This summer, I suppose can best be described by me as one of the best experiences of my life. My summer experience begins earlier this year when I meant a girl at my high school. I have always been a person that assumes that body language can say a lot more than words. In her case, not many words were said at first. She was quiet, shy, all the characteristics of a girl in a new country speaking a new language. My community was small and my school was smaller. I wanted school to go fast, and then I meant her. She was different in many ways, different values, morals, and manners. I had never been to Germany before, and being able to talk to someone about a different life was great, but it took time to fully get her to open up to me. It attracted me closer to her. Over time, we became closer to each other, eventually dating. We both knew that we would be separated at the end of the year, when she would go back home. This, we ignored, six months seemed so far away, and we allowed ourselves to enjoy the short time we had together to the fullest. I have never felt so good inside. As the months turned into weeks, weeks into days, a decision was made for me to go home with her to Hamburg. In its self, it was a difficult thing to think about. Three weeks in Europe had always been a dream for me.
I had no idea what life was like in Europe, let alone a big city like Hamburg, Germany. We left on a Tuesday and arrived on a Wednesday. I had high hopes, I was excited but she seemed nervous to be going back, but we had both assured each other that everything would be fine. I didn’t speak German, but I trusted her.
Her family were among the nicest people I have ever meant Hanstedt, and a small village on the outskirts of Hamburg, was beautiful, ancient compared to where I lived, and peaceful. Their home was comfortable and over the next couple of weeks, they took me touring to Austria, Bavaria, and Munich. I felt relaxed and in good spirit, but as time passed things began to change between us eventually getting bad.
So, my father ended up coming out to spend the remainder of my last week in Europe with me. I was surprised he would do this for me. We had our fights and for him to come do this for me meant a lot both to him and me, but at the same time I was hurt, things had not gone the way I hoped they would.
My father and I traveled to Amsterdam first, this was a must on my list, so we booked a hotel in Amsterdam’s red light district. As my father went to bed early that night, I went out late, just as I had done with her brother and his friends in the Reeperbahn, except this time I was by myself. I tried not to focus on my feelings too much, going to many bars and coffee shops. Until the second night in Amsterdam, I meant a Dutch girl by the name of Kim, We exchanged conversation, and had a few beers. The rest of my night was enjoyable and got my mind off things. The following days were relaxing, sleeping in, getting afternoon brunch and coffee with my dad. In the evenings as usual I went out meeting many people, Germans from Bavaria, Brits from Liverpool, an Irishman who ask me a question in pure Irish tongue, I just kind of stared at him in awe and a bartender who gave me 4 pints on the house.
One particular evening, I spent in Brussels, Belgium went rather bad for me. As usual my father went to bed after a delicious dinner at a local Greek restaurant. That evening, Spain beat Italy in a football tournament, erupting the cities massive Spanish population, fireworks rang in the streets, the crowd roared “Viva la Espania”, and people got drunk. I meant an interesting Frenchman by the name of Philip. He didn’t speak a bit of English so I was forced to communicate as best as I could in Spanish. Getting to friendly was probably my first mistake, because soon after he was taking me on a grand tour of the night life in Brussels. I tried as best as I could to remember reference points and road signs, but as minutes turned into hours of walking I had lost where I was, putting my faith into my new guide. As we visited the red light district of Brussels, Philip took me to several local French and Spanish bars. Most likely my second mistake was letting him buy me drinks because as we left he became especially interested in my iPhone, something I think he had never seen before. I showed him it, played some music…. Let him hold it… I’m not sure why I was so careless, that could have just been the narcotics. Later I would learn that the cigarette he offered me had something Alittle more powerful than nicotine in it.
It happened so fast, I couldn’t keep up with him, a skinny little kid, he outran me, dam French and I was lost in the middle of Brussels downtown area, at 3am. Pissed me off, but at that point I didn’t care enough about a stupid phone ruining the rest of my trip, I had enough on my mind.
It was my turn now, how would I deal with the situation I was in, not that I had much of any other choice. All I could do now was find a way out of this mess on my own. Brussels, is known as the capital of Europe, and I had no idea where I was. I was scared and nervous. After 4 hours of walking around searching for something recognizable, I found a taxi driver who spoke English. She gave me a ride to the city tram center where I could navigate the rest of the way by myself. That was quiet the relief…. My dad was pissed.
After a quick visit to Dunkirk beach, my father and I were back off riding the train system through Amsterdam and finally ending at Hamburg. Before I was too leave for California, I had dinner for the last time with her and her family. I was anxious to see her for the last time, and it brought relief to me to see her smile one last time, but things were different. It was hard.
The plane trip back was long and difficult. I realize now things never go as planned, and to many this can be devastating, but it is how we bring ourselves up out of a difficult situation that truly defines who we are as an individual. Our lives as human beings can either be very complex or very simple, we can either choose to focus on what we could have had or simply, “Look ahead” as her mother put it to me, given that we are capable of so much. Yet we choose to focus on how it brings us down instead of how we can grow from our experiences.