Two hours before my high school graduation ceremony on Saudi Arabian soil, I met Catherine. I have never been good at talking to random strangers but when constantly traveling from one place to another you eventually realise that, in the big picture, making a fool of yourself is really no big deal. So during my very last hours in the air-conditioned hallway of the science department, the photographs of the past students of the month on the wall being our only listeners, I asked Catherine to tell me her story.
The part of it that I remember until today makes me think of her as an adventurous, spontaneous person. How else would you describe someone who, 24 hours before starting a new life in Oxford in the company of an old friend, has not even started packing yet and feels totally relaxed about it?
Today, almost three years later, just like Catherine, I am standing in front of an empty suitcase and don’t feel a thing. I must have wasted all of my nervous emotions on the previous months, filled with getting additional travel documents, several health check ups and paying a fortune for health insurance.
What I love most about life is that you have the chance to be defined by the people you meet over the years. I like to think of myself as a product of all the stories and observed behaviors of those who have crossed my path of life so far. I like to think that a little bit of every friend of mine stays alive within me, even if said friends have left my life a long time ago.
Between university term papers, Spanish vocabulary exercises and E-Mails replacing actual office hours with professors , came all the farewell dinners with friends and family that I have eventually lost count of. This is not my first new beginning as I have come to call it. In a way it feels very familiar, almost nostalgically welcoming. However, it is the first new beginning that I am responsible for largely by myself. Each journey is so different and yet the process of getting there is all the same.
Such things are worth writing about as much as they are worth experiencing. Maybe this is one of those moments one may look back upon and say that this is where an old life ended and a new one took its course. It is one of those turning points when you begin to understand that between now and the following months you will become a new person with new memories, new friends and maybe even new world views. I am curious to see how much I will recognize my old self once this is over.
So from now on, because this blog is already somewhat known to a couple of readers, I’ll document my journey to and through Mexico City on here, happily inviting you to read along!