Furman University students Savannah, Chrissy, Tyrese, Mary-Pauline, and Alan share what’s been going on with them as the end of their time at the ADA draws closer.
Savannah York, Furman University
Now to get ready for CHRISTMAS
Chrissy Hicks, Furman University
For our Italian Arts and Culture Class, we each have to do a presentation on a church in Italy and my church is the Duomo di Milano. While I was researching this church, I found a story about a dragon sculpted on the church named Tarantasio that I think is fascinating.
It all started in 1254 when Ezzelino da Romano was excommunicated from the Catholic church. Ezzelino da Romano was the imperial vicar and the landlord of a territory including most of Veneto and Brescia. He was a cruel landlord, and when he was commanding the army, he became a tyrant. After years of this tyranny, Pope Innocent IV excommunicated him for his refusal to cease this unchristian behavior. Ezzelino was furious and refused to leave Veneto. Pope Innocent ordered a crusade against him and in 1259, Ezzelino was defeated and killed in Cassano d’Adda, which is right next to modern-day Milan. According to the legend, Ezzelino da Romano was possessed by an evil so strong that even death could not contain it. After he died, his grave became a swamp inhabited by a monstrous creature called Tarantasio. Tarantasio was a snake-like dragon with breath so poisonous that merely breathing near the creature could kill a man. At night, Tarantasio would leave the swamp and feed on any people unlucky enough to encounter him, but his favorite food was the children of the towns-people. The villagers built a wall, three-meters thick (the ruins of which can still be seen today) but it was not enough to keep them safe. The townspeople begged for someone to save them and finally, Federico Barbarossa rose to the task. After a long, exhausting battle which lasted for days on end, Federico defeated the beast and liberated the townspeople from the cruelty of Tarantasio once and for all. After Tarantasio died the swamp which was poisoned by his evil dried up and disappeared as well. The bones of Tarantasio were spread far and wide and kept in churches to prevent the evil from rising again. Some of the churches in the area still have these bones on display. So if you find yourself in Milan, keep an eye out for the remains of Tarantasio!
Experiencing a loss so close to the end of my time here, has been the hardest thing to go through while being abroad. There is no quick remedy to bridge the thousands of miles to get back home, but it’s nice to have friends around to comfort you. The home stretch has come with so many mixed emotions. I will truly miss all of the things that I have done and seen while in Italy, but I also miss so many things about home, especially when I know my family is hurting.
When I was younger, I was consistently a big-time movie-crier. From sappy movies with goofily happy endings, to action-packed movies that aren’t even supposed to make you tear up, it always seemed to happen. Long has the inside joke between me and my friends been “don’t show MP Titanic again…the tears just might sink youalong with the ship.”
For this reason, when I was headed to Italy, a place many call “a scene out of a movie,” I thought I just might continue this trend of vulnerability in the context of movies, and beyond—out of love for the people around me, out of caring for what I was doing, out of overwhelming interest in all there was to discover, I planned to shed some serious tears.
To my surprise, however, the trend of consistent vulnerability didn’t take. In fact, in many scenarios, I found myself feeling absent; absent of active presence in actions I was taking, absent of deeper connection towards all that there was to be absorbed, absent of fully investing in new relationships I was forming. I began to wonder if I was getting the most out of my experience.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have decided to pursue vulnerability. I have decided to actively feel. I think it has opened up my ability to be more connected to my experiences of this incredible program. I am not yet able to say that it has connected me to my instrument in ways I haven’t experienced in many years, or that I have made a clear break through yet, but as this program has begun to come to an end, I have been recognizing the safety and comfort of this place, and the beauty of feeling deeply in a safe place. And in the spirit of this, and the approaching Thanksgiving holiday, I thank the Accademia for this gift it has given me—the gift of a space in which I can feel vulnerable. It is a gift I will never forget.
Alan Smith, Furman University
November – thankful:
for friends, for travel, for food.
Time flies by too fast.