LATINO FLAVOR

March 14, 2018

Latino Flavor is an annual event that the Hispanic American Student Association holds every year, and I was so excited to attend this semester. I had heard such good things about the event from last semester, and I had many friends who were extremely involved in putting on the event.

The entire week, HASA spends time promoting Latinx cultures and holds small events the entire week to lead up to their large event in the Molly Shi Ballroom. From llamas on the South Oval to cultural performances during a luncheon, I had a great time attended so many of these events.

LatinoFlavor provides so much food from so many different countries. I got to try so many different foods and desserts. I had Spanish Paella and more. I also got the chance to watch a mariachi band play while eating and drinking and tasting so many different foods.

I learned a lot about expanding my pallet and just forcing myself to try something new and different than what I was expecting or what I already liked. I also got to see so much passion from students about their culture from dancing, food, friends, to pride.

 

UNLOCKING MYSTERIES THROUGH ARCHEOLOGY

April 22, 2018

Last week, I attended a lecture given by Italian Egyptologist on Mystery Religions and Plague in Egypt. 

“The Italian Archaeological Mission to Luxor has worked in the Funerary Complex of Harwa (TT 37) and Akhamunru (TT 404) since 1996. Over 4000 square meters in scale, the Cenotaph of the Great Majordomo of the God-Wife Harwa (7th Century BCE) is one of the largest monuments ever built by an official. The fine decoration is inspired by an archaizing style with innovative tendencies that make it a masterpiece of the cultural movement known as “25th Dynasty Renaissance”. Furthermore, texts and images from the site trace a virtual journey through cultural notions of life, death, and resurrection. Some of the ideas expressed by the “Journey of Harwa” remind and anticipate peculiar features of Greek Mystery religions. The most recent field researches led to the discovery of a 3rd century AD phase with unique archaeological traces of the so-called ‘Plague of Cyprian’. The results are at the center of a multi-disciplinary and international project.”

Many of themes and ideas that were brought up in this lecture overlapped with information that was brought up in my Origins of Christianity class. I learned a lot about archaeology and the mystery surrounding it all fascinated me.

The speaker was incredible humorous and passionate about the work that he had done in Luxor at the Tomb of Harwa. I have never been particularly interested in Egyptian History, but as he showed images in his gorgeous powerpoint, I was imbued with a great yearning to see places that were very different than ones that I had seen before. I could imagine the heat and the sun beating down on my skin, as I joined research to unlock puzzles of the past that had never been known before. I thoroughly enjoyed his lecture and even sat next to my Latin professor.

 

TWO MINUTES FROM MIDNIGHT

Do something.

Last semester, I attended an event that hoped to inform and update the audience on nuclear warfare and dangers that loom in the present. Ronald Reagan once said that nuclear weapons should be completely baned. No one can win a nuclear war.

Currently, North Korea is the most pressing nuclear threat in the world, especially to the United States. They exploded a hydrogen bomb and an intercontinental missile that can launch anywhere in the world.

When the clock was moved two minutes until midnight, rumors of a United States preemptive strike against North Korea arose, and worries started especially during a time when the United States is under the Trump administration. There were whispers of a “Bloody Nose” strike to “teach North Korea a lesson” and keep them in place.

During this lecture, the Olympic Truce remained strong. But the Olympic Truce would not last forever. At the time, Joe Cirincione believed admending the existing Iran Nuclear Agreement was the less risky approach. He believed this is the strongest nuclear agreement that he has ever seen, except there are no pictures of restrictions of Iranian nuclear progress.

He underscored two ways that students can remain involved in politics and nuclear issues: be aware and stay informed.

 

SHIZA SHAHID

I am a Letters major because I believe that literature, history, and philosophy are what drive and sustain humanity. I believe highly in empathy and in people. Something important that I have come to learn this semester is the importance of these values and the ability to incorporate these ideals into a career.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of hearing Shiza Shahid tell her incredible story about her experiences in philanthropy, business, non-profits, etc. She was kind, well-spoken, beautiful, and thoughtful. She is the kind of person I would love to be when I am older. She told us about her life growing up, and the drive to help others that pushed her to do the things that she did and make the choices that she made.

