Southern Italy Field Study: Naples & Pompeii

Southern Italy Field Study: Naples & Pompeii

I have been waiting anxiously since January for the Southern Italy Field Study and it surprisingly came so soon! Throughout this past week, I had the opportunity to visit Naples, Pompeii, Capri, Amalfi and Caserta. I was so excited to find what the south had to offer. Day 1: Naples A 6 a.m. wake up call, … Read more

I have been waiting anxiously since January for the Southern Italy Field Study and it surprisingly came so soon! Throughout this past week, I had the opportunity to visit Naples, Pompeii, Capri, Amalfi and Caserta. I was so excited to find what the south had to offer.

Day 1: Naples

margheritapizza

A 6 a.m. wake up call, five hour bus ride and a bus transfer later, we finally arrived in Naples around 1 p.m. Our first stop was a restaurant for the famous margherita pizza for lunch. It was hands down the best pizza I have ever had! EVER. It was thicker than pizza in Viterbo and so fresh. A full, straight out of the oven, mouthwatering pizza was placed in front of each of us. Most of the students finished their entire pizza but no matter how delicious it was, I could only stuff myself with two large pieces. The boys were more than happy to take the rest off of my hands though.

graffiti

The remainder of the afternoon and evening was spent with a tour of the city. We saw many piazzas, a pretty cathedral and an archaeological museum. One thing I noticed about the city was how much graffiti there was! It covers so much of the city. It is so sad that there are ugly markings covering beautiful fountains and buildings. We now have a two hour bus ride to our hotel in Sorrento. We are going to Pompeii tomorrow and I am most excited to hike Mt.Vesuvius!

Day 2: Pompeii

vesuvius

I just hiked up Mt. Vesuvius! I can’t believe that I can now say I climbed up a volcano in Pompeii! My first thought: freddo! Brrr. My second thought: bellissima! It was well worth the time and cold.

pompeii

After breakfast at the hotel, we made our way to Pompeii and got to see the ancient ruins. It was really interesting to see the old town and get a glimpse into how they lived back then. We learned that since there was no drainage for rain or sewer water, the water ran down the deep sloping roads. The citizens used large rocks as crosswalks, so that they did not step in the dirty water. In the rocks on the side of the road, we saw holes cut out, which were used for “parking spaces.” The citizens would tie up their donkeys or horses there when they were going into a shop.

pompeii2

One difference I noticed today between Pompeii and Viterbo was the many, many orange and lemon trees lining the roads. Since the weather is warmer here, I am guessing that it provides more ideal weather for them to grow. It was so nice outside today and I hope the sun is shining again tomorrow!

La Vita Bella: Amalfi & Capri

La Vita Bella: Amalfi & Capri

Day 3: Capri Capri is absolutely beautiful! This morning we took a ferry ride to the island while the sun was shining and the weather was warm. Once we got to the island we bought tickets to take a boat to the Blue Grotto! Once outside the grotto, we took smaller boats (each boat held … Read more

Day 3: Capri

Capri is absolutely beautiful! This morning we took a ferry ride to the island while the sun was shining and the weather was warm.

bluegrotto

Once we got to the island we bought tickets to take a boat to the Blue Grotto! Once outside the grotto, we took smaller boats (each boat held four people) to get inside the cave. We had to all duck down really low to enter the cave. Inside was amazing! The water was an unreal blue color and the sun made the water sparkle. Although it was a bit expensive, I would have definitely regretted it if I missed out. It was the highlight of my day and a once in a lifetime experience!

The rest of the afternoon we took the railway up to the city center and walked around to all of the shops. They were all very ritzy and the city reminded me of a resort area. Capri is the most “high end” location I have been to in Italy. We even saw pictures, near a hotel, of celebrities that have vacationed there, such as Anne Hathaway!

While walking around, we followed our noses and treated ourselves to some gelato after smelling fresh waffle cones from half a mile away. The lady at the gelateria was making waffle cones right on the spot and I got to try bignolata (cookies and cream) gelato for the first time! Yum!

