Immersion Includes Exploring On Your Own

Alejandro Reyna ’17 –  There in Höchst

Like any “good” Catholic, even before flying to our layover in Atlanta I knew where I would go for mass on Sunday when we arrived in Frankfurt. While decrypting all the German websites, St.Justinuskirche seemed the best option.

Though, like any “good” Catholic, one thing led to another and I never actually made it to mass on Sunday. Being one of the oldest buildings in Frankfurt, the desire of visiting the church was still real. On Tuesday, Ben Wade and I took advantage of the misty, cloudy free day and headed out to St. Justinuskirche.

After considering walking to the church, Ben and I agreed we should not tire ourselves.  The metro rail system would be our means of transportation and so we were off. We figured that we would get on line S1 or S2 and our cue to get off would be “Höchst.” Once the train started going we realized how far we would have needed to walk and were very glad we didn’t. Höchst was our stop and it seemed like a suburban neighborhood for people who work in Frankfurt. As we exited the train station it was clear that nearly no one would speak English, meaning Ben’s limited German would have to suffice. The church was still a hike from the station but even from a distance, we saw the arched doorway at the base of a massive stonewall. No questions asked we walked through.

We entered what we thought was a garden but was actually a medieval fort. Surrounded by this very historical structure we explored many doors, stairs and alleyways that were unlocked. In one of these damp alleyways was the church we had long forgotten about due to our excitement over the medieval fort. The running joke amongst the immersion group has been that you can circle a building many times but you won’t find an open door. So we tried all the doors on the church twice and none were unlocked. We had failed to see the church and it was not disappointing because we found this fort. As a matter of fact, none of the time spent in Höchst was disappointing at all.

If I had to name one of the greatest joys in being abroad it has to be that ones willingness to try new things does not make disappointment passable or ok. You can try different foods and not enjoy them but being upset or disappointed that you did not enjoy it would defeat the incentive to try anything. Put your best foot forward and try anything and everything. If you are disappointed, you are doing it wrong.