7 Signs You Live With An Italian Family

7 Signs You Live With An Italian Family

For those whose blood is 90% pasta sauce.

This article is for those who have consumed way too much pasta in their lifetime, just like myself-- an article for those who have no clue why their grandmothers cooked so much for a family dinner. While Italians are wonderfully family-oriented people, our personalities tend to be overwhelming and a tad boisterous. I'm sure all of us second-generation Italians are familiar with these following scenarios.

1. You have no clue what an inside voice is and completely neglect manners in conversations.

Our Italian mouths obviously don't come with a volume button-- even our whispering abilities suck. Multiple conversations are going on at the same exact time at the same exact volume-- loud. For some reason, we get louder even when others think our voices are at a maximum. Oh and don't even get me started about our laughter. We can cause earthquakes with it. We will forever be excessively expressive and talkative no matter how many people tell us to pipe it down.

To make things worse, we have no concept of when it is proper to interject in a conversation nor do we understand the concept of talking back and forth in a polite manner. We find ourselves talking over other people at the most inappropriate times. Therefore, people tend to see us as rude and impolite, but we really just can't help getting out what we have to say.

2. You think you legitimately have hearing problems from how loud your family constantly is.

Whether it be banging pots and pans at 5 am to start cooking meals for the whole day or telling stories at dinnertime, they all have lead to your precious hearing fading. None of your family seems to know what an inside voice is; therefore, you have trouble hearing people when they talk in an inside voice. People start to think you're annoying for asking them to repeat themselves a million times in conversation, but it's mostly your family's fault for not knowing how to tone it down.

3. Your life revolves around food.

Just like your grandmother, you're subconsciously concerned about the meals you'll be eating that day and for that week. While foods slathered in tomato sauce, herbs, and cheese will always be your go-to, you're still interested in eating in general. This probably stems from the fact that your grandmother or mother enforced set meal and snack times every single day. You spend most of your time in the kitchen or up your grandmother's butt about what she's cooking for dinner.

Even going to the grocery store is an adventure. We always want to concoct something in the kitchen. To Italians, food is a work of art; we love mixing flavors to create beautiful and tasteful dishes.

4. Your grandmother thinks you are insulting her cooking when you tell her you're not hungry.

It's the end of the world for your grandmother when you turn down a meal or a snack from her. She takes personal offense when you're not hungry or interested in what she has cooked. She might even jump to the conclusion that you're sick and becomes extremely concerned about your food intake from there on out. We're also familiar with the, "Are you on a diet? Is that why you're not eating?" It's hard to eat everything your grandmother feeds you unless you plan on getting sick later that evening, but if you don't eat, you'll be breaking your poor grandmother's heart.

5. You're educated in every type of pasta out there and like certain ones even though they all really taste the same.

Are you an angel hair person or a linguine person? Are you a penne person or a rigatoni person? Are you a tortellini person or a conchiglie person? Pasta is pasta to the rest of the population it seems; however, to us, each shape has different qualities and each are specific to different dishes. For example, why on earth would you use ravioli in a lasagna? What a shame. And God forbid you ever use canned pasta sauce in any dish. We might as well create a pasta encyclopedia to make sure each pasta is used in the correct manner.

6. You can't stop moving your hands a lot when you talk no matter how hard you try.

If our loud voices and personalities weren't enough, we can't help but move our hands when we talk. It's as if we can't get our point across well enough unless we add some hand motion into it. Unfortunately, this can lead to our demise sometimes. We tend to be very accident prone because of our inability to keep our hands still. You find yourself knocking things over or hitting your hands off of counters when you're talking. As if we weren't expressive enough as it is. We find it uncomfortable to do such things as driving and talking because we can't move our hands unless we want to risk having an accident. We might be a bit quirky, but we're still pretty awesome people.

7. You have a million family members who you're distantly related to yet they still show up to every single family dinner.

Your family is so immense in size that sometimes your own grandmother forgets your name. Everybody in your family thinks you've been in 8th grade for five years now because there are too many family members to keep everybody's life updates straight. You're utterly exhausted of being asked the same questions over and over by family members you see maybe once or twice a year. There are too many Josephinas, Paulinas, Pauls, Louis, and Louisas for you to comprehend. All in all, you wouldn't trade your family for everything else in the world.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.


Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

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To The People That Think Interracial Couples Are 'Exotic,' What Year Are You Living In?

Black and white people were allowed to legally get married starting in 1967. Well, it's the 21st century and I still feel like some people need a reality check.


Is it really that weird? Is it really that difficult to fathom the idea of a white person and a black person dating? Ever since I was a little kid, racism, or bias against different races, never made any sense to me. When we would learn about history in elementary school, the primary focus of the lesson was typically about slavery. Then, as I got older, the lessons got more in depth, but my understanding of racial bias did not.

I could not understand the idea of racism when I was a young kid, I can not understand it now as I move into adulthood, and I will never be able to understand it. To me, there is really nothing to understand. People are people no matter what color they are so I just do not understand the people that think differently.

Being a part of an interracial couple has shown me that society has not moved forward since interracial couples were legally allowed to get married. That was in 1967. It's the 21st century and I still get looks every time my boyfriend and I are out. I can't tell if the looks are directed towards him for dating a white girl, or me for dating a black guy.

Then there are the things people say. All I hear are "Get Out" jokes, some people say that they're proud of my boyfriend for "getting a white girl," and then there are some people that just can not believe it when they see my boyfriend because most people assume "white girl, white boyfriend."

A lot of people that I know and that I am even friends with, make jokes about me dating a black guy and although they may be just jokes, they still sting a little. And I have tried my best to make it clear that some jokes and comments are not appreciated.

Why is me dating my boyfriend any different than if I were to date a white guy?

And then, of course, there's obvious awkwardness when you meet your significant other's family for the first time, it may even be awkward the second time, or maybe it's just awkward all the times you're around them, but the awkwardness is amplified when you are a part of an interracial couple. You can just feel the initial tension because no one wants to say the wrong thing.

I know I always think about my parents saying or doing something that is deemed "white," and I'm sure my boyfriend's family is the same way when I'm around. No one wants to say or do anything that will feed into the stereotypes tied to race and it should not have to be like that.

Either way, why does it matter? If I'm happy and he's happy I don't understand why anyone else should care?

Being with my boyfriend has taught me a lot, as would any relationship, but my relationship with him has opened my eyes. Emily in elementary school would have never believed that racial issues would still exist today, but it seems to just be a part of human nature to not be capable of accepting differences. I for one, am not okay with this stereotype based society that we live in.

Just like people say "love is love" in support of homosexual relationships, people should also say it in support of interracial couples as well. Having negative feelings towards interracial couples is the same thing as having an issue with people of different religions dating. It simply does not make sense.

Let go of the stereotypes, people! We're getting tired of the looks. No, my boyfriend and I are not the next "Get Out" movie and no you do not have to be proud of my boyfriend for "getting a white girl," I like him because I like him. There are too many wonderful people in the world to have to limit yourself on your own race, religion, sexuality, or ethnicity, so date who you want to date and marry who you want to marry because although sometimes it's hard to believe it, it's not 1967 anymore.

Cover Image Credit:

Emily Montgomery

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