Thursday, April 30, 2009

four up, four down.

"literally -- nothing is the same."
-- elliot foley
oh gosh.
it's been a while since i've posted anything here. i know some people have been thinking "what the heck greg -- at the beginning of the semester you were posting about dorm room Horse games and now you're not even posting about ten day or 5 day trips!" to which i have 2 responses:
1) that Horse shot was literally the most dramatic moment of the semester, and will forever be engrained in my memory. so lay off. :).
2) there is no way i can do ten day or 5 day justice on this blog.
i can't wait to sit down with everyone someday and share the stories and lessons that i have accumulated during my time here. but for now, leaving you wondering will have to do.
the last 2 weeks has been intense. finals have come and gone, frisbee season is over, and everyone here is just about all packed up. pretty much every conversation you have with people is about moving on -- how are you feeling about going home? what are you doing over the summer? are you excited to see your family again?
my reply is always the same: i'm going to take 2 weeks to just figure out life again. and usually the person will look at me quizzically and ask something like, "what do you mean?". and the answer, like i've heard elliot say over and over, is that nothing is the same anymore.
the way i view people.
the way i view the Church.
the way i view my friendships.
the way i view Love.
the way i view myself.
it's just all so dang different. and i know that a month from now Austria will be but a strange dream of the past to me, and i will be all settled in back home again and whatnot. the challenge for me is to actualize, to integrate, to make truly real all of the things i learned here.
it's also been made apparent to me that everything i've been given is not just for me. the joy, hope, and lessons learned are to be shared.
a year ago i was sitting in my room (207), talking with Josh Wattenbarger about my year ahead. i was looking ahead at WYD australia in july and these 4 months in europe. "i have the craziest year of my life ahead of me" i remember telling him. if i had only known at that moment the joy i would be experiencing right now, i think i would have keeled over. it's like a four month retreat high. but these memories will never, ever fade. the people i've met will never cease to have an impact on me. the love i've experienced will continue to shape my actions.
Austria is over. Half of college is over. I'm twenty in just over two months. just typing this is surreal.
Praise God for His countless blessings and unending love. He has set my road straight before me for four months, He has kicked down every wall i've butted into -- and now He's waiting for me at the end of the tunnel, waving an American flag and welcoming me home.
that's a strange thought.

Monday, April 13, 2009

understanding not needed for standing upright.

do you think they understood? like, really, really, really understood?

picture peter, just hanging out, still trying to figure out if he had just wasted three years of his life or not. mary bursts into his room and starts babbling about an empty tomb and an angel. Jesus is alive again. He's waiting for you.

Peter sprints to the tomb and sees the evidence. and this is where my question comes up again: do you think he understood?

did he understand that thousands of years of humanity had been groaning for this day? that billions of people were not fortunate enough to have the Resurrection ever preached to them? that he would be the foundation of a new creation? that in a few hundred years the whole world would venerate this moment?

heck, do i even understand it today? 2000 years later? because when i lift my hands and say unto God that i love him for his sacrifice and thank him for his love, i certainly feel like i understand. but when i use those same hands to continue the trend of evil, i find myself wondering: do i really understand?

all i can say with certainty is that i understand this much: an empty tomb brought Meaning to a previously empty hearted world. and an empty tomb has brought meaning to my previously empty heart.

and for that, i'll continue to sing, knowing i will never completely understand it.

Easter Monday
April 13, 2009.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

nothing i wanted, everything i needed.

really brief:

ten day was nothing like we planned it, but exactly what we all needed. hopefully i'll post something here about it before we leave for Easter 5day break of wed. night/thursday morn.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

bon voyage.

It feels a bit surreal, but ten-day break is officially here. After hearing countless stories of the ups and downs that come with ten-day travelling, it's finally my turn to travel wherever i want, with whoever i want, get pissed/annoyed/frustrated with/at them, drink with them, pray with them, etc.

Can't wait.

Me, Elliot, and Chris Loisel are leaving at 3AM for Croatia and Medjugorje. i had accepted that i wouldn't be going to Medj this semester and that it "wasn't my time" to go, but Elliot and Chris had such a good experience there last weekend that they insisted we go while on ten-day.

We're spending 4 days in Dubrovnik, Croatia, from Saturday til Tuesday night. We then spend two days in Medj, and finish it off in Split, Croatia before heading home.

This break comes at an opportune time, as the never-ending winter continues here in Gaming. The snow seems to be melting for good this time, but it's never a safe bet it seem in Gaming. The slightly warmer coast of Croatia should be a good change of pace.

