Sunday 8th September 2013 – the day that at least 4 years of studying, researching and planning (the latter two mostly when I should have been doing the former) have been leading up to.
I’m a great believer that certain songs or pieces of music can be attached to events or time periods in our lives and then, years down the line, when heard again can evoke a surge of really vivid memories about that time that would otherwise be forgotten. For me, Viva la Vida by Coldplay will always remind me of when being 14 and on work experience where an appallingly bad knock-off cover of it was played on the radio in the warehouse at least twice an hour. In 10 years time, the song that will remind me of today will be Sit Down by James:
Now before you start thinking that I’m in a depressive spiral, don’t worry! This is a really tenuous link, but the line swings from high to deep, extremes of sweet and sour – is quite apt for the day it’s been (the swings have definitely been from deep to high though!).
Predictably, the day started off rather miserably with my mum and dad dropping me off at the airport. Anyone who’s ever done a speaking exam will know the feeling of nervousness that gradually builds up as your appointment time gets closer and closer. It’s the kind of nervousness that comes in waves, and when it does come, feels like it’s about to burst through your chest cavity. That was what it was like – we had lunch at Frankie and Benny’s (sp?) at Birmingham Airport, but I wasn’t really in the mood for eating, never mind talking. The inevitable teary goodbyes happened and I went through to departures, where the teary what-the-hell-was-I-thinking-when-I-chose-this-degree Paul gave way to departure lounge Paul. Think Monica off Friends and you have a good idea of how insanely uptight I was about my flight being on time and me being at the gate on time too. Some of you might remember this post where I said flying with a connection was the easiest way of getting out there. I went for that option, and consequently had 55 minutes to change in Düsseldorf; you can imagine my horror when the departure screens at Birmingham suddenly started showing a 40 minute delay! This meant that my transfer time was reduced to 15 minutes (read: not enough). I did make it in the end – and so did my bags, kudos Lufthansa! – but the sight of a red-faced, wide-eyed, wheely-case bearing maniac sprinting through the transit lounge in Düsseldorf, desperately clutching his passport and boarding card must have been quite a sight.
I was met at the other end by my mentor teacher, Carola, and her husband, Armin, who are both really friendly. We drove to my apartment, where Fedi, one of my housemates, let me in. I had seen it when I was in Leipzig a few weeks ago, but I didn’t realise quite how enormous it is! I’d say it’s at least twice the size of my dingy little cave that I had last year, and better yet it’s a good £30 cheaper.
So at the top of a big swing from deep to high I crashed on my bed at the end of the day, it finally sinking in that I was at the start of the adventure of a lifetime. As usual I put my iPod in for a bit before I drifted off – there was only one song I could’ve played!