The GoGlobal Blog

Month: September 2012

Our new home

Our new home

After a whirlwind 5-day Paris Tour I finally arrived in Pau a few days ago. The Paris trip was exhausting, but it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life. In a matter of less than a week, we saw some of the most famous tourist sites (Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe) and some hidden gems. Though I went to Paris when I was 12, I did not remember actually seeing all of these places. It was nice to re-visit since I will remember more this time around. The USAC students are fantastic and everyone on the tour had some time to bond before arriving in Pau.

Once arriving in Pau, we finally realized that, “Oh, we ARE actually going to be living here for the next 4 months and this wasn’t only a vacation.” Hopefully day by day it’ll start to feel more like home.

Finally, we have unpacked and have stopped living out of our suitcases. We all attended orientation (which made me feel like a freshman again) where we were taught some basic Pau 101 tips, as well as introduced to the structure of our classes. We also went to explore Pau in a large group as well as smaller groups. Each time we walk through campus more things seem familiar, bus routes become easier to remember, and things seem less strange. It’s nice to see how things continue to evolve.

One of the best things I like about Pau so far is that not many people know English. In Paris whenever we were in a situation where French was needed, most Parisians would fill in the blanks with English since they know the language. However in Pau, we have to look for ways to communicate clearly in French. It helps because you get to know useful phrases and you get more comfortable with the way you speak French.

Since it’s morning here, we’re headed to do some shopping downtown.

À bientôt!



Ciao Regazzi!

Imagine being thrown into a world where pasta is more important than people, where your conviction, rather than obeying a light signal determines whether or not you will cross a street safely, and fifty feet below where you step, there lie ruins ten times older than the United States themselves.

That is Rome, and that is where I’ll be living for just about 3 months.

A little background on my life:
I was born in Lima, Peru, to two loving (sometimes hilariously protective) parents who vowed to give their child nothing less than a happy life. Fast forward 20 years, and I find myself sitting in Rinaldo’s bar at the John Felice Rome center, after receiving 18+ years of private education, and loving every second of it. To say the least, I am a lucky person. Most people of my cultural background have not received the opportunities that I have, and I have my parents to thank for that. This blog will not just be an account of daily life here in Rome, but rather a compilation of the ecstatic moments, moments in which I realize how lucky I am to be here.

My First Days

My First Days

Today marks the very first day of my Roman adventure. The overwhelming beauty of the place I will spend the next four months has been something that I have only been able to imagine, have been imagining for what seems like an eternity. To be able to see, smell, and taste the original artifact is, quite literally, many dreams come true. I have been hesitant to really bask in the excitement of studying abroad because the preparation to get here was brutal at times. During the preceding months, I was working through a much different experience. I wasn’t focused on what would be, I was focused on what wouldn’t be. I watched as my friends made plans I would love to be a part of, and knew that I wouldn’t be there. I knew I’d be missing a semester of a team that has taken so much of my time and energy, willingly given because Mock Trial was something I loved to do. They prepared for half a season, of which I was incapable of participating. The month long series of goodbyes was easily the worst part of preparing, though trying to get one checked bag under 50 pounds was a challenge in itself and comes in a close second.

But now I am smack in the middle of the “Would Be” (and obviously over the angsty part of studying abroad.) I almost almost succumbed to the temptation of a night in filled with The Princess Bride and sleep after endless hours of travel. At the last minute, the recruiter for the Rome campus (she’s lovely and her name is Jess) came and ate dinner with my table. She was extraordinarily excited about being back in one of her favorite cities and coaxed me out into downtown Rome with the promise of gelato and great views. I assure you, the gelato is as delightful as they say. We saw the Pantheon, Bernini’s Fountain of Four Rivers, and bought the promised gelato before my need to be back in my new bed decided it could no longer be ignored. A small group of us went to take the bus back to the John Felice Rome Center, and immediately got lost. One wrong bus, two patient Romans who generously gave the lost American students directions, and quite some time later, I finally made it back to campus.


Today, a couple of friends and I went back downtown. Pizza, wine and gelato were all involved, then, consulting one of two of our handy-dandy maps, we made it to Fontana de Trevi (Trevi Fountain). It was stunning, especially at night. We took pictures, sat down and marveled at it, and promised to come back during the day. Fontana de Trevi is the highlight of my trip so far. It was such a special moment for me, because it finally hit me in full force that I am actually in Rome. The weight of leaving home, the weight of how influential this place and experience will be for me, everything came crashing down and it made me positively giddy. I already love it here.

