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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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I’ve seen a lot of new places on this trip, but also a lot of new faces—and I don’t just mean the 4 million tourists. Even in our Goshen group, I did not know anybody in our group REAL well and some people on the trip, I had never even seen before. Luckily, a trip like this gave me a chance to get to know a lot of new people very well and very fast. Before the trip reaches its conclusion, I feel the need to post a thank you to all of our class for the good times and great company.
Our class consisted of 2 seniors who already graduated (Kate Yoder and Yolo Lopez-Perez), 3 Juniors (Isacc Hernandez, Sammy Rosario, and Jimmy Cassoday), 1 Sophomore (Luis Lopez), and 3 First-years (Abby Deaton, Chau, and I). Our professors were Seth Conley and Kyle Hufford. I took Broadcast Media Production 1 this past semester with Isacc Hernandez, Chau, and Abby Deaton. I have had Seth as a teacher for 2 classes already. I had met some of the others, but never really known any very well. The Bible class is full of Seniors and Juniors, many of whom I did not know at all. Luckily, everyone on the trip has been very approachable and inviting, so I always had people to hang out with whenever I wanted to.
I have had fun hanging out with everyone in our class. I am proud of the way we have bonded through our work together and our fun together (not that the work isn’t fun too). Just a few highlights of my time with them all include a Comm class dinner together in Thessaloniki, some late-night excursions with classmates in Thessaloniki, hiking on Mt. Olympus with some members of the Bible class, shopping together in Athens, dealing with the Paparazzi with Sammy, Kate, Luis, Abby, and Jimmy in Athens, going to see The Avengers with Sammy and Kate in Athens, watching Sammy dance,talking with Abby on the bus ride back from Florence, hanging out in our room in Rome with Jimmy and Isacc, and going out for the day with Kyle and Kate today in Rome. Those were just a few of the many good bonding experiences I enjoyed with our class on this trip. A long trip together always gets people annoyed with each other and leads to some problems. Our trip was no exception, but we were able to move past it in order to have a good time through it all. I also need to thank the professors for giving us the freedom and help we needed, as well as being fun to hang out with.
As amazing as some of the locations that we saw are, they really would not mean as much if I didn’t get to experience it with such great company. Thank you, classmates, and stay in touch in the future. It is a great way to get to know people better. It’s too bad I can’t take a class like this every year so I get to know a lot of new people. Then again, class scheduling isn’t finalized. After an experience like this, we’ll see what I can work out next year…
- 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.
I needed to use that phrase in a blog about Greece sometime before I left and this is my last night here so it had to be this one. And this is a serious post so I thought it needed a lighter title.
On Sunday, we went to a protestant church for their morning service. The service was in Greek, so we wore headsets with an English translation. However, the sermon was given by a guest speaker, Oz Guinness (a great grandson of the founder if Guinness breweries), in English. I really liked what he had to say, especially about time. He talked about how fast-paced our world is. To me, it was a good reminder to slow down a little bit and be grateful for the world around me a little more—especially if that world consists of the beautiful Greek islands and beaches. He also covered the verse about Paul’s death that simply said that Paul “fell asleep.” I believe Mr. Guinness’s line was something like, “We fall asleep every night without fear, trusting that we will wake up. When we die, we should have as little fear as when we fall asleep, because our fate is in God’s hands.” This was a very comforting topic and thought for me. If I am ever asked about my biggest fear, my reply is always “death.” I have a feeling many people have the same answer as I. It is easy to say that I just don’t know what will happen when I die. However, it does not have to be like that. I need to work on trusting that God will be there for me and take care of me when I die.
Well, we had a long day at work today. In some ways it feels weird to say that, but it’s true. For the first time today, our production actually felt like work—but I mean that in a good way. I was able to relax and just do what I could to help make the video without worrying about being perfect. I got myself in the mindset that I was out for a day on the job—not walking around in wonder as a tourist. Additionally, we were put in a situation where Seth ran off to find our interviewee and then our interviewee showed up, so we did the interview without him present. We all knew our jobs, Kate was prepared as the producer already, and we had a beautiful location. We did the interview without a hitch, and it felt good to know that we could do our work without a supervisor present. We worked hard, finished our filming for the day by lunch, and then I did get to walk around like a tourist for the rest of the day. Despite the work, I couldn’t help but enjoy the Parthenon (and the other sights and tastes) here in Athens.
It’s gotten to the point where I am having trouble believing all that I am seeing. The last two nights have been spent in beautiful hotel rooms with accompanying balconies that look out at Mt Olympus and then a valley of olive trees and the Aegean Sea and some coastal towns, respectively. Yesterday was spent hiking on Mt. Olympus, as well as swimming in her water in a stream just above a waterfall. Today, I saw some monasteries perched atop giant rock formations in the mountains at Meteora, and then we drove through the mountains near the legendary mountain pass from the movie 300 and arrived here in Delphi for the night.
I never thought anything like those rock foundations could ever form on our earth, but I guess God decided to create some things to take our breath away. In that case, it worked. Almost as literally as the freezing water that I jumped into in the mountains. Here are some pictures to give you just the briefest taste of what I experienced these last few days. My internet is pretty slow right now, probably because of 47 Goshen College students and faculty trying to use the same connection all at once, so this is all I will upload for now.
This will be a little more of one of those “just checking-in” style of blog posts. The reason is confidential. Not really. Actually, we are leaving Thessaloniki this morning and I am unsure of whether we will have any internet access at our next hotel tomorrow (at the base of Mt. Olympus!) or the following day so I decided to get something up before I leave. I’ll probably be writing the next two days and I’ll just post the next time we do have internet.
