Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Home sweet home…

The plaque at Maurice Durufle's apartment

Ubi Caritas et Amor, Deus Ibi Est….this is a song the choir I participate in, Collegiate Chorale, sang as part of our yearly repertoire. Little did I know how much this song would mean to me when I first sang it for the first time. In choir, I sit next to Seth Duin and we both initially commented on how powerful this song sounded when we the harmony came together through the unity of all the voices. It was truly touching. However, when I went to Paris for January term 2012 (the month of January is considered a semester on its own), I was fortunate enough to visit Maurice Durufle’s apartment; he is the composer of the aforementioned choral piece. It truly was an honor to see the original manuscript of this piece, and see where he composed this song. On my way home, I had a layover in Paris for about 12 hours, and this was one of the places I went to visit; his apartment. I couldn’t go inside, but outside stands a sign stating that this was Maurice Durufle’s apartment. I instantly reminisced to the great times I had with the Collegiate Chorale, especially spring tour; the friends I made, the places I’ve been to, and the night shenanigans I was up to at a restaurant downtown (only Chihiro and Reuben, my Japanese and New Zealand high school mates respectively, will know this)! On his Monday morning, it was great then strolling onto the street where I spent the month of January, and also cruising along the metro around Paris. I felt like a true tourist! I went to the Roland Garros stadium, but was refused admittance because the museum just closed. I then went to the Eiffel Tour with the intension of going all the way to the top, as it was a truly lovely day, but the line was longer than the line in the cafeteria when the Dorians are around (basically the kind of line you don’t want to wait in). I decided to take my photographic memories, and head to the Arc de Triomph. Fortunately I was able to climb that instead, and there I met Juan Carlos. He was from Mexico, but was touring through Europe for a while. I finally met someone who loves travelling as much as me. It was nice to see how organized he was with locations and such, but still had a sense of uncertainty to how he was going to experience these places, and experience the act of travelling. I don’t really know how to clearly explain this, as it is an internal thing. However, I’m glad I made the effort to introduce myself to him and experience the top of the Arc de Triomph with him.

I finally found it...

This is the book I found in the Shakespeare And Company Bookstore...memories

Local Crepe maker in Rue Mouffetard, the street I lived on when I visited Paris in January.
Best bar owner in Rue Mouffetard: Thierry!

It was Monday night, and I was soon on a plane home, and sitting next to me on the largest airplane in the world, the Airbus A380, was Byron from Cape Town. It was great to talk to him about my soon to come experiences and just life in general. His reasoning and conversation skills were quite admirable, and we talked for almost about 4 hours of the flight. Similar to the liberal arts, he made me critically question and think about the experiences I was having and was about to have, and see how I want these to contribute to my future. As he put it:” Some sense of certainty never killed anybody”! Next thing I knew, I was in Johannesburg! When I land on Tuesday morning, I went for breakfast at the NewCafe, as I always do, as they have great burgers and McDonald’s-like chips/fries. My flight back home was soon after and before I know it, I was landing in Windhoek. The butterflies in my stomach were going…I don’t even know why! I guess there’s just something about being home after such a long time that kind of gets you going. I got out of the airport…and met my sisters. It was great to see family again; words cannot even describe the feeling. I got the chance to show of my driving skills by driving home, which was kind of scary as I’ve been driving on the right side of the road for a while, and had to switch instantly to the left side of the road. I’m sure my sister’s clicked their seat belts in for sure!

Me overlooking Windhoek....

We got home, and I got to meet the rest of my family, like my mother, father, and nephews. It was nice seeing them again after a year of just skype. However, I had to rest up as tonight there was a Luther College function happening at one of Windhoek’s fancy hotels. I made sure to be dressed appropriately, as I know Ann Peterson was going to be there lol, but she didn’t know I was going to be there. My family and I got to the function and all the Luther people were glad to see me, as was I. I was glad to see Ethan Schultz and Greg Peterson there, as they are probably the closest people I know in this group. However, through conversations and such, I got to know Ann Highum, the Millers, and Josh Martin-Schramm a little better. It was such an interesting experience catching up with them as I just saw them about a month ago on campus in America. Now Dr. Peterson was buying me a drink in Namibia…I love such experiences: meeting friends in different places.

