An Interview with a Spanish Major

What’s your name, major, and classification?

Maegan Brewer, I’m a Spanish Pre-Physical Therapy major with an HES minor, and I’m a sophomore.

Why did you choose to major in Spanish?

Because I have a passion for the Spanish language and culture and, being pre-PT, I hope to be able to serve more people better because I’m bilingual.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Hopefully, I’m a physical therapist in Tulsa who owns my own PT clinic that can serve a wide range of people from all backgrounds and ethnicities.

What’s your favorite Spanish word?

Oh, gosh. Probably “zanahoria.” It means “carrot.”

What has been your favorite Spanish class at OU so far?

Um, I guess Spanish Literature and Culture. Con Doctora Julie Ward.

What advice do you have for students looking to pursue a major in Spanish?

Don’t just try and get through it because it’s super good to know Spanish well, especially in Oklahoma. Even if they know English well, people still feel more comfortable being spoken to in their first language. Especially for health fields and things like that. Serving people, I don’t know,

Do you have a favorite Spanish quote or saying?

I would quote Michael Bublé in “Quando quando quando,” but’s that’s Portuguese. Um… “Solo de error se aprende.” Only from mistakes can you learn. It’s from Shakira.

What’s been the most challenging part about studying Spanish so far? 

My participation grades. Just kidding. Probably learning to not compare myself to native speakers, because they know all the answers and they talk so fast. I’m beginning to accept that I’m still learning and that we’re not on the same level, but that it’s okay because everyone is at different places in life.

Do you plan on studying abroad at any point during your time at OU? 

Yes! I’ve heard of a month-long trip where you get to work in a clinic in Spain, which is perfect for me, because I’m Spanish Pre-Health. And I want to do that.

Any final comments or thoughts about being a Spanish major?

Spanish is rad.

Thank you so much for your time! 

Maria Llena Eres de Gracia (Mary Full of Grace)

In my Conversational Spanish class this semester, my professor required us to watch several movies in Spanish, each with a difficult yet relevant topic. One of these movies was Maria Llena Eres de Gracia, which translates to “Mary Full of Grace.” It’s a movie depicting the harsh realities of the international drug trade and the devastation that it causes for so many in Latin America.

The movie begins when Maria, the protagonist, fights with her boss and quits her job. She is pregnant by her boyfriend Juan, who doesn’t love her. On her way to Bogotá, a man named Franklin offers Maria a job: to be a drug mule.  They have a meeting with Javier, the drug lord, who gives her the job and tells her that she’s going to bring drugs to the United States. On her way home, María meets Lucy, a girl who has carried drugs to the U.S. before. Maria ingests the drugs and gets on an airplane with her friend Blanca to go to the U.S. When they arrive there, Maria is detained in customs but is eventually set free because of her pregnancy. Lucy, Blanca, y Maria arrive at a hotel where they are supposed to pass the drugs in the toilet, but Lucy dies because one of the packets of drugs has burst in her stomach. Maria and Blanca run away because they are afraid, and they meet Carla, Lucy’s sister, who introduces them to a man named Don Fernando, who will help them find a job. Maria tells Don Fernando that Lucy is dead, and when Carla realizes this, she kicks Maria and Blanca our of her house. The two return the drugs to the drug lord and receive the money they were promised. Blanca returns to Columbia, but Maria decides to stay in the U.S.

It’s an extremely difficult movie to watch. There is a lot of violence, poverty, and sadness, but it’s an important movie to watch because many Americans are ignorant to the realities that people face every day. I would encourage you to watch this movie if you can. (Fun side note: the OU libraries supports a website called Kanopy, which allows you to use your OU credentials to log in and watch movies like this one!)

 

En mi clase de español conversacional este semestre, mi profesor nos obligó a ver varias películas en español, cada uno con un tema difícil pero relevante. Una de estas películas fue Maria Llena Eres de Gracia. Es una película que representa la cruda realidad del comercio internacional de drogas y la devastación que provoca para muchos en América Latina.

La peli empieza cuando Maria, la protagonista, pelea con su jefe y abandona su trabajo. Ella está embarazada por su novio Juan, que no la ama. En su camino hacia Bogotá, un hombre llamado Franklin le ofrece el trabajo de ser una mula de droga. Tienen una reunión con Javier, el señor de drogas, que le da el trabajo y le dice que ella va a llevar drogas a Estados Unidos. De camino a casa, María conoce a Lucy, que ha llevado a las drogas a Estados Unidos antes. Maria ingiere las drogas y se pone en un avión con su amiga Blanca a los Estados Unidos. Cuando llegan allí, María se detiene en la aduana pero está liberado porque ella está embarazada. Lucy, Blanca, y María llevan a un hotel a hacer caca a las drogas, pero Lucy muere porque los medicamentos tiene dentro de su cuerpo. Maria y Blanca corren porque tienen miedos, y encuentren a Carla, la hermana de Lucy, que les introduce a Don Fernando para encontrar un trabajo. Maria le dice a Don Fernando que Lucy está muerta, y cuando Carla Descubre esto, ella les dice a Maria y Blanca a dejar de la casa. Vuelven las drogas y reciben su dinero. Blanca regresa a Colombia, pero María se queda en los Estados Unidos.

