Yesterday marked the thirteenth week from my arrival in Germany. For some reason, I always count from the day of my arrival as opposed to the day of my departure. Some part of me likes to hold off the satisfaction of rolling over the new number until it is absolutely certain I am not jumping the gun. For those of you wondering what the significance of the number thirteen was for me, allow me to assure you that it had nothing to do with luck. Actually, this date was exciting for me because it marked the first quarter point of my stay abroad. I decided to count in weeks because days was just a little too obsessive, and months took to long to come around. Besides, weeks are more accurate than months. I thought I would take the time to recap my last thirteen weeks, mostly for my own benefit, but as some of you seem to cling to every word I manage to type, I thought I would share with you.
If you are the type to skip review episodes in anime shows, you can forward to the last paragraph or so.
– I traveled to France where I saw (among others)
-The Mediterranean Sea
-Numerous old towns, churches, buildings, etc.
-Carcassonne (giant freaking walled city + castle)
-Pont du Gard (giant freaking aqueduct)
-Avignon (including the papal palace and gardens contained therein)
– I traveled to Rome where I saw (among others)
– St. Peter’s Square
– St. Peter’s Basilica
– The Pantheon
– The Colosseum
– The Catacombs
– I traveled through parts of southern Germany and northern Austria where I saw
– Numerous baroque churches
– The Austrian Alps
– The Schwäbische Albs
– I visited Tübingen twice, and saw its castle. It is probably my favorite city in Germany so far. (Imagine walking into Final Fantasy IX.)
– I stayed at a Bavarian monastery for a retreat with my German family
– I read
– The Seven Levels of Intimacy (Matthew Kelley)
– The Well and the Shallows (G. K. Chesterton)
– Manalive (G. K. Chesterton)
– Magic Casement (Dave Duncan)
– Fairy Lands Forlorn (Dave Duncan)
– Perilous Seas (Dave Duncan)
– Emperor and Clown (Dave Duncan)
– Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (yes, actually, I did read this. Finished yesterday.)
– I maintained a twice a week workout schedule at Tae Kwon Do
– I made five updates on my Deviant Art account
– I wrote fourteen double-spaced pages of random, directionless story
– I pressed (hopefully correctly) thirty three different kinds of German wildflowers
– I worked with watercolors
– I wrote by hand: 19 letters (averaging three double-sided full pages each, I guess), 2 cards, 9 postcards
– I maintained this blog
– A few things I did not accomplish include:
– Not enough art. I need to draw more.
– Not enough writing. I need to write more.
– I have not yet seen the Black Forest in spite of its close proximity.
On an up note, I will be leaving for Berlin in about ten days, and I just bought a scrapbook which I hope to spend a bit of my Sunday free time filling (I would like to have a nice way to remember a lot of the details about this year that I will surely be forgetting. I also want to not save this for when I get back. Also it is an excuse to buy more pretty stationary paper.)
I wanted to add a note here about the title I chose for today’s entry. As I began this entry, I decided to start up the album Joshua Tree by U2 on iTunes, and about the time I was ready to start my recap, Bono began to break into some of those incredible wordless notes that are both his signature and his specialty. I had to stop writing. I had to shut my eyes and listen to him. I had to smile, and perhaps cry. (I did not manage to cry this time, although I do often cry when I listen to good music. This is more often than not a mixture of extreme happiness for me, along with a heartbreaking realization that I will probably never be able to sing that way.) The words of the song at that time, “I can’t live, with or without you,” felt particularly applicable to the feelings of homesickness I often have (although they have been getting better, and are I believe mostly past.) As I mentioned in an earlier post, part of why I felt I had to come to Germany was so that I could come to better grips with who I was, and who I wanted to come. I am a rather lazy person, and it is easy for me to put my own deepest dreams off to some date in the future, where they will always safely remain dreams. Traveling to foreign counties was one of these dreams, and yet I came so close to turning down what I firmly believe to be a God-given opportunity. I needed some sort of impetus to push me forward, and Germany for me was (and is) just the thing. Staying home would have been an easy, comfortable, and slow death. I can’t live with you. Leaving, stepping away back from everyone shows me something new. I can’t live without you.
And thus U2 joins my list of musical sages (along with the Zutons) from whom I glean important live lessons.