France Spring 2020 As Texts: Loredana De Angelis

(CC by 4.0) photo by Francesco De Angelis

Loredana De Angelis is a junior at the Honors College at Florida International University majoring in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and minoring in Business. Expecting to graduate in Spring 2021, she expects to continue her education at a graduate school. Her job goals are to be able to help a lot of businesses with her knowledge. She is very passionate about her roots and hopes she will be able to connect her personal experience with what she learns in this course.

Vizcaya As Text

(CC by 4.0) photo by Loredana De Angelis

“A piece of home” by Loredana De Angelis at Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

When I was a kid, I remember saying Italy was my second home. As my father was born there, we spend every summer since I was born in Rome to visit my family. Nowadays, my real second home is Miami, as I emigrated from Venezuela when I was 17 years old, 4 years ago. Something that always makes me happy, and the reason why I choose Miami to live in, is that the Latino vibes are somehow always present. That way, I feel I would never lose my essence as a Venezuelan and makes me remember every day how my life was back there. On the other side, something that has been a little difficult for me, as an Italian, is to find a place that makes me feel like in Italy. You may be thinking “you can go get some pasta in an Italian restaurant,” but trust me, something that represents an Italian is their love for food and how picky eaters they could be when it regards to Italian food. So, even if in Miami there are really good Italian restaurants, I usually do as my dad taught me: go safe with a plate of homemade pasta.


James Deering, Paul Chalfin, Burrall Hoffmann, and Diego Suarez, were able to capture that Italian essence I was looking for all this time. Walking into the Vizcaya gardens, personally my favorite part of the villa, I felt like walking into my favorite place of the world: Isola Bella at the Lago Maggiore in Italy. Full of bushes pruned in perfect forms and labyrinths made out of bushes, I could forget for a second to be in a city full of buildings, cars and noise and transport to Italy better that I could have done with the best plate of pasta Miami could offer. It is hard for me to believe that moving away 10 minutes from Brickell, one of the most transited and modern parts of Miami, you could find this piece of history. Realizing that Vizcaya has been preserved by a group of people since 1916 makes me reflect on the diversity Miami has and what I have been missing all this time, but for sure, it motivates me to explore more places like this, that may make me feel as Vizcaya did, at home.

MOAD as Text

“Soccer and history” by Loredana De Angelis at Museum of Art and Design

Since I remember, soccer has always been an important part of my life. As good Italians, every Sunday we had family lunch followed by the respective soccer match of the day. Having heard about soccer all my life raised interest in me, so I decided to start playing soccer to see if it was as exciting as they described it to be. And I can tell it was since I am 7 years old my favorite sport has always been soccer. I think I know a lot about soccer having played it since I am a little girl, watched millions of soccer games with my family and having heard all the discussions my family members have defending the teams they support. What I really didn’t know about soccer, that I got to learn in our visit to the Museum of Art and Design (MOAD), was how soccer was created.

  There were a lot of fascinating exhibitions at the museum, but the one I related the most and found the most interesting was to learn about Mesoamerican Ballgame, which now is better known as soccer. It turns out that Mesoamerican Ballgame was a sport played by the Aztec and Mayan cultures a long time ago, it had different rules and it has been changing and adapting to the times resulting in the soccer we now get to watch on TV. To be honest, knowing the impact that soccer has nowadays mostly in European cultures, I had never imagined that it could have been originated in Mesoamerica and that it was created that long ago. This museum had a lot to offer and a lot to learn from, I’m happy we got to visit it and we got to learn from things about our history and things we can relate with activities we do nowadays.

Deering Estate as Text

By Elisa.rolle – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57304437

“My next visit” by Loredana De Angelis at The Deering Estate Walking Tour

Since our visit to the Vizcaya Gardens, I realized that this class was going to teach me many more things about Miami than I would expect. Having living here for almost 4 years, and being an international student, I started to think that I should be more curious about what the place I am living in has to offer. To be honest, I know more about Rome, where I go on vacation than the place I live in, and this class has been my main inspiration to start getting to know better Miami.

