A snippet of my life abroad

Here is a little something I wrote about my days and minutes in Florence:

SO I have successfully navigated an Italian supermarket, with the word “scusi” (excuse me) under my breath the entire time, had gelato twice a day, multiple days in row while justifying it with the fact that I walk 3 miles to school and back, plus walking for food and getting lost, averaging about 12 miles a day. I have washed some clothes and hung them on the towel warmer to dry. Attended and loved class, my Italian professor is fantastic. Paired paprika Pringles with a 4-euro pinot noir (they go wonderfully together p.s.). Indulged in real pizza, fresh pasta, and warm Panini (panino is singular and the plural form is Panini, sorry America we are saying it wrong). Let me tell you, I am being spoiled for the rest of my life.  The cappuccinos are 1.5 euro and they are incredible and beautiful and it will be a battle with Caribou to hand over $5 for my decent at best coffee when I am home.

If you are curious about some of the history and other foods Florence prides itself upon, check this article out!

It was not so long ago I stepped foot in Florence (Firenze in Italian, here is a map if you want to look at the location). I have crossed many bridges. Literally. The river Arno runs through Florence and to get to school I have to walk down my street and then past two bridges until I reach the third bridge, the one I cross over, as it is the most direct route to school. My school is in a palace. No joke. However, it is not quite like the one you have drawn up in your head. It’s a palace by historical standard, not based upon how many princesses have lived there. The classrooms are huge and slightly dusty, but the material I am learning is wonderful.



My days are rich and filled with delicious food, long walks, laughs with friends, beautiful sights and a cozy apartment to come home to at night. The apartment is not very big, but I think it is perfect. After climbing 8 flights of stairs, I open the door to a sweet kitchen with a couch (my living and dining room). The ceilings are so cool! They are made of exposed wood and make me feel as though I am living in an Italian cottage. The light fixtures are pretty neat too. My kitchen has a chandelier and my bedroom has lights with red shades, giving my room a pinky glow. My apartment has 2 bathrooms and 2 showers! Yay! Everything is new and works wonderfully. Also in my room I have a window into the staircase of my building. I have exchanged several glances and prolonged eye contact with the lawyer who lives across from me. Note: he always wears sunglasses…the anonymity is somewhat intriguing.


The 25 minute walk to school is pretty tolerable when I’m surrounded by a culture of absolute charisma, such as Santa Croce, a basilica I walk past everyday.


May I never keep my eyes down and become too familiar with the awe that encircles me.


I will update weekly now. With stories and adventures and pictures. Until then, know that I am doing well. That I am happy and that I am always hungry, for pasta, gelato, new ventures, a different vantage point, feelings of warmth, home and the desire to carve my own path.


May my appetite never be satisfied.


Thanksgiving, the holiday of thanks and what else?

Who Is Receiving the Thanks? 

A holiday special article

The holiday season had arrived. While some may already be listening to their Christmas tunes and stringing up their lights others wait for the first holiday to finish, Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving can be defined as “the expression of gratitude, especially to God”. However, this definition does not seem to be true to the majority of families celebrating this holiday.

The Pilgrims left England to escape religious persecution. After arriving in Massachusetts the surviving 53 Pilgrims celebrated their safety with the native people of the land with a large feast. Thus creating the first Thanksgiving.


This tradition of turkey and food to gorge on has remained a part of American culture since 1621. While the idea of giving thanks to a higher power is the definition of this holiday, Drake University students do not find this to be practiced in the manner it was intended for.

Veronica Jandura, a senior at Drake, recalls watching Christmas movies beginning on Thanksgiving with her family.

“Christmas movies and my grandma saying Grace at the table is about all the religion that we practice at Thanksgiving,” Jandura said. “It is more so about being thankful for where each of my family members are in life and going around the table saying what each of us are thankful for religion aside.”

Religion does not find itself at Maddy Gildersleeve’s, a sophomore at Drake, Thanksgiving dinner either.

“My cousins always go to church the morning of Thanksgiving, but my direct family does not,” Gildersleeve said. “Therefore my cousins don’t fell obligated to include the religion into the actual meal because they celebrated God earlier in that day.”

The detachment between religion and Thanksgiving for the Gildersleeve family is apparent at the dinner table unless her grandparents are there.

“My grandparents incorporate religion into the meal just because that’s how they practice their religion and how they receive the most meaning out of their holiday,” Gildersleeve said. “But to me, Thanksgiving is about being thankful for those around you not necessarily above you.”