I am still in awe that I got the opportunity to meet such an incredible woman and hear her speak on advocating for woman’s education, and empowering other leaders and women, and her work as the co-founder of the Malala Fund. Shiza Shahid has done so much good in this world, and she is definitely nowhere near finished. Her story is truly inspiring, and I only wish I could have heard more.

Shiza, Thank you for showing us our own inexhaustible ability to do good in the world.

GEORGIA VANCE

OU Cousins builds bridges of friendships between international students and American students, allowing American students to connect with people all around the world without actually studying abroad. My good friend Heath joined OU Cousins last year, and she talked about it all the time. She truly enjoys making close connections with other people, and just from casually hearing about Heath’s experiences, I knew that I wanted to get to know more people in the international community on campus.

I went to a matching party a week ago, and I met a blonde girl with glasses from Australia that is studying ancient history and literature. Her accent was light, and she looked so put together and kind. We sat together for a moment, and when we didn’t express any initial interest in being each other’s OU cousins, I thought that it was just a fleeting small thing. However, at the end of the event, she asked if I wanted to be her OU cousin, and I was so excited. I could tell from the beginning that we were very similar and I looked forward to getting to know her and become her friend.

Georgia is someone that I greatly admire. She is outspoken and never feels scared to speak her mind–something that I tend to struggle with a lot of the time. She is a force of nature, and I love spending time with her. She has a lot of opinions, and while I do as well, I really enjoy talking things over with her and learning from each other.

Speaking with a person that is not acquainted with all the little ins and outs of American culture is so interesting. While talking with Georgia I have learned so many things about Australia and Melbourne, I have also learned a lot about myself and the differences between the United States and the rest of the world. Speaking with Georgia, I have felt so humbled and open, and I truly appreciate meeting her and spending all of our time together.

WHEN TIME STOPS

Sometimes I forget to be thankful. In the heat of my stress, anxiety, and busyness, I lose sight of my why.

At times, it has felt like life never slows down. That I never get time to do what I want to do, and I keep taking L’s left and right. Writing this, for me, is an exercise in gratitude. I feel lucky to be so busy. That means that I have been able to take so many opportunities to fill my time with something meaningful. I have an incredible life, and I could not imagine it any other way.

The stress is worth is sometimes. There is a sense of fulfillment at the end of the day.

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EMPOWERED WOMEN EMPOWER WOMEN

Growing up, I had never really thought of a myself as a girl would join a sorority. I had no family ties to Greek life, and I had no real experience with any organization close to it at all. I was definitely someone who looked down on those girls and saw Greek life as negative organizations that did not fit the kind of person I wanted to become. Many of my friends were surprised to see me to through recruitment and shocked to see me join a sorority. Like myself they saw Greek life as negative: vapid, shallow, vain, frivolous, hierarchical, and just plain ridiculous. I began to realize at some point that many of the things that I associated with Greek life, I also associated with being a girl. More specifically: a “girly-girl.” Taking pictures together and caring about your appearance.  Dressing up. Shopping. Normal things that everyone does, but girls are put down for doing them. I love doing all of these things, and I used to feel ashamed of it. I had it in my mind that these things were shallow, and they were something that I should not take pride in liking. And thankfully, this would change one day.

This summer at Camp Crimson, I was asked a question while playing Hot Seat with my campers that I wish I could have answered more aptly. Tomboy or girly-girl? I hesitated at first. Thinking about all the things that I loved that fell into the “tomboy category.” I love being outdoors. I love hiking. I love camping. I love no make-up days. I love being competitive af. I love being the stubborn person I am. But I thought about how much I loved being a “girl” too. I love dresses and heels. I love having long hair. I love taking pictures. Neither of these things are bad. We shouldn’t have to choose either way. If I was more sporty, that doesn’t mean anything. I’m still a girl. It shouldn’t matter if I am a girl that wants to model for a living or cut people open as a surgeon or play a professional sport. All these things are beautiful and any girl can do any of these things. This dichotomy shouldn’t exist. We shouldn’t limit people to what they can and cannot do.

