Parting is such sweet sorrow…
Despite having complained about the wi-fi and hard water for the past month, I awoke this morning shockingly reluctant to say goodbye to Die Fabrik. Although I’m more than ready to decompress after this intense experience, it still feels like I’m leaving a little piece of myself behind in Berlin. And I think that’s because I am. We all are. None of us are the same person who stepped off the plane in Germany, and it’s due to the fact that every single one of us stepped up to the challenge of exiting our comfort zone so we could grow not only academically, but as human beings.
I can honestly say that I have learned just as much from my colleagues about myself and how I want to interact with the world as I have from the program. Insightful discussion transcended the classroom and was carried on over “cheap pasta” (and phở, döner, Hünerhaus, etc.) as we shared our perspectives on everything from the politics of race and gender to merits of various literary works. To borrow from course material, the opportunity to view things through several different lenses has definitely refined my ability to recognize when I’m projecting my own values or ideals onto a given topic or situation, and inspired me to be a more active participant in fighting for tolerance and inclusion on a global scale. I feel so lucky to be leaving with all of these brilliant new friends, and am grateful for the personal contributions of everyone in the group for making this experience what it was. From our first walk around Kreuzberg, to our last dinner at Die Gärtnerei--it’s been real.
A special shout-out to Julie, Kathryn, and Manuela, who had the vision and facilitated this process. We got to do so many cool things, and it was invaluable having ‘insider’ knowledge on how to navigate not only the city, but the culture (I swear I will be 15 minutes early for the rest of my life, and will never stand in the bike lane).
Some of us are off to travel; some are back to work. All will be finishing up research projects and looking forward to our next meeting. Until then, I leave you with a photo of my favorite piece on the Berlin Wall at the Eastside Gallery: