He told me that most people he brings there are less than excited about the place; they simply don't understand and probably find his enthusiasm cheesy.
But I was bursting.
I hadn't been off the plane for more than an hour and the first thing I saw after exiting the train station was a mountain unexpectedly rising with grandiose savoir-faire, relieving the unending flatness and mocking the small homes we passed. They now seemed out of place next to the city rising quietly beyond. Still, I couldn't believe what I was seeing, my eyes glazed with excitement. The streets stretched in anticipation. We took a turn and the wooden modules of the mountain began to sink below a tree line, hazy with the promise of leaves and summer.
Then suddenly there it was, looming with presumption, next to a vacant field. He didn't realize the significance when I told him how much being here meant to me and why I had come all this way, that this was more a pilgrimage than a weekend excursion. It was a dream, like being in the presence of god, although...maybe that's too far. We walked up the metal staircase to reach the top of the mountain, rejoicing in the colorful cathedral around us; I, taking in every step. At the summit we gazed upon the surrounding vista of cold newness and development, a city too fresh for culture and grime to set in to the nooks and crannies. The whole scene was dangerously beautiful, like anything could go wrong. A little bit utilitarian and idealized, strangely clean and empty. As the wind blew through the perforations of Everest I turned my gaze to the horizon. There, the old city skyline watched us back skeptically in the distance.
And I it.
I'm still trying to figure out everything that happened to me while I was studying this past semester in Europe. I don't know how many architecture schools have study abroad programs, but I know if Kent's wasn't built in to the curriculum like it is, I would have missed out in a major way. A definite benefit in choosing Kent State. See more of my photos from Europe here