From Jack Park, June 9, 2013 –
Experiencing new culture is always exciting. Throughout our trip, Mr. Savage, Ms. Veiga, and the tour guides–including the SYA teacher–have shown us how to connect and analyze the beauty and importance of the cultures we discover and experience in the various places we’ve visited.
For example, Ivonne, who was our first tour guide from SYA, took me back in times to experience the Etruscan culture. When we visited Vulci, the Etruscan settlement, there were just plain vases and statues of Etruscans’ faces displayed in the museum, which first seemed dull to me compared to glittering mosaics done by Romans or beautiful churches built during the renaissance age. However, Ivonne’s explanation of these somewhat boring items caught my attention. “Back in the days when the Etruscans lived in Vulci, they did not have iPads, the internet, digital clocks, or even lamps. Since they did not own many things, the vases, the spoons, and the jewelry were only way to enjoy their materialism. They meant so much to them and that’s why these are considered so important.”
I pictured the lives of the Etruscans. In fact, every single vase had its own design and every single statue had a different emotion in it. Some statues were bigger, and some were darker. Ivonne went on to explain the chemistry behind the colors of the vases. “These plain clay vases are made out of oxygen and iron whereas the green ones are made out of copper and tin, which was innovative and sensational during the age like, mmm… The Great Gatsby!” She also explained how powerful and wealthy people had bigger jewelry. “People wanted to show their styles, social status, and their emotions through these vases and accessories.” At the end, she brought up her concern for the conservation of the culture, which has been a major problem in Italy lately.
Ivonne has showed how to connect the things we learned from school over the year–such as literature, language, history, and even science and social issues–to imagine what the lives of the Ancient Romans were like. This experience definitely made the trip more special and more interesting for all of us.