One of the main reasons I've continued to attend the second language class is because of the people in it. There's about nine other students and they come from France, Austria, Finland, Canada, Yemen, and Portugal, so I've already learned a great deal about their countries and experiences. I've gotten especially close to the two students from France: Flore et Simon. They speak English pretty well but since I really like speaking and hearing French, we normally talk en français. This has been a real treat and another way to continue learning while in Serbia. Tonight they invited me to a free concert of the Vojvodina Symphony and the music was phenomenal! It was held in the grand Novi Sad Synagogue and they played for roughly two hours so it gave me time to reflect, given this was enhanced reflection time as classical music evokes much more from the mind/spirit than silence. And I reached a very critical understanding about privilege, luck, and appreciation, so I thought I'd share.
During the Adagio section of their first piece , I began to think back a year ago when I was finalizing my college application list and writing those notoriously dreaded essays. Thank goodness those days are done. And then I jaunted through my memory lane of interviews and rejections and acceptances and finally I wound up at the crossroad that was my decision to choose Princeton and apply for BYP. While the Allegro became increasingly forte (sorry if I'm misusing orchestral terms, I'm not versed in musical speech), the realization of how fortunate I am to have this opportunity became completely comprehensible; the luck and privilege that led up to the point for me to wind up in the thoroughfares of Serbian became absolutely clear for the first time. And to make it all the more meaningful and dramatic, an orchestra was dominating this Herculean synagogue with illustrious instrumentation. I've also come to the much less meaningful conclusion that thinking is facilitated with classical music. But returning to the immense realization of my fortune to be where I am and experiencing what I'm experiencing, I can already tell that my college experience will be greatly enriched through Bridge Year. Perhaps this is a premature hypothesis as I've only been here for 18 days but I believe it will help me more fully appreciate the next 250 days or so. And following the concert Flore, Simon, and I had some deliciously rich topla čokolada (hot chocolate) while communicating in Franglishbian (French-English-Serbian). Such a great way to top off a Monday!