Wednesday, 14 July 2010

How Things Change

Pfarrergasse 6, Regensburg - July 2008.

Two years ago I was living in Germany, enjoying my last weeks in Bavaria before returning to the UK to finish my degree. I loved Germany, I still do, and I have a simmering hope somewhere in my heart that I'll get the opportunity to return there some day, but who knows. Two years ago I was in a mix with what I really wanted. I was impatient to get back to my life in York, but that life was an eternity of inevitability, set up neatly in front of me and needing no contemplation, risk or decision (or so I thought).

I was in a relationship and had been for 3 years. We met in the first week of university, and, as I was told, it's highly likely that you'll meet your future partner at university - so there we go, done and dusted. I ticked 'meet love of life' off of my to-do list, and we muddled along rather happily for three years, almost to the day. My going away was tough, but it did make it very easy to come back, so I did. I came back to 'My Future': that thing that was always going to happen upon my return.

A shared love of folk music blossomed during this relationship, and one Friday night in October we headed out to our favourite folk club with our instruments to sing, drink and chat to strangers. If there has ever been a time when I drank a lot of alcohol, it was during the period of arriving in Germany and finishing my degree; a short-lived but uncharacteristic and groggy chapter of my life. So the night is quite a blurr to me almost 2 years later - it was probably quite a blur the following morning, too. But I do remember chatting to a new face throughout the evening. I was intruiged by his tales about travelling along the Amazon, and interested to hear about his studies (a Master's degree - wowee, I was impressed! ;-) ). I was keen to share with him the wonders of York, where he had just arrived that week, excited at the prospect of making new friends and settling into a life different from the one I left behind a year before.

Early the next morning, after raucous accordeon playing, hours of drinking, music and chatting, we stumbled towards our homes, which happened to be in the same direction. I remember it well, the awkwardness of three, out of the comforting context of the pub and the warm music. After some amusing events which will remain unreported (partly to protect the dignity of certain parties involved, partly because I can't find an elequant way to write it down), we went our seperate ways, promising to get in touch and meet up again in the near future.

We hadn't swapped numbers or even full names, and so getting in touch wasn't particularly easy. But York is small, he was tall, and I used to wear stupidly large headphones, making me more noticeable than one person should be.

I thought my life was set up for me there, heading in a direction that I never even chose for myself. But last night I sat at my computer with that stranger from the folk club, searching for a home for us to share. It only struck me today how much has changed; how one decision sets off a whole chain of dominoes, and can lead somewhere you always wanted to be without you even knowing that it's what you always wanted. The Future looks very different from how it did two years ago - partly because I don't really know what it looks like, and I like it this way. Maybe if I'd have known back then that there was so much uncertainty ahead of me I would have been much more content? Fortunately it doesn't work that way!

I must point out that there was a significant gap of time between that night in October and the next domino in the series falling down, but that's a story for another day!


  1. "But York is small, he was tall, and I used to wear stupidly large headphones, making me more noticeable than one person should be."


    there's a quote this very beautiful post of yours reminds me of a quote from Joseph Campbell: 'We must be willing to let go of the life we planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us.'


  2. And so begins the next exciting instalment of your life. Be happy!
    Lisa x

  3. Wow, that's a great story!! You've inspired me to share the story of how Tom and I met as it's very similar - I'll write it soon, I promise! I've always been fascinated by the stories of people's lives, and how different things might have been if they'd taken one fork in the road rather than the other. It makes me ponder on the magical connectedness of things.

    Enjoy all the twists and turns, and never be afraid to take the road less travelled, it makes all the difference, as the poem said :) x