Capri is now my favorite place I have been to in Italy (alongside Florence). It is so beautiful and I am so happy I got to spend the day there.

Day 4: Amalfi Coast

amalfi

I am IN LOVE with Amalfi. It is BEAUTIFUL! Besides the rough winds, the weather was perfect! The sun was shining the entire day.

amalfi2

We had a tour of the city and the cathedral when we first arrived. Then we had a not so fun tour of a paper mill museum before we were free for lunch. Some of us grabbed calzones at a little pizzeria and then walked around the city a bit.

I then ordered a scoop of strawberry (fragola) and banana gelato before hopping on a boat for a ride on the Mediterranean!

The boat ride took us down the coast so we could see Amalfi from a different perspective. It was absolutely gorgeous. It was fun to see celebrity houses, such as Italian actress Sophia Loren, and extravagant hotels along the coast. We also saw the watch towers used in the past to spot invaders or approaching enemies. We learned that the walls of Amalfi are all painted white because of how hot it gets during the summer months. The white walls are meant to reflect the sun, that is reflected off of the sea, away from the city.

coast

The Amalfi Coast was much more than I expected and I am so thankful for the sunshine and beautiful weather.

Saturday Struggle

Everyone knows that Sunday is the day for homework, but what about Saturday? I always plan on accomplishing so much on Saturday but it is such a struggle every week to find the motivation. If I used time better I could probably get so much done on Saturday but it’s tempting to just lay around … Read more

Everyone knows that Sunday is the day for homework, but what about Saturday? I always plan on accomplishing so much on Saturday but it is such a struggle every week to find the motivation. If I used time better I could probably get so much done on Saturday but it’s tempting to just lay around after a long week. Friday I really get nothing done because I am spent by the time classes get out so I try to make up for it by being productive on Saturday’s to lighten my load Sunday but it’s easier said then done. After a week of homework and studying, spending the weekend doing homework and studying is not the most tempting option. One weekend my friend and I literally just laid on her futon all day and watched TV and then listened to music. It was a very relaxing day! Sunday was pretty busy because of it though so it’s a trade off. This weekend I really only have one paper that I would like to get done so I’m not sure if I will be able to bring myself to write it today or save it for tomorrow. I only have until about p.m. tomorrow for homework though because of chapter and powderpuff so I’ll have to be in the zone tomorrow afternoon. Getting to the gym can also be a struggle on Saturday after a long week of insanity and running. Once I get myself there I’m good but getting dressed to go there and walking over is where the problem is. Every Saturday is slightly different but I do usually try to at least get one thing done so I can feel somewhat productive! If you find yourself overwhelmed on Sundays or would rather relax before Monday don’t forget Saturday studying is an option. Do what works best for you!

Snowy start to spring

Mother Nature has decided that she has a little bit more winter to give us this year. Apparently she doesn’t want to spring to start on time this year. Since spring has started it has been snowing off and on throughout the days, usually accumulating to a couple inches. It’s not just Ohio that is experiencing bizarre spring weather either; … Read more

Mother Nature has decided that she has a little bit more winter to give us this year. Apparently she doesn’t want to spring to start on time this year. Since spring has started it has been snowing off and on throughout the days, usually accumulating to a couple inches. It’s not just Ohio that is experiencing bizarre spring weather either; my hometown got hit with a blizzard a day or two before the first day of spring. If April showers bring May flowers I wonder what April snow would bring… The forecast predicts next week to be accompanied by some snow showers still. The weather definitely does not make it feel as late in the year as it is, with the end of school literally just around the corner. We are down to about five weeks left! Part of the reason this may seem so hard to believe is because I’m used to not getting out until the first few weeks of June.

At any rate, most at Mount Union are hoping after we get back from Easter for some warming temperatures. Before Easter would be wonderful as well, but the forecast doesn’t look promising. If the snow was getting us some snow days its presence might be welcomed a little more but it just makes walking anywhere miserable. My boots and north face have gotten enough use this year; I’m ready to put them away.

