You and I are best friends. Sitting on a bench, it's a sunny day in April, we're having apple juice because you don’t like orange juice. We just finished our last final exam in high-school and we're laughing at some dumb jokes. Suddenly, I get serious and ask you "Hey, where do you see yourself in five years?"
What's your answer?
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When life gives you a visa to Germany, make the best out of it. Either way, life is going to throw things at you left, right and center. Actually, "throwing" might be an understatement. It’s more like shoving things down the barrel of a cannon and blasting it in your direction.
Five years ago, if you told me life would lead me to Germany, I would've told you to stop lying, because, to me, the world ended past the Jordanian borders. And yet, here I am. The guy from Palestine, who'd grown accustomed to the golden grains and stinging sun of the Middle East, is recalibrating his inner thermostat to adapt to subzero temperatures in central Europe and resisting the urge to jump into a flowing river.
One late night, I carried a few bags, met up with some friends and got on a plane. When the sun came up the next morning, the humid air was a breezy blow; fields of yellow had become carpets of green; ducks stood where I'd expect to find street cats; people had lighter skins and were taller. Like, much taller. I mean much taller. Seriously, what did they put in their milk when they were kids? Though on the same planet, this place felt like a whole new world. In a matter of hours, I had become an alien.
It was as fascinating as it was intimidating. My "Salam" and "Ahlan" had become "Servus" and "Hallo". My culture, customs and traditions had all become parts of my character to be talked about rather than laws that governed the way everything was run. Standing in an airport bustling with commotion, I was lost in the storm of thoughts running havoc in my mind.
"Where do I go now?"
"Did I pick up all my bags?"
"Where can I get a train ticket from?"
"God, I need to sleep"
"Am I sure I picked up all my bags?"
It was all so nerve-wracking that I still feel exhausted remembering the entire situation. Yet, by some miracle, it all worked out. My friends and I navigated our way off the plane, out of an airport and into a train to what I now call home: Deggendorf.
A couple hours and a missed train later we were all greeted by a crowd of unfamiliar yet friendly, welcoming faces waiting to lead us down the last stretch to our final destination. As we dragged our bags through the small streets, exhaustion started to settle in, but we finally were able to let our guards down. Slowly, it all started to feel cozy and warm.
As I entered my room and let all my things fall to the floor, I couldn't help but collapse myself. Sprawled across the bed, it all felt so… right. It suddenly felt like I was where I was always meant to be. And in the silence, I could almost feel the air around me whisper "What took you so long?"
Ziad Alsurakji - Some random guy from Palestine who loves putting words together and drawing an image in your mind. As I did my exchange semester at DIT, I write about the simple, neglected things in life which just about anyone and everyone can relate to. I also love food, like a lot. So if you can bless my palette with new flavors, let's be friends.