A Culinary Journey to Italy

Hey!

As anyone following has probably figured out by now, I went to Italy last month! It was an unforgettable experience that I am extremely grateful to have been able to have. While the architecture and other scenery were beautiful, by far one of the best parts of the entire trip was the food. Almost everything tasted extremely fresh and was divine. In addition to the pasta and pizza that would be expected, I found a love for gelato. Before this trip, the only gelato I had had was the kind that you buy in a package from the grocery store. Still yummy, but not the same. The first gelato I had was on the last full day in Rome on our way back from the Vatican at a shop called Gelateria del Teatro, and it was phenomenal (I had white chocolate and raspberry. YUM). The flavor I had most often was lemon, but the best gelato of the entire trip (in my opinion) was from Punto Gelato in Arezzo. When we stopped during the gelato crawl, I ordered the Straciatella flavor, which is basically the gelato equivalent of chocolate chip ice cream. It was so good that a group of us went back the next day, and then I tried their peanut butter flavor that OUA staff member Leanna had raved about, since they didn’t have it the previous night. That flavor was definitely my favorite, though all of what I had was delish.

In terms of “normal” food, I ate A LOT of pasta. Like, I couldn’t even look at a bowl of spaghetti for about two or three weeks when I got back. It was all SO GOOD. It’s funny though, when I was over there I found myself missing some of our greasy fast food, especially Braum’s hamburgers, but now that I’ve been back for a minute I miss the freshness of ingredients over there. I also miss prosciutto, like you can get it here but it’s SO EXPENSIVE… Anyway, authentic Italian food=heaven and that’s all I’ll say on the matter.

Until next time,

Lyssy

A Journey to Italy: My Month Abroad

 

 

Hi!

It’s been a minute, and life hasn’t given me much of a chance to breathe, but I’m here now for a second before homework buries me yet again.

This summer, I packed a month’s worth of belongings into a carry-on size suitcase and a backpack and headed to Italy for a month as part of the University of Oklahoma’s Journey to Italy program, and let’s just say that it kept my summer from being completely boring.

The program began in Rome, where we stayed for about 3 days. We then went to Sorrento, stopping in Pompei on the way, as well as the island of Capri for a day, before moving on to Venice for a couple of days before (somewhat) settling down at the Rooney Family Center in Arezzo. There were also a couple of day trips to Florence near the end of the experience.

All of the cities were absolutely stunning, the food was exceptional (so much so that I’m dedicating an entire post to it later), and even though I was homesick for pretty much the entire time, it forced me to become a little more independent, and I’m not quite as worried about going abroad again in the future, possibly for a longer stretch of time.

The courses that were part of the program (Art History in Italy and Climate Change in Italy) weren’t necessarily applicable to my major of Creative Media Production, but they were still interesting, although trying to take 6 credit hours while also traveling around an unfamiliar country for a month is incredibly challenging and many tears were shed.

My favorite part of the trip was probably the day trip to Capri, where we took a boat tour around the island, because I had never been on a boat before (and may never again), and the landscape was breathtakingly gorgeous.

Also, just a side note, being over there gave me a greater appreciation for the fairly widespread, free, public restrooms we have available over here in the US, as that is not the case over there. Most times one either had to be a patron of a business or else pay a fee (usually .50 euros) to use public facilities.

While the language barrier was a bit of a struggle, especially in Arezzo which is less frequented by tourists and therefore English is not frequently spoken, I am grateful to have been able to have this experience.

An additional post with some of the many photos I took will be coming soon.

Until next time,

Lyssy

 

International Music Spotlight: Diamante

In honor of having just completed my fourth and final semester of Spanish, I wanted to also feature a Spanish song, by 22-year-old rock singer Diamante, a Mexican/Italian American singer based in Los Angeles, California. On her debut album released last year, titled Coming in Hot, Diamante released her first Spanish-language track, “Lo Siento” (The English-language version, “I’m Sorry”, also appears on the album).

The song is a strong rock power ballad that is very beautifully heartbreaking lyrically while also packing a punch with its instrumentation. The song has been well received by fans so far, including myself, and after its release Diamante tweeted that she plans to release more Spanish music in the future, which I definitely look forward to hearing, as I think her voice is beautiful.

The music video for “Lo Siento” can be watched below.

 

Until next time,

Allyssa

International Music Spotlight: Sfera Ebbasta

Hello!

In honor of my upcoming travels, I wanted to highlight an Italian artist in my next International Music Spotlight. Today I’m featuring rapper Sfera Ebbasta and his single “Mademoiselle”.

Though I’m not a huge rap music fan, this song has a nice flow, and I could see it being enjoyable to dance to at a party or other social gathering.

Based on a search of Spotify’s Global Charts, Ebbasta appears to be quite popular in Italy at the moment, with three of his songs in the top 10 of the “Italy Top 50” chart and five songs on the chart overall.

