I made a last minute decision to visit Amberg, where I studied in 2008, to stop in and visit the Orr family, who runs the AMBEX program. It was a wonderful decision.
I started out saying goodbye to the Roesel family and riding with Mr. Rsl all the way to Mannheim to catch my train. Caught a beautiful sunrise and made my train on time.
After a tricky train ride where I missed one of my trains I made it to Amberg. I walked down the streets that I walked back in 2008 and it felt like I was walking in my home town. I knew these places, these turns, these crosswalks. The city walls were still there, just as they’d been for many hundreds of years before. Nothing seemed to have changed here in Amberg.
I went to visit Jerry and Paula Orr. I kinda surprised them actually, but they were ready with a room and allowed me to stay the night. Jerry is the founder and director of the AMBEX program, that has been running since 2008. It is a study abroad semester that focuses on European History and culture as well as European church history. For more information check out the AMBEX website.
We sat and talked for a couple hours about where life has been taking us over the past five years and where the future looks to be heading. It was great to hear about what is happening with the program that was just starting out when I went through it. The location has moved and the opportunities have grown in such a short amount of time. It put a smile on my face and a smile in my heart to see things moving in a positive direction for a program that had such a huge impact on my life. If it weren’t for AMBEX I don’t know if I would be in Europe at all. We talked about the possibilities of working together in some capacity in the future and that excited me. Is this a way for me to stay in Europe longer and be able to make a living? We will see how all of that works out in the end, but it was exciting news to consider.
After a brief siesta, I went into the old city and walked around. It hadn’t changed. The businesses that I had frequented as a student were still there except for one. The Kebab shop, where I learned how delicious a Kebab was, had either moved or it was gone for good. So sad. I went into town to go to a specific business that had a special meaning for me and my musical career. There was a cafe that I went to in 2009 that gave me the inspiration for “Das Ist Alles”, one of the songs on my 5 song EP.
The story goes something like this…
I had walked into this cafe in 2009 after coming back from being a counselor at a summer camp for military youth. I was exhausted, but went to church in Amberg to see some friends that I made the fall before. After church I was waiting for my ride in this cafe. I sat in this seat in a room that was completely empty, because everyone was outside enjoying a beautiful summer day. I was able to watch the people outside through a huge window that looks out into the city center. As I sat there I saw a waitress serving people and she was smiling and causing others to laugh and she seemed to have a joyful spirit. This was in stark contrast to the way the others waiters and waitresses were working. It was a beautiful thing to watch her work and see her light up others people’s lives. I wanted to share this with her, but I didn’t speak/feel confident enough with my German to say anything. So as I left the cafe that day I wrote on a napkin, that I left behind with a tip, “Du bist sehr schoern. Das ist alles.”, which translates “You are beautiful. That is all”. Ill never know if she saw it, I don’t know her name, or if she is even from Amberg, but I have her to thank for a beautiful song and a beautiful memory.
So I wanted to go to this cafe again and sit in the seat where the event took place that inspired the song and record a video that shows the location so when I tell the story of what the song is about people will be able to have a visual. I walked into the Cafe and there was the spot that I sat in 2009. The seat was wide open and I grabbed it quickly.
The rest is in the link.
After making the video I walked around the old city and made it back to the Orr’s house in time for a delicious meal of Bratwurst and Steak. We ate with some of their neighbors and had a great time chatting about church, life in Germany and getting to know each other better. Kelley Orr came back from doing English camps with a friend of mine from school in the states, with a couple of students from Moody Bible Institute. I played some music for everyone after dinner and had a good time once again just sharing the music and getting positive feedback. It was a perfect way to end a “walk down memory lane” kind of day.