About this courseTravel with our video team as we trace the footsteps of the Apostle Paul through Greece and Rome and explore how one of the most influential figures in the Christian Church dealt with overcoming boundaries.
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As you may have noticed, the posts have slowed down since we have reached Rome. We have had some issues finding free and working wifi connections here. It’s easy to take amenities we have come to know and love in the U.S. for granted.
We have had a full agenda visiting many sites around Rome including the Coliseum, Vatican, and we even took a side trip to Florence to see Michelangelo’s statue ‘David.’
Perhaps just as exciting is the fact that today we wrapped principle shooting of the video itself. This means that we have all the interviews and material we plan to use to produce this video on the journeys of Paul (which we plan to have available on DVD in December 2012 if all goes as planned). I am so grateful for the incredible crew. We started as a class. Each person simply had a role in a video production. In such a short time we became a team that stepped up to help each other accomplish each task. I have learned so much about this crew and am honored to have worked with them as a part of a team. These skills and relationships are so valuable and I am so proud of what this team has accomplished in just three weeks. It’s great for me as a professor to get the chance to work as a part of a team with these students. While classwork during the school year is good for teaching television and video, we can’t underestimate the value of hands-on learning opportunities like this.
I also can’t thank Bob Yoder and David Sparks enough for their willingness to share their expertise of the Apostle Paul with us. Both of them took extra time at many of the sites we stopped at to make this project a reality. Last, but certainly not least, we could not have gotten this far without Elizabeth and Adam Sparks. Both worked so hard securing shooting permits for our team which take hours to obtain. I am so grateful for their help.
I too have been challenged as an educator undertaking what has been a new venture for me. I have been so grateful to also have the experience of Kyle Hufford, FiveCore Media General Manager and GC Asst. Professor of Communication, as a part of this team. His experience and knowledge has been so vital to the success and flow of the production. It became so clear to me that having two video instructors on a long-term shoot like isn’t just preferred, it is critical.
We also want to thank GC administration and Communication Department leaders who found this project worthwhile and opened the door for this incredible experience for our students. We can’t forget to thank GC’s Center for Intercultural Teaching and Learning (CITL) either, which saw this opportunity as a great way to explore how the Apostle Paul ‘bridged the gap’ across cultural and traditional boundaries.
Thanks also to each of you who are continuing to follow this blog. I hope you are enjoying it and continue to read what our students are experiencing here in Rome. I highly encourage you to become a Facebook Fan of the GC Communication Page. There you can view many more photos from our trip and can look for more information on the video we are producing as we get closer to completion of post production.
- Fly in at about noon.
- Take a walk around the city.
- Be amazed by the Pantheon, the largest cement dome in the world.
- Check into the hotel.
- Fall asleep with your roommates at 4:00 PM.
- Wake up at 9:00 PM.
- Remember that supper started at 8:30.
- Walk in late and have a salad and pasta dish.
- Get up the next day rested and renewed for some sightseeing.
- Visit and walk around inside of the Coliseum.
- Enjoy the ancient structures everywhere around the city.
- (Forget what else you did that day, apparently)
- Take a day-trip to Florence.
- See some more churches.
- Have Kiwi and Nutella flavored Gelato (not the best flavors).
- See Michelangelo’s statue of David.
- Have Italian pizza.
- Walk around in some ancient Christian catacombs underground.
- See the Basilica of St. Paul, his burial place.
- Finish filming!
- Enjoy a delicious Pasta and Pizza meal with ice cream.
- Visit the Vatican, including the statue of the discus thrower and the Sistine chapel.
- Gape in wonder and amazement at the Basilica of St. Peter, an absolutely enormous church.
- Go out for a nice, relaxing pasta meal with some classmates.
- Type this blog.
- And that leaves me with one free day in Rome before the looong trip home.
Ok so the title kind of gives it away but in order to understand the full scenario you must know the full story. First of all and most positively, I was extremely excited to come see Rome after seeing how great it is portrayed on Hollywood movies. However, when I picked my luggage at the airport, they bent part of it! Thank goodness nothing came out though.
