Elisabeth Hawthorne
December 5, 2014

The Flavian Amphitheater (the Colosseum) is one of the most recognizable cultural symbols in the world.  Which is why having class in it yields a thrilling yet somewhat bizarre learning experience; once you push through the pre-conceived kitsch you can glimpse through time a sophisticated, stratified society, capable of great engineering, art, and violence.

In my class on ancient Roman archaeology we learned about the “munera gladiatoria,” the gladiatorial games.  Despite what you may actually see in Gladiator, most of the vanquished were not executed by their opponents by default (as this would be an illogical waste of talent and monetary investment).  If the fight was good – displaying evidence of honor, courage, and skill – so the ending judgment was likewise positive.  But of course historical fact has no precedence over contemporary fantasy and we remain enthralled by the thought of a simple gesture, the turning of a hand, determining a matter of such profound moral implication.  Why?

In everyday life it is so easy for one small, seemingly arbitrary action or thought to either ruin or enlighten our experience.  It’s raining, you’re sick, the bus never comes, you forgot your grocery list, you haven’t started that assignment due tomorrow, you fight with your friend, the cat threw up on your carpet, the litany of wrongs is endless.  And the resulting instinct is to wallow in a glum slump, hoping things get better.

 - – -

Not to go all DFW This is Water on you, but part of having a successful study abroad experience is realizing that you control your reaction to most any given situation.   It is absolutely in your power to tip the hand in either direction.  You decide to kill/save yourself.

SO PUT ON YOUR GAME FACE AND GO DO SOMETHING AWESOME!  Three more weeks in Rome and infinite adventures yet to be had…

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Grazie, Roma! Bella cosa tosto è rapita.

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Elisabeth Hawthorne

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">I&rsquo;m your standard artistic mutt, head on the ground, feet in the clouds, brought to you by a serious case of wanderlust. Small-town Minnesota girl, ex-expat of Singapore, international traveler, art history major, varsity fencer, opera singer, aesthetics junkie, curious soul, gelato votary, far from home at Haverford College in Pennsylvania, making distance and immersion my teachers during a year abroad in Rome, Italy. You can follow along as I happily consume art and carbs in la bella città, but be warned I might not stay in one place for long!</span></p>

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