We're all expecting big things from this trip. I pray it's as successful and memorable as we hope it to be. please pray for us, as i will certainly be holding Dedham, LOJ, and all friends in my heart as i journey into Medj for the first time.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

eff households 2.0

I'm kind of embarassed i even have to do this.

some 2 months after posting an entry about making new friends, word has finally gotten back to me that my comment of "eff household" has become a joke of sorts, used to sarcastically describe the "excitement" of our return to main campus.

i'm just going to state simply that the comment was merely intended to be a radical way of saying that households are not an acceptable way of judging people or denying friendships with people. i apologize if it bothered anybody.

and if this news i was told is in fact incorrect and is just a misconstrued rumor, then ignore this completely -- i simply don't want people thinking i'm sick of household (hence why i put I LOVE MY HOUSEHOLD in caps in the original entry).

i feel like i'm defending one of my Troub articles again.

loj is the greatest household in the history of households. and i owe much of my growth over the past 2 years to the intercession of St Joseph and the love of my brothers.

the end.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

yea, like nike.

It's been said in a myriad of fashions:
"Just jump off the cliff."
"All you gotta do is say yes."
"Just reach out and touch Him."
"Knock, and the door will be opened".

The first and greatest thing i had to face up to is that the only thing standing between myself and canonization is: myself.

I came into Gaming desiring a number of things: a better prayer life, a better attitude, a greater knowledge of my faith. It took me about 2 weeks to realize that Europe wasn't going to go to the chapel or study for me.

After my first week here, in which i slept in on numerous occasions, i slapped myself and declared that i was going to go to mass everyday. i can still remember the moment i stated this because suddenly i felt enabled. i've missed one since. once the ball got rolling, it was impossible for me to not go to mass. it's eventually gotten to the point where i feel weird/guilty if i miss a day.

and i could repeat pretty much the same story with a multitude of different tasks: prayer, devotions, confession, etc. i've had conversations via facebook with a number of friends from home throughout the semester, and this theme of inaction kept popping up. getting to know the Lord requires action. whether you want to call it reaching out, taking a leap, knocking on the door, whatever, just do it.

the point, i think, is clear. when you know you have something you need/should be doing: just do it. it sounds remarkably simple and maybe even cause some people to think "well, duh, greg". but concupiscence grounds us more than we sometimes realize. we often look at the clock and use time as an excuse for our laziness.

one of the best lyrics Jon Foreman every wrote says, "get up, love is moving you now". we're called to respond to the Lord in love. And love cannot be static, it cannot be given from our sofas. whatever we gotta do -- do it.

slacker. i know.

so i've realized i've been getting rather lazy in my writing. i created this blog with the intention of not just simply giving updates but to also write of things i've learned along the way and whatnot. instead, since january, i've opted for point-by-point updates and brief one-liners. my goal by the end of the semester is to greatly change this pattern. hopefully starting now.

here goes.


Friday, March 20, 2009

just the two of us.

with 90% of the student body (plus gordo and j-watt) on pilgrimage to Medj this weekend, me and Curtis are left hangin out in the Kartause. day 1 has been entertaingly lazy, and we hope to watch some of the Madness tonight.

also, immediately after i posted my last entry, the snow began to fall. and it has simply gotten worse today. this is miserable.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


The snow is finally melting and springtime looms in the distance. And this all happens while Josh Wattenbarger is here. Coincidence?

Monday, March 16, 2009


Bruges was awesome.

but that's all i have to say about that because as most of the readers of this blog already know, 3 of my household brothers, Gordo, Curits, and Josh, surprised me and the other LOJ members by randomly showing up this weekend for their spring break. i just got back from our first night out at the bar together, and it's just a remarkable feeling to be back with these senior household brothers who have had such a huge impact on my life.

long live loj.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


"I believe God rules all by His Divine Providence and that the stars by His permission are instruments."
-- William Lilly
this one's for my Dedham friends.

well. i never, ever thought this day would come. at least not so soon.

i had agreed to travel this weekend with a group to France. long story short, it wasn't going to work out, so they switched our destination to a place where our other friends were going: a small little town known as Bruges.

Those of us that were fortunate enough to be a part of that group back in 2005 that went to Bruges post-World Youth Day undoubtedly still remember the cobble stone roads, the beauty, and the widespread antiquity of Bruges.

I pray that i'll be able to see the cloth stained with Christ's blood again. I can remember the excitement of finding out they had it out on display, and how we literally up and left lunch and sprinted across the town. I can remember us quietly sliding into the chapel moments before they shut the door, not allowing anyone else in. I can remember the bus ride back to Brussels, asking myself when i would ever find the opportunity to return, because i was so struck by the experience i had.

and in just 5 hours, i'll be on my way again.

