On the way …

In many ways, I’m sure the “Transforming Cambodia” interim is much like an Calvin interim traveling to another country. First there’s the period of elation, during which students plaster the walls of Facebook with things like, “I’m going to see Australia!” ; “I’m going to see “Ethiopia!” Next comes the period of indoctrination (a gentle form of it) during which the students attend meetings where they are educated about the realities of their respective trip. (The Cambodia goup had to view a documentary so horrifying, several of us had to put our heads down at points while watching.) Then comes  inoculation, a time when students surrender themselves as human pincushions to the friendly and professional staff of health services. And the endless  packing: “Will I need a voltage regulator?” “Can you fit in another package of Play Doh for the school?”

Then comes the day the students and professors (and, in our case, the invaluable Uncle Brian), climb aboard the bus or aircraft and commence the actual travelling. And I’m sure “Transforming Cambodia” was no different in its initial travel phase from other Calvin interims: the passports, the papers, the lines, and–for the professors–the sheer logistics of it all. The large contingent of students that set off in a bus from Spoelhof at 4:30 a.m. Tuesday picked up the strays from their group as they rolled on: We picked up two girls en route at a McDonalds in Stevensville. Two or three students joined us at O’Hare. One girls met us in Bangkok, and I didn’t realize she’d joined us until we were out buying water, and there she was.

If the students on this trip are representative of the college as a whole, then Calvin students are a well-traveled bunch. You’re constantly hearing snatches of “When we were in Kenya …”, “When we were in Hungary…” One girl, a transfer last year from Baylor, had traveled to 10 different Asian and American countries while studying on a cruise ship. They take the bumps and dismays of traveling through other cultures well. On a long layover, they break out the cards or sleep on their luggage. In between, they ride and ride and ride and ride or fly and fly and fly and fly, maybe across time zones and maybe missing sleep.

At some point, they make a landing at an unfamiliar place, and perhaps there will sign for them like the one that greeted us: “Calvin University.” And at some  point, no doubt, they will look around at the collection of 20-something individuals with them at the station or airport or 7-11 and think to themselves: ‘These are the people I’ll be spending the next month with.’


2 comments so far

  1. Ann DeRooy on

    I love your perspectives Myrna!
    I am sure you are functioning on very little sleep right now and are heading into a new day with a full schedule. Don’t forget to take the time to read your entries yourself (when you are rested and have a little time). I’m sure they will evoke many memories for you.
    Have fun!

  2. Joel Z on

    Myrna, you sound “well-traveled.” Keep up the good work. You are missed.

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