At the moment:

I can't
I can't
I can't stand waiting
I can't
I can't
I can't stand waiting!

(to the tune of "I Can't Stand Losing You" by the Police
over and over and over in my head)

P.S. What a hilarious song.

P.P.S. By tune I meant rhythm—there's not much of a tune.

Flugzeug = Airplane

When I was younger, we went to the airport to pick up or drop off my aunts when they came to visit. They came from New York, from California, and from Germany. As I got older, every time we drove past I would start listing places I wanted to go. To California a second time, to New York City, to Nova Scotia, to Europe. The billboard advertising unbelievably cheap flights with Spirit Airlines would contribute to fantasies where my friends and I went on spur-of-the-moment trips.

As time went on, making an escape became more desirable: I would buy a one-way ticket and never come home. But every time I was at the airport, it was to drop off or pick up someone else. After I'd bought my ticket for the trip to Munich in February, every time I passed the airport, it was with the satisfaction that next time, I would finally be the one leaving.

I have another ticket to Munich for August, but no return date set. Now, every time I go past the airport I get nervous. When I drive between Ann Arbor and Grosse Pointe by myself, I try to think of which landmark comes next to make the drive feel faster. After I pass Ypsilanti and the Willow Run Airport exit, the next one is the Detroit Metro Airport, which is a relatively long stretch of no landmarks, a relatively long time spent anticipating the airport. Before you can actually see it, you can see planes coming in or flying out. Last Friday one flew right over my car and its shadow covered the expressway for a few seconds, which was cool.

The last few months, airplanes have equaled anxiety for me. I've forgotten that they're actually exciting. You walk through that tunnel from the terminal to the cabin, find your seat, and sit for a really long time. When you get out, somehow you're in a completely different place. Plus you're FLYING. When my family went to California we flew over the Grand Canyon, which is the closest I've been to it so far. Our seats weren't on the right side of the plane, but we went to the other side to look out at it and it was breathtaking, even at such a distance. As we descended into Las Vegas, I was fascinated by the number of pools and golf courses, surrounded by desert.

On the way to Munich, I had a window seat. When it was dark and boring but I wasn't tired enough to sleep yet, I looked out the window at the twinkly lights from cities and just happened to be watching at the perfect time. I saw the way the city lights were clustering along a curve, how past that line there was suddenly total darkness, and I wondered if we were starting the trip across the Atlantic.

When I finally got the map screen to show up, I saw that we had just crossed over New Brunswick to the ocean. I was delighted that I'd deciphered it correctly and tried to take pictures out the window so I could show everyone I knew. They were too blurry to show the shoreline in the dark, but just remembering it now makes me excited about airplanes all over again—even if spending ten hours in one cramped seat is a pain in the ass (ha ha ha).

Was mache ich? = What am I doing?

I am studying in Freiburg, Germany for an entire academic year. In the German system, that stretches about ten months, but the foreign students come early for intensive German classes, bringing it to a total of eleven and a half months abroad. Lately, all I can think about is the vastness of that number and how impossible it is to comprehend. You can say that it's only a year, but then again—it's a YEAR.

When I occasionally am able to push the anxiety about time to the back of my mind, I still worry about the expenses, the loans I'm going be taking and the terrible exchange rate and the cost of travel. When I think about next year, it's money money money and time time time and stress stress stress. I think my friends will stop writing me letters and replace me, or that when I come back they won't like who I've become, if these eleven and a half months are as important as I think they will be.

Yesterday I was at my great aunt's 97th birthday party (I was disappointed; my mom had told me it was her 98th and I'd told all my friends and then I was wrong!). I told my relatives about my plans and everyone just talked about what a great opportunity it was for me, how lucky I was and how far I was going to go and just WHAT AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE A YEAR IN EUROPE WILL BE.

I mentioned I was sort of terrified, and everyone told me not to be. I'll see so much, learn so much, make so many friends. My cousin is convinced that within a few months I'll be fluent.

The thing is, I haven't even thought about language problems and total immersion being scary and the possibility of not making good friends in Germany. I'm too caught up in the people (and cats) who will still be in America, forgetting me more and more each day. I guess I need to forget about them forgetting about me, because it probably won't happen. Then, I need to start focusing on GERMANY. FREIBURG. Not gallivanting across the totality of Europe in nine weeks, not heading down to Africa, and not how I'm going to miss Christmas in the Krankenhaus. I need to remember that I decided to go to Germany for a year for good reasons.

Next up...perhaps I will expand on those reasons. Perhaps not.