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Roaming the World

Shing Ann Yeh

We hereby graduated all the seniors on Friday and sent them off to change the world and make Vanderbilt proud.  We might have shed a year or two seeing them all grown up.  I am certainly not ready for those farewells yet, but I too am going off into the world!  This suitcase-living summer is going to be packed with travels to Switzerland, Texas, Ohio, and Maryland, and then back to school we go!

My friend C. was so happy that he skipped across the stage at graduation.

I started this post while sitting in an airport in Montreal, bemusedly watching the baggage carriers speed around their little trucks as huge Air Canada planes fly off the runway.  I was on my way to Geneva, the first of three locations we’ll be visiting for the Maymester class ENGL 288: International Health, Social Justice, and Romantic Poetry in the Swiss and French Alps.  This Maymester caught my eye for a few reasons.  Firstly, program is perfectly matched to everything I’m studying.  Community Leadership and Development is the chosen track for my HOD minor, so witnessing this social justice work on an international scale is quite fascinating.  In addition, the literature of the nineteenth century heavily influenced Robert Schumann, whose Cello Concerto I’m working on for graduate school auditions in the fall.  Case in point.  Also, this is Switzerland.  A lover of nature, good food, travel, culture, chocolate, and cheese, I was considering the possibility of shredding my return ticket.

We found each other in the Nashville airport. She was wearing a Vanderbilt sweatshirt, so I was like, "HEY! Are you in the Switzerland Maymester?" We became fast friends.

The one drawback to this trip is that my faithful travel companion Dmitri couldn’t come along.  This will have been the longest I will be away from him, but we’ll reunite in Nashville in late May, as I’ll come back to celebrate my friend A.’s wedding.  Afterwards, we’ll board the Greyhound together and ride our way to Houston, where we’ll have baking adventures with my sister T. and teach some Vacation Bible School.

This is our view from the hotel. I am jealous of myself for this view. Today, we learned about the history of the Red Cross by walking in the Old Town, stopped outside of the Reformation Museum which hosts all the Protestant Reformation history I'll ever try to know, feasted on fondue and raclette at this beautiful cafe, and started to get to know this gorgeous town.

In late June, we’ll depart from the humidity and heat of Houston and travel north to Ohio, where Dmitri and I will spend five weeks at the Kent/Blossom Music Festival.  Four years ago, we came to this festival, and basically, it changed the course of our musical lives. We were engrafted with a sense of hope  that we could make it as musicians.  We’ll play a whole lot of amazing chamber music, work with members of the Cleveland Orchestra, and play a side-by-side concert at the Blossom Festival with the Cleveland Orchestra!

My excitement for this summer cannot be quenched.  Currently, it is 4 AM in Geneva, and I just did a million crunches to try and tire myself out to go back to sleep.  But I’m much too giddy for our day tomorrow!  We’re visiting CERN, the proton-accelerator for particle physics, and UNESCO, where we’ll be some of the first American students in a while to visit this incredible organization!

We are surrounded by mountains and I cannot handle it. I think every other sentence that comes out of my mouth is, "This place is too beautiful." Also, the water here is literally blue and incredibly clear. Wow. I just breathed a sigh of contentment.

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