Saturday, October 07, 2006

An Emotional Week

Monday: I had my first dance class. It’s a modern/contemporary class with a very Graham style. We did a lot of stretching in the beginning; I was a little worried that the whole class would be simple movement, but it turned out that stretching was very necessary, since I hadn’t danced in a few months. Needless to say I was the happiest I’ve been for some time, possibly since I’ve been in Europe so far. It felt incredible to be dancing and comprehending the language, though on the most basic level I didn’t need to be able to understand the words the teacher was saying. I just had to watch and repeat. And that made it even more special; that it was an action that I was doing here but I didn’t have to struggle with language, English or French. I was free from everything I had been studying for the past few weeks and I actually learned things, and met French people. And I got to dance and be creative and expressive. That hasn’t happened much here. I wanted to cry, I was so happy. I think Mondays, though they are Mondays, are going to become my favorite days.
Tuesday, Wednesday: It rained tremendously. I thought we would have to build an ark; the water level on the river was raising so much. It made the week dreary and miserable because we had to walk to school in the rain, go to class all day wet, and then leave in the evening and it was already dark outside.
Thursday: Had some nice dinner conversation with my host father about the socialism in France and how it affects the economy and jobs. I feel like I’m grasping more verbs and more eloquently expressing myself these days.
Friday: Our Alsacian Excursion. It started off pretty depressingly at the only concentration camp on French soil, Struthof. After having learned about the atrocities of the Nazis for almost my entire life (ty Roeper), nothing could have prepared me to see this. There were only empty buildings surrounded by tall barbed wire fences, a small museum, some memorial plaques and a large, very beautiful sculpture at the base of which was the burial place of an unknown victim of the camp. But just walking along the gravel path and inside the cold buildings was painful. I just kept trying to imagine what it must have been like, but it was almost impossible. Seeing images and hearing stories will never fully reveal the horror of what happened. And that’s why it’s so important to remember. And to think about Darfur.
After a very quiet hour there we got back on the bus to visit the Chateau de Haut Koenigsbourg. At the top of the Voges mountains, this chateau was built during the 12th century, destroyed by fire in 1633 and rebuilt by emperor Guillaume in the 19th century. It was very drafty but big and beautiful, and you could see basically all of Alsace from the towers. The site was amazing. Some of the rooms had nice furniture in them, but none of it was original. There were also frescoes on the dining hall walls and ceiling depicting the royal power of Guillaume and the German 1st Reich which was painted after the region was taken over. These were lively and expressive, with dancing women, men on horseback and wild vegetation. Finishing touches to the decorative scheme included a boar’s head, wooden figurines, a stuffed hawk and innumerable deer antlers.

Saturday: Tour of Notre Dame de Strasbourg. I have previously explored and written about this glorious building, so the tour wasn’t that exciting. Afterwards I went on the second weekly picnic in the Parc de l’Orangerie with some camembert, pinot blanc, apples, and friends.
Who knows what emotions tomorrow will bring?
A tout à l’heure.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home