Thanks be to God.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

a much needed update.

"i've smuggled myself into new nationalities...think you'd be proud of me."
-- the get up kids
Ok ok ok ok. ok! i'm sorry. i failed to post a blog before our departure for Rome and Assissi, probably leaving some of you scratching your heads and wondering whether or not i was still alive.
but no worries, for i have returned. Rome and Assissi proved to be depots of remarkable grace, mental clarity, and growth for me.
first, let me explain why i vanished. i had originally planned to simply travel via bus with the school to Rome on friday. but a 11am on thursday, Richard Flourmont, Sam Sharpe, and Dan Devine invited me to Florence with them. my Eurrail was yet to be activated, so it would be an expensive trip. not letting money distract me from an opportunity to see the world, i agreed to join them and we set off thursday night.
Florence was absolutely my favorite city in Italy (er, so far). It was pure beauty. We stepped off of the train into 60 degree sunshine, quite the contrast from the never-ending blizzard we had just experienced. Floreance is Artsy with a capital ART. you see it in the design of the city, in the Churches, in the museums, in the people's clothing (you thought MY pants were tight...). We saw the original statue of David, which was strikingly an emotional event for me. i still laugh at myself when i think back to that moment, but seriously, i had no clue how awesome that statue was. i just stood there for 10 minutes, then spent 10 more minutes trying to pick my jaw up off of the floor.
Rome was, obviously, awesome. I could write for hours about it. highlights: mass at St. Pete's, the food, seeing the Vatican for the first time, spending time with my friend Heidi who i thought i would never see again, going to see a major Italian League soccer match, seeing all the major basilica's, the food, the wine, the food, seeing the Sistine Chapel, the wine, the Scavi Tour (seeing st. pete's bones!), the Angelus with the Pope out of his bedroom window. and the wine. in no particular order.
I got to spend a quite a bit of a lone time in Rome, once i figured out the metro system. it was much needed. One day i just walked around the city for a good 2 hours, alongside the Flume river, the sun shining on my back, my headphones in, and nothing to do but see the world. never in my life did i think i'd have the opportunity to simply walk around Rome by myself for an afternoon. no agenda. perfect. before i get too sappy, i'll just move on.
Assissi was. quaint. sacred. uphill. awesome. it made me miss Fr. Conrad and his rambling homilies/talks. highlights: mass at st. francis' tomb, walking up the mountainside to his hermitage, the food, the wine. ...yea. there wasn't a lot going on there, it was just an amazingly prayerful and peaceful little city. on the walk up to the hermitage, me and Christian Bobak worked our way all the way up to the very top ofthe mountain. i'm talking the snow capped tippy top. the air was thinner and the world looked tinier. we sat there in silence for a good 20 minutes before saying a prayer and descending.
for those 20 minutes, i had a small idea of what the world looks like to God. the entire city of assissi took up about an inch of our panoramic view. the people were nowhere to be found because they are so dang small.. their problems, struggles, and anxieties were infinitely smaller compared to the world i was seeing.
and yet Christ still cares.
i'll be trying to wrap my mind around that one for a while.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

divine irony strikes again.

while sitting during noon mass today, Ash Wednesday, a strange thing occurred. i turned to Tim and tapped him on the shoulder.

"dude. what is that strange glow emanating from the window?"

as quickly as the church had lit up, so did our minds. the sun! it's the sun! that long forgotten ball of heat that our ancestors worshipped in hopes of greater fertility! or something like that.

ok, all kidding aside, i was really, really pumped to see the sun come out today. it had literally been around 11-12 days since the last sighting of light. and it figures that it chooses Ash Wednesday, one of only TWO required fasting days in the Church calendar, to poke it's head out.

furthermore, it fit in rather will with Father Ron's homily today. about how 'Lent' comes from the Old English word meaning "springtime". and how Lent is a gift to us from God, etc.

Divine allegory is found in abundance today. praise God.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

40 days and 40 nights.

"snow and adolescence are the only problem that disappear
if you ignore them long enough"
-- Earl Wilson

It won't stop snowing.

i believe today is the 8th straight day of snow here, not counting the 3 days of snow we experienced in Poland. I've seen websites estimating that Gaming has received a total of around 4 feet of snow.


Sunday, February 22, 2009

a-m-d-g a-m-d-g!

Last night was the "Tandem Tango" dance party here at the Kartause.

I had the privilege of going with my friend erin wilson (stella mariae), and we went as AMDG and Stella Mariae. I borrowed erin fitzpatrick's plaid skirt to be my kilt, used one of Tim's plaid scarfs as my sash, made an AMDG tshirt, and found a wooden spoon to complete my get-up. It was glorious. At one point during the evening, Elliot lifted me up in the air and everyone started chanting A-M-D-G A-M-D-G! I never thought i would know what that felt like. now i do.