And Nick, another student from the Bible class, received his bag almost in 2 pieces! His was badly taped and without wheels. So we complained to the airport and were able to get a report that stated we would get new bags. So the next day, we got on a taxi (paid 8 euros for a 10 min ride) took our old luggage to that special store and when we got there, the Italian lady told us the report was not enough; we also needed our passenger flight ticket. So we pay another 8 euros for a taxi back to the hotel and boy did we think we were going to die. I mean, this wasn’t the first time I was on a taxi; I’ve been in crazy taxis in Mexico where they run over red lights and don’t care about stop signs.
But Rome on the other hand, was ten times worse. First of all, the streets are extremely narrow, there are barely any yellow lines on the road to help drivers know where to turn or where to go, AND motorcycles are everywhere. Our taxi driver almost hit about 5 people on bikes and the emergency stop on the seatbelt engaged several times. Finally, we arrive alive to the hotel, get the tickets, pay once again to go to the store, and then another 10 for the ride back– with our new luggage So on the positive side, I learned that all of the paying was eventually worth it because 1) I won’t have to worry about my clothes breaking out from the luggage on the way back home and 2) I got a new, bigger and nicer bag. It’s all good.
Spanish comes very handy here in Rome! At first I felt a little lost when Italian people would speak to me in Italian. But I quickly realized that I could use Spanish since both languages are extremely close–even though I never took Italian. I had a specific scenario where I was trying to ask the taxi driver how much he would charge us for a road that seemed (on the map) to be about 20 minutes long and he didn’t seem to be patient on my Spanish. I would signal him with my hands to slow down so that I could understand him and he would just blow his cheeks and breathe out–a sigh of frustration that I was kind of shaky about.
Finally, I decided to not care about how much it would be for the taxi. I simply said “ok ok, si andiamos” and arrived at my destination…with 20 dollars less to my name. I think I may have been ripped off.
Today after we were done with the tour I went for my own personal tour through the shopping streets of Rome. As I was walking through Via del Corso I became more convince that fashion is facing big changes. One of the things I noticed was that men’s fashion is looking a lot more like women’s fashion. Today guys are wearing really tight pants, and purses are becoming very common for men. The point of the story is that what we perceived as beauty changes throughout history.
When we were visiting a museum in Athens we saw how males were portrayed in a more feminine manner, the god Apollo for example portrayed to what we would think today as feminine, but the god Athena is portrayed to what we would think today as manly. It is interesting to connect this idea to our current fashion. History repeats, and I think that it is interesting to think that the way we see what is “manly” might be changing.
It’s hard to believe that our trip is coming to an end. The book of Acts ends with Paul arriving in Rome. Our class has now also finally arrived in Rome. Paul desired to reach Rome so that he could connect with the Christian church community there so that he could continue his evangelistic ministry to Spain. Rome served as a strategic geographic location for this to unfold. However, Acts tells us that Paul was in Rome under house arrest for two years, and tradition tells us that he was beheaded in Rome. Thus, never achieving his mission efforts to Spain.
The final two verses of Acts reads, “He lived there two whole years at his own expense and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.” What a testimony! Do I live life with that same fervor and message? I try to, but there is room for improvement. As I have journeyed with our students these past few weeks, engaging and following the story of Paul, I continue to be impressed with his pastoral heart and evangelistic zeal.
I am a BIG fan of apostle Paul and believe that our church could use more people like him. Now, I also must confess that I haven’t always liked how the Christian church has used Paul’s letters to support its own agenda and theology. I think the church has been more restrictive than Paul actually was. At the same time, I also think the church has had too many theological debates “with/about” Paul and not enough looking into his pastoral heart. Paul was clear in preaching about Jesus, freely sharing his encounter with the risen Lord, and quite expansive in his ministry zeal of the Good News. I am a BIG fan of Paul!
Photos below: 1. Our group ready to enter the Pantheon. 2. Approaching the Coliseum. 3. Lizzy is all smiles inside the Coliseum. 4. The Arch of Titus displaying the treasures taken from Jerusalem temple after the Roman army destroyed the city.
Saying goodbye to Athens in the early morning, leaving behind us all the kiosks, sidewalk cafe, street musicians, and all the good memories in Greece, we came to visit another beautiful land of Europe:Italy.
From moment we arrived at the airport in Italy, we were already overwhelmed by the shift to a new culture. Unlike Athens, which is blessed with the gentle atmosphere, and friendly people, Rome is more crowded and busy. People in Rome are more individualistic and live with a faster pace.
