Moreta '18

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Finally in Buenos Aires, Argentina! After a long 14-hour flight from Rome I arrived in Argentina at 6:40 am. I was feeling super nervous because my friend and I were going to be immediately split and sent off to our host family. At that moment I thought that I had bitten more than I could chew and just wished I were home! Thankfully, everything went very smoothly and my host mom is very nice.

Once I arrived she, Maria,  showed me around the house and even made me breakfast. So far, I was happy about everything until the nervousness began again. By noon I had to be ready because I was going to be picked up by the university director, Nico, in charge of Holy Cross students and I was finally going to meet the students who I will bond with for the next five months.

For lunch we had milanesa, which is very typical food here. I would sum it up to something similar to breaded meat (ex. extra-large chicken nugget), but it is actually very delicious. The first lunch was a little quiet because we were all tired and new to each other, but as the evening unfolded things got better. So far I can say that day one in Argentina has been great and I am so excited for the adventure to begin.

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It very sad that I will be leaving Italy in less than 24 hours, but I am beyond excited to start my semester abroad in Argentina. In Argentina, I will be taking intensive Spanish classes for the first four weeks, Monday through Friday for four hours! There are so many things I want to learn about Argentina and I cannot wait to start exploring. I am also very excited to improve my Spanish as well as live in a country where they use “Vos” and not “Tu”. This semester I hope to explore places like La Boca, which I heard is very beautiful and colorful during the day as well as Mendoza, which is known for its wine. You would think that by now, after a month in Chianti, I would be tired of wine, but it is the complete opposite! I am also very excited for our Holy Cross group trip to the Iguazú waterfalls, which are one of the seven wonders of the world!

What saddens me the most about leaving to Argentina is the cold weather! While its beautiful and high 70’s here in Italy, it will be around 50 degrees in Argentina. It will be such an adventure because half my clothes are summer and the other half is more fall weather. Overall, I am super excited to board this fourteen-hour flight to Argentina and finally begin exploring and immersing in the Argentinian culture. Wish me luck this semester abroad and stay tuned for more blog post and updates abroad! Thank you for reading.

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My friend (Leyda) and I leave to Argentina in less than three days and since the Maymester program has come to an end we decided to take a “mini-vacation” to Milan. A train ride and less than two hours later we were sitting at my Leyda family house in Milan. In the few days that we had we decided to visit the downtown area and walk around. We also visited the Duomo and it was very beautiful! I am not sure which Duomo I consider the most breathtaking, Florence or Milan, but they are definitely both enormous and very detailed. We also decided to be adventurous and bike around the city after the sun had set. It was actually a hassle to rent out the bikes although the instructions seemed so simple. It took us over one-hour to figure out the situation, but we finally got it. During this little adventure I realized I am not a good bike-rider and as a result always kept my friend, Leyda, and her cousin waiting. It was also a lot harder than I thought to ride a bike on cobblestone; nonetheless the experience was something very unique.

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As the last day approached I could not imagine myself leaving Italy without having an awesome gelato one more time and so of course I had to buy my favorite combination of dark chocolate with hazelnut and coffee! If there is something I really am going to miss from Italy, it is definitely the delicious and inexpensive gelato!

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Upon arriving in Italy, I never imagined that I would become addicted to gelato! Back at home I rarely ever have any kind of ice cream, yet here I have gelato at least once a day if not more. While I have tasted many gelatos in the three weeks that I have been here, I have to say that Edoardo’s in Florence is one of the best gelato I have tasted. Their organic ingredients and homemade cones really add the “cherry on top” – pun intended. Edoardo’s gelatos are creamy, decadent and made with fresh ingredients that really create an explosion in your mouth. I purchased the chocolate-hazelnut and cinnamon flavor gelato, which has been by far the best combination! Not only is their gelato very affordable, but it is just delicious. Below I posted more pictures of my gelato experience, warning though, not all are from Edoardo!

