Thursday, February 9, 2012

I think She's got it

Alysa was in a really susceptible frame of mind. We’d had an adventurous first day in Israel and were on our second day, venturing even further afield. We had an amazing time riding horses on the Mediterranean coast in the morning, then headed further north to find some cool ruins.

On the way we got lost, splashed around in the Mediterranean,  and finally found the place where I wanted to go, a Roman city, built as a port 2,000 years ago, and now well preserved ruins. The entrance to the National Park at Caesarea is through a modern park structure, down a path, and then through the remains of a Crusader (European Middle-ages) structure full of high arches and towering stone. You emerge out of the dark, vaulted stone on to a bright column-lined Roman street, and as we emerged I said something to the effect of:

Two thousand years ago this street was a busy Roman street. Full of folks like Roman bureaucrats, cooks, fancy ladies, slaves, Roman Citizens out for a stroll and servants hurrying to market, messengers, tax collectors, they walked through a bustling city where we are now walking.

For the rest of the afternoon we explored up and down, on top and below all sorts of ruins. We had lunch and made friends with some very nice cats. We complained about the other tourists and at one point had a bit of a race to reach the Roman theater. We marveled at the bath house, and discussed what it would be like to live in a beautiful villa like the one we could see outlined in the ruins.

We also played out a conversation those Roman citizens might have had. We read a plaque explaining that the marble for the columns had been shipped in from all over: Greece and Turkey, even Egypt. So we played it out:
“That is nice marble, where’d you get it?”
“Oh this old stuff? I had it shipped from Greece, what about you?”
“Well my marble came from Egypt.”

I believe that there were jealousies and one-upmanship even in Roman times. I think emotions translate sometimes much better than facts or even objects.

A few days later Alysa was talking to someone else (Stephen probably) and said she had such a good time at Caesarea because that was history about actual people. She could see why history could be interesting if it was about how real people lived and not just about dates, battles, and countries. I have to say that moment totally warmed my heart.

I know that not everyone is going to love the things that I do. Alysa has her own life and one of our many goals when inviting her to live with us was helping her discover her own passions and goals. But since she is stuck with us for at least a while, I am really glad that she has started to understand why Stephen and I are so into history, and maybe is on her way to enjoying it while she is with us, if not beyond.

Alena photographing the ruins at Caesarea
Alysa posing under Crusader srches

1 comment:

  1. I think Alysa nailed it perfectly. History IS about actual people. When that fact can be brought home, either via handling artifacts, doing skills, or best of all, walking (literally) in the same places as our ancestors the wonder of History comes to life.