desolating

You ever feel like you have no idea what is going on around you? It’s like a feeling of discomfort and anxiety. You have that feeling that something is pressing down on your chest and you can barely take a breath? I miss the feeling I had when I first arrived here, the euphoric feeling. Goosebumps down my spine and the tingling sensation through my body; through my fingertips to my tippy toes. Whenever I would see or learn more about this wanderland I was living in. Now, all I have is the constant heavy breathing, anxiety approaching my body. Every single time I am outside for longer than a couple of minutes.

I want to feel a pinch from someone, and then suddenly wake up. I want someone to tell me this was just another bad dream, with a bitter taste to it. But, in reality I just want to be home. I want to, more than anything. I believe times like these really make us appreciate the little things that make up the whole picture, those little arguments which you would then make up after five short minutes with your mom or dad; you would just stare and glaze at each other trying not to burst a laugh, because the argument was “serious”, you know.

My mental health went through a rollercoaster, it is still on this rollercoaster. I have been going through really highs and really lows. Right now, it seems as if my rollercoaster just kind of stopped and it left my mind stuck in this abyss of a loop, I feel nauseas, I feel anxious and my the rush of my blood is still stuck in my head, the pounding of my head does not stop. These are real symptoms of not being ok. This is the time where one should not be alone. Mental health is so important, especially during these times where isolation seems to be our best friend.

Being in quarantine in a different country far from home and with no family to be around taught me valuable things. One, you must take care of your mind, you need to take care of your soul and don’t forget your body. Going to sleep at 5 am every day and waking up really late in to the next day, is not a healthy thing. It is draining. Your body will feel it and so it will start affecting your mental health, and soul.

I don’t think I have talked about the negative side of this trip other than COVID-19 taking something I dreamt of for so long. But, let’s talk about mental health and the toll it has really taken on some of us. I will never be the same after experiencing this; but, I am trying to see the positive in every negative. Yes, I am not in the best mental state like I was when I first arrived. Could I be better? Maybe, or maybe not; I will never know. All I know is that we create our own realities. Being stuck home, for so long changes you. It makes you reconnect with your soul on a deeper level, even when you try to avoid it, I can’t explain it.

This blog might be all over the place, but I’m being 100 percent honest to how my mind has been these past few weeks. Sometimes it is not all sunshine and rainbows and that is OK. We are going through a global pandemic and it is OK to not be OK!

Vi amo sempre ragazzi,

Joanely.

A letter from the future

March 30, 2019

To whom may be reading this,

I am writing this from what seems to be your future. I am writing to you who might be be in areas such as the U.S or in Mexico. This might seem like we are over reacting. We are not. Remember when I said I was out, and time stopped for a second at Orti del Parsano? I didn’t listen to the government. I was supposed to follow guidelines and stay home. We didn’t listen and now our quarantine is extended yet again. March 25th extended to April 3rd and now to April 18th. I was naive and putting not only myself at risk but others around me at risk.

I am writing this from the bottom of my heart. We are truly at war, but this time human kind is on the same side. We are in this war against an invisible enemy. A silent killer that we have no idea when it will attack us or our loved ones or even where it is located. We have to work together and the only way of doing so is putting in our grain of salt. This time no guns, no money or violence is needed; all it takes is being home. Who would of thought that is all we can really do during a war against a silent enemy?

Rather than think we are stuck at home, let’s say have the mindset of “FINALLY! I get to to stay home and enjoy my time off”, because the world is healing itself as well. Our environment is thriving without human kinds daily routines. Staying home isn’t only helping us contribute for this wanted victory, but it is also working towards the healing of the planet we call home. The birds will sing, the rivers will float, the sun will still be out during the day. The moon and the stars will be seen through the heights of the skyscrapers, we will lose a lot of loved ones, but we will gain victory. this will only be achieved if we are all on the same page.

I guess this isn’t just a letter from the future, but a letter for my future self. To remind me to not be so naive and selfish. Italy is 3 weeks ahead of the U.S, Mexico and other places around the world. We didnt listen, we didnt pay attention, we were selfish and our situation worsen. The U.S is 3 weeks behind Italy and they already hold the #1 spot of total cases, followed by Italy, Spain 3rd place and then China. China has slowly been winning this victory as a country.

Let’s follow Chinas discipline during these times, of quaratine and win this war just like they are. Slowly, but steady. Let’s listen to the ones that are in the future. I want to go back, read this letter and remind myself to listen when others warn us. I want to remind myself to follow strict guidelines, so in the future from then I won’t get in trouble to do daily things such as taking walks or taking out my trash. So, in the future I don’t have to be stuck in my home for an indefinitely amount of time.

