thus far

Bethany Lerch | Independent Writer | Wisconsin, Germany, and the Middle East

Sixteen saw a year-long study abroad in Germany and an infusion of relentless independence. Adolescent perception was kicked into overdrive and writing made a home in her bones. Ambition fueled a fiery story line after that.

There was a sustainable development internship in Germany, a federal internship at the Department of Defense, and graduation from UW-Oshkosh before 21. Fulbright took her to the Rhineland and then a Rotary scholarship sent her to Scotland. Twenty-three saw a Master of Letters from the School of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. She returned home to Wisconsin where she fell into animal and social welfare, writing and volunteerism, and ultimately created Rotaract Oshkosh.

Each of those experiences was formative; each was made more meaningful by what was written in the midst of living them. From September 2013 until August 2014 she wholeheartedly lived another as Assistant Lecturer at the Institute for American Studies at the University of Leipzig in Germany. She is now teaching English in the Middle East with Teach for Palestine.

My hands are bloody from digging.
I lift them, hold them open in the wind,
so they can branch like a tree.

Reaching, these hands would pull you out of the sky
as if you had shattered there,
dashed yourself to pieces in some wild impatience.

What is this I feel falling now,
falling on this parched earth,
softly,
like a spring rain?

– R.M. Rilke in The Book of Hours