I haven't been able to stop thinking about Koln and Weltjugendtag since I came back... there's just so much to remember and write out that I don't know where to start!
I'll just write what I remember most then...
Seven masses in 11 days!
This has got to be an all-time high record for me. I arrived in Frankfurt at 5:40am, and in Koln at 8am. The volunteer check-in started at 10am, and I met a volunteer who helped me with my luggage and walked me to the check-in. They started each day with a mass, I was told, and the first thing that happened to me in Koln, was mass! It was an amazing mass, because for the first time, it had parts which weren't spoken in English or Latin, and the hymns sung (Abba Ojcze, one of them) were in Polish!
The rest of the day I was well, rather lost, because arriving at the volunteer accomodation (a Gesamtschule), there was no one to be found. I found two 'lost angels'—German volunteers who helped me find the deserted accomodation on their way to their own accomodation (Fuhlinger See). Tired after having walked for nearly two hours with my luggage, I waited in the deserted accomodation until the rain ceased, at which point somebody came out of the school building and kindly let me and two other volunteers keep our luggage in the school compound. I went back to Koln shortly after, because I hadn't had anything to eat since 3am airline breakfast :p At the volunteer center I was told there was no more food for the day, and decided to show two sisters from Mexico, the way to Koln Messe-Deutz, the volunteer check-in. It was by now was brimming with volunteers, most of whom queued for about 2-3hours.
While waiting for the Mexican sisters, someone approached me speaking in Chinese ;) Good thing I remember a little Mandarin, because it turned out to be Elliot of the blog FideCogitActio! Although I have emailed a few bloggers that I'd be going to WJT, I'm not expecting to meet any of them given that nearly a million turned up! Anyhow, Elliot was looking to gather a group of six to collect food, and I was desperately hungry by this time!
I made my way back to the Gesamtschule, and finally met my team members for the first time. It was good to see a group whom I can "belong to". I'm almost embarrassed to say I felt totally forsaken that day, it being the first time I stepped my feet in Europe! The school had only communal shower *_* (needless to say, I became less and less shy with the summer heat!)
Volunteer opening mass
The volunteer opening mass was held on Sunday the 15th at Bayer Arena, Leverkusen. It was great (again it was in German), with a few songs in other languages. To my horror, the choir sang "I don't know how to love you" from Jesus Christ superstar! My jaw nearly dropped open, but no one else next to me seemed to realize the inappropriate-ness of singing this song... ah well..
Also, that mass was where I heard for the first time the WJT theme song Venimus Adorare Eum, and it's still playing in my head now ;)
This has been a long post! A few observations:
- German language is intuitive, and it was not at all difficult to pick up! I wish I had taken some effort to learn it before Koln; then I'd be able to understand most of the masses, and to communicate even better with all the volunteers and buses I've had to direct ;)
- The organization was chaotic. Most of the days, our itinerary was centered around getting food :-( But it's been fun!
I'll write more when I'm less excited, and maybe post a few pictures on the places I managed to visit (despite the fact that my working station is backstage in Burgplatz, Dusseldorf!)