I remember sitting in the lecture hall listening to the introduction of the task „friends with an old book“ for the first time. And to be honest I was a bit confused because I couldn’t really imagine what this friendship was supposed to look like but I was definitely happy to give it a try. After having solved some issues I had with getting a book assigned I was excited to getting to know „Architecture Moderne“ written by Charles-Antoine Jombert in 1764 in Paris. When I read the title I was not very pleased though because I was hoping to get a book that was not written in French – a language I’ve had struggled with before. Furthermore I’ve never been much of a reader.
It was a very „theoretical“ way of getting to know a new friend in terms of doing research about him – definitely not the way I usually do make friends. It seemed a bit difficult to getting to know him since there was another book existing with the same title and written by an author with the same last name: Jombert. Nonetheless I tried to get to know my assigned friend and not his father who wrote the first book under this title.
The moment when we „clicked“ was when I first met him in person, in the library in the ETH main building. I was very pleased to have this physical / practical contact with him. He was a bit bigger and thicker than I had expected but regarding his age he was in an extremely good condition. Therefore I realized that I needed to take very good care of him.
The third and fourth tasks revealed themselves to be rather theoretical again which made it quite difficult for me not to loose the connection I had just built up. Especially when I realized that there were no references and no further editions of the book existing I started asking myself why I was even having a look at this particular book.
When I was working on task number five I was on the edge of losing my nerves. I had problems with the computer programs and therefore my motivation was not as big as it was for the other tasks, especially when I realized that the words and its translations were complete nonsense. My friendship healed when I got in contact with other friends and their old friends and they started communicating with each other. A completely different approach spanning over a timeframe from the 17th century up to now made me look at the whole friendship in a completely different way. A way that was much more fun and creative. It was the first time I saw my old friend in action which made me really happy.
In conclusion I could say that it was an interesting experience from which I have learned a lot. I’ve never done anything alike and to be honest I don’t think I would’ve done it if I didn’t have to and I’m not sure I’ll ever have anything like his simply because it’s a lot of work and it is very exhausting having a friend who’s not properly communicating. The most exciting moment was definitely when I got to know my friend in person. It was when he made me go to a place I’ve never been before and probably never would’ve gone if I didn’t have to. So I guess that sometimes people need to be forced to their luck.