Elliot went with Kristen Dupre as "Eggs and Bacon" -- be sure to creep around on facebook this coming week to see pics of elliot's costume. it was perfect. Tim and Erin Fitz went as a Jaeger bomb -- tim had a huge cardboard cut-out of a Jaegermeister bottle and Fitzy had one of a Red Bull can.

The first place prize, however, went to Alex Freas and his partner, Meghan. They went as Tom Hanks and Wilson from Cast Away. Alex, who looks uncannily like Tom Hanks, had a torn up t-shirt, black face paint smeared across his face (like burn marks), and a fed-ex bag in his hand. Meghan had a shirt stuffed with pillows and the face of Wilson drawn on it, as well as that plant thingy on top of her head. It was a well-deserved victory.

Now, all of the students here are hit with hte realization that midterms are but days away, and most of us have ignored studying so we could instead create our outfits for last night. Sigh.

Friday, February 20, 2009

halfway there.

believe it or not, the semester here is about halfway done.

the upside is that our traveling is certainly nowhere near halfway completed. with Rome and Assissi (ten days) right around the corner, our ten-day break and then our 5-day easter break to follow, most of our travel time is yet to come.

this weekend is another off weekend -- we had classes today since we had monday off, making this weekend just a 2-day weekend. midterms are this coming week, so most students are hanging back and studying.

more thoughts coming soon...i promise :-).

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

oh yea, i have a blog

sorry for the lack of updates.

things have been rather busy since our arrival home from poland. i don't plan on writing all that much about the trip -- it was super powerful and i learned a ton, but none of it is particularly appropriate for a blog. i may or may not post some sort of reflection Auschwitz eventually, we will see.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Poland. Preface.

The last week has been an interesting one.

My spirituality, which has been slowly improving ever since arriving here, exploded with new life this week. A powerful time at the FOP on tuesday night, mangnified by an in increase in chapel time has sparked a sort of revolution in my interior life.

And that's been a huge blessing, considering my classwork has been revolting against me all week. I had this huge assignment due for Minto on wednesday, which took me around 5 hours to complete, and then an exam today, which i just got out of, that took me around 8-10 hours to study for on tuesday and wednesday. but. it's over.

We leave at 7:30 tonight for Poland. This should be one of the more powerful/inspirational trips we take. The journey will bring us through the extremes of humanity: from Auschwitz to the Shrine of the Divine Mercy. I'm more excited than anything else, though i'm fearing the extensive/boring bus drive.

See you all monday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

this gets me every time.

"A good measuring stick to judge how prideful you are is to see how mad you get when someone else is being prideful."
-- C.S. Lewis

Saturday, February 7, 2009

the sweet, sweet silence

"in the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness."
-- Mahatma Gandhi
following last week's Prague trip, we decided to stay back this weekend and abstain from traveling. today, tim went skiing and elliot went to Melk (nearby town), so i woke up to find about 10 other students in the Kartause.

i've had a ton of work to do for PBS II, so i've been just working all day. i went to lunch and prayed somewhere in the middle of it all.

it seems to be a tired and redundant topic, but it is so so true that silence can work wonders in a man's heart. one day spent walking around the campus here, soaking in my surroundings, studying the gospels, praying -- all in a state of seemingly glorified silence -- has taught me more about myself than the past 3 weeks have.

you can only grow by learning. and you can only learn by listening. and you can only listen when your mouth is shut.

embrace that.

Out with a bang. Prague '09. Part 3 of 3.

Well, it's officially been a week since the events i'm gonna write about here occurred. i've been too lazy to sit down and do it, but alas, here i am.


Day 2 started off on the right foot. elliot and christian went back to the grocery store and bought enough bread, cheese, and meat for all of us -- for 6 dollars. awesome.

we met up with dominiKa (dominika, now a devoted fan to this blog, was sure to tell me i've been misspelling her name) and tomas yet again and headed out. the first half of this day turned out to be the 'walk around and see everything you possibly can' portion of the trip. we rode a lift to the highest point in Prague, and then climbed this massive steel tower where we could overlook the entire city. though certainly an impressive view, the tower didn't have nearly as much of the charm that the castle in Salzburg did (see entry, 'snow covered prophets').

some more walking around and oooo-ing and awwwee-ing led us to a tiny little cafe, where me and tim experienced turkish coffee for the first time. it was like getting kicked in the mouth by a caffinated (definitely misspelled that) boot.

i think you get the drift. we walked. and saw. and it was awesome.

night time proved to be the best night of our semester yet. we bar hopped, although we only drank Velko at each bar we visited anyway. we ended up staying out past the time when the tram's stopped running, so we walked about 2 hours back to the hostel. on the way, we somehow ended up in what we thought would be a shady dance club, but it was actually kinda pathetic. we danced for like 2 minutes as we tried to find a bathroom, then immediately left and carried on the rest of the way home.

much like the way the Gospel according to John ends with "there were many other things Jesus did...but i don't think all the books in the world could contain them" (or something along those lines), so too are the endless stories of Prague, most of which will only survive from now on through word of mouth alone.