It is hard to start without knowing how to do it or where to go, and professor Bailly already got me some ideas in advance for when all this situation ends. When we would be able to go out, my first stop would be for sure the Deering Estate. While reading the walking tour, I could almost imagine being there, and the fact of getting to explore all the nature it has to offer already got me excited. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I haven’t got the chance to interact with nature for a while, or the fact that I really enjoy it is what made the Deering Estate my favorite of all the places we had to do the walking tour. Hopefully, as soon as it is possible, I am really looking forward to doing a clean-up in Chicken Key, to get to see animals as manatees in their natural habitat, to get to explore the mangroves and the Rock Ridge that separates Biscayne Bay and the southern Florida peninsula.

As I said before, my favorite part of the Deering Estate is its nature and diversity, but it doesn’t take away the fact that the Deering Estate is a place full of history and art. If it is for me, a person that is neither a historian or an artist, an oasis, I couldn’t imagine for a person that really loves and understands these two disciplines. The important part is that when I get to visit this place, I am already aware of the history that comes along with it, and I know it would make me appreciate more places like the stone house and the Tequesta burial mound. To finish my visit, I would be more than happy to knock the door at the Artist-in-residence studios and to attend to one of the events to get to appreciate the different forms of art this place hosts.

Miami Beach as Text

By chensiyuan – chensiyuan, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8821182

“Tourist Throwback” by by Loredana De Angelis at South Beach Walking Tour

For me, this tour was a throwback to when I used to come to Miami as a tourist. I remember I loved so much this city that when I was around 10 years old, I told my parents “This is the place I want to live when I grow up.” One of our “must” stop was always Ocean Drive, we went there to walk and eat something at least once every time we came to visit. My parents enjoyed the environment there as it was very different from what we were used in Venezuela.

I enjoyed going to the beach and then getting to eat something with my parents at Ocean Drive. When I started to grow older and pay more attention to details, I realized the difference this place had to offer when it regards architecture and became more interested in it. To be honest, it is very different to do the tour as a tourist without a guide than doing it, even if it’s online, with someone that explains every detail and why things are like they are.

This tour gave me the chance of answering some questions I had since I used to visit, mostly about the ten aesthetic characteristics of the buildings. My favorite South Beach building has always been The Park Center Hotel, and was the first structure that made me realize how different and beautiful this place was to other places in Miami. Before, I knew they were different ot other buildings, and that they had similarities among them, now I know which elements are similar and why. Now, that I moved here and Miami Beach is pretty close to my house, one of my favorite weekend plans is to enjoy a sunny day at the beach with my friends. After getting all this important information, I am sure I would go to SoBe and have a very different perspective, trying to live in-person and to analyze everything I learned. I hope sooner than later I would to be able to show my parents how different it is to visit as a tourist and to visit with a guide, I am sure they’ll love it.

HistoryMiami as Text


By Pietro – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=249718

HistoryMiami Museum seems like an interacting place where one gets the know in-depth how Miami looked like years ago. As an international student, I find this place very interesting, because I never got the chance to know about the United States history, neither Miami history. I have only got the chance to see Miami as a very modern city full of buildings, business, and technology, but I did have the chance to see Miami as it was before, pretty similar of my home country Venezuela.

I can say the two exhibitions that called my attention the most are “First Arrivals” and “Gateway to the Americas” because I can relate personally to both. Honestly, when I saw “First Arrivals” the first thought that came to my mind where my history of Venezuela books from high school. This image made me reflect a lot about how two civilizations could start from almost the same point, and how both of them are so different right now. I see how Miami has developed from their indigenous times, which is impressing. At the same time I can see how my country has been in ups and downs all the time since then, but nowadays everything has been ruined due to the weight our society and politics have on it.

            On  “Gateway to the Americas” I felt very connected, because even if it’s not the same story, and we didn’t come in boats to Miami, Venezuela and Cuba are very similar. Socialism and dictatorships have sadly destroyed both countries, making a lot of Cubans and Venezuelans emigrate to the US. I am one of them, I moved when I was 17 years old, and I am willing to work as hard as possible so in the future I don’t have to go back home. This is a topic that I always carry on with me because as Latinos, we are not used to separating from our families at that young age, but sadly, there is no other choice for those who are expecting to fulfill their life goals. It is hard to understand for people why wouldn’t I want to go back home with my family, the thing is I know I have no future there. At this point I already know that even if things resolve politically in Cuba or Venezuela, we’ll need years until the society gets a different structure and mentality so I would feel comfortable going back.

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