“This time last year everything was so different.” This quote you’ve all heard probably a thousand times in your life. So have I. A few weeks ago when I realized that my time here is almost up, I started thinking about it more and more. This time last year I left Germany thinking thoughts like “Oh I’m gonna be so homesick” and “I don’t know how I can make it through a year 6 time zones away from everyone I love.” Turned out to be easier that I thought. I was never really homesick (except that one time I was really sick), and I have also met so many amazing people over here who I have learned to love as much as I do all my friends back home.
It’s kind of hard to write a very inspiring post about how I have changed and grown mentally and physically because I’m not sure I’m using the right words to describe everything. All I say for sure is I have changed quite a lot.
Being on my own without parental supervision for a whole year has certainly affected me. Some parts of that I really enjoyed like leaving the house whenever I want without giving a detailed description of everything I’m going to do before I set foot into the house again, other not so much for example spending my own money on everything. Life is expensive! I had never realized that before!
One of the things I enjoyed most over here apart from my work has to be traveling. I’m here sitting at my desk and thinking about all these amazing places I’ve seen and people I’ve met and still can’t quite realize I actually went to all these places and experienced everything I did.
I still can’t believe I actually went to Bermuda, wrote my name on the wall in the Swizzle Inn and tried the rum there. I had the best birthday with Jesse seeing the Niagara Falls. Spotted drunk opossums in Texas. Was part of the election in November right there in DC. Almost saw Hillary Clinton speaking in Philly. Fell in love with Chicago all over again and met some real life pirates in New Orleans. I never thought I’d meet an Englishman who enjoys writing songs about me or I’d see NYC during Christmastime. And had anybody told me last year that I would actually enjoy going to the gym and working out at some point, I probably would have laughed right into their face.
Let’s talk about my work life for a second. Working so closely with people who are multiple times my age has given me a new insight on life and also helped me realize a bunch of things. First of all, how impatient I’ve been all my life and how narrow sighted. Thanks to LBFE I’ve found myself in situations where I was the only person of my ethnic group, the only person with English as a second language and sometimes even in situations where I was the only person who spoke English at all. My work here has definitely helped me open my mind and extremely developed my communication skills (gracias for that). Being a team leader of about 25 students per semester (who all thought I was older than them which was never the case) has helped me improve my leadership skills and teaching a computer class for 6 tech-devoted seniors has helped me realize how hard the life of a teacher can be (but also how rewarding!)
I’ve learned how to stay calm in stressful situations even if that situation is removing a spider from the bathtub, and that people should always be a little kinder than necessary.
I want to thank everyone who made this year possible, mostly my family for supporting me through everything (and donating a huge amount of money), World-Horizon for making all this possible, the whole team of Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly Boston. Special thanks to Jasmin who somehow managed to share an apartment with me for a whole year, who gave me such a new insight on life in places where I’ve never been, and who always let me eat her food when I got tired of chicken and rice. Thanks for being the twin sister I’ve always wanted.
Imke spent the past year with LBFE in Boston meeting new people, traveling to new places, and learning as much as she shared. She is returning to Germany to attend university and will be missed by all of us at LBFE.