Thursday, June 19, 2014

Final Thoughts

Nine hours is a long time. Come to think of it, so is a month and a half.

My flight back to the states will be landing in Chicago about an hour from now. I suppose the flight could have been worse. I've got two seats to myself, so I'm not complaining. Anyways, the flight has given me a lot of time to think. About the Berlin program, about theater, dance, the Morus 14 students we worked with... But also, about my own travels for the three weeks after the program. I think it's safe to say I'll never have another six weeks quite like the six I just had.

I think I finally understand some of the things Janet was always saying about Berlin. There's really no place even similar to it that I've ever been. Between the (seemingly, I don't know for sure) millions of people, unique lifestyles, diverse urban landscape, and extraordinary history, there's simply no other place on earth with all the same "ingredients", per say.

I find myself looking back on the experiences with the kids at Morus often than I expected. In retrospect, I wish I would have been able to tutor more. It was a tricky situation, because the nature of the students and families we were working with often caused them to be unable to make their appointment. So rather than having us scheduled 24/7, Gille (the leader of the program) gave us more free time. If he hadn't, we'd have to have had to practically live at Morus 14. On the downside, we only tutored about half as much as we would have liked to. Or at least, that was my experience.

One thing I'm really excited to talk about with friends and family when I get home is the theatre and dance we saw. Although I was never quite sure what I had just seen, I always appreciated it. Or, at least, the experience. I only wish more things like this could be seem by the general populous in the United States.

Now, if only there was something I could say to sum up my travels these past few weeks.

I saw the beauty of cities and civilization in Amsterdam. I saw the beauty of God in Mallorca. And finally, I saw the beauty of family and friendship in Munich.

Well, I suppose that was easier than I thought.

To elaborate, Amsterdam was one of the most beautiful cities I've ever been in. The canals and architecture were like nothing I've ever seen before. Even a little farther outside the city, in the residential areas, I couldn't help but just stand there in awe looking around me at this fairytale some people call home.

After Amsterdam, we flew to Mallorca. To say we were in paradise wouldn't do the island justice. Although we were staying in a rather touristy area, we rented a car and ended up exploring almost the entire island. Or, at least, in every direction. We drove through mountain roads that would put Cedar Point's roller coasters to shame. We drove through old cities reminiscent of Barcelona or Italy. And we visited beaches and coves tucked between mountain or cliffs, with turquoise water and powder white sand.

We weren't expecting our last stop, Munich, to even come close to the experiences we'd had so far. But, as soon as I thought my journey was over, and old friend contacted me. He invited me to hang out with him and his friends, showed me all around the city, and even asked me to come stay with him for the last four nights. Him and his family showed me some of the most incredible hospitality I've ever experienced, and made me feel like it was I that was giving them such a wonderful week.

Now, a day after I started writing this post, I'm home. Sitting in my home in the little town of Portland, Michigan, you'd think I'd have the sense that I've seen more of the world, and have a better understand of people and culture. However, I've come to realize that my travels have only opened my eyes to more that I don't know, and more that I need to see and experience. I'm happy to have made the friends I made, and to have seen the things I've seen, but I can't wait until I get another chance to delve even further into this strange world we live in and experience all of it's wonderful beauty and culture.

Until next time,

Kenny Heindel

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