As my view on being female changed, so did my views on Greek life. Sorority life has opened my eyes to what girls can do. The other women in Delta Gamma Alpha Iota have inspired me and empowered me so much. My friends have pushed me out of my comfort zone onto the intramurals fields (I am a dancer not a softball player but I stood out there with a metal bat and made a run). I watched older girls thrive and make a mark on campus and inspire me to do the same. They poured their hearts into their passions, and they poured their hearts into me to do the same. In my times of need and worry, my sisters have done so much for me. I remember the sweet texts from Kalsey as I became Film Series Chair. I remember girls cheering me on as I made a fool of myself playing sports.  I will absolutely never forget the crowd of my sisters crawling over to me during Camp Crimson wrap up to tell me how much I deserved to be an Outstanding SGL as I was sobbing, especially when I know that I could never have done it without them supporting me every step of the way. And along the way, they never made fun of me for wanting to take pictures with them. Or go shopping together. Delta Gamma has made me proud to be a woman in every single sense of the word.

Woman can be beautiful and put loads of care into appearances, but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t strong. It takes strength to strut in heels. There is no weakness in feeling beautiful. There is no weakness in enjoying shopping. There is no weakness in liking “masculine” things. There’s no weakness in being a female engineer. There is no weakness in being a female ballerina. There is no weakness in putting on makeup and there is no weakness in not wearing any. There is no weakness in treating yo self and no weakness in trying to eat healthy.

THERE IS NO WEAKNESS IN BEING A WOMAN.

I strive to be someone that lifts up other people no matter what. I strive to help people achieve their greatest potential. I never want to tear someone down. I want to encourage them and fill them with all that I have. Delta Gamma has done so much for me, and I cannot wait to see what else I will gain as a sorority woman, and how I can give back to the women in my life that have done so much for me.

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GELATO GALORE!

Gelato is the Italian word for ice cream, but the differences between these two dairy products highly impact the taste, texture, and experience of having gelato in Italy and eating ice cream in the States. While containing the same ingredients, ice cream is much more fluffy and airy, as compared to gelato. Ice cream contains more cream/more fat which allows for the increased trapping of air.

I have had 24 different flavors of gelato on 15 different occasions.  One of the my favorite flavors, I had very recently in Arezzo: cremino. While other gelato is stacked a little higher, looks whipped and creamy in its tin, cremino is different. A smooth, flat designed chocolate layer sits on top of a vanilla (fior di latte) base. When ordered, the server will mix the rich chocolate topping with the gelato underneath to create a marbled texture that taste oh so delicious. The chocolate was just slightly thicker than syrup, and the gelato was still creamy like normal. The chocolate ganache was so amazing paired with the plain vanilla. My other favorite flavor was a tiramisu that I had in Pisa. This texture was the most interesting, as there was cocoa powder dusted on top of the gelato metal tin, and there were chocolate chunks embedded in the coffee gelato. As a person that prefers fruitier desserts, I was surprised that I loved these two more chocolate-y flavors the most.

The most amazing combination I concocted was definitely the salted caramel and apricot. The apricot was fruit and sweet, and the caramel was slightly salted. This salty and sweet combination was perfectly balanced, and neither flavor overwhelmed the other.

My favorite gelateria was Hedera in Rome. Supposedly, they are the people who create the Pope’s birthday cake. The strawberry gelato I got there was absolutely divine, and I have not have strawberry gelato that compares. There were so many seeds in the gelato–it was extremely fresh. It was so refreshing on that hot day in Rome. They were warm and welcoming in the tiny box of a store. It was clear that all of the workers knew each other well, or were even related. Their kitchen was easily seen behind large windows behind the counter. I was able to see a large bowl of cantaloupe, and I knew I had to try the melone flavor, just to see exactly how fresh their gelato tasted.