24, October 2011 § Leave a comment
It’s hard to believe that three weeks have already come and gone here on Paros. Italy seems a distant memory as classes begin to unfold and the students settle into their work. Despite busy schedules, enthusiasm remains high both in and out of the classroom.
Each of us is here for a different reason, trying to figure out our own path in life. Though we are ultimately here for ourselves, a sense of family has formed among the students and, with that, an understanding and growing respect for one another.
For me, this term hasn’t gone at all what I had expected. I have been forced to look at myself in a new light, one that doesn’t allow me to shy away from the uncomfortable realities of my shortcomings and gifts. The importance of learning about the self is emphasized just as strongly as expanding academic knowledge and artistic skill, as well as the appreciation and understanding of nature and our surroundings. At times the island is just as much a teacher as the rest of the faculty, and its wisdom is revealed in different ways each week, particularly on the hikes. Being immersed in nature with no distractions other than Earth itself feeds the soul in a way nothing else can.
To continue John’s ongoing countdown, one more week of classes lies ahead before we enter break and the term quietly passes the halfway point. But for now all we can do is live in the moment – take in the light, embrace the weather, and continue working diligently.
19, October 2011 § 1 Comment
The group of fall students have been in Paros for nearly two weeks now. Last Friday we hiked to the far valley beyond Lefkes and then returned to eat at Flora’s on the hillside overlooking Naxos on the horizon. The last few days we had torrential rains that flooded the streets and thunder crackled overhead. Classes are all underway and some readjustments are being made in schedules, what to pursue, what to drop. Everyone seems busy and determined to excel.
Italy was hot but we kept up a steady pace seeing museums and churches. Gelato was sampled and discussed and coffee took on an elevated status. The meals at the villa were always noisy and satisfying, the garden beautiful but the mosquitos fierce. We drew large perspective studies in the old chapel, photographed the fountain, sang acapella, and listened to Monteverdi.
Paros is welcoming and small in comparison to the grandeur of Rome and Athens but easy to negotiate and familiar. We have settled in, becoming a bit more independent of the group. The Greek economy may be in ruins but island life seems little changed. The beauty of the sea and the sky give us longer vistas to contemplate.