Status Update

I’M BORED!!! Let the responsibilities begin.

¿Quien tiene dos pulgares y está listo para empezar el semestre nuevo?

Scrubs is #1 best

Well, besides the boredom that slowly creeps in on unsuspecting individuals between shifts at work and volunteering, I’m doing very well.

For instance, I am still staying in touch with my host father Fernando (eyyyy escúchame una cosa, amiguito!! te echo de menos y vamos a vernos prontito cuando yo viaje a Europa una vez mas), Ignacio from Uruguay (whose English is as perfect and fluid as ever, but I’m not jealous :P), and Valentina from Italy (Ciao amica, io ando ancora practicando!)

I sort of feel like learning a new language is like polishing a ball of mud. It starts off murky and uncertain, not really put together with a coherent shape. With plenty of care, repetition, and patience, one can enjoy something that reflects their hard work.

Continuing this analogy, parts of my Italian are still scattered about in Arezzo. But I absolutely cannot wait to embark on the process of conveying ideas in another medium! It’s so incredibly frustrating and exhausting, but the reward of getting out a sentence correctly without conscious thought is just too sweet to pass up!

Interestingly enough, the Italian way of combining articles with their prepositions has come very naturally to me (so much so that I started to do it in Spanish as well…). I invite you all to do the same–it makes the sentence flow better, te prometo.

This coming semester is going to be challenging since I will be taking three intense mathematics courses (some form of honors research, a senior capstone seminar, and a stat class ~about time~) as well as working two jobs and continuing dance classes and personal fitness.

My current goals are such: continue practicing Italian, work out everyday, continue eating healthy (and easier to cook) foods with lentils, and finish up my mathematics credits.

Hopefully by the end of this semester I will not have burnt out. Thankfully I am taking a colloquium course which I hope very optimistically will interrupt the mathematical flow (propagating waves that represent the distribution of species in a plane over time…).

I feel like this post isn’t far off from that ball of mud. It started without a vision and then became just a stream of consciousness.

Anyway, I haven’t really conveyed enough aspects of my personality with this blog, so I will begin posting pictures of the foods I cook throughout the semester and ones that I make while abroad (because food is an inextricable part of my life).

A presto!


End of Semester & Summer Plans

Generalmente incluyo tres temas sobre los que puedo charlar, pero recientemente no lo hice tanto.

Solo puede significar una cosa: es el fin del semestre!

Quiero jactarme algo… recibí un 100% en mi proyecto de análisis que es mi clase más difícil! Es muy posible que no tendré mas que un B (algo que no he hecho desde el primer año de la universidad).

Prontito voy a iniciar mi nuevo trabajo como barista y estoy bien emocionado! Este verano tengo planes aprender mas italiano, conceptos del hornear, y disfrutar mi tiempo libre.

Entre hacer de voluntario con los aprendices del ingles, trabajando en el café, y ir de vacaciones con mis compañera del apartamento en un cruise en el Caribe, voy a disfrutar mi descando mucho.

Aunque estoy listo para el verano, estoy aun mas listo ver a mi amiga Cecilia quien me abandonó hace un ano para la Universidad en Guanajuato. Prontito reuniremos. <3

Hasta luego, queridos!

(Also the British Baking Show is amazing…)


Out in the Dark

Back in March, I watched the screening for a movie called Out in the Dark. 

It. Was. So. Intense.

It covered the story of a Palestinian man Nimer who traveled to Israel for his graduate career. While he was there, the more liberal environment allowed for him to explore the repressed parts of his personality and meet an Israeli lawyer named Roy.

They fall in love, but Nimer’s family suspects that he is doing more than just education trips. They are extremely conservative, and condemn homosexuality (so much so that they disown family members; homicide is common way to die for gay men in Palestine).

The Israeli government begins to suspect that Nimer’s brother is smuggling guns in order to lead attacks against the nation, and they track down Nimer and begin blackmailing him, threatening to reveal his identity to his family.

