I was awake until 5am that Saturday morning. Simply put, I couldn’t contain my excitement. At that point, I had been anticipating Spring Break 2014 for over a year and I knew that in only a couple of hours I would be in Paris after almost 9 years. After a few days, I was well aware that I’d need to make some new memories so, much like any world traveler, I made my last day in Paris the most memorable day there. Harrison and I slept in a bit on that Tuesday (March 11th), but we eventually made our way to a place that provided us a little taste of home -a McDonald’s. Yes, it might sound foolish, but the Mango Tropical Smoothie was incredible. I encourage those of you reading to try it. Anyway, shortly after our wonderful McD’s Breakfast, we walked down to the Catacombes de Paris and eventually made our way to (and up) the Eiffel Tower to catch the sunset. This combination proved to be unbelievable; Harrison and I saw the city of Paris fade into darkness and as the city lit up, we left the Eiffel to cap off our trip with the best dinner either of us had eaten in a while – a Pork Filet Mignon at L’office. While so many incredible things occurred in Paris, as well as in Barcelona (where Harrison and I spent the latter half of our Spring Break), that Tuesday reinforced, for me, the phrase: “One step at a time.” Whether it be in traveling or my acting, I was reminded to take things slowly. To give myself the time to bask in an experience and truly enjoy it because, at the end of the day, rushing through life only pulls away from really living life.
Spring break in the States is often spent in swimsuits, a drink in hand, and SPF 4 tanning oil on the beach. Like many of my Spring Breaks, this one was different. After having spent six weeks here at the Accademia, I was excited to do some full out exploring in Italy with my parents! I was very thankful that I got to spend my week with my parents, showing them parts of Italy I somewhat knew, and to see places for the first time. We spent our first day in Arezzo, then spent time in Rome, Venice, and Florence.
Being in a place where you do not know the language (or not perfectly, at this point) always poses a challenge. I became the translator for the trip, after having had a friend or two that could help out. It really pushed me to listen and I found my listening and cognitive skills improved over the course of the week. My map reading skills have also gotten better since being in Italy. In the words of a worker at our hotel in Venice: “Venice is a labyrinth.” Yes, it was! The benefit of Venice is if you are lost, you walk until you hit water.
I really enjoy travelling by train and wish that I was closer to the trains we have in the US to travel. I got to experience a fast train from Rome to Venice and Venice to Florence. Though there was some ear-popping going in and out of tunnels, being able to see a lot of Italy’s countryside was amazing. I have learned that traveling with your parents can be the coolest thing you will do in your life. I enjoyed dinners, wine, gelato, monuments, and beautiful cities with two of the biggest role models in my life. They are giving me this opportunity to be here, and what better way to pay them back than to experience Italy with them?!
-Anna Saunders, Theatre
For spring break, I ventured into the lands of Athens Greece and one of Greece’s finest Islands, Santorini. The few days I got to spend in each place were full of amazing sights, history, beauty and spectacular food. My only previous image of Greece was from the movie The Sisterhood of the Traveling pants, but what I got to experience was far and beyond anything that their magical pants could have given me. One of the most breathtaking views I was fortunate enough to see was when I climbed to the tip of an enormous cliff to catch the sunset in Santorini. Myself and five other girls from the Academia did a lot of adventurous climbing and explored the island.
Before we made it to Santorini, we spent a few days in Athens where we explored the Ruins. Throughout high school and college I have studied a lot of Greek history, specifically Greek tragedies and the power of the Greek Gods. I have some background on Dionysus and the Maenads because of Euripides’s play, The Bacchae, the theatre students are currently working on in voice class. It turned out to be very fitting for me to visit this part of the world right now because I actually explored the same grounds that Dionysus and the Maenads spent their days when I climbed the mountains of Athens. I even got to see the Dionysus theatre, which was an epic jolt of inspiration to see one of the oldest theatres of ancient history.
Experiencing the history of Athens and walking through the Acropolis museum with all the magnificent artifacts they have been able to preserve gave me a tangible grasp on humanity I have never before understood. It reminded me of something we discussed in philosophy – one of the great things about museums is that they preserve a part of humanity we can still learn about today. Looking at all of the artifacts gave me taste of what the Grecian culture was like thousands of years ago and how their culture has evolved since then. The whole experience was enlightening to discover more about humanity and it fueled me to come back to work on my final weeks of playing Dionysus in our canovaccio.
-Leah McLoughlin, Theatre
My Spring Break was nothing short of breathtaking. It was an amazing opportunity to visit three beautiful places. I started in Milan. I only spent one night in Milan but that did not take away from my experience. I went to see the Duomo and the FABULOUS shopping strip of Milan. The next morning I flew to Paris. Paris was gorgeous and classy in so many ways. I loved every part of my stay there. I went to the Louvre Museum, Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle, Moulin Rouge and of course the Eiffel Tower. After four life changing days in Paris I left and flew to Amsterdam. Amsterdam was probably my favorite place that I was able to visit this Spring Break. It was just so surreal there and everyone from the community was very welcoming. I was able to go to the Anne Frank Annex, the Cheese Museum, and the Tulip Museum. A few days after returning to Italy we had group bonding time where we had to tell everyone in the program the Rose of our trip and the Thorn of our trip. My Rose would definitely have to be climbing the Eiffel Towel. I am deathly afraid of heights but I stood up to my fear and saw ALL of Paris from the best view! My Thorn would have to be when I was on my way to Amsterdam and the flight attendant told me that my ticket was canceled. I had to book another flight and I got to Amsterdam later then I wanted to but I still had the time of my life!
-Jasmine Bailey, Dance