1/15/17 Blog Post
Kolbenz, Heidlberg

In the morning, we had a three hour bus ride ahead of us to go to Kolbenz and Heidlberg. After getting all 29 of us on the bus, everyone closed their eyes right when they sat down in the bus which has been a recurring event every time we get in the bus. Once we got on the highway, I opened up our morning with devotions for today.
Yesterday we went to go to the American Memorial in Luxembourg and Professor Brouwer made a note to the team to be cautious when talking about war while we were in France and Germany. This resonated with me all night and was the focus of my devotion this morning.
I referred to two verses this morning about loving our neighbors as ourselves and that whoever does the will of God, they are our brothers and sisters. I found this verse to be especially relevant to what we have been seeing during our time here. There are two sides to every story and I believe that we are all created in the image of the Father and we are called to love one another. This starting off our morning with this in mind, my prayer was that we would be open to all the people we would encounter.
We drove to our first stop at Deutsches Eck. Driving along the Rhine river was so impressive and all the castles that were built into the mountains. The amount of history and stories that are held in every one of the buildings are probably endless. The colors of every B&B, restaurant and business were so cohesive and quaint. The water levels were so high and this made me realize how big of a problem this could be for the local people.
As we continued throughout our day, our last stop was Heidlberg and it gave me so much context to my church history. I am not Dutch and I was raised in Los Angeles California. It was eye opening to see how the history traveled and made its way to Grand Rapids, MI. I learned a bit more about the Heidlberg Catechism. I also had my very first German dish! I had Schnitzel and Sauerkraut. Because I am Korean, I was used to the pickled cabbage. It was very delicious and very filling!
The market place that we were at had many places to buy chocolates! I feel that on trips like these, there is a lack of fresh veggies and fruits so I also bought myself some strawberries to eat.
Visiting a castle ruin later in the evening was definitely the highlight of my day. Trying my best to fantasize about the stories that the tour guide would tell us helped me visualize what this castle might have looked like during that time. However one of the highlights was the 54,000 gallon wine barrel and a piece of the castle tower that was cut in half because of a bombing from gun powder. Apparently the symbol of this broken tower is that love does not last forever. This romantic message was beautiful because the castle was originally a gift to the princess at the time. This imagery was beautiful to me and made me wonder what I would do if my boyfriend ever bought me a castle haha.
In conclusion, spending the day fantasizing and trying to picture what it would have been like to live during that time was so fun and I came home with a lot of chocolates to give to my friends and family so I would say, it was a successful day.
Janette Ok

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