Maybe it’s recent beer talk amongst friends, or rehearsing the Brahms’ Requiem (complete with German pronunciation lessons), or maybe just a nostalgic desire to cuddle up with a dear friend, but I have been missing my sweet heart Katrin. She and I met in class while studying in Spain and we became good pals after a few nights out dancing.
We eventually shared our love of running , when it was a totally unheard of pastime in Barcelona, and I knew that I would always have a friend to confide in. Katrin and I spent hours gabbing in Spanish over amazing fruit picnics amassed from the fruit shop down my street (which was featured in Vicky Cristina Barcelona– MY FRUIT SHOP, well at least the one I frequented when I lived in the splendid city) mostly after several mile jogs along the beach.
Katrin was a fellow exchange student, spending a year in Barcelona away from her home institution at Heidelberg. I have only heard her speak English a few times, but regardless, our preferred languages was a type of Spanish that we created for ourselves. We shared secrets and stories like any other girls missing home.
Luckily, I found a ticket to fly up to Germany and visit her for a long weekend before I left Europe to return home at the end of my year abroad. It would be my last trip within European and I was already missing Spain. After landing in Frankfurt, I found the busbahnhof- one of about 12 words I know in German- and by a stroke of pure fate, found the bus that was to take me to Heidelberg and into Katrin’s arms.
Slightly disoriented and amazed at how I ended up there, Katrin scooped me up in a hug and we immediately went on a tour of her school. I pack light always, so we hiked around the college, grabbed lunch at a dining hall and explored the old castle (which was gorgeous and survived the war), without having to drop off my bag. Having been apart for over a month, there was a lot to catch up on, and after a good walk with the occasional stares for our giggly Spanish, we headed over to das FEST with a group of her friends in Karlsruhe. Lots of fun, loud music, and almost drunk Germans.
After a long train ride, we made it to her family home, near Stuttgart, and fell asleep. I awoke the next morning and was fed an ‘American’ biscuit cookie and half a bretzel (which we call pretzels in the USA, but they so aren’t the same thing). I met her mother and father, her two sisters, and her Opa (Grandfather) who was 98 and told me, in German, that I should learn to speak German because the prettiest girls in the world are German.
It felt great to be in a family home and I was excited to return back to Ohio and my family, even if it meant leaving Europe. After three more bretzels, a party, and purchasing Birkenstocks for family members, I kissed her goodbye with tears in our eyes. I haven’t seen her since that late July morning, but I cannot wait to visit with her again. And maybe even eat another bretzel or three.