Göttingen by night is a strange creature. She can change quite suddenly, from thriving, bustling city centre to wild, drunken circus ring, to silence and emptiness so still it seems almost artificial. When I walk through the stillness I experience an odd sensation that hovers between proprietary elation and the nagging sense that my life here isn’t real. I begin remembering the long months I wasn’t here, when I spent hours willing myself back, building the streets in my mind. It’s my town, but our relationship changes all the time. I don’t live out near the forest any more; I’m right in the middle of it all, and sometimes the city walls seem protective, and at other times restrictive. These streets have been the stage for a hundred overwrought dramas, a thousand joyful moments; they have been the backdrop to dreams and hopes and broken hearts. They’ve been home to so many of my nearest and dearest, who are always coming and leaving and moving on. This is my seventeenth month living here, and yet so many of the most important twists and turns in my adult life happened here.
I don’t know when I’ll be leaving, and I don’t know if I’ll come back when I do. I don’t know how I’ll feel about this place in two months, or two years for that matter. I doubt it will ever stop being my town, but things change.