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#NewYearsPlans #Berlin #ReturningToMaastrichtSoon!

Through the eyes of a G(raduate)

The holidays started off with a lot of thoughts, worries and plans circling around the city of Maastricht and my future plans i.e. find an internship; get a job (but first get my university degree). Those faded away quickly once I had arrived in my hometown, Berlin. It felt good to let go (for a little while) of my rather hectic and unclear future plans, and instead embrace the thought that, whatever the future had in store for me, things will be ok. Every New Years, I find myself in a Berliner’s living room, surrounded by my favorite people, the table is set, the candles are lit and everyone is exchanging stories and ‘current life affairs’ about friendship, jobs and new/old boyfriends’ gossip. These stories that are hidden from the daily Facebook newsfeed or Instagram ‘pics’ remind me of the value of catching up face-to-face as opposed to making a virtual impression on each other’s walls.

Even though New Year’s seems to be about novelty, ‘making a wish’ etc., what I honestly like the most about this time of the year is seeing old friends. That makes me feel like time has stood still for a little while. Around these friends time goes slowly, childhood and teenager memories are too close to feel ‘old’.

Once the clock hits midnight, time speeds up again and everyone goes his or her separate way to meet again in some ‘Berliner’ bar.

Later on that night, I had a conversation with one of those typical Berliner ‘hipsters’. The conversation quickly switched from my studies and Maastricht to my plans to move to Berlin very soon. This is “the place to be” he said to me, while he was leaning over holding a bottle champagne in one of his hands, while the other one was searching in his ‘justebeutel’ for a lighter. Once he lights the cigarette, his face lights up too: glitter from silver to green makes its way from his cheeks to his hairline. While my stories about Maastricht continued (I’m irritated by the fact that he had more glitter on his face than I have ever had), the ‘disco ball’ looks at me with uninterested eyes. Clearly, he could have not cared less about my soon to be old love Maastricht.

It is an odd feeling leaving this city behind. There is one more exam to write, one more final paper to hand in, and one more column to be written after this one. Weirdly, this makes me think of all the things that I have not seen as opposed to the things that I have experienced. Did I miss out on something? Oddly enough, I am still asking myself, should I have learned Dutch? And…. Is Berlin really the place to be, for me at least? What I know for sure is that once I am back in town these worrying thoughts will return. Once alone, time does not stand still, not even for a little while. So I guess it is time to start figuring things out and very soon. Thankfully, I am a big fan of do-to-lists!

Lea Schäfer

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