International Event #1: Pasta Making with Luccio

For my first international event,  I went to a pasta making class taught by Luccio, OUA’s student service coordinator. Pasta was surprisingly easy to make and I was amazed by how simple the recipe was. Even the ravioli wasn’t too difficult! This past weekend, I went home and made pasta for my mom. This time it was much more difficult than how I had remember ed it in class. Although my pasta pieces were rather misshapen, my mom made a great sauce to go with them. It was a great meal, overall. I enjoyed learning something at OU that I was able to bring back to my home. I will definitely be attending the pasta making class again next year, if I am able!

Intentionality

Tomorrow is Tuesday, and also the start of the 3rd week of Sophomore year. The past two weeks have been a wild ride, let me tell you. My new classes, new job, and new internship have all presented unique challenges. Nonetheless, I feel like I have managed really well and I am so excited for the rest of the upcoming year.

Throughout the past few weeks, I have made an effort to be intentional. “Intentional” is often flung around in meaningful conversation or blog posts and is a word that I ponder often. What does it mean to be intentional? And why is it so important?

Although I am not sure exactly what everyone else means when they use the word “intentional,” I have come up with my own definition.

Being intentional – living in the moment. considering others thoughts / needs when making decisions for yourself. offering unsolicited support to others. paying attention to what is important in the moment. not getting distracted by future worries. spending time in the most productive and thoughtful manner. operating based on general thoughtfulness. 

I hope to be intentional with my thoughts and actions in the upcoming months. This semester has been great and I am so thrilled to see what great things are to come.

Here are some pictures from the last few weeks.

Me after the first day of school. The first day was, as always, a little overwhelming! I watched the movie “Sing” that night, btw.
A celebratory “WE SURVIVED THE FIRST WEEK” dinner! This week, I want to have a “WE SURVIVED THE THIRD WEEK” dinner. I’m down to celebrate every week for the rest of the year, honestly.
YAY for the first game of the season. OU beat UTEP with massive victory.

Post-Summer Reflection

I am still deciding what exactly I want this blog to be. I want it to be a place where I can document my experiences for myself and whoever else casually stumbles upon it. While I still struggle to figure this out, here is a casual update on my life and what I am thinking about nowadays.

The summer after my freshman year is coming to a close. The past three months has been filled with lots of self-reflection and general thought.

My freshman year was filled with many feelings and experiences that were previously foreign. There were college classes, new friends from across the country, date parties, sorority gatherings, and many clubs to apply for. There was love, loss, and an overwhelming sense of helplessness. All of these experiences and feelings have contributed to a major feeling of growth. I feel that my general mentality, passions, and goals have shifted from where they stood last year. I feel that I have since become more selfless, compassionate, worldly, and empathetic. These changes that I have seen within myself have made me realize just how much I have left to grow and mature. I am constantly trying to improve myself and that effort will never end.

Throughout my first year of college, I have learned to embrace vulnerability and ask for help. I have found mentors that encourage me to dare greatly, learn from failure, and work towards overcoming obstacles. I have found friends that put great effort into uplifting me in every situation. I have developed passions in areas that I have never considered to be relevant. I have been put in tough situations that were alleviated with dedication and perseverance. I have learned that life is the most precious thing and that it is absolutely worth fighting for. I have met many who did not grow up with the same support or other privileges that I had. I have learned to embrace new perspectives and see things from varying viewpoints. I have seen the consequences of sheltering oneself from uncomfortable and unfamiliar experiences. I have seen the incredible success of pure dedication and intention. I have learned how to love myself – faults and quirks included.

I have never once felt such a profound sense of self. For the first time in my entire life, I feel that I know exactly who and what I want to be.

Work Week! I Moved! A New Chapter!

Every year, Panhellenic hosts a big event for all of the chapters to come out and show “Pan love.” Each chapter dresses up in their theme / colors.

After returning from Mexico, it was time to start the next chapter in my life. 10 days after returning to the USA, I moved in to my sorority house to prepare for recruitment. I was / am so excited to have the opportunity to live in the house with all of my great pals!

My roomie Sarah and I in our new room!

After we moved in, we immediately started preparation for recruitment. This process was rather overwhelming, to be honest. We learned door songs, watched talented sisters practice their speaking / special singing parts, and decorated various rooms in our house. Of course, we also had lots of fun too: snow cones on our big lawn, a carnival-themed dinner, late night Sonic runs. This all took place over the course of the week. Tomorrow, recruitment starts and I am both nervous and excited. It should be interesting, that’s for sure!

It was my friend Katie’s birthday the other day. We surprised her by blindfolding her and taking her to some of her favorite places around Norman and decorating her room.
We had “Alumni Night” where the alumni come and watch some of the productions / songs that we have prepared for recruitment week.
Katie girl!! <3

As I said, recruitment starts tomorrow. Wish us luck and sanity, please!

Ciudad de México ➸ Norman

Today we are heading back to the United States. I have had such an amazing time here in Mexico. I am absolutely amazed with the culture, cuisine, and beauty of this country. Here is a list of some things that I wanted to reflect on as I head home to the United States:

  1. First of all, I highly encourage going on a study abroad trip without any of your friends. I had one acquaintance, Audrey, who I knew was also coming on this trip. We decided to share an apartment and it was such a great opportunity for us to get closer and make close friends with the others in our group.
  2. Mexico has these little stands that they put by your table in restaurants to hold your purse. America needs those.
  3. Always keep a blog while traveling. I totally wish that I had kept up with mine in Italy. Blogging helped me reflect and remember each day that I was abroad.
  4. Don’t be afraid to sound silly when speaking in the language that you are learning. You will improve so quickly when you are trying to speak with people everyday.
  5. True Mexican food is entirely different than what we are used to in the United States. I thought I knew this coming in to the trip, but there is still so many culinary differences that I was unaware of.
  6. There are lots of things that should be on this list that I am forgetting…..