Spoilers down below just in case you do want to see this

Nimer resists giving any information from their intimidation, and he goes home to find that his family already found out his secret. They disown him, and his brother kidnaps him and brings him to an unknown location. Thankfully his brother spares his life, allowing Nimer to seek asylum in Israel. Roy realizes that, despite his ties with local mobsters, the Israeli government has the power to cancel Nimer’s student visa so that he is no longer welcome in the state. Roy uses his lasts connections to get Nimer out of both countries on a boat to France.

We are left behind, unknowing whether Nimer is caught by the Israeli coast guard or not.

I like to believe that he does, and Roy is there waiting to reunite. Happy thoughts!

Espero que mires esta película! A mi me gustaba mucho, y uno de los actores es bien guapo 😉

Acabo de terminar mi ultimo examen! Me alegra mucho aunque tengo que ser supervisor en unos minutos por un examen de pre calculo y trigonométrica.

Algo de noticias buenas: recibí una beca del departamento de matemática para el próximo semestre así no tengo que preocuparme tanto! Solo lo que me asusta es que tengo mi Capstone y investigaciones de honors. Después, me voy al extranjero. Eso es mi meta… pensaré en eso cuando las tareas me inundan.


OU Cousins’ BBQ and Line dancing, Nuovi Amici, y Italiano!

I never knew that dancing at school events like prom would help me out in the future, but apparently we line dance. Like, a lot.

The Cupid Shuffle, Copperhead Road, Cotton-Eyed Joe, The Cha Cha Slide, and Electric Slide are just a few examples of the popular line dances that have come into popularity.

Recently I went to the OU Cousins’ BBQ to witness what it is that makes American Dancing (and is easy enough for a novice to learn in 5 minutes).

Additionally, they included a meal of barbecue chicken, potato salad, bread rolls,  and veggie burgers for those who don’t partake in meat. I personally really dislike BBQ (so un-American of me), so I stuck with bread rolls and potato salad until everyone got food and grabbed a veggie burger instead.

There were so many beautiful horses up until we took this pic… (me and my friend Nada)

Of course, I made some friends there, too! I got to meet this girl Nada (we can be seen on the right) who was super sweet and taught me some Arabic phrases! We talked about Arabic, Farsi, and Spanish, so I taught some Spanish phrases in return. She is an international student, and I look forward to seeing her again next semester after she returns from visiting family!

Ho una nuova amica si chiama Valentina, ed abbiamo parlato per molto tempo (desde el principio del semestre)! Ora apprendo l’italiano affinché quando io vado a l’Italia posso parlare senza difficoltà. Lei va a lavorare nella programma del OU nell’Arezzo. Mi ha dato una chitarra che è il tema del mio film d’animazione assolutamente

Ora siamo cowboy, vero?
Ahora somos vaqueros, verdad? (Mi y mi amiga Valentina)

preferito chiamato Coco! Non può devolvere la chitarra a l’Italia con lei tristemente né il suo succulento chiamata Саша (/ˈsaʂə/, or

Sasha) (Valentina studia il russo, ovviamente deve essere nell’italiano).

Ora che ho tre linguaggio nel mio blog, spero che voi sapete quanti errore vado a commettere.

Ahora que estoy aprendiendo italiano, es mucho más fácil que hablar español (por comparación, claro). De hecho, gaste cerca de 20 minutos intentando traducir mis frases fracturadas de ingles al italiano o del español al italiano. Que esfuerza! Es una bendición y una maldición que los dos idiomas (el italiano y el español) son tan parecidos. En una mano, puedo adivinar cualquier palabra sea en el otro idioma y es verdad. En la otra, encuentro que italiano esta mezclándose con español y convirtiéndose en una mestiza que nadie vaya a entender.

Después de conquerir al idioma en Duolingo, intento leer libros gramáticos para los estudiantes así que me acostumbre al escribirlo.

