Waving From Such Great Heights

Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 11.05.47 PMDespite the rain-all-day-and-all-night forecasts, we have certainly made the most of our time together in the world famous Swiss Alps! We’re sad to leave our home away from home tomorrow :(

Yesterday morning we gathered in small groups to complete our final BookChat of the summer on Joseph Boyden’s Three Day Road. His masterfully written story follows the journey of two Cree Canadian snipers during WWI and presents a fascinating intersect of life before, during, and after the Great War – both in Canada and abroad. Students delved into aspects of its dual narration, considered the use of flashbacks for storytelling, and took an earnest stab at applying some critical lenses in their discussions. Many left their BookChats with oodles of food for thought (perhaps too many options?!) for a major essay that’s currently in process. Steve’s recent history lessons have matched our literary focus as he’s delivered lectures on ‘the road to war’ and ‘the stalemate of the Western Front’. Interesting that we’re in Switzerland for this portion of our course, as while the rest of the world literally blew itself up, the Swiss remained neutral, looking down on the death and destruction with dismay. Remnants of that remain, as Forbes just declared Switzerland one of the safest countries in the world to visit!

IMG_1289We held off on doing our big alpine hike until today in hopes that the unpredictable weather would sort itself out… and… it turns out we timed it perfectly, as we reached our summit of 2000+ meters with the sun still shining on our sweaty faces. Bryndli (the hike name) will be forever remembered for its INCREDIBLE (!) vistas, hilarious banter, and the world’s single greatest flight of a paper airplane ever! As you can imagine, hiking with 38 students of varying energies and capabilities would be a daunting task for most, but this wonderful group of young adults made sure that everyone looked after everyone. We started the day in two groups (a “smell the roses” crew leaving earlier!), but we all summited together. We munched on delicious treats, snapped an infinite number of selfies and group pics with the monstrous alps all around us, and spread out, taking a moment of solitude, to soak it all in. Though we descended into rainclouds (so cool to be IN a Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 11.06.02 PMcloud!), spirits remained high for the rest of the afternoon and evening and this is something we will hopefully carry with us forEVER (or at least through Munich and Prague). Kudos to Evan for making it all the way, to Grace for reminding us that “you’ll never walk alone!” and to everyone else for never asking the dreaded question: “how much farther?!” :)

As we type this, we can hear the zipping of bags, clonking of muddy shoes outside, and the thumping of feet traveling here and there across the Mountain Hostel. One of Petra and Walter’s staff, Joel, just taught some of the ladies a Malawi chant that we can hear them practicing to the beat of a jambe, while the fellas are engrossed in a friendly game of poker. Our time in ze Alps is ending on a high!

The hills are alive. Munich, here we come…

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