I wish we could just switch to summer temperatures instead of have to go through spring though. I never know how to handle spring-y weather, because just a slight breeze can change the temperature from not needing a jacket to needing one. I’m a naturally cold person so unless it’s like 70 degrees I will usually have a sweatshirt on and pants, even if others say it’s warm out. The sun can make a big difference in the temperature though. Unfortunately it’s mostly cloudy here. Compared to Alliance my hometown is like sunshine city (Philadelphia suburb). If the temperature does warm up significantly though it will be very tempting to just hang out outside instead of doing homework and such! So I wouldn’t mind it just getting mild until I’m back home again.

Students’ art in Crandall

Students’ art in Crandall

It’s that time of year again! Crandall Art Gallery has changed its contents. And this time, it’s all students’ work. Every year, the Department of Art opens up an art competition for spots in Crandall Gallery. You don’t have to be an art major or minor to do this, so any student is free to enter! And … Read more

It’s that time of year again!
Crandall Art Gallery has changed its contents. And this time, it’s all students’ work. Every year, the Department of Art opens up an art competition for spots in Crandall Gallery. You don’t have to be an art major or minor to do this, so any student is free to enter! And as per usual, this show was definitely not a let down!
I went to the reception and got pictures of some of the artists and their favorite pieces. This was a nice reception. There’s always food, but this time there were truffles. Yum! (Insert shameless plug for AVI’s catering haha). Anyway, the reception is always a great time to meet the artists, hear about their inspirations, etc. And when the artists are your peers, it’s especially awesome.
President Giese and his wife were there yesterday, along with a couple other higher ups at Mount Union. It’s possible that some lucky artist may see their work purchased and put somewhere on campus! My bet’s on Doug Laubacher. He’s a senior art major, and I’ve always heard of his work but never actually seen it. Until last night. I’m not even going to blog a picture of it because I want you to go to Crandall and see it for yourself. Isn’t that just cool!? You create art at Mount Union and it has the opportunity to be bought or showcased!

pic

Sophomore Jacob Ward

 

pic2

Sophomore Wilma Levengood

Studio classes

If you’ve ever heard of music conservatories at colleges and universities, you’ve probably heard about the cutthroat nature of their programs. I’ve heard rumors of students putting razor blades between the keys of pianos, of students not speaking to each other, gossiping—needless to say it can get pretty ridiculous. What I’ve found at Mount Union … Read more

If you’ve ever heard of music conservatories at colleges and universities, you’ve probably heard about the cutthroat nature of their programs.

I’ve heard rumors of students putting razor blades between the keys of pianos, of students not speaking to each other, gossiping—needless to say it can get pretty ridiculous.

What I’ve found at Mount Union is entirely the opposite.

There’s certainly an aspect of personal success. They want everyone to do their best and accomplish a lot. But it’s NEVER at the expense of other students. We’re encouraged to succeed, but we’re also encouraged to support others’ successes.

It’s great. There’s an atmosphere of respect and celebration, not of rudeness and jealousy.

This kind of environment is literally the definition of music. Music is all about collaboration and humanity—what better way to embody those characteristics than teamwork and support?

The reason I’m blogging about this is because last night I went out with the piano students in Dr. Liliestedt’s piano studio. They had their performance, called Piano Keys, last night (It was fantastic, by the way!).

But I was really struck by the environment that Dr. Liliestedt has created. They cheer on each other’s successes and offer constructive criticism at their weekly studio classes. She even takes them out to dinner after performances to bond and talk about music.

A lot of the other applied lessons teachers are the same way. I know for a fact that Miss Weber and Mrs. Abbott also do studios where students constructively critique each other.

That’s what I like about Mount Union’s Department of Music. We, as students, want to succeed. And the faculty and students are behind us all the way.

