As I've told y'all, I traveled to Germany this summer. My dad and I met the rest of the team we'd be traveling with at Dulles airport before taking the 8 hour night flight to Munich. We stayed at a missionary base and used a lot of our time to help out the YWAM missionaries stationed there. We did some cooking, lots of cleaning, laundry, and prepared rooms for guests, but we also scheduled time to see the sights. Neuschwanstein, Hohenschwangau, the most influential concentration camp - Dachau, as well as a day trip to Munich, among some other things.
It was an incredible experience that taught me so much about God, the world, and my own future. I will remember that group of people and those places for the rest of my life.
The photo below captures the place where I recorded a lot my inspiring moments: an open window in the lounge on our level of the castle. There aren't any screens on any windows there, so at any moment you could fall to your death off the two foot ledge. (I'm exaggerating again. But really, no screens!) I also wrote a lot from my bunk in the girls' dorm.
Sometimes I didn't feel like writing - I just wanted to go to bed. But I was determined to remember the whole experience, so I forced myself to get down details from every day. I'm going to give you a few excerpts to regale a mere few of my many adventures. Keep in mind that most of them are taken word for word from my journal.
7/6 (still) - In Bed At Schloss Hurlach
I'm so confused about how long I have been awake for - not counting the weird dozes on the flight and the train. I'm sure I tried every possible way to make that chair on the plane comfortable. When I tried resting against the seat the lady in front of me got fed up and said 'Could you please not bump the back of the seat' in a highly annoyed voice. So I had to act like her chair was a pillar of fire for the remaining four hours of the flight.
Anyways, it was so nice to finally get to Schloss Hurlach. It felt like home as soon as I walked in. There's lots of plaster onion dome ceilings, squeaky spiral staircases, fancy window fixtures, and odd little nooks and crannies. It's wonderful.
7/7 - On A Couch in S.H., Near Curfew
One thing I miss here is good old-fashioned Leitungswasser (water). They've got sparkling water but I don't like it...Dad thought he had found regular water for me at dinner but I think it was just sparkling gone flat.
7/11 - Night (Writing About Tuesday 7/10)
Munich was fun, but we did not get to shop as much as I wanted. It was very hard to keep people together. I went to H&M (V. says its the Europeans' favorite store), and Orsay (which is also super big in Europe.) I bought an aztec patterned tank top at a shop called (ironically) The New Yorker. Dad and I got separated, which meant I had no euros with me, but A. kindly loaned me 10. It was funny because in The New Yorker they had this "American" section with red/white/blue shirts, stars/stripes, eagles, etc. But they also had overalls. A., V., and I laughed so hard...do they think Americans really wear those?
We went to the Frauenkirche, which was a highlight for sure. It was a huge cathedral. The ceilings soared above my head, along with the panes of stained glass, which took my breath away - they were all amber and green and ruby and cerule from the floor to the ceiling. It was very serious / majestic in there 'til V. said that this one figurine of Mary looked like Emperor Palpatine. I had to fight to hold back the laughter. Then, to make it worse, I thought she said:
V.: 'What is that dead thing she's holding?'
Me *shocked*: 'That's baby Jesus!'
*both dissolve in painful shaking laughter*
V.: 'No! I said, what are the dead things beneath her?'
Turns out they were cherubs, but they did look more like sick eels. I never liked icons.
7/12 - Morning in Women's Lounge (Writing about 7/11)
After the prayer walk, Ticy and Manuel turned us loose in Landsberg. Landsberg is built (partly) over the River Lech, so every now and then there's a fenced gap where you can look down and see the river rushing right beneath your feet. I loved Landsberg so much - not as big as Munich but much cuter, with cafes and houses colored pumpernickel and apricot and yellow. And the flower boxes! Almost every house had flower boxes. One shop I saw was white with aqua blue window frames. They had a pottery shop and lots of little cafes with Kafe (coffee) and gelato... even clothing stores like H&M, so S. and I are going to try to go back.
|landsberg! the second building on the left is the 'chocolaterie'|
7/14 - Cair Paravel, Morning (Writing About Thursday 7/12)
It was a long drive up to the Alps, where the castles were. but once we got into the mountains, everything was so beautiful that I couldn't do anything but stare. The mountains rolled into the clouds, cradling the lush green pastures beneath a watchful eye. Ski lifts and gondolas rose gracefully up the side of the mountains on their thread-like cables. Wildflowers dotted the fields, and wherever I looked I saw cows grazing. There was an old woman in a headscarf plowing with a tractor. A man wandered by in a feathered hat. Once we got out of the car, the air was so clean and clear - nothing I've tasted before. I wish they had a candle called 'The Alps...'
7/16 - About 4,000 m. Above Sea Level
Doesn't feel like we're leaving. Even though I'm in a plane blaring Marina & the Diamonds through my headphones to shut out the crying baby.
This morning we all went up to the Cinemaroom for a worship service. Before we left, they called us to the front and everyone gathered around and prayed for us all at once. In their own language. The beautiful tongues of French, German, English, Nigerian, Swiss French, and numerous others swirled in the air, forming a strength I'll never forget. A rope of so many strands is not easily broken. One little Swiss boy, about 4 feet tall, prayed loud in Swiss French. I had no idea what he was saying, I had no idea even what his name was, but he was so confident...so full of the Spirit. It moved me to tears.
|V. posing in the lonely little room we discovered in the schloss attic and nicknamed "cair paravel"|
There was so much more, but I'll leave you with that. Again, I will never forget this trip or the memories that filled it: S. dropping food on the Swiss-French's truck and then having a laughing fit // Climbing up the hill of gravel in the quarry with V. // Chanting the German alphabet on our drive home from Landsberg with the windows down and Frau G. doing her Gestapo voice // Braiding clover chains at the lake // Trying to climb the ladder into the turret with A., N., M., V., S. // Going to that little chocolaterie in Landsberg // Lip-syncing 'Primadonna' and 'Call Me Maybe' with A. and V. on our flight home // Laughing // Crying // Learning so, so much.
|some of our team on the last day. i was insane from lack of sleep.|
If you get a chance to travel to a different country, do everything you can to take that chance. You won't regret it.