One of my favorite questions to ask people is if they were named after anything. Sometimes (usually) the answer is no and I have to wave off my curiosity with an oh haha, don’t sweat it, obviously your parents just didn’t care enough to name you after something meaningful (that last part is of course in my head). But every now and then you get a really cool story out of asking.
I do have an answer to my own question! I was named after Vivian Sequera, one of my parents’ best friends while they were living in Venezuela. The name Vivian barely beat out Sunshine, the runner-up in all possibilities that could have been me. Sometimes I wonder how my life would be different if Sunshine (Sunny for short) had won out. My sister Annie was named after the car that drove my dad from Kansas City to Minneapolis every weekend to visit my mom while they were dating (awww). See, asking does pay off.
Which brings me to Grindelwald. At the mention of the name, we all (hopefully) think of one of the most powerful dark wizards of all time, Gellert Grindelwald. I would appreciate the chance to ask Grindelwald about his namesake too, but obviously that ship sailed when he was murdered by Lord Voldermort.
I hope for Grindelwald’s sake that he was named after Grindelwald, Switzerland, a high mountain village nuzzled deep in the Swiss Alps. A place worthy of being a namesake through and through…I’m just glad it’s not me who has to try and live up to this one.
I landed in the fairytale that is Grindelwald last weekend with a group of kids from my program. When the doors to our train flew open at the station, we were greeted by a buzzing ski town rung by towering peaks and lush rolling hills. In complete awe of our surroundings, we thought the best way to celebrate our arrival would be to eat a baguette while admiring the view. I know…we’re so Euro it hurts.
With stomachs full, spirits high, and our elevation even higher, we embarked on the day’s journey- a hike up a trail running parallel to the glacier that overlooked the town. The afternoon was spent meandering through wild-flowered meadows, hopping from cow pie to cow pie in fields of grazing herds and turning around to admire the ever-expanding view every two minutes. Flashes from the opening scenes of The Sound of Music blurred with my reality, and Maria’s “The Hills Are Alive” was on repeat in my head as I made my way up the mountain.
The day peaked when we reached the summit (see what I did there) and found a chalet waiting to serve us big cold beers. A beer after a long hike is like “getting into bed and plugging in your phone as it is at 1% and thinking to yourself, I made it” (Zach 2015). For anyone looking for a taste of this satisfaction without flirting with phone death, now you know where to find it.
I think I might have talked (or written) myself into changing my name to Gindelwald. Could I legally do that abroad? I guess I am looking into bringing back some kind of permanent souvenir from my European adventures, and this could be it!
I’m just kidding. I think Vivian suits me well. Well, Vivian or Sunshine would probably work too.