A Mumble Jumble of Memories

I found that writing these posts were actually enjoyable and made me really reflect on the trip. However, there were some things that I will always remember forever that didn’t have enough content to make an entire blog about it. So, I have decided to just make a mumble jumble blog of all of the shorter memories and impressions that I will still remember forever. It is completely random, but the assignment would be incomplete without including these.

My first one is a little cheesy, but I did want to mention it because of how neat it was. It was an absolute blast to get to travel all over Europe with Hannah Bushey. We had an awesome time together. Looking back, it is such an exciting thing to be able to share this entire trip with your girlfriend.

Chillin’ in the subway. Like a boss.

Smile. In front of the Eiffel Tower.










First arriving in Rome.

On a date in Venic








At Samantha’s birthday dinner


























Secondly, I will never forget how acceptable nudity is/was in art. Everywhere I turned was a naked statue or a painting of a naked lady. It was cool to see how this was once a natural part of art. I included some awesome pictures for you guys.

What up statue?

Good ole’ Apollo.











Wasn’t supposed to take this picture, but I had to. This statue is absolutely huge, by the way.










Just hanging out with my boy, David.





Liberty Leading the People





























Thirdly, I had an awesome time with the guys on this trip. It really was cool getting to spend some time with them having man nights. Buck Schroeder was my roommate. We shared many a small rooms and thousands of Pringles cans. It will be awesome to get back to school and hang out with these guys still.


They always pushed our beds back together… awkward.












Roommates for the trip

Nick and David making their way through the maze at Leed’s Castle in England.


























It will be easy for me to remember that Venice was my favorite city we visited. There were no cars, no hustle and bustle, and most importantly, an abundance of gelato. I mean it when I say that I ate my body weight in gelato.

Gelato- a way of life.

St. Mark’s Square in Venice










Gondolas in Venice

Beautiful canals of Venice
























Our wonderful night in the couchette will always be a night to remember. That’s about all you can say about that. I might even go as far to say that I would do it again…. Nah, probably not.

Buck chillin’ in the couchette before takeoff.

And these were the beds in the couchette.



















The Palace of Versailles is not talked about enough, but it was honestly one of the most impressive things to me personally. The gardens, the palace, and the amount of land were just amazing to me.

Palace of Versailles

You literally couldn’t see the end of the gardens.










More of the gardens at the Palace of Versailles

Just some of the inside of the Palace of Versailles
























Outside of Venice, Canterbury and Siena were some of my favorite cities because of the sheer serenity and quality of life in these cities. Life moved at a slower place. They were both beautiful.

One of my favorite pictures from the trip in Siena

Peaceful Siena














The Cathedral in Canterbury









The beauty of Canterbury.























Lastly, I think it is safe to say that this trip as a whole is a “lasting impression”. No one will ever forget this experience. Thank you to all who made it possible for us.

Published in: Uncategorized on July 1, 2012 at4:12 am Comments (140)

My Kind of Salesman

As a business major, I can’t help but think with a business mindset. When I am at any business, I am almost always thinking of how to make it run more efficiently, how to better market their products, or how the quality of their product could improve. It is rare to be going through your day and unexpectedly learn a valuable business lesson that you didn’t even learn in school – something you had to experience first hand to really understand. I have a short story that instilled a long lasting memory and business principle in my life.

After feeling the repercussions from my faulty sock watch purchase, I was really not looking to spend any money. The leather market was full of salesmen begging and lying to get you to buy their product. As you can imagine, this is quite annoying and almost turns you away from giving them business. We finally made it out of the long stretch of leather salesmen and I saw a painter sitting to the side of the road. His beautiful watercolor paintings were hanging all around him. They caught my eye, so I walked over to see prices. When I arrived, I blurted out sarcastically, “Alright, what’s your sales pitch?” The older man laughed and just kept painting. After about ten seconds, he looked up at me. What he then said is really important for a business owner, or anyone selling a product. He said, “ I don’t need to beg you or lie to you to get you to buy my paintings. You see them. You know they are good paintings. You are welcome to buy them if you want.” It was so refreshing to me. No lies or begging. The lesson was: if you have a good product, you don’t need a good sales pitch. Find a way to add value to someone’s life and they will pay good money without you having to sell it to them with a big fancy speech. I bought that painting, and I will always think of the time I learned how important it was to add value to a customer’s life.

