This summer, I spent almost a month in Germany. I went because my freshly minted boyfriend said, “Come see me. Stay for as long as you can.”
And so I did. I bought a ticket one evening when we were Skyping and missing each other like crazy and I’d had a couple of beers. I started looking up flights and realized I could go for $450.
So I did.
It was spontaneous, it was impulsive, it was a little bit insane. It could have been a disaster.
But it wasn’t.
Quite the opposite, in fact. It was, in many ways, the most wonderful summer of my life.
It was long, lazy afternoons on the river, all green fields and golden light. It was family dinners in the garden discussing world politics. It was Jan playing “Captain Kennedy” and Joan Baez songs while we all sang along. It was rooftop dinners with friends who accepted me right away, and hanging out drinking Radlers and Augustiners in BismarckPlatz in the summer evening light. It was jewel-colored gelato at the end of the bike rides into town.
It was late-night conversations about science with Andi on the bike rides back. It was Ahmad’s sweet smile and exquisite art. It was summer festivals in cobblestone streets, melding into the crowd feeling ready to wander and talk and sing and eat and celebrate just being alive on a perfect summer evening.
It was the night of the summer solstice, hanging out late late late with friends and pushing our bikes back together, talking about the future of biotech as the dawn broke over the rising misty fields and the last stars faded away.
It was Jules, who makes me go all heart-eyes and butterflies (still).
People kept asking me: what do you miss about the States? Apart from my friends and family (and enormous cups of coffee), I could honestly answer: nothing. Of course, the language barrier was frustrating at times, and being in a new place always requires a bit of orientation. But funnily enough, Germany often feels more like home than the U.S.
In May, I was at the tail end of a year of total upheaval and deep heartache. But light comes. Summer comes. And let me tell you: summer, especially in Germany, is so, so beautiful.