Emma in Euroland

Tea, Cake and Travel: a year abroad in Germany

To Malvina, for adding colour to my bland, white walls.

I said goodbye to one of my best friends yesterday. Today, she wasn’t back in time for me to say goodbye to her before I left for work.  Maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s right that we haven’t really said goodbye.

It’s funny how some friendships grow. We haven’t known each other long but she arrived in my life like a train crash. When she moved into my flat back in October, I had only been here a few days. Ramsey had just left and I was just about finding my feet. There were 3 of us in the flat. We had routines, we had systems. Then someone else came in who threw me off.  Someone different.

It didn’t take long for her quirky ways to grow on me though. It started first of all with the stories. This girl always has something going on. Particularly in the beginning when things were new and she was meeting new people all the time, almost every day something amazing had happened that she needed to tell me about. My life felt settled and happy but my daily instalment in her exciting and crazy life (or so it seemed to me) was something I always looked forward to. We laughed together a lot.

Over the months, things changed a little. It was no longer just stories I was getting, but she wanted my opinion too. She wanted my advice on her problems and I felt like she was a younger sister, looking for guidance. Why she came to me, I’m not sure. Maybe just because I was there. Either way, whatever it was, it led to something pretty special.

There were arguments and conflicts (although thankfully not between us). There was despair and heartbreak, euphoria and love.  There were homemade Christmas decorations. There were paintings. Eventually there was even a trip to Dresden which, whilst not without a few hiccups, was one of my favourite, it not my favourite, of all the trips I have made on my year abroad.

While she was hurting and needed support, I opened up to her. I told her about things which had happened in my life and how I had felt about it. I told her things I hadn’t really told anyone and I found myself being entirely honest about how it had affected me, something I had struggled with before. I had a happy ending to my story and it seemed to help.

Somewhere along the way, she became my friend. At some point after that, she became one of my best friends. It’s funny, in the beginning she just seemed so different. Even though all those differences are still there, I don’t seem to notice them anymore. I feel like we are two peas out of a pod.

When I had bronchitis, I didn’t get out of bed for days apart from occasionally stumbling through the kitchen on my way to the bathroom. In seeing my suffering, she stopped smoking. Not just in her room, but completely, until I was better. She said she wanted give me moral support so I wasn’t on my own with it all.

We didn’t spend that much time together. Most of our conversations happened in the kitchen as we were both passing through. We were there for each other though and we were only ever a knock away. There was something comforting in that.

Malvina was loud at all hours of the day. She left her pans on the hobs. She had new friends coming through the flat all the time. She often forgot her key. But she was kind and funny. She was generous and caring. She had the most infectious laugh and her enthusiasm for everything was fascinating. She was an ‘experimental’ cook and I enjoyed learning from her mistakes (note to self: don’t try to fry frozen burgers. They will burn.). She wore her heart on her sleeve and she made people feel special.

I am glad we didn’t say goodbye today. I hope that we had no reason too. Romania seemed like it was a lot further away before this year in Germany. The world seems like a smaller place now.

I suppose I might get used to the flat being quieter. I might get used to not hearing updates on her exciting life every day.  I might do. Or I might just start playing my music louder and pester her with emails every day instead. God only knows. What I do know though is that either way, I will miss her very much and I feel blessed that she has coloured my year abroad experience in the way that she has.

I hope I have been as good a friend to her as she has been to me.

Two peas in a pod :)

Two peas in a pod 🙂

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