31 January 2006

A Place Called Earth.

Yesterday (Tuesday) was a rollercoaster ride.

It started off well enough. My first class wasn't until just after noon, so I slept in a little. The extra sleep helped to ward off the cold I've been fighting the past couple of days, and gave me a chance to rest up for the rest of the week.

After my classes, which went well, I found myself on the way home to take care of some business before heading back out to DIS again.

I dropped by the bike shop to pick it up after it had some basic repairs to its tail lights, tires, seat, etc...and, after seeing that the bike was in much better shape, and the my hindend wasn't nearly as sore as it was the day before, I decided that I would ride my bike to my meeting at DIS.

So, after checking my e-mail and doing a little work, I went outside, unlocked my bike, put my bag on the back and headed out. My trip to DIS was uneventful. I navigated the bike lanes and lights with ease and soon found myself parking my bike along Vestergade (the street where DIS is located).

I went to get my bag. And it was gone. My bag that had my cell phone, camera, books, etc. Missing. Hans had warned me to be sure that the bag was secure, which I thought I had been, but clearly I was mistaken. I ended up walking all the way back to the apartment, retracing my route to see if the bag was anywhere. It wasn't.

I was devestated. I knew that it was my fault, but all those feelings associated with culture shock began to boil up inside. I was pissed I'd lost it because I was riding a bike that everyone rides because the approach to commuting is completely different. I was mad because I'm sick and cold and its all so different and its just now hitting me that this isn't vacation. It's school. I'm here for a while.

And just when I was really about to loose it, I typed in the code to get into my apartment building, and walked through the doors. And there was my bag. With everything. It had fallen off before I even left the building and someone had placed it on a side shelf, knowing that the owner would return.

That was a hugely humbling moment for me. I was at the breaking point, and some how, the message got through that this is right.

Before I left for Denmark, I (along with all the other Elon students studying abroad) went through a session on culture shock and its different phases. The first is the honeymoon stage--where everything is beautiful and fascinating and new. The second is a bitter stage. You miss home and the comfortableness of it all. Next, you transition to a stage of being able to make jokes about it; and finally you get to a point where you can call it home.

Yesterday we witnessed the first three. But by the end of the night, I was comfortable. This is it, where I need to be.

In other news, Coretta Scott King died yesterday.

The candle may be out, but the light shines on.


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