There are chestnuts on the ground, and the mornings and evenings are filled with a slight chill and sometimes fog. Fall is slowly arriving here in Busingen, Switzerland. (for those who didn’t know, I returned for a second semester to European Nazarene College.)
Many things are just as I left them.
The Rhine is still breathtaking.
The Alps are still in view on clear days.
The Fields are still vast.
The Forest is still dark.
Cezi is still my RA.
I still begin every lunch meal with a large salad.
The pace of life is still quiet.
I am still involved in the “spiritual life” team which helps plan chapel.
I still get to be a part of “rice and prayer”
Ben still tries to get people to play soccer every friday afternoon.
F&F still happens every Friday Night.
We still go to the Walker’s on sunday nights for TV watching.
My English grammar still suffers.
But, many things are different, as well.
I have a different roommate. Good to be with my old Loma roomate, Kate, again. But I didn’t realize how big of an impression Jenna had made on my life. I miss sharing life with this special gal. But I’m happy to be sharing life with Kate again.
I have to fight for quiet time this semester. The tyranny of the urgent has hunted me down. The haunting noise of society came with me this semester. It feels less like a safe haven, and more like regular life. I have to learn how to live within this new tension.
I have to take more gen ed classes and less ministry classes. It feels more like real school. I’m not trying to savor and soak up every bit of every ministry class that I have here. I am learning German, though, which is handy.
I am not the only Californian. This sounds silly, but really it makes a huge difference. California has it’s own culture, and I learned last semester how to balance that culture and all the cultures here into a precarious balancing point. Now with more weight on the californian culture from the others here, I find myself falling to the california side of things into a comfortable groove. This is bad because I do not learn as much, and I am not as attentive to the appropriateness of my culture to those of others’. I’m exhausted by just trying to balance relationships all the time.
There’s so many americans.I got used to forgetting about what country we were all from. But with all these other americans here, it’s hard to forget. Especially when an American gets going on the whole “Well we do this where I’m from” kick, like it’s so easy to do without thinking about it.
I don’t have as much money. I want to travel, to see places and people, and collect stories. But it’s all having to happen on a budget, and trying to figure that all out is hard. Last semester was kinda my splurge semester. This one is back to real life in many ways.
I’m determined to not gain the 18 lbs that I did last semester.This means eating different, which is hard because fried and fattened foods come in abundance here. And the desserts…. oh the desserts. Conscientious eating choices are hard to make while here… but even so, i’m really trying. Again, last semester was a splurge semester.
I’m trying to be one hundred percent present.Last semester I left to go home for the summer with the thought: “I am so ready to go home and see my family and friends and church.” and it was easy to be ready for this, because I was comforted by the knowledge that i would be coming back to busingen in 3 months time. Now, though, I know that when I go home at the end of the semester, that’s it. So, now I’m trying to soak it all up, but because of murphy’s law or something, I’m missing home a lot more this semester than I did last semester.
There’s a lot of new people. This has been a cool thing to see the personality’s of different people unfold. I’m really enjoying these new individuals and the ways they bring new sight to the community. They’re a fun bunch, and I’m glad to have them here.
I miss the old people. I miss Jenna and Lars and Signe and Rubyand Tammy, Katelyn, Christin, and Nathan…. and yes, Brady, I even miss you. =) I especially miss the Brady-Victor duo-ness of last semester, and I miss walking into the kitchen, talking to Jenna while she baked delicious treats and hearing her say things like “Ten cuidado!” or “This is the thing” or “Bag (pronounced “beg”)”. As I heard Bekky describe it as one, it’s like have your heart ripped out twice a year when you’re able to make such good friendships that can only last so long. I’m trying not to think about the next heart ripping session that will come with the Christmas break.
Today Michelle brought a good thought to us in our study abroad students meeting. She talked about the steadiness of the Chestnut season. As Acorns have made me think about at home, Chestnuts have now made me think of some things. As the coming of fall is signified by these nuts on the ground, I’m reminded that lots of things can change in a year of life, since the last time the acorns or chestnuts fell. This time last year I was at loma and I had no notion of ever going to switzerland in my life. Now I’ve lived here for 7 months. A lot can change in a year. But still, somethings stay the same. Life has a rythm. God has a rythm. God is the same. His covenant with us stays the same. His grace remains the same. His love remains the same. His providence remains. His glory remains. And these things won’t change no matter how much else changes in life. Just as the acorns and the chestnuts will always fall, every autumn, no matter how much change the other seasons bring. A rythm exists amidst the chaos. God reigns steadily over this ever-changing world. He reigns over this ever-changing me.
jo i love & miss you so. i love to hear the new things God is teaching you. i’m so glad you’re there having this experience. but i’m more excited about when you come home and kiss me and my babe! and bring us presents 😉 ps my favorite way to eat chestnuts is to poke them with a fork and then put them in the microwave until they start spinning and almost explode. mmmmm