Winter, feminism and macaques

Unbelievable – it was already four weeks ago that my cat Tabby (and my parents) welcomed me back home. I still remember that I didn’t even know what to talk about because I had always communicated the most important information immediately and not much had happened during my last days. To compensate this lack of activities to speak about, I stuffed the upcoming weeks with the reflection seminar in Berlin, visiting friends and being an intern in a neurobiology lab in Tübingen. There’s nothing better I could have done.

Still feeling some slight jetlag symptoms and without anything sorted out, I was given the chance to directly reflect on my entire voluntary stay during another seminar at the same place as five months ago. My expectations were low – the preparatory seminar instead of making me get clearer about everything added many doubts and even fears due to its length, problem-sought contents and the enormous mass of 300 people. Maybe therefore I enjoyed it even more this time. Now, there was something to talk about with literally anyone; all of us have experienced something extremely similar but simultaneously very individual and different. I was amazed to hear about young people having struggles in Kazakhstan and living awesome experiences in Lesotho – or the other way around. Also, the pedagogical program structuring the seminar was quite supportive. Time for flashbacks was limited and a special focus was put on the present and the future which was not only the most constructive way for me to think about the time abroad as fruitful and plenty of situations that taught me something about myself.

Workshops concerning mindfulness and feminism (and many other options to be fair) enriched the sometimes egocentrically biased “homezone” sessions. I found myself learning strategies to actively relax myself and scratching the surface of contemporary feminism, a field I discovered I’m very interested in myself. Reading books and articles, listening to podcasts and holding up interesting discussions with friends helped my shaping an opinion and I feel like I might stay in touch with the topic and generally society’s issues related to it.

Re-considering my entire stay, I can honestly summarize it as far from ideal, but still with a surprisingly positive outcome. I’m looking back at it with some bittersweet memories and I’m somehow glad it’s over; at the same time, I feel like I can appreciate some things now better and see myself differently.

Seeing some of my friends right after was just what I needed to bring me back to reality and I’m grateful for their support. The past two weeks in the lab finally brought the deeply missed cognitive stimuli back, confronting me with scientific knowledge and computing I had never heard about before. I happily accepted the challenge and I think I’m ready for the next adventure on Monday – my nursing internship in a psychiatry nearby.

This most probably is the last blog entry here. Peru and my volunteering are officially over and there won’t be anything related to it happening anymore. However, it will stay in my thoughts and life forever and I want to thank you for following me on this journey!