The GoGlobal Blog

Month: July 2013

Bisous (Kisses)

Bisous (Kisses)

Well here it is: my final entry. I have no idea how all this time flew by in what seems like an instant, but I can say that it has changed me as well as the way I see the world. From the international colleagues encountered in classes, to the friends both from around the world and Loyola that I hope to keep in lifetime contact with as we somberly return back to our realities, I have been impacted. What started out as a short study abroad program in a beautiful city to alleviate my schedule and polish my French somehow became a turning point in my life. There is no way I could ever say I regret a single instant of my adventure, and I am beyond thrilled and so incredibly grateful that I was able to experience all that was offered.


My last week in Aix was memorable to say the least. Monday after class we headed out to the Atelier Cezanne (or Cezanne’s studio) to see the inspiration and workplace of one of the most well known painters in the world. In the atelier still stand some original pots, sculptures, skulls, and fabrics that were painted over and over again by Cezanne and hang in museums near and far. Only by seeing his inspiration in person have I come to truly appreciate and recognize his artistic genius.


On Wednesday, Professor McKenna was generous enough to organize and host a wine and cheese evening in the gardens outside his apartment building in Aix. All the Loyola students purchased some specialty French cheeses together at a fromagerie in town and headed to the garden soiree. The evening was filled with wine tasting, cheese sampling, a whole lot of talking, and oh, ice cream too! We can only thank our professor for his wonderful generosity, thoughtfulness, and continued sharing of knowledge.


Thursday was a little bit different from our standard day. Instead of going to class, we attended a Gregorian mass at the Cathedral Saint Sauveur in Aix to hear monks chant in honor of St. Jacques. It was an experience unlike any other. Grand cathedrals are hard to find around Chicago, and the mass was well worth attending if even to only admire the colossal turquoise organs, gothic architecture from ages passed, and glorious voices filling the nooks and crannies of this long-standing cathedral. Once mass finished, we headed out to scour the markets one last time and wander through the streets of Aix before washing up and heading to a soiree hosted by the university (which we got to communally DJ!) and then move further on to some night escapades in centre ville. Remember what I said about the fact that the French don’t sleep? Yeah, well then consider us now very French haha (yay for cultural immersion?! …and coffee!).


Our last day of class was bittersweet, filled with the excitement of finishing school contrasted with the need to say goodbye. But as we started losing friends who were embarking on their travels back home, we headed on our last excursion to the Chateau Val Joanis vineyard. There, we learned about everything from planting the grapes to the fermentation process of producing white, rose, and red wine. That was all followed by a amble through beautiful gardens in which with had a wine tasting. The colors and ambiance throughout the vineyard were vibrant, unique, and inviting of slow promenades in an effort to take in and appreciate everything from the buzzing of bees to the colors seeping out of every crevice.


Now, I sit in the corner of the Brussles airport waiting for my connection delayed by storms knowing that I will forever be nostalgic of these three incredible weeks. I know that I will be back soon to visit friends, revisit memories, and write new adventures in a city I fell in love with.

Until next time,




Another great thanks to all the professors, staff, and friends both international and from home that played a roll in making all of this possible. I can’t thank you enough.











Sleepless in the South of France

Sleepless in the South of France

Bonjour everyone! Hope all is well!

This weekend was a week of adventures and sleepless nights (that were incredibly worth it!). The fun started Thursday, after class let out, with an afternoon trip to Roussillon. We hopped on the bus for the 45 minute drive that let us out in front of a breathtaking view of old auburn homes and rusted cliffs embellished with vibrantly green brush. The Ochre Cliffs of Roussillon are definitely a unique sight, and even the trees with their orange trunks create a mystical ambiance unlike any other.

Friday we were back to school as usual except this time, after class, our desire to tan led us to the Park Jourdain right by our university and residence. We took a shortcut through an amazing graffiti covered alley up to the grassy park to lay out and get some color (and yes, as weird as it seems, the French do lay out in parks in their bikinis on weekdays, no joke, so we weren’t alone haha). Of course, we fell asleep at the park (and let’s just consider that a necessary cultural siesta) so thankfully were able to recharge a bit before hitting the city at night. And boy, let’s just say 11pm is dang early for the French.

