For My Portfolio

This semester I’m taking a class that discusses global environmental challenges. We were assigned with a project that explored the potential impacts that the changing climate could have on different aspects of life in Italy. My group and I chose the aspect of tourism, which plays a large role in the lives of many Italians. I was given the task of making posters we could display in public areas that explain the potential effects of climate change on the tourism business in Italy. It was a really fascinating project–I’ll post some of the posters below so you can get a glimpse of what some of my coursework was this semester!

Ciao!! 1

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A Real Life Fairytale

Prague is a city located in the center of the Czech Republic. It is, indeed, named one of the most beautiful cities in Europe with a rich history. Prague looks like a real life fairytale, with horse carriages, a picturesque city with beautiful colors, and an unreal  environment. The Czech Republic is considered to be in central Europe, and it was not until 1989 that the communist state of the Czech Republic fell.

Prague consists of two parts, the old town and the new town. It sounds exactly how it is worded.

  • Old Town: This side consists of many historical churches, the jewish quarter, the astronomical clock, old town square, cafes, etc.. The old town is beautiful and historic, the architecture is astounding.
  • Charles Bridge: You will find AMAZING art and music on the bridge. Hundreds of people cross the bridge daily, and it is the boundary between the old town and the new town.
  • New Town: You come across the new town once you cross Charles Bridge. On this side, you will find petrin tower, John Lennon wall, and Prague Castle.

 

Accommodations: Hotels can quickly become very costly, and the best way that I have found to travel is to rent a house/apartment on HomeAway.com. Personally, I have enjoyed having my own

  • I would INSANELY recommend the apartment I stayed in. It is about a 2 minute walk from old town square, and it is above a KFC (if you are craving some American fast food). This apartment also had a small grocery store a few feet in front of it. The location was perfect, and the price was well worth it.

Transportation: The most efficient way to travel this city is by walking.

Food: There was a lot of restaurants around, as well as small grocery stores.

Drinking: The drinking age here is 18.. This was the very first time I was able to walk to a stand and buy a beer. I was very excited, even though I hated the taste of it.

Weed (Had to add this one): Yes, in Prague marijuana is legal. It is everywhere, and by that I mean you can walk into a tourist shop and buy some. If you like weed, this is the place for you.

Tips & Tricks:

  • Rent an apartment and go to the grocery store for food items. I promise you it will save you SO much money.
  • Plan out what you want to do.
  • BRING APPROPRIATE CLOTHES. I went in March, and I brought clothes meant for the spring time. I almost froze to death.

 


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Went to Italy just for some pasta.

Italy is a beautiful country filled with a rich history. The wine is amazing, the vineyards are stunning, and the ancient streets make Italy the top destination where everyone should travel to at least once in their life. There is SO much do to in Italy, and there is SO much to learn. For this trip, my family and I decided to join a tour group so that we could see more of the country with a set itinerary.

The pathway we took throughout Italy was: Venice, Padua, Pisa, Florence, San Gimignano, Siena, Rome, Naples, and we finished at the Isle of Capri.

  1. Venice: 
    • Accommodation: Venice is expensive, and I would not recommend getting a hotel in the island unless you are willing to pay for it. The tour group I was in got us a hotel outside of Venice where we took a route bus into the city.
    • Food: The three days I spend here I noticed that food was VERY expensive. This is because every item sold in Venice must be imported in. There are also many “hole in the wall” places that you can only find if you walk around through all of the pathways. Those are the BEST places (and the cheapest, yay!).
    • Activities: Venice itself is surreal, and if you are bored at any point you are there then you are doing it wrong. Get lost in Venice! Walk around until you feel like you are about to pass out from exhaustion. Speak to the people around you. Go on a gondola ride. Go to museums. There is SO much to do here.
    • Transportation: WALKING!
    • Tips: I recommend not going during the Summer time. When I was there it was 95 degrees Fahrenheit, next to an ocean, and a bottle of WARM water was 5 euros…I smiled through the pain.
  1. Padua:
    • Accommodation: I did not stay the night in this town.
    • Food: The fresh foods market is adorable and great for a quick snack or getting some groceries.
    • Activities: I saw many
    • Transportation:
  2. Pisa:
    • Accommodation:
    • Food:
    • Activities:
    • Transportation:
  3. Florence:
    • Accommodation:
    • Food:
    • Activities:
    • Transportation:
  4. San Gimignano: Before I say anything else, I am IN LOVE with this town. 
    • Accommodation:
    • Food:
    • Activities:
    • Transportation:
  5. Siena:
    • Accommodation:
    • Food:
    • Activities: Horses!!
    • Transportation:
  6. Rome:
    • Accommodation:
    • Food:
    • Activities:
    • Transportation:
  7. Naples/Capri:
    • Accommodation: I did not stay the night here.
    • Food:
    • Activities:
    • Transportation: To travel to the island you must get on a boat. I got on a boat docked in Naples.

