Rome 2019

Kennedy Foxwell, TCS Junior


When people ask about my trip to Rome, I am never sure what to tell them. The problem is not that I don’t have enough to say but rather that I don’t know how much I should say. Surely they do not want a gushing monologue about my trip. And how can I do justice to such a wonderful experience in only a few sentences? Thus, I usually settle for a quick “It was amazing!” and a large grin, leaving both the asker and myself longing for more. Although I cannot encapsulate my trip in words, I will do my best by sharing some of my fondest glimpses of Rome.

The trip to Rome taught me more than books and lectures ever could. Our visits to the sites where Caesar was stabbed, Charlemagne was crowned, and Paul and Peter were imprisoned brought history to life. The map room in the Vatican quickly became one of my favorite places not only because the hallway of hand-painted maps was so breathtaking, but also because it showed regions of ancient Italy which I had only read about in class. The grand architecture of St. Peter’s Basilica and the circular structure of the Pantheon reemphasized the magnificence and omnipresence of God. In Florence, we saw the outside of the house of Dante, the author of The Divine Comedy, which we read in tenth grade. But not every moment was educational in the scholarly sense. Some of us were adventurous in our meal choices, trying new things such as espresso or snails. Others attempted to speak Italian as much as possible, although it came out rather broken and overly accented. We found beauty not only in the museum masterpieces, but also the gorgeous city views and our nightly walks back to the apartment as we reflected upon all we had seen and done.

Something that really surprised me was how embedded ancient Rome is in the modern city. As we drove into the city the first time, we passed through sections of the old walls, and saw ruins of Roman baths beside the road. The modern bustle of city life surrounds the ancient artifacts. Crowds of cars drive around the Colosseum and the Circus Maximus. The ruins of the Forum are backdropped by the polished white marble of newer museums. The place where Caesar was assassinated lies on the corner of a busy intersection. SPQR, short for Senatus Populusque Romanus, is stamped on every possible sewer plate. And even a new Netflix show alludes to the Roman Empire in their billboards. As an American, I was amazed to see a country acknowledge their ancient roots even today.

Surely you can see why it is so difficult to answer the question: “How was the Rome trip?” Our trip to Rome was so much more than a visit to another country; it was an adventure which vivified history, cultivated wonder, and deepened several friendships. This is a TCS tradition which I hope continues to come alive for the Junior classes to come.