Wabash Men Visit Site Built by Herod

Professor Gilberto Gomez with Wabash students talking to Haifa University students and Professor

Zeno Joyce ’14 in the Market for morning juice.

Shane Hoerbert ’15 – As I lay in my bed around 4:30 in the morning with the second day of our Israel trip about to begin I hear the first Islamic prayer being played over loudspeakers throughout Tel-Aviv. After stepping out on the balcony to listen to the prayer I lace up the shoes for a run with Bradke along the beach. I think about the exciting day ahead and think about the track team (congrats on the fourth NCAC title) and all my fellow Wabash Men back home and on all the other immersion trips.  How lucky we are!

After a quick breakfast we headed north out of Tel-Aviv to Casarea, which was built by Herod the Great, and has continually served as a port city until it was turned into a national park. We relived the religious and cultural history of the amphitheater, hippodrome, palaces, and bathhouses. We took a bunch of awesome pictures including one in which the group was reenacting the usage of the bathrooms located in the hippodrome.

Shane Hoerbert

We then proceeded further north to the old city of Acre in which we visited the White Mosque and witnessed the ritual cleanings and prayer. After stopping for a taste of traditional Israeli cuisine we headed back south to Haifa, and visited the Bahá’í gardens.

After the gardens we proceeded to the University of Haifa and visited with students and the Professor of Jewish studies. We intellectually and socially connected with this people on important sociological and political viewpoints.

After this long and amazing day we have arrived at the Colony Hotel (it is niceeeee). Words cannot express how excited I am for the rest of this trip. The guys are yelling at me to finish this blog so we can eat dinner. Shalom!

Students Exploring on First Day in Israel

David Phillips ’14 – After staying up for over 30 hours I finally got to sleep in a bed. There has never been a more restful sleep than that in my life. I woke to do my morning reading and enjoyed a wonderful sunrise. It was also nice to hear a rooster crow in the morning and look out and see a bustling city. Breakfast was fantastic and bus ride to Caesarea was beautiful and scenic

David Phillips

Today in Caesarea we all go to sit in an outdoor theatre that looked out upon the ocean. It was truly mind blowing how beautiful it was! We then went to see the remains of Herod the Great’s palace which was between the theatre and the amphitheater. We also got to see a public restroom which was literally a few slots on the side of a walk way, outdoors, with no stalls. I am so happy we live in an era with dividers. But anyways moving on from the bathrooms we went to the amphitheater which was massive! This is where chariots and other games would be held. We were told that they used sand on the ground for the amphitheatre to absorb the blood better. Fantastic, I was literally standing on possibly a guys remains a couple thousand years earlier! After we left from Caesarea we went to Acre but on the way there we passed Mount Carmel. This mountain has some significance in the Bible because it hosted the story of Elijah killing a bunch of the pagan prophets.

Joe Jackson, Kalp Juthani, and Scott Hastings at the White Mosque

When we arrived to Acre we go to go into the white Mosque which was built by a Sultan that was nicknamed “the Butcher”. A real nice guy, great with kids I am sure… anyways we got to go see the inside of the mosque and observe a guy praying. The mosque was stunning! After this we ate at a little place that served shwarma. If you have never had shwarma you are missing out! Essentially it is seasoned chicken with vegetables you add contained by pita bread. It is simply delightful. After we ate we passed through a market that was down a few alleyways. The vendors had an assortment of items, from fake toys to spices and fish.

To finish the day we went to Haifa University to talk with the students there. We talked about a song’s lyrics and what it meant to all of us. It was enlightening experience to learn what other cultures think about a topic. Overall this trip has been nothing more than incredible. I am so grateful and blessed to have gotten to go on a trip like this! The place has been amazing but even better is the men I have gotten to share it with.

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

Nathan Bode: Sad To Be Home

Nathan Bode - Buenos dias, Wallies! No, this is not my typical blog for the class of 2016. I’m coming to you from approximately *looks out plane window* one billion feet in the air, while flying back to Cincinnati, Ohio from Miami, Florida. Before I reflect on the past week, let’s stop and take in that last sentence: Flying FROM Miami (75 degrees, sunny, beach) TO Ohio (30 degrees, cloudy, Ohio). The struggle is real.

Nathan Bode dancing in the streets of Havana

Anyways, if you’ve read the blogs of my colleagues, than you’ve got a pretty good idea of what we’ve been up to in the Caribbean. From drinking mojitos and smoking cigars to getting hustled by women in colonial outfits and participating in traditional Santeria dances, our trip to Cuba has been a whirlwind, and a fun one at that.

But mojitos, pina coladas, cuba libres, and Ron Collins aside, the trip was also an exceptional insight into what the Cuban situation is really all about. In reflection, it’s hard to believe how empty my view on the Cuban political and economic system really was without actually seeing it firsthand. Reading the books, watching the documentaries, and listening to the guest speakers in class was a great place to start, but without an actual visit to pull it all together, there are massive cracks in our understanding of what is jaded opinion and what is reality. A blessing in disguise is that even on the other side of the embargo blockade, bias also exists. By the end of the trip, our group began to discuss the growing eeriness that our Cuban experience (a government-guided experience) may have been a little too perfect. We ate at the restaurants the Cuban government wanted us to, met the people the government wanted us to meet, and basically saw the things the government wanted us to see. Suddenly it sounds like a journey a la Twilight Zone.