 

 

 

Stretch Yourself Through Experiential Learning

Stretch Yourself Through Experiential Learning

My Social Responsibility and Personal Well-Being course has arrived back on campus after a week of service in Santo Domingo, a moving experience to say the least. We worked with West Indies Christian Ministries participating in service for its school and working with kids at the site for the entire week. Some highlights of the … Read more

My Social Responsibility and Personal Well-Being course has arrived back on campus after a week of service in Santo Domingo, a moving experience to say the least. We worked with West Indies Christian Ministries participating in service for its school and working with kids at the site for the entire week. Some highlights of the trip were plastering the side of a Dominican church (after mixing concrete in the street), giving food donations to a community living next to a landfill, playing with children and teaching them team dynamics and making other clothes and equipment donations. This experience made me realize that simple is better, and to try to live a more relaxing or tranquillo lifestyle.

It was also a great time to practice more and more Spanish, and interacting with Dominican children who’s Spanish was probably better than mine. I am certain there were a few times where they were poking fun at me, and I just couldn’t understand them! That being said, some dialect was different, and I now find myself repeating ‘que lo que’ (what’s up) and ‘tranqi’ (short for tranquillo or relaxed) whenever possible in the states. We also rode around the countryside in ‘guagua’s’ or smaller buses, my new favorite Spanish word. There are times when you would see a group of 15 inside a small guagua with two backlights out and a door missing!

The trip promotes a sort of class style that I am very fond of and that our professor believes in too, called experiential-based learning. David Kolb is a doctorate who studies this sort of learning and states that experiential learning is ‘education that occurs as a direct participation in the events of life.’ Here learning is not sponsored by some formal educational institution but by people themselves. It is learning that is achieved through reflection upon everyday experience and is the way that most of us do our learning. This was very effective, as our class reflected on the day behind us, every night.

As I said before, I was moved by the trip, especially after some of that group reflection and response time. Professor Kramer offered a bit of life advice, saying to stretch yourself through experiences whether its socially, culturally, spiritually or intellectually. I felt that this trip did exactly that, improving my view on gratitude, finding meaning in life, stretching me beyond my limits and comfort zone. This trip has definitely made itch and want to travel more! Where to next, any suggestions?

Looking Back

Looking back on my almost complete year as a freshman, I realize just how much things can change in less than a year. To start, the few people I came to school knowing, I barely even talk to anymore. I had two different groups of friends I hung out with in the beginning of the … Read more

Looking back on my almost complete year as a freshman, I realize just how much things can change in less than a year. To start, the few people I came to school knowing, I barely even talk to anymore. I had two different groups of friends I hung out with in the beginning of the year that I do not even talk to anymore. My group of friends has completely done a 180 almost. In the beginning of the year I was spending a lot of time with upperclassmen and now my circle of friends is all freshman. It surprises me that my group of friends changed so drastically because in high school I was friends with pretty much the same group of people for all four years, most of which I had known and been friends with in middle school too! To me it seems that what you get involved with does kind of predetermine who most of your friends will be. When I joined a different sorority than some of my friends in the beginning of the year we became distant because we had different schedules and commitments to take care of. When I became more involved with my sorority during Greek week I met more people who are now my close friends.

I think it’s perfectly fine for your circle of friends to change and modify over the years. Sometimes you don’t really know the personality of someone until you spend a certain amount of time with them, or you want to be friends with someone who just turns out to be too different than you. Being flexible is a good mindset to have with your friends, especially your freshman year. You will meet so many different people in your first month of school! After you settle in you end up surrounding yourself more with those who you click with, but there are so many people on campus that your almost constantly meeting new people in classes and organizations you are in. So even if you have a set group of best friends it’s good to be open minded to friendships with others you meet. You can never have enough friends and it’s good to have connections!

