Just to be honest, I’m not really sure what this Wednesday’s question is. I just have this story to tell y’all, and I guess you can decide what the takeaway is.
Like I already mentioned in this Monday’s post, I love choir. I love everything about it: the warmups, the music-reading, the tryouts for solos, the last-minute rehearsals… When I was in middle school, my school’s choir decided to participate in the World Choir Games 2008 in Graz, Austria.
The preparation started the second the first rehearsal of the school year began. Even though it was still ten months until summer at the time, we already plunged into it. In order to perform the four songs we picked for the Games perfectly, we trained every day of the week, and in the last two months even on weekend evenings. Occasionally there were complaints; a few people even dropped out. But July came and we flew to Austria. The Games were a huge success. We won silver medal. And we had so much fun as a team together, picnicking along the Mur, hanging out by the fountain in front of the Town Hall, putting on makeup in a tiny restaurant before the competition…
In short, it was a wonderful time. Everyone bonded over the Games, and our time spent in the scenic town of Graz. Because I had always remembered Graz with a smile and warm memories, when I started planning my trip to Europe this summer I could not not add Graz to the itinerary.
So, on July 22nd, 2013, exactly five years after I left Graz, I was back. I took a taxi from the train station to get to the downtown area. The taxi dropped me off in a small street just off the town center. As soon as I rounded the corner, I almost burst into tears. There, right in front of me, was an ancient building decorated with frescoes that I took an exact picture of five years ago. Even though I couldn’t remember about the building, I knew it was the building I’ve seen before as soon as I saw it. That feeling when my past suddenly somehow caught up to me was strange: I was overcome with acute nostalgia, yet I was not sad; I was happy, no, delighted, to be back again, even though I was on my own this time, without the rest of the choir.
Staring at the building, I started to have this thought about life and growth. Sometimes you don’t realize that you’ve changed until you see something that haven’t. Returning to Graz is one of these things. The historical part of Graz which I remember ever so clearly hasn’t changed one bit, but I was completely different. I am no longer a girl; I’ve grown into a young woman. That powerful difference made me gasp at how much time can do to a person, how much I’ve grown. When I got back to my hotel that night I realized that I would’ve regretted it tremendously if I didn’t put Graz on the itinerary.
So that’s my story. I guess there really isn’t one single question to ask. Perhaps I just wanted to make a proposal: revisit a place that meant a lot to you during your childhood or adolescence. Let the unchanging show you the change.