Guided Writing Portrait

Insegnami a Volare translates to he/she/they (singular) taught me how to fly. I’ve just finished intermediate classes for the language, no biggie.


I’ve just finished up my sophomore year of college (all A’s!) and have finished up the class necessary to take in order to work in the writing center. In that class, my professor introduced several ways to guide ones writing for our projects on literary sponsorship. My guided writing portrait–

Assignment: Choose someone who appears in your literacy narrative draft and write portrait about them. One paragraph. Based off the directions given in class.

Insegnami a Volare

We had been seeing each other after school on Thursdays for a few weeks straight. Each session I brought my Italian text book, Amici, that she adored thumbing through, the cover striped to mimic the flag: red, white, green. We bonded over Italian hand gestures, signaling we both had a bloodline relationship with Italy that water couldn’t loosen. Both of our ties to the country were as strong as steel, and together we fleshed out each other’s stories about heritage and the language itself. It was on these Thursday’s that we’d sit down in a classroom on the fifth floor, adjacent her office, and remind ourselves of basic and complex words, cultural experiences that occur in Italy, and of the sights we were set to see. It gave her a Mediterranean smile. A wide smile, wide like her wingspan, which slightly stretched the neckline of whatever dress-shirt she wore. We had a lot of laughs during our session and I often find myself wishing we could meet after school every day to click more and more. It wasn’t hard for me to feel this way, in fact one Thursday we spent an entire half hour talking about the cats that roam freely in the colosseum in Rome. We made mountains out of molehills in terms of meliorism of the language.

Soon enough, our sessions finished, we were on the plane to Italy and were adjusting to Rome. Days later she and I sat on stairs in Venice that overlooked murky, dark blue water—the smell of the Old Rock Cafe a yard from us was of potent cigarettes. She was like a guardian angel, I realized the first night in Rome, after I was sick and she waited outside the bathroom for me with a stick of gum. Fantastico. She taught me to fly abroad—insegnarmi a volare.

With love, Alyssa

Winter Break

Me, wearing a spaghetti strap velvet dress and lying on a modern Victorian fainting couch with my hand dramatically on my forehead, a glass of wine in my free hand: “I survived my first semester of college.”


*Adele voice* Hello, it’s me.

I also returned home today and in the spirit of the excursion home, here is a poem I wrote in the car ride home about pilgrimages and feelings of home:



One year from today

I made a grave discovery:


In the country known

Predominately for old-fashioned grandmothers, who

Wield wooden spoons that drip

With the blood of a tomato,

I saw windows when

Everyone else saw walls.


Never in my seventeen years of living

Did I imagine hearing a thick Italian

Accent speak my last name

With gusto

Would teach me more about

My heritage than any dusty

Book on the shelf would.


There were cobblestone streets littered

With Tourists who

Talked through the lens of

A Camera, and

Locals who had the same

Nose and dark, thick hair

As me.

There were ruins left and right that

Had no roofs but did seem

More homey than the aroma of Nana’s famous

Mini meatballs.


One year from one day

I wished my flight to New York

Would’ve been delayed.

In other news I wish I was back in Florence where the weather was constantly nice, unlike bitter New York right now where it’s 60 degrees in December. No matter the weather, I hope y’all have a good winter break where ever you are ! 🙂

With love, Alyssa

An American in Italy

This narrative on my time abroad explores the importance of literacy.

Written for my college english class. Enjoy.

Literacy is a dying art. We’d much rather travel the world than sit down and read another mandatory chapter from J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye for our high school English class. But why not combine work and play? Why not go abroad and read the foreign signs? Why not learn a few words from another language and hold a small conversation with a stranger? After all, literacy is everything.

Continue reading “An American in Italy”