich. Angst vor dem Essay. Hoch zum Büro, Helen ist nicht da, die Angst kommt plötzlich nachdem ich mich pflichtbewusst und kraftvoll gefühlt habe, ich lege die Formulare in mein Fach. Im Gemeinschaftsraum fange ich dann doch zu kochen an, bin fröhlich, barfuß und verliere dann die leichtfüßigen Gedanken, bin fertig und wütend und allein und traurig ist es mir trotzdem nicht vergönnt zu sein. Schnellen Schrittes zum Fahrrad, Elfenkriegerin, der Mantel weht. Gegen den Wind fährt es sich so schwerer, aber was soll’s. Postident, sollte ich das Klebeband kaufen? Nein, ich habe ihm schon tschüss gesagt, nein dann zwinge ich mich nochmal zu gehen. Ich habe 4 Euro, schließe das Fahrrad wieder an, es sind 5,99 Euro. Zurück. Das Wetter ist schizophren, Herbst und Frühling, mag ich den Winter nicht mehr am liebsten, seit wann friere ich?

Barfuß geht es in den Wind, tänzelnd und allein. Angst schleicht sich dazu und schon sehe ich die grauen Wolken. Die Bächlein plätschern, ich fühle mich freier. Muss aber zurück. Ich laufe leichtfüßig auf der Mauer, der Fluss ist schön, ich möchte schwimmen. Ich war gut. Ich laufe, und doch gehe ich die letzten Stufen. Ich halte inne und fahre fort, essen duschen, telefonieren. Es wird besser, ich bin froh. Tschüss. Unten ist es laut, ich bin fröhlich, ich lächle auch wenn ich weiß dass es niemand sieht. Gut oder schlecht dass sie nicht zuhören?

Nach Stunden werde ich traurig, bin immer noch allein, überreizt, trotzdem fröhlich. Zittern. Ausschuss, tapfer sein und weitergehen, Elfe, Schultern zurück und runter, Becken einrollen, Beine drehen, Rumpf festigen. Hals nach oben ziehen. Lächeln verlieren und weiter, immer weiter. Auch jetzt noch glücklich, zu ausdauernd, zu ungenutzt und unsicher. Hause? Nein. Doch?

Gute Nacht.

Goodbye

P1000558.JPG

„How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.“ – Winnie the Pooh

Finally. As I am laying on my bed tonight, it is May 15th 2017 and the exams have ended. Three days ago already, actually, but the words are only just forming right now after what showed to be a hurricane of emotions and thoughts that came with the long-awaited freedom.

The end of exams did not only bring the joy and relief I had anticipated for so long, but also brought tears and despair when I realized just how difficult it will be to see some of my friends within the next four years after we will have parted in a week.

The time before exams has had me occupied in ways I hadn’t noticed before, kept my brain focused on the lurking anxiety of just how much weight these tests have and the question if I will forever blame myself for not doing everything I could to do well if I wouldn’t give everything I had. And with this burden finally taken away, I didn’t only jump into the pond in my underwear after the last exam and didn’t only take a shower after days of restless studying and increasing lack of body-hygiene, didn’t only sleep for 10 hours in a row for the first time in weeks but also started cleaning up, taking down sticky notes and found myself crying in my corner, not knowing how to leave the people I have lived with for the past two years. These years haven’t been easy ones and especially my first year here has been a personal challenge that would have never had me think that I would fear the day we leave so much because of people I would have grown to love. But somehow, over late-night-cakes and conversations, small pranks and all our birthdays, working out, making jokes and suffering under the IB together that is what must have happened.

A co-year of mine told me that scientists found out that we can’t comprehend numbers over 100 and that seems so right when I try to understand how you all will be several thousand kilometers and oceans away from me in just a couple of days. It is the unknown, we fear the most, and for me that is these nagging questions that keep getting bigger and bigger in my head until they stop the world and steal my sleep. „When will we ever see each other again?“ „Will we ever see each other again?“ „Will we be able to keep up?“ „Will we forget?“ „Will people at your colleges matter more to you?“ „What will I do when I feel down and you are not there anymore to give me a hug and some food and tell me it’s gonna be okay?“

Once more, I am scared of being lonely and scared of being left behind. I am scared of being lost in a place that was my home once but hasn’t been the place I lived at for two years and not fitting in anymore, with people that have moved on as people of my age in a big city do.

