The Carthusian monastery I’m currently living and studying in has steep, slick roofs and Austria has snow built up on every surface from recent storms: the perfect equation for an “avalanche.” At any time of day, heavy snow will unexpectedly slide off the roof and crash to the ground, disturbing the silence and even waking people from their sleep in the midst of the night.
My friend Isiah Springer-Blacke and I hiked to the steel cross on Book mountain last night. We were surrounded by fog and clouds until about seven pm when the sky cleared up and the stars came out!
A common thing for students to do before beginning their semester in Austria is to visit a country a week before classes start. A popular destination is Ireland where students are surrounded by the Cliffs of Moher, beautiful countryside, and Irish culture. Four of my friends and I decided to break this tradition and take a riskier trip: explore the beautiful country of Iceland.
On my final full day in the Florida Keys, the class spent the day in Key West. Our day began with a trip to the Hemingway House Museum. Afterword we were free to explore on our own until the sunset festival later that evening.
The day had finally come for us to return to home. After we checked our diving gear back in, the class loaded up the vans and went to the airport. I took a few final photos of the sea campgrounds to chronicle my stay here and never forget my time in Florida.
The following day we were blessed with gorgeous weather and once again boated out to Looe Key where the crisp blue waters awaited our return. After returning from Looe and eating lunch, we got to witness the transplanting of a captured nurse shark to the holding pond at camp. Up until this point, I had never seen a shark of any kind this close but seeing its gills move and tail flail as it was moved to the point was a sight of slight fear and amazement.
“What do trees have to talk about, hmm… except the consistency of squirrel droppings?” Gimli, Lord of The Rings: The Two Towers
The first full day at the sea camp we got right to it. By the early morning we were in the water taking swim tests, and snorkeling at the nearby shores. It had been a while since I had snorkeled so I quickly became reacquainted with the taste of galleons of salt water.
As part of my Tropical Marine Biology class, the last portion of the course is a few days in the Florida Keys to see and experience in person the environment you have been studying all semester.
What a week. The highs of San Diego Mission triumphed over any challenges that the enemy tried to throw our way. It was a week submerged in prayer, fellowship and evangelism. I found myself emptied time and time again by ministering to children who were starving for true Love. My greatest hope is that the people I encountered did not encounter the imperfection that I am but the perfection that Christ is.