It was a great night, but we retired as the night was going on late. Wednesday, I decided to meet up with the group after a church service. I met them at a place called Joe’s Beer House, which is a Windhoek Landmark! I got to hang out with the Luther group, and catch up a little. Unfortunately, when I arrived, the group was getting ready to head out. I asked if anyone wanted to stay behind for a last drink, and Ethan and Dr. Peterson stayed. We had a couple more drinks, and decided to head out because Ethan had to go skype with his girlfriend, Liz. I would have kept Ethan longer, but I know Liz, and she is a pretty cool gal, so it was all good. I fortunately borrowed my dad’s Prado, and could give them a ride back to their hotel. However, I decided to share with them a little bit of Windhoek. I took them to one of my favorite spots in the city where you could see a lit landscape of the city. It was a marvelous view, and I know they both enjoyed it as much as I have over the years. It was great to share this experience with them as one doesn’t get the chance to show others a part of his life, every day. I then drove them back to their hotel and headed home…I was truly content J!

Thursday came and I tried to connect with some of my friends. I was fortunate enough to get through to my friends Angelo and Lev, but I could not connect with Angelo. During the night Lev came to pick me up and we went to a place called “Chill Out”, which was a calm place for enjoying oneself, if you know what I mean. I got to meet Tino, Giovanni and Eldan; Lev, Angelo, Eldan and Tino are going to Cape Town in July and I will hopefully connect with them, but that’s for a later blog entry. The night went pretty well, and it was nice to hang out with “bras”. After this, I am sure that my Cape Town experience, which I will talk about later, is going to be “live” aka pretty good!
My brother, John, and I

On Friday, I was supposed to catch up with Lev, but unfortunately woke up 2PM; so much for jetlag! However, at night I went to my best friend Skippy’s place to chill with him and some other friends. MY childhood friend Benny was there, too, and it was great catching up with him as well. We split into 2 teams and played 30 Seconds, which is a game where you choose a card and have to describe all its contents within 30secs. It was a fun game to play as the creativity was at an all-time high! My cousin, Jason, then rang me up and told me to come to this club called Pharaohs. I never heard of this place, but fortunately got there after some direct directions. I just have to mention that navigation is one of my strengths. Upon getting to the club, I saw that it was some swanky place, but I didn’t really care if I fit the dress code of not. I went in and found him. It was great seeing him again. From how the next five minute conversation with him went, I know it was not only going to be an interesting night, but a SUNRISE aka party till the sun rises and is nice and warm. I’ve never “sunrise”, so I was in for a surprise. As I was dancing and such, I thought of my brother, and called him to come join us. He agreed, and I sped off to pick him up from his place. We entered Pharaohs again, but with my brother to my side, I felt like a boss…like a bigger man…a feeling I always get in the presence of my brother, John. As we made our way to the bar, I caught a glimpse of someone who looked very familiar. It was the manager, and it was a girl I know from high school, Ina. I came around to greet her, and she recognized me too.  It was good catching up with her, as she was on the girl’s tennis team back in high school in Namibia. I was often inspired by the way she played, as she would win many a tournament. I would have loved to catch up with her more, but my cousin Jason signaled it was time to go aka next bar. We then drove to a VIP lounge called Chez Ntemba VIP. It was a bit difficult to get in, but when we did, I made sure to tear up the dance floor. House music was in the air, and I didn’t spare a second to stand idle! Jason once again gave the signal and then we drove to the newly erected Hilton Hotel in downtown Windhoek, and went to the club at its base: El Cubano. This was even swankier than Pharaohs. I enjoyed seeing how people interacted in not only an intoxicated state, but a state where people were aware of each other’s statuses as well. For example, the girls would only dance with guys who wore blazers, and guys without blazers would be to the side, drinking and doing their own thing. This pattern was rarely broken, but when it was, that interaction was even more exciting to see. Sometime in our live, we all do people-watching, so don’t judge! Once we went outside, we saw that the sun was rising…just then my stomach spoke to me:” Sam, you know what to do!!!! (GROWL)”, and I told John and Jason it was time to bounce. Jason then took us to a breakfast joint that seemed to be owned by the owner of Pharaoh. I guess they did adequate market research to notice that their intoxicated customers love to sunrise, but need food after that. So we had breakfast at this place…and English breakfast to be exact, because that is the best sunrise food you can ever have…EVER!! Just fyi!

My days in Windhoek were numbered, but read on in my next blog entry…thanks for reading this far, by the way! 

1 comment:

  1. And that's the wonderful thing about family travel: it provides you with experiences that will remain locked forever in the scar tissue of your mind.
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