The lesson that the old painter taught me will last with me throughout my business career and life.

Streets and river of Florence


Duomo in Florence










Streets of Florence at night with a nice view of the Duomo


View of Florence














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Birdseye View of Little Ants

You know those times in life when you think to yourself, “Is this real life”? I had plenty of those moments as we ventured across Europe. A lot of those moments were spent at the top of something incredibly tall as I looked over the edge at the hundreds of people that were the size of ants. As far as sights that we had the opportunity to see, nothing beats the views that we saw from places like the Eiffel Tower, St. Peter’s Basilica, Notre Dame, the London Eye, and several others. I can’t put my finger on why exactly it was these moments that will last with me forever. I will always remember the feeling I felt as I stood at the very top of the Eiffel tower. I was on top of the world because of the breathtaking view. Pictures and video don’t exactly do it justice. I think a lot of what made it special was seeing these things all of our lives, and finally getting the chance to experience them from a different viewpoint. The Eiffel Tower is the symbol of Paris. The Pope lives and addresses the public from St. Peter’s Basilica. The hunchback lived in Notre Dame. The London eye circled to see Big Ben, the iconic symbol of London. Obviously, I had seen all of this before on television and movies, but never had I seen it from the top. These moments were breathtaking to say the least, and I experienced images that I will carry in my mind forever.

Also, everyone on the trip can attest to one of their lasting impressions being the amount of stairs we climbed. All of those sights looked beautiful from the top, but you can rest assured that we climbed our fair share of steps to get there. We all developed thighs of steel and an everlasting appreciation for elevators.

Two panoramic videos:

Top of St. Peter’s- Video

Top of Eiffel Tower- Video


Looking out from the top of Notre Dame. Beware of gargoyles.


Looking down from the Eiffel Tower. Yes, those are buses in that circle.













Arch de Triomphe- a view from the Eiffel Tower


On top of St. Peter’s Basilica- I feel like the Pope.










At the top of the inside of St. Peter’s Basilica. Look at all the little ants.


Looking out from the London Eye. What up London?











Ben, you sure are big, even up here from the London Eye.


The pods of the London Eye












A breathtaking view in Florence





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Sock Watches… Wait, What?

It is strange to me that we seem to only recognize poverty overseas. For the most part, we really didn’t stumble across too much extreme poverty as we traveled luxuriously across Europe. There was one moment that I distinctly remember seeing and feeling poverty firsthand. As funny and sketchy as this story seems, the underlying realization of poverty really stuck with me. One afternoon in Florence, several of us decided to go to the leather market to try stumble across some good prices on leather products. After seeing some of the girls get ripped off on some purses, I was determined to beat the system and get a cheap leather watch. I went all over the market looking for someone selling watches. He found me. I even remember his name – Jonda. Initially, I didn’t like any of the watches he was shoving in my face, so I asked if he had any more. Here is where the sketchiness kicked in. He led me down an ally where one of his co-workers was. His buddy didn’t have any watches, so he proceeded to lift his pant leg up. After reaching down into his sock, he proceeded to pull out the perfect watch (or so I thought). I finally bargained him down to a comfortable price after talking to him about his family and life. He told me that he walks 4 miles into town every single day to sell these watches. That’s when the poverty hit me. He was barely scraping by. After it all, I came away with three things. First, my watch doesn’t even tick. Secondly, he needed that money more than I did. Lastly, one moment of him sharing his life with me gave me a memory that I will never forget. People don’t live as extravagantly as we do. We are beyond blessed.