From the bottom of my heart, from the future. I encourage not only myself, but others reading to listen and follow guidelines. Small sacrifices made for a certain amount of time can save lives. We will get out of this one. We will be able to enjoy the sun, the walks, the moon and the stars without fear of an invisible enemy. We will win this war against this silent killer. Together united through social distancing. We are capable of this and more.

From yours truly,

Joanely Ramos

Spiraling

First 2 weeks of March

These past few weeks have been the hardest. I had my first mental breakdown, it was real, it was sudden, it was raw. It shattered my soul in a different way. No I am not scared. No I am not leaving. No, I am not giving up on this beautiful country, I chose to call home. For the past couple of weeks I have been waking up with so many emails, texts, DM’s and calls regarding the situation that has now spreading globally.

“Is Italy on lockdown?”, “How’s the virus there?”, “Aren’t you afraid?”, “Aren’t you coming home?”, “Aren’t you or your parents worried?”. First off, thank you for your concern; I highly appreciate it. Secondly, I am fine and healthy. Thirdly, do I even know you?

These are the first three responses that pop into my head whenever I see a notification on my phone. I was on FaceTime with my mom a couple of days ago and my phone kept on blowing up as I was trying to keep calm for my moms well-being. Until I snapped. An individual whom I haven’t seem nor talked to for years, thought it was a good idea to ask me “is Italy on lockdown” via Instagram. followed by screenshots from other individuals about my homeschool closing and going fully remote for the rest of the semester, asking me about it. How the hell am I supposed to know, if I am a sea away from home.

Let me take you back to when before all the spiraling of unfortunate events started to really blow up. March 11th, before it all happened. My roommate and I decided to enjoy our day and walk around town before it went completely ghost mode. We enjoyed the hot temperature that we have been waiting since we arrived in Florence, and let me tell you, it was so refreshing. We walked so much we ended up walking on the border between Florence and Fiesole (a neighboring town). The sun was out, kids riding their bikes, and lovers enjoying their picnics while sunbathing. It was magical. There and then at the Orti Del Parnaso, timed stoped. I was breathing, fresh air. Fresh thoughts, not scared, but rather inspired. The love I have for this city, truly cant put into words. This park is so special to me now, it reminds me of back home in Chihuahua, when my mom would take me to “la deportiva” (one of the cities biggest parks) and I would just be mesmerized by nature and all the surroundings. I think that’s why I love Florence so much, because in an alternative universe, it’s just like home. I like to think that in a past life, I was a true local to this town. The way I am drawn to these streets and this culture, it’s almost like a fictional movie, made up.

I feel zhen when I am here, in the middle of global chaos. Getting news that there’s a travel ban and not being worried about it speaks volumes. The way I am taking the situation, many of my close friends label it as “lightly”, I label it as living day by day and not entering that panic mode that every social media platform is portraying and humankind is caving in to it. It saddens my heart, how easily people are manipulated. I am scared, not for myself. I am scared for humankind and how greedy they are reacting. Instead of caving into fear, let’s be proactive. Let’s start by being kind, being clean and being mindful when going into supermarkets. Let’s start by taking care of the most vulnerable in times like these. The elderly and the young. Let’s prioritize that family and health comes first, and that others share the same values. Let’s start by being proactive in a chaotic scenario.

Orti Del Parsana with lovers having picnics & sunbathing. Time stopped for a second and I knew things will get better.

I will keep you guys posted, but for now ciao! Little latin girl needs to unplugged from the internet for a couple days while being in quarantine.

When the crisis hits…

The last week of February

I hate to start any type of writing with a negative start, but that seems to be only attitude we have been surrounded in since we got home from Lucca on Saturday night. As we got off the train into the satiation to get home, we noticed everyone wearing surgical masks and we knew right away something was not right. The next couple of days until now the hashtag #CoronavirusItalia is on the trending list on almost every social media platform.

It is difficult enough being away from home, it a whole new country where all you have is yourself and some of the friends you’ve made. Like for people back at home trying to scare us by saying we should go back asap or refreshing social media only to get fake news that make everything worse. CDC labelled the North region of Italy a level 3 (apparently it got to a 4) and that is when everyone started getting notifications that they should probably go back home. Just how we thought our semester was going to take off.

