The Beginning

Let me start with the beginning of us.

We met in Chinese class. It was a class I took for fun despite not needing the credits, and both of us took the placement tests and were placed in the same level. It took a few lectures before we introduced ourselves to each other. As someone who learns German, it was exciting for me to finally meet a native speaker in my own university. Since then, we sometimes sat together in lectures, and was in the same project group together. We hung out outside class together sometimes too, with a lot of other friends. I went to my first poetry slam ever, we had a dim sum buffet, grilled twice, went to an Indian restaurant, watched Ludwig II during the German Film Festival, and yeah, did the Chinese project.

I know I always have a soft spot for him, and I made him a scrapbook about Singlish, but all along I simply thought that of course he’s special, he’s the first exchanger, and also the first German student, who became friends with me. Plus, I was in a relationship. It wasn’t a wonderfully blissful relationship, we had our ups and downs, but it was a functioning relationship, a cushy one that had been going on for two years.

I thought about seeing him off at the airport. The problem is, he was leaving Singapore relatively late into the holiday, and I had to go home to Jakarta too, to see my family. I *could* technically wait and see him off, and then go home, but I had nothing to do for the two weeks of holiday before that, and to just stay in Singapore to wait for him seems..off, like I’m attracted to him or something, which isn’t a good thing considering my relationship status at that time. So I did what I thought was the right thing and went home early.

The semester when he was here the most fun semester I had in Singapore, getting to know a number of other exchangers and hanging out with friends more than I used to. As the new semester rolls, life turned back to normalcy. I had no official classes, because I was supposed to go for exchange in March, but in January and February I attended some classes in my university unofficially anyway. A couple of times when I saw a caucasian student on campus, I thought I saw him, and then I remembered that he’s not here anymore, and then I felt just a little bit sad.

As my flight date neared, I received a couple of messages from him, asking about how I am doing, and then saying that if I want to come by his hometown, I would be welcomed, and maybe we could even go to Hamburg together, where he will be having a course. That sounds fun!

Then, I left for my exchange semester in Karlsruhe, about 50km from Heidelberg, where his university is. My exchange was already planned before I knew him, so I couldn’t go to Heidelberg instead :p

Meanwhile, being in Germany confirmed my fears: I love this country. I had fallen for Germany two years ago as I was on immersion, but of course, that wasn’t a very good gauge of how much I would really love living there. A few weeks into actually living in Karlsruhe, and I’m sold. I would love to do a master’s degree in Germany, and maybe even work there if I can find a job.

I had always wanted to live somewhere faraway from home, since I was a kid. Along the way on my stay in Singapore, I had two Singaporean boyfriends, and I was quickly resigning my fate to staying in the country forever, as neither of them wanted to move. In the end, coupled with other problems, I broke up with my boyfriend of 2.5 years.

I’d be lying if I say I wasn’t sad. Of course I was. But amidst the sadness was a feeling of freedom. I could almost hear a whisper saying, “Now fly.” Now that you’re free, spread your wings and fly, and see the world.

Meanwhile, I hung out with Faith every other weekend. After my stay at his house, where I got to spend some time with him alone, I was kind of surprised to know we got along really well, and was confused to feel really sad about leaving. We ended up hanging out a lot more often together than I thought, though. We enjoyed each other’s company.

Slightly more than halfway through my exchange, we made it official. I was both giddy in love, and also a little wary, a little unbelieving of love, after my break up. I’m naturally insecure too, so I did wonder about his motives, is it because I’m easy to get rid off, once I’m done with my exchange and I leave the country there will be no more commitments? On the other hand, I thought about how brave he is getting together with me, when we know our time is limited and it will hurt in the end. Anyway, he was so nice and seemed so sincere I just went along with the flow.

Then, in the next span of two months, we made so much memories together. We went to Paris, we watched movies, we watched theatre performances, we took walks, we cycled, we swam, we visited parks, we cooked different cuisines, we ate, we washed dishes, we bought groceries, we hiked, we watched concerts, we laughed, we hugged, we kissed.

He accepts me the way I am. He said I should learn to understand, that not everything is my fault. He soothes me when I’m upset. Before I know it, I fell in love with him deeper and deeper.

And now we’re on the long distance part of our relationship. Logically, I know that things are going to be ok. It won’t be easy peasy, but it will work out. But of course, when the heart gets scared, it can’t see reason.

I’ll write about the first three days in the next post.

We’re far away, but I’m glad that I have you in my life.

Love,

Hope

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