The beautiful Florence- home of the best sock watches


The streets of Florence










Best view of Florence






Florence is a peaceful little place


Published in: Uncategorized on June 30, 2012 at11:08 pm Comments (26)

Intermission- The False Alarm

Blew me away

After a very long and hot bonding experience on the way to London, we finally arrived. Everyone was in a tired mood after travelling and I will admit I wasn’t very excited about seeing a Broadway type show that night. I didn’t think it was my “thing”.  The whole group made the trek across London and we finally arrived to see Les Miserables. I looked at my ticket and saw an expensive price. I thought to myself, “Why do people pay this much to see something like this?” Then it began. The lights dimmed and the action started. Surprisingly, I was enthralled with the acting, singing, set changing, and everything in between. After about an hour in a half, I had not taken my eyes away from the stage. The lights came on and I looked around, talking about how wonderful the production had been. NO ONE WAS MOVING. To sum it up, I had pieced together a deeper meaning from the play and thought that it was completely over at intermission. I was happily surprised to find out that we still had half the thing to go. I tell that story to express how pleasantly surprised I was with the play. It is an experience I will never forget, because it was the first time that I ever realized that productions like that might actually be my “thing”. It was an exciting new form of art that had entered my horizons that night. Now, if only I could sing, I might go into theatre production. I see myself as a younger Jean Valjean.

Our hotel in London


Right outside the theatre.











Walking back to the hotel after seeing the best play of my life

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Man Stuff

Movies are my thing. I have so many and love watching them whenever I can. While I do admit to enjoying the occasional chick flick romantic comedy, there is nothing better than a good ole’ classic movie that men around the world can’t get enough of. There is one movie in particular that most every man will respect as one of the most manly, classic movies of all time – Gladiator. This movie is easily in my top 5 of all time. I am not really sure why we all love it so much. Maybe it is because of how shockingly real the movie is. The setting, the events, the blood, the cruelty…. actually happened. As I entered the Colosseum, I was taken back to scenes from the movie. The movie became a reality. I looked all around me and saw the ruins of thousands of stadium seats once filled with people joyfully watching as Christians, convicts, and peasants battled to the death. The thought of that once being acceptable is amazing to me. A cross is now erected in the Colosseum honoring the Christians who once died here. When I got home, I watched the Gladiator again. It turned my view on this “manly movie” into more of a respect for the history that took place in the location I stood a few weeks earlier. It changed the way I viewed the gore of the movie. These movies that take me back to the places I once visited will never be the same for me. I will always remember the feeling of standing in such a place of shocking historical events.

My first view when I walked in- overwhelming


Where the stadium seats once were- in ruins now.











Holding places for the people/animals competing


There obviously was a platform over this where the fighting took place










Overlooking the whole Colosseum

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An Unforgettable Feeling

Some of the best feelings in life are when you are in the presence of God. There was one specific moment on this trip that gave me that same feeling, a feeling of awe. As I stood in the Mamertine Prison waiting to descend into a dungeon, several things struck me.  Even above the dungeon, the air was musty and wet. Also, the walls and structure seemed cold and dark. I proceeded to make the descent into the dungeon. After walking down about ten stairs, I turned the corner and that “feeling” I was talking about, hit me. I was standing in the dungeon that Paul and Peter were believed to be imprisoned. It was a strange feeling, because I almost felt like I didn’t belong. Divinely inspired scripture was written in this exact place during the ancient Roman period. If we are all being honest, it would be difficult to write anything in the prison cell, and they were writing the words of God. We also have to keep in mind that they were under extreme persecution for their beliefs. It was a horrible situation, but Paul and Peter’s joy still remained intact. That is an awesome reminder for all of us. Those realizations are memories that will last forever.

Supposed prison cell of Paul/Peter

More of the prison cell











On top of the dungeon looking down into the prison cell.

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Walking With Julius Caesar

A map of the Roman Empire at its largest point.

