Sunday, June 14, 2009


(I've decided that it would be a good idea to tell you where I'm sending these posts from so you know what's coming. See, I write the entries as I go, but most of the time I have to wait to post depending on where I get internet access. So right now I'm posting this from Galway, Ireland.)


I have no idea what I’ve done to become so blessed.

We had our last concert in Nidderau, a small city about a half-hour drive away from Frankfurt. We were told nothing special about Nidderau; it was a last-minute, second-choice concert that was really just filler. Nevertheless, it was our last concert, which marked the end of the accomplishment of the European choir tour and the end of the senior class’ college experience.

The church was cute. It wasn’t Erfurt or Prague, that’s for sure; it had a flat ceiling (our first flat ceiling, mind you), and the rest really wasn’t too spectacular.

I wasn’t looking forward to another homestay. As fun as they are, it still takes a lot of energy to meet new people in a new place and stay with them. I simply wanted to go back to La Crosse and sleep for two days straight.

Carl and Dortea were my hosts. At first, Dortea was talking to my roommate and I in German, which made me think, Man, if I have to deal with charades for two days, this is not going to be fun. And then, after a linguistic struggle, Carl said, in perfect English, “Oh, you don’t speak German, do you? That’s fine.”

Carl and Dortea were an old retired couple who lived in a beautiful 200-year-old house. (Mom, Dad…I’m putting pictures of the house so you can see it. I know this kind of house would be a dream for you.) 

Dortea played the piano and sang quite beautifully. She let me and Josh play our musical for them too, which wasn’t the classical stuff they were used to, but Carl said, “It’s okay that it’s not Brahms; it’s you.” And then Carl showed us what was him…He plays the didgeridoo. He also plays the duducki, which is a more authentic, strict-technique instrument. He was great.

This couple was so kind to us. They had a Red Corrant bush, which is a berry that is very rare in the States. Josh and I ate more than we should have, but they were delicious.

Oh, and they showed me where I would be sleeping, which was the attic. There was a hole in the top for ventilation. Take a look.

After dinner, we went to the concert. In all the places that we sang, we may have sung the best in Nidderau. We were finally completely comfortable with our songs, and the audience was into it, and we had motivation to sing our best. And we did.

I’m sure that every person in the choir cried at least once during the concert. I definitely was not able to sing through three of the songs. This was a big time for me—it marked the end of my time with the choir for the year, and the beginning of my big, scary summer adventure. I was afraid of my future and thankful for the people around me at the same time. I couldn’t help but cry when we sang words like, “Stay with us, Lord Jesus, stay with us,” and, “Eternal Savior, come to me.” It was amazing.

We prayed together after the concert, cried together, laughed together, and shared hundreds of hugs. I’m always amazed how attached I become to the choir at the end of the tour. I love every single one of them.

And thus starts the next step of my journey.

Lord God, You have called Your servants

to ventures of which we cannot see the ending—

by paths as yet untrod, through perils unknown.

Give us strength to go out with courage,

not knowing where we go,

but only that Your hand is leading and supporting us.

Through Jesus Christ our Lord, amen.


  1. What a cool old couple and neat little house. It was really cool that you got to share your musical styles with each other.

    In the photo were your host is playing for you I love the brick floor.

    I wonder when Didgeridoo Hero is coming out?

  2. Wow...beautiful, Brian. I'm so happy for the wonderful time you've had so far. He will lead and support you for the rest of your trip...of that I am certain.

    oh, yes, and you're right...I love their house and would move in tomorrow if I could. And look...that kind of looks like a weeping willow tree! Still don't understand why you hate weeping willows....

    Love you,

  3. You hate weeping willows?! What's your problem, Brian, they're so pretty!! Especially the big old ones!

    That couple's cottage is ADORABLE. Here's a hint of just how adorable it is: it is not a house but a COTTAGE. So cute.
    The couple is pretty cute too, hehehe.

    I love how you played for each other! I feel like you have a lot of pictures of people playing didgeridoos... are they popular or do you just like to photograph them?

    Oh, and was the duduki in the picture of those 3 didgeridoo-like instruments??

    Also, I know you said red corrunts taste like pomegranate, but what do they look like?

    Oooh, an attic bedroom, that sounds fun! Ron Weasley slept in an attic-like room too. (He also lives in Europe... or would if he were real).

    And once again, your choir concert story is moving too. I'm so happy about all your holy experiences in Europe!

    love you!

  4. leah just pointed out to me that you and carl look SO SIMILAR. Seriously, he could be your grandpa.

