Category Archives: Travel

Posts about venturing outside of Hamburg.

Time, ticking out of control (part 1)

Do you ever feel like time passes you by; as if you and time are in a race, and time makes it around the track before you do?
I often feel like this, but never has time’s passing felt so swift or overwhelming to me.  I really feel as if I have lost track of life, and this makes me feel rather uneasy.  What I’m about to say may make you think that I don’t appreciate what I have (in being here), but to me it seems like not all that much has happened in the last month and a half.  I feel like I haven’t done much.
Maybe it’s time’s fault for moving so quickly, or maybe it’s mine for not proceeding through time with enough care.   Maybe it’s just a matter of my memories being scattered and disorganized.  Hopefully both you and I will feel that I haven’t squandered these last several weeks when this post is through.  (Hah, I bet you can’t tell already that I harbor some guilt about how things are going…)
Enough introspection!

I’ll start from where I left off in January.  A couple of days after my McDonald’s trip, I went on a day trip to see Schweriner Schloss in Schwerin, Mecklenberg-Vorpommern.   The folks from the UH Environmental Wind Tunnel Laboratory graciously invited me along to go sightseeing that day, as they were entertaining visitors from the US Naval Research Laboratory.
The train ride to Schwerin was pretty, and I was surprised to see that there was still green vegetation in the countryside.  Schwerin itself is gorgeous, with charming and typically European buildings and several small lakes scattered in and around town.
After a coffee break downtown, we walked a short distance to our destination.  The Schloss (castle) was originally the seat of the Duchy of Mecklenberg; now, part of it serves as the parliament of Mecklenberg-Vorpommern, of which Schwerin is the capital.  From having seen the castle’s interior, it’s not overtly apparent that the region was poor; the place is full of intricate parquet floors, silk-covered walls and beautiful antiquities.  I’m still pretty bummed that photography was not allowed inside, but what can you do?  The castle is currently undergoing exterior restoration, most of which is finished. The sun was just about to set as we were leaving, and the castle really glowed.  It was awesome.  My pal Martin took this (unedited!) picture of me and the beautiful luminosity:
I have several more pictures of this place, but I don’t have enough space for them on WordPress.  They’ll end up on my long-neglected picture blog…eventually.  (I know without being told that I’m bad at blogging! ; ] )
After a delicious dinner, we rode back to Hamburg, making sure to grab a couple of six-packs for the (rail)road.  Beer + train rides = good times, just so you know.

So.  That was the day before I got some bad news.  The following Friday, I flew home, and I was really dreading the 15 hours of travel on which I was to embark.  In hard times like that, it’s really hard for me to be alone.  I thought, here I am, flying home alone, and nobody is going to talk to me all day.  I’ll be seated next to nobody, as always, and I’ll get home and break into a million pieces.  After arriving in Chicago, I was to take the bus to Evanston, where I’d meet my Uncle to catch a ride back to Wisconsin that evening.
Well friends, this did not happen as expected.
When I arrived at London Heathrow, I decided that instead of exploring the airport like I usually do, I wanted to sit at my gate and try to nap, since I hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before.  I quietly sat down next to a girl who I later noticed was wearing a UW Cycling jacket.  Wisconsin or Washington? I thought about asking, but didn’t.  Pretty soon she got up and went away, and I fell asleep.
When we boarded the plane a few hours later, I saw this same girl a few rows in front of me.  Now she looked quite familiar, but I couldn’t put a name to her face.  Somehow my eagle-sharp eyes (har-har!) were able to see the name on her boarding pass (which she conveniently held in my line of sight), and I realized that I knew this girl.  Actually, not only did I know her, we’d been friends since elementary school!  This was an incredible surprise, and catching up with her was super fun and even a little cathartic.  She and her dad gave me a ride home, which created somewhat of a fiasco for my Uncle (but worked out perfectly for me, since we were all going to…well almost the same place).  I still feel guilty about how that went down.

Being back in Wisconsin was really difficult.  I don’t think too many people care to read about super depressing stuff like Grandmas dying, so I’ll spare you the details.  As selfish as it sounds, I was really glad to be back on a plane to Germany the following Thursday.  Even though I left much of my stress back in Wisconsin, it still took me a very long time to readjust.  I’m not kidding you when I say that it was almost a month before I had any sort of motivation to get out and do stuff.  But, no worries, things are much better now!
I would really like to thank all of you for your thoughts and well-wishes during that time.  I know I haven’t been too vocal anywhere about it, but I really appreciate all of the friendship and understanding I’ve had through everything.  I know I have the best friends ever!

Maybe this is a good stopping point…we’ll have a multi-part series of catching up!  How’s that?  (Actually, I don’t care about what you think.  Okay, well, I do, but this is kind of a my-way-or-the-highway thing, you know?)

Hope you’ve been well.  Don’t be a stranger!  You can call or text an American phone number to reach me, or leave a comment here.  Even better, you can mail me something!  Let me know if you want my address or phone number.

Bis nächstes Mal!