Love Letter to Leipzig

Authored By:

Zoe S.

Of all the cities in Germany I have visited, I’ve never felt so immediately drawn to a city. Leipzig is the perfect outfit you’ve been searching for your whole life. You put it on, all the colors work together, everything fits perfectly and you can’t help thinking it was made just for you and no one else in the world. The two short days I spent during my Osterferien wandering through the city were so lovely that when I close my eyes, I can still remember all the smallest details and how it felt to walk around, the cool air sweeping through my hair. Even as I write now, that charming vision of bustling streets and sweet spring blossoms stands fresh in my memory. 

The sun was shining the entire time I was there (I know, a miracle for the whole of Germany), and after months of sweater weather, I could finally slip into a short-sleeved shirt, my skin soaking up the warm rays. I found myself completely alone with all the freedom in the world.

Every corner I turned, the street echoed with laughter and chatter. The Easter markets buzzed with people buying trinkets and Easter decorations. Accordion players lined the edges of the street and played a fast, lighthearted tune that was so pretty it made me stop and listen in the middle of the street. If I could dance, I think I would’ve actually danced. The whole atmosphere of the city was like when I first came to Germany, where everything was fresh and fascinating.

After some time and many distractions, I found myself in front of the Bach Museum. It’s no secret that Leipzig is the musical Zentrum of Germany. Bach, Mendelssohn, the Schumanns, Mahler, and more composers I can’t remember right now all lived and worked in Leipzig. The museum was in the heart of the city next to the St. Thomas Church, where Bach performed his works. I made my way through the museum and devoured his manuscripts and all the bits of information scattered throughout the building. There’s probably still a part of my brain swimming with random Bach facts. Did you know he wrote over 300 cantatas? And he had 20 children? Krass, oder?

After a day of exploring, I woke up the next morning and thought I should make the most of my time before I left on the train with my grandparents to continue our spring vacation. I decided to become a street musician.

Luckily, I had packed my violin with me to practice during the break, and I thought it was the perfect opportunity. Truthfully, I haven’t busked since I was maybe ten years old, but the adrenaline of the city fueled me. I found a spot on the street and nervously stood there researching the city regulations on busking, which I already had committed to memory the day before. It feels so awkward to start playing. After telling myself the worst thing I could do was annoy passing walkers until they kicked me off the street, I opened my case and played the few songs I had memorized. After about twenty minutes, the chilly morning air became too much for me, my hands frozen and stiff. I made €12.86 and called it a day. My first time busking in Germany!

After my short street musician adventure, I boarded the train and felt my heart twist a little as I watched the beautiful city of my dreams fade into the distance from the window of my seat. It truly was a whirlwind romance; short, sweet, and unforgettable.

The time I spent in Leipzig, devoid of responsibility or anxiety, reminded me how freeing it is to live in the moment. I often find myself either stuck in the past or worried to death about my future. In recent months, it’s been difficult to ignore the looming date of June 17, the day we leave Germany and return to the USA. It’s crazy to think how time seems to slip away, how we’ve already spent seven months living in a foreign country. While I was in Leipzig, I realized there are only so many things we can control, and sometimes it pays off to let the time pass and simply live. Whatever happens in the next two months, I know I will have grown regardless. We all will have grown a little. 

So until my next adventure, Leipzig, I am always and forever:

Zoe Schauder