I am not going to lie and pretend like everything is sweet and peaches. The daily news keep shattering my heart, but I am trying to stay optimistic, because I worked so hard to get here. I prayed so hard, to get this chance. The little girl in me does not want me to give up what I’ve dreamt of for years. As more and more peers get sent back home, I feel anxious as I refresh my email. Hoping that I will not get a notification saying I must leave my dream home. Italy, have you stolen my heart, how are they going to break us apart?

despite all of the negative news and anxious feelings. My roommates and I decided to get to know Florence more. After-all we do live here. I joined both of them to go up the Dome in the main piazza. That was my round 3 going up 464 steps and another 464 going back down. We also went up to the bell tower right next to it, round 2 going up the ‘Campanile Di Giotto’; another 414 steps going up and 414 coming down. The baptistry of course, under remodeling, of course. That wasn’t the last of our day, we decided to go to the famous Gucci Garden, located next to the Piazza della Signora. STUNNING. I wanted to move into that exhibition, it was truly mesmerizing seeing all those Gucci pieces up and personal.

This city is truly going to break my heart, but I am ok with that.

Ciao, da Gucci Garden belli!

Oh Lucca,

February 22nd, 2020

As the days pass by I start to get this feeling like Florence the ultimately height and I am on top of the world. I pass by all the old buildings, with rich architecture to them, detailed like the snowflakes from back at home. Each and every sculpture is just like a fingerprint; they seem the same but once you’re up close and learn their history they are all very unique.

This week I had two events to cover our first fashion opening of the semester and our first art exhibit. Boy, was I tired having to cover events back to back, while trying to start some editing. Thursday was the longest day I’ve had (work wise) in a while. I was up and going since 6:45 AM and didn’t get home 11 PM. It is ok, I love to stay busy, plus when you’re doing things you love, you’re not working. Since the week was very hectic, we decided to take a weekend to explore more of the Tuscany area, this time the little city of Lucca.

Oh Lucca, how you stole so many smiles from my face. A small town with a lot of personality and a true heart warming feel. My roommates and I decided to maximize our time there, so we rented a bike, now this wasn’t your typical bike. This bike is designed for 4-5 people. There was only 3 of us, so you can imagine how our uphill peddling went. I laugh so much that day, my face and tummy hurt. It has hands down been one of my favorite memories so far. I couldn’t feel more blessed and the cold air hit my face as we tried to warn people that we were trying to go faster so they should move out of the path. Also, I don’t know if I have mentioned this but I am on a mission to find the best pizza in Italy. I haven’t travelled much, but so far Lucca has first place. It’s a little cafe near the main church, an older woman with grays in her hair will be your waitress when you go.

Until next time, ciao for now belli!

Two in uno…

As my schedule picks up and starts getting busier, I find myself in the mist of a fairly fresh bliss of pure momentum. This blog will be two in one, for one reason and one reason only; I have been living in the country that I fell in love with made my dream to live here come true. To be spending time exploring and going to school doing what I truly enjoy doing/learning about, that for me is the definition of bliss.

A lot happened the second week of me being here in Firenze. let’s talk about the culture at my new school. I go once a week each class is two hours and thirty minutes long. So far, the first two weeks went by super slow. My internship? That is an everyday commitment, and the expectations of my video production skills are beyond rooftop high. That is the beauty of it though, if you are not excited to get constructive criticism something is not right; I finished my first video assignment and it unfortunately did not get approved. Days of shooting content, hours of editing and planning for it to get shut down. Due to this, I realized that this is probably how the real world will treat my work, and the only way to get better is to take the advice and fix it. I will create a better video and it will get approved.

Following my hectic week of work, my roommates and I decided to explore the city of Pisa. We bought our tickets for a whole day, and we learned quickly that many of these cities don’t need that long to explore. The chills down my spine as the wind hit my back made me realize how I would probably be walking to class back in Colorado, but instead I was about to go up the leaning tower of Pisa…ridiculous to even complain. Anyways here is a cute picture of my roommates and i. ( PS. for lunch I had a veggie pizza, I am still on the hunt for the best pizza here up North of Italy… still haven’t found it).

Week three was a slow week, I was still playing around in my internship with my video ideas/planning. Trying to figure out this small yet big city I am now living in. I got to explore a little bit of while I was in my internship hours, before getting my video rejected I was told to get lost. I still don’t think I’ve fully done it, because I find myself being scared. Being a female traveling alone is already nerve-wrecking which sucks, because there is so much I want to see and experience, yet I find myself stuck, suffocating.

I am adding “getting lost” on my list to-do, no deadline to it. I want it to be spontaneously and organic. I do not want to get told to get lost nor do I want to plan it, I want to randomly take a different route home or to school and have the excuse that I simply got lost. Only then can I say that I have truly experienced Florence.

