In the end, saying goodbye means saying hello to someone or something else.
That’s what I’ve been telling myself for the last month as the time to leave Germany has come closer and closer; and with one day to go, all my goodbyes have been said. Letters have been mailed, hugs and gifts exchanged, and tears shed. Tomorrow is the last time I will set foot on German soil for a long time, but not too long, I hope.
On Saturday, my youth group had a wonderful night full of praise and worship. We held an international dinner with people coming from all over the world. These people have been my companions, my stronghold, and my faith-builders! In the last moments, they gifted me with a songbook dedicated to me and chocolates! I will miss them dearly.
Sunday was spent in Siegburg and Cologne at the Christmas markets. Time spent listening to an old swing band, eating waffles, and just enjoying friendship.
Monday was spent with another lovely family from church baking and talking about what I had learned this past year. And then came Tuesday the hardest day of all.
Yesterday was my last day in Bonn. It was dreary and rainy as any such solemn day should be. I walked city center as I have many times before, stopped in the Lindt store to pick up a favorite truffle, walked by the Rhein where I’ve opened up my heart to those who would listen, listened to those who were hurting, and fed the ducks to lift our spirits. And of course, I ate my last bit of Reibekuchen.
Saying goodbye to Alice meant saying goodbye apart to a slice of me. My first friend here this year, we have traveled together, laughed together, cried together, gone on walks, baked, made dinner. You name it, she’s been there.
I’ve made a forever friend.
Last night was also time to say goodbye to the Borggrefe family. They were my first family here in Germany and have become even more family as time has gone on. We put on Santa hats and enjoyed a jolly time.
They gifted me with something so special. Thilo is a phenomenal photographer and last year he took a picture of the Eiffel Tower that I loved. He is also an engineer and built a special way to melt the plastic with a wood setting. I had him make one last year to gift to a friend, something one-of-a-kind. Yesterday, he surprised me with a copy of my own and I couldn’t be more excited to take a piece of hard work by my host family back home with me!
I’m not scared to leave, but I am sad.
I am sad, but I also am hopeful.
And though I am hopeful I am even more so determined. Determined to be kind to those who need it, to be helpful, to heal though music, and to live life with a faith worth dying for. For though things of this world will pass away, though my time in Germany has come and gone, my future is secure in the one true King.
Today I finish packing. Trying ever so hard to meticulously narrow down what I need and what I don’t, trying even more so to cram 14 months, 70 kg, and memories from 15 countries into just 23 small kilograms.
Much love and many blessings to each of you this Wednesday!