Do’s & Don’ts:

  1. BE CAREFUL WITH PICK POCKETING! – If you are carrying a cross body purse, do not, DO NOT, carry it from behind. Always keep it in front of you and in site. There are people who pickpocket for a living, and trust me, you will not feel when they take something from you.
  2. There are MANY vendors on the streets that will be selling counterfeit products. Be careful who you buy from, and remember that it is illegal. If a police officer sees you buying counterfeit products he will come ask you questions.
  3. Learn a few Italian words (Thank you, Please, Bathroom, etc). It doesn’t hurt to know a couple, and it will make traveling much easier. Also, it will make the Italians happy.
  4. Try the pizza, just do it. Every single pizza I got in Italy I fell in love with.
    1. YOU CANNOT FORGET ABOUT THE GELATO. EAT IT EVERY DAY.
  5. Don’t be that stupid tourist. It annoys everyone.

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History Repeats Itself

Some people may say that we’re far gone from an era that would create discriminatory propaganda against a specific group of people based upon false ideals. Some people may say that we have learned from the past, that we will never let a holocaust color the pages of our history books again.

What if I told you that, while we sleep comfortably in our homes every night, millions of people are fleeing their home countries seeking asylum in a world where they are called “terrorists” because of the way the look or the accent they bear.

I’m talking about the refugee crisis.

Two weeks ago I sat in an auditorium with some of my closest friends watching a documentary called Salam Neighbor.

I didn’t expect to get emotional watching this documentary. I just thought I would learn more about the logistics of the refugee crisis and how it is affecting the stability of the EU and other Arab countries.

What I learned, however, is that there are children who are irreparably damaged by war. There are families who have lost brothers, wives, daughters and cousins. These people risk their lives fleeing miles in the middle of the night with bags and children in tow, only to find that they are unwelcome.

I have heard people say:

“We need to protect our own children.”

“We need to keep out terrorists.”

“Refugees are unsafe.”

We talk about terrorism like it popped up out of the blue, and yet our ignorance of this “lost generation” of Syrian children who do not have an education and only know violence is what is building ISIS. ISIS looks for people lost and and in need of protection and education. If these children grow up only knowing hate, they will continue to push extremism. When we alienate refugees, we are playing into terrorist hands.

Furthermore, the rhetoric that is lumping together millions of refugees under the terrorist label is how anti-semitism took hold of Germany after World War I. No, there are not currently forced labor camps and mass killings of Arabs in the EU, but already 250,000 people have died in the Syrian Civil War. Those relocating to places like Jordan are paid pennies for work that Jordanians would normally be paid a sustainable wage for. Sometimes the UN peacekeeping refugee camps are where these refugees are most comfortable. In the EU, protests and microaggressions against these people can be disconcerting.

 

If we allow fear of these people to build, the brainwashed hate will only grow stronger creating more anti-Arab and anti-Muslim thought processes.

We must remember who the real enemy is: those who would rather see children die than have freedom. Those are the people we should fear and fight back with love.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Global Feast

Earlier in the semester, I was extremely excited to log on to Facebook to see that my own sorority, Pi Beta Phi, was hosting an awesome international event — we would be bringing in food from all over the world and making recipes from many countries, and encouraging other people in the OU community to come experience it. I am already incredibly proud of my sorority for its charitable efforts (our philanthropy is Read. Lead. Achieve which supports literacy for at-risk children), its sisterhood, and its kindness to the greater OU community. But I was most excited, as a future exchange student, that we host five French, Croatian, and Indian exchange students for meals and fellowship. Being a part of this international friendship has made me appreciate Pi Phi even more. When we were chosen as the location for the food fair, I was even more excited (what’s better than new free food and friends??).
The event was a huge hit – we had our doors open wide the whole evening, and a steady stream of all kinds of people were coming in and out. Whether people came to fulfill requirements for class or Greek life, or if they came out of a sincere desire to experience new foods, I think everyone left pleasantly surprised — I saw more than one person introduce themselves to someone brand new, inquire about the foods from their country, and put themselves in someone else’s shoes. That was truly the goal of the event, and I think Sooners turned out, once again, to be an incredible source of welcome, diversity, and acceptance – all over some delicious foreign foods.

