Because we had celebrated over the weekend, I was surprised to enter the dining hall that Monday and find friends waiting with signs and streamers. There was an everything bagel with a candle stuck in it and bottles of champagne and orange juice. They gave me gifts of homemade artwork and books of poetry and a tambourine for our not-so-serious all girls’ acoustic cover band. I have amazing (and amazingly creative) friends. Those of us without class took a train into Philadelphia. We stopped at DiBruno Brothers for cheese and hummus and chocolate cake and went to Anthropologie to try on dresses we couldn’t afford. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and love for these inspiring people in my life; for my family wishing me well from afar, for friends to celebrate with, for the loving and close community I found on that campus.
At this time last year, I had no idea that I would receive a Watson fellowship. I had just finished my final interview days earlier, and had even tried to stop thinking about it as a possibility.
I had no idea that I’d be waking up one year later so far from that loving community and so far from those amazing people.
But here I am today, waking up in Friedrichshain, Berlin in the apartment of someone I met just over two weeks ago. There was no way to predict I would ever be here. Sometimes it all just feels so surreal.
I'm currently at Berlin Tegel airport. There's snow falling outside and my flight is delayed. Hopefully, in a few hours, I will meet my sister in Istanbul. Hopefully, we will eat good Turkish food and look at snowy streets and figure this whole thing out together. I will be twenty three.
In some ways everything has changed. I'm miles from home, whether that is Swarthmore, PA or Burlington, VT and I am very much alone. In the past year, I became a Watson Fellow, a college graduate, a sister-in-law.
But I am still overwhelmed with gratitude and love for these inspiring people in my life; for my family wishing me well from afar, for friends to celebrate with, for the loving and close communities I have found.
I like twenty-three. I like that it's an odd number and I like that it puts me more solidly “in my twenties.”
If I look forward one year, I have no idea where I'll be, but I'm starting to be more okay with that.