Saturday, October 07, 2006

On Leaving, Part III

Once again, I am trying to figure out a million things concerning my future, oh how I am sick of it. Not my future, but the planning. It was just this time last year, that I was getting settled at the university that I transfered to from the University of Vienna, enduring the long and complicated process of having transfer credits evaluated. My year there was intense, but over quickly, maybe too quickly, and, suddenly, I was graduating and receiving my diploma for having completed the Bachelor program. And while I savored my walk in cap and gown and desperately needed that accomplishment to feel that I am getting somewhere, I knew all along that the journey was not over yet.

Then came the summer and my plans for the fall were up in the air. I shortly mentioned that I was trying to decide whether I should leave Austria or continue here, but in a different city. No matter what I would choose, I knew that it would not be easy to leave. Each choice had its pros and cons and the summer seemed like a long tunnel with nothing at the end, a very disconcerting feeling. At some point I decided to stick around in Austria and try my luck in Salzburg. I have been accepted to the psychology program there and will make the transition slowly. At the moment I am once again in the process of having credits evaluated and am dealing with all sorts of paperwork and organizational questions. I will not move there for another couple months, most likely at the beginning of the next semester, in March.

The main reason that I am not leaving Vienna immediately is that I have made it my home. 2005 was a year of major changes. I realized around June of last year that nothing was as it had been at that time in 2004. Some changes were good, and some changes were, well, not so good. My entire life had been turned upside down. But that's life, after all 'every new beginning is some other beginning's end' and so on and so forth...

However, now that I am facing yet another major change, I feel extremely ambivalent. On the one hand, I never planned on staying in Vienna forever. I always wanted to try out life in several places before settling anywhere, and this seems like the perfect chance and time to do exactly that. I spent all of September in Salzburg doing an internship and enjoyed the city very much. Plus, it is only three hours from Vienna, so my family, friends and boyfriend will only be a trainride away.

On the other hand, I found myself lying in bed last night, suddenly remembering my last night in my old dorm room and my last night in our house in Washington, DC. Last nights in beloved places are hard and they're depressing and I had to go through two such last nights in one year. I don't feel like doing it again. When I moved into this apartment with my three roommates last year, I was planning on staying for quite some time. This has become my home and my roommates have become my second family. Leaving is going to break my heart. Last year, when I wrote about driving away and looking back at our house one last time, I kept telling myself "It's just a house. What matters are the people." But this is different. I will not leave an empty apartment behind, but so much more.

But I know that I will find my place in Salzburg and am curious what my time there will bring. In March 2005 I wrote "You need to enjoy the moment, accept that at some point it will be over and then embrace the new" and I am going to try and follow my own advice as best as I can. It's just that, once again, the moment of leaving will be the hardest part.

UPDATE: I couldn't do it. Leave, that is. At least not completely. At the moment, I am splitting my week 50/50 between Vienna and Salzburg. We'll see how long I can keep this up...


Anonymous said...

Dude, I see where you're coming from, but honestly, I'm very jealous of the fact that you get to leave Vienna and move on. I find it very hard to stay for so many years in a place that doesn't really change much - mostly the same people, the same coffee houses, the same surroundings etc. How cool will it be to have an entire new city to discover? You have many people in the area that are close to you, like Mely, and your roommates are also from around there...Salzburg is also a relatively small city, so it'll feel like home much faster than Vienna did, much more familiar. Vienna's not far away, and you'll have many different places where you'll always be welcome. Change is good! It makes you cherish what you have. I'll come visit!!!! (Doesn't that just make it all better?=) )

Gabi said...

PS the last comment was from me.