Looking out at the bustling tarmac and cringing at the thought that I am about to be scrunched into a small seat in a metal tube rocketing across the globe for the next 10 hours, I wanted to end my chronicle. I can almost hear you sighs of relief that you no longer have to scroll through my voluminous tomes, and I promise this will not be one of those literary expositions. Instead, I want to shine light upon the true value of the trip. I leave you with blogs written by two of our students. The distinct journey of their lives have intersected for a moment in time, and these past 11 days have inevitably altered the path that lies ahead. Both Jen and Kaleb have trekked across the world, and, through separate eyes, they have witnessed the world beyond the borders of the HRBT. They will have a shared experience that will stay with them for the rest of their time at Norfolk Academy and beyond. Years from now, they may be scrolling through photographs of the bygone ages and stumble across a picture of this trip. It is true that a picture says a thousands words, but the memories that the photo will back are infinite. We must never allow ourselves to rely solely on the tangible evidence of our adventures, but rather take advantage of a more precious gift; the ability to engage socially with those around us and form lasting bonds of friendship that do not decay or fade.
- Matt Wilkens
On our second to last day in Italy, we went to Pompeii. Like Herculaneum, Pompeii looked so much more different than I had imagined. When I learned about Pompeii in Latin I, I imagined the site to be completely ruined with only the bases of the buildings intact. But seeing Pompeii in person blew my mind! The town looked not as if a volcano destroyed it but as if the town just deteriorated over time.
For the entire day at Pompeii, we were let loose to roam Pompeii by ourselves. The most exhilarating part of this entire Odyssey trip was being able to wander and get lost in Pompeii! The roads in Pompeii were so well preserved and walking on them felt weird because I had stepped where Roman citizens had walked so many centuries ago. Also, for future Odyssey travelers, I highly recommend drinking water from the public fountains in Pompeii. The water doesn’t taste bad but is actually really cold and refreshing.
Pompeii is definitely my favorite site that we visited. (Even though Caecilius’ house wasn’t available for us to visit…)
Throughout this adventure, we have been given the opportunity to explore some of the most historically important places in the world. We’ve studied Ancient Greek and Roman settlements, explored a volcano, and had the opportunity to see cities after being covered for over 2,000 years. We were able to understand the difference between Greek and Roman building techniques, learn how the Gods played a role in their everyday life and how they were able to please themselves with entertainment at their theatres. Though learning all this important information was really engaging, that wasn’t the most special part of the trip. This trip was made special by the way we were able to learn all this important information. Before we left on the trip, we had been split into three teams; Alpha, Beta and Gamma. These groups while at each of the sites, would be given a set of challenges to complete.The challenges acted as a guided learning experience, but the point of the challenges weren’t to make us only look for these things. The point was for us to explore and learn those specific things while we were exploring. The teachers would let us do this on our own. The three groups were then allowed to travel the sites on their own and forced us to rely on each other’s strengths to complete the tasks. This freedom given to the students allowed us to succeed, fail, learn, and have fun all in the same experience. That is why this trip was so special. Being with a group that bonded as well as we did and getting to learn from each other as our classroom from the past two years was being brought to life was a special opportunity. This sense of freedom caused all of us not only to evolve as teammates and leaders, but as people too. We were forced to associate ourselves with those we might not have before and because of this new friendships were begun. This odyssey gave us a lot of new information, but it also gave us new friendships and a sense of confidence when solving problems that couldn’t be found elsewhere.