A Little History Lesson

One thing you absolutely cannot escape in Europe is its vast history prevalent in its people, architecture, and art. There is absolutely no escape!

I was fortunate enough to visit Rome, Italy this weekend and was dumbfounded by  the ancient history that invades everyday life in the city. Just by walking a few blocks away from our hostel, my friends and I were able to find ancient ruins, the Altare della Patria, and even the Trevi Fountain. Within in a few simple blocks, we were able to witness thousands of years worth of history in a few structures.

Look what we accidentally stumbled upon in Rome!

Look what we accidentally stumbled upon in Rome!

This looks quite old and important...

This looks quite old and important…

However, whether I am strolling down the Via Sacra towards the Colosseum in Rome, or I’m walking down the shopping street in Leuven, I have found myself completely immersed in layers of history. When exploring Leuven, the structure of the city reveals its history through its intricate architecture. Even our university itself dates back to the 15th century!

One of my favorite moments in Leuven was when I realized how quickly I have learned about the small city and country in just a few months. As I guided a few of my friends around Leuven for the first time, I was able to give them a few history lessons about Belgium and the historical significance of our university, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KU Leuven). Not only does our program ensure this with educational trips around Belgium and history classes dedicated to the Low Countries (which Belgium is apart of), the city itself seems to beg you to learn all about its past just by the magical nature of its streets. From my experience in the US, you don’t tend to find a city filled with cobblestone streets, intricate architecture, weathered statues, and universities that date back to 1425.

The aspect of European history that has really stuck with me this week has been the impact both World Wars had on the area. Not only is one reminded of its impact by the citizens who wear red poppies in memorial, but bigger cities like Brussels contain monuments and art that were affected or erected because of the First World War. Just by exploring the statues in Brussels, it is easy to find a number of monuments dedicated to British and Belgian soldiers, the Belgian infantry, and even the “Soldier Pigeons” who lost their lives in the war. It is hard to forget how earthshaking these wars were to many of the countries in Europe, which is something I will never see in the US.

Overall, I am just grateful for the opportunity to think more deeply about the vast history that surrounds me and has shaped my world everyday.

A Very Happy Halloween

Hanover College has many traditions, but a favorite among both students and staff is the president’s annual Halloween party. Faculty and their families, as well as student all dress to the nines for this event.

The activities center is full of Hanoverians dressed in their Halloween best!

The activities center is full of Hanoverians dressed in their Halloween best!

The party always begins with desserts and other goodies at the president’s house. There are the usual costumes, such as ghosts and witches. But there were a few new ones, like a bag of jellybeans, Cousin Eddie and my personal favorite Lilo and Stich.

Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays. I love dressing up in crazy costumes and looking at everyone’s various costume ideas. As a kid, I always dressed up as my favorite Disney character, but one year I went as Elvis Presley. Ever since I was a kid, I loved playing dress up and loved Halloween because it was the one night a year when it was perfectly acceptable to go out looking like a total dork.

My two friends, Celia and Haley, went as a skeleton and as a biker chick.

My two friends, Celia and Haley, went as a skeleton and as a biker chick.

After desserts with the president, the party moved to the student activities center. There, a band comprised of students and a few professors, called Room for Molly. This band is a favorite in the Hanover community. Several members are some of Hanover’s favorite professors and a few very talented students.

The annual Halloween party is a tradition that many students and staff hope to continue and plan to pass on to all the future Hanoverians. It’s a special time of year where the campus community comes together and celebrates. I just hope the Sanderson sisters never show up to place a spell on us as we celebrate.