Esto no tiene nada que ver con lo que yo estaba discutiendo, pero consigue trabajo como voluntario con la biblioteca de Norman para mejorar las personas que hablan ingles como su segundo idioma! Ahora mismo tengo tres posibilidades que puedo asistir (un colombiano y dos venezolanos). Ademas, tengo una chica que quiere mejorar sus capacidades en matemáticas. Estoy bien emocionado asistirles en cualquier manera que tengo (ya tengo ideas de ejercicios y actividades que podemos hacer en la ciudad). Espero que darse a ustedes noticias de lo que pasará con ellos.

(Si ya no has dado cuenta, es la semana de finales así tengo que escribir mis puestos en el blog antes de terminar el semestre… eso significa que tengo mucho que escribir ya… whoops)



Let’s Talk Cataluña

Separatists from the separatists… separatists-ception.

In Barcelona, there is a group of antiseparatism movement that is gaining popularity. Back in December, the region Tabarnia, which includes the major city Barcelona, began to voice their opposition to the separatist movement on Dec. 26th. Violent protests destabilized the region in early 2018 and late 2017. Catalunyan leader Puigdemont was detained in Germany on March 25th, and is facing charges of rebellion, sedition, and embezzlement. How did all of this start?

I attended a talk back in April which discussed the historical origins of the conflict–interestingly enough, it tied directly into concepts in my linguistic anthropology class. Who knew that revitalizing a language could bring about such issues?

Back in the 1830s, Spain was rapidly undergoing industrialization, but mostly in the northeast region. Cataluña was rapidly undergoing development and becoming the economic powerhouse of the nation. Spanish was the vernacular and official language of the region, but historians found old texts outlying the rules for Catalan. A renaissance began, and the upper-middle class and upper class took it upon themselves to relearn their language. As they gathered during social outings dedicated to relearning the language, they begin to discuss their view of Spain as weighing them down, and the idea begins to form that they’d rather be on their own.

Their efforts in revitalizing the language were successful, and this is due to the efforts coming from the top social classes and going downwards. Additionally, they had a vested interest in changing the language and instilled these values through public institutions like schools. New generations of Catalan speakers arise, specifically identifying as something not quite Castillian…

Valenti Almirall writes Lo Catalanisme in 1856, arguing for independence.

In 1898, Spain-American War breaks out which is considered by the state as ‘El Disastre’. This led to deep debts to be settled by the nation, and Cataluña felt no obligation to help but is brought into the mess anyway.

As time went on, leaders tried unifying the nation under the Second Republic of Spain and under Franco Spain. Loosely held together, the country hobbled along through economic strife during its closure from outside economic forces. The nation’s attention focused on Pais Vasco as terrorists attacked different parts of the country, assassinating leaders and some civilians.

As it quieted down, Spain and the rest of the world slipped into the 2008 global depression. This sparked that flame of independence that Cataluña has been quietly fostering the whole time. They could recover so much more quickly if it weren’t for the rest of the country.

Now we are caught up to speed!

I will still never forget the tension that permeated the news and public when it came to the independence movement… especially how Fernando couldn’t believe that he had to press 1 for Castilian!


Global Engagement Day

So for my international group post, I wanted to talk about my experience with the Global Engagement Fellows.

We are an incredibly intelligent group of kids. I am always in awe at the expertise that we share during our global engagement day! I presented on the panel “Student Stories from Abroad” and worried a little that I wouldn’t have enough information to share with the next group of fellows eager to go abroad.

As you might know if you have been keeping up with my blog, I studied abroad in Spain for only a short month. I was to talk for 10 whole minutes–it felt both impossible to condense the experience into that amount of time. Paradoxically, I worried about not having enough to share. Did I have enough useful experiences that I could foresee others encountering? What knowledge do I have that I could impart on others?

Calm down Jacob, public speaking isn’t so bad. Nobody can see that nervous twitch you get when you smile for too long. Probably.

Okay, here are the emotional aspects that I shared:

The time difference is really difficult. I remember waking up at 8 in the morning and talking to Peter while I ate breakfast until he fell asleep. He was the last connection I had in the US until about 2 in the afternoon when my dad woke up in the morning for work. Until then, I was alone in Spain. Yes, I had Fernando, my school mates, and teachers, but I still felt lonely.

