By guest blogger Courtney Gareau ’17
I have a love hate relationship with Lent. I think that is great way to work on temperance and my relationship with God, but it is also difficult because nobody really enjoys giving things up for Lent. You at least have to enjoy whatever it is that you are giving up, hence the difficulty of giving up something for Lent. I once had to explain this to one of my first grade CCD students in a conversation that went like this:
Me: “So, have any of you decided what you are giving up for Lent?”
Boy [raises hand]: “Yes! I am giving up chocolate cake!”
Me: “Ok great! Do you really like chocolate cake?”
Boy: “Oh no! I hate chocolate cake! I only eat vanilla!”
Me: “Oh that’s not quite how Lent is supposed to work.”
I then went on to explain how you are supposed to give up something that you actually like and enjoy, which is far from what my student had been planning on doing.
We all associate Lent with something that we have to give up, and then the joy of getting to go back to eating that chocolate or scrolling on Facebook once Easter comes. This year, I am challenging myself to grow in other ways during Lent. I know that just giving up a food will mean that I start eating it again after Lent. While that forces discipline, I know that it won’t have long lasting effects for me. Instead, I am working on eating healthy to work on overall health. Additionally, as a way to bridge health and the discipline of sacrificing, I am giving up the thing that we all know to well – scrolling through all of our social media accounts to see what we have missed in the past hour. My Lenten goal to work on this is that I am not allowed to go on social media when I am laying in bed because by giving this up, I am cutting back on my screen time as well as giving myself those few extra minutes for an earlier bedtime as well as nightly prayer. This leads me to the last part of what I am working on for Lent – my prayer life. This cannot be boiled down to one specific thing because I am working on this in a few different areas including Mass, Adoration, and reflection. These are all things that happen in my life already, but this Lent, I am working on increasing the frequency in a hope to deepen my prayer life and relationship with God.
This year, I am really working on having my Lenten goals be things that can continue after Easter and not just end after the 40 days. When giving things up for Lent as a kid, my dad used to always tell me, “You can do anything for 40 days.” This is very true because even difficult sacrifices can be made for 40 days. My goal this year though is to challenge myself to make my goals ones that last much longer than the 40 days. I think that this is something that we can all work on because Lent should be a time to reflect on ourselves and our own lives and make the changes that are necessary to prepare ourselves for Christ’s death as well as the redemption that comes with His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Jesus was in the desert for 40 days, but the Israelites were in the desert for 40 years. Can we challenge ourselves to make our Lent something that affects us for not just 40 days but for 40 years?
By guest blogger Courtney Gareau ’17 I have a love hate relationship with Lent. I think that is great way... MORE
Ever digitized an old print photo by taking a picture of it with your phone? In a pinch, it’s a quick-and-dirty solution that usually sacrifices image quality. The Google Photos team has responded with their new PhotoScan app, which harnesses the ease of using a phone camera, while also cleaning up the quality issue. A simple interface allows you to quickly scan multiple photos, while also guiding you through scanning different parts of each photo to produce a much higher-quality image that reduces glare and shadow. The app also offers automatic rotation, cropping, and color-correction. Naturally, PhotoScan seamlessly integrates with Google Photos, but you can also save your scans to your camera roll or share them in other apps.
Ever digitized an old print photo by taking a picture of it with your phone? In a pinch, it’s a... MORE
ESE Study Abroad Blog
Week of December 4
I can’t believe we are in the single digit countdown to coming home! This has been such an incredible experience it’s hard to believe that we have less than 10 days left. One of the best parts of this experiences has been practicum. Teaching in an italian classroom has been incredible and nothing like what I expected. For starters, I NEVER expected to teach with my hands this much!! And I never expected to teach in a room with no technology. 2 chalboards. That was all I had.
I don’t know what I was expecting going into this experience. It never really hit me until I got into the classroom that I was teaching English to Italian students. When I walked into the room for the first day the students were so excited and all yelled “good morning” at me. That is why it did not hit me until after I sat down to observe and they all started yelling in Italian. I was attempting to make out the few Italian words I knew, like how to say pizza, pasta and thank you….but none of the students were using those. It was very overwhelming…but I was also excited.
My favorite lesson of this semester was by far the last lesson I taught, my Christmas lesson. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love Christmas, so it is obvious that this is by far my favorite subject to teach. Throughout the semester I always made it a point to integrate US cultures and traditions into my lessons whenever possible. I liked to show the students how things are different at home and give them as accurate of a picture of America as possible. When I taught the Christmas lesson we compared Christmas in Italy to Christmas in America and found many similarities and a few differences. For example, in Italy there are no stockings hung by the fireplace. When I was explaining it to the students they thought it was the coolest thing ever but did not understand how Santa could fit anything in a pair of tights!! During the lesson the students were decorating paper ornaments and hanging them up on the paper tree I placed at the front of the room. It was an indescribable feeling to be looking around the room at my little Italian 6th graders as they colored ornaments, writing English phrases on them and randomly bursting into song, with those songs being various American Christmas Carols. I saw the students writing things on their ornaments that I taught them weeks ago. It was such an incredible feeling to see that the students were actually learning and understanding what I was teaching them.
So now as practicum has come to a close, all the weekend trips have ended, and we are in the final single digit countdown, I am realizing more and more how grateful I am for this experience. It has changed me in ways I cannot describe, but I am so thankful for. Florence is a beautiful place to be able to call home for 4 months, but I think I am ready to be back in Friartown!!
Caitlin Whitaker ESE Study Abroad Blog Week of December 4 I can’t believe we are in the single digit... MORE