Woo! This was a trip of a lifetime and I am so excited that I got to share and remember it via this blog.

Lastly, check out the Talavera that I painted in Puebla! I think it turned out pretty well!

El Último Día en México

Today was our last full day in Mexico and boy was it a good one! This morning we went to a Mexican Folklore Ballet. It was unlike anything that I have ever seen before. There were Flamenco dancers, dancers with huge paper mache masks, Mariachi bands, etc. It was so much fun and definitely one of the more “traditional” experiences that I have had while here.

After the show, we went to the museum that was located inside the same building as the theatre (it is called the Palacio de Bellas Artes). They currently have a special exhibit called “Picasso and Rivera: Conversations Across Time.” The exhibit has many works from both of the artists and discussed their stylistic similarities (especially cubism). It was a great and impressive exhibit. The Palacio also had several Diego Riviera murals. How cool is that?!?

A piece by Rivera.

After we finished up at the Palacio, we went to the Museum of Memory and Tolerance. This museum was truly spectacular. It was decided up into 2 parts. The first part was designated to help visitors remember the genocides that have occurred in the past. The second part of the tour was designed to encourage and promote tolerance of other cultures, ideas, and people. This museum is a must-see for anyone who finds themselves in Mexico City. I could not recommend it enough.

Part of the “tolerance” section of the museum promoted the understanding of migrants. This mirrored screen showed clips of our current President and American crimes targeting undocumented immigrants from Mexico. It offered an interesting and important perspective.

After the Museum of Tolerance, we had a late lunch at a huge restaurant inside a hotel. It was lovely! I had some tacos and a fruit / cheese salad. My amiga Audrey tried a traditional dish that actually originated in Puebla. It is called Chilis en Nogada and is a stuffed pepper with a special sauce and pomegranate seeds. It was yummy for sure!

Chilis en Nogada

After lunch, we were supposed to go to the mall for a couple of hours. Audrey and I decided that we wanted to check out the nearby Museo Jumex, that had a temporary Andy Warhol exhibit. The museum had only 3 galleries and they were all filled with spectacular Warhol works. It was fabulous and I had so much fun strolling through the brightly colored modern art. It was a nice change from the (equally beautiful) European art that I have been staring at all summer.

Vacas

We stopped by “the Mexican version of Starbucks” for a quick treat before heading back to the hotel for the night. What a great last day here in this beautiful country. Mexico, I love you!!!!

Ciudad de México

Some flowers in the greenhouses in Xochimilco.

Today was our first day in Mexico City. I love it here! It feels just like any big American city, honestly.

We got up this morning after a beautiful slumber in our nice big hotel beds and headed to breakfast. The place where the OU faculty goes for breakfast (aka it’s free to us) has both traditional Mexican breakfast and more generic American alternatives. Today I opted for the Huevos Rancheros, but tomorrow I’ll definitely be eating pancakes. I’m ready for a good old bowl of cereal and yogurt for breakfast. Not that I don’t love the bean / egg / salsa dishes that are usually served here.

Anyways, after breakfast we drove to the Xochimilco (the city of flowers). This is an area that was once a Mayan civilization. It used to be a city on water, but now it is an area with manmade islands. There are tons of small wooden boats that visitors can rent out. Once you get on the water tons of vendors, also in boats, that try to sell you things including food, drinks, and souvenirs. There are also marriachi bands floating on boats. If you pay them, they will come sing on your boat. It’s pretty cool! In the middle of our boat tour, we stopped at a greenhouse to take a peek. There were tons of beautiful flowers and plants for sale.

A picture of the boats. The tops of the boats are all decorated with women’s names.

After our boat excursion, we headed to the Frida Khalo Museum. The Museum was everything that I imagined. I feel like I have read so much about the Museum throughout all of my Spanish classes, and today I finally got to see it.

We had lunch and I took a brief 2 hour naps. Then, we departed for the El Rey León. It was amazing!! I had seen the musical in London this past summer, but it was more fun in Spanish. It was so special for me to be able to see that again.

I loved this show!!! So much!!!

Puebla ➸ Mexico City

The largest largest pyramid in Teotihuacan. This is the one that we climbed.

Today we left Puebla bright and early to head to Mexico City. We stopped along the way at Teotihuacan. Teotihuacan is an ancient Mesoamerican city that is located about an hour out of Mexico City. While we were there, we got to climb one of the huge pyramid and learn a little about the history of the ancient civilization. Most importantly, I got the most delicious paleta (popsicle with fresh fruit) I’ve had while here. It was so good that I got another one!

Shameless photo of myself at the top of the pyramid. There were so. many. stairs.

We have just arrived in Mexico City and I am so excited to explore. First, a quick rest period before dinner. Today has been exhausting!

Nuestro Último Día en Puebla

Today is our last full day in Puebla. I cannot believe that this trip has gone by so quickly; it feels like we just got here!

Today we had our last cooking class and our last language class. In our cooking class, we made Pipián Rojo, Agua de Horchata, and Arroz a la Jardinera.

What we cooked / our lunch today

Tomorrow we leave for a weekend in la Ciudad de México and I could not be more excited.