Es una película muy difícil de ver. Hay un montón de violencia, pobreza y tristeza, pero es una película importante para ver porque muchos americanos son ignorantes a la realidad que las personas enfrentan a diario. Les animo a ver esta película si se puede. (Nota divertida: las bibliotecas OU compatible con un sitio web llamado Kanopy, que le permite utilizar sus credenciales OU iniciar sesión y ver películas como esta!)

Dia de Los Muertos Street Festival

Reasons Why Everyone Should Experience the Dia de Los Muertos Street Festival in Norman:

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There are llamas. Need I say more?
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The weather this time of year is perfect for experiencing a carnival atmosphere!
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There are several different mariachi-type bands that perform!
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The atmosphere is unbeatable: everyone comes together to celebrate the lives of those who have passed and honor them in their death.
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There’s a little something for everyone: a car show, food trucks, street vendors, henna, face painting, live music, and super fun costumes!
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You can meet people who you otherwise would never come into contact with because Dia de Los Muertos is a unifying celebration, because death is a universal occurrence.
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Everyone should experience the Dia de Los Muertos Street Festival! It’s free and it’s a really neat way to experience another culture without leaving your hometown!

Redbud Valley Nature Preserve

Well, I’ve officially been back in the States for 10 days. I’m holding off on writing a “coming back” post because I don’t think I’ve completely processed everything that’s happened in the last four months, and honestly, I don’t know if I ever will. The past ten days have been a little crazy–I’ve applied for jobs, been to interviews, been hired, filled out paperwork, hugged about a thousand people, watched my sister and two good friends graduate, and about a billion other things. They’ve been really good, though, and I think home is the place I’m supposed to be this summer.

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starting a new adventure

I think being away for a semester really allowed me to appreciate how beautiful Oklahoma really is. There are no large thousand-year-old churches or grand works of Renaissance art, but there are beautiful plains with thousands of wildflowers and forests full of squirrels and singing birds. There are museums and parks and nature preserves that capture the unique beauty that can only be found in Oklahoma. This summer, I hope to visit these places and write about them as a way to remind myself that each part of the world is worthy of being noticed, not just those that are far away or exotic.

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Today I visited Redbud Valley Nature Preserve with my mom and sisters. It’s an area of land that has been untouched, preserved as a habitat for native Oklahoma birds, mammals, flowers, and other wildlife, a place to see what the land looked like before industrialization.

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There’s a sign at the entrance to the park that instructs visitors to “hike, daydream, bird watch, visit with a naturalist, sketch, photograph butterflies, relax, study the wildflowers, forget things, look for fossils, remember things, sit, stare, listen… do all these things and more. There are a multitude of possibilities – invent some of your own.” It’s the perfect place to take a break from reality and just be for awhile.

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The cool part about Redbud Valley is that it is home to several diverse ecosystems. One trail winds through a forest, another leads through a grassland prairie, and a third requires climbing through a bluff trail: three different homes for many different kinds of plants and animals. The forest trail is perfect on hotter days because the trees provide shade from the sun, while the bluff trail is better for rainy days because the overhanging rocks provide shelter (the rocks do get a little slippery, though, so make sure to be careful!).

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It’s always fun to go with other people and just enjoy the scenery and each others’ company. More eyes also mean more opportunities to spot cool bugs and animals! If you’re near Catoosa, Oklahoma and find yourself wanting to escape from city or suburban life, you should definitely drive down to Redbud Valley for a day. It’s open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is completely free to the public. You should take advantage of this hidden treasure and experience some of the beauty Oklahoma has to offer!

Under the Tuscan Sun | Cortona + Florence

I think one of the things I’m going to miss the most about Italy is that I can take a spontaneous day trip to some of the most famous cities in the world for less than ten dollars.

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views for dayzzzzzzz

Yesterday, three of us decided to take a day trip to Cortona, a tiny hill town where the famous movie Under the Tuscan Sun  was filmed, and to Florence. Cortona is a sort of hidden gem, the kind of town that gets a few tourists who’ve decided to go off the beaten path but isn’t overrun with them–exactly my favorite kind of town.

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under the tuscan sun for real !!!

We spent the morning admiring the views, trying to get some ~artsy~ pictures, shopping in the local stores, eating gelato, and soaking in the sun.

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tiny fruit markets
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happy happy flowers
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gelato has become a very large part of my life

Lunch was pizza and salad on the patio of a tiny bar, then we took a (sort of accidental) nature walk that led us to the side of a highway where we were picked up by a bus that was full of friendly high school students. They kindly dropped us off at a cathedral about two minutes down the road where we witnessed a priest doing a mic check. We wound our way through the cemetery that was connected to the church that overlooked the hillside before walking back to the train station to catch the train to Florence.

