This week’s bloggers talk about spring break travel adventures and mid-semester feelings.
Kristen Corless, Muhlenberg College
Semester Physical Theatre Program
At the age of eleven, I sat in my first Italian language class. I instantly took to the language, enjoying every new word. In a way, it was like opening the door to a whole new world that I had never even known existed at all. Throughout the years, my understanding of the language increased (as it should), though the initial spark of my love for it never went out. It became harder, but I was willing to put in the elbow grease that was required to keep up. However, I had a dream in mind. The very thing that inspired me to keep going, keep learning, and eventually take the leap and go to Italy: Carnival in Venice.
I understand that it’s a very strange thing to spend almost ten years working for, learn a whole language for, and then go and study abroad for. But it was my dream. It was the one thing I wanted more than anything in the whole world. Should I have been born a Disney Princess, this would be the thing I would sing about at the top of the film. That is how important it was to me. And this past Spring Break, that almost-ten-year long dream became a reality.
And let me tell you, it was magic.
Walking into Venice and looking around, everyone was in a mask and/or costume. Elegant, beautiful, and colorful pieces that truly blew me away. There were a shocking number of people dressed in period pieces, but some wore costumes of characters (I saw a Belle or two!). There were free concerts, costume and mask contests, and very expensive parties that required at least an evening gown to get into. Children, families, and friends alike were coming together in an incredibly packed but generally friendly atmosphere. I had truly never seen anything like it.
While I didn’t bring my ball gown (next time for sure), I still had tons of fun walking around the Piazza di San Marco and enjoying the festivities. I was told by a faculty member of the ADA that “once you go abroad, it is very easy to find your way back.” And I assure you that one day, I will most certainly make it back there. I will find my way.
Maya Leschinsky, Muhlenberg College
This past week was spring break and I traveled to Lisbon, Seville, and Barcelona with friends in the program. We had an amazing time! In Lisbon we spent time on the beach and walked around the historic town Alfama. In Seville we went into the largest church in the world and that was really beautiful. We also saw some spectacular flamenco dancing in Plaza de Espana. In Barcelona we sat on the beach almost every day and saw many of the famous monuments. Segrada Familia took my breath away and I am hoping to return to Barcelona after the church is complete in 2026. It was an amazing experience but I am glad to be back in the Villa.
Annabel Cantor, Sarah Lawrence College
Semester Physical Theatre Program
There’s a self-imposed pressure that I’ve had to face, while enrolled this program, to wring the most out of every moment. When you enter a class at the accademia with presence and awareness, the work then asks you to find more, to increase your presence, sometimes by what feels like a hundred fold. Some days this is attainable, but some days it just won’t happen, and I start to spiral. I start to doubt myself, why I’m here. I realize that although I’ve had an amazing time at the accademia so far, and have been exposed to new concepts and techniques at every turn, I don’t know yet how to sum up what I’ll be walking away with, and that uncertainty feels like a failure on my part. What I’ve realized, and then forgotten a few times over now, is that I don’t need to know yet the scope of what I’ve gotten out of this experience. I’m in the thick of it, how could I find perspective like that? But every time I feel lost, I forget. I don’t think I’ll forget again, though. Yesterday Dory told me the same thing: these lessons take time, and we may not know what we’ve absorbed here for months, years, or even decades. I wish I could have heard and believed it fully from myself, but Dory’s words will stick in my mind, and help to lift some pressure off of my back. I don’t need all the answers yet
Tucket Shoji, Coastal Carolina University
One Year Physical Theatre Program
If you saw a mysterious set of stone stairs weaving up around a tree to a small Public Library tucked behind the other buildings, would you go through the gate and walk up the steps? If you then looked in through the glass door to see a slide show and a table full of Italian adults staring at you, would you walk in? If one of them explained that they were a class learning English and invited you to participate, would you stay for a chat? I’d certainly suggest you do all these things. It makes for a fun conversation and a great memory. I’d also suggest that if you travel in southern Italy you do so in a small group, with whom it’s easier to follow the impulses of the day and spontaneously walk into a mysterious ocean tunnel or sit on a cliff side for hours simply because you can. As with most days studying here in Italy, the threat of time passing transforms into the blessing of life happening. Sit and chat at a two hour meal. Stroll through the cream colored streets. Stop to read the poetry written on the walls. And eat gelato. Lots and lots of gelato.