Street art on the Berlin WallHannah Jennings

Ich hab’ noch einen Koffer in Berlin

Deswegen muß ich da nächstens wieder hin
Die Seligkeiten vergangener Zeiten
Sie sind alle immer noch in diesem kleinen Koffer Drin


I still have a suitcase in Berlin
That’s why I have to go back there soon
The bliss of bygone days
They are all still in that little suitcase

Hannah Jennings- blissfully ignorant that her time abroad would be cut short.Hannah Jennings

These are the famous lyrics of a song recorded by the iconic film star Marlene Dietrich in 1955. For many Year Abroad students, who scrambled to pack up and leave their host countries, some with less than 24 hours’ notice, the abandoned suitcase of memories is more than just a metaphor.

European countries were calling it Closing Time for their borders without warning, and many students found themselves stuck in that age-old dilemma, “Should I Stay or Should I Go?”. Faced with the prospect of getting stuck abroad for an unforeseeable length of time, and with little to no guidance from their universities, some took fate into their own hands.

For Eileen, London [was] Calling. It was 4pm, and the last available Eurostar to London would be pulling out of the Gare du Nord in just three short hours. With tears in her eyes, she frantically booked an overpriced ticket. With A Little Help From [her] Friends, she packed up as many of her belongings as possible and Hit The Road. In this less than Sweet Escape, Eileen could only pack up a fraction of her things: while she is at home in London, her clothes are gathering dust in her apartment in Paris. What haunts her most is the expensive Diptyque room diffuser she left open, the scent of fig and patchouli evaporating into an empty bedroom.

A playlist featuring the collection of songs referenced here...

Alex left Berlin for what he thought would be a short trip home. He packed up just a couple of his belongings and found himself Leaving, On a Jet Plane, “Don’t know when I’ll be back again”. Alex has been with his family in the UK for six weeks now; three fleeces on rotation. He misses Berlin and is determined to return again, if only to be reunited with his Varsity sweatshirt.

With Montpellier about to go under total lockdown, Scarlett jumped on a Midnight Train back to the UK. Dazed and Confused, and unsure of what to pack, Scarlett stuffed a duffle bag with as much as she could and said Bye Bye Bye. The road home was Long and Winding, and happy as she is to be back with her loved ones during this difficult time, she can’t help but wonder: will I ever get my Arket silk pyjamas back?

I still have a suitcase in Berlin. Something stopped me from packing everything into my Leavin’ Trunk. It felt like making a promise to myself that my time there wasn’t over just yet: “I’ll Be Seeing You” I thought, as I waved goodbye to my little apartment in Kreuzberg.

Every Time We Say Goodbye to a city we love, we leave a little piece of ourselves behind.


Mountain View

Solace in songs in the time of Covid-19