It was the coldest year of all, by far. Coming to think of it, almost half of it was dreary and gray, often in the iron grip of heavy snowfalls, icy roads, and frozen everythings. Aside from slightly re-traumatizing memories, the stubborn salt lines on my black winter boots are rather unwelcome reminders of that apocalyptical winter.

I believe to have been at my best and at my worst during the last year; in fact, I’m starting to believe it’s a part of becoming a real adult, to have greater amplitudes on both ends… Maybe because there’s just more at stake now?!

When I was at my lowest, you came to see me, from very far away, fed me good foods, and sat with me until I felt better. In your embrace, my pieces reassembled.

One day last year, I missed family and friends so hard I felt like I was going to fall apart again and lose all my limbs, this time forever. (I swear, this is not for dramatic effect!)

I also gave away pieces of me I thought I needed.

My parents moved to the other side of the world, and I moved from another other side of the world back home.

Further statistics from this past year include one graduation, one broken guitar, one drink too many, on probably more than one occasion.

They also include two morning lockouts of my apartment, three dinner parties, and twelve cracked eggs when that afternoon in late fall, my newly bought groceries fell through the bottom of my torn shopping bag and onto the pavement.

If I counted correctly (and each way separately), I was on 13 flights, which took me to six countries and three continents.

I drove about 9000km, through two US states and to three European countries.

You taught me how to change my tires, and you taught me how to pump them up.

We chatted in the van and bar and library and café and kitchens and laundry rooms and basements until our eyes fell shut eventually. And the world kept on turning.

One very early morning, my neighbor ran out of his front door to sing a newly composed song for me, in the snow, with his great beard and smart glasses, and in the most awesome way ever.

My other neighbor and I wrote origami letters back and forth, even though his desk was only ten meters away from mine.

Leaving a bar very late one night, I found a piano on the roadside and ended up giving a little open-air piano solo concert. It consisted of half a piece and one listener.

We danced on rooftops, in sketchy backrooms of smoky bars, and by the roadside. There were live bands, old jukeboxes, and sometimes absolutely no music at all.

I smoked and decided to quit, I ate meat and decided to stop, and now I enjoy both sporadically more than ever. (Although cigarettes really have no positive side-effect whatsoever, because cool people can be met in other ways, too, so twenty-three, let’s make moves on this one!)

Beautiful flowers were given to and by me, and I never knew a single name— except for the sunflower. Twenty-three, let’s plan a visit to the botanical gardens!

In the springtime, there was so much movement in the air – until you and I stood on the curb, utterly still and silent, in complete reconciliation. That’s when everything stopped, suddenly, and then changed, a lot, for the better.

In the summertime, we slept in a tiny, moldy bed in the middle of the mountains two nights, surrounded by swarms of monster mosquitos and smells of long-forgotten, rotting sheets. We laughed until we cried until we slept until the sun rose until we left and were never ever seen again.

Still in the summertime, there were full moon walks, rainbow talks, and thunderstorm kisses.

Now that it is fall again, things start anew, especially application processes and extensive google search missions and other missions that will bring along so many new adventures…

…and I absolutely cannot wait to fall asleep and wake up with the prickle that’s been there all along! Thanks, 22, you’ve been absolutely superb!