Unexpected Encounters During Class

I remember the best day in grade school was field trip day. No matter where we were going, I knew that it was going to be an amazing day. It was a chance to get out of the classroom and learn something new, something real. It was a real change of place.

In Rome, I feel like I’m reliving this piece of my childhood.

My professors are enthusiastic about incorporating the history of the Eternal City into our lessons, discussing and analyzing the history, art, and culture of Rome. On top of all of that, our professors like to include site visits as a part of their curriculum…

Continue reading

The Uffizi: Encountering the Masters

Have you ever seen the following image?

Boticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” c. 1480; Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

I’m sure you have, probably in a textbook or on the Internet or a poster in a cafe.

But what would you do if you had the chance to see this masterpiece in person?

If you’re a nerd like me, you’d rush to see it. So that’s what my friends and I did while we were in Florence one weekend (among other things).

Continue reading

From the classroom to the Forum

On Friday afternoons at Loyola, I usually head back to my room to unwind and relax after a long week of classes, homework, and extra-curricular activities.

Sometimes I have Evergreen meetings to attend, but I traditionally spend a large majority of my Friday afternoons in my room.

My traditional Friday routine was disrupted as soon as I landed in Italy. Instead of staying in my room, I found myself running around the Eternal City, or taking a bus to the train station for a weekend away…

This difference didn’t really hit me until this past weekend when, instead of heading home, my friends and I walked twenty minutes to the Markets of Trajan, which are a part of the Museum of the Imperial Fora. I willingly – and gladly! – trudged down Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, trekked across Piazza Venezia, skirted past Trajan’s Column, scurried up a flight of stairs, and entered the Museum – all on a “lazy” Friday afternoon.

IMG_1710

A view of Trajan’s Market from the Forum of Trajan

Continue reading

My Journey to Ireland

It’s official: I have been to the motherland. I have traveled to Ireland.

Since I am in fact half Irish, this trip was extra exciting. I have always dreamed of traveling to Ireland, seeing the sights, and experiencing the food, the people, the beer, the culture!

Upon stepping off the plane, it almost didn’t seem real.

Years of hearing stories from my Nana and Papa about Ireland and cooking traditional Irish food, memorizing Irish prayers, listening to Irish music on holidays all added to my emotion and anticipation on this trip.

I had dreamed about this trip, this day, for my entire life, and here I was, making my dream a reality…

Continue reading

Silent Mind

JFDKSLAJFKDLSJFKLSDJAKFAs a junior at Loyola University Maryland, I have come to understand the Jesuit ideals of service and social justice, and the notion that it is all of our responsibility to create a better world.

St. Ignatius Loyola set out to create a world where men and women would be “contemplatives in action,” where we would observe, notice, and take creative action.

The study abroad experience is many things: exciting, inspiring, fun, challenging, eye-opening. It also brings forth tremendous responsibility.

When traveling from place to place, it is easy to get caught up with the adventure in it all. It is easy to only notice the most well-known landmarks. But each destination has its own complicated problems that need to be addressed by and exposed to the rest of the world.

Walking and exploring the beautiful sights of Paris, I noticed dozens of women and children begging on the streets. Passing each of them, I wanted to know their story, how they got there, and if they could be anywhere else, where would they be?

The image of these children and women has stayed with me and led me to much reflection.

Why was I given this opportunity and not them? What can I do? How can my Loyola education help? How can I make a difference?

I wrote this piece for them, attempting to give them a voice.

DSFDSAFDSAFDSAFDSA12131

The Silent Mind

She sits on a mattress, a child in her arms, burying its face into her breast, sleeping. Her weary back leans against the cold Pont Des Arts Bridge. Her hands shake back and forth as she holds the cup before her. Back and forth, the ringing of the three euros in the cup resonate only in her ears. Around her everyone notices her, a quick glance, a second of pity, but they just keep walking.

A herd of tourist, all wearing red “I love Paris” T-shirts come closer. One lifts a camera, points it towards her, and flashes. Her eyes overwhelmed with whiteness and tears.

She is blinded from the world around her. Her heartbroken brown eyes gaze up at the sky, seeking contact with God. A dirty sheet covers her bruised legs. Love locks surround her and the unknown baby. Irony of Love, from the world to their own world on the mattress.

Her mind begins to wander, envisioning the mattress as a magic carpet, just as Aladdin’s. Now she can escape. She flies on the magic mattress across the Eiffel Tower. Her hand reaches out to touch the top of the shimmering metal tower. She flies onward, over the breathtaking mountains of Interlaken. Switzerland. Then the Great Pyramid of Giza. Then Hagia Sophia. Then the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Then the White House.

She keeps flying, running away, observing everything about the world below her. The people resemble ants, she mashes them with her shaking hands. Squishing them on the grounds of the affliction and the pain they have permanently caused her. Now. Away from her fear. Away from her pain. Away from the tourists and their flashing cameras. Away from the hunger. Away from the humiliation. Away.

Another camera flash explodes in front of her brown eyes.

Thanks for reading! Check out my website here for more blog posts and videos.

fewr

Letter to the Loyola Student Body: Thank You for an Amazing Year

Hey Guys,

I sit here in my half-barren bedroom in Newman, surrounded by the trinkets and objects I have accumulated over the course of the year. The bandanna from winning the boot-throwing contest at Loyolapalooza hangs next to the nametag from moving in the freshman on Move-In Day 2014. The varsity letter from my glory days of varsity track is pinned not too far away from my schedule from last semester, the highlighter faded from the many months of sitting on the wall.

Pretty soon all of these things are just going to be objects in the back of my family’s soon to be over-stuffed Toyota Highlander. Pretty soon the sidesplitting stories that went with these various objects will all be old memories from “just another year of college.” As I pack these things away, I think about how different junior year is going to be. For those juniors going away for study abroad in the fall, a whole semester of Loyola will have gone by without seeing a major chunk of our graduating class, and the same thing applies to those going away in the spring. As someone who is going away in the spring, it feels weird knowing that people I see on a day to day basis are going to be gone come September for an entire year.

As students begin to move out and amount of people thins out per day, getting to see everyone you want to becomes more and more of a struggle. So, I just wanted to say something to those students who are going away in the fall and really to the rest of the class of 2016 as a whole:

Thank you for an amazing year.

Continue reading