I'm going to hesitate on remarking about how Prague was the best trip ever blah blah blah. because for all i know, these next 3 months may bring many more spectacular occurences my way.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It's all about the benjamins. Prague '09. Part 2 of 3.

"Prague, prague prague prague prague, prague praggy praggy prauge"
-- Tim Glemkowski, to the tune of Salt n' Peppa's "push it"

If i were to tell you that i would make you a full pork roast dinner, complete with 2 different kinds of dumplings etc., for just over 5 dollars, you would most likely:

a) laugh
b) ask me to repeat myself, assuming i had misspoke
c) refuse the offer, assuming it was too good to be true.

Now, if i were to then say that you could get a pint of beer as well for just around $1.15, and that your friend who accidentally ordered water would then end up paying more than you for it (Christian Bobak), you would start looking for video cameras. 'this is a joke, right?'

If you haven't caught on already, this is precisely the deal we received in this tiny restaurant right by our hostel, and it was just what we needed to get over our cranky selves. We spent most of the meal laughing over how good it tasted and how little we paid for it.

It got even better when we went to a tiny little bakery/convenience store and realized that everything was gloriously cheap. Bread? like 15 cents. red bull? dollar. 6-packs of beer? dollar plus.

We eventually met back up with dominica and tomas, and they took us around the city. we spent most of the night wandering around going, "we're in PRAGUE dude haha what the hellll". looking back, it was kind of pathetic. The only landmark worth mentioning by name is St. Charles Bridge, which is absolutely gorgeous. this doesn't mean, though, that nothing else is worth mentioning. the entire "old town" part of the city is a captivating sight, completely inexpressible through such a measly medium like a blog. I hate to say this, and in fact my hands are trembling as i begin to type this, but...i finally found a city i enjoyed more than Boston. maybe. Maybe!

I've been saving the best for last: throughout the night we discovered the beauty of THE. THE. THE. best beer in the world (and i pray i spell this correctly): Velkopopovicky Kolser Dark. We proceeded to discover that, in fact, Czech beer dominates everything, and that we've been lied to our entire lives about German and Austrian beer reigning supreme.

(ok ok so one last story worth re-telling: Elliot's mom and dad had been to Prague 3 years previous, and his dad has reminded him repeatedly since about Velkopopovicky and this random jazz club behind some church. Finding the beer was easy -- it's all over the city. Far more exciting was when we accidentally stumbled upon the jazz club. Elliot didn't even know the name, but as soon as he saw the outside he (claims to have) "sensed it". sure enough, we went inside and it matched the description his dad gave perfectly.)

Monday, February 2, 2009

heaven on earth. Prague '09. Part 1 of 3.

We do not believe in ourselves until some reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to ,worthy of our trust, sacred to our truth.  Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit."
-- e.e. cummings

remember how i had to wake up at 3:45? didn't happen. woke up to Andrew Cole violently shaking my bed while Elliot angrily pounded on our door at 3:55.  I had, fortunately, packed before going to bed.  i hopped out of bed, dressed in record time, grabbed my passport, and sprinted downstairs. if stair skipping was an Olympic sport, i'm the Michael Phelps of stair skipping. 

minus the awkwardly tight bathing suit.

We speed-walked the 40 minutes to the train station and got there with a minute to spare.  The train ride was beautiful.  I found myself looking around for movie cameras as our train strolled by tiny, snow-covered villages.  Children, backpacks on guard and snowballs in hand, ran around around outside before hopping on board to go to school.  We were on our way to Prague. 6 of us. with no agenda. perfect.

perfect, until the train took an extra 40 minutes to get to Vienna.  a worried and anxious Dominica took us up and out of the station, running towards the bus station. we got there as people were putting their luggage on board. just in time. again.  

At this point, i'm going to pause from narrative and point out an already obvious fact that will only become redundant over time: if we did not have dominica with us, we would have been absolutely screwed.  but we did, and our own little slovakian GPS led us from place to place with perfect accuracy.

