photo by MhAgEeR © 이삼 on flickr
For Doro (22) a law student from Heidelberg and Björn (27) a computer science student it all began on a corridor party of a mutual friend in Delphi:
Erasmus, Ryanair, Skype- this is the stuff modern love stories are made of. Everyone knows that often they don’t turn out well. And it’s mostly the excitement of a semester abroad which is confused with being in love. Your friends love to prove this to you with Erasmus separation statistics and true- most Erasmus couples really give the empirical evidence after only a few month. However, everyone who is in love of course still believes to be the exception. And that is good; otherwise our generation would have no more love stories. My theory: love needs drama. Where back in the medieval times warring clans made love impossible, or social barriers kept lovers apart, today this is produced by a fateful distance.
I met Björn two weeks before my semester abroad in Lund came to an end. It was at a party of a friend of a friend of my friend Marina (perhaps there were even a couple of more links in between) Anyway, we knew nobody there, danced a bit and then sat down to watch people. The boy on the opposite sofa was refreshingly unpretentious, not so over styled as most Swedes. He did not even wear the skinny jeans uniform. At the moment I told that Marina and she twisted her neck to look at him in a very inconspicuous way he came over and sat down next to us on the sofa. I was flabbergasted. Flirting with him felt so easy and natural.
In my life all the important things always happen last minute. For example Doro. Doro happened to me on a pretty bad corridor party when I was already about to go home. I had been in a very bad mood all night and only waited for the time to come when adult people officially can leave a party without embarrassing themselves. I was just sitting around yawning and time didn’t pass. In order to distract me from check the watch every two minutes I started to listen to other people’s conversations. Two beauties were talking on the opposite sofa and I thought I heard some fragments of a German sentence. Erasmus, that was obvious! That is making things so much easier. For example, you don’t need a creative pick up line! With a very plain and simple “Where are you from” you are in the conversation and if you stuck you can go on with cultural differences. If necessary you can always ask the Germans whether they know how to yodel. Luckily, the conversation went well and we didn’t have to talk about Weißwürste (Bavarian veal sausage) and beer. The girls even wanted to take me to an Erasmus party.
A few hours later the three of us headed to an Erasmus party. Björn didn’t make any approaches the whole night. Maybe because I told him that I was flying back to Germany very soon. A few days after the party he finally added me on skype. If I had known by then how much of my lifetime this program would cost me I would have thought twice before accepting his friend request. Since then we skyped almost every night. We met again, however, only half an hour before I left because I was so busy to say goodbye to the city and the people I met here; I didn’t even have time to pack my bags. Actually, I invited Björn for tea, but in the end we only had time to throw all my clothes in the suitcase, miss the bus, run to the station and give each other a short hug before the train took me to the airport. This was kind of a preview of our relationship. Only I didn’t know it by then.
What I knew was that I missed Björn. And Sweden. The welcome party was a nice intended surprise but somehow it felt strange and empty. My study colleagues at home seemed boring, my old life dusty and dull. Today I know that these were the typical post-Erasmus symptoms. At that time, however, it just felt like a real tragedy. I flew again back to Lund to take some exams and get the remaining things out of my room. This was the week when Björn and I kissed for the first time. And then again: suitcase, train, plane, Skype, Skype and even more Skype. We traveled every few weeks between Heidelberg and Lund without ever talking about our relationship status because this would have confronted us with all the difficulties that this long distance implicated. As long as we did not talk about our feelings flying was something like a common hobby. It was not until Björn sent me a relationship request on facebook a few months later when I realized that we already were a couple. I gave my virtual yes. Björn dropped out of university and came to Heidelberg, for a few weeks as it was originally planned. When, after three month, his computer tower from Sweden was delivered to my apartment I knew it was forever. Or at least a very long time.
We know we are a modern fairytale. And that the part after the happy ending is the most difficult. But it works. Also without Ryanair, Skype and drama.
Text originally by: Süddeutsche Zeitung
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Posted on: Feb 5, 2012 at 4:06 PM