Bleisch ’16 Exploring Washington D.C.

Josh Bleisch ’16 – Day two of our Washington, DC immersion trip proved very exciting. While we did not need to be ready and in the lobby of the hotel until 10:30, I got up early to attend mass at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle. It was a great opportunity to be able to visit this beautiful and historic Church. St. Matthew is the patron saint of public servants, very fitting for the seat of the Archdiocese of Washington. St. Matthews was also the location of President John F. Kennedy’s funeral mass. In addition to the rich history, the inside of the cathedral was absolutely stunning. The incredibly detailed iconography lined the walls, and the music from the large pipe organ filled the cavernous sanctuary. St. Matthews was definitely one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen.

Bleisch, at right, with Dylan Miller in front of the White House.

From there it was back to the hotel for a quick 30 minute nap before the group hoofed it over to the closest metro stop to begin our day. From there we spent some time in the American History Museum. The place was so chock full of amazing artifacts, I was only able to see about half of the exhibits. One of the exhibits that stuck with me in particular was the “Star Spangled Banner.” Inside, the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write his poem that would eventually become our National Anthem was on display. What an amazing piece of American History!

For lunch, the group walked down the National Mall to the National Museum of the American Indian. It wouldn’t be a rhetoric class trip without Dr. Drury explaining to us all the difference in the narratives seen in the American History Museum versus the Museum of the American Indian. After Lunch, and a brief walk through that museum, it was free time. My friend, Dylan Miller, and I walked over to the National Gallery of art and had the chance to see some famous works by Monet, van Gogh, da Vinci, and Picasso.

After that, we went back to the hotel to get off our feet and make plans for the evening. We decided to go to the famous Ben’s Chili Bowl. A sign on the wall listed the people who were allowed to eat there for free, and those people were Bill Cosby, and President Obama and family. The place was packed, and for good reason, the food was fantastic! Dylan and I then decided to go back to the White House for some classic touristy photo ops. We asked a nice family to take our picture. Judging by their accents, they must have been from Texas. When they asked us where we were from, we explained that we were on a trip with a class from Wabash College, expecting to have to explain that it is a very small school outside of Indianapolis. However, the father had a friend who was an alum of the College, Small World!

One more thing: apparently, on the south side of the White House, you aren’t supposed to walk on the road, so we were “emphatically suggested” to move back on the sidewalk by a Secret Service agent. Just one more thing to check off that bucket list!

Tomorrow is another long day with plans to tour the Capitol and meet Senator Joe Donnelly, and I look forward to all the other great experiences I’m sure to have while here in DC.

Biehl ’16 Observes French Lifestyle

Chris Biehl ’16 – As a first time international traveler, I was extremely nervous for our journey from Indianapolis to Newark International to Paris, France. I’m happy to say that my experiences in both airports were nothing but pleasant and after a layover in New Jersey and an eight-hour flight across the Atlantic, we arrived in Paris at 7 am Central European time zone.

When we arrived in France it was a breeze to find our luggage and we began heading to our hotel, Moulin Vert. As we were waiting on a bus our group witnessed what was believed to be a vendor getting arrested by the French police. I thought this was interesting because I’ve never seen anyone get arrested in the United States and it was funny to me that this was the first thing I see.

After witnessing the possible vendor get arrested we rode from the bus into the city. My initial reactions to the city were surprising. My assumed image was wrong. All the people I saw did not dress radically different, they drove on the same side that we do, and a good amount of French citizens are bilingual.

My biggest fear was not being able to communicate or find my way around due to the language barrier. With help from my French 101 & 102 class and the amount of French people who speak English I have had no problem communicating or finding my way around.

Nutella is everywhere. I’ve been to two super markets looking for an outlet converter and they’re entire shelves of Nutella. That being said, the lack of peanut butter is saddening. I knew that peanut butter was scarce in France but I am unable to find any yet.

Other cultural differences I have noticed are transportation. While people do drive, the majority of people get around by foot, scooter, or roller blades. I honestly haven’t seen someone in the United States on roller blades since I was a child.

