Walk a Mile in Their SandalsVienna, Spring 2013

Sandals in school? Thats like trying to put yourself at the end of the lunch line the ONE day they serve pizza in the cafeteria, clearly you are not aware of your self-destructive behavior  But yes, sandals are not only  worn by students in this particular Austrian public school where I am interning, but the sandals are actually expected to be worn by all students. Initially, I thought the Austrians just believed that if children were comfortable they could learn better. Instead, it turns out that this particular school’s janitor just wants to keep the school clean.

Although most american young adults were taught not accept an idea or theory because someone “said so,” in life there are moments were reasoning,arguing, and debating are not the wisest choices. If the enlightment taught us anything it was to challenge our assumptions and the established structures around us. Indeed, when one is a robot and has no thoughts or critical view of the world one becomes as meaningless as the next order you are expecting. However, the dangers of constantly asking, questioning and breaking down is, if taken to an extreme, you are left with nothing. It is a wonderful thing to be in control of your life and to decide where you will end up, but if you no longer have a compass or standard, where will you find direciton? Will purpose from your desires be enough? Can we truly be happy by simply following our basic insticts?

Don’get me wrong, I’ll be the first one lining up to indulge me Oreo cravings thank you very much! But, I know that my sensual sensations cannot provide me with a solid trustworthy life experience on their own. There has to be somehting beyond myself that guides me towards some path. I love my oreos but come on, can they really giving me a lasting impression of who I authentically am?

Like my 12 year old friends, sometimes we just “have to wear the sandals” in life. Sure, the sandals of life won’t probably be stylish, fashionable, or even that fun, but they are reliable, useful, and necessary. Studying abroad and managing a whole new life definately requires “weaving the sandals” to  make the most out of this unique experience. Wether it’s risking trying out a new language, experiencing unknown places, or talking to new people, “the sandals” of life remind us, that ife demands sweat and discipline . For after all, it’s the sandals that keep the building clean and running. Just as the sandals help maintain the school building well and alive, perhaps the sandals in our lives, although lackluster, can help setup the fundamentals of the succes for the rest of our lives.

 

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