So I had forgotten that the Temple group is heading to Prague for the weekend in an hour, so this blog post is going to be really hurried. But I promised last week a look at what we do for fun here in Leipzig, so here goes!
If there’s a German theme regarding the activities we’ve been doing, I’d call it “körperlichen Dispositionen.” That’s “bodily dispositions,” for those following along sans bilingual dictionary, and they entail all those rather more physical feelings, like hunger and excitement––these kinds of feelings happen all the time in Germany. In retrospect, I should have expected to feel more physically involved in general here, given how much we walk every day (over 15,000 steps, my handy portable video game player tells me). Getting to the fun doings and their accompanying feelings, though…
If you read the above word aloud, you might notice the phonetic similarity between Fröhlichkeit and frolicking––and indeed, when one is froh, one frolics! Just earlier today our group spent the pause between classes in the lawn of a nearby church. It was really more of a meadow, though, covered in white, purple, and yellow wildflowers. We ran in the grass till we tired, and then we sat and picked flowers. Very idyllic––and there’s no lack of little pleasant green spaces like this in Leipzig. There are parks everywhere, and multiple canals and rivers through the city. At some point, we may have to get on the gondolas together, because they are too pretty an experience to pass up.
In Leipzig, it’s pretty easy to feel excited about nearly everything. There’s a specific kind of excitement, however that comes the physical sensation of rhythmic pounding vibration in your chest––the kind you get at a parade, or in a drum circle––and in Leipzig, it only takes a trip to one of the many Discotheques (clubs) to feel this. Dancing in Leipzig, just as in any other place, can be incredibly fun, though I will note that more often that not, American music is played, and that it seems to me my German cohorts in the clubs don’t dance very comfortably. The dance floor lacks in individual creativity, though certainly there are lots and lots of bodies all together. Dancing partners aside, the atmosphere in the Moritzbastei, where our group normally meets to dance, is extremely physically exciting, and at the least, no one seems to mind if you break out odd moves on the floor (though they might not let you through!)
Last week, we went to the Thomaskirche (St. Thomas Church) and heard a motet of the Thomanenchor sing a musical church service. It wasn’t really religious in nature, as it was part of the Bachfest in Leipzig, but the music was so divinely beautiful that I felt my whole body shaking. This one particular minor sixth from a tenor… Oh my. Sitting in the Thomaskirche, where J.S. Bach had performed his compositions as worship every week, I could feel how pure the sung tones were, how lovely the organ piping sounded, and how full the air was with beauty. I’m a bit of crybaby, so, yes, I shed a few tears. When you feel perfect polyphony through your pew, though, it’s hard not to!
I haven’t even gotten to Hunger yet, but that will have to come later, as I’ve got a street tram to catch! I’m really loving Leipzig at the moment, but here’s hoping Prague is just as great! Till later.