After a total of ten hours of travel, we got to Prague.  Our first impressions were less than awful.  Overcast and dirty, it looked like a poor man's Providence. After ten hours, the last thing you want to feel is underwhelmed. not only did we feel disappointed, but dominica's friend who was supposed to meet us there was yet to arrive. and we realized we didn't have the address of the Hostel (cleverly named the "Czech Inn".  about 45 minutes past, we got to the hostel and split from dominica and Tomas.  Tired, frustrated, and unsure of what was to come, we checked into our room and set off for dinner.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

sunny and 75.

a great weekend ahead.

leaving at 3:45 am (yes, a-period-m-period) with Elliot, Tim, Erin Fitzpatrick, Christian Boback, and a European student, Dominica, for Vienna, where we're hopping on a bus to Prague (Czech Republic) for the weekend.  

i'll be back Sunday night...where i may or may not be able to watch the superbowl because ResLife here doesn't want to show us the game until TUESDAY. TUESDAY. 


do they realize that my homepage is  or that half of my fbook friends' status will read either "OMFG THE CARDINALZZZZ RLY?!?!?" or "i hate the steeelerrsssssss"?  

regardless, i'll see you monday. peace.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Done with my neo-romantic wanderings, here's a few aimless thoughts:

elliot's laptop was bugging out on him since he got here, but we realized that it was the converter he was using for his wall adapter. thanks to some household brother of old, we found a converter in the LOJ box and got his comp working again. so hopefully we'll get pictures up of Salzburg/Munich soon.

Why in the world did Francis Hall move the gazebo ( Watching the video brought a flood of emotion. Are they trying to cut down on the noise? That's worse than the time we tried "optional" household commitments to cut down on whining.

So get this. The owner of every student's favorite nightspot in Gaming, 'Urs', only opens his pub during our school semesters. He takes every weekend and summer off because people like me and Mike Monette stay til close. Often.

Useful hint for future travellers: Guiness in Vienna > Guiness in Salzburg.

Another useful hint: don't try dumping sunflower seeds down the sink because your room has no trash barrel and the toilet wouldn't flush them. bad things happen. ...yea.

finally got to see the infamous "devil's footprint" in the church where Benedict was ordained as Cardinal this past weekend. It's whack. I think i may have even seen a Nike swoosh somewhere in it.

The previous joke is copyright tim glemkowski, all rights reserved.

Despite the fact we're all underage Americans that are of age here in Austria, i'm pretty sure Gordo's room back on campus has more alcohol than any room here.

Comparing the beautiful churches of Europe to the CTK back on campus is like comparing a Lebron James highlight reel to an old ABA game. One leaves you breathless, the other simply reminds you of an era where short-shorts, mustaches, and AIDS reigned supreme.

If this were a Troubadour article, someone would write in a letter to the editor calling for me ex-communication one paragraph ago.

Dedham people: i've looked high and low, and i'm yet to find a back lot in Austria. Long live the back lot.

Best city i've seen in the last month? Boston.

Over and out.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

the snow-covered prophets.

...I have the ability to move those?
We walked outside onto a little loft sticking off the castle in Salzburg, unaware of the canvas waiting for our arrival. all i could muster was an "...Oh" as i stood, frozen. A particular friend with me was even moved to tears: "That was the most beautiful thing i had ever seen"
Impressive enough was the beautiful village of Salzburg spread out before us as we stood hundreds of feet above. More impressive were the dazzling, sparkling, shining, whatever-ing mountains staring back at us, standing almost as if in guard around the city.
I stood there for quite a while, saying "cliiiiiicccckkk" to myself, hoping that my mind would take a Polaroid and print it out of my mouth.
Looking back now, my original thought posted on this blog resonates loudly: there are places that are not here.
Our bus left the hostel in Salzburg around 8, bound for Munich, Germany. We rode down the highway, most of us yawning, stretching, and bending into uncomfortable shapes in an attempt to wake up while we prayed the usual morning rosary. I sat by myself, forehead glued to the window, staring out into open fields.
Minutes passed and our surroundings grew more and more extravagant. What started off as the "usual" mountain backdrop (jaded thought) quickly grew into God's victory speech: "Incase you forgot, these are Mine."
Just as my mind began to realize that the image was like nothing i had ever seen, a blaring ray of light shot across my line of vision: the morning sun, proudly and shamelessly begging for equal attention, bouncing and reflecting off of the snow-covered display before me. I would have had no problem if the bus driver just turned around then. "That's it, kids! Nothing else to see here." I was content with just that vision engrained in my memory.
And then my very own victory speech darted through my skull: the Creator, infinitely beautiful enough to raise up something so finitely beautiful, shows mercy to me.
what is it about mountains that draw our attention?
Is it that they remind us of how remarkably tiny we really are? Is it the way the snow lays upon them like a wedding dress?
Or is it, maybe, that much like the churches found throughout Europe, their sheer magnificence and height draws our attention upward towards the heavens? It's as if they're giant creatures holding signs reading: "God: ^^ this way ^^". I may have seen two overwhelmingly enjoyable cities this weekend, but nothing they contained had as much to teach me as the snow-covered prophets.
Much like God raised up the Alps over millions of years so they may one day reflect His beauty unto us, may we be given the grace to allow Him to raise us up to that same stature.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pressing on, pressing on...

