Many love stories start out the way this one did. As I walked through the park this Sunday morning, I watched two dogs chase each other. The larger one ran just out of reach of the smaller, plump, couch dog as if to say, “Nah nah na naa nah!” The owner whistled, breaking my fascination with the dogs when I heard the same notes used by my mother. I thought about how I hadn’t been running, I hadn’t even walked through the park on a Sunday in many weeks. The bitter cold 25F/-4C temperature is not that inviting, but I’d forgotten all the things it gives you as it simultaneously takes away all your body heat. You see the families, the children shrieking, the runners, the dogs, the adults- all relaxing with nowhere specific to be or rush to.
Since coming back to the German Sunday park scene, I finally see how madly in love I am with this place. Reentering my dorm I say hi to yet another unfamiliar face I pass, noting the smell of warm chicken soup throughout the stairwell. Like many love stories, it took weeks, months, years, of people telling me how in love I am before I truly realized it myself. People would say that I wasn’t coming back from Germany, that I was going to fall in love and not want to leave. It’s the same blinding love people describe, saying things like, ‘When we met, I never even thought of us spending the rest of our lives together,’ or, ‘It was just a friendly, short-term thing.’ What is it about love, that makes us not want to accept it when others tell us? We don’t believe others can understand what’s going on inside?
One hundred thirty-eight days after my arrival to and one hundred ninety-one days before my departure from Germany, I’ve finally come to my senses. I am amidst final papers and tests (including studying for this final that is 100% of my grade,) and figuring out (yet another) hip injury. I am planning my family’s trip to Germany in February and my two (separate) trips to Spain in March, while also anticipating the arrival my friend. They say that times of craze are times of breakthrough. I think I just had one. I have yet to publish the rest of my stories from Sweden and Austria and wish for just a few more hours in the day to do so, but instead, I go out and enjoy time with my newfound love. It is through learning the secrets, the ways through the backstreets, having a favorite restaurant, and building a basis for a relationship that true love comes, and I think I’ve found that.
See all my photos from January in Hamburg here on my Flikr page.