I never posted about my last 18 days in Berlin. Unfortunately, it's been awhile now and I don't remember things as well as I might have if I blogged them right after I got home. But I'll go ahead and give you a rundown of the things I can remember. Of course one of the big things that happened just after I got back from Munich was my birthday. I spent the whole day running around the city by myself. I visited some Christmas markets, did a little shopping. It was really great, except that I was seriously at the end of my shoes' life and my feet were soaked within 15 minutes of going out. Other than that, it was awesome. And my host family even took me out for dinner that night. I choose Indian food and they took me to a restaurant that I hadn't tried before. We had way, way too much food, but it was really good. I just love Indian food so much. I definitely need to find somewhere to satisfy that craving back home.
I can't remember which day it was exactly, but I know sometime in this time period I went to the Christmas party for the Kita. I went to one for my Hopi group and got to meet all the kids' parents, which was really nice. They even gave me a little present. And then I went to one in the evening for all the employees of the various Kitas and Horts. It was a lot of fun. I met some new people and got a gift card to Karstadt. And I got to hang out in a really fancy restaurant and eat some delicious food, so that's a win!
And then one week before I left I spent my last day out exploring Berlin. I did some shopping (and used my Karstadt giftcard for a cute new shirt and purse!) I hit some more Christmas markets, including the big one at Schloss Charlottenburg, which was extremely beautiful. I ate sausages and all manner of sweets. I drank the requisite Gluhwein, which I did not particularly care for, though I did appreciate the souvenir mug :) And I went and saw Wreck It Ralph, which was so cute. I loved it. Even though I was one of only three people in the theater, lol. So it was a good day and I plan to cherish the memories of that day for the rest of my life.
On my last night in Berlin I went out to dinner with my host mom and the kids. We went to the Italian place near the new house. I don't remember what I ate, but I remember that it was delicious and that the kids behaved quite well. It was a really nice little dinner and a good way to get to say goodbye one last time.
So basically those are the big things that happened that I remember. I know there were a lot of goodbyes and definitely some mixed feelings. As excited as I was to go home, I could feel how much I was going to miss that city and everyone that I met there.
On Thursday, December 20th I got up early and my host mom drove me to the airport. My two suitcases, duffel bag, and backpack were all completely stuffed, though I have no idea how since most of my clothes and shoes were so worn out that they had to be thrown out. There was some confusion with my tickets that morning, but we eventually figured it out. I said my last goodbye and walked through the gates. Of course, it took me more than 24 hours to get home thanks to the fact that all three legs of my flight were delayed. But I did make it eventually and I can't even describe how nice it was to see my mom waiting for me in the Spokane airport.
Since I've been home, things have been a little crazy. I found that stepping back into my old life wasn't really gonna be a possibility, so I've been working on building a new one. I bought a car and got a job. I'm working on building new relationships and figuring out exactly what I want to do from here on. And that's the hard part. All the changes I went through in the past year have left me with a completely blank canvas. I may know myself better than ever, but this is by far the least I've ever known about my future. And I think that's ok.
I miss Berlin every single day. I miss the kind of people you find there. I miss the parks and culture. I miss the sound of the train approaching my platform. I miss the ease of meeting people. I miss döner. I miss my kids. I miss the undeniable history. I miss the opportunity to learn more and more German every day. I miss all my friends. I miss the night life. I miss it all. But for now I'm looking for my next big adventure. Probably I will stay in the States for awhile, but I make no guarantees. All I know is that somewhere along the way I grew into a person that I never realized I could be. A person that I am extremely proud of.
And all I can hope is that someday I get to experience the magic that is Berlin once again.
It was hard, by far the hardest thing I have ever done, but it was also worth it. Spending a year as an au pair in Berlin, Germany is far and away the best decision I ever made.
I'll leave you with one last song. I usual post the artist's video, but I think the video for this one is terrible and really distracts from the beauty of the song, so here is this one instead. The lyrics, as always, really connect with how I feel right now. It's called Radioactive by Imagine Dragons. Enjoy, and goodbye!