Europe | Germany | South | Heidelberg – It is over, they are gone..

Europe | Germany | South | Heidelberg – It is over, they are gone..

So the emotional week I dreaded is finally over, and I think we are all headed in the directions fate wants us to follow. I am ready to put the past four months behind me– the people, the patterns, the good and the bad times, and see what the rest of this semester holds for me, as well as my break and next semester, using what I learned this semester to make the rest of my time here unforgettable..

So, yeah, did I mention they are gone? Well, they are… The whole ‘goodbye experience’ was, well, heartbreaking, as parting ways always is. And it sucked, point blank, I wouldn’t ever want to do it again, but it had to be done, and the pictures in my mind of those last moments will never dissolve… And by george, if they do, I took pics with my camera, so I have a back-up plan! Sitting here, it is hard to believe that all those people are back home in the states– reconnecting with family and friends, and adjusting to the states… And slowly fogetting Germany, everything they experienced, and even AJY. But, that’s how life goes, that’s nothing new.

These last few days, I could feel the Abschied approaching, everyone running around The Center writing papers, figuring arrival plans out, trying to throw their lives in order so they could leave. I felt like I should have been doing it, too, we were a team, right? Wrong again… I spent a lot of time around The Center, let it soak in that way… And I did my best to send of all of well, remembering my smiling face and not the tears in my eyes. And to a degree, I failed, but a few tears is never a bad thing…

For the Abschied Fest (goodbye party) our party committee made awards and all the AJYers voted on them, which was a real fun way to honor everyone’s differences and diversities in our group… So we laughed and remembered the good times, rather than being sad about what we were celebrating, the Abschied. It all went well– the food, the candles, the drinks, and of course, us AJYers… Everyone got an award of some kind, and mine were Most Likely to Suck up Shamelessly to Herr Doerr (a teacher of ours, love him…), the Queen of the Penny Markt Wine (i dig cheep wine, no shame), and Most Likely to Hook up with a guy who has a girlfriend… hm, what do those say about me? 🙂

But I have thought about how I want to remember the night of the goodbyes, the night after the goodbye party… And I have come to the conclusion, that unless I write myself a historical novel that explains my emotions, thoughts, and experiences sine we all met there, I can’t. So, I will do my best so that I don’t forget, so that down the road I can look on this experience and remember it fully…

Friday would technically have been our last day. Thursday night Brandon and Amy were here at our house and said goodbye to us, since they were leaving Friday morning. Afterwards, Emily, Katie, and me went back to Em’s room and talked… It was a good therapy session… A few down, some to go..

So on the way back from the gym Friday I met Lisa at her apartment and helped her carry her stuff for the Flee Market to The Center… Sitting there, in her packed up room, for the first time it hit me that she was leaving… She really was heading home, she was even returning things to the Flea Market that she had received when we all got here– the cycle of AJY was continuing– with or without our consent. She passed a few things on to me– like a big candle we had swiped from an irish pub, towels, etc… But, we hopped the bus together for the last time and headed into town, our arms full of memories that she was just going to sell to the next semester’s students. It seemed so… I dunno… Heartless.

Two Linfielders came through to stay the weekend with me, so I had some old faces around throughout this all… By the time I got them from the train station and we met up with the AJYers, it was close to midnight. So we all wandered around the Altstadt, looking for a pub to spend our last night, and that meant the bar on campus. They were closing so we all grabbed a quick beer and just stood around talking, not talking… And then the guys and us ladies parted ways, and the first round of goodbyes were said. And us girls just stood there, as they climbed the steps towards the door, it was like they were on stage, one last encore… And when the door closed behind them, we just stood there, the lone females, not really believing they were gone, our tears revealing what we all were thinking…

Us ladies went and had our last doener together, and Katie and Emily headed home. So the final three AJYers– Lisa, Sarah, and me, and my Linfield friends, headed up to the castle with a bottle of wine. And after the long hike up, we were at the castle about 2 am, looking out over a dark and cold night in Heidelberg. I have seen the castle in many lights and I have been in many moods on those grounds, but the thing I was feeling that night at the castle will remain a memory, a very special one. We walked around the grounds for a bit, and ended up on teh balcony that overlooks the Neckar River and the Altstadt… And, Lisa opened her goodbye wine, we prosted it to the road ahead of Lisa, and drank it to the bottom…

And we just sat up there, overlooking the magical town that held the last four months, and reflected on what it had meant, favorite moments, quotes, the good stuff. It was… surreal… that’s a good way to put it. Finally, as it began to rain on us, we knew the time was approaching to head towards the train station. I watched Lisa’s eyes as she said goodbye to the castle, knowing that soon enough, I would be doing the same…

We hiked back down into town, and Lisa and me took a cab to the train station… We got to the train station around 4 am, in time to meet up to tell Chas goodbye… And, once again, we took some final pics, and sent him on his way, warm wishes gallore… And we regrouped at Lisa’s apartment about an hour later to take the final three– Dom, Tony, and Lisa to the train station, one last time.

I had thought a lot about those last few moments, what to expect, what to say, what to do… Christi said goodbye to them and headed home, so the only people left were the three leaving, and Boo and me. The five of us walked down to their platform, not really believing that the train sitting there on the cold, dark tracks, was taking them away. But, they didn’t get on yet. We dropped the luggage, the smokers pulled out one last cigarette, prosted them up, and lit up… And we all stood there, silent, tired, ignoring the clock that was clicking away to the moment the train would leave. I had so many things to say to them all, so much that I didn’t know where to start. But, at the time, I felt like we were in a black and white movie, the group of us alone on the tracks, in the early morning, the fog around us, the fog our own breaths were creating, the rain dripping from the covering above onto the train top… The clock, still inching towards 6.21 am… And finally, in the silence, the time came to put the bags on the train. For a moment Lisa and I were on the train, and I just hugged her, told her it wasn’t nice to leave Heidelberg, and then got off the train. As the train’s engine started up we had one last round of hugs and goodbyes. And the train pulled away, and they were gone. Just like that, gone. The train made just enough smoke to be dramatic, like the last scene of our black and white movie…

And Boo and me, just standing there, watching it leave, and every part of me wanted to run after the train, waving and yelling, ‘Tschues, AJY Fuer Leben!’ but that would have been a lkittle too much… So, instead, I just stood there, watching and waving, as they headed back to their lives…

But at that second, I had a thought. I was standing in Heidelberg, Germany on a platform, with a guy who I was going with to Prague for New Year’s, saying goodbye to three friends I didn’t even know six months before, and it hit me, that we were almost adults… We had made a choice to come here, gotten ourselves here, survived a semester, and taken care of eachother and ourselves. We weren´t just kids without their parents, we were responsible and had this amazing experience without anybody to depend on, but ourselves..

So, as soon as they were out of sight, Boo put his arm around me as I wiped my cheeks, and we walked up the steps and away from the Platform…

As I was walking towards the door to leave, I couldn’t help but stare at the reflection walking towards me, getting closer and closer, dressed all scrubby, exhausted looking, and yet I looked… fulfilled. I walked through those doors just an hour before, surrounded by friends, making fun of each other… I found comfort in my relfection, standing alone, because I didn’t look lost and alone… I looked satisfied and grateful for those I had the opportunity to know, I looked confident, ready to take on whatever the world was willing to give me…

Category : Europe | Germany | South | Heidelberg , Uncategorized