Maybe you foresee yourself running into this! If so, try the following:

  1. Music! During the actual in-between times, music came in handy. I know you have some songs in your playlist that make you think of somebody or some pleasant memory. Indulge in those memories for the moment and feel that connection again! It won’t solve the issue of course, but it can alleviate some of the heavier feelings.
  2. Video calls! Make the best of the time that you do have with your family and video call them. Facetime was my best friend because I got to see my family and friends face-to-face. It makes all the difference in this world–really so much more effective than just a phone call. Some of the best times I had were trying to frantically translate between my parents and Fernando.
  3. Movie nights! If you can, coordinate a time with somebody back in the states and watch a movie over Netflix with them! Granted, it can be a bit difficult trying to find a movie that both regions have in common, but you’ll probably end up finding some weird movie that you can enjoy making jokes about.
  4. Host family! (If applicable) Your host family is there to support you. Get to know them well and share all those problems that worry you when you can’t share them at 3 am CST.

So that kind of turned into a general list of things to do for homesickness, but there is a reason for that. That in-between time was really only that bad when I felt started feeling homesick. Treat the homesickness, and that side effect will go away.

For the more concrete advice, some of the other fellows had really good advice:

For one, be absolutely positive before going that the credits for your courses will transfer! Otherwise you waste money (and we both know you’re a broke college student and paying off those loans will just make you bitter)!

Carry cash wherever you go! Many places will not accept card or issues with your bank could pop up at any given pace. Also, let your bank know that you’re going abroad. They might still flag some of your activity, so be ready become friendly with them.

When you’re traveling back or forth, try to keep everything that could possibly be questionable (even something as innocuous as a candle) in your luggage! Carry-ons should really only be for snacks or clothes.

Be familiar with the climate of your country. This ties into bringing the right clothes–it can be really expensive to buy a new wardrobe because you thought it would be warmer/colder than it really is.

Thanks to the other fellows for the great advice! Honestly, I learned new things in this forum.

Happy travels!



Last post of semester, Goals for Winter Break

Semester is over, finals are done, and I am ready to finish my obligations for a while. Let me tell you that this has been a very trying semester in many more ways than just academic.

I miss Cece so much, and she is finally back so we are going to go visit her soon because she is my emotional stone. She keeps me firmly grounded in this crazy convoluted time called college. Until then, I will get to work at Michaelangelo’s (hopefully) and learn how to make the drinks that I’ve always wanted to make. Hopefully over winter break I can also bake a little bit for the people that I care for (it’s how I show my love–given my friends delicious food like cheesecakes). Soon the break will begin and I can just breathe as the obligations that I’ve been facing since the beginning of the semester finally come to an end.

I hope those who read this that might have some stake in the college experience know how relieving it is to finally get to relax.

For the break, I hope to learn the Farsi alphabet, visit Cece, my friend Caleb, make a fruit tart (random but I want to), get to read for leisure, and exercise.

Until next semester!



International Prom and Music

Peter and I went to international prom midway through the semester when the weather started getting chilly, so it was a great excuse to wear my fancy suit jacket that I usually only pull out for interviews.

We strolled into the union looking dapper as ever (although we didn’t play with makeup as much as we would have otherwise liked) and came upon an amazing scene. Purple lights flashed across the ceiling, the red carpet was stretched out before us, and the darkness that fell upon the crowed obscured everyone’s faces.

Once I gathered my bearings, I noticed instantly that we were way overdressed given that everyone else went in more casual, short-sleeve button-ups. Thankfully, Peter and I both looked our best.

The music was loud and unrecognizable, and I really enjoyed it. For one, they played music in Arabic, Spanish, Hindi, and just two in English. It was difficult to tell if there were any songs in Farsi since my ear is still learning the distinction in sound between Arabic and Farsi.

We finally found our friends after crossing the dance floor a few times, being blinded by dazzling lights and pushed around by dance circles. I had a rough time trying to find the rhythm in the song, but once I felt where to put the emphasis of bodily motion, I could naturally dance again!

