Wading through the swamp
In the middle of the nature reserve to the south-west of the city, stand three rather odd figures. The Monks of ‘de Onlanden’ commemorate the robed medieval adventurers that walked these same paths.
To get from their monastery in Aduard to civilisation, they had to tread across a vast wolf-infested morass. Not to miss their daily spot of tea, they would pitch camp around that very area. Although Groningen is a tad less marshy nowadays, we find ourselves in a similar situation. There’s a good deal of swamp to be waded through before we reach normalcy.
Like with zoo animals released into the wild, freedom takes some getting used to. Students skimping on rent by staying with their parents have to begin shelling out for train tickets. No longer can you use those tried and trusted excuses to fob off your friends. Stranger still, that mire of whinging and self pity we’ve been rolling in for four months has all but completely dried up.
Knowing that we live in a fallen world makes the good bits in life all the more precious
Across town, you can catch a glimpse of the glory days of the past. Groups of geriatrics gather round a couple of pints, and howl with laughter. Bands of students in animated conversation walk briskly down the street, completely oblivious to the cyclists whizzing by. Even the sport associations are up and kicking, which is more than can be said of their winged neighbours.
Almost out of the blue last week, the opportunity to attend a tutorial on campus cropped up. It was bizarre how something so familiar could be so surreal at the same time. The personal contact and lively discussion, however, more than made up for any uneasiness over the dystopian surroundings. Not to mention, I learnt more in two hours than I would have in a whole day left to my own devices.
It would be great to simply put the whole ordeal behind us, and pretend like it had never been any different. Some things though, I’d gladly take with me. Knowing that we live in a fallen world makes the good bits in life all the more precious. I’ve never been more grateful for the opportunity to sit in a room, and stare at a board full of mathematical equations.
Ascension Day weekend comes like an island of rest in a period of impatience and giddy excitement. There’s still a ways to go, but the future is very bright indeed.