Enter the value of the immersion trip. Because we were able to visit Cuba, we experienced all of the bias, American and Cuban. We were able to talk to the locals and bear witness to all the sides of the story. Without observing the differences between America’s Cuba, Castro’s Cuba, and the people’s Cuba, we would never have been able to form a valuable opinion on the situation for ourselves (aka “Thinking Critically”). Because of this trip, I will able to tell my family that no, the Cubans didn’t try to kill us when we got there. And I will be able to tell my classmates that the genuine warmth and kindness of the Cuban people is something the American people could afford to emulate. But I will also be able to acknowledge through first-hand experience the ability of a Communist government to shape almost every aspect of life in the way it sees fit.

The bottom line is that cultural studies in the classroom are like chemical equations in a textbook; they are helpful, but the real value comes when you get your hands a little dirty and can see what happens in the real world.

I wish I could say it was good to be back.

John Kennedy: A Cuban American Visits Cuba

John Kennedy - As I sit on the American Airlines regional jet cruising at 37,000 feet, headed towards home, I reflect on the week long journey which has just taken place. This past week has been one of the greatest and most informative times of my life. The food, people and places have all been phenomenal and I am thankful for the opportunity Wabash has provided to me to participate in this excursion.

John Kennedy chats with Professor Rogers at the University of Havana.

As a Cuban-American, it was interesting to see the places which my abuelos and aunts and aunt and uncle were able to see when they were children. I was able to experience the culture of my heritage, which growing up in Indianapolis, was neglected. This trip gave me an overall pride in my Cuban heritage, which I am sure will please my Cuba-loving mother.

The time spent in Cuba was incredibly educational and eye opening. We were able to prove and disprove American stereotypes of the island. Growing up, I always envisioned that Havana was defined by old 1950’s American cars and soldiers patrolling the area. The old cars due exist in great quantities and are incredibly beautiful to see. My stereotype about the soldiers was disproved as there were not many soldiers patrolling the city of Havana. The only major places where they were stationed would be guarding the ministry buildings, a massive obelisk monument to Martí and the Granma.

For many on this trip, it was their first time in a foreign nation, let alone a nation to which the United States lacks diplomatic relations with. Those who have not flown in an aircraft or experienced airport security, are now professionals at it, having flown four times since last Sunday. We have come to relish the warm weather of both Cuba and Florida, 750F is much better than the 420F which our destination is predicted to be at touchdown.

El Castile de Morro

The group which I have had the privilege to travel with for the past week is an outstanding group of 16 Wabash gentlemen. I truly believe that only schools like Wabash would be able to do this type of trip. All on the trip acted maturely and responsibly at all times during the course of this journey. My favorite moment of this entire journey happened the first night in Cuba. Our guide William (who in hind sight was quite censored by the Cuban government) led us to El Castile de Morro, a massive Spanish fort guarding the entrance to the Port of Havana. I found it phenomenal how insanely well kept the fort was, despite the Cuban government not possessing a large amount of money. As the child of two military parents and sibling to a future Naval Academy midshipmen, forts have always fascinated me. They are the true combination of where army meets navy (with the exception of beach landings and the annual Army- Navy football game). The architecture of the fort was mind blowing, and in particular, the gatehouses were the most pristine I have ever seen.

Reflecting back on the experience on the island, it is easy to see why foreigners fall in love with this country. In Cuba, it is possible for people to get whatever they wish, in the words of a Canadian tourist I met, “Cuba has lovely scenery, beautiful women and alcohol everywhere.” This being said, there still is a gross disappointment that I was not able to experience the world of the average Cuban, the world like people such as my great uncle experience on a day to day basis. As students, we only got a small taste of what life for the average Cuban is throughout the entire trip. We were able to witness several blackouts as we traveled away from Havana one night to meet with members from the CDR or Committees for the Defense of the Revolution. That night, even with there being blackouts all around, we were treated like royalty. In particular, that night was my birthday and I received the best birthday present ever, a one hour long dance show from the children of the neighborhood.

In Miami, we were able to see the lives of those who immigrated to the United States since the time of the revolution. There, we were truly able to experience a variety of Cuban cuisine (in Cuba, food shortages are common, making some food hard to come by). Whereas for a majority of the group, this cuisine was new, for me it was not. I was in Cuban food heaven and loved every moment of it. I literally ate several meals until I was physically unable to eat anymore. Upon hearing that we had just traveled to Cuba, the Cubans in Miami were more than eager to tell us their reasons for leaving and ask us about our experience in their homeland.

Tim Padgett talks with the students at the WLRN Studios.

We had the honor of meeting Jaime Sushlicki and Tim Padgett in Miami to discuss our trip and what we had learned. It was excellent to get the opinion of a Jewish Cuban immigrant (Jaime) on his thoughts about the Cuban government and Cuba. Even though he has been in the United States since 1960, he still worries about the nation of his birth and is concerned that Cuba will turn into a resort nation when US-Cuban relations are restored. Tim Padgett was the final person we met with and it was excellent to get the opinion from a writer from the Time Magazine. This allowed for the trip to go “full circle” and provided a phenomenal experience for us all.

After spending one final day in Miami looking at the Jewish influence on both Miami and Havana, we began to realize that our time was limited and we would soon have to return home to Indiana. Staring out my window on the plane into the abyss that is the sky, I encourage all those who have the opportunity to go to Cuba to go with an open mind and not as a tourist to enjoy the sights but to look in depth to where they are and truly appreciate the people, the wonderful people who are on that tiny island just south of Florida.

As I conclude this blog, I begin to feel sad. My experience is over and I may never return to that island. How I loved that island and how I was able to better understand both myself and the world around me. Finally, I would like to dedicate this blog to my abuelo, Roberto Gonzalez who left his beloved Cuba in 1963, never to return and to all those who leave their homeland never to see it again.