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>> April 24, 2022 - Germany

There are certain moments in people's lives that are before and after moments. For some reason, all of my before and after moments were pretty bad. After the twentieth before and after moment, you kinda get sick of it. Yes, you grow as a person, and you learn new things, and your perspective becomes broader, but it's tiring.

So I decided "fuck this! I'm having a good before and after moment. I'm gonna fly to Germany and meet my boyfriend. I hardly know the language, and I could die in 50 ways and have my legs be sold on the black market as height extenders, but I need to live a little."

I didn't really expect to feel much love in my life as a shut in Linux nerd, but I was wrong. That trip was the best damn thing in my life, and much to my parents' surprise, I wasn't sold on the black market. In fact, I could very easily write a 50 page essay on why the trip is great and how I'm really in love and how nice it feels to hug and I really miss Dani god I wanna go back and yeah, you see the fucking problem. Instead I'm going to talk about how I changed.

The biggest difference is that I feel more confident in myself. I already didn't like external validation much, but now I really feel as if I don't need it. I trust that the people I care for also care for me. I'm not very worried about my future or talking to new people.

I've become pickier about other people. I know what I want in friends, and I don't really want to deal with the small talk process much anymore.

My stress levels have gone down. Not by much, but they have! Lots of things are too minor to stress me out now. I feel more sure in my ability to deal with bigger stressors.

Words don't seem to cut it anymore. I simply do not have words for several of the emotions I experienced during the trip. I really loved words, but they seem so useless now!

And now for obligatory rambling about the trip:
- The buildings in Germany are so colorful! I saw a pastel pink, blue, yellow, and white apartment all next to each other. I also saw some bright green and yellow apartment.
- German bread is great. Paprika snacks are the best thing ever.
- I threw a grape once and it landed standing up. I don't understand how the hell this happened.
- It turns out that Dani's the best hugger in the world.
- We visited a botanical garden that had a butterfly exhibit. It was super pretty!
- We put a love lock on Eiserner Steg. Our initials are D + N (Yes we intentionally ordered it this way, and I'm not sorry). The letters are really poorly keyed in on a black lock. Try and find it if you can.

This article isn't a recommendation for someone to do what I did. If you do the same, PLEASE TAKE SAFETY MEASURES and follow your gut instinct. I shared my location with three people, never let myself walk anywhere new without some map application, paid lots more money than I should have to make sure my hotel was in a safe area, and LOTS more. But, really, you just need to follow your gut instinct. Do you get a sinking feeling when you meet the person? Does a certain pizzeria look like it wants to make you into pepperoni? Then change your plans!

Hopefully I never make a post this personal again. I'm rather embarassed.

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