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Kendall Kadatz

one journey, many mistakes

By | 2016, Europe | No Comments

My journey to Europe started well with my overnight flight landing early in Rome. Connecting with the group at Roma Termini was a bit of a long shot so I raced through customs, grabbed my suitcase and dodged a salesman pretending the Fiumicino shuttle didn’t exist. At Roma Termini I got my Perugia train ticket and took the security lady’s directions to Platform 5. As the train began to move I looked for the group and reached for my suitcase…and reached again. Shoot. Ticket booth? Security lady? No. No. Fiumicino shuttle? Yes. I had set it on a rack before sitting down and focusing on making the 9:30 train. I made the train, but forgot my suitcase.

Before long my suitcase would be a road side yard sale, so I found a staff member (not my group, they caught a different train) who told me I was on the wrong train and my ticket wasn’t validated, so I needed to switch trains at Foligno. She handed my ticket back satisfied she had helped this poor traveller. I then conveyed the problem I had first tried to communicate– my suitcase was on the Fiumicino shuttle. Her face told me she may not be able to fix that.

A call to Roma Termini told her it wasn’t there so the police checked the Fiumicino shuttle. Using my passport, luggage tag and cell number, the suitcase was located and taken back to Roma Termini. She signed the back of my unvalidated ticket so I could reuse it and directed me to the police station at Platform 1 to get my suitcase. Later she said no, it had to be Platform 24. When I disembarked I asked her name – Nadya. Grazi Nadya.

I caught a nap on the ride back, and awoke in Rome to the train slowing down and many people getting ready to step off, so I joined them. Platform 24 had no police station, because I was at Roma Tribuna, so I took the Metro to Roma Termini. Once there I was directed to Platform 1 – but I had been told to go to Platform 24. Oh, in that case, it’s on the right. On the way I came across security lady, who insisted I go to Platform 1. I’m never asking her anything again.

The police station had twelve buttons to buzz in with, all with abbreviations. ITALPOL looked right. No answer. Another try. Nothing. Another abbreviation. Nothing. Three other buttons I had no confidence in. Nothing. Then a lady who looked like a tourist walked up and let me in. There were no signs inside so I guessed and went up three floors where I found the police office, gave my passport over again, and was rewarded with my suitcase.

Off to Perugia again, but without asking security lady. The Italian countryside stretched past for a couple of hours before I saw a sign for Perugia, got off and looked for my bus stop. But I was at Perugia Ponte San Giovanni, not Perugia. Seriously? One more stop, two buses up the hill to Casa Monteripido, and I joined the group just in time for dinner. Just far enough away from my plethora of mistakes, I accepted their warm welcome.

New friends gained, one not new friend, an extra city visited, and successful entry to a slightly sketchy police station. Lessons learned? Sleep on the plane, especially when going to new places alone. Chain your luggage to yourself. And get off at your actual stop, not one that sounds like it.

Art for the masses

By | 2010 | No Comments

So, wanna go to Europe to explore it’s great artworks, but don’t see that happening any time soon? Here are a couple of recent developments by Google that you can check out. Do you think this kind of initiative replaces the need to go and visit these great pieces, or does it complement and encourage people visiting them in person?
http://www.googleartproject.com/
ultra high definition images from the Prado

conflict resolution in the Philippines?

By | 2010, Asia | No Comments

International Crisis Group monitors conflict and potential conflict situations around the world and makes recommendations to governments regarding effective ways to address these situations. For those of you who have travelled to and become familiar with the insurgency conflicts in the Philippines involving both the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), check out this recent recommendation from Crisis Group that gives an historical synopsis on the situation and immediate recommendations to all parties involved.

The Communist Insurgency in the Philippines: Tactics and Talks, the latest report from the International Crisis Group, analyses why, after fighting for more than 40 years, neither the army nor the communist New People’s Army (NPA) has been able to win militarily.

Snooze at Versailles?

By | All Things Travel | No Comments

For anyone who’s been to Versailles on one of our trips, it makes an impression to say the least. Whether you’re appalled at the opulence, or overwhelmed by the extravagance, you definitely won’t forget being there.

Well, now you can more firmly implant that memory with a sleep as a private company has taken over one of the mansions badly in need of repair and is turning it into a hotel (click here for more details). Opinions go back and forth on whether or not government  and taxpayers should continue to pour millions into historic sites like this, or whether they should be turned over to private enterprise so that they can remain cost effective, if less historically representative.

Whaddya think Gregg Finley? Is there room for private enterprise in the preservation of UNESCO Heritage sites like this and other architectural gems?

tribute to the Finster

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

Just 3 days before Dr. Gregg Finley departs the Europe group, today he spoke 3 words that help me understand why he is a valued member of this community, on and off the road. “Here he comes!” he said, as I jogged toward the dinner line for the evening meal of schnitzel.

