27 , 2005
After three weeks, we’re finally starting to feel completely
at ease with our environment. Granted, we still look like foreigners,
but now it seems like we’re actually a part of the diversity
of the city itself. I’ve learned to not make eye contact so
much and to stop giving the “American.” It’s a
term we’ve coined for the over-eager and orthodontically enhanced
American smile that seems to be a dead giveaway as to our origins.
We also made one more group trek, this time to Freiburg, Germany.
The highlight was climbing the 273 steps to the bell tower of the
Freiburg Cathedral, where we made it just in time to hear the bells
toll at noon. It was certainly inspiring, possibly even spiritual,
to stand within six feet of medieval instruments meant to be heard
over an entire valley. Each second felt that much more powerful
because it was weighted with the reverberation of the bells themselves.
Not to wax poetic, but it was belittling to consider just how many
of these seconds that the bells have sounded over the last centuries.
Similarly, seven of us just returned from
a weekend trip to the mountain town of Gryon, Switzerland to visit
a summit of a slightly different variety. Half of our group spent
the weekend skiing, but Joanna Henke and I decided to head to the
base of the mountain to hike along the river. We settled ourselves
on a pristine snow bank in the forest to eat the lunches we packed.