Clare Myers, Rome Correspondent
Every Rome semester is a memorable experience, but as far as Rome semesters go, spring 2013 has been unique. For perhaps the first time in University of Dallas history, the Romers’ 10-Day this semester was sandwiched in between the election of a pope and his first papal Easter celebration.
“I think that the close proximity of having 10-Day in between Holy Week and the election … heightened the excitement of Ten Day, because while we were having all of our adventures, we knew that we’d be walking right back into another one,” sophomore Chris Goldkamp said.
Sophomore Charles Shaughnessy chose to stay in Rome during the conclave.
“Everything else will still be there in 10, 20 years if I come back,” Shaughnessy said. “I ain’t never gonna be able to see a pope getting elected again.”
Many students were conflicted, making plans and trying to gauge how long the conclave would last and whether they wanted to stay in Rome. Some decided to stay in the city for the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
”I wanted to stay for sure because there was the installation Mass and his first Angelus and that sort of thing,” sophomore Allie Rodgers said. “I wanted to be there for all of it.”
When Francis was chosen the night before the last day of classes, sophomore Nicole Johnson was ecstatic.
“It was an ideal situation because we took a gamble, and it turned out for the best,” Johnson said.
Others, like sophomore Vince Athas, decided to forge ahead with their plans as scheduled. He gambled with the papal election in the hopes that he would be able to attend as many papal events as possible.
“I had booked it in advance,” Athas said of a trip to Ireland. “I had to meet some of my Irish family … from the beginning I knew I had to do that. I really wish I could’ve made the inaugural Mass, but at the same time … I had a great time staying with my Irish family.”
Some people traveled to Eastern Europe and some toured the United Kingdom, to name a few. Sophomore Jerick Johnson spent most of 10-Day with family in Mainz, Germany.
“I was able to soak in more of the culture instead of going to 10 countries in 10 days or five or six,” Johnson said.
Part of sophomore Jeremy Hall’s Ten Day was not such smooth sailing. He survived an avalanche in the Bavarian Alps.
“I’m standing there and I hear a crack way too close for comfort,” Hall said. “I see this massive movement of ice and snow hurtling towards me.”
Hall climbed on top of the biggest boulder he could find and held on for dear life. After it ended he had to find his way back on a path completely filled in with snow.
“Germany can thank me for re-blazing that path,” Hall said.
Sophomore Mike Pitstick also had a memorable experience while attending a performance of Spamalot in West End in London on his birthday. He was pulled up on stage in the middle of the production. He described his reaction as “flabbergasted.”
“It was unexpected,” Pitstick said, adding that it was “second only to seeing the election of the Pope.”
Whether Romers’ 10-Day vacations focused on celebrating the inauguration of the new pope or celebrating the timeless perfection of a Hofbrauhaus brew, it was a spring break to remember.