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When the World Around You Crumbles

April 16, 2016

I was tucking myself in early after a long day when I read the news.  Countless other things had been running through my head– namely, my new major (International Business), my grandma’s health, and the fact that I still had very little idea what I wanted to do with my life as a sophomore in college.  Normally my bedtime routine involves turning my phone off half an hour before I sleep and doing some reading, but this particular night I decided to get on Twitter.  As soon as I did, I saw the tweets:

“Massive earthquake strikes Ecuador; dozens dead.”  

“7.8 earthquake in coastal Ecuador.”  

“State of emergency in Ecuador declared as President Rafael Correa returns early from visit with Pope Francis.”  

I felt so small for thinking my major change and uncertain life plans were earth shattering.   My heart sank as I frantically began to search for answers.  I had to know if my school was okay.  I had to know if my girls, Nicol and Cristina, were okay.

I was finally able to determine the epicenter of the earthquake was in northwest Ecuador along the coast.  That was also where all of the deaths and most of the damage had occurred, which meant that while students at my school and my sponsor girls had almost certainly felt the quake, they were out of harm’s way.

I immediately felt sick for feeling grateful that other people had died.

By the time I went to sleep, the death toll was over 100; by the next morning, it had almost tripled.  The final number stands at 654 people who lost their lives in the earthquake.

The only thing I could do was also the best thing I could do: pray.  In a moment when the pain in my heart was so great, and when the pain in the hearts and lives of so many was greater, the one who is called the Healer held my heart in his hands.  When I had no answers, the one with a great plan promised to give a future and a hope to his people.

Take heart, friends.  Whatever it is you’re going through, if the world around you crumbles, He will be strong for you, too.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”     – Jesus

 

 

P.S. If you would like to contribute financially to the relief in Ecuador, the organization through which I sponsor Nicol and Cristina, Compassion International, has set up a website here where you can do that.

Blue

Blue

Like your favorite color

Or so I thought

Black

You said

Like your soul

But to me

Yellow

Like the color of the sun

Was what described you best

You couldn’t see that

 

So we laughed about black

UNCLE

Those letters on the screen proved what I said

But they didn’t acquit me from guilt

 

I didn’t own a gun

I didn’t pull the trigger

 

Yet here I was

Red handed

Feeling like I had shot the bullet

 

The words spilled from my mouth

Like a 3 am post-binge vomit

 

Horror in your eyes

Would soon turn to hardened indecision

Whispered words behind closed doors

Told me everything I didn’t want to hear

 

Now I go

S l o w ly

C

A

R

E

F

U

L

L

Y

Avoiding the passing glance

 

But when I catch

Those eyes filled with gleams

At the seams of my dress

I hide the red in my cheeks

America

Dammit

Why do you think that I

Asked for the roll of eyes

From the follicles on my head to my pinky toe

Like I was putting on a show

All I wanted was a drink from the

Vending machine

Not the soda can in some guy’s

Jeans popping its tab

Dammit

 

Dammit

Why do you act like the apex of my thighs

And the chemicals flowing in my brain

Dictate what I am capable

Of accomplishing

When people

EVERYWHERE

Are popping chemicals from pill bottles

Convinced they help with some

Stupid art form or test

Or false creativity

That we’re all supposed to

Possess

Dammit

 

Dammit

Why do we have to be

So special

And feel as though it is our

Gift to the world to exist

Like we are born with a bow

Worn as a crown

Tied on our belly buttons

Feeding us the sustenance of

Privilege

Dammit

 

 

hummingbird

My heart beats

I think there’s a butterfly inside my chest

NO

A hummingbird

Sweat on my forehead

A rhythm in my veins

I can’t explain

But I wait

For you to move

For my counter action

For that sideways smile asking

“Is this okay?”

And me not talking

But nodding

I think there’s a butterfly inside my chest

NO

A hummingbird

Excited for the first dew of spring

On my lips

Within our grips

I close my eyes and think

“Could there be anything better than this?”

The synapses in my brain

Firing like a military tribute to the dead

I can’t explain

You say three words that used to hold me back

But they don’t anymore

Because there’s a butterfly inside my chest

NO

A hummingbird