Time in the past few weeks just flew by and I still cannot believe that I am right now sitting at the airport, waiting for my flight to take me to Germany for the Christmas holidays. Part of the reason for why time went by so quickly surely is that there were so many things to do lately. All those essays that are quite different to the ones I write in Germany, had to be written, seminars and presentations to be prepared and books needed to be read. Luckily I ended up enjoying the topics of every single one of my essays and even got used to the idea of a certain word count, which was something completely new to me. But especially the interesting topics – owed to a wide range of questions all students get to pick from – made the long days at the library a lot more enjoyable, than it may sound at the first instance. After all, I still managed to make enough time to meet some new people, build friendships and spend a beautiful afternoon in York with my friend Lea. And when all the work for the first term was finally done, the last lesson of my short-fat module was over and all essays were handed in, I decided to treat myself with a long awaited trip to Edinburgh that turned out to exceed all expectations and to be the perfect end to a great term.
Getting used to the routine with classes and studying, being more familiar with the city and building true friendships with some people, also brought me to realize, that there is more than one way to arrive in a new place. At first I just arrived physically, getting off the plane, arriving to Durham, not sure yet what exactly was expecting me. Somewhat later my mind arrived, as it just needed a little bit longer than a two hour flight, to feel all of this to be real. Finally, arriving with the heart and developing a sense of ‘home’ for a newplace however did require some more time. For this I needed to know, that Iwill do well with my assignments, that I will be able to learn a lot at university, that there are people to turn to when I face a problem and that I have built up trusting friendships in this new city. Being in the lucky position to feel more and more assured of all this during the past weeks, I am now sitting at the airport with this curious feeling of leaving home and going home at the same time. It may seem a bit contradictory at first, if you haven’t yet lived abroad, but once you come here, I am sure you will be able to understand what I mean.
I cannot wait to get off the plane and take the train to Marburg, where two of my dearest friends will be waiting for me at the station, because finally hugging them again is long overdue. I also can’t wait to spend Christmas with my brother, as it just wouldn’t feel like Christmas if we didn’t decorate the tree together and didn’t prepare a delicious Christmas dinner, so of course it will be wonderful to be back again and to catch up with everyone. But apart from that I am also very much looking forward to the next term at Durham university. Of course once again I won’t know what exactly will happen in the future, but I have a far better idea of what to expect and this time, when I take the plane in January, I won’t be travelling to the unknown, but I will be returning home instead. And knowing that ‘home’ isn’t necessarily defined by just where one is from, but can be anywhere we are going to, is a wonderful feeling that was once again confirmed by this exchange year in Durham.
I hope you will all have a wonderful christmas break!