From the Editor
I had the good fortune to be an American Field Service summer exchange student to West Germany while I was in high school, and the experience was a life-changer for a lad from Small Town U.S.A. I expected my new family and surroundings in West Berlin to be very different from what I was accustomed to back home. I was only half right.
So much about the divided city of Berlin was startling. The infamous Wall and "no-man's land." The soldiers with automatic rifles who sneered at me - did I really look that American? - when I rode the S-Bahn train through the heavily guarded stops in East Berlin. I was surprised, as well, by what was put before me on the dining room table, such as pickled fish and eel stewed in a white sauce.
But many revelations of my first few weeks in Berlin came not from differences, but from similarities. So much about these people I was meeting, mostly Germans but with a few Turks, Swedish, Italians and Austrians included, seemed not so exotic after all. I wrote in my diary that the people I was meeting were no more different from me than my cousins who lived in the U.S. Midwest, a thousand miles away from my hometown in Danville, Va. Travel and the intermingling of nationalities teach us that people are of one species, sharing common needs and wants, and remarkably able (and eager) to communicate, even when formal language stands in the way.
So I am pleased to present in this issue of Monarch a package of articles and pictures that describe ODU's "Global Connections." This will be an editorial section that will appear in each issue of the magazine this year. I think you will be pleased, and perhaps surprised, to find just how extensive the global reach of this university is, and how faculty and administrators plan to extend that reach.
That summer in Berlin also marked my introduction to wine. Although what I drank was weak liebfraumilch, I found it to be an intriguing beverage. Years later, this would lead to a wine-writing hobby - which includes the Humble Steward column in The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk. I point this out because this issue of Monarch also includes my article about the Eagle Eye wines that alum Bill Wolf and his wife, Roxanne, are producing in Napa Valley. I think you could say that producing this issue was a labor of love for me.
- Jim Raper