Today was a day to explore.
I spent the afternoon wandering Neuchâtel with some friends and it was the most relaxing afternoon I’ve had all week. I wasn’t thinking about my tests tomorrow, or the two that I took today. I could rest my mind and be present.
Our first stop was the public library. It’s strange that I’ve been here for almost three months and am just now stepping inside. Walking in the door, the first section we see is Geography and Travel–my favorite. I spent some time exploring different countries before wandering upstairs to the fiction. This library has an decent English language section as well as a smaller Spanish section and of course, many books in French. Upon finding that my student ID magically doubled as a library card, I promptly checked out Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days in French, hoping it would be more accessible than my current French philosopher for literature class.
Earlier that day we heard someone raving about an organic grocery store. We found the tiny shop and entered to examine its treasures. My friend found plantain chips imported from Cameroon, and I found a dark chocolate bar with mint filling. This may seem mundane, but the Swiss have yet to be enlightened about the perfect marriage between dark chocolate and creamy mint, so although we are in one of Europe’s chocolate capitals, mint chocolate bars are extremely hard to find, and still extremely delicious.
After that we wandered, taking an elevator to the base of the prison tower and then walking almost all the way around the castle. We went into the Collégiale Church next door, and I was touched by the advent wreath placed before the altar:
I love Advent season. When we think about getting ready for Christmas, we tend to think about the tree, buying gifts, making cookies, but Advent reminds us to prepare our hearts for the coming of the King.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and this Sunday marks the first Sunday of Advent. I realize that I haven’t been practicing gratitude lately, nor have I been taking time in the silence to reflect or prepare my own heart for this season. I am looking forward to making time, like I did today, to remember that there is life beyond tests and classes, and that God’s presence is with us always.