I Can Go the Distance

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For those of you who don’t know, I spent my first semester of the current school year in Europe. The University of Dallas has what is called the Rome Program. A group of 95 students, 5 professors, and a small group of staff live together for four months on the outskirts of Rome. Almost every weekend is a four day weekend, so everyone is allowed to travel outside of Italy until classes resume late Monday morning. There were also tons of class trips made throughout Italy and Greece.

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Our class trip to Greece was basically a week-long vacation.

We went on an overnight boat, which I had never done before! Although the rooms were incredibly small and tight (four per room), the boat itself was massive. The bar was open to all and was placed right in front of a lounge area everyone hung out in.

There are two things I remember most that night:

First, there was a long drive to the port itself. It was a 7 hour drive, so by the time we got on the actual boat I had so much energy! Amongst all the other students who were jetlagged and tired, I was doing the “Wobble” like the fool that I am.

Second, the party of the top deck. Despite the chilly wind and legit fear of falling overboard, it was a lot of fun. It was basically filled with only University of Dallas kids doing random things. Like singing and rapping along to music, reading Aristophanes’ The Frogs for homework, having a dance party, and playing Ninja.

I even scraped my knee pretty badly playing Ninja too hardcore. But I won. Twice. And that’s what really matters.

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So many things happened on this trip that I couldn’t possibly write about. Mostly because, to be honest, I can’t remember a lot of it off the top of my head.

But I do remember visiting some of the most gorgeous monasteries in the world. One of which was on Meteora. While the climb was a nightmare, the view was an absolute dream. With the gorgeous rock formations, and clear blue skies, and amazing landscapes that blew me away.

I will say this, however, beware of the bathrooms in monasteries . . .

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Over the course of our time there, we had multiple on-site lectures given by our professors. One of which was the Temple of Apollo in Delphi.

Now at this particular archaeological site there are three different levels you can see. So on every level we had a different professor give a lecture.

In general I hate climbing, so imagine how it was for us when it began to rain. And I don’t mean just a little drizzle, but like hardcore pouring rain.

While everyone checked earlier that morning what the weather would be like, none of us could have anticipated just how bad it would be. Some of us didn’t even have umbrellas or rain jackets that day.

But despite the nasty weather that day, it was one of the most memorable afternoons those ten days.

Everyone persevered and listened to all three lectures, despite being given an out. We all chose to instead enjoy that afternoon by singing rain-related tunes and jumping in/over puddles we pretended were oceans.

This one, big insane family stuck together in the rain like pros.

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Another on-site lecture we had was at Mycenae.

It’s an archaeological site that contains a tholos tomb called the Treasury of Atreus. This tomb is shaped like a beehive and allows visitors to go inside it. Initially we were outside when our professor began the lecture. Midway through, however, it began to rain…

So this big group of Americans (except for myself and one other kid) rush to the tomb below us to take cover and finish the lecture there.

Our professor, noting the amazing acoustics in the tomb, invited students to stand in the middle where the sound was best and sing.

From Italian opera to a sea ballad to a Shakespeare recitation, we filled the tomb we glorious sound. But it was the finale that was unforgettable.

One of my best friends goes up and invites us all to sing Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver. Now throughout our semester together, there were a few songs in particular everyone knew and sang together. Such as Edelweiss from The Sound of MusicHey Stephen by Taylor Swift, Thank You, Next by Ariana Grande, and the song mentioned above.

So altogether, in a circle with our arms around each other’s shoulders, we sing.

Loud and proud and happily.

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We also spent a whole day island hopping.

There were two boats we went on where the top deck was open for seating. The ride was about 2-3 hours long, so some of us would sleep under the warm sun on the top deck or even talk with our professors. I distinctly remember how nice it felt to have the sun come down on my shoulders as the cool wind blew in my face. There was also music paying in the background along with a bit of chatter.

That day we visited two islands that were just gorgeous. One of which had awesome food and views, and the other an open beach and adorable shops. The day was spent looking at things to buy in a bathing suit and running around like madmen.

Even the boat ride back to our hotel was fun. In order to pass the time, we would play cards or hand-clapping games with each other.

The day was equal in fun and exhaustion.

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Our last night in Greece was spent dancing.

There was a group of professional dancers that came to both perform for us and teach us some moves. The night was filled with loud music and sweaty people joyfully dancing the night away. I remember being in my polka dotted and flamingo print dress that I had bought on one of the islands, hair up in a ponytail, with my black ankle booties stomping the ground.

Greece was truly a one-of-a-kind experience.

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P.s. Gibbs and the Kids rule.

Stephen’s Heathens suck.

5 thoughts on “I Can Go the Distance

  1. Awww!!! Take Me Home, Country Road!!! And jumping over makeshift puddles. Boo, these tales are all new to me, you have to have to have share them again when you come home for Easter 🙂 I LOVES YOU. And proud AF of you.

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