So our first official day in Nashville started out great: Sam, one of the members of our group, played Saints of Valory (because we are going to their concert here in Nashville on Friday!!), my favorite band of all time, during breakfast and I had Frosted Flakes. And, our learning partner, aka advisor, Meredith gave us all homemade peppermint chapstick!
After breakfast, I went downstairs to the awesome lobby of our hostel to get some tea. I got my mug from the fun selection of kooky mugs, and waited with another guy for the hot water boiler to heat up. He turned to me surprised and said, “I didn’t think Americans drank tea,” in a British accent. I replied, “This American does. I basically have a tea shop in my room.” Which is very true–I have green, green antioxidant, earl grey, emperor’s chai, chai-chilla-mint-nilla, madagascar vanilla, raspberry leaf, peppermint, and ginger. Anyway, I asked him why he was in Nashville and he said he was just traveling around by himself and going to the places that people recommended to him. I told him he had to go to Charleston. When he asked what’s there to do in Charleston, I excitedly replied that it was mainly for food. And, then I remembered to say that all the houses are historic and its very quaint.
After my tea, I wanted to get some pictures of the hostel for you guys so I had the lovely Rebekah model for me:
We went back up to our little breakfast room to have our first reflection. Our site leaders Kiana and Laura led us through these really neat reflection activities.
Using these cards (called Soularium) of pictures taken in New York, we had to describe what service means to us and what we are most excited about and most nervous about for our trip. For example, I picked this card to describe what service means to me:
For me, service is providing our time to free others to be there best, most free selves.
We also talked about why each of us decided to go on this specific alternative spring break trip through CofC. Our answers ranged from light to serious: “this seems to fit with what I want to do with my life” to “I know someone who got into an accident and is now disabled and I want to connect with them through art.”
After our reflection, we hopped in the car to go to the Parthenon! Squishing in the mud, we walked through the park up to the massive building. Oh and this twisted tree looked too cool so I snapped a picture for you Dad:)
Once we took some fun pictures by the outside of the incredibly accurate facade, we walked down below into the museum.
Inside the basement, we got a tour from the director of the Parthenon! She was so excited and knowledgable about every aspect of the history of this site. For those of you who don’t know, Nashville had an International Exposition in 1897, celebrating its 100th year of statehood. Huge temporary buildings representing and celebrating cultures from around the world were built. Everything from pyramids to the Parthenon, fair games to exotic cafes, and a women’s building to a Chinese village were constructed. Though this fair was supposed to be a way to educate people who might never get the chance to travel, accuracy was not emphasized but rather our American stereotypes of different cultures. However, the main focus of the exposition was on the idea that Nashville is an “Athens of the South.” Thus, when the six month fair was over and everything was torn down, the city left up the Parthenon. Finally, the city decided to make remake it into a permanent building that was as accurate as possible inside and out in the early 1900s.
The director then walked us upstairs to the interior of the Parthenon. (Side note: This is where they filmed a scene from the Percy Jackson movie.) It was amazing! Though the building materials weren’t the same as the original Parthenon, the design was well-researched and awe-inspiring. For the most part, it was an empty space with double stacked doric columns forming walkways on either side of the hall.
But the end of the hall was filled with a massive 40 foot statue of Athena holding Nike. Though the original Athena from the Parthenon in Greece has never been found, they used descriptions and sketches to recreate this imposing statue.
In the room behind Athena, they had plaster casts that they used to recreate the pediments on the outside. They actually used casts of what’s left of the originals in Greece.
I could go on and on about the Nashville Parthenon. It’s such a neat place with such a rich history. And, they also have this gallery of American paintings that was donated from a collector. And, they have an exhibit room that changes every so often. This time it had black and white paintings of photos of civil war hospital patients after their surgeries. So, it basically has everything. At least everything an arts management major interested in museum studies would want:)
After our wonderful visit, we parked back downtown and went into some of the shops on the famous Broadway street.
Next on our wonderful cultural day list was Bluebird Cafe. If you’ve never heard of it, its basically the most amazing place for music-loving people. Only 200 people are let in each Sunday: 100 at 5pm and another 100 at 7:30. On Sunday nights they have lots of singer-songwriters come in and play three songs each. They also serve pretty decent food. But I’m getting ahead of myself. We got there right as the doors were opening for the 5pm show….and we didn’t make it. Debating whether to stay for the next show in two and a half hours, we decided that this experience would definitely be worth the wait. So, half of our group picked up some frozen yogurt to eat as we waited in the cold and rain (not the best idea for the weather but it was still yummy and held me over ’til we ate). To pass the time, we played Heads Up. A kind of charades guessing game. It was a lot of fun when we did the music categories and tried to sing the songs without saying the title.
When we finally got in, we found two tables near the front of the cozy cafe.
Though I’m not a big fan of country music, I loved the show and most all of the singers. My favorite was this one girl named Bela Kawalec who had moved here from Poland. Here’s her website with some music if you want to check her out: http://belakawalec.com/
I also really enjoyed this guy named Bill DiLuigi who actually has a song that has been featured on the tv show Hart of Dixie called Great American Song.
During the show, the host who would introduce each group was hilarious. He kept making jokes with our table especially (apparently Stephanie and I were only to clap when he told us too). He also sang this funny, ludicrous-speed song about Harry Potter.
Then at the end, they had a special guest. I’m too young to appreciate him fully I suppose, but I recognized some of his songs. The famous Roger Cook was our last singer of the night. He brought a ukulele to play his songs. He had wonderful control of his light, pleasant voice.
Overall, a very very successful cultural day:)