Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Santiago and beyond

Of course, I never thought we had designed a program that students would not be able to finish, but it wasn´t until a plane leaving from the Santiago Airport flew over me yesterday morning that I realized what we had just accomplished. This year we set the bar high and students rose to the challenge. We are, as far as I know, the first university program to walk the entire trail in 30-some days starting from St. Jean Pied de Port.
These last two days have been a wave of emotions and reflection for me.
First I am happy with the fact that we all made it in to Santiago. Repeatedly this group of students amazed me. Each person has brought something unique to our group; yet, collectively grace, kindness, and curiosity is what comes to my mind when I think about the 11 of them. I am fortunate to have had the opportunity to share this challenge with them. Too often I forget that many of these students don´t speak Spanish and are unfamiliar with the culture, until I see one of them tied up in a linguistic knot with a local and then I am reminded what this experience must be like for them. Thank you all for being so fantastic and making this trip for me so enjoyable.
Now my thoughts turn to going home. Unlike most of my students, I have been feeling nomadic now for about a year, so home to me is a bit unclear. I have spent the last year living out of my backpack commuting between Paris and Berlin--a great experience, but one I am glad is almost over. A few more days in Berlin and a short trip to Italy will end my time in Europe. Now I have to begin thinking about finding an apartment in Ann Arbor and moving my stuff out of storage.
Lastly, thanks to all the parents who offered their comments. I really enjoyed reading them. I hope to have the chance to get together over lunch or a coffee sometime when you are in town. I would love to meet you all!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and we would love to meet you, Andy and all the kids and parents. I will miss checking in daily to read the Blogs and the comments and being part of the community of support at home. Thank you both for leading our peregrinos through this most rewarding and educational of experiences! I have often been moved by what has been written by our pilgrims. They have gained wisdom about so much in 32 days! Safe travels to all. Paul's Mom

5:47 AM  
Anonymous Casey's Mom said...

Wow Annie--

I'm not sure I will truely understand the impact that this trip has had on Casey. His actions and thoughts will slowly leak the influences of his friends, mentors, and experiences. Thank you for being a part of his growth and we look forward to having you all home safe.

9:29 AM  
Blogger Kristy said...

I, too, will miss reading the blog and the comments of parents and friends. Thanks so much, Annie and Andy, for your time and energy in making this trip successful. I can't wait to see the pictures and hear the stories. Have a safe trip back to the States. With pride and admiration, Allie's mom

10:20 AM  
Blogger edenharris said...

Grace. Kindness. Curiosity. Can a parent be more blessed than to have children...now adults...be considered full of grace, kindness and curiosity? Yes. I believe we can, in the mentors they choose.
As the other parents have said, thank you to you and Andy for all that you've done and inspired. We will miss the shared experience of your on going blogs, but will remember it always.
Safe travels to all of you, and welcome home, Annie.
Janet (Alec's mom)

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Cheryl said...

Cheryl said....Mucho gracios to you Andy and Annie for finding these 11"incredible students to journey the Camino with you under your leadership and guidance. From reading the blog it's easy to see the bond they've formed as they've gotten to know each other and had time to reflect on their own lives.As they continue their lives back in Ann Arbor the lyrics of one of my favorite songs from the muiscal "Wicked" by Stephen Schwartz come to mind.."I've heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn. And we are led to those who help us most to grow if we let them, and we help them in return. Well, I don't know if I believe that's true, but I know I'm who I am today because I knew you. Who can say if I've been changed fo the better? But because I knew you, I have been changed for good. So, let me say before we part: so much of me is made of what I learned from you, you'll be with me like a hand-print on my heart. And now what-ever way our stories end, I know you have re-written mine by being my friend." ADIOS! I too will miss the adventures of the "CAMINO"!
Love, Holly's MOM

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be a teacher and have students learn as much as yours have..., you are truely fortunate and I am jealous!

3:47 AM  
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