Chance The Rapper Just Donated $1 Million To Chicago’s School System

If you ever wondered if Chance the Rapper could be more perfect than he already was, you have your answer here: yes, he could be, and he is. Chance decided to take his frustrations with the Chicago Public Schools into his own hands — by donating $1 million.

Chance made the announcement at Westcott Elementary School on the south side of Chicago, only two blocks away from where he grew up. He wanted to talk to students and staff about what schools and students need to succeed.

Read more of the story here.

Measuring a Year

Published on my personal blog.

I always struggle to come to terms with endings, even when they’re welcome. I don’t think anyone would argue that 2016 was a perfect year. When we look back, we will remember Turkey and Nice and Syria. We will remember Brexit and the U.S. election that cultivated tension all across the country. We will remember Keith Lamont Scott and Prince and the countless others whose high profile deaths left millions shell-shocked. Twenty-sixteen was nothing if not eventful, and many people will have felt the aftershocks of a draining year that left them counting down the hours until 2017. Even still, we are left with prevailing hope for the future.

It was a big year for me, too. Even without the experiences I shared with the rest of the world, I went through so many life changes within twelve months that I still have trouble recounting everything that happened. Last January feels eons away, and the girl who maneuvered those early days of 2016 feels like a stranger, someone I once knew but haven’t spoken to in years. It’s hard for me to eloquently describe the ways my world changed in 366 days (thanks a lot, leap year), but I found myself looking for ways to commemorate perhaps the craziest times of my life.

Perhaps I’ll measure the year with too many tickets. For busses and trains and metros and planes. For a palace opera, for a Beyoncé concert, for a Yom Kippur service, for a graduation ceremony, for art and history museums. I keep them tucked inside books so that someday I will stumble upon them again and the memories will come rushing back. I’ll remember the excitement that bubbled in my stomach as I stared down from airplane windows and how I lost myself in the high-pitched vibrato of La Traviata. I’ll remember wondering, time and time again, if I was living in a dream. I’ll remember waking up in new places and feeling like a new person, how foreign streets became familiar with each passing day. I’ll remember how I kept my suitcase permanently packed and ready, how I lived a life untethered, uncertain of the future but happy with it all the same.

Read more of the story here.

 

The Magic in the Moments

Written for my personal blog, used by the University of Kansas as a testimonial for the Italian Department

La Mattina

Mornings are my favorite smell in Florence. Whiffs of espresso trail me through twisting streets and wake me before I can even taste it. I like to follow sweet aromas into bakeries and entertain small talk with its shopkeepers who smile endearingly as my tongue fumbles over a language still foreign to me. They ask where I’m from. They ask if my hair is natural. Then they send me on my way with a “buona giornata.” These are my favorite exchanges of the day.

Mornings are also sweltering walks to work, trying hard not to sweat in my nice clothes or ruin my shoes on the cobblestones. The hair the shopkeepers like to compliment does not respond well to heat. I learned quickly to duck under buildings’ shadows and find shady routes that don’t take too much time. I am an expert at dodging clunky clumps of tourists and weaving around cars. It’s not my favorite routine.

But mornings remind me that I am lucky. I walk out of my apartment and into my favorite view in the world. I realized early on that my complaints are small in comparison.

Read the full story here.

Learning to Love the Details

Published in the Florentine

When I saw the Duomo for the first time, I was stunned by the magnitude. I remember sitting on the steps in the early hours of the morning and staring up at the architecture in silence; I was the only person left in the piazza, but it felt like I was the only person left in the world. There’s something about being alone next to the goliath of a church that makes you feel so small, like you are just a dot in a Seurat painting, tiny but essential.

Being in Florence often felt like that — I was swept up in things that seemed so much bigger than I was. As a student abroad who had never travelled before, I wanted to understand the hype. I wanted to know why Michelangelo’s David filled art textbooks and why people squeezed into every empty space on the Ponte Vecchio. I wanted to see the city from every angle, from the dark cobblestone streets to the top of the red roofs. If I inspected it closely enough, could I finally unlock its secrets?

It didn’t take long for me to realize that my thirst to know Florence couldn’t be satiated easily. I had once laughed at the notion of Stendhal syndrome, but I began to wonder if it was time for a self-diagnosis. There were times when I would take a moment to take in at my surroundings and find myself so overcome with emotion that I had to sit down for a moment. Looking at the architecture for too long left me feeling dizzy. It made my head hurt and my heart swell.

Read the full story here.