What I don’t love? Getting lost for a second night, despite three maps (we were given another), and another several less enthusiastic Italians showing us the way. We did, however, make it home that night, which is all that really counts.
Attached are some of my favorite pictures from our trip so far. We have, for your viewing pleasure, me at Trevi Fountain, and the view of the Vatican from a bridge crossing the Tiber River at Piazza Cavour, which is how we eventually find our way back to school because it has our most used buses. (A little fun fact for future Romans.)

si grazie ciao bene

si grazie ciao bene

I’ve spent a decent amount of time in Italy since I was a kid so, although I’m definitely not fluent, I can get by fairly easily. However, some of my friends here have, for the first time, been dumped into a country where very few words make sense. And by very few, I mean the words “si” “grazie” “ciao” “bene” exclusively. We have plenty of time to add a word or two to the vocabulary but for now, it’s wonderfully entertaining to watch my friends get by with just that. For example, we went out to get pizza last night at a restaurant by the Pantheon and it became clear very quickly that our waiter was going to hear a lot of the “si grazie ciao bene”. However limited, you might be surprised at how far that gets you. In any case, he was a great sport about it and the owner, Mickey, came out and brought us free dessert and a couple bottles of wine. For reasons we will never know, Mickey also brought out a case of tomatoes so that we could smell them. Standard. From there we moved on to a small bar that I frequented last semester and we hung out there for the rest of the night. Including some makeshift karaoke. I have video evidence of that but we’ll save that for a later time.

Essentially, the first week here has been fabulous and this semester is obviously going to follow suit. Something magical happens when you have good company and good food of which I’m surrounded by both, so I’m not worried about keeping it up. For whatever reason I can’t get the picture uploader to work on this business so I’ll just double up next time. Until then ragazz’!

Toto…we’re not in Kansas anymore

Toto…we’re not in Kansas anymore

After many months and days of anxiously waiting and watching Italian movies, I am finally here in Roma!  If it sounds unreal to you, then you are not alone.  Even after being cramped on the plane for what seemed like days, with a chair pushed back all the way into my face, it wasn’t until I was actually standing on Roman soil that it hit me I was no longer in America.  Thankfully, I had chosen to take part in the group flight, as this is my first time in Europe and I would have surely been lost among swarms of tourists and customs officers.

The days since stepping off the plane are really quite a blur.  This is a result of severe jet lag, utter disbelief, and endless meetings.  The second we arrived at the Rome Center, we were whisked away to informational meetings and weighted down with mountains of paperwork.  While all this was necessary, I couldn’t help but just want to shower and sleep.  Then, when we were finally able to do so, my body was just too overworked and excited to relax and fall asleep.  Combine this feeling with the beginnings of a cold, and you’ve got yourself one poorly functioning person.

However, like any sensible person in Italy, I instantly found my temporary cure to exhaustion in espresso.  Sorry America, but your espresso tastes like water compared to the amazingly wonderful Italian espresso.  So, with un doppio caffe in my system, I was ready to tackle anything and everything Roman.  Good thing, too, since within the first few days we had a group dinner in the Monte Mario neighborhood (in which JFRC is located), spent a day touring the Colosseum and Forum, got washed away by rain while at a beach, and then jumped into the start of classes.

I still have yet to catch up on sleep (thanks to the screaming feral cats and there being so much to do in Rome), but thankfully my cold is subsiding and a steady routine of classes and exploration is starting to form.  One major piece of advice: do not get hooked on double espressos, or doppio caffe.  In theory, and reality, they are tasty and work wonders to keep you awake, but just know that it will be hard, dare I say excruciatingly difficult, to go back to regular coffee in America if you form this habit.  Today, I decided to go without any form of coffee and…well…I only made it until about lunchtime.  Thank goodness for our little coffee bar in the basement of the Rome Center!

Second piece of advice, actually more like information: just because you are in Rome, it doesn’t mean classes are easy or unimportant.  Since they have started, I already have quite a bit of reading and some future papers to keep in mind.  But, this weekend that will all be put on hold as the JFRC group heads to Tuscany and the region of Umbria.  Magnificent views, massive amounts of marvelous food, and many miles of walking await us!  One thing is for certain: Toto, we’re not in Kansas anymore!

Ciao per ora!


Travels and Transitions

Travels and Transitions

These past two weeks or so have been busy busy busy! After spending an awesome night with Gina Maione in Roma before she headed back to the States, I endured a five hour train ride to Calabria, where I spent a few days with the Adamo family in Cosenza and the beach in Cittadella. Then, I spent a few days in the village where my Nonna was born and raised, Pedivigliano! I ALWAYS love visiting Pedivigliano, because I always end up feeling like some sort of celebrity when I’m there. Random people on the street always ask me my name and are overjoyed to know I am my Nonna’s grandson. This usually results in me going to their house to meet their family and hear tons of stories about my Nonna, her siblings, and their lives in Pedivigliano. After a few days of food, more food, even more food, and just an awesome experience of being engulfed in the history and undying presence of my ancestors, I headed up to Toscana! Once again, I endured one of the most horrible train rides of my life (in part due to the fact I ended up standing/sitting in the stairwell of the train for the whole time since I didn’t have a seat). After a tight connection to my next train, in which I had to run like a crazy through Stazione Termini in Roma, I made it the Chiusi-Chianciano in Toscana. Here, I spent a wonderful time with some truly phenomenal long time family friends, Earl and Estelle Hart. They were so generous in taking me all around and showing me the sights. More importantly, Earl and Estelle are just another example of how hospitable and caring people can be, for I had never even met them before, yet they treated me like family! Then, it was back to Roma, where I ate a pathetic dinner of Salami and Taralli in my hotel room by myself and moved into The John Felice Rome Center the 29th! Phew…that was a mouthful! Ever since, our days have been jam packed with orientation activities, learning (and usually forgetting) names of all the other students here, and getting oriented with Rome! More to come soon! Pace, Luca 🙂

Welcome to the Neighborhood!