the school week is over!

celebrated Patt Gott's 21st birthday tonight down at Urs, and we're off to Salizburg/Munich tomorrow morning.

update coming Sunday/Monday.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

clocks move slower than minds.

Something that's struck me quite hard of late is how remarkably fast the human mind (well, at least my mind) moves on.

What i mean is this:  over the past 2 years of going to school, coming home, going to school, coming home, going to school, going home, austria, home, etc... i've realized that after about a week of being in a certain place, the aforementioned location immediately feels like "forever ago".

I've been in Austria for about 11 days, and Boston feels like forever ago.  I've been in Austria a mere 11 days, and my 5 days with elizabeth feels like ages ago.

It's strange.  It makes me realize that someday, college will feel like "forever ago". will feel like eternity ago.  

Live everyday to the fullest, take advantage of every opportunity, love at every chance to love, and soak in all the lessons experience can teach in the 24 hours you got until that next day feels like forever ago.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Congrats to LOJ's newest intent, Adam Michaud.

In other news, newly inaugurated President Obama will announce today that Lion of Judah is an official province of the USA. Press conference with President J-Watt coming soon.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The beginning of being jaded.

Well, i'm officially 100% settled in. Sunday, the day after Vienna, and today, felt like normal day-to-day living. Everyone seems pretty comfortable with the new surroundings now.

Classes are interesting. Fortunately i'm only taking 12 credits, and my schedule is rather great. It looks something like this:
Monday & Wednesday: Metaphysics (08h40-10h10), Philosophy of Human Person (13h50-14h50), PBS II (15-16)
Tuesday: Christian Marriage (08h40-10h10)
Thursday: Christian Marriage, Phly of Human Person, PBS II

Classes here are way more intense and just feel more serious. So far i've been more attentive and caring than i've ever felt about schoolwork back on campus. We'll see how long this lasts.

Off to dinner. Updates soon.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

You bring the cup and i'll bring the moonshine.

Vienna + oldest irish pub in town + friendly bartender = free irish car bombs for everybody.

It was a good night.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Oh god, i have to wake up in 5 hours.

Vienna tomorrow.

leaving at 8, back at ten. i'll check back in then.

my good friends back on LOJ wing at Franciscan have started up their own blog to keep us oversea Lions updated at fun stuff.

I went down to the bar tonight with 2 fishers and 2 rando girls, and i realized that the biggest lesson i'm learning is "eff households". don't get me wrong, I LOVE MY HOUSEHOLD. but whether i care to admit it or not, i allow households to place barriers between me and other people, and those walls have crashed down hard here.

see ya when i'm back from vienna.



Done with class and heading into my first weekend of the semester.

Last night featured what had to have been the most thrilling, exciting, exhilarating, monumental moment of the semester thus far.

and it all revolved around Connor's mini basketball hoop.

Connor has this little plastic hoop hanging off his closet door, the kind every boy owned at some point or other in his childhood. Me and Tim spend about an hour each day shooting on it.
So last night we decided to attempt banking the ball off of the opposite wall and into the hoop. However the angle was so ridiculous that the ball had to be thrown literally perfectly to get into the net.

After roughly 45 minutes of Elliot, Sam, Tim, Patt Gott, and myself continuously failing to succeed, i found myself just repeatedly chucking the ball off of the wall with just Elliot and Sam watching. On what proved to be my final attempt, Sam turned off the lights as i released the ball. My initial thought was "what the HELL, Sam" (by this point, getting the ball in the hoop was less of a game and more of an obsession). Then he turned the lights backs on.

and the ball went in.

and i looked at elliot in shock.

Sam screamed.

and by screamed i mean squealed like a 13 year old scene girl at a Fall Out Boy show.

and i just collapsed on the ground while our yelps echoed throughout the creaky old megaphone that is the Kartause.

