Friday night. During our Christmas party in uni I almost drink too much delicious mulled wine because it keeps my hands and heart warm while I’m standing outside, a non-smoker amongst smokers, just wearing my oversized sweater for men, finally not feeling alien anymore. I remember how isolated I felt during our welcome party three months ago, all those people smoking outside and I didn’t belong. But now I’m finally arriving.
And I’m growing. A friend and I decided to ascend a floor to join the party of another course of studies. Our own party ended too soon and we feel like dancing. We enter a little hall where most of the people sit on sofas while only a handful dances. I long for joining the dancers, but I can’t imagine anything more uncomfortable than dancing on an almost empty dance floor. Too much exposure, I don’t like attention.
My friend doesn’t like it either, but at the end we overcome our reservations and join the few people who enviably dance lost to the world around them. It takes us a while, we’re half hiding behind a broad pillar that separates us from the sofas, but at some point we finally feel so comfortable we don’t mind the wide space around us, or the possible judgement we could or could not get.
We keep postponing our departure, half an hour, one hour, one and a half hours, 11pm. Did I really go to sleep at four am last night? Here I am, wide awake, happy, letting go, focusing on the music I’ve never heard before, moving my body in a new way, feeling free.
A pang of emotions hits me at one point and my nails slightly run over the skin of my right forearm where you can still see the marks of my emotional outbreak last week. But today, I hold back. It’s okay to feel the way I do. I’m not perfect, nobody is, and I know these unwanted emotions will pass. Breathe in, breathe out. Over. I’m learning.
My lighthearted me takes over again and I could dance all night. I’m going to see my love in nine days, I no longer feel like the awkward misfit in class, I’m with someone who is having a great time just like me, dancing without caring of how we might look, so untypical for us. Funny that of all our classmates it’s the two of us – the most quiet and introverted ones – that are dancing while none of our more extroverted classmates are around.
I reach home, tired to death and tipsy, but also happy and talkative. As I have hoped, Robin sits in the living room watching basketball. What’s better than coming home after a long day and having someone to talk to? I decide to stay in the living room even though my poor body screams for sleep. Eventually I can’t fight it any longer, I lie down to be more comfortable and fall asleep within seconds, overwhelmed by exhaustion. No embarrassment, I don’t mind, there’s just the wish that I could have stayed awake a bit longer to have a chat. Well, tomorrow is another day.
Saturday night. We’re lying on C’s super comfy couch, Julia (a classmate-turned-friend) next to me, Robin and C opposite of us. It’s only my second time here, but just like before, I feel as comfortable as if I were at home. How is it possible to feel so familiar around each other within this short period of time?
We’ve been baking Christmas cookies all afternoon before we head over to C and the Basque girl’s apartment for dinner. Once there, I’m impressed by the fancy setup on the dining table. Lovely like we are, we’ve brought them our ugliest cookies, making an effort to make them particularly hideous. I almost feel bad when I see what they prepared for us. Almost. ;)
The meal is delicious, Riz Casimir, an exotic and yet Swiss dish. Vegan – just for me me. How lucky am I to be around so mindful and caring people? The six of us sit around the table and once again I can’t believe all this is actually happening. My expectations concerning my new life in Lucerne were so low and here I am, staying another weekend instead of heading home where friends and family would await me.
I love this environment – how it makes me feel and who I am when I’m here. I can be me, with all my moods and facets. Whether lighthearted and unburdened, dancing uninhibitedly and dressed up or silent and thoughtful, tired and dishevelled – no questions asked, no weird looks, hopefully no judgement either.
I’m not naive. It’s too perfect. Times like these can’t possibly last.
It hasn’t been any different the last few years. I’d arrive somewhere new, fall in love with the place and people, but nothing ever stays the same. Either you leave people or they leave you. In some rare cases, you do find a way to stay in each other’s life, but it always depends on the depth of the bond. Mere sympathy is not enough. Unfortunately, I haven’t reached a more intimate level with most of the people here. So I can only hope we’ll have enough time before things change.
Sometimes you love something so intensely you’re tempted to wish it wouldn’t end, but the only way to enjoy it fully is by accepting its transience and embracing it all the more for it (one lesson my long-distance relationship taught me). Trying to hold onto something even though it’s impossible is a silly thing to do and can only lead to unhappiness.
So I’m focusing on the now. The present is perfect and my gratitude knows no boundaries. I’m so blessed to be feeling this way. Eventually, good things will happen to us – if we never lose our optimism and positivity, allowing it to attract others. I’ve never thought that one day, I’ll be as happy as I am today.
It’ll last as long it lasts. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy every moment, no matter how trivial.