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Since the beginning of our trip, wine has been by our side. The group has had the opportunity to do multiple wine tasting from small estates like Le Fonti and Le Cinciole (where I am currently staying) to more medium size vineyards like Nitardi and also the famous architectural and larger estate, Petra. The tasting have varied tremendously, but the act of tasting and judging wine has showed me how difficult it is to describe and how limited my vocabulary is. Through the different tastings I have learned various terms that could describe wine – bitter, sweet, dry, acidic, nervous, bouncy, tobacco etc., as well as have improved my knowledge on which wines I prefer.

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The experience in Le Fonti and Le Cinciole were different than, per say, Petra, because of the size and quantity of production. Le Fonti and Le Cinciole are smaller vineyards, yet they provide a wide range of authenticity. During the tour, they described the process of picking the grapes, taking them through the various machines and double-checking to make sure everything is flawless. Who would have known that so much work, thought and creativity went into creating a wine? I always imagined it was must have been difficult, but never imagined that creating wines were so complex – from the strenuous amount of work that goes into an organic farm to the fermentation of the grapes in distinct barrels and then bottling. Timing is everything when it comes to wine, from picking the perfect grapes to fermenting them once, twice and up to three times! The complexity of making wine only begins here and can go on forever.

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To keep it short, I have discovered that I genuinely do like red wine, but prefer Rossè, which tends to me is more smooth, sweet and refreshing. Personally, I also learned that I like the Chianti Classico, red wine, specifically from Le Cinciole. Chianti Classico have various regulations and restrictions one being a minimum of 80% sangiovese grapes. The one I like from Le Cinciole is particularly medium-dry, slightly sweet with a short after taste, which is perfect for my palette. I almost forgot to mention, but we went to a wine festival in Radda and it was amazing, with over 15 wine producers from which I learned and took notes of all the great wines I like from the various distributors. As per usual, I like to leave the reader with something to ponder on and today that is, what is your experience with wine and what are some of your favorite wines?

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Italy

The first week in Tuscany, Italy for the Philosophy of Food Maymester 2016 has been amazing! I am overwhelmed with the beautiful scenic views of greenery, loads of meats and nice people. One of the first dinners we had was at “Antica Macelleria Cecchini” owned by the famously known butcher, Dario Cecchini. It was an honor to have this family-style feast that included many unique style dishes, which demonstrated the care and respect for the meat. Taking a philosophy course on food is very intriguing and different than what I am use to, especially because as the days progress I learn that everyone has a different belief and approach to cooking. One idea that really stayed with me from Dario’s visit was his philosophy of not being particularly interested in only “healthy” food, but instead in caring for and using the whole animal as a sign of respect. Being a butcher is a sacrifice especially coming from someone who was studying to be a veterinary before taking ownership of the family business.

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The visit to Dario’s and the feast we had allowed me to reflect more on the sacrifice that the animal, farmer and butcher have made. While Dario only owns an experimental farm where the animals get to enjoy and live until they die (which is super expensive to maintain), we had the opportunity to see other great farms that are run with the purpose of consuming the meat. The farmer, butcher and animal all sacrifice something, whether time or life. Being a butcher is serious work and Dario’s expertise comes from a long line of knowledge and creativity.

Since our visit to Dario’s and another farm owned by Falaschi in San Miniato, I have a different approach to food, especially meat. Realizing how much work, time and sacrifice goes into farming; butchering or cooking allows me to respect the meal more especially meats since it it’s the literal sacrifice of an animal that I am consuming. The beauty of the land, the fields, vineyards, animals and food have left me in awe, yet I leave you with this – next time you eat out, ask more about the food, the process and learn more about what you are consuming because ultimately the food one consumes is a reflection of oneself since we are making the choice to eat and purchase it.

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Alarm rings at 6 am and I am up and getting ready for my trip abroad! My mother and I have agreed to leave by 6:50 am so that I can get dropped off, but not at the airport, instead South Station in Boston! So originally I was born and raised in Boston, but some how my flight leaves from the JFK airport in New York – and no – I am not traveling with the school group. While scary at first it was super exciting the ride to New York because my current Holy Cross roommate, Leyda and I traveled together!

