During the process of deciding whether exchange was for me, I made a list of things that were holding me back. Right near the top of the list, just under my cat and mum’s cooking, was Easter. The Easter week is a highlight, year in and year out. Not only does it help us to remember the best thing to have happened to the human race but is a time that I get to meditate on this with some of the best people in the world. Seriously. We attend a Christian convention in the Blue Mountains and stay in a house with way too many families, eat too much chocolate and take too many lookout photos. Some of my nearest and dearest I met at this convention 15 years ago. Shout out namely to the wonderful Beth Spencer. Anyway, this was something that I definitely didn’t want to miss and as the first week of April came closer, the FOMO of this week moved into the forefront of my mind. How lucky I was to have been blessed with such a great alternative.
Monday and Tuesday were pretty uneventful – long days at uni, followed by long nights not doing uni work. Tuesday night consisted of staying at school after the weekly German night class with Chloe to print off Photoshopped posters for Jena’s 21st the next day. Jan joined around 10 and jumped on board, and the three of us printed and laughed into the wee hours of Wednesday morning. On arrival at home, we stuck post-its around the kitchen with ‘Happy Birthday Jena’ or ‘Dude it’s your birthday!’ on them, reminding the b’day girl of a day that she’d been reminding us of for weeks. Spent the day with her and then we went out to dinner at a local cafe/bar/restaurant. Being an American, Jena had never thought about touching alcohol until this day so I asked the waiter what he would recommend for us to order for her. He said ‘let me deal with it’ and returned with this pink drink thing with a firework coming out of it. After a lovely dinner and at Jena’s request, we returned home where we were met by some other exchange students and locals to watch Space Jam.
The next day was a long day of animation cut short by a trip to Berlin. I caught the bus, a train, another train, another train, an aeroplane and another aeroplane back to the city that I love. After a short delay, 2 drug pat downs and 2 laptop swabs, I was met by my German other half Daniela at Tegel airport. She’s a bit of a sarcastic jerk but I love her to death. She drove me home in her smart car, where I met her model of a mother, ate pretzel sticks and drank Peppermint Tea. (Which became a bit of a habit due to a pretty dreadful cold/flu/fever). Friday morning I woke up late, my health getting the better of me. I went downstairs to a beautiful brunch for Dani and I of eggs, grapes, raspberries, german bread, cheese, coffee, tea, cream, milk, muesli set against candles in the shape of eggs. Afterwards, I met up with my host sister from my 2011 exchange Helen at Piccadilly, a little cafe in Frohnau. We joked that although FOUR years have passed – nothing in Frohnau has changed, the cars still parked in the same place and the crotchety cashiers still the same. (Not even a joke). Following coffee, I went back to the house that I lived in for 2 months to visit her parents – Uli and Lif – we ate cake and reminisced. Easter Friday lunch was had at Dani’s parents Italian marketplace/restaurant which I’d heard much about but had never visited. It was phenomenal. Italian wines, salads, dishes can be seen left, right and centre. We ate fantastic pasta with even more fantastic calamari/squid as a side. Following this, fruit was consumed with Italian cream. Full – Dani and I headed home and prepared ourselves for going into the city to grab a drink with a friend, Isabel, in a small bar. It was lovely but my cold resulted in a Pepsi Light and nibbling on the lime to soothe the throat.
The next morning I woke up and skyped some of the people who make life in Sydney as good as it is. Gilly, Hugo, Bluey, Tim, and Jobey were a much appreciated injection of Australian humour and additionally assisted in the diagnosis of my illness – menopause. Dani and I spent the day in the city, visiting art galleries, backing out of impulsive piercings and going shopping. (Mostly window shopping due to having a taste much higher than our wallets allow.) The following day, Easter Sunday, we received Easter gifts and brunched at Dani’s aunty’s house in the same suburb. There, I also received gifts (ridiculously unnecessary) and was shown some photos from a recent Maldives trip. One of the highlights would had to have been provoking Fiona, the cat. Full – again – I was driven to the airport via the Italian restaurant where I was farewelled by some of the best parents I have ever met. How welcomed I was and how much it meant to me that over Easter I was so cared for. In the smart car, Dani drove me to the airport, Taylor Swift blasting and conversation dominated by talk of next week’s Amsterdam road trip.
I find myself now, looking out of the window of seat 15F towards the end of the second leg of my flight home. The sun is beautifully setting and my ears are causing me a lot of unnecessary pain but I feel satisfied and thankful that no matter where I am in the world I have people who so openly love and care for me and a God who does so even more.
Lots of photos – not particularly touristy as spent most of the time seeing people as opposed to places. Don’t know why they’re in the order that they’re in.
German class view
legit YOLOPlane care package from Dani’s aunt