On the second and final day of our weekend trip to Malta, my friends and I woke up early to the happy surprise that the sun was out. Determined to make the most of this welcome change, we packed our bags quickly and took the ferry to Malta.
When we got to Malta we headed straight for the beach and were greeted by the beautiful Mediterranean ocean. The water was pretty calm and with the sun shining bright, it was also pretty warm.
This particular beach was situated near Ghadira and formed part of a bay. This meant that the waves were not too big and the scenery was beautiful. On one side you could see the typical Maltese limestone houses and on the other green mountains. We couldn’t stay for very long because we had a plane to catch, but those two hours were quite perfect.
Our first day in Gozo had not been going exactly how we had pictured it. The weather was very cold and it would not stop raining. As a response to these conditions, we decided that the best way to make the most of our time in Gozo would be to get on a hop on hop off bus tour to get to know the city.
However, it was raining so hard that we didn’t get off at any of the stops. After 3 hours on the bus, we were approaching the final stop and were all feeling a little bit down because of our bad luck. Upon arriving at the last stop we got down and that was the best decision we made on that whole day. It had stopped raining and we had arrived at the famous Azure Window.
In short, it was absolutely breathtaking. Tide pools had formed because of the rain and they were cascading into the ocean. The sun was just starting to set over the cliffs and the ocean had begun to take a purple hue. Even though it hadn’t been what we had planned, it turned out to be one of the most spectacular things I have ever witnessed.
For my Italian class, I had to do a project which involved going to explore a place in Rome. My group got Il Mercato Esquilino. Previous to this, I had no idea what or this place was, so I was excited to get to visit it.
My group took the bus and then a metro to arrive at Termini, from there we walked for 7 minutes and the market was right there. When we walked in, we were greeted with the wonderful smells of the freshest seafood, fruits, and vegetables. There was a huge variety of products, they ranged from artisanal chocolates to Halal meat, Indian specialties, and Latin foods.
I was especially excited to see that in the Latin stand they had tamarindo. A delicious fruit that I used to eat a lot of back in Mexico. I really enjoyed this project because it was a fantastic way of making Rome part of the classroom. We had the opportunity of practicing Italian, connecting with the locals and being a part of everyday Roman life.
Midterms have all the students at the JFRC feeling a little bit stressed. Traveling has reduced this for now, and all of us know it is time to focus on getting the best grades we can. However, this does not mean there is no time for enjoying life.
In an effort to do this, the SLAs and Student Activities Committee planned a wonderful evening of pizza and singing. This was the perfect way for students to get their minds off studying for a couple of hours and de-stress. Students and faculties alike sang to all-time favorite songs and everyone had a great bonding experience.
In addition to singing, some students have found another relaxing experience in eating the oranges in the courtyard.
It was the last day of our trip in Cusano Mutri. To culminate this amazing mushroom adventure, three other Rome Start girls and I decided to wake up at 5am to watch the sunrise from in between the mountains.
We woke up to find that it was pouring outside. However, this did not stop us. We geared up in our warmest clothing and umbrellas and headed out. We hiked to the top of the nearest mountain – which only took us about 6 minutes – and proceeded to contemplate in awe how the heavy mist shifted around us. It was raining so hard, and there was so much mist that we knew we would never see a sunrise, but we stayed for a long while nonetheless.
Slowly, the darkness started to give way to the light and we were able to see the mountains more clearly. Everything was completely silent except for the sound of the rain hitting our umbrellas and the occasional bird. Even though we did not get to see the sunrise we were hoping for, this is my favorite memory from the whole trip.
It was the first night of our trip in Cusano Mutri. We were exploring the little town after having had a delicious meal of funghi porcini which are the famous mushrooms of the region. It was getting dark, but the town was only beginning to wake up. The lights illuminating the stone roads and buildings made the town look exceptionally beautiful and magical.
We walked around and admired all the little stands which were selling jewelry, clothes, and a variety of different foods such as honey and mushrooms. The air smelled of mushrooms cooking and everyone seemed truly happy.
The real highlight of this night, however, was stumbling across a man who was playing an old, beautiful mountain song on his saxophone. A group of 10 Loyola students was sitting on the road listening to him and I joined them. After the man had finished playing the song, he signaled at us to wait a moment. He stood there thinking for a little, and then began to play popular songs like Titanium and Uptown Funk on his saxophone! It was a lot of fun and a phenomenal way to start off our trip!
One of the best parts of being at the JFRC is taking on-site classes. This semester I am taking Art in Rome and even though it is a demanding class, it is most certainly worth it.
Every week instead of going into a classroom for a lecture, we make our way to Rome and explore a new church or museum with our Professor.
This is a very unique opportunity because you get to learn about the most famous pieces of art and architecture while being in their presence. Being able to admire masterpieces up-close truly makes the class all the more interesting and engaging.
In addition to it having a phenomenal learning experience, it is also a great way of learning how to get around in Rome. Buses are not always very reliable and having to plan around that is very good life experience as well.