This is another post regarding my promise to write about relatives, friends and colleagues while they are still alive rather than give posthumous tributes.
One of my favorite quotes is "You can't walk on the water unless you get out of the boat." Of course I do not take it as a literal claim but more toward "You will never know what all is out there unless you get out there!" It is oh so much easier to roll with the status quo, keep the same routines and environs, be comfortable, stick with the thought that you are not in a rut but rather in a well worn groove! I am not speaking about dumping stability for high-stakes risk-taking, but about carefully considering new opportunities, new horizons with the expectation of new adventures and new friends. If Rhonda and I had not decided to step out of our comfortable lives in Colorado Springs for a new life chapter at Pepperdine University in Malibu, we never would have come to know a whole host of wonderful colleagues, friends, students and neighbors. Here is one of the many remarkable folks that we never would have known had we stayed in Colorado - Daniel Daugherty.
Daniel is the Resident Director of Pepperdine's International Program in Heidelberg. Daniel and I likely would have never met had it not been for a last-minute medical complication for the faculty person scheduled to be the Visiting Faculty person in Heidelberg combined with my availability and inclination to pinch-hit, albeit after the semester had started. Given the nature of such an abrupt change of plans that are laid out over a year in advance, it is not surprising that there was some apprehension, particularly on Daniel's part given that he has the ultimate responsibility for the quality and success of the program. Since Daniel, the program faculty and staff, and the students did not know me from Adam, I could not blame them for their concerns!! Fortunately, as time went on, things progressed fairly smoothly and major catastrophes were avoided. Daniel and Doug became Herr D and Dr. S, although Daniel loved to give the uber-German emphasis on my last name - Schwaaaarrtzenttruber ;-) Here are just a few of the delightful aspects of my time with Herr D.
Herr D the Polyglot - Anyone who can speak more that one language is a polyglot in my book. I know, two languages doesn't really fit the polyglot definition, but Daniel does. Upon first meeting, his English sounded like he must have grown up in mid-America. However, having lived in Germany for many years, German would appear to be his native tongue. But, when you learn that he grew up in Paris, it becomes clear that French is his beloved native language. That qualifies for polyglot - but - Herr D also studied in Spain, and as we traveled to Barcelona for our Educational Field Trip, it became apparent that he also quite adroit in Spanish. Rumor has it that he is studying additional languages. Color me envious.
Herr D the Program Director - I am quite certain that every year, there some recurring situations and events that need to be addressed by the Director, usually in conjunction with the Visiting Faculty Member. Academic warnings and probations. Behavior warnings and probations, particularly regarding a bit too much alcohol. Roommate incompatibilities. And so on. And Herr D handled each of these with a balance of sternness and understanding. However, I think he faced a new challenge during my time there - an illegal music download. Justin Bieber at that! Herr D received a very disturbing notification letter from the German authorities detailing the specifics and the significant fine for the download. Naturally none of the students would actually admit to downloading a Bieber album; however, with the help of the program's IT guru, the computer and the time of download were identified. The computer owner adamantly, and believably, held that he was not the culprit, which pointed to the likelihood that someone had hacked the system. After a discussion with all of the students regarding that the fine still had to be paid, some of them stepped forward with contributions. I am sure that Herr D lost more sleep than usual over this escapade, but no doubt learned how to avoid a similar situation in the future. I want to also commend Herr D's commitment as the Program Director to be the spiritual guide and mentor for the Heidelberg program - he provides both wisdom and food for thought.
Herr D the Musician - Similar to the Mennonites, the Churches of Christ folks have a very strong affinity for good music of all sorts, from congregational and choral singing to folk, R&B and contemporary music to classical orchestral music. Thus it was not too surprising the Herr D and I shared an affinity for similar types of music. I was pleased to introduce Daniel to another type of music that I very much enjoy - Taizé and the attendant worship service. However, one significant difference between us - I am a very reluctant solo singer whereas Daniel is an unabashed performer. A wonderful part of the semester is the 'talent show' that showcases the varied and impressive talents of the students - and the less impressive talent of the faculty. Below, Herr D and I work through "Knocking on Heaven's Door" with some ad lib lyrics by Daniel, with his usual energy, enthusiasm and gusto.
Herr D the Epicurean - not the philosophy of Epicurus, but rather being a connoisseur of the arts, of life and the refinements of such things as food and drink. I cannot recount the many and varied experiences that we shared, sometimes just the two of us, sometimes with a small group of colleagues or students, and often with our whole group of Heidelbergers - from Die Kartoffel to the Belvedere to the Krypt to Weihnachtsmarkt to Lincoln to Vienna to Barcelona to.......
Herr D, Husband, Father, Son, Teacher, Scholar, Mentor, Colleague, Follower of Jesus, and Friend