I have never truly felt at home at this place, have always felt like it was just a stage of my life that would transition away at some point until the last day of my exams. Only then, I could finally see that without the pressure of academics, it is a place worthwhile that holds friends that make me want to stay. Every day now, the mensa looks more they way it looked on that morning last year, after the second years had left and it felt so empty and broken, full of thoughts that were left behind after the people they were about had left for all around the world. Last year, I only struggled with saying goodbye to a few of the hundred people that are my secondyears because I didn’t know many of the well. This year, I will have to part from the ones I have laughed with and been able to be myself with, the ones I spent my last two years of high school with and that somehow mean more to me than I was aware of until Friday.

I haven’t told most of you how hard it is for me to think of leaving and how scared I am of the time when you aren’t around anymore. So now I am.

I guess, there is probably not much more to say but to follow Winnie the Pooh and to find myself lucky of these friendships, hope for ways to meet and to make these last precious days count.

Time

[English Version; eine deutsche Version ist weiter unten]

It is one of these nights again, that won’t let me sleep, keep me entangled in an endless network of thoughts, spinning and spinning in my head, hovering like fine silver strings in the mild spring night’s air. It is tonight, that I just noticed that the past months had me turn 18, that I have arrived in the final period of my high school life and that I am caught in a moment of incredible fragility, in which every tiny event following this second might bring those big sparkly tears of mine to spill over my eye’s edges again or might make me laugh and smile like I never have before.

It is one of these moments in which I understand how time might not be linear but circular, a combination of infinite single moments simultaneously existing within this one reality. This night is always, as is this summer and the evening that falls over the Dreisam at the end of every day when the orange light of the streetlamps is reflected once more in the tiny waves on the water’s surface.

I am of age now, and I wish I could stop this moment forever. I wish I could spend an eternity exploring and wandering while having my life still in front of me like a small foreboding lingering in the allurements of the sunrise every day. I wish I could be a little more of the person I strive to be, in all her beautiful facets before I have lived my life never being her and never appreciated myself. I am 18 and I don’t know the answers yet and I haven’t yet left home entirely and yet I am victim of a strange nostalgia that overcomes me every time I get lost for a moment, thinking about time once more or when the weeks fly by like seconds again, turning into months with just the blink of an eye. I was 16 when I came here and all of the sudden I have aged two years again, carry two more annual growth rings under my skin.

I feel like going back to the old family photos and being a child again, even though I didn’t like being a child, didn’t like not being taken seriously. I wish I could stay in this present time forever and I wish it was 50 days from now, when I finished my exams but before I have to say goodbye to the people I learnt to love here. I want the summer to stay and the winter to come back. I miss the fiery shades of the trees in autumn and try to hold on to the fragile petals of spring and the sound of the lambs that grow older every day.

I feel like going running and running forever, like returning to winter break and actually taking a picture of the Chinese character that was painted on the glass side of one of the streetlamps in the city park, black paint on dirty pane.
I have many questions and I am not sure if I want to know the answers just right now. I wish the summer break could come quickly so I can be back home but I wish it will never arrive so I will never have to say goodbye. I wish it will last forever and I wonder why it can’t be over yet, because I want to see what comes next, want to be close to people here again and be left alone for the year to come at the same time.

Time.

(Please forgive the commas – mixing German and English punctuation has made a mess of my comma skills in both languages)

 

[Deutsche Version; an English version is right above this]

Es ist wieder einmal eine dieser Nächte, die mich nicht schlafen lässt, mich verstrickt in einem Knäuel aus Gedanken hält die wie feine, silbrige Fäden durch die milde Luft der Frühlingsnacht hängen. Heute Nacht habe ich erst gemerkt, dass die letzten Monate mich 18 haben werden lassen, dass ich im letzten Abschnitt meines Schullebens angekommen bin und dass ich in einem Moment der unvorstellbaren Fragilität gefangen bin, in dem jedes kleine Ereignis das dieser Sekunde folgt diese großen glitzernden Tränen in meinen Augen mal wieder über die Ränder treten lassen könnte, oder mich zum Lachen und Lächeln bringen könnte wie nie zuvor.