This week was my birthday week, February 13th. I was a little homesick because I always spend my birthday with my best friends and this year I didn’t get that. my roommates made it so special that it didn’t hit me as bad. They surprised me with balloons and home-made cupcakes (yeah home-made!), I mentioned to them that I needed a small pullover blanket and they went out of their way to get me one as my birthday present. Truly heart warming.

We decided to spend our weekend in the two most romantic cities in Florence (yes it is possible for one of the most romantic countries to have specific cities that I consider romantic). Verona, known to be the home of Romeo and Juliette. This place holds a special place in my heart, since it was one of the first cities I visited my first time here in Italy. This place made me start falling in love with this beautiful country. This place, gave me hope back then for true love and it did it once again 6 years later. Mind-blowing. I don’t know what it is about this place, but its history and magic is truly one of kind, the butterflies I feel every time I am in Verona; never did I think I would feel the same and I did.

After roaming Verona we made our way to Venice, before the big carnival weekend. We still got to experience people dressed in steampunk and in vintage opera costumes. I did not have the most comfortable experience in Venice, but I truly hope to go back and enjoy it more like I did 6 years ago.

That’s it for these past two weeks. Hope you guys enjoy reading my journey so far. Little Latin girl signing off for now! CIAO!

First week of wandering…

As I tackled my first week of courses at Florence University of the Arts (FUA), I also survived my first week living on my own in a whole new different environment across the world from my little town Brighton, Colorado. Although, I have been extremely lucky to have the most amazing roommates ever, it is still an adaptation process. From grocery shopping and not finding any hot sauce (can you believe they serve jalapeno poppers with bell peppers? I was just as shocked) , to missing the correct train stop to my destination. It has felt like months have gone by, making me feel like I have been doing this for a while and it has only been a week.

If you are stuck in Firenze for at least 24 hours, the Piazza Michaelangelo is a must. It’s a short little hike with the best view of the Florence. The walk down on the opposite side has many little magical fountains that will lead your imagination to a mystical world. Truly mesmerizing to only be fountains if you ask me.

Everything is so different yet as similar as it can from the U.S. it is hard to put in words. You will still find those typical American diners with wings and beer, but you also have pizzerias, gelato and piazzas in every corner/street. I am completely infatuated living here and do not regret it at all. As one of my professors here described our time abroad as a “journey”, just like Odysseus, we have decided to be here, we were not told to. The free choice I had to be here, creates a surreal journey the hard work I have to put in to be here, creates it into an extraordinary journey.

I feel like i’ve had to grow up so much during these past days more than I have ever done back and home and it is honestly so reinsuring that if I am able to pack a check in bag, a carry on and a personal bag, get on a plane and leave my home for 5 months then I can tackle anything the world wants me to face.

This weekend my roommates and I will be taking a day trip to visit the famous tower of Pisa, our first adventure together (will have pictures in next weeks blog). —

As my roommate Gina (left side) captioned this photo “There ARNO reasons to leave Firenze.”

Who would of thought a little latin girl was going to be studying in Italy. Until next blog, ciao!

Introduce Yourself (Example Post)

This is an example post, originally published as part of Blogging University. Enroll in one of our ten programs, and start your blog right.

You’re going to publish a post today. Don’t worry about how your blog looks. Don’t worry if you haven’t given it a name yet, or you’re feeling overwhelmed. Just click the “New Post” button, and tell us why you’re here.

Why do this?

  • Because it gives new readers context. What are you about? Why should they read your blog?
  • Because it will help you focus you own ideas about your blog and what you’d like to do with it.

The post can be short or long, a personal intro to your life or a bloggy mission statement, a manifesto for the future or a simple outline of your the types of things you hope to publish.

To help you get started, here are a few questions:

  • Why are you blogging publicly, rather than keeping a personal journal?
  • What topics do you think you’ll write about?
  • Who would you love to connect with via your blog?
  • If you blog successfully throughout the next year, what would you hope to have accomplished?

You’re not locked into any of this; one of the wonderful things about blogs is how they constantly evolve as we learn, grow, and interact with one another — but it’s good to know where and why you started, and articulating your goals may just give you a few other post ideas.

Can’t think how to get started? Just write the first thing that pops into your head. Anne Lamott, author of a book on writing we love, says that you need to give yourself permission to write a “crappy first draft”. Anne makes a great point — just start writing, and worry about editing it later.

When you’re ready to publish, give your post three to five tags that describe your blog’s focus — writing, photography, fiction, parenting, food, cars, movies, sports, whatever. These tags will help others who care about your topics find you in the Reader. Make sure one of the tags is “zerotohero,” so other new bloggers can find you, too.

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