85 filters and 1500 grams of coffee laterFreiburg, Spring 2012

It’s alarming to think that all of this will end the same way it started – sitting alone in an empty hotel room, waiting for whatever comes next.

This, I suppose, is that blog post. The tearful goodbye post. The one with the cliched lines like:

“I’ll never forget my time in…”

“This has been a life-changing experience…”

“I know I’ll remember this for the rest of my life…”

“The people I have met here are like family…”

“Time has gone by so fast…”

Because all of that doesn’t need to be said. That all goes without saying and I say finding a way to come to terms with everything that’s happened in the past months is one of the harder things I’ve had to do. It’s for that reason that I’ve decided to quantify my experience here. Here are the numbers.

Since February, I have:

  • Read seven books
  • Written four letters and sent eight postcards
  • Used 85 coffee filters and consumed 1500 grams of coffee (I’m admitting it now. I have a problem.)
  • Worn through two pairs of shoes, a number of socks, and one backpack
  • (through no fault of my own) Killed five house plants
  • Added nine short stories to my fiction blog.
  • Visited six countries (seven, if you count Vatican City)
  • Taken 1,038 pictures
  • Made 60 new “friends” on Facebook.

Please don’t ask me how much money I’ve spent.

Naturally I’m reluctant to go. I want all of this to continue and let the memories bleed together like wet paint. I want to watch more sunsets from my balcony. I want more .99 cent mangos from Rewe and late night bike rides with the wind in my ears and nowhere particular to be.

Simultaneously, I’m aching for southern Vermont. I want to hear the oily rumble of opening the garage door to my musky and damp basement. I want to walk my dog on our usual 4 mile loop though the woods. I want to mow my lawn before sitting on the back porch with a Harpoon IPA and watch the sunset over field behind my house. I want to work on my hands and knees in my mother’s vegetable garden. I want to feel the glow of friends telling me “Welcome home. We missed you.

Clearly I want too much.

So in a rapidly diminishing week I will find myself hurteling across the Atlantic following the sun. The flight plan is from Basel to Frankfurt. Then across the pond to Philly for a four hour layover (I’ve never had one of those cheese-steak sandwiches. That might be a good time to try one.) before the final hop to Bradley. 

I’m saying it now. On the 25th of June I will experience a close approximation to a nervous breakdown somewhere between Philadelphia and the customs desk.  And when the shiny-faced officer asks me if I have anything to declare, I will look him in the eye and say:

“Too much.”

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