Es ist einer dieser Momente, in denen ich verstehe wie Zeit vielleicht nicht linear, aber kreisförmig verläuft, eine Kombination einer unendlichen Anzahl einzelner Momente, simultan existierend in dieser einen Realität. Diese Nacht ist immer, so wie dieser Sommer und der Abend, der am Ende jeden Tages über die Dreisam fällt wenn das orange Licht der Straßenlampen mal wieder von den kleinen Wellen in der Wasseroberflächen reflektiert wird.

Ich bin jetzt erwachsen und ich wünschte, ich könnte diesen Moment für immer anhalten. Ich wünschte, ich könnte eine Ewigkeit damit verbringen, zu Entdecken und Herumzuwandern während ich mein Leben noch vor mir habe wie eine kleine Ahnung, die jeden Tag in den Lockungen des neuen Sonnenaufgangs steckt. Ich wünschte, ich könnte mehr die Person sein, die ich gerne sein würde, in all ihren wunderschönen Facetten, bevor ich mein Leben gelebt habe, ohne jemals sie gewesen zu sein und ohne mich selbst jemals wertgeschätzt zu haben. Ich bin 18 und ich kenne die Antworten noch nicht und habe zu Hause noch nicht ganz verlassen und doch bin ich ein Opfer dieser merkwürdigen Nostalgie, die mich jedes Mal überkommt, wenn ich mich für einen Moment verliere, mal wieder über die Zeit nachdenkend oder wenn die Wochen mal wieder wie Sekunden verfliegen die sich mit nur einem Augenzwinkern in ganze Monate verwandeln. Ich war 16 als ich hier hergekommen bin und plötzlich bin ich zwei Jahre älter geworden, habe zwei Jahresringe mehr unter meiner Haut.  

Ich fühle mich danach, zurück zu gehen, zu den alten Familienfotos und wieder ein Kind zu sein, obwohl ich es nicht mochte Kind zu sein, nicht ernst genommen zu werden. Ich wünschte, ich könnte für immer im Jetzt bleiben und ich wünschte es wäre 50 Tage vom Jetzt, nach meinen Prüfungen aber bevor ich auf Wiedersehen zu den Menschen sagen muss, die ich hier lieb gewonnen habe. Ich möchte, dass der Sommer bleibt und der Winter zurückkommt. Ich vermisse die feurigen Farbtupfer der Herbstbäume und versuche die fragilen Blütenblätter des Frühlings festzuhalten, die Geräusche der Lämmer die jeden Tag älter werden.

Ich fühle mich danach, laufen zu gehen und für immer zu laufen, danach, zu den Winterferien zurück zu gehen und tatsächlich ein Foto von dem chinesischen Schriftzeichen zu machen, dass auf eines der Seitengläser einer Straßenlampe im Stadtpark gemalt war, schwarze Farbe auf schmutzigem Glass.

Ich habe viele Fragen und bin nicht sicher, ob ich jetzt gerade die Antworten wissen möchte. Ich wünschte, die Sommerferien würden schnell kommen, sodass ich zurück nach Hause gehen kann, aber ich wünschte, sie würden niemals ankommen sodass ich niemals auf Wiedersehen sagen muss. Ich wünschte, sie würden für immer dauern und ich frage mich, warum sie nicht schon vorbei sein können, denn ich möchte sehen, was als nächstes kommt, möchte wieder nahe bei Leuten von hier sein und gleichzeitig allein gelassen werden für das kommende Jahr.

Zeit.

(Bitte vergebt mir die Kommata – auf Englisch und Deutsch zu schreiben hat mir die Kommasetzung in beiden Sprachen durcheinander gebracht)