No quiero quejarme en mi blog, pero el DJ tocaba la canción Despacito. Odio esa canción y podría vivir dos mil vidas sin escucharla de nuevo!

Hablando de esas canciones, querría hablar sobre mi experiencia con canciones en la Persa. “Dooset Daram” es una canción por Afshin. Es en Español y Persa, así nos sentimos como es una mezcla de Peter y yo *aunque no soy latino (yo desearía que fuera latino)*. A Peter le gusta el temblor en la voz de los artistas persianos, y a mi me gusta el sonido electrónico. Le encanta escuchar a las canciones en idiomas otro que el ingles, por ejemplo escucha a música K pop. A mi no me gusta la rapidez del ritmo, así prefiero canciones mas lentas.

A ver, tengo un puesto más y el semestre es terminado!



Latin Dance Club

While colonization is a touchy subject, I just wanted to say that this map is so incredibly interesting. The leaders of these countries truly believed that this land was theirs and were assigning new names to it! The best part of all is that it is in their own native languages.

Just saying, if you look up “Amephka” on Google you can find a really neat Russian grammar book. I procrastinated for like 30 minutes just reading it-I haven’t gotten far, but I have reason to believe that it starts mostly in English and slowly transitions to Russian.

Why am I learning the Cyrillic alphabet before the Farsi one?? I can’t afford adding another language to the list of languages to come soon to Jacob’s brain.

Anyway, My goal this winter break is to learn some Farsi from Peter’s mother. It’s really difficult though, so here goes nothing…

So, I must say that this semester I had a lot of issues staying involved in clubs on campus. Not just because I’m lazy, but because it is quite difficult to get over the social anxiety involved with being put into a new group of people. It is so difficult to continue going after the first couple of meetings and not meeting anybody fun to talk to.

My boyfriend is helping with that issue, so I am really hoping to overcome these tendencies by next semester. I really want to know how to dance for real so that if I really do go to Argentina then I’m not a novice. We have been participating on/off again in Latin Dance Club, and I’ve retained enough to be able to dance Bachata and a little bit of Salsa at functions.

Peter has been teaching me a lot about Modern Dance which makes me really happy since I am going into that class this coming semester! It’s so much fun and is a really great work out!

Anyway, I’ll likely put another post today and hopefully one tomorrow. I haven’t even had a chance to talk about international prom… and how I got Peter addicted to international music.



Time to Confess

If your name is Jaci, just skip to the part below the line because, like my grandmother, you’re too pure and amazing to disappoint!

Okay, so here is the confession: I definitely fell very far behind with my posts. My last post was penned in October (specifically the 10th), so I thought I was making enough progress throughout the semester (after all, I had a post done in the 2nd and one half month  and that I’d be able to write when the inspiration struck me.

…I guess I overestimated how interesting my semesters in the United States are (guess I have to go abroad again, oh well).

…Also I didn’t end up posting that October entry until today. oops!

Anyway, I had lots of ups and downs this semester to tell you about this semester such as building my communication skills with my boyfriend and friends, missing my good friend Cece while she was abroad in Mexico (estamos en el mismo país una vez mas! Cuento los segundos hasta nos encontramos de nuevo, cariñita!)

Las vacaciones del invierno llegan y no me puedo esperar. Voy a trabajar en una cafetería y por alguna razón estoy tan emocionado! Me interesa el cafe mucho, y a mi me encanta alimentar a los demas. Habla con mi novio por dos segundos y puede decirte que a veces le fuerzo a comer (jk, jk he loves my cooking, of course). Podría cocinar para los clientes y vender mis obras bonitas de azúcar, harina y huevo. Espero que les gusten.

No he perdido la capacidad charlar en español, pero es obvio que necesito practicar pronto. Me voy a estudiar al extranjero de nuevo el año que viene, pero todavía espero las habilidades crecientes de hablar español de mi novio y mi cuento de ahorras! Pronto, pronto.

Voy a poner otro puesto mañana, así dime bendiciones porque las voy a necesitar esta semana.

Hasta pronto…