This past week has been a whirlwind! It started with this really cool wine tasting hosted at Temple Rome. A professional sommelier came to Temple and taught us about the process of wine-making and what influences the taste and cost of various wines. Then we got to try three different types: a red, a white, and a sparkling wine. It was fun to spend time with friends while trying to guess the different flavors and fruits that were in each wine. Now we can somewhat pretend that we know what we’re talking about when we taste wines at restaurants or go out to buy them! We can offer cool information to our friends, such as: “This wine has more tannins than the other one,” or “This wine definitely came from the Northern region of Italy.” We also learned about how to pair various wines with food, which is a knowledge that our sommelier ensured us comes with practice (I don’t think any of us rejected the idea of more practice).
After the wine tasting during the week, I prepared for the craziest class excursion I have ever had. This past weekend my Roman History class and an Art History class trekked across certain regions of Italy with our professor Jan Gadeyne. We went to Terracina, Sperlonga, Pompeii, Paestum, and Naples to analyze the art and history of the regions. We saw many ancient temples, forums, villas, and ruins. We learned about the importance of their presence in society at the time through a historic lens as well as the importance of the decor/architecture through an art history lens. We ran through Pompeii (and I do mean “ran”) for 8 hours, learning about the city that was frozen in time, incredibly well preserved due to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. After the weekend we were certainly tired and our brains were kaput, but we had an awesome time. I had the best gnocchi at the hotel we stayed at and we even got to buy some of the best mozzarella I have ever had from Paestum/Campania (which apparently makes the best buffalo mozzarella)—It. Is. So. Good.
This week we also attended a symposium on the refugee crisis/situation in Europe (specifically in Italy) hosted by Temple University, specifically by one of my professors here, Professor Bordignon. That was an incredible experience as we learned about the difference between migrants and refugees and the way Europe (and the USA) has responded to the influx of refugees. We heard personal stories from two refugees from Afghanistan and Mali. Hearing their stories put a lot into perspective for me and my friends. We walked away feeling grateful but also determined to find solutions or ways for us to help with the refugee crisis here and back at home. It was also interesting to hear about the crisis from a European legal/political perspective as well as a personal one.
This past week has been full of a variety of different experiences from present to past, fun to serious, important to leisurely. The cool thing about it is that I didn’t have to go further than Temple’s resources to experience all three of these things, they were waiting right there for me.