Once again, I’m on the road. I’ve taken a week and a half off of school to wander with my littlest brother, Ezra, across Germany. He’s fifteen already and this will be his first “solo” (kind of) trip. First stop: Ansbach, to see Libby. Will’s youngest sister has been best friends with my youngest brother for years, which is of course adorable. They’re planning all sorts of adventures this week. We’ll go skiing in Austria tomorrow, then off on day trips each afternoon. I’m mostly the 21-year-old who can get them into the movie theatre and elsewhere, but I’m also thrilled to be riding along for the fun. It feels like a good sign that my little brother actually wants me to come along and hang out with him for his first taste of total freedom. I must’ve done something right as a big sis. We’ll be sure to take lots of pictures and keep you all updated.
Will packed his bags last night. It was a little heartbreaking. The room looks a little less like home without his things on the shelves. No strange plastic figurines holding battles over my bookcase. The neat stacks of sketchbooks full of story concepts have been packed away. Our coat rack is half empty. Even the space where his toothbrush used to sit next to mine feels small and sad and lonely. It’s possible that this return to the States will be a good thing that allows him to pursue citizenship in Canada and school and all that. But right now it just hurts. Part of it is that it’s come on so suddenly. He’s returning home because his visa hasn’t come through yet. But we’ve been holding onto hope that we’d get the go ahead for him to start his job here. His return didn’t feel real or inevitable until about two days ago. I, of course, will be staying here and continuing my second term with the University of Groningen.
It’ll be at least three months before we see each other again; realistically it’ll be more like five or six. We’ve done this long-term long-distance thing before, which is both helpful and frustrating. On the one hand, we know how to do it. We have tricks and ways of building our relationship despite the distance. This is at least our fourth time going more than 2 months without seeing each other, so I know we’ll get through it and it’ll be fine, but I also know exactly how much it sucks. It’s worse this time than ever before, though – this is the first time he’s moved out of a home we’ve shared. We’re both feeling the strain. It constantly feels like I’m on the edge of tears. I’m feeling this terrified, clinging fear of being completely alone on the other side of the world. Maybe that’s a good reason to give it a go. Fear is usually indicative of a new thing I need to try and experience.
In the end, I’m grateful. I’m grateful that I had this five months with him, that my family was able to come over and visit, that I’m able to study in this incredible country and to continue traveling on my own, that he has so many opportunities ahead of him that go hand in hand with this move. I’m going to miss him and my family and all the friends that went home for their second semesters. But maybe being alone will be good for me as well. Who knows? That’s my next adventure.