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they know what’s up

A little over an hour later, we made it to Florence just in time to browse quickly through the leather market, Zara, and H&M before grabbing dinner at a Korean restaurant, which was a much-welcome break from Italian food (I know it sounds crazy, but a girl can only eat so much pasta). We walked around Florence for a little while, just taking in the sights and sounds for what may have been the last time before we hopped on a train that took us back to Arezzo

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madonna + wine: a renaissance masterpiece

Living only an hour away from one of the art capitals of the world is such an amazing thing, and I don’t think I’ll be able to fully appreciate it until I can no longer hop on a train and go visit it. Yesterday was a simple day, but it was definitely one for the books.

Ciao!

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cheesin’ :)))

a very wine-y wednesday

Yesterday, our class took a trip to a local winery. We learned about the process of growing grapes organically and about the different varieties of grapes that can be found in Tuscany. Then we toured the inside of the winery, learning about the actual process of fermentation and aging. At the end, we got to sample three different varieties of the vineyard’s wine using our newly-learned wine-tasting skills. I’m so glad that I was able to experience such an important part of Italian culture before I head home! I’m sad to be leaving such a beautiful place with such a rich history and culture, but I’m going to make an effort to soak up as much as I can during these last two weeks!

Here are some pictures (silly + serious) that we took on the winery tour!

Ciao!

me and some wine in Italy the barrels that the wine is aged in I'm going to miss this criss cross apple sauce the vineyard had a lot of really interesting little details me on a staircase :) I could stay here forever friends = happiness the view

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 Roman Holiday

I can’t believe that spring break is already over. I feel like my time here has absolutely just flown by, and I’m starting to dread going home.

My mom and dad came to visit me for their spring break, so we went on a tour through Italy that included Rome, Florence, Orvieto, Arezzo, Cinque Terre, Naples, and Pompeii. We got to see things such as the David, the Colusseum, the ruins of Pompeii and Mount Vesuvius, and the Mediterranean Sea. I’ll post some pictures below of the highlights of the trip!

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the birth of venus by boticelli

 

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a view of firenze at sunset

 

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angelic landscape by dali

 

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the colosseum

 

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veni vidi vici

 

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pompeii

 

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hiking through cinque terre

 

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a seafood lunch

 

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the pantheon

 

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in the mediterranean sea !!!

 

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the david (with a modesty screen)

 

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da vinci’s annunciation

 

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the trevi fountain

 

Paris

“But Paris was a very old city and we were young and nothing was simple there…” -Ernest Hemingway

I bought a plane ticket on a Friday night and the next Friday night I was in Paris. There aren’t really words to describe the feeling you have when you step off the plane into a place that you’ve been dreaming about since you drew the Eiffel Tower in kindergarten art class. You catch your breath a little bit and don’t fully grasp the fact that you’re there until you’ve gone.

I saw more in a forty-eight hour period than I’ve seen probably in my whole life up to that point. I saw the Eiffel Tower at night, then climbed up it during the day and saw Paris from nearly a thousand feet up. I visited the Louvre and saw Mona Lisa, Lady Liberty Leading the People, Psyche Revived by Cupid’s Kiss, and countless other works from people I’ve previously only read about in art history textbooks. I ate baguettes and macarons and read the Paris edition of Vogue. I navigated the Paris metro system and explored the catacombs that lay hidden under the famous city and contain the bones of six million of its former residents. I experienced one of the most famous cities in the world and I am so grateful that I’ve been blessed with such a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

I took a lot of pictures, so I’ll put them here at the end so you hopefully don’t have to do too much scrolling to get a glimpse at what I saw this weekend. Au reviour to the City of Lights, until next time.

breakfast friday morning at the train station on our way first glimpse of paris first mexican food in over a month !! paris at night the tower more night time views my street for two nights the bridge next to Notre Dame the bells of notre dame were ringing rainy days & cold feet me n mona hallways and such winged victory louvre love baguettes and h&m... perfectly parisian from 1000 feet laudree, home of the macaron "remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, before the evil days come" the catacombs

Visiting St. Valentine

I’ve always been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. Who wouldn’t love a holiday dedicated to chocolate, flowers, and love? Last weekend, on the day before Valentine’s Day, some friends and I took a day trip to Perugia and Terni, the home of St. Valentine himself, where a chocolate festival was taking place. Perugia is famous throughout Italy and all over the world for it’s chocolate, so this was the perfect time to go visit. I’ll try to keep this post short and sweet, but I’ll post some pictures below of what I experienced! Ciao for now!

i'm never going to get over these views
i’m never going to get over these views
chapel of the angels
chapel of the angels
a view out the castle window
a view out the castle window
sorry, but I love taking pics of doors
sorry, but I love taking pics of doors
me + a balcony that made me feel like a princess
me + a balcony that made me feel like a princess
me + a cool arch + a creepin' graduate assistant
me + a cool arch + a creepin’ graduate assistant
incredibly crafted chocolate pt 2
incredibly crafted chocolate
friends + cool views = !!!!
cool friends + cool views = !!!!
saw this sign & had to take a pic for my mom :)
saw this sign & had to take a pic for my mom :)