One year ago I knew that there was no way out of my plans for the following 11 months. I had planned for months and I was looking forward to what was going to happen – at least kind of.
I did not want to leave my family and my friends, everything was just perfect at the moment but I knew that this thought could not or better MUST NOT hold me back, because there is always something in the future that makes it worth being there, living there and making it the present and the past.
Then I arrived in New Zealand. A country I did not know much about and whose people spoke no other language but the one I thought I could speak quite well – and I just want to mention that I was not right with that impression.
To start living among a group of people you do not know but who know each other so well is not the easiest thing to do especially if you have no idea where you are in the “hostel hierarchy”. Are you a friend of the students? Are you JUST a supervisor? If I close an eye on what the boys do that is not quite agreeable with the hostel rules, do I still fulfill my role as a member of the staff? Why do I have to be a member of the staff and cannot just be a student like everyone else? What can I do to do the right thing for both – the staff and the boys?
Those questions and more were running through my head probably everyday and the amount of questions did not become smaller over the year, they just changed a little bit.
I remember the feeling I had when I first arrived. Everyone in the hostel looked at me like at an animal in the zoo. Well actually not like in a zoo but like in the wild, because there was no cage that could protect any of us.
So they were looking at me, weighing the odds and then throwing dirt at me to see what was going to happen.
As people who know me maybe already guess, I did not do anything to scare them off.
I am the calm guy who would not even kill a fly that is flying around his ear for hours. But life in a Boys Hostel changes you. It changed me. I did not become a ruthless bastard but I changed so most of the “dirt throwing” stopped.
And now? I am just completely happy. I feel like being a part of a big, big family. A family in which brothers tease each other and sometimes go a little too far. A family in which brothers laugh together and sometimes suffer together. A family in which brothers support each other and teach each other.
It was hard for me to leave my family back in Germany but I knew for sure that I would see them one year later again. Now it is even harder for me to leave my Kiwi-Family because I do not know if I will ever see them again.
If you meet people they leave tracks. Not just on the ground but in your heart. Even if you do not exactly know what they actually leave behind, you will feel that they were there. Either in special situations or even all the time.
It is just a feeling and it can be a slight one but than sometimes the memory hits you like a rugby player that tackles you and takes your breath away.
You never forget your family and you never forget the people who gave you something of themselves.
I really hope that I meant as much to them as they mean to me. See ya lads, See ya soon.