Well, things (very descriptive, right?) are going great! My directing gig the day before last went fairly well. We went to the site of Lydia’s baptism by Paul and did a few interviews of Bob and David there. She was the first convert to Christianity in Europe. We rushed around the ruins of the ancient city of Philippi, getting some great footage for our video but missing out on some of the time to explore and gape in amazement. At that site, we saw a large theater (below), some ruins of churches, a road that Paul walked on, and a jail where Paul was imprisoned.
Today, I worked operating the camera. We started the day off in a couple of museums. First, an archaeological museum from olden times (sorry, it’s late. I don’t know what period exactly) that had some absolutely amazing jewelry and coinage. Their use of gold was amazing. They had it in their coins, clothing, jewelry, and probably much more. The most amazing pieces were crowns or wreaths to wear around your head, that were just gold designed to look like twigs with leafs coming off of them and flowers on them, all made of gold (below). It was amazing detail, especially for the time frame.
Next, we went to a larger museum full of stone and marble pillars, statues, and tombs, as well as paintings, many portraying biblical stories. After that we went in a small art gallery called, “The Many Faces of Jesus” or something along those lines. It was part of a collection of paintings of Jesus. There were several series’ of Jesus’ face with different backgrounds or different design elements added around him.
After those museums, we made our way to the “White Tower,” a landmark of Thessaloniki. No, it is not the same thing as “White Castle,” but trust me—that mistake has been made. It sits by the harbor about 20 blocks from our hotel. If you picture a stereotypical castle tower, you will see the White Tower. We filmed the city from the top of that tower today.
As we leave our first phase of the trip, I feel I should look back on how my trip has been going. Basically, my goals (in no particular order) for the trip were to…
- Learn much more about filmmaking. This, I definitely accomplished in Thessaloniki.
- Get to know my Goshen classmates better. I have gotten to know everyone traveling with us better, especially tonight when I ate out with the Comm class for supper tonight and hung out with them more during our free time.
- Enjoy some great food. Gyro, fried squid (below), a shrimp dish (with the heads still on), pizza, and Gelato (sp?)… aka, check.
- Find time to relax. Done.
- Have a meaningful spiritual experience. This is the one I have to work on the most. I have enjoyed listening to the leaders talk about Paul and the Bible and biblical times, and I have learned some from that. I have seen some locations of biblical stories and events. However, I want to learn more to truly grasp what it means to be in the same places that Paul once walked. Seth is going to try to give us a little more free time the rest of the trip so that we can have those experiences, so I am sure it will happen. I just need to take more time for myself to have that experience.
Ok, well I guess I had a lot to say so it turned out pretty long. Thanks for reading! I’ll update more whenever I can.
For those of you who may not know quite what we’re doing in this class, I will offer a quick explanation. Our class is Communication 314, Broadcast Media Production 3. We are making a video about the barriers that the apostle Paul faced in trying to create churches and share the Word of Christ with towns that he traveled to. There are 9 students in our class and two professors. We split up into 2 crews—Team A, which shoots interviews, and Team B, which just shoots B-roll (our surroundings and locations). Just about every day, we get a different job on the production team: Producer, Team A Director, Lighting, Sound, Team A Production Assistant, Team A Director of Photography (cameraperson), Team B Director, Team B Technical Director (cameraperson), and Team B Production Assistant. I will explain each one in-depth after I work in each position.
Today, I worked as Production Assistant for Team B. My basic jobs were logging our takes and doing whatever was needed to get equipment from place to place or set up. To log the take, I entered information like Scene and Take number, and a scene description on an app on an iPad. Then, I used the iPad like a black and white clapper that you see on filming old movies and things. When it claps, it automatically logs what time the shot started and it is saved for us. My favorite part of working today was watching our interviews of David Sparks and Bob Yoder, Campus Pastor. I found it interesting learning what all went into an interview behind the scenes and how it got set up. It takes a lot of work to set up an interview properly and make it look and sound professional.
First, we filmed in an old Roman forum where Paul probably spoke and shared with other citizens, convincing them to join the church and follow Jesus. See the photo below for some of our team at that location. After that, we went to St. Dimitrios Church, an old church named after the first Christian martyr in Thessaloniki. We also made it to a large stone arch called the Arch of Galerius. Our last stop was an ancient church called the Rotunda, which sounds like the name of a girl my brother might date.
Back in Goshen last semester, I researched and presented some information about the ancient city of Philippi to our class. That means that tomorrow, when we visit Philippi, I am the Director of Team A. I first have to decide which shots I think will best help us to explain Paul’s relationship to the city. Then, I have to organize people and get everyone in place to make those shots happen. It is an exciting opportunity, but it will be challenging this early in the trip and will take a lot of focus for me. I will let you know how it goes, later in the week.
Please, follow this link to my personal blog to read much more about my travels and what is going on in my trip. You can also follow that if you want to read just my posts–not my whole class’s. Everything I post here will also be posted there, but not necessarily the other way around.
I sit here in unquenchable anticipation just waiting for the fast-approaching leave time tomorrow morning. Well, there’s that anticipation and the conclusion of Lost that is keeping me glued to my seat. I am almost done watching the final season of Lost on Netflix and plan to finish before I leave. It’s making packing difficult but hopefully I can get both done before long. I don’t think it has hit me yet that I’ll be in Greece–or at least on my way there–at this time tomorrow, but I’m just trying to enjoy my last breaths of Goshen for a while. I can’t imagine what this experience will be like for me but I feel open to mental and spiritual growth as well as open to having a little fun. If I’m going for all of these meaningful experiences, I may as well have some fun as well. I’ll try to share a little bit of everything with who(m)ever (I still don’t know when to use whom) would like to follow along on this blog. That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll be sure to post an update on the trip at least every three days.