Our hotel does not locate on a main street, far enough for us relax our mind after experiencing the busy city life, but not too far that we still can walk to places to enjoy the city. As we were taking a quick tour around the city, we were amazed by its greatness. Being known as a heart of the world’s culture, Rome contains within itself both ancient and modern beauty. Thousand-old brick walls partly embrace the city. Old-style buildings and historical temples and churches stand side by side. Big highways and narrow city streets lie across each other. The combination religious and cultural lives, the mixture of the new and the old eventually raise our heart beat. We have not yet been awake enough to realize that we are in Rome, but we was already in love with the city.
We went to the Fountain of Trevi, and had lunch there. People say that if you throw a coin over your shoulder into the fountain, you can find your way back to Rome someday. Unluckily, I do not have any coin with me. Oh well, what ever will come will come. I may or may not have chance to come back to this wonderful place. However, I am sure that from today, I am bringing Rome with me in my heart until we meet again.
Disclaimer: I am not ripping on AVI Fresh.
That being said, I am so happy to be eating here for May term. When you eat food at the Rott everyday for every meal, you get a little tired of it (“The Rott” is a nickname for the school cafeteria that was around years before AVI took over).
But it’s not even so much that I’m not eating at the Rott. It’s that I’m eating in Greece.
If you were to survey the group about the food, you’d get a variety of responses. Some people love it. Others, not so much. I think a lot of people just assumed Greek food would just be really good food. That every bite would be this unforgettable sensation of pure, heavenly goodness.
It is good food. I think so. But just like in the states, some of the meals I had were great, some were ok, and some were bad. But you would be disappointed if you came in thinking that Greek food would just be better than American food.
It’s not better. It’s different.
I think what helped me was not restricting my diet based on what I liked and disliked in the states. I’m not a huge fan of feta, olives, or oil. So basically the building blocks of a Greek diet. But those ingredients are used in a completely different way in Greece. And I tried them. And I still don’t like olives. But at least I can say I tried.
What I’ve learned, or at least what I have decided for myself, is that if I am going to a foreign country, I’m not going to be picky. It’s a waste of time. It’s no use trying to decide whether you may like something before you try it (which can really apply to a lot more than just food, but that’s another topic in general).
By doing this, I’ve found that I’ve developed a Greek diet. Just thinking about Greek food tastes different in my mouth versus thinking about American food. Greek food is more oil. American food, fat. Both are great.
But I think, for now, I’ve had enough Greek salad, gyros, and baklava. Bring on the bruschetta, pizza, and canolis!
As Ron Burgundy would say, we’re kind of a big deal.
Well, at least people think we are.
There is something about boom mics and tripods that attract so much attention. Or make us look official. Or both. But every time we set up the camera in a public area, we always attract a crowd. Sometimes people just stop and stare for a bit. A lot of people take out their phones and snap pics. We’ve even had people stop and record us recording Bob. He’s practically an international super star.
The attention is not always positive, however. Many a frustrated Greek curator has come over to scold us. Which of course we don’t understand because it’s all Greek to us. (I had to once, right?) Don’t worry. We’ve got the permits, thanks to the magnificent Elizabeth Sparks. Efharisto Elizabeth!
But something about tripods just terrifies people. I was told once by an elderly woman in a church that we could use the camera, just not the tripod. In her words, we were not to use any “professional equipment”. Because the $500 tripod is far more professional than the camera that costs more than what I actually paid for this trip.
But it’s no surprise that we attract attention from the concerned and the curious. This whole country looks as if it could be green screened. There is no way that one country could be so beautiful. I’m jut surprised not more movies are filmed here.
But believe me that references to Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Mama Mia are made on daily basis by bible and comm students alike. Yesterday on our cruise, we landed on an island that looked identical to the one from Sisterhood while the band on the cruise played the theme from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. And when we made our way down to the water, I was pretty sure that at any moment, Meryl Streep would pop out from behind a bush belting Dancing Queen.
Overall, I’m excited for our production. Between the rich history and scenery, we have what we need to make a high quality film.
Who knows? Maybe we’ll even get famous off this film! Or…as famous as you can get amongst avid PBS viewers.