An American Perspective on Faith in Europe

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For three and half weeks, eight students crossed four countries to study journalism and report compelling stories. There where plenty of busy days, boring days, stressful days, fun days. However one consistent every day was endless laughter from everyone. During the time we spent together, we adapted to each other’s personalities, likes and dislikes, because at the end of the day, for those three weeks we only had each other. continue reading…

While  in London, I learned that there’s a popular English dish here called bangers and mash, which can also be referred to as sausage and mash. Basically it consists of sausage links topped with onions on a bed of mashed potatoes. How does that not sound amazing? Well, it’s no secret that mashed potatoes is one of my all-time favorite foods, so I just had to try this dish. continue reading…

Over the past few days I have been asked a weird — and surprising — question on at least three different occasions. It all started two nights ago, when David, Richard and I headed to a pub to listen to karaoke. All was good until a beautiful British man started singing Nickelback, which prompted us to get out of there.

We headed down the street to another karaoke pub. No sooner had I entered the door when I was approached by a lady who probably had had one too many. She asked me if I was a Marine. When I said no, she said you would have to be a jack@#$ Marine to have a haircut like mine. I was shocked and didn’t understand why she would come up and say that to me.

Since then, I have been asked that question two more times. One lady we were interviewing for a story even wanted our ID’s to prove we were not soldiers. After doing some people-watching and discussing this with my classmates, we came up with the solution that the guys here in London typically wear their hair longer and have a messier look than we do in America. I guess that is why we stand out so much.

I am never not wearing a hat again.

June 5, 2010, London, England

It was a brisk and windy spring evening. Matt and I had just come back from spending a few hours with the protesters in front of the Parliament building as we gathered data for a story we are developing.

As we opened the front door to our flat, we were stopped by Kristin, who said, “Did you guys hide our computers as a joke?” We responded with “no,” and then she told us that someone had broken into their flat and stolen all four of the girls’ computers, a book bag, cell phone and, most important, her passport.

When the police left, we spent the evening piecing together a time frame of the incident. The staff here changed the locks, but I think everyone was still kind of shock up and on edge since we have lots of valuable equipment. Moving forward this morning, I think we all have now realized that this incident will give us a huge challenge in completing our stories that are due in less than a week’s time. We’re all going to need to work asa  team since now we have eight people with 4four computers, not to mention the other challenges that already exist for us.

Wednesday May 26th 2010 Rome, Italy:

Part 1: During our six days in Rome, Richard and I quickly created unique friendships with some families who owned local businesses. It began on the first day we arrived in Rome while we were looking for authentic Italian food. We noticed a café right on the corner about a block away from our flat. We went inside and were greeted by a very nice guy and girl (Alex, Emmanuel) who ended up being brother and sister. They helped us pick pasta dishes from the menu and then showed us a bottle of wine.

The food was absolutely amazing, and the wine wasn’t bad either. Actually, up until this moment I had never tried wine, but I figured that since I was here in Rome, I had to at least give it a try. Richard and I agreed that we would eat there at least once a day until we leave, and we ended up doing that. continue reading…

Part 2: As we continued exploring all that Rome had to offer, we soon realized that no trip to Italy is complete without trying gelato. So around 11 p.m. the first night we were walking the streets, absorbing all the culture, when we found a gelato store that was still open.

Richard and I walked inside the store, and the man behind the counter helped us pick out different flavors to try. This was very difficult because there was a huge language barrier that made the task difficult. With a little time and patience, we were able to communicate together non-verbally since none of us exactly knew what the other was saying. continue reading…

Saturday May 29th 2010 Rome, Italy:

One of the most amazing moments in Italy and one that I will never forget was when Richard, David, Alex, LeighAnne and I took a ride on the underground Metro to the Colosseum. After getting approached by people trying to sell us tours, panhandlers oh and not to mention the grown men dressed in Gladiator Halloween costumes, demanding to take a picture with us only to try and charge a Euro for it after. Yes, believe it or not we managed to make it through all of that as we made our way inside. What an experience to just be able to stand in something that has thousands of years of history and not to mention thinking about all the events that took place both good and bad. We spent lots of time walking around looking at what now are just ruins of the Colosseum. We also took lots of great pictures but as we were about to leave, I decided that I needed to do something that has most likely has NEVER been done in this historic superstructure. I think watching this video will explain and put everything into perspective for you, enjoy.Fist Pumping Italy

A group of us headed to Belfast for the day to spend some time on the north and south sides to experience the culture. As we were enjoying lunch at the Town Center in north Belfast, two guys were playing guitars in an arched alleyway. Their names ironically enough where Steven and Steven, and they play for the public because they love music and occasionally get a gig in a local pub. Also they perform their own songs along with some covers of famous bands, so the crowd is familiar with the music.

While Richard and I were enjoying ham and crackers we bought from the Euro store, I took a picture of the Stevens playing . The shot came out way better than I could have ever imagined, so I wanted to share it here.