Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear, is it really true that, just as we have started to find our way around JMO, just as we have learnt what CHAFEA means, just as we have finally managed to visit Eurostat, just as we finally enjoyed some summery weather… our stage is over?
That first day some of us met at the Hôtel des Postes in Hamilius and spent a lovely evening getting to know each other at Conrad’s. The train ride to Brussels the following day. Being surrounded by Brussels trainees at the Welcome Conference, thinking “Am I the only one going to Luxembourg?”. Following Danai and Mateja like a flock of sheep and having them count us on the bus, like teachers do with kids during field trips. That cocktail at Jean Monnet after the presentation of all the DGs, with some of us chasing the desserts tray, and some others waiting impatiently for their advisors. The first time we went into our offices and we realized just how many hours we’d have to spend there. Our first lunch together at the canteen.
Doesn’t it all seem like it happened yesterday?
And yet five months have passed. It’s safe to say that this was one of the busiest periods in our lives, which has been full of social events and meeting new people (How many new Facebook friends have you added? Do you finally have a friend to show you around in each and every EU country?), exploring Luxembourg and its neighbouring countries, professional opportunities, discovery of other cultures and languages (least of all, of Luxembourgish, as few of us have gone beyond ‘moien’), and testing ourselves in the demanding working environment of the EU institutions.
Maybe you haven’t realized it yet. Maybe you don’t want to. In a few days, though, when you’re back in your mothers’ arms or looking out at the sea in tropical Hawaii, the penny will drop, and you’ll know it: you are now a former trainee.
Still, I have the feeling we will never stop being trainees, that this experience will stay alive as long as we can share a laugh about the word sharp, as long as we can complain about the Brussels trainees, as long as we can think “It’s Friday, let’s go to Ikki’s”, as long as we think of Edward whenever we see Kim Jong-un on TV… and as long as we stay in touch!
Before I jump to my final paragraph to wish you all the best of luck, let me say that my Who’s Who Book proposal about holding a reunion meeting in 2025 was no joke. On the other hand, I’m not sure I can wait for such a long time to see your beautiful faces again 😉
Now, the final wishes: have a safe trip home, be it by plane, car, train or flying camel; enjoy the best possible luck in all your projects; never doubt what you’re capable of (after all, you were one of the 600 chosen among the 15,000 applicants) and find love, friendship and happiness wherever you go.
And a special wish for the October 2015 trainees and their liaison trainee, Edward: good luck and, even if you have half the fun we had in Luxembourg, you’ll have the time of your lives!