Posted April 19, 2010
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He is Risen! Alleluia!
Easter is finally here, I’m so excited! Right now I’m on an overnight train with a friend and we are on our way back to Gaming after spending Easter in Rome. Long train rides are great for reflecting and recollecting everything that has happened over your time traveling. And I have a lot to reflect over, I’ve been gone for two weeks!
As part of the International Business program, we take advantage of the global setting we are in, being abroad, and we have field trips to companies that work on an international level and to institutions that have an influence on the global community. Two weeks ago I left for Brussels, Belgium on the second field trip. Brussels is the location of the headquarters of the European Union so we spent a day touring the European Union and the European Parliament. We were able to meet with Catholic members of parliament from Germany, France and Slovakia. They were extremely generous with their time and sat and discussed with us all our questions and explained in lay-man’s terms a bit about the complex structure of European politics. We were also able to visit Estee Lauder’s manufacturing and distribution plant in Brussels. The day was spent talking with the general manager, the supply chain manager and several other people who play important roles in conducting the in’s and out’s of doing business on an international scale. It was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in my academic career so far – for the first time I was finally able to integrate everything I have studied about business the past three years, it made so much more sense to me. I truly believe that was such a priceless experience! Another highlight of the trip and something that characterized it as uniquely Franciscan was the accommodations. While in Brussels, we stayed at the oldest Catholic university in Europe so the day started off with morning prayer and Mass! It was the best field trip of my life!From Brussels, I flew down to Athens, Greece and then took a boat to one of the Greek Islands, Santorini. I can honestly say that it was the most beautiful place I have ever been in my whole entire life. The island is full little towns of square white houses with stunningly blue domed roofs built into the cliffs. It was picturesque. The water was the most beautiful, clear crystal-turquoise and the weather was perfect. We rented ATV’s and biked around the whole island. One day we found this little fishing port that was basically empty except for the fishermen and the owner of a restaurant that was right on the water. We spent the morning swimming in the Meditarian and had a late lunch at the little restaurant there. We had fresh fish that was caught hours before hand. It was filleted and grilled right before our eyes. Because we were one of the only groups of tourists there the restaurant gave us a Greek salad of fresh feta and olives, fried tomatoes and zucchini and both red and white wine from the grapes grown in that very town all for free. It was one of the best meals of my life!
After days of sunning myself and passing hours at the beach I left to head to Rome for Easter. Spending these most holiest of days in the center and heart of the Church has been my life-long goal but something I didn’t think I would be able to fulfill until later in life. However, my friend told me about this silent retreat in Rome over the triduum and when I emailed they still had room for me so I spent Holy Thursday until the Monday after Easter in Roma. It has been one of the major highlights of this semester. I was able to go to Easter Sunday Mass with the Pope. It just doesn’t get any better that that!
After such long adventures, however, I am getting excited to go back to the peacefulness and the rhythm of life in Gaming! I can hardly believe it but I only have three weeks left here in this beautiful monastery in the middle of Europe! This has truly been one of the most amazing years of my life!
May the risen Savior pour out His graces and blessings on you during this Easter season!