It seemed that my most memorable personal experiences happened as the art and architecture got older. The older it was, made it seemed more removed from our reality today. People lived in what seemed to be a different world. It really struck me when I found myself in an area filled with ruins that were once inhabited by Emperors, peasants, and even people from the Bible. There was one moment from ancient Rome that will last with me forever. The Colosseum was incredible, but there was an unforgettable feeling when I was walking through the streets of Capitoline hill. It really felt like I was walking with Julius Caesar. During the expansion of the Roman Empire, this was the capital for all of the conquered land. It was amazing to see how such a small area could have so much impact on western civilization. The same road that was walked on my Emperors and even Apostles from the Bible was below my feet. You could even see the indentions in the stone from the wear and tear of the chariot wheels. It was a surreal experience. We were even able to see the burial grounds of Julius Caesar himself. Being in this area really made me think about what Christianity looked like at this time. Christians were persecuting for claiming identity in Christ. Today, we have a hard time finding our identity in Christ under no persecution. This realization made me stop and evaluate our present situations compared to the situations of ancient Rome.  These observations really will last with me forever.

People still lay flowers at the burial sight of Mr. Julius








Ruins from ancient Rome




The same road is still in place. Amazing that ancient Romans once walked on these same stones.










Capitoline Hill




The very middle of the city at Capitoline Hill.










A cross erected in honor of the fallen Christians in the Colosseum.

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The Reality of War

View from the highest point in Dover Castle

 Dover Castle stands on the coast at one of the closest parts of England to France. Over this past semester, history has really been interesting to me, which could play into why the visit to this castle was one of my lasting impressions. My lasting memory of this experience might also be attributed to the fact that I am a male, and love war time history and the motivations behind the strategies of war. It was a surreal moment for me standing in an underground tunnel that once housed and doctored soldiers and civilians that were fleeing from France due to German invasion. I will never forget that somewhat emotional and reflective moment that induced such a strong feeling inside of me. Seeing the castle walls didn’t impact me near as much as the compact tunnels that almost allowed me to relive history. Dover Castle is one of the largest castles in England. The fact that this castle was originally built during medieval times, but helped defend many people all the way through World War II really shows how magnificent this castle was. Imagine seeing it in person and walking on the ground that many soldiers and civilians were carted into an underground hospital. It really was history before my eyes. Every lecture and textbook I have ever read was tangibly seen. The moment of standing on this historically significant ground is a feeling that I will never forget. It is hard to forget the overwhelming thought of soldiers sacrificing their efforts and lives for their respective countries. It is a foreign concept until faced with the reality of where great events of history actually happened.

Nick and David taking the castle by force












More of the overwhelming castle grounds




Overlooking the ocean towards France










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You’ve Got a Friend In Me

There are so many things noteworthy from our trip to Europe. Surely I am speaking for the entire group, but there is one lasting impression that really will last forever. Going through the preparatory class had me a little worried about the diversity of the group that was going on the trip. As individuals, everyone seemed to be great, but group unity worried me the most. However, the most memorable thing of the trip was how good of friends everyone became. It wasn’t about social clubs or cliques. It was just about the general friendship of everyone. We grew a deeper bond with each other through all of the amazing things we did together. Our leaders, (Mom and Dad), did an incredible job of keeping the trip fun, flexible, and the group unified. Through the many flavors of gelato, the thousands of miles walking, numerous games of telephone at the dinner table, and the many moments staring at food trying to figure out what it was, we all really did develop closer friendships with everyone. I can honestly say I am looking forward to seeing everyone around campus. This memory alone makes me want to take a road trip with everyone again. You know what they say: travelling together is the best way to bond. Well, who knows if someone actually said that, but I believe it to be true. I fully expect an #EST2012 reunion lunch this semester.

Home girls excited about Venice


First group picture- “Follow the green pickle.”

Sam and Bucky being BFFs

First plane ride


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