I know that this is a little early for a going-away blog, but things get busy and I do not want to forget this one before I go.
I think it is amazing that time moves so quickly when you are not watching. Just a few months ago, I was thinking about how much time we still had and how the summer trip was so far away. I cannot really say that now anymore. In a few weeks (about three) the group will be touching down in Zurich.
We have the amazing opportunity to see and experience things that simply would not be possible without the established program that Virginia Tech provides. While in the past I have not been able to take advantage of such programs before, this one is hopefully when and where it can begin. We just have to meet at the hotel on time.
When was it again?
Honestly, I have traveled before, but there is something different about international travel that makes it a whole different adventure. It is something I cannot quite put a finger on, something that makes the time slow as you try to take everything in. You are experiencing a whole new culture, a way of living, philosophical mindsets, that make this new place different, but not incomprehensible. Our culture is based in the western thought, and though it has diverged over the last few hundred years, we can still find traces of these commonalities.
This allows us to have some sort of connection to the places, even if we have a difficult time expressing ourselves.
But not everything can be known, or should be. This is what the trip is mainly about: learning as much as possible in a very small frame of time; to learn about others and to reflect on how this might change us for the better; to see places of education and know that tradition provides a basis, a guide, for others; to understand that we do not know everything, but we can know more in time.
This is my main goal as the trip to Switzerland steadily comes closer: to actually experience the place that I am in. This does not mean running around and seeing everything possible, but that I use the time I am given to the best of my ability and desire.
There is something powerful about sitting and staring out over a lake you may never see again in your lifetime. To burn that image into your mind as a permanent memory of your being. To take that image and use it, re-create it, and represent it again to others. To take your memories and gift them to others who could not make the same journey with you.
The lessons, the learning is in this journey.