So it seems a lot has happened since the last time I wrote. We took a day trip up to Strasbourg, explored Colmar a bit more, took the bus (after MUCH confusion about the translation of “bus stop” and “bus station”) from Colmar to Freiburg, started getting to know the city a little bit, saw my new digs in the student village, ventured up to the Schönstatt shrine here, and started on all of the little tasks I need to accomplish before Mom leaves on Saturday.
I’m still figuring out this blog thing… I’m not exactly sure what my main purpose is for writing. Is it for myself, to remember my trip? If so, I should probably write a little bit more often. Is it so other people can read about my trip? If so, I should also probably write a bit more often. I guess the bottom line is that I should get into a little bit of a better routine.
Routines are a sticking point with me lately.
For the past few months, I’ve been in vacation mode… while I was in Austin, I had things to get accomplished, but I could work on those things whenever I wanted. The rest of the time, I got to watch as many TV shows on Netflix as I wanted (resulting in me using up my weekly bandwidth allotment for the first time ever, and then 6 more times after that), hang out with friends as often as I wanted (swing dancing, country dancing, random hangouts at the UCC…), and go on spontaneous roadtrips whenever I wanted (such as venturing to see my favorite Aggies whilst watching my team destroy theirs in basketball). I had virtually no routine, which was FANTASTIC. Would that I could live my entire life that way! 😛
For the past week, I’ve been in tourist mode. Traveling around central Europe with my mom (who, it turns out, is not a bad travel companion) is a pretty sweet deal. It’s been awesome… I’ve gotten to practice my German a bit (more on this in a later post) and see some great sights and eat some delicious food and learn a lot.
But getting to Freiburg changed things a little.
This is the city where I’ll be living for the next 4 months!! Crazazazazazy. So, when walking down the street in the middle of the day, I don’t just think “Oh, this is so pretty, maybe I should take a picture of that church over there?” No, now I think, “Hmm, I wonder if I’ll have one of my classes in this building? I hope public transit isn’t too expensive. Is this church where I’ll go to Mass on Sundays?” Und so weiter.
For the record, I have no idea where my classes will be because A. There isn’t really a ‘campus’, per se… the buildings for my university are kind of spread out all over the city. And B. I haven’t signed up for them yet. I am kind of freaking out about this, because I’d like to know what classes I’m taking and that I didn’t miss a deadline or anything, and also because I need to register for my fall at UT and in order to do that, it would be nice to know what I’m taking in the spring, haha. Mostly, I want to know what my days are going to look like while I’m here. Will I have morning classes? Classes spread throughout the day? When will I have time to study? To hang out with friends? You know? I want to know.
Also for the record, I haven’t really nailed down anything on the church front yet. We went into a church right near the train station today, Herz Jesu, and it was really pretty. I took a little pamphlet about events there and wrote down their Mass times. I also trekked up to the Shrine, which is not really in Freiburg… it’s in a little suburb to the south. It is quite a ways away, but it is BEAUTIFUL! But basically, I’m still trying to figure out where my faith community will be while I’m here. I guess this will be revealed to me with time, but I am getting impatient.
The main thing that’s been on my mind since we arrived in Freiburg is anxiety about finding a community here. Since I started school at UT, I’ve found the most amazing network of wonderful people and created so many good, deep, fulfilling, faith-centered friendships and relationships. It was really hard to leave that behind (for a while), but I took it in stride, knowing that the next 4 months are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me and that the community and the friendships I have in Texas aren’t going to, like, dissolve during that time.
But I also know that I want a community, or at least one or two solid friendships, while I’m here. I know that’s going to take some work, since I literally know two people in this entire city and because I am not quite where I want to be with my German yet, it’s probably going to be a little harder to connect with people. I guess I’m just scared that I’m not going to find anyone and that I’m just going to be kind of going through the next 4 months alone. I hope to God that that isn’t true, and I’m gonna try and trust that I find the people I’m supposed to find, who will help me grow and such; even if that’s only one person, that will be enough, I hope.
I exchanged e-mails with my friend James before I left. James studied in Chile last semester and I just asked him for some advice, since he’s an old pro at this whole “exchange student” thing. His input really helped me get over some of the anxiety I was having, and it is just too good not to share. I hope he doesn’t mind 🙂
“You’re in Europe, and while the depth may be hard to find with some relationships, I’ve no doubt God will give you them. And if not, He’s asking you to lean into him way more. That’s what happened to me, actually. Just be bold! With people, from my experience, I had to take a lot of the initiative, so just be prepared to have to make a lot of forward steps with relationships. They more open you are with people, they more the tend to draw to you, and that’s how I made good friends–I would share a bit, see how they responded, and then continue deepening that relationship in a meaningful way if they wished to pursue the same. And find travel buddies! Traveling alone is just all right–happiness is best when shared (Into the Wild).” ~James Van Matre, aka my bestiiiii 4 lyfe
So yeah. This was kind of a long post… sorry! I’m moving into my dorm tomorrow, so I will have stories to share. Hopefully no horrific ones.
OH! And before I go, happy Opening Day!!!! GO CUBS GO! You betta believe I brought my Cubbies blanket with me to Germany 🙂