Ladies and Gentleman, your 2009 Austria class!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


why does distance repeatedly remind us of the things most important to us? why are our feelings so exponentially stronger when we're miles away from family, brothers, loved ones?

i just had a conversation with my mother and i could hear the concern and love she has for me in her voice. i skyped Elizabeth last night and excitement bled from her smile as we saw each other for the first time. a simple facebook message from a friend back home that i just last week was hanging out with daily is enough to make my heart leap.

distance is strange.

all i need is the bullet.

classes begin today. one down already, two to go.

oh god.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chapter 1: The Outskirts of Glory

Don't let the pouring rain ruin your day by day, and don't let the bones the closet may hold get in the way. --Matt Pryor

After technical difficulties last night, i'm finally settled in and on a functioning computer.

I landed in Washington D.C. at 2:00 EST Sunday and ran into 4 other Franciscaners. Within 2 hours that number grew to around 50, and probably upwards of 80 or more by the time the flight took of at 6:30.

Some fun facts about the airplane:

1) It's uncomfortably small for an international flight. (Or, as one student said, "we were doing a bit of penance" before Austria. Gotta love franciscaners.)

2) Two words: International Waters. Three more words: First. Legal. Drink. Not much needs to be said about this one.

3) "Snake Gobbler", a rehash of the that game everyone used to have on their Nokia cell phones in middle school, is available on the plane and basically entertained me the whole second half of the trip. I'll talk more about this in a bit.

So after the initial rush of "OMG WE'RE GOING TO AUSTRIA!!@$$@!" and after a glass of wine or three (four) plus dinner, i finally got bored. It was about 4 hours into the flight and i decided i should try sleeping.

My seat was so uncomfortable i felt like a small child was prodding me in the back with both of his knees the entire time. I tried every possible position: facing left towards mike, facing right towards elliot, leaning back, sitting up. It was miserable. Then i decided to try putting my face on a pillow on top of the table in front of me. this was comfortable for about 30 seconds, and then the kid in front of me leaned his chair back, pressing down on my skull. Sleep was officially ruled out as a way of killing time.

So what did i do? I did what most 19 year old American males would do. I went straight for the video games. For the next two-plus hours, "Snake Gobbler" destroyed my life. After reaching level FORTY NINE, i decided to call it quits as the plane began to descend. For anyone going to Austria in upcoming semesters: this is an open challenge. If you can get past level 49, take a picture and post in on facebook and i will mail you ten euro. I'm convinced it can't be done.

We finally got to Vienna around 9 am Austria time (AMT? GMT? idk). After a two hour bus drive we got to campus, moved in, and had mass. After a meeting, which essentially said "please don't screw up like the kids last semester did", a bunch of us went to Urs, the local pub. It was then that it hit me that i was really in Gaming. Maybe it was the drunk men yelling in German, maybe it was the lampshades that said "Steigel" on them, maybe it was the drinks going to my head. regardless, it hit me, and i couldn't have been much happier than i was then.

today we went on a brief trip to this monastery which is now a museum and celebrated mass there. As beautiful as it was, the drive there was even moreso. A winding road took us through mile after mile of snow covered mountains and tiny little 19th century looking villages. the beautiful scenery was not enough to make my body forget about jet lag, however, and i fell asleep for much of the second half of the ride there. i'm still exhausted.

More meetings tomorrow, then classes start thursday.


today was

Saturday, January 10, 2009

And so it begins.

There are places that aren't here.

It's a simple, seemingly obvious statement. But I get so caught up in what's going on around me -- the news, sports, the drama, the 'buzz' -- and all that my mind remains focused on is the little nutshell that is Dedham, MA.

But there are places that aren't here. There are a seemingly infinite amount of little communities like Dedham. There are people who will live entire lifetimes without running into me. There are places with eons of tradition i'll never step foot in. There are experiences i've never dreamed of that i'll never learn from.

In a matter of hours, i'll be sitting (comfortably, i hope) in my room in the 'Kartause' in Gaming, Austria, a converted monastery that i will soon label as my "home" for the next four months. Yet as distant and magical a place that my imagination has drawn it up to be, i believe i will really find it too be much the same. It will look and feel 'different', but the fingerprints of a Father will be laced all throughout.

I have no clue what is to come. I have no clue what it is God plans to show me, to teach me, to reveal to me over these next four months. Am i excited? ...i think so. Nervous? nope. If anything, i'm strangely confident that these next few months will be some of the best i'll ever have.

I walk into this journey at an interesting time. Life is rolling by rather smoothly: no major problems weighing me down, a lovely girlfriend who i miss dearly, fantastic and blossoming friendships. but Christ has certainly been slowly drawing me along, waiting for me to take a step into the dark that i've been abstaining from taking for quite some time. All i can do in Austria is grow.

Stay classy, Dedham.

Adios America.