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October 7, 2016

Freedom Bus Experience - Roes

Roes was supposed to calm us down after Berlin and before Trier. For me Roes was some sort of the end. I planned that in Trier I would go home and that was the only thought that kept me sane. In two more nights I would see my husband. I could do it.

First think first, was dinner. Chili con carne. Not good for my throwing up stomach. Then I don't remember what happened and my pictures don't help solving the mystery. I probably went to bed and that was it.

***

The next day we were left to make our own schedule, but what to do in an isolated water mill? I was sick and at this point aspirins were my only way of staying normal. But everything bothered me. We become too familiar to my taste. When did we get there? Nothing made sense anymore and my feeling of being lost was made worst of my room mates acting like they were a couple. The guy starting walking in his underwear in the room and I don't know why I found that offensive. I called my husband and he told me to calm down and change the room. I tried to do that.

I went to the owner of the mill/hotel/conference center and asked if I could change rooms. It wasn't possible. We started talking. He was born out of Romanian parents. He visited Romania many times and the talk with him calmed me. He is another character worth exploring. He gave everything to this project, his home (the mill), he bought a micro-bus which he personalised with the name of the project, he traveled to Krakow and back with all the professors involved in this experience. We bonded. His parents were bought by the German government from the Romanian communist authorities, so you would think that he wants nothing to do with Romania, but it is not the case. He has been to Romania many times and he likes it, but he is German and you can see that.

After talking to him I was ok. I even accepted to give a speech about my experience within the Freedom Bus Experience. I had no experience, only fears and doubts and uncomfortable moments. I decided to talk about the people I've met, the characters. I even made a list on my phone about what I would remember from each and every travel companion I had since Krakow. I had my place in this project. I was the one that insisted that they start doing social media. I was the one that started the hashtags of the trip. I was the one that made them laugh. And they needed that. One by one my colleagues told me that they were also scared. The French girls were scared they wouldn't fit in. The Irish were scared they had nothing to do with art. The Londoner was scared that she was alone. The Polish were scared that they were analysed by the professors and that they would find out they had too much fun instead of working. The sociologists, were scared of everyone there. The filming guys were scared that they wouldn't document everything properly. We all had fears, but we over passed them.

I was alone and unique in my way, but I wasn't the only one.

When the evening came I was confident that my place was there. I meet other interesting characters and we talked and we drank and then the time for the speeches came. First was a Polish guy, our sixth room mate in Berlin. Special guy. His speech made sense, but then he pull out a flag and he got undressed and put the flag on a pole. "OK what was that?" I was to find out that that was a performance. I didn't get it and I my speech was next.

Fortunately the host proposed some hamburgers and the atmosphere unwind. Not for me, though. I made the mistake to say to the wrong people that I didn't get the performance. They were not nice. They didn't accept that we are all different and that it is ok to have an opinion and to express that opinion. Guess what? Someone actually told me that I was "an ignorant westerner". I started laughing and they maybe thought I was crazy on top of it all.

But the performing guy was ok with my opinion and I later found out I wasn't the only one who didn't get it.

It helped my speech though, because I've started with the joke that "I would keep my clothes on". I think the organisers liked my speech. I don't remember it. I was so focused to say all I had to say that I grabbed a bottle of wine from one table and I hold it throughout the entire speech. I didn't drink from it, it was my anchor, although usually I am not emotional when giving speeches, I wanted this one to be good. I had to prove, first to myself, that my place was there.

After that we danced to techno, the French girls went out of their shell, I got to talk with the Irish and danced some more. I looked like I had too much to drink, but I was sober. I usually don't drink. I don't get drinking like I didn't get the guys performance, but it is fine.

The night was weird, but it was my last night with those people.

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