Welcome to the Neighborhood!

Wow! It’s been such a crazy week. Since landing in Rome Wednesday morning we’ve been going going going, experiencing the campus, Rome, a bunch of sites, and just getting to know one another! Since arriving Wednesday the SLAs (think of them as RAs but different) have been encouraging us to get lost in the neighborhood and city and discover Roma for ourselves, which we have done!

I’ll tell you mostly about the area around campus for now, because we’ve already done too much for just one post!

Campus is located in Monte Mario, and our campus is surrounded by this cute little neighborhood with tabacchis, kinda like tiny convenient stores that sell a variety of little things like bus passes, cafes, shops, supermarkets, and tents selling everything from dresses to sunglasses to underwear (only in Rome?) It’s so tempting to buy it all up, but I’m trying to resist! And the wonderful thing about the tents, or any street vendor, is that you can barter down the price! I have my eye on a dress that I’m going to try to get down to 5 euros…wish me luck!

All throughout Rome you see a ton of graffiti, much more than what we’re used to here. But even when defacing buildings and walls Romans somehow find a way to make it beautiful. For example, on a wall by campus someone has written, “Non posse vivere senza ditte….ne oggi ne mai,” which roughly translated to “I can’t live a day without you…not today not ever.” It might be all over the city but occasionally it’s really beautiful.

In the neighborhood, and all through Rome, they have these fountains on the side of the road with the freshest, best tasting water I’ve ever had. I’m constantly filling up my waterbottle outside instead of using the filtered water inside, it’s just so good! And we all feel quite Italian stopping for a drink while walking to the supermarket, or the bakery!

Speaking of the bakery, I’ve already stopped by the one near here and it is fabulous. The people working there are so friendly, and just smile while I try to order in my butchered Italian (it’s getting better, though!) Everywhere we go people seem to be really appreciative of the fact that we try to speak Italian, and it’s helping us learn new words.

Speaking of food (this may just end up being a food blog, it’s all so good!) we had a group dinner in the neighborhood on Friday night and it was fantastico! We sat there for two hours eating vegetables, lasagna, different meats, and a fig-type dessert while sipping on vino and talking. Truly living la dolce vita! The life here is certainly less rushed than it is at home, but it’s making us have richer experiences. Every moment is enjoyed, and I’m already getting used to slowing down and enjoying every part of the day.

Well I think that’s it for now. I’ll post more later about the campus and seeing all the sites. Till then!

It is not all about the Gelato

It is not all about the Gelato

I have yet to have Gelato, which may jolt some of your taste buds and pick some of your brains. But truly the only time I have had any time to enjoy some gelato was on a Sunday evening and everything is closed…

After an amazing day swimming in the Mediterranean sea, regardless of the rainy beach day I came back with many memories.  One stood out to me in particular.

A shaggy dog who would not let me pet him, or anyone rather except his owner. However, in return he played soccer with us.  As we juggled the ball on the restaurant deck, the dog became ferocious and more then willing to attack that weird patterned round thing as big as him.

Anyway, we soon figured out that the little pup wanted to play and pass the ball back to us with his head.  The suspense began to build as the a crowd of just over 76 gathered to see a dog smaller then a ball pass back and forth.

Not to mention as I have embarked on this trip of a lifetime, I have tried more then enough new foods… and yes I mean new for those of you that know me that is a foreign turf, lets just say in four days in rome I have tried fried cauliflower, pasta with red sauce, pizza with a bitter cabbage, calimari, and bread with tomatoes.

My days consist of new piazzas, roman forum, colloseo, getting lost, asking locals for help in Italian, termini, takeaway pizzas, and peroni birra.

My nights consist of the tivere river (Tiber), DJ booths, free wine, meeting people from all over the world, and taking the lovely n6 bus back without paying a single cent and of course sleepless nights

But no need to worry I am confident that being stuck on central time zone will wear off within a few days, but until then I am signing off at 3:09ROMAN time

Stay Classy and Safe



I already love it here!

I already love it here!

It’s my fourth day here in Rome, and I am finally starting to feel comfortable with directions around our neighborhood and downtown. Two days ago I participated in a fantastic scavenger hunt that included taking pictures at Vatican City, the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, several famous statues, and more–truly unbelievable sights. (Pictures to come) The neighborhood we are in at the JFRC is gorgeous, and so is downtown! I feel as though I could take a picture of every street I walk through. With orientation the past few days, I haven’t had much time yet for touring the city. That will change soon!  And picking up Italian hasn’t been too bad for the first few days- I like being able to speak a little bit, even if it comes out half-spanish! I also am really enjoying the exercise from walking everywhere, but comfortable shoes are definitely a must on any trip outside campus. I cannot get enough of all the pasta, pizza, and gelato here! Everything has been delicious thus far. Looking forward to meeting more fellow students, exploring new neighborhoods, and the upcoming start of classes.  I just know I’m going to love it here.