Those words point to Gregg’s consistent practice of drawing attention to those around him. I doubt that he was aware of the significance of those 3 words today because this practice is so deeply entrenched into his character. His life having been soaked in selflessness and serving others, comments like this are but tiny indicators of how he lives his life.

Both in Europe and back at SSU, most of Gregg’s time outside of class and dean responsibilities is spent listening to us, asking how we are doing, what’s going on in our lives, what the condition of our soul is. As a result, the quality of all of our lives improves. It’s been a great trip so far, partially because Gregg continues to care for those around him, noticing their contributions to our community in the midst of expressing his own. So in 3 days we’ll proudly, but with a touch of sadness say, “there he goes.”

Kendall

settling into the trip

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments
Before this trip I had not thought much about the city of Florence and what my experience would be like there. Spending the afternoon overlooking the beautiful city was really awesome. Sitting at the café looking out over the city skyline I was able to have good conversation with a couple from New Zealand, it was with this interaction that I was really able to start realizing the depth of this trip. The fact that a person can travel place to place, from one campsite to another, this experience of travel, being a nomad. I have come to realize that my sense of home is starting to change. I am realizing that home is not always a physical place, it is more the friends that I have around me, the places that I travel. I feel privileged to be traveling through all these different cities learning about cultures and meeting people. Being able to spend an evening on the Michelangelo steps with a group of people from all over the world was a real privilege. Overlooking the city and watching it slow down and switch into a more relaxed mode was really neat. I look forward to what the rest of this trip will bring for me and am anticipating spending time in the city of London meeting new people and continuing my journey.

hanging out with saints

By | Europe | No Comments

I took 6 International Studies students to a soup kitchen in downtown Barcelona run by the sisters of Mother Teresa of Calcutta to help serve a lunch for people whose situation forces them to turn to places like soup kitchens for support. Mostly men from 25-45, most of them were immigrant workers from other countries trying for a better life in Barcelona. We served and cleaned up lunch for over 300 people, which was a privilege to help out with.

The best part of the day for me was being able to spend time with the sisters and other volunteers. I talked with a man named Francisco for a while, who comes regularly to serve at the soup kitchen. He spoke of how he felt a deep sense of satisfaction in coming here, knowing that he was contributing to something purposeful and meaningful beyond himself. He spoke of the sisters and how he was constantly amazed at their ability to give and receive nothing in return. He was almost emotional as he conveyed to me his deep sense of respect for these women.

The last thing we spoke of was how proud he was to see our group of young people coming to serve alongside him and the other volunteers. He related to me that far too often the only messages he received regarding youth spoke to him of how they were disrespectful and selfish. The sisters and other volunteers accentuated his observation with their expressions of “moi bien” and the smiles on their faces as the students participated with them in the serving and cleaning the soup, fruit and bread.

Kendall

rotondas!

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

Flight-wonderful, airplane food-airplane food, weather-perfect, sites-life changing. But alongside  all great things there are glitches, so here are some things that force us to remain flexible when things get turned around on us on our trip through Western Europe.

So the flight to Barcelona was great, but we ended up waiting for our bus driver for a couple of hours because his cell phone died (not his fault), and we forgot to tell him what terminal to pick us up from. 38 hungry, tired people waiting for a bus that might not come gave us an appreciation of just how important our bus will be to us for the next 2 months.

Next stop, grocery store to get food to feed those 38 people as we cook our own meals. We pull in to Carrefour, a chain store in Europe, only to find it closed for Pentecost Monday. A cab driver speaking only Catalan pointed us in the direction of possibly the only grocery store open in the area (lots of gesticulations, and repeated use of the word “rotonda,” which means traffic circle). We eventually find it and get our groceries, but get lost trying to find our way to the campground (encountering lots of rotondas).

Gracious to have finally arrived at the campground, we discover that we’re short one tent, one breaks in setup, and another is falling apart, so we share tents until we can buy some.

I won’t go on much longer, but over the next couple of days, Gregg got us kicked out of a Cathedral, the internet at the campground chose when to let us use it, and the grocery store wouldn’t take our credit card (oh yeah, and a rotonda outside a zoo refused to let us pick up our students there).

So, sometimes we get turned around.

Kendall

the results are in, everyone wants to come here!

By | All Things Travel | No Comments

A friend of SSU, Heidi Turner, recently brought this article to my attention. For those of you who aren’t aware, Barna group is a well respected organization that constantly conducts studies to keep it’s thumb on the youth culture of today (not an easy task for anyone familiar with the ever changing aspects of youth culture).

I’ll give you a textual clip and let you head to the article to read the rest.

God and Global
Having a connection with God and international travel emerged as second-level priorities. Nearly three-quarters of teenagers felt they would have a close, personal relationship with God (72%) in the next decade or so. About seven out of 10 youths (71%) said they will definitely or probably have traveled to other countries by their mid-twenties.

Sounds to me like SSU is the kind of place that youth are looking for today.