The Good Ol’ Days

2 Dec

In the last few weeks, I have been a bit of a travel bug, mixing in studies whenever possible. Towards the end of a study abroad semester, there are three prominent thoughts/feelings. You want to be sure that you end up doing well in your classes, which is difficult to gauge because there is no formal grading system. Irish students do not even know what numerical value corresponds with each letter grade; this can make things a bit confusing. Secondly, you think about the things that you still really want to experience and you try to squeeze them in to your remaining time. And lastly, you really anticipate being home for Christmas!

Writing this post, I cannot believe I only have two weeks left here in Ireland. It’s really a surreal feeling after being here for the last sixteen weeks. It’s strange to think that the people who you have lived with and become good friends with will probably never be seen again. It’s strange to think that nearly 100% of my grade in all five classes will accrue in just five days time. It’s strange to think that I will be graduating in three weeks. It’s incredibly strange to think there could very well be snow on the ground at the end of a nine-hour flight!

This past weekend I went to Rome, the one city that I had to see before ending my studies abroad. Rome is truly an indescribable city with a history unlike any other. It’s difficult to walk down the cobbled streets and not think of citizens wandering around in togas, or a debate in the forum, or worship in the Pantheon, or competitions in the Coliseum. The birthplace of arguably one of the most infamous empires in history, the launchpad of Christianity, and I was still able to fill my water bottle up from the same fountains, supplied by the same aqueducts created by engineering genius thousands of years ago. Incredible and indescribable to be sure.

Of course when you visit a city like Rome especially, with an incredible history, you cannot dismiss the fact that there is a present day Rome as well, different from its past. The few days we spent in Rome there was a train strike. After talking to some of the locals, we found out that this was a pretty common occurrence. There would be a strike of some sort about every week. The locals seemed very nonchalant about the whole thing and looked at us like we had three eyeballs for thinking it was anything out of the ordinary. One person even went on to say that the train union didn’t even go on a proper strike typically. If they threatened to be on strike until 9p.m., the strike would last until 5p.m. at the latest. It then occurred to me that I had never considered what a “proper strike” was. I consider them all to be a pretty big deal!

This among other things led me to believe that the Rome of today is vastly different conceptually and ideologically than what it once was. I keep trying to play connect the dots with what Rome and Italy used to be and what it is now, but cannot seem to make ends meet. This may be one of those things that baffles me for quite some time…


One Response to “The Good Ol’ Days”

  1. Aunt Gail December 3, 2011 at 2:21 pm #

    I have enjoyed reading your posts but most of all, I can’t wait until you come home! The holidays just aren’t the same when you aren’t there.

    Good luck on your finals! Remember, this far into your schooling, passing is the goal…the diploma is the prize. Not that I don’t want you to get all A’s but….. 🙂

    Really looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks! Safe travels

    Aunt Gail

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