While spring cleaning these last couple weekends, I ran across the brief journal I kept during my high school trip to Germany. On that four-week trip I had quite a number of experiences, some of which helped shape my life even to this day. For example, in Munich, I drank significant quantities of alcohol for the first time, and the following day I celebrated my birthday at what was left of the Dachau concentration camp.
On July 4, 1992, I wrote:
The next day [June 28] was my birthday. We went to Dachau. Dachau: the first Nazi concentration camp of WWII. A great birthday tourist attraction. Actually it was an amazing experience that affected me profoundly.
Sadly, I never expanded on that, because it was in a catch-up entry six days after the fact. Alas, I used the next 50 words to detail what I drank that night and the names of the Americans with whom we partied in Munich; considering I was a newly minted 17-year-old, that fact is not terribly surprising, though somewhat disappointing. (I had spent half of the previous couple weeks’ entries agonizing over my attraction to the girl whose family was hosting me. I think I was mad at myself for having such normal priorities.)
Later in the same entry, I ran across something interesting I had almost completely forgotten about:
In Oberammergau I went inside the Passionspielhaus (the Passion Play Theatre). It was amazing. In 2000 I will come back to see the Passion Play. (Done every 10 years.)
Ah, yes… the Oberammergau Passion Play. Every ten years, literally half of the population of the village of Oberammergau performs in a play about the life of Jesus that runs all summer. Since 1634, after the village survived the plague, the play has had 41 seasons.