Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Day 5 - Exploring Vanderbilt

To begin our educational adventures, we were off to Centennial Park to visit the full-size replica of the Parthenon that makes Nashville the "Athens of the South". We also spent some time at the Women's Suffrage Movement of Tennessee monument.

Unfortunately, when a few members of our group went back to the van to grab lunch, they discovered a flat tire! Two of our fearless leaders sacrificed their day exploring campus to go get it repaired. Thank you Amy and Theresa!!

Walking through campus, we saw lots of beautiful buildings, but even more importantly, we saw lots of beautiful dogs, as documented above.

We ended the day by going to a screening of A Separation also on the Vanderbilt campus. The film, a 2011 Iranian piece directed by Asghar Farhadi, was a part of an International Lens series for the university. The film follows a middle-class Iranian family as they struggle with morality, loyalty, and piety. In the midst of a lawsuit that puts his family life on the line, Nader is forced to compromise his integrity in the eyes of his daughter in order to protect his ailing father and keep his family together. The film also explored ideas of immigration and how it affects family dynamics, and vice versa. Following the screening, there was a discussion lead by two Vanderbilt professors in which several of our group members participated.

Another good ole day in Nashville with Mags and Adam-bum-bum-bum!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Day 4 - Service for Catholic Charities

Today, the family volunteered with Mcgruder Family Resource Center for Catholic Charities. We helped by moving a ton of food and supplies from a storage truck into the pantries and auditorium inside the building.

Our first real service experience was a great workout (leg day, arm day, and core day... full body) while also bringing us all closer together as a family and allowing to help out the community in a tangible, substantial way. 

We had a bomb Taco Tuesday dinner! Macda, Arjun, Aastha, Talia, and Amy with the help of many others (i.e. Anne-Olive's moral support and Dioni's expert onion slicing skills) made cilantro with rice, homemade guacamole, sofritas, ground beef, pinto and black beans, and fajitas, complete with shredded cheese, sour cream, corn, salsa, spicy pepper, and garnished with lime. 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Day 3 - March 20th

We started off our day with some delicious pancakes and scrambled eggs and then we went to a nearby local park. At the park we split into groups of 4 and researched countries that struggle with immigration such as Syria, Burma, Bhutan, and Somalia. During our research, we learned a lot about the reasons why there are crises in each of these countries. Also, we researched what policies are being implemented to provide aid to the individuals in need. Additionally, we learned about which neighboring countries are providing funds and aid to help with the refugee crisis in each of the countries. After sharing what we learned with each other, we explored the park and an agricultural museum. The highlight of the day was petting patrol horses in their stables. Also, we met a cat named Ms. Kitty, who hates her son. After resting for couple of minutes, we participated in a square dancing class that was held in the church we are staying at. We finished off the night with a nutritious dinner and reflection.

Macda and Arjun out!

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Day Two 19 March 2017

Today we explored the city of downtown Nashville after a late start in the morning. We ended up on Broadway (street/avenue), where we were able to take in the sights of the city. We were determined to reach the pedestrian sidewalk above the river but we ended up splitting up into two groups to allow everyone to go to the places they wanted to go. One group (that included Dioni) ended up going back up the strip to the restaurants to listen to the music blasting through all of them. They were determined to get a taste of Nashville, so they were looking for great restaurants to go to. They ended up going to Jack's Barbecue where they got a taste of traditional southern foods like ribs, mac &cheese, mashed potato,  and corn. After they ate they went off to another restaurant that had an open floor to allow people to line dance and listen to great country music. They chose this restaurant based on how loud the music was blasting. They watched as women were line dancing and decided to join in. After a few sets passed they decided to leave to get amazing ice cream.

The other group (which included Aastha) decided to go to the pedestrian sidewalk on the river. After taking pictures of the city, we went back down to the strip to eat lunch at The Tillery, a restaurant that had vegan, gluten free, and vegetarian items for those with dietary restrictions. We then went to meet up with the other group and eat ice cream with them all at Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams.

Dinner was vegetarian orzo, potatoes, and chicken cooked by Hope and Adam. Delicious!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Day 1 - 8:58 AM

Hello all - 

The team minus one rendezvous'd at Knight Hall, stressed and tired. We loaded the cars with tons of luggage and a well decorated ice cooler containing six trays of pasta, made by AB Nashville's very own Amy and Aastha ;) Soon after, we were on the road and 30 minutes out when suddenly, a thought occurred to Aastha... our van felt one person too short. Who was missing? My fellow blogger tonight, Adriano! A quick laugh later, we gave him a call and it just so happened that he had overslept as well. We turned both vans around and booked it back to UMD where we picked him up and hit the road once again. Along the way, both Adriano and I upgraded to Spotify premium - perhaps one of the better decisions taken today. Separately, we were jamming to good tunes without Chik-fil-a ads interrupting the ~*~*good vibes~*~*~. The vans took a pit stop where we inhaled almost all six trays of pasta. And another pit stop for coffee. And another for a quick bathroom break. And another to switch drivers. And another one gone. And another one gone. And another one bites the dust. Hey! In all seriousness, the large van made several more stops than the minivan. Surprisingly, though, at one point the minivan was reportedly 30 miles behind us. Along the way, Adriano enjoyed some fun conversations with Maggie and Dioni while I learned of Tali's and Val's political ideologies. A few (hundred) hours and radio scans later, we arrived at Christ Lutheran Church - turns out the minivan arrived a whole hour before us! Pizza was for dinner, a deep reflection, and an adventure with an unexpected visitor. Until tomorrow!

Amy and Adriano