It’s been nearly a week since I got back from Germany, and to be honest, it’s been a little uncomfortable.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I woke up thinking that I was still in my Freiburg bed. Then, I’d realise where I was and my heart would hurt just a little, and I’d think: “Aww goshdarnit, this time last week, I was doing ‘X,Y and Z”.

Every time I did something like make an omelette, it would remind me of Jeremy and his perfectly folded omelettes which contained smashed up potato chips and salami (a recipe acquired from a Swiss Masterchef contestant which he took a liking to, and which we all initially looked at with equal parts doubt and apprehension, only to try it, and smack our lips together with genuine delight and cry: “YUMMY!!”). This would then remind me of the erste Stock Küche and its colourful chairs and round windows, which would then remind me of Celine and the kilo of pasta she ate on the last day purely because we needed to finish all our food, which would then remind me of Jose and Itsel and the tub of hazelnut Philadelphia cream cheese (pretty much Nutella) that they gave me on the last night, which would then remind me of Gabo and the authentic Italian pasta he took two hours to make with these two Italian girls, which then reminded me of the farewell party that was later that night– and well, you get the picture.

In short, I’ve been riding the nostalgia wave and wishing that Europe wasn’t so far away.  I miss the fact that you could be on a train for half an hour and then find yourself walking in the cool, meditative depths of the Black Forest. I miss the refreshing feeling of using my brain differently and learning a language with my lovely class and teacher. I miss the easy going fun of my group of friends and the fact that in that very short space of time, they became my family.

I know it was only a month, and that it wouldn’t reflect the reality of life if I actually lived in Germany– but it was a special month. We made the most of each day, rather than moving through each day and letting the seconds slip by. We expanded our brains, enriched our souls and laughed all the time. It was a great big bubble of happy.

And, without wanting to sound ridiculously melodramatic, I think it changed me. It reminded me that we should never stop putting ourselves out there, and that we should always be stretching and learning– because that’s why we were given our super elastic brains. As Gabo says: “Even when we’re back home, we have to do something each day that makes us feel excited; break up the routine and engage with nature, different people and life”. 

Couldn’t have said it better myself, Gabo– you got it in one.

Above, are some pictures of Bilgola Beach taken today as I lay in the sand, resplendent in all of my rugged up, winter clothes glory, and every so often, created a sand angel (the beachy version of a snow angel).