Moments may be temporary, but memories last forever.
From waking up at six in the morning and wishing my roommate Marcial goodbye to running across the Newark, New Jersey airport with 10 minutes until my connecting flight left, I’ve experienced a surreal amount of emotions throughout this trip - including but not limited to joy, fear, curiosity and trust.
My trip started on July 8, with me knowing absolutely no one and nothing in Berlin. After arriving back in Miami, Florida, my attitude towards the trip before and now have transitioned from curious to comfortable. CIEE provided me with academic and cultural opportunities not many high school students experience during the summer.
For the past three weeks, I spent most of my time studying and working on global entrepreneurship projects, meeting local startup businesses and exploring the beautiful city of Berlin, Germany.
However, there were certain moments and excursions during my time there that left me amazed and pensive about my future.
One being our trip at the Reichstag, symbolizing the beginning; another one a few blocks away from the parliament at an evening lightshow, symbolizing the blurry middle; and the other at Potsdam, symbolizing the end.
Although our trip to the Reichstag, German Parliament, felt like any other excursion; it really hit me that most of us were close friends by the last week. Travelling in immense groups was no longer the case. We would wander off across the city in small friend groups and cliques, unaware that half of us would never see each other again. All we really cared about was making the most of our time in Berlin. That symbolized our physical end of the trip, but a new beginning as real friends and not peers who were seen as classmates and only that.
The light show I like to call "the blurry middle" near the Reichstag defined my trip as a "night to remember.” After watching a thirty minute show by the river symbolizing the end of the wall and the beginning of Berlin’s future, my friends and I visited the Brandenburg Gate one last time for captured memorabilia, or in other words, pictures. From then on, I already missed them. We might've been still together for a few more nights, but like everyone else, I was ready to go home. Both sad and joyful, I let the night of the lightshow and Brandenburg Gate become a short transition towards my goodbyes.
The next day we took a train to Potsdam, a small town in the countryside of Germany. For me, Potsdam became an ethereal combination of tiredness, realizations and appreciation. We arrived at the quiet but architecturally beautiful city on the last real morning we had, slowly realizing that this would be our last excursion as a “group.” Although one of the more basic activities, I see Potsdam as one of my favorites. The reason being because WE became more comfortable with each other, appreciating our last moments together a little more and accepting the end towards this beautiful trip.
We might all live in the United States, but our physical and emotional borders are what keep us separated from each other. It’s hard realizing that as soon as all of us arrived home that we would all live our own lives; different and separate from everyone else. We might’ve known each other for less than a month but for me I felt like I’ve known some of you all my life. I’m lucky that this year as I visit colleges out of state and travel the country with my debate team I may see some of you along the way; continuing our relatively new friendships with even more new memories.
To the people who I’ve met along the way as well as the adults who’ve given me a new view on what independence means - you’ve all left beautiful memories and life lessons for me to remember and cherish.
Danielle, Max, Aly, Alexandra, Mario - the times I’ve had with you all, regardless if they were short or personal, were enjoyable from start to finish. I’m happy that you were all incredible role models as program leaders and teachers for me. I’ve grown during my stay; thank you for believing in me.
Friends, especially Marcial and Celanie; most of you on this trip left a special place in my heart. Acquaintances are easy to come by, but good friends are hard finding.
Thank you all for being a part of my summer.
Let’s hope my reverse culture shock isn’t too draining!
Until next time,
Kenzo K :)