A lot has happened in the seven months since I've last posted, and not a day has gone by without my thinking of my time in Europe. It used to be a painful reflection, and to be completely honest, it still aches - more than I'd like to admit. But the aches have, for the most part, revealed themselves as indicating wonderful memories edged with happiness. And I don't regret for an instant my choice of going to Germany. I'm filled with such happiness at the thought of my exchange there.
I wrote this blog with the intents of being as honest as I could be to portray the reality of my exchange for you to read, and for me to look back on and remember. There have been details that I've had to leave out for privacy reasons, but I am satisfied with this as being a good portrayal of my year, and I hope that you are as well.
There's so much I will always want to say. Another reason that I haven't written before now, is not due to laziness, but for a simple confusion as to how I could ever hope to convey all that I need to tell you.
Every single moment of my last week in Germany was a memorable one. A friend came to visit me from Canada, and I got to show her all of my favourite parts of Hamburg, while also discovering a few new favourites that I promise myself that I will see again.
Saying goodbye to my host family was probably one of the most heart-wrenching experiences I had ever gone through. I am not ashamed to admit that I am crying a little - okay, a lot - as I write this. It was composed of my host mom taking some last pictures of my friend and me in the back garden, my ruffling my host dog's fur a little - with whom I had quite the complicated love-hate (but mostly love) relationship - and hugging my host siblings goodbye. All with a smile on my face, or as close as I could get to such. I don't believe I was able to hide how I was feeling very well though, as my host mom grabbed a pair of sunglasses for me to wear for a while, to cover my eyes. The drive to the airport was mostly silent, our destination hanging over our heads, thickening the air and congesting our lungs. However, we also tried to keep it a bit upbeat. When we arrived at the airport, my host parents went with my friend and I as far as they could go without a ticket - and the final point before no-entry for non-ticket holders was filled with minute-long hugs with each of my host parents, and long talks during the hugs, accompanied with smiles through the tears.
The trip back to Canada was eventful but fun, and it definitely lightened my mood (despite the hours spent in lines). There were thunderstorms on and off all across Europe on the day we left, which was either delaying, cancelling, or slowing down all flights in Europe. Our flight to Frankfurt arrived just as our flight to London was taking off. Since so many people had missed their flights, it took us many hours of multiple line-ups to have the airline arrange for new flights and hotel rooms for the both of us. As a result of this though, we were placed in what must have been one of the nicest hotels I have ever seen for the night, with free meals, rooms, and transportation to and fro the airport complimentary of the airline. The hotel had a breathtaking view of the Frankfurt skyline by night - unfortunately, cameras did nothing to capture the astounding beauty of the moment. Although this all resulted in our arriving in Canada a day later than originally planned, I couldn't complain - in fact, I hope to have it happen to me again someday.
The rest of our flights went without a hitch, and life since returning to Canada has been composed of summer jobs and homework, meeting up with friends and family that I hadn't seen in more than a year, and making plenty of new friends as well.
I refuse to let this be the end of this blog though. It's not over. I have some vague plans for travel already being outlined, with a Plan B and a Plan C tucked away in my mind for how I will continue experiencing the world firsthand in the future; I plan to blog every possible future adventure here. I will make a new tab for each one in the navigation bar as they happen.
Who knows what will happen next? I'm excited to see where I will be going, and who I will be meeting.
To Germany, to Poland, to Denmark, to the Netherlands, to who knows where else (and to you, dear readers - to whom I'm incredibly grateful for reading my experience and giving me the encouragement to keep cataloging it):