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Slow It Down

by William White

 

7:47 A.M.

For us living at St. Sebastian, this means its time for the chorus: a strenuous 7 to 9 minutes of continuous bells rattles our eardrums every morning. Sometimes this experience comes earlier or later; I’m convinced it’s depending on how clean we keep the kitchen. But, an uninterrupted night of sleep would not be complete without the most beautiful alarm straight out of the 1700’s.

The bells are a blessing in disguise. As I am woken up on the church’s schedule every morning, I can go directly back to sleep in my strikingly-more-comfortable-than-most bed. Plus, it has turned me into a very heavy sleeper so now other noises don’t even begin to bother me. St. Sebastian offers some of the loudest bells (in fact the only church bells I’ve had in any dorm!) but best accommodations I’ve had in any dormitory. They clean our rooms, offer us a clean kitchen every morning, and are there to help us whenever we have any issues. The location is only 5 minutes from downtown and 20 minutes from the University, allowing me to avoid all local transit and travel by foot. Our accommodation is literally everything I could have asked for. I have no complaints, except for the bells, but I’m not done talking about those.

The Bells. Loud. That’s about it, in fact they are ringing right now, interrupting my Taylor Swift playlist, but I will find a way to “Shake It Off.” The bells serve another very important purpose to me. The bells allow me to stop and think. They offer a scheduled pause throughout the day in order to get my mind and my thoughts back on track.

Europe, so far, has been chock-full of adventures, friends, and very little down time. We have been all over the region, visiting Hallstatt, Munich, and various mountain tops. Austria has been about exploring and adventuring. Classes began just two weeks ago and already professors and peers are discussing projects and tests in the upcoming weeks. I have been running all over Salzburg and beyond, summiting some of the local mountains. In fact, today I ran to a close-by town just down the river just because I could.

Time in college moves fast, especially, I have found, studying abroad. I have used the bells as a sort of an anchor in my day, allowing myself to stop and think about my ideas and experiences past, present, and even a bit into the future. It allows me time to breathe and take in the fresh air before heading to class, leaving for the train station, or lacing up my shoes for another run into the unknown. Stopping and listening to the bells is something that makes time move slower. For some people this may seem like a bad idea, but this is the best thing for me. I’m an adult now which means I will have to do adult things, which is definitely not on my mind. If I could just play with legos the rest of my life that would be fantastic. But, of course, legos don’t pay bills. I want to enjoy my time abroad, and in the present. Of course, I cannot wait to travel the rest of Europe. But every day, there is always time to slow down and take in what is offered.

As for the adult things, those can be future Will’s problem. But for now, I’m going to enjoy the things I have today.

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