Gildersleeve and Jandura’s family Thanksgiving practices are reflective of the typical Thanksgiving meal for Drake students and their families. Thanksgiving’s definition changes from family to family, not solely defined and designated to feature religion within the holiday.

As Drake once used to be religiously affiliated, Thanksgiving seems to have fallen to the same fate.

Are you an April? If so, that’s awesome.

Here is a little description of a woman that I made up in my mind, but who holds a little bit of all of us:

One thing April might say about herself is that she is nice. And this is not a lie. April might also say that she is funny. However, this is a lie. April was born in the month of April. She eats tuna fish toast and egg yolks every morning and feeds the egg whites to her pet turtle. Her pet turtle’s name is Shelly, because he has a shell. April goes to work at an office every day.

The office is in a big brick building, April thinks it is a nice building, nobody else does. There are three small walls that surround the desk at which April sits at from exactly 8:57 in the morning until 5:11 in the evening. April has a stapler that is shaped like a banana on her desk, she thinks it is quite funny. However, April is not funny. Nobody ever wants to use April’s stapler. There is also a high-heeled shoe shaped tape dispenser and a granola bar. April likes the colors of the granola bar wrapper, so she hasn’t moved it in 6 years. Aprils has one friend who calls every Sunday evening and they talk about how much money April has to spend, she is a caring friend, so April always gives her the “extra” money she apparently has. Her friend is nice too. April’s life is nice, just like her. She likes her life. It is a nice life to live.


What April’s feet look like

Curious what April’s favorite song is… well you’re in luck, it’s one she listens to everyday

Poems or something like that



There is something to be said about shining on your own, in a space that is not yourdsc05180 own:

Bright. Shining brightly, being bright, brightness is difficult to measure. When you’re sitting in a dim room, with outdated furniture, a vending machine with suspiciously low prices and 15 other women who have their own agendas and searching the room with frantic eyes for a friendly face. In moments like this your brightness may feel muffled. But always remember that when the sun sets behind a cloud, it casts an even more brilliant array of colors further, for the world to adore.


What I am 

My name is a flower. I was named after the bright orange, yellow and pink blooms that rise from the ground to spread joy in the spring, a time of rebirth.

I spread my seeds with every laugh I breathe out and word that curls off my tongue. Yes, I sow my wealth of happiness wherever I may. But the world is not always kind to a flower.

I am picked, stomped on and cut through. I am used to give for love and then thrown out when I grow old. For flowers are delicate and I am no different.

Yes, my name is a flower, oh what a name to have.

A different species, a similar soul

I heard it deep in my soul as the bird hit the window with the force of God’s fist. He sat there in shock and pain after he realized his path he was traveling has been nothing more than an illusion, a reflection of his past. The little song bird kept calm as I lifted him into my palms and close to my heart. He only took flight when he heard the sweet melody of his other half calling for his return. No amount of lift or encouragement I gave him helped until he knew he was needed, missed, longed for by another of his kind.

If only we weren’t so similar.


Thoughts on change in a foreign country

Italia dreams

When I was abroad in Italy I had many moments of joy and experiences that taught me more than my textbooks have in some instances. Here are some thoughts that are a little unprecedented that I wrote about my time abroad while sitting in my tiny kitchen facing the open window where my clothes were line drying and the laughter of Italian families echoed below me:

CanalinveniceI guess I began this journey knowing I would change. Accepting the fact that I would be different. Where I went wrong was thinking I knew how I would change. I thought “Oh ill become more introspective and independent. Ill be worldly and see things from new perspectives.” While that is not completely wrong, it isn’t the whole picture. One month has gone by since I moved to Florence and the way I am changing is unprecedented. Sitting alone in my room, slightly terrified to leave, twiddling my thumbs because I’m not sure what to do is not how I pictured my time in Italy. But I think this feeling and actions are more than depressing. I think I have unlocked another layer of myself. A vulnerable layer that I haven’t wanted to expose before. And now this layer is all that I am, I cant put it away or hide it. I am vulnerable and scared to enter the Italian sun and have it burn through me and hit my core because change is scary. It is weird and uncomfortable, a feeling I haven’t experienced since puberty really and even then it wasn’t in this way. While I haven’t changed too much yet besides gaining weight and having longer hair, my soul is ready. I am vulnerable and I need to move my legs and let my heart beat faster and my hands touch that which I have been anxious to do. I need to be free and this desire is now closer than ever. I feel free, unstoppable and that is petrifying, but I need to accept it. I am so close; just keep pushing into the form that I want to take on.

Here is a song that I listened to a lot while abroad, not sure why it gave me so much comfort and joy, but here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ABYnqp-bxvg