A Separate Departure

A Separate Departure

Greetings, Sunbirds. This is Anthony Fredette, one of three travelers to Greece who will be making a brief, one-week stop in the “boot” of the Mediterranean before arriving in Athens to meet up with the larger group. As the particular journey of our subgroup (Luis Ramos III, William DePledge, and yours truly) will be markedly different from that of the rest of the travelers, I have been asked to say a few words about our preparation for the trip.

First, an admission: I really don’t want to sit on a bus with Marshall for hours at a time. A casual observer of my, Will’s, and Luis’s predicament would likely note that the significant amount of money spent on securing food and lodging for a week in The Eternal City is well worth it considering the frightening alternative. What is that alternative, you, the astute reader, rightly ask? It is nothing less than a bombardment of jokes made at the expense of the upperclassmen, the hardest working members of the traveling cohort. Attempts to denigrate our intelligence will be interspersed with constant verbal reminders that we are approximately two academic degrees short of being able to authoritatively comment on anything. For my part, I sometimes wonder how anyone is able to put gasoline into a car without the educational benefit of at least a master’s degree. Rather than perpetuate this cycle of general self-doubt, the three of us chose to find our own way into the Mediterranean.

After spending hours testing the spatial limits of a single suitcase, I proceeded to drive to the Ramos Estate. After picking up Will at an undisclosed location (being that he is much too important for world affairs to simply transport himself), Luis’s stately villa became the launching point of our journey. A fleet of pristine vehicles adorn the front of the estate. I can only assume that they serve to escort Luis to his various obligations each day.

All three of us consistently showed the symptoms of having studied the classics. I had to be constantly reminded that we had not yet left the country. A canine figure in the front of the villa seemed, until closer inspection, to be the fabled Capitoline Wolf. Will pointed out the bust of an emperor, which slowly became a trophy commemorating one of Luis’s many childhood achievements the more that we looked at it. It wasn’t until I observed a group of birds leisurely resting around a pool of water and commented on the extensive public bath system that I was reminded by my fellow travelers that I was neither in Rome nor in the first century A.D. (although one would be forgiven for confusing Clovis with the northern Mediterranean) Finally, Will and I had to remind Luis shortly before we left the estate that an animal sacrifice would not be necessary unless our first flight should be delayed.

Thus begins the first chapter of our Sunbird Synodia. The Greek word in the blog’s title (literally “a journeying together”) reflects the fact that Fresno Pacific’s idea of a community of learners is not bound by the physical constraints of FPU’s main campus and regional centers, but, rather, it achieves its fullest expression when it is taken out into the world at large. Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for more!

(Author’s Note: In case it was not already obvious, the above post is satirical in tone and partially in content. Marshall Johnston is an incredible professor whose company on the trip will be highly valued and constantly enjoyable.)

Study Abroad

Anthony J. Fredette

Greece 2014