“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans” .
We’ve all seen this statement somewhere, whether on a leaflet dropped through the letterbox or added onto the ring of your parents’ car keys. I woke up to it every day of my childhood on a fridge magnet that stood between me and the milk for my morning Cornflakes. It’s the sort of thing you usually read almost accidentally, taking in the words but rarely the meaning attached.
Here I am, back in my old bedroom having allowed an entire month to lapse since my last post. Oopsy.
In retrospect, the past few weeks have been a wonderfully hectic blur of organisation, goodbyes, sleeplessness, new things and travel. Going on a night hike, leaving an erasmus party early in order to scramble through the darkness of 2am while simultaneously cursing my life choices, rewarded those of us mad enough to partake with the opportunity to bid a fond farewell to a sunrise-splashed Salzburg from the glorious (if utterly freezing) summit of Untersberg. I was satisfied that I had said a proper goodbye to my adopted city but the knot that was tightening in my stomach told me that I was not quite ready to come home.
In between cleaning and packing up the life that I had forged for myself in Austria, there was the bittersweet task of parting ways with the people who had come to mean so much to me during my time there. I had already had a taste of this in the first semester and it hadn’t been pleasant, so I attempted to suspend all necessary goodbyes until the night before my departure from Munich on Sunday the 28th of June. The thing about living in another country is that your friends don’t just fill the function of companions but are also a support network, becoming a replacement family of sorts who are almost always up for socialising (in our case this was most often in a food-related capacity). Sad as I was to say goodbye to Salzburg, I was finding it more difficult to face the prospect of turning my back on this Erasmus experience and to know that never would the same group of people be able to collect under the same sky in the manner that I had grown so accustomed.
Saturday night encroached with a spectacular thunderstorm in tow and, to quote Pavarotti, it was time to say goodbye. A feeling of disbelief buoyed me through the sea of tearful partings, the exchanging of heartfelt gifts, letters, contact details and countless promises of future reunions. Then it was time for myself and my (overweight) baggage to turn our journey homewards and begin a new job (with a *ahem* brief stopover in Cyprus thrown in for good measure).
I had been so busy that I had barely noticed a wonderful chapter in my life begin and end. I feel I gained so much over the past year, most importantly a head full of unforgettable memories and a heart full of irreplaceable friends.
Now, where to next?