Puckett ’15 Finds the Travel a Challenge

Austin Puckett ’15 – Wabash Men are not known for looking there best when they get up in the early morning. However, the morning of March 8th was a little different, as my fellow classmates and I started our adventure to Paris for Spring Break. The ride down to Indianapolis got the ball rolling with a pretty humorous car ride and that continued into the Indianapolis Airport. However, just like Wabash men should do, when it came time to get serious, we got serious. It was pretty much your typically airport visits except for the plane that we flew on to Newark was the equivalent to a fun sized candy bar. Something you should know about me is that I am a terrible flyer. So obviously, this was not good for me.
Not only was the plane small but also almost everyone had to dunk their head just to walk in. However, we prevailed and made it to Newark where the dreaded 5-hour layover waited. We passed the time by playing cards and eating what some called their last American meal. I mean there were burgers and fries and I’m pretty sure there was talk of a milkshake. Now like I said before, I am not a great flyer however the plane that we got onto next was not even a plane. As one guy that I met standing in next to me was that it is a “house with wings.” I mean this thing was absolutely massive and you couldn’t see from one end to the other. This made my fear of flying calm some and was able to have a successful flight.
Saturday was just the beginning of what is going to be an amazing trip. I know that with my fellow Wallies we are going to make Paris feel as though we are right at home at Wabash. I don’t know specifically who to thank for this trip but whoever you are, thank you very much for this once in a live time trip.

Stucker ’17 Learning Way Around D.C.

Prof. Sara Drury’s students in front of White House

Kyle Stucker ’17 – Saturday marked the first day of our week-long immersion trip to Washington D.C.  Wabash College’s Rhetoric 370 class, led by Professor Sara Drury, has traveled to our nation’s capitol in order to examine the rhetoric of the city.  The goal of our trip is to answer the following questions:

Who are the rhetorical agents and voices, past and present, in Washington, D.C.? 
How is Washington D.C. a place of politics, activism, service, history, and public memory?

How does rhetoric in Washington, D.C. construct, manage, unify, and divide the nation?

Although we are only one day into our immersion, these questions have already begun to take precedence as we walk the historic streets of Washington D.C.

My personal experience has already taught me many lessons.  Our flight from Indianapolis, IN to Newark, NJ was my first experience in an airplane.  I was able to experience the adrenaline rush of take-off, the awe inspiring view from above, and the stress of boarding and departure.  Once in D.C., I experienced another new activity: riding the subway.  Proper navigation of an underground metro is proving to be a valuable skill.  The metro drastically reduced travel time and is not too complex to understand.  If not for the immersion trip, I would not have gained experience in these valuable activities. 

Although proper transportation skills are important, those newly garnered abilities are merely bonus aquistitions for this trip.  When we arrived in D.C., we immediately began to travel to many of the most popular locations in the city.  Not only did this trip allow us to get our bearings, but we were able to begin developing our own opinions on the rhetoric of Washington D.C.  The White House was our first destination, and it was interesting how different the stately building looked in the context of the city.  When viewed through your television, the White House appears to be much more secluded than what is the reality.  In fact, this difference between the communicated reality and what is actually real may be a prominent theme throughout the trip.  The Washington Monument was next on our list, and it did not disappoint.  The structure is massive; it is the tallest stone monument in the world and stands taller than any other structure in the city.  There was a noticeable difference in the shade of stone about a third of the way up the monument.  This is mostly due to the Civil War when construction was halted.  After the war, it was impossible to use stone from the exact same source which caused a difference in color.  This color difference now serves as a constant reminder of the Civil War, and also of Washington’s ability to rebound from such a crisis and continue to develop. 

Sunday our journey continues.  Each new day will bring new skills, observations, and conclusions relevant to Washington D.C. and its rhetorical significance.  This immersion trip will be an unforgettable experience, not merely because of the pictures I collect or the good times I enjoy, but because of the greater understanding we will have of the real Washington D.C.           

