Hey there. So today I’m thinking about our upcoming European Choir Tour in January. I’m really glad that I’ve been able to be in this choir and have these kinds of opportunities. I really enjoyed our tour through the southwest last year, but I anticipate that going to Europe for 3-4 weeks is going to be infinitely better. I was talking to Sara Unruh, a bethel grad from 2 or 3 years ago, at the Bethel-sponsored Career night on November 18. She told me that she was in the concert choir the last time it went to Europe and it was one of the best experiences of her life, which I found to be an exciting prospect. At the same time, I found it a little daunting. If this is supposed to be a “best experience of my life”, does that mean that nothing else will match up to it, and once it’s over it’s all downhill from there? I sure hope not. To be fair, she’s only a couple of years older than me, and has a long time yet in her life for a new experience to trump that one. Either way, I hope to make the most of my time in Europe. We are going to fly into Gdansk, Poland, and then travel around different parts of Poland, Germany, Switzerland, France, and the Netherlands until we fly back home in late January. I’m really glad that I took a year of German last year, though I could use a refresher, since it’s the language that people speak in both Germany and Switzerland. Then again, I guess it doesn’t matter that much, because a high percentage of the people in these countries are multilingual and speak English. That’s one thing I sometimes regret about growing up here in the States. Our nation is so large that it seems like we don’t need to know how to talk to others outside of our country. To a lot of people, Mexico is beneath us (not only physically) and we shouldn’t have to learn Spanish, they should learn English. I don’t agree–we would all get along better if we took the time to learn about others’ cultures and languages. After all, seeing things from another point of view often leads to understanding and sometimes reconciliation. Europe is packed so tightly with countries that they need to know different languages, and in those societies it is really encouraged. I wish it was more here, but I think I’ll get by in Europe. After all, we’ll have Merle Schlabaugh with us, and he’s worth all the years of German I could take here anyway.