My trip to Regensburg got me thinking.
Do you ever look around and get startled by how grown-up people have become – and maybe even feel like you’ve been left behind? A lot of my friends back home are either in their final year of university, diligently scratching essay after essay onto paper and cramming three years of lurning into their skulls. And others have even graduated, moved in with their significant others, and found a job. All while I’m sashaying about in Berlin with well over a year of university left to go. I can’t help but recall the lines from Dr Seuss’ flawless Oh, the Places You’ll Go!:
You’ll get all hung up
in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a Lurch.
In the poem, this “Lurch” goes on to become a “Slump” (which is really just Seussian for “depression”); but for me, it’s really more of a chilled-out Slouch. Because it’s not a bad feeling actually – there’s something delightfully satisfying about being able to laugh and say “Adulthood? Oh, that’s a while away yet.” And I have a Plan anyway, so I’m not trembling in fear of some undetermined future. I’m patiently waiting for it, and trying to take things easy while I do.
But when your little brother, whom you used to scare by threatening to tickle him until he cried and who you would play Pokemon with on long car journeys, moves out from home, works a full-time job and has a real and proper girlfriend, it can seem like time has crept up on you. An BAM – you’re in that future which, back when you were fourteen and skiving Chemistry class, you used to wonder would ever come.
Not that he’s really any more grown up than I am. And not that it’s a competition – it’s just one of those “oh” moments. And luckily we get on really quite well. Niall (rhymes with “meal” not “mile”) is doing a year at the theatre in Regensburg, which is a perfect little Bavarian town. There are the quintessential alleys and stone bridges and medieval archways, back-street cafes and cozy dens of eateries, and church spires towering over cobble-stoned market places.
I also have a thing for cathedrals – the architecture blows me away again and again. Since I read Pillars of the Earth I haven’t looked at them the same again. In my opinion, cathedrals are basically Europe’s pyramids (she says, having never been to Egypt). And Regensburg’s Gothic Dom St. Peter isn’t a half bad example. Click through to see more pictures of the cathedral.
During my visit, Niall and I hit Christmas Markets, I saw him in a play (Robin Hood for kiddywinks – very fun!), and then I met an awful lot of his friends. Awful in the best way – it’s good to see him happy and with so many people surrounding him. Awwww. All this squishy sibling affection is getting, like, mega gross.
All this brings me right back around to Dr Seuss:
[…] when things start to happen,
don’t worry. Don’t stew.
Just go right along.
You’ll start happening too.
Right now, I feel far freer than I would if I had a flat and a boyfriend and a job and a reason to stay in one place. It’s not my long-term plan (that definitely does involve a little pride upon the shelf / and four stone walls around me); but for now I wouldn’t have it any other way. Being the chief executive officer of my own life suits me down to the ground.
I’ll fill this formless in-between time with trips to visit those friends who now actually own couches – because every student nomad needs a place to sleep before the next adventure begins!