  5. okay, just to set things straight: i LOVE weeping willows. i just think they belong in big yards and have major problems with them in small, suburban yards. i think that they lose their glory when they're in that situation. AND, for your information, that is not a weeping willow's some sort of birch. look at the trunk.


    Digeridoo Hero would be the best game EVER!!

    I'm surprised how many digeridoos i've seen here. i think they look good, but trust me, most of what i've heard by street musicians is not that impressive. carl was great, though. and in the picture he's playing the duduki.

    the window picture shows part of his digeridoo collection. he had like 10 of them...each one bought during a separate stay in Australia. Carl's a really interesting man. he's been to more American states than i have, and right after we left, he was going to head up to England for a motorcycle festival.

    i never really realized that we look so alike, but we do!! that's funny!! maybe i'll have as many interesting stories and hobbies under my belt as he does someday! :)

    red corrants taste and look like pomegranates. i actually thought that they were pomegranates, until proven otherwise.

    love you all,


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  7. YOU MADE ME WELL! *glimmering tear*

    Your hosts sound lovely! That’s great you had a battle of the bands with them! I’m visualizing you ALL walking into the living room, Carl popping the collar on his plaid shirt, everyone snapping their fingers in unison like the Jets and Sharks meeting in the West Side Story… then a musical battle ensues: singing, didgeridoo, and duducki, OH MY!!! Haha! I love the name of those instruments it makes me giggle!

    I love how the wood is exposed on the walls of the house! I agree Christie, that is for sure not “house” (Geeze such a boy! Haha) it is clearly a cute fairy tale cottage that is normally only found deep in the woods … but 200 year old!?! Wow… any cliché ghosts in the attic where you slept? That would have been entertaining!

    Random: So the “duducki”… is that the long halo instrument picture? Did you get to play it? I’m sure I am completely wrong, but I imagine it sounding like when you blow/humm into a wrapping paper tube…

    *sorry about removing the post above, I noticed a typo that was bugging me! ; )

  8. no, no ghosts in the attic. when i was climbing up there in the almost-dark that night, their cat Lucky flew past me and almost made me fall off the ladder. after that, i had some trouble getting to sleep. it would kinda suck to be haunted at in an attic, when all you can do is carefully climb down a ladder in order to run away.

    haha, linds...when you say "halo" do you mean "hollow"? because yes, that's that picture. no, i didn't even want to try to play it. he explained it as a really complex instrument that he plays very carefully to keep its cultural integrity. i didn't touch it. and, let's sounds super Australian and cool. think about the theme song from "Survivor: Australia."

    here's a video on YouTube of a digeridoo player.

  9. hahahaha yes... I meant "hollow"!!! I didn't mean to type that, I must have spelled it wrong and the auto correct changed it even more! = )

  10. Hi my boy! Don't quite get the long horns. You should bring one of those cool four footers back home with you!

    I would think tooting the same note would get tiring after a couple of minutes. No wait, I get it, he plays one note, picks up another horn for a different note, etc, right?

    Cool you're sharing music. Lindsay's "battle of the bands" comment cracked me up!

    They sounded like very cool people.

    Keep the bloggin' and photos coming! Love you, Dad.

  11. I think that I could really succeed at playing the didgeridoo...probably not. I'd really appreciate it if you could sneak one back in your bag for me though, or not, either way! So cool to think that there are so many people out there willing to open up their homes to people they don't even know and share their culture. Every time that you post new pictures it gives Lindsay new ideas on houses and animals that she would like to own. I told her that the day we move to Europe is the day that I will buy her a herd of goats, that one might come back to haunt me. Have fun in Ireland and make sure to try a little guiness straight from the source.

  12. PS---The above comment is from Logan not me... HAHA! That really confused me!!!

  13. Brian... you watch Survivor: Australia?? Seriously? Hahahahaha, no I am not familiar with the theme song!

    -Christie (my mom would not ridicule you in this way)

  14. ummm....I'm not trying to sound ignorant...annnnd I really tried to appreciate the sound of the digeridoo....but Lindsay's guess at how it sounded is pretty much accurate! It DOES sound like someone humming/blowing through a wrapping paper tube!


  15. logan...the guinness story is coming soon. :)and i would suggest buying sheep for lindsay in Europe instead...they're much cuter and cuddlier!!

    christie...survivor australia was like their first season. yes, i watched it, AND I'M NOT ASHAMED!! so lay off!!! :)

    hehe, mom, it's kinda like that, but it takes a lot of concentration. for one, notice how the sound never actually stops. that's because of circular breathing. the person figured out how to continuously blow air without having to stop to take a breath. AND it takes a lot of work to get the correct sound and yell the correct things into the digeridoo. hehe, it is quite different, though. you wouldn't necesarily find it on MY ipod!!