If you are a girl I recommend doing the big sis program because I spent a good amount of time with mine in the beginning of the year and she introduced me to some of her upperclassmen friends. We actually saw the premiere of Breaking Dawn together at midnight and have gone to dinner several times together. She was always there when I needed someone or had questions about school. I will most likely be volunteering as a big sis so maybe we will meet!

I never believed my family when they said college is all about change, but it really is. You change your friends, your major sometimes, your routine and overall you as a person will end up changing too. As one who likes things to stay steady I’m surprised I was able to handle it all so well. Everything just sort of transitioned though it was never giant changes at once, which is what helped me be OK with things moving in a different direction. Don’t ever get yourself stuck in just one path, branch out and see what could be!

Expanding your reach

One thing I wish I would’ve done differently this year is get involved in a more diverse group of activities. My sorority is the major group that I am part of and I feel like I spend a lot of time with the people in it and most of my friends are actually in it … Read more

One thing I wish I would’ve done differently this year is get involved in a more diverse group of activities. My sorority is the major group that I am part of and I feel like I spend a lot of time with the people in it and most of my friends are actually in it as well. I love spending time with my sisters and my best friends and all of the other activities that go on within our chapter! Our sorority is very diverse with personalities, which is nice to have a variety of friends, but I would like to meet others with similar interests as me. I joined the Unonian (yearbook club) in the beginning of the year because I am very interested in photography but lately it has been hard to keep up. Also, the Unonian is mostly individual work such as taking pictures, so I haven’t really become friends with anyone in this club. I do enjoy being a part of this club though and will probably stay in and try to block out time to stay involved for the next three years. I wish I would have found more clubs to get into though. I thought one or two would be enough but I realize now I could have handled being in three because some are not very demanding outside of meetings.

What does this have to do with you? It’s just some advice to keep yourself involved in more than one club to gain more than just one circle of friends. Of course I am not trying to get a new group of best friends, just looking to meet more people on campus! I personally enjoy having lots of different friends to call on and if you join clubs that are related to your major especially it’s likely your path will become intertwined with theirs. It’s nice to have friends in your classes to be able to study and work together with! I plan on joining the psychology club next semester so I will probably meet a bunch of new people who are also majoring in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience who will end up in some of my classes at one point or another. It’s always nice to know people before going into class, but you also can make lots of friends or solidify a friendship with someone in your classes. My first semester I sat next to a girl who looked friendly and we ended up in the same sorority and hung out quite a few times last semester.

Diversity is best and I just wanted to give you a look at how I feel about my involvement on campus after almost a year and what I would do a bit differently if I could. It’s perfectly fine to become devoted to one club or group of friends, but always look to expand your reach.

Try, Try again

One thing that has definitely been reinforced for me here at Mount Union, a lesson we probably all know but sometimes forget, is don’t stop trying even when you fail. I personally hate failing at attempts to obtain something. It really discourages me. There are so many opportunities here for you at Mount Union though … Read more

One thing that has definitely been reinforced for me here at Mount Union, a lesson we probably all know but sometimes forget, is don’t stop trying even when you fail. I personally hate failing at attempts to obtain something. It really discourages me. There are so many opportunities here for you at Mount Union though so if you don’t get one position, job or anything else, there are plenty others to chase after. What sparked this reflection? Well I have been invited to join a new club called Alpha Lambda Delta and there are executive positions available, so I am going to try and win secretary. At first I was unsure if I wanted to put myself out there again and try for this though. Earlier in the year I did not receive the Student Senate position I tried to get, which at the time was very upsetting because it was the first thing I tried to get involved in at Mount Union. Then later I applied to be a Raider Guide and was not selected for that (I received an alternate position), which again left me discouraged. One position I have “won” is this blogging position! After debating about the secretary position I figured it would be worth a shot so today I will be giving a short speech about why I would like it and my qualifications. Then the chapter will vote for who should receive each position. Next year I am going to try out for an executive position in my sorority, so hopefully I get this to show that I can handle an executive position in a club. Wish me luck!

Remember: You never know unless you try.

E4tRlaMr987VZ112