Ashley Lopez: Miami as Text 2023


by Ashley Lopez from Florida International University, 01/27/2023

My name is Ashley Lopez and I am 18 year’s old. I am currently a Junior at FIU Honor’s College pursuing a Biochemistry degree with a nutrition minor. I have always been interested in achieving a position in healthcare and recently I discovered my true passion in the field. After working as a medical assistant in dermatology, it cultivated my interest in the specialty and my overarching career goal is to become a Physician Assistant in Dermatology. In my free time, I enjoy cooking, baking, and spending time with friends and family. I also love traveling and taking photographs to capture special moments!

Encounter as Text

“Italia Quanto mi Manchi”

by Ashley Lopez from Florida International University, 01/27/2023

“You may have the universe if I may have Italy”- Giuseppe Verdi

To me, Italia is more than just the “boot-shaped “country in Western Europe. In my life, Italia in it of itself encompasses warmth, family, friends, food, architecture, fashion, language, soccer, and lots and lots of gelato. For four years, I studied Italian in high school and was able to learn about its culture, history, art, people, politics, sports, foods, and etc. I was able to learn how to speak the language, and my sophomore year of high-school, I spent two weeks with an Italian Foreign exchange student who helped me practice the language. In simple words, Italia “grew” on me, and I have had the privilege of traveling to Italia twice.

I was learning about everything I had seen on my first trip and it cemented the idea in my head that I needed to return someday, because now I could fully appreciate and enjoy the country’s beauty. In June 2022, when COVID-19 regulations lifted and traveling became much safer, I returned with my family. That second trip truly sprouted my inner Italian love that had been in the making since my first middle school Italian class. I visited Milan, Rome, Florence, Pompeii, Sorrento, Positano, Capri, Amalfi, Vatican City, and Siena. I had the opportunity to visit several landmarks and points of interest, including art galleries, museums, and Catholic churches. Among my favorite sites to see were Il Duomo di Milano, Il Ponte Vecchio, St. Peter’s Basilica, and the Roman Forum.

When the pandemic began, I was in the midst of preparing for a studying abroad trip to Italia that had been planned by my high school’s CAP advisor. For that long-awaited trip, I also took a dual enrollment course that spring, but unfortunately, the trip had to be cancelled and I was never able to travel there with that group of 15 students and live there for the month. I will never forget the anticipation I felt for that high school studying abroad program, and now that it has been roughly three years, I was presented the opportunity once again from the Honor’s College. To sum up, I am in this class because I lost that amazing opportunity in 2020 to truly study and live in Italia, and I want to immerse myself in the Italian lifestyle. I am very much excited, motivated, and anxious to arrive in Italia, and I am looking forward to exploring all the beautiful sites there. I am most excited to visit Napoli to try the original Italian pizza, to stay in the monastery in Cinque Terre, and to take a classic picture next to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. My expectations of this program are high in the sense that I am looking to grasp the most information possible about Italia, while enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to its fullest potential.

Ancient Rome as Text

“Americans as Romans”

by Ashley Lopez from Florida International University, 02/05/2023

Prior to watching the TV show HBO Rome and reading Julius Caesar, I had not truly realized the similarities that exist between Ancient Rome and the modern-day United States. Throughout history, political leaders of the U.S. have implemented several aspects of Ancient Rome’s government structure into our own. For starters, in 1787, the United States established the division of powers in Congress by creating the Senate and the House of Representatives. The formation of two separate houses integrated a concept directly derived from Ancient Rome’s governmental structure. Before becoming the Roman Empire, Rome was considered a Republic with a Senate as its primary governing body. The Senate was composed of aristocrats, and the highest positions held within the group were two consuls that were elected by senators. However, one important distinction between Ancient Rome’s Senate and the U.S. Senate is that the Roman senators were not directly appointed by citizens’ popular votes.It should be noted that this concept of elected officials running a country’s government still exists in many parts of the world, and it was one of the most foundational moments in history for our country. Another significant parallel between the United States and Ancient Rome is the use of symbols, such as togas, eagles, and fasces. In Ancient Rome, togas were a part of their everyday fashion and this piece of clothing can be seen in various sculptures and paintings of the founding fathers and historical figures, including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington.  The United States emblem is the Bald Eagle, an animal prominently used by the Ancient Roman armies as a symbol of power. The fasces refers to a bundle of wood with an axe and it was a representation of authority figures and power in Ancient Rome. This Roman symbol is present in many historical paintings, right beside Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial, and on the back of the dime. 

A distinguishable parallel between the U.S. and Rome is the elements of architecture and culture. I believe the Roman styles of architecture, art, and fashion are absolutely beautiful. The extensive use of the color white and the form of columns and pillars seem so simple at first glance, but are actually so complex and elegant. Roman architecture is so classical and unique that it has been used as a template for many famous sites around the world. A few examples of Ancient Rome’s influence on architecture in the U.S. include the White House, Lincoln Memorial, and the United States Capitol Building. Regardless of the many similarities that exist between the United States and the Roman civilization, I find some of their ways of life to be very radical and ridiculous.  For instance, it astonishes me that in those times, people would put their money towards something as brutal as Gladiator fights for mere entertainment. I also do not find much humor in the type of comedic plays that would be held on the streets, and I think they are more attention-seeking than anything. Despite this, there are other aspects of Roman culture that I believe to be interesting, and wished they were more widespread in modern society. Ancient Romans were more sexually liberated than we are, and this can be seen in their artworks. The majority of Roman sculptures and paintings contain subjects that have very little clothing on and are proudly standing. In modern-day society, it is not as common to see this style of art, but I feel that this aspect of the Romans should be more implemented in contemporary art pieces.

The Roman Forum. Photograph taken by Ashley Lopez (Roma, Italia) / CC by 4.0

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