Last week, the long-anticipated "Jeremy in Germany" (say that five times fast . . .) adventure finally happened! The first half of his visit was spent in Munich on business with BMW, but I caught up with him at the end of that and we set off on a whirlwind tour of Southern Germany.
Our first stop was my beloved town of Regensburg, where I studied and lived for more than half of 2009. We spent Friday night running around with my best friends there, Johannes and Julia, plus a lot of other friends that I hadn't seen in a while.
Monday afternoon was spent showing Jeremy around Tübingen and then hanging out in the park with Dan and Lauren. The next morning, we got up pretty early and took the train to Ulm to visit my aunt, uncle, and grandmother, who had just arrived there from London. For the fifth time in my life, I climbed the tallest steeple in the world (768 steps). Jeremy was pretty impressed by the Ulmer Münster, and now I've got him reading Pillars of the Earth, which is a fascinating novel by Ken Follett about cathedral-building in the 12th century. If you haven't read it, go do it! Now! After a nice lunch with the relatives, another Verdauungsspaziergang, and some coffee, we headed back to Tübingen for some grilling in the park with Dan, Lauren, and some German friends. We stayed at the park well after the sun had set talking about everything from neuroscience to unemployment, and then made plans for a farewell breakfast the next morning.
Jeremy made it back to China safely, and I've spent the last few days getting caught up on my project before my grandma comes to Tübingen next week to help. Last night though, Dan and I rode our bikes to Bebenhausen (I know, it seems like I go there all the time, which is kind of true . . .) for a choir concert.
It was absolutely the most beautiful choir concert I have ever attended. Ever. The monastery was lit up with tiny tea candles, the sun was setting, and the music literally brought me to tears.
The concert began with a lighthearted song that I have actually sung in choir before, "Now is the Month of Maying" (hence the title of this post). The choir last night wasn't quite like this, but so you have an idea of what it sounded like:
The concert moved from the courtyard to the monastery's chapel, where they sang two of the best choir pieces I have ever heard in my life. There were tears streaming down my cheeks as I listened to this song and read the text, which I've copied for you below:
I want the light and the wheat of your beloved hands
to pass their freshness over me one more time
I want to feel the gentleness that changed my destiny.
I want you to live while I wait for you, asleep,
I want your ears to still hear the wind,
I want you to smell the scent of the sea we both loved,
and to continue walking on the sand we walked on.
I want all that I love to keep on living,
and you whom I loved and sang above all things
To keep flowering into full bloom.
so that you can touch all that my love provides you,
so that my shadow may pass over your hair,
so that all may know the reason for my song.
Soneto de la Noche, Pablo Neruda (Translation by Nicholas Lauridsen)
I don't know whether it was being in that beautiful chapel, listening to the haunting music, reading those lyrics, the fact that I have been going through the last and saddest of the letters between my great-grandparents, or a combination of everything, but there were tears streaming down my face as I heard this song. I am not an overly sensitive person, but that was a very moving experience and I'm so glad I got to be a part of it. So a big thank you is due to Florian's mom, Heide, (who was singing in the choir) for giving us the tickets!