– Post by Ahmad –
This morning, we started realizing that our time in Germany is coming to an end. Its only 2 days away from traveling back home. Weird feelings of discomfort mixed with excitement are present in every one of us.
At this point we were trying to absorb as much as we can from the German experience.
We continued work just as usual. Low-key thinking about how much will I miss the FabLab back in Palestine. I kept thinking about if we had a place just like the FabLab in Ramallah and how will it be full of life and what kind of people will go there. I really want to see a place like this where we live. I’m really going to miss the FabLab and the work environment it fosters.
After work, we decided to go to a traditional German restaurant and have some real German food. It was pretty chill there I had a Siegen traditional Schnitzel dish with egg and bread, the dinner was pretty great.
Afterwards we went back to the FabLab, sat at the stairs in front and wanted to spend some time together before goodbye was near. We sat there talking about everything, laughing and having lots of fun. We talked a bit about Palestine sharing more experiences, and also learning more about the German culture. Settings like these, is when the cultural exchange really happens. Its so beautiful being a part of this.
We didn’t want that night to end, but it had to. We went to the dorms by taxi because we missed the last bus.
We needed a good sleep so we can enjoy our last day at Siegen.
Its the Last day! Endings are always the worst. I woke up with a weird set of feelings, I was ready to leave to the tranquility of home, but at the same time I was sad to leave and I wanted to stay more and experience more of Germany and its culture.
The weather was perfect, sunny but not hot, chilly but not cold. I loved the weather in Germany.
We waited for the last morning bus we are taking, and went to the FabLab for our last day of work.
We finalized project work and got everything ready for the Palestine phase. I played a little in the FabLab saying goodbye to it, I laser cut a small box.
Then all of us sat together and had our final goodbye meeting. It was a little emotional having to say goodbye to everyone, but it’s fortunate that we are going to meet up again in October.
We said goodbye and everyone went their way to buy stuff and to pack. And because life is not fun without action, at the end of the day Rawand lost her dorm room key and had no access to the dorm to pack, we went looking for it but it was no where to be found. And we had to think of other options as rescheduling the flight home. It was a very stressful night as we were worried that Rawand will be stuck in Siegen for eternity.
At the end of the night i went to sleep as i had to wake up at 5:30 to catch the ride to Düsseldorf airport.
Travel day! We woke up super early to catch our BlaBla car ride to Düsseldorf. it was the first day of school in Germany and the driver was a teacher, we talked with him a little about teaching and how things work in Germany, so the cultural exchange was still happening till the last second we were in Germany, Düsseldorf was full of life, as children were going to school and lots of people were in the streets. We parked at the teacher’s school and by some magic we made it to the train station and took a train to the central station, and then we spent a few minutes searching for the train that should take us to the airport. And we found it while the doors were closing. Phew! We made it to the airport.
Then the journey home began. We took the first flight to Rome, it was beautiful having a window seat trip in the morning, I was super amused by the scenery, and seeing how different the geography is along the way.
The moment we entered FCO airport in Rome, I instantly felt the hit that I am actually going home, being in the same place I was in a month ago traveling to Germany. We ate lunch in the airport and went on our second flight. It was a bigger better plane, so it was more comfortable and I had a bad seat, so I spent my time sleeping as I usually do.
We reached Queen Alia airport, everyone was speaking Arabic, it took me a couple minutes to realize that I now have to speak in Arabic with everyone. It was a little funny feeling that I’m actually struggling to speak Arabic for a couple minutes.
We took a taxi and went to the Bridge to finally get home. The Jordan bridge is made of 3 parts, the Jordan Part, Israeli Part, and Palestine Part. And it seems like its made on purpose to not be user friendly.
Yara and I were in the bus leaving Jordan talking about how our trip was pretty easy going and that we didn’t have any trouble along the way, and then we leave the bus, everyone is getting their luggage out of the bus! What luggage? Oh crap we actually forgot the luggage in Jordan. Life always likes to provide us with stories to tell and thats whats fun in life.
We went back to the Jordan bridge, picked the luggage up and continued our trip, this whole thing wasted us a couple of hours of time, but we spent the time talking about how humiliating the Bridge is, and how it is designed to make you feel uncomfortable. This really sparked the interest of human centered design in me. At the end the human is the user, and the human shouldn’t think to be able to navigate the stages of travel. Its a bad design on purpose!
Finally after about 18 hours of traveling, we drive home, see our families, and thats the end of the Germany phase as I thought! But the following hours I discovered that we learn from our experiences, not while they are happening, but in reality we learn and grow from the silence and calmness that comes after all the action. Reflecting upon all that we’ve been through is when we actually start learning. So what we thought was the end, was actually the beginning of something much greater that changes us to the better, forever.