Morrison ’14 Looks Ahead in Israel Trip

Scott Morrison ’14

Scott Morrison ’14 – Tonight is our first night in Israel. We touched down after a long day and a half of travel with the time change included. But the sights we saw in our first hour walking near the old city of Jaffa near Tel Aviv made all of the travel worth it already.

With our rooms not quite ready for us (because the Sabbath ends at sundown on Saturday and they were yet to be cleaned) we students set out to get our bearings and dip our feet in the Mediterranean Sea.

Jaffa Clock Tower is one of the seven clock towers built during the Ottoman period in Israel.

We quickly learned a lot about the everyday culture here in Israel. For starters, pedestrians have the right of way here, so we had to become brave in how we crossed in front of traffic. Israelis boldly walk in front of moving cars, and the cars stop every time, sure enough. We got the chance to peer into shops and attempt to exchange dollars for shekels. We even saw our first Mcdonald’s. We observed buildings and a minaret in the old city, and saw a clock tower built by a sultan hundreds of years ago.

Once to the sea, we took in the breathtaking views of the Tel Aviv skyline and a few of us dipped our feet into the cold sea and felt the soft sand between our toes. We returned for dinner which was quite different from what we are used to in the United States. There was a wide variety of salads, fruits, and pastries of different types. We did not really know what we were eating, but it was mostly all delicious.
Tonight is a little different from the rest of our trip, because Jaffa and Tel Aviv have a more historical than religious focus. Tonight is a night to see a little night life and catch up on sleep before the real trips begin tomorrow at Caesarea Maritima and the University of Haifa.
The cultural shock is pretty big from the food to the language, but you can kind of feel the power that this place has. The antiquity and religious importance permeate the surroundings, and it will only increase as we move east.
We all look forward to what this week has in store, but before I go, I will leave this post with a common Israeli verse, “Tel  Aviv is for play, Jerusalem is for pray.”
– Photos by Ian Baumgardner ’14

Hastings ’15 Taken By Tel Aviv

Hastings shooting video upon arrival in Tel Aviv

Scott Hastings ’15 – After a long, grueling, trek across the world we arrived in Tel Aviv, the second largest city in the country of Israel. First though, before arriving at our destination, we had a layover in France, which was my first experience in a country in which the native language was not one that I understood and I got my first taste of a language barrier. The language barrier would continue into Israel because even though many in Israel speak English, it is very difficult to tell who can understand you and who cannot.

David Phillips, Scott Morrison gaze at Mediterranean Sea.

The city of Tel Aviv, billed as the city that never sleeps, is very westernized in terms of how people live but very Middle Eastern in its looks. Traffic is absolutely mad! It is every driver for themselves out here but, amazingly, the rules governing how traffic treats pedestrians is much stricter. Traffic must stop if someone wants to cross the street. Kalp Juthani and I were amazed at how well we were treated as pedestrians when we went out to photograph the area.

On our walks we were exposed to several different facets of Israeli culture, the night life, religious customs and even Israeli social life. Mosques are much more common than I once thought, as we walked the one or two miles to the Mediterranean Sea, we passed three mosques. It was quite common for Israeli-Arabs to be gathering at the mosques, meeting with friends and of course to be praying there. Graffiti is very common here and on one of our walks we saw a Palestinian flag painted on a building. I found it ironic that a van bearing the letters “UN” was parked right by the graffiti.

The Mediterranean played host to the gathering of young Israelis with their friends and significant others. The lack of a difference in the behavior of young Israelis and Americans was probably one of the most eye-opening aspects of our visit to the sea. We got beautiful shots of the buildings along the coast and some of us even dipped our toes in the water. The weather of course allowed all this without a jacket or any heavy coverings because it is incredibly beautiful and warm here, a great departure from the frozen tundra that is Indiana.

I already plan on a return to Tel Aviv some time in my future because I have absolutely fallen in love with this beautiful city and Israel itself. I am only one day into this fantastic trip and continue to look forward to everything that is to come.

– Photos by Ian Baumgardner ’14

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