last days

Last days are always fleeting, and are always the hardest but the best. I’ve always been the girl who loves beginnings; the excitement of untried tastes, the unaccustomed eyes to incredible sights, the spontaneity that characterizes a new relationship. The honeymoon stage, the what could this BE? when you step off a plane in a new country, that first conversation that lasts for hours, the moment when you pick up a pen or a paintbrush or a spatula for the first time and realize that, more than anything, you want to wear it down and use it so much and so hard that the only possible explanation for what happened was that you created masterpieces with it.

So, these last few days are particularly hard for me. The other day, Joanna was talking to me about how in the span of eight months, she will have seen her boyfriend for twenty days. I don’t want to be good at this, she said. I don’t want this to become familiar. I gave her a small, knowing half-smile and thought about how used to this I am, how familiar it is for me to say goodbye to people and places whether I am ready to or not. My goodbyes are typically ones of smiles and “see you later’s” because, in the moments of farewells, I believe in celebrating what’s been experienced rather than lamenting it. So, that’s how I’ll spend this last week. I know it’ll be a good last week because in the past, the shared moments, laughs, and conversations right before the end have been what I remember most. I think there is something wholly innate in a person that jolts us into remembering not to take things for granted when we most need that reminder. And so we often come full circle, and some of the best things about those beloved beginnings are embraced again: the newness of tastes, the sparks of relationships, the reasons we love a place and the giddiness of being wrapped up in everything foreign. I used to fight the feeling of wanting to hold on at the end, but I don’t anymore; I’ll take every bit of enjoyment out of the places and people I have come to love, please and thank you.


***

I am going to so miss the process of hand washing my laundry. I will miss my late-night snack of fried yams, and fresh mango being the first thing I taste in the morning. I will miss taking cold showers (or bucket showers) and trying to, unsuccessfully, scrub the stubborn dirt off my feet – I’ll just try again tomorrow. I’ll miss seeing the faces of my Ghanaian family here that frequent my room, days, and thoughts so often. I will miss running in evenings that are, without fail, warm and full of the sounds of summer. I’ll miss bartering for taxis, the proverbs on every single tro-tro, haggling and being “sssss”ed at. I’ll miss this dorm-style of living, and opening my door and stepping into a courtyard and steadfast sunshine every morning. Constant smiles, spicy everything, class discussions on culture and politics, quirks of the vernacular I have come to so love, the perpetual disregard for time… I’ll easily and all-too-quickly miss it all.

But I’m happy to be returning to Germany, a home of slippers, pretty parks, my puppies, trains, a dining room table, clouds, baths and olive oil. (And the World Cup, come June!) And I admit, I’m already looking forward to Elon’s fall colors, the smell of leaves and woodsy, wintery nights, working at the coffee shop and being really challenged by my classes.

Here are some things I plan on doing during my first few days home:

–    cook a healthy meal for my family
–    watch Into the Wild
–    spend 24 hours straight with my pups
–    lie in the grass in Schlossplatz
–    try to barter at Starbucks
–    ask someone what the capital of Ghana is
–    snuggle under blankets
–    make a real cup of coffee
–    take trains, all day long
–    look up how to make fufu and wish longingly I could make it

fufu! love it.

But first things first. Mom, if you’re reading this, would you be so kind as to have my first homemade meal be one of a huge salad with every vegetable imaginable, käsespätzle, something creamy with mushrooms, and a tall glass of milk? I can’t wait to hand wash those dishes in the sink.

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One Response

  1. The käsespätzle you’ll have to find at our new favorite gasthaus–what?!–me make something with cheese as the main ingredient!? You’ll be home in time for weisspargalsuppe . . . 🙂

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