Last Tuesday Kaefer started the next chapter in her life. She boarded a Lufthansa flight to Munich where she will pursue her Masters in epidemiology.
After she had graduated from UC Davis in June she stayed the summer with us, which was a big gift since we had so much time to spend with her before she left for her next adventure. During those months she tried to sell a lot of her things, was looking for a flat in Munich online (and found one), applied for a student job at her faculty (and got it) and also did a lot of fun stuff like playing cards and Rummikub. She and I went to the beach and hiked in our regional parks and tried to make the most of these restricted Corona-times. I'm so glad that we have all these beautiful memories.
On Tuesday afternoon, after a last round of Rummikub, we put her luggage in the car and drove her down to San Francisco Airport. It was the first of the eerie days (but by far not the worst) when the fog and smoke were hanging low and the day presented itself in a mustard-yellow hue - not particularly appealing. Kaefer was very quiet during the drive, looking around and admitting that it felt a bit odd to see all these familiar sights for the last time.
The international terminal in San Francisco was eerily empty and when I asked I was told that there were 193 seats left open in the plane that Kaefer would soon board. I was quite relieved to know that the flight wasn't full, and indeed no one sat next to Kaefer and she had the row to herself.
One restaurant in the food court was open, so we had some dinner and took the last family photos afterwards.
Then it was time to say goodbye. It was hard and my heart was heavy. At the same time I am so excited for her - that she got into this program (they only accept 30-40 students worldwide), that she got the job and that she has the opportunity to live, work and study in another country - her native country.
She arrived safely in Munich, got tested within 10 minutes after departing the plane, took public transportation to Marienplatz where she met the cousin of a friend of ours who had the key to her flat (and had bought some groceries for her to survive the first few days of quarantine until she receives the result of the test) and then made her way to her flat which she said is cute (and tiny). Today we will Zoom with each other - I do look forward to that.