Saturday, July 14, 2007

Happy Almost Belated Bastille Day !!

I just noticed that today was Bastille Day! AS Wikipedia says :
"Bastille Day is the French national holiday, celebrated on 14 July each year. In France, it is called "Fête Nationale" ("National Holiday"), in official parlance, or more commonly "quatorze juillet" ("14th of July"). It commemorates the 1790 Fête de la Fédération, held on the first anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789; the storming of the Bastille was seen as a symbol of the uprising of the modern French "nation", and of the reconciliation of all the French inside the constitutional monarchy which preceded the First Republic, during the French Revolution."

On Bastille Day, 1966 I travelled from Chicago to Munich with The Foreign Language League to meet up with a group of American high school students who would travel to Austria together and study there while living in the small Austrian village of Seefeld.

Seefeld was idyllic, nestled in the Alps and looking for all intents and purposes like a postcard.

Given the fact that the only reason anyone in my family ever left a country was to emigrate, it was A VERY huge deal that my parents sent me on this journey. I was(and felt like) their ambassador into the world.

In sending me there, they gave me an enormous gift -- the gift of travel at a formative age. It allowed me to see how big the world was -- to understand that things were very different outside of America, and very wonderful in many ways. I saw great art, beautiful scenery. From the magnificant castles built by crazy King Ludwig in Bavaria to the placid Swiss cows with beribboned cowbells, everything was new and amazing.

The trip gave me a peripheral vision that I do not think I would have had elsewise. It shaped me in every way I can imagine.

So here is to travel -- to having our eyes pried open, to seeing.


Anonymous Cynthia Samuels said...

I always wished I had done what you did! I was so into politics and American Studies that I just never found the time. My husband spent a remarkably formative semester just outside Vienna and still says it was his life-changing moment. We travled a lot as a family when our kids were little and cherish every moment -- I'm with you - here's to life on the road!

11:12 AM  

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