Well, I guess one more entry from Copenhagen. I’m in my usual breakfast spot, only this time, for the first time in over a week, I’m not surrounded by classmates. About half the class is in transit at this moment. Me, I have a later departure today, so I’m leaving with a large pack of folks around 11:00.
Programs like this can be a weird beast. It’s rare that one gets a chance to intensely study a specific subject in a foreign place with a group of folks who are, at the beginning of the trip, largely strangers. This class represents the sixth such experience I’ve had–three in high school and three as a grad student–and it seems the ending of these brief periods always define themselves much more distinctly than other life experiences. The difference, maybe, is that they create a completely transitory community, one that can only exist for a brief period before scattering. (I’m somewhat reminded of that town in Canada that was intentionally shut down after the local mine closed.)
There’s also a weird quality to time on trips like these, especially when away from one’s loved ones. I’m not just talking about the general acceleration that happens as a trip nears its end, but how the timeline of the trip itself begins to contort. I’m looking forward to seeing my wife and son later today, but in some ways it feels like I was with them just a few days ago. Oslo, on the other hand, seems years distant. History as I feel it is different from what clearly must be true.
I have a ridiculous amount to write about from the class and the trip. (I’ve apparently been using “ridiculous” quite a bit over the past two weeks. Also, “rabid.”) The subject matter may have to wait a bit, as I’m really split on a number of items covered in the class. There’s something going on here, but the idea of corporate social responsibility, and the way many organizations are approaching the topic, may be distracting people from deeper, more important issues. As for the cities and the experiences, I’m already arriving at the point where I’ll need my photos to remind me.
Eight hours to Amsterdam, 18 to Minneapolis. More later.