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(Left-Right) Leyda, Mercedes (Leyda’s mom), Altagracia (My mom), Me Saying “see you later” at South Station Bus Terminal.

To think that we boarded the bus at 9 am and our flight does not depart from JFK until 8:55 pm was mind blowing! The majority of the ride we slept, but once we stepped foot in New York it was the beginning of our great adventures. We dragged around five luggage and two backpacks for a combined weight of almost 200 lbs. of clothes and items!

Three large (50 lbs.) luggage, two carry-ons and our backpacks in Manhattan, New York.

Three large (50 lbs.) luggage, two carry-ons and our backpacks in Manhattan, New York.

So, funny story- after asking for directions to the airport from Penn Station, Leyda and I had the challenge to drag and board the blue train with five luggage without leaving anything behind! Challenge accepted – a minute before the train is about to arrive we set our luggage in front of us with the game plan of throwing them in and hoping on the train before the doors closed – well that was easier said then done! The train arrives and we beginning placing our luggage inside the train – while I am inside Leyda is out with the last carry-on and – bam- the doors start to shut and Leyda’s hand is caught. Instantly, I grab the door and shove it in the opposite direction in order to let Leyda in! After an insane amount of laughter we realize how dangerous that was and how we now faced the new challenge of getting out of the train in one piece with five luggage. A gallon of sweat later we made it alive!

Our detour to New York consisted of many silly moments and sweat, but it was totally worth it! From dragging the luggage through New York’s sidewalks, to running for the train and caring our luggage up and down the stairs in the train station to having Leyda get caught in the train doors – the detour was completely worth it. The purpose of the detour to New York was to save money on our flight and boy was it fun! Leyda and I enjoyed every second of the beginning to our adventures, as we will be traveling together to Argentina as well. Keep posted for many more stories and thanks for reading!

(Left-Right) Visaury (me), Leyda. Picture before boarding our flight to Florence, Italy with a layover in Madrid from JFK, New York airport.

(Left-Right) Visaury (me), Leyda. Picture before boarding our flight to Florence, Italy with a layover in Madrid from JFK, New York airport.

I cannot believe I depart in less than 48 hours and I have yet to finish packing! There is so much to do and so little time – dramatic? – No reality. On Thursday, I will be departing for a Maymester in Italy and this will be my second time in Europe. According to the weather report it is suppose to be mostly sunny and high 60’s low 80’s which sounds awesome – unless your in my situation. Italy is not the only place I will be traveling to once I leave the states. After completing my Maymester program I will be departing to South America for the first time and completing a semester in Argentina! The excitement and thrill to travel are what keeps me sane, but the opposite weather is not helping me when it comes to packing, as Argentina will be ranging between 30-60 F degrees. As you can see below, my bed has a range of clothes that go from very lightweight to super heavy for the colder nights! Sadly, the packing does not stop here because of course I need a bunch of shoes – a girl’s biggest obsession. The weight from my jackets, jeans, shorts, sweaters, shirts, sandals, purses, make-up, jewelry etc. has my luggage super overweight.

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At the beginning of my decision to study abroad, I was determined to take on the challenge to pack for two countries, two different weathers and six month in the luggage permitted by the airline which is one large suitcase (50 lbs.) and a carry-one plus a backpack, but that was a fail. After weeks of convincing myself and mentally preparing myself, I failed and cracked under pressure to purchase a second luggage! While not my favorite choice it sure does make me feel more comfortable about distributing my clothes more evenly and not being overweight at the airport since no one would be there to take items back home – wait – did I mention I was leaving through JFK, New York airport? Well that is an adventure you must continue to read to learn more about!

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Visaury Moreta '18

  • Studies: Spanish major, education studies minor, Latin American and Latino Studies concentration
  • Hometown: Roslindale, Mass.
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