“The end of a melody is not its goal: but nonetheless, had the melody not reached its end it would not have reached its goal either.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
Our journey has reached its final day abroad. We began with a final synthesis providing time for each fellow to reflect on where they are at in the current moment, what preconceptions they brought with them have changed in the moment, and what they plan to take with them and use moving forward. There were many emotions, particularly those of gratitude for an international experience that did not seem possible a few months ago. We reflected on our own responsibilities to go back and share with others what we have learned, engage in our communities, and be conscious of the experiences we make and their impact on others. After synthesis, we were able to explore the town of Leipzig further, which included visiting a local farmers market that offered bakery carts, deli trucks, and cheese shops on wheels.
We then jumped aboard a train for the second time; this time, a high-speed line from Leipzig to Berlin traveling at speeds of up to 130 miles per hours (that’s really fast). After the train ride, we enjoyed more of Berlin with a brisk walk to the hotel along the River Spree (say it with us…Shprreee).
As we were frequently directed to look at the TV tower in Berlin, we decided to take a visit. The 200-meter (656 foot) tower was designed in the 1950s and constructed in the 1960s as a broadcast mechanism for Berlin. The sphere of the TV Tower was intended to remind people of the Soviet sputnik satellites and was to light up red, the color of socialism. Today, it serves as a reminder of the reunification of Berlin. From the observation deck, we were able to see Berlin in its entirety.
We ended with a celebration dinner, where we were able to honor Darren, our proverbial 25th member of Class 50. Darren has provided us transportation, luggage handling, refreshments, and camaraderie. He shared his own knowledge and awareness as we were trying to navigate our way across many borders making valuable connections with the class. We thanked Darren, and then he honored us with his own words of gratitude. We are so fortunate to have had someone like Darren with us who because a part of our group in such a short time.
After dinner, we spent some time acknowledging our classmates via a small celebration. At our very first seminar, we had the opportunity to discuss our heroes with Grace Flannery. As we continued our programming abroad, we were able to see the heroic efforts of others who fought injustice and stood up for what they believed in. The extraordinary actions of ordinary people can make a difference. To celebrate the actions of our Class 50 Fellows, we dedicated a moment for each Fellow to celebrate their actions and how they made a difference for each other on the trip. Many special words were shared, and many laughs were had.
As we write this post, the Class is finishing our last moments in Berlin. Some have gone to bed early (just slightly before midnight) to catch our 2:30am wake-up call, while others have opted to try their hand at a no-sleep strategy. It has been an emotional day after a demanding 12 days of life changing experiences. We are filled with laughter, tears, and lessons learned. We are humbled to be in each others presence, but even more so to be supported by the Faculty and Leaders of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation family.
One thought on “Day 12-Back to Berlin”
Class 50, you fill my heart with your thoughtful consideration of what you have seen and learned as well as your commitment to make a difference back at home. It is clear that you experienced what we all wanted for you – an immersive, challenging, and unforgettable CA Ag Leadership international seminar! Kudos to you and to Abby, Dr. Alex, Dwight, Judy and all the others who worked to make it possible for you! Safe journeys home or to your next destination in Europe!