The song can be played below.

Until next time,

Allyssa

OU Cousins: Semester Three

This semester was my third time being involved with OU Cousins, an organization that pairs international exchange students with students from the US so that both parties can learn about each other’s cultures, though it was only the second time that I was actually paired with someone.

My cousin, Melissa, was a student from France. Unfortunately, due to both of our busy schedules we were only able to meet once, however the experience was still nice. She and I had several things in common, including a love for TV shows such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine, among others. For me, it was interesting to hear her perspective about differences between teenagers in the US and those in France, most notably those of fashion (i.e. US students wearing baggy clothes and flip-flops in public), and our excessive consumption of processed food (which I agree is a problem).

Even though I didn’t get to know her as much as I would have liked, nor was I able to attend any of the other OU Cousins events during the semester, I still think it is a good organization to be involved in to meet more people and learn about lives outside our small Oklahoma bubble.

Until next time,

Allyssa

Looking Ahead: Italian Summer

Hello again!

As I mentioned in my last post, I am officially going to Italy as part of the university’s Journey to Italy program. Originally my sister and I were supposed to do this together, but things didn’t work out. I am very excited, but if we’re being  totally honest, I’m also terrified. I haven’t flown in about 12 years, and I’ve never left the country. I’m also paranoid that I’m going to forget to pack something, or that anything else that could possibly go wrong, will.

That being said, I know that especially with such a selective program, I am lucky to be able to have this opportunity, and hopefully once I actually get there I’ll be too busy taking in the historic sights to be worried about stuff.

Regardless, I know that this experience will have some kind of effect on me, hopefully it’s a positive one. Updates will come later this summer, after the program begins in June.

Addio,

Allyssa

 

Campus Events: Global Engagement Day

Hey all, it’s been a hot minute. This semester’s been nuts, to say the least.

About a month ago, I had the pleasure of attending three sessions of the College of International Studies’ annual Global Engagement Day.

The first session I attended was titled “Let’s Talk About Race”, and was led by Dr. JoAnna Wall from the Women’s and Gender Studies program. This session was a look at how different countries approach (or don’t) the topic of race and racism, as well as a little about dealing with these things while studying abroad. The aspect of this talk that stood out to me the most was when a fellow student talked about her experiences in Brazil, because I haven’t studied much about Brazilian culture, so it was interesting to hear about her experiences.

The next session was the annual “Student Stories from Abroad”, which was beneficial to me since I’m finally taking the plunge and going to Italy this summer (more on that in my next post). It was cool to hear the perspectives of other students who had returned abroad. Coincidentally, not one but two of the speakers had to deal with injuries while abroad, so they were also able to offer advice about that.

The third and final session I attended was about mental health while studying abroad, one of my biggest concerns about my upcoming experience. I have been known to have a hard time adapting to new environments, and honestly don’t know how I’ll do with being in a completely different time zone from my parents (which is why I’m starting with a summer session before jumping off the deep end into a full semester abroad). Dr. Miller provided a lot of useful information, and hopefully the fact that I’m going with a group of fellow OU students rather than alone will help.

Overall, I thought that the sessions I attended all had useful information that will help me as I begin my own world travels.

Until next time,

Allyssa

International Musician Spotlight: Bronnie (UK)

Hi all!

Since music is one of my favorite things in the world, I decided that I would start showcasing some lesser known artists not from the US. First up is UK-based rock/pop-punk songstress Bronnie. After winning a Ryan Seacrest-sponsored songwriting contest in 2014, Bronnie has been building up an online following and touring all over the UK, including opening for girl group Little Mix on one date in 2017. She is also in the midst of a brief run of United States tour dates in support of A Summer High.

What I like about her music is her rebellious attitude and the fact that she’s not afraid of singing about heavier subject matter such as depression on her single “Danced With the Devil” Most recently, she released the “Silent Misery” EP of Christmas music,  which can be streamed at the Spotify link below.

Next year, Bronnie will return to the UK for a headlining run in January and February, so if for some reason you find yourself over there, check it out.

Until next time,

Lyssy

 

An Update on Study Abroad Plans

Hey all!

If you’ve been following some of my past posts, I’ve talked about hoping to study abroad in the UK at some point. While that is still part of the plan, currently aiming for Spring 2020 during my Junior year, I have added to my plans a bit. If all goes well, I plan to spend a month in Italy next summer with OU’s Journey to Italy program! Technically I still need to apply and everything, so nothing is set in stone yet, but now that finals are over and I have a second to breathe, I will get the ball rolling on that, especially since I am planning to meet my sister over there after she spends next semester at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK. If all goes well on her trip, I may follow and study at the same college, or I may look into others such as the University of Reading.

But, all that UK stuff is still in the distant future for me. I will update as I figure more things out. Until then, happy holidays!