Spring break is almost coming to an end! I’ve been missing Luther and my friends so much. I’ve never spent a getaway from Luther this long before, but it was worth it. As I mentioned before, I paid a visit to Wartburg College. Yes, the “Beat Luther” Wartburg College. For those who do not know, Luther and Wartburg are rivals in terms of sports, academics, etc. In my defense, however, I have plenty of good friends there that I’ve been planning to visit for awhile now.
Getting around places isn’t easy when you’re in a place as remote as Decorah, but there are plenty of options to get around if you don’t have your own car with you on campus. Most people ask for rides on the Luther College Rideshare Group on Facebook with offers to pay for gas or for a meal. Sometimes students who own a car even offer to give anyone a ride back to school or to the town they’re headed towards. Sadly, Waverly (where Wartburg is located) isn’t one of those popular towns I could get a free ride to. Nevertheless, there are still other options like the Luther College Break Shuttle Service. Shuttle services are offered for students needing to go to central Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin, or Illinois. The tickets range from $35 to $40, which I personally feel is very reasonable as compared to other transportation options. It’s one of the many efforts of Luther's sustainability pride.
The Friday before break started was a hectic one. My class ended at 3:45pm and the shuttle was scheduled to depart at 4:30pm. I quickly did some final packing for the week and headed straight to the Union as soon as class finished. There were plenty of shuttles waiting for us. The one going to central Iowa was a minivan of course because there weren’t a lot of us. However, the shuttle heading to Minnesota and Wisconsin-Illinois was a huge bus, which was great because the students could get their own seats. I picked Cedar Falls as my destination because it was the closest to Waverly, and I had a friend who was willing to pick me up from Cedar Falls. Thankfully, I was the first stop, which was only an hour and a half. My friends welcomed me warmly when I arrived and we headed to a Chinese restaurant nearby to have dinner: Hibachi Sushi Buffet. It was the best Chinese food I’ve had so far in the U.S.
Wartburg's campus is definitely beautiful, but I wouldn’t compare it to Luther’s because it’s different in a unique way. The campus is not located on hilly grounds like Luther which makes it appear less spread-out. With the buildings closer to each other, the campus provides skywalks for students to travel from building to building! Since their college adopts orange as their theme color, most classrooms and lecture halls have a warm atmosphere to them. Although Waverly is a bigger town than Decorah, Luther’s campus definitely has more nature to it, something I missed while at Wartburg even though residing in a remote area like Decorah isn’t always convenient.
I was so excited when I found out Wartburg was going to have their Cultural Week throughout my stay! It reminded me of Luther's Ethnic Arts festival, although the events are slightly different. The first event I attended was the Coffee and Teas from Around the World event held in Wartburg's library. The event is just like its title. I got a “taste” of different beverages the Wartburg internationals made, and with that of course, I made a lot of new friends as well. I got to try the Vietnamese milk tea, the Costa Rican coffee, Indian ginger tea and so much more. Speaking of new friends, I was not the only one who decided to visit Wartburg for the break—I met five Luther internationals while I was dining with my friends in the cafeteria! Four of which are my co-years. Unbelievable, right? I guess I wasn’t going to be all that homesick.
Wartburg's Culture Show was held on a Friday night. Most of my friends were performing or helping out in stage managing. I wore one of my country’s traditional costumes that evening to join my other Malaysian friends who were participating in the show (I packed it with me before coming to Wartburg because I knew in advance about the Culture Show). The show was pretty similar to ours. They had the mandatory flag procession, Bollywood dances, a Latino dance, a skit, and so much more. They also had an after-party in the college's international house. Although they had an entire week to appreciate the diversity at their college, I liked how ours was short and sweet. It allows students to focus on their academics in the midst of preparing for such a big event.
Finally, my last day ended with a night out with my Malaysian friends! We drove to Waterloo which was about half an hour away from Wartburg to have some authentic Chinese food for dinner. We ordered a lot of dishes that evening—egg drop soup, stir fried vegetables, steamed fish, curry chicken, deep fried shrimp, braised tofu, and intestines (not my favorite). The hearty meal reminded me so much of home. After dinner, we headed over to a mall nearby called Crossroads to hang out for a little bit and do some shopping. It was a day well-spent with my Malaysian family.
However, coming back to Luther felt so good. I’ve really missed time alone in my room, our shower rooms, the caf, and especially my friends whom I actually consider home here. Catching up with them during dinner was a great start to the next half of the semester.