This is a very stressful time for many of the students at the educational center in Rome. Kyiv, in the Ukraine, is 1,000 miles away. That sounds like a lot, but we no longer have a wide ocean between us. We are on a common stretch of land.
The students from my college all have different feelings about the war in the Ukraine. The spectrum goes from red hot anger to fear masked in cold indifference. Some think this is not real, that the talk is scary, but nothing will really happen.
The parents of the students on the other hand are very concerned. While they are not clamoring for their children to come back, there is a very palpable concern. As a parent, I understand. As I student, I understand.
As I look around, I see tourists on the streets of Rome, eating, drinking, and shopping. I don’t see headline news at the news/magazine stands or any other trace of what is happening in the Ukraine. Each day is like the day before; life moving forward. We all have midterms coming up and major essays looming. Right now, we are all concerned with what is in front of us and those things are: exams, careers and university applications.
During this time of lent, this has become my focus. I pray for peace. I abstain and fast for peace. I think peace and endeavor to create peace in the space around me. At this point, I feel that this is all I have control over. As I continue to study, learn and enjoy my Italian study abroad opportunity, in the back of my mind are the children and families of the Ukraine that I think about and pray for during this time of uncertainty.