Saturday had a rude awakening with my alarm clock going off at 6:30am after some major lack of sleep according to my book (granted I guess I just need to become better acquainted with European strength espressos and remind myself that the French don’t sleep and therefore need some stroooong coffee), but it was well worth it. We got on the bus for a two hour drive to Fragonard, a famous French perfumery, and further to Cannes, the city of beaches, film festivals, and all things posh [unroll red carpet here] (just google “Cannes” and you’ll understand). At Fragonard we learned how perfumes and soaps are made from the extracting of scents to their packaging and were able to see it all first hand. After testing out some interesting scents we were back on the bus for our second destination. Once in Cannes, we were free. We grabbed some food and then hit the beach for some more tanning (score!). The bus ride back home functioned as yet another nap time in preparation to keep up with the French sleepless lifestyle that our bodies have yet to fully accept. Luckily all that napping paid off once we hit the streets at night in search of some dinner (or hmm, if we’re being honest here, some nutella crepes) and our French friends Christophe and Robin to go out with. If anyone ever thought American nightclubs were nuts, lets just refer to the fact that the French don’t even start dancing until about 2am (that’s like a “hey it’s morning” celebration! haha). After blasting through one of the greatest DJ’ed playlists out there we checked out to head home for some sleep (and luckily some sleeping in on Sunday).

On Sunday thankfully my alarm clock rang a whole lot later than Saturday, and this time signaled a day at the markets in Aix. We hit up a special antique market filled with unique jewelry, artwork, furniture, and well, pretty much anything else antique (including old TV remotes, yes, that’s correct, the ones that literally wouldn’t even connect to a TV anymore. So anyone out there an antique remote collector?? Well you know where to go!).

Enjoy the photos!!!


Ochre Cliffs



Graffiti Alley in Aix



Fragonard Perfumery

Fragonard Perfumery

Cannes Beaches




Aix Streets

Antique Market Painting

Antique Market Art

Antique Market Jewelry

Antique Market Frames

Innovative French Wine Cooling System?

(yup, indeed that is a fountain pouring into a bucket of rosé)

Random Street Art

A plus tard mes amis!!! 🙂


Weekend 3: Getting Lost, but Not TOO Lost

Weekend 3: Getting Lost, but Not TOO Lost

Ciao tutti!!

My weekend was certainly wonderful. I ended up going to Lucca with my room mate, which is in the Tuscany region of Italy. It was a good three hour train ride but it was worth it!

Lucca is a small walled city that is full of great shopping, wonderful food (when I say wonderful, I mean it!) and a lot of streets that happen to look the same! I learned that last one the hard way.

The last time I came to Italy (which was three years ago) I went to Lucca with my parents. Thankfully, that time I was just along for the ride and didn’t have to figure out where the heck I was or how to get back to the train station. They did all of that for me. However, this time around, my room mate and I were pretty lost. We probably should have brought a map.

But we started the day out well, we found the city easily from the train station. We walked inside the walls and were greeted by a street bakery, selling all sorts of chocolates, candies, and delicious treats. We bought ourselves some hazelnuts that had been roasted and glazed with something sweet. They were to die for.

We started shopping, walking and wandering around the city. We then realized that we should probably stop for lunch at some point. So, after searching desperately for the restaurant my parents and I had eaten at when we were there, we gave up and ate at a small restaurant that was near the main piazza. We ordered spaghetti with chianti wine sauce and cheese. It was not what we were expecting, but we enjoyed it for the most part.

We then wandered up onto the wall for a while. We didn’t really know where we were but we didn’t really care. We were having some nice conversation and the weather was looking good.

We made our way back (somehow) to the main piazza, after hiding under a building as it poured rain for a good 10 minutes. Then we needed to find a place to eat dinner after watching a wonderful street performer play guitar and sing 90s music. Again, we found ourselves lost and looking for the piazza that had a lot of food (I wish I could tell you the names of these piazzas…we seriously had no clue what we were doing), which we eventually found. We both ordered pesto and it was AWESOME. We also ordered dessert.

Our train was leaving at 7:41 to Pisa for a connecting train to Rome. We decided if we left at 7:20 we would be able to find our way back and get on the train without a problem.

You can probably guess where this is going.

No such luck, we ended up on the completely opposite side as the train station when we exited the city. This led to panic, which led to us running as fast as we could (and me giving up somewhat quickly) to get to the train in time. We missed it. By probably about 5 minutes.

We asked when the next train to Pisa was. It wasn’t for two more hours. So we caught a cab, which was thankfully air conditioned, unlike our train would have been. We made it to Pisa with time to spare, and I even got to see the silhouette of the Leaning Tower without actually having to go to it. So that was a pretty productive trip.

We got to the train station when Mallory realized her water bottle had leaked all over her purse. This included the hazelnuts that we decided to save for the train. So her purse was wet AND sticky. We just started laughing hysterically because seriously, this WOULD happen after having such as successful day.

Anyway, it was a good day for the most part, and we can look back on it and see how hilarious it is that we missed our train and everything. We made it on our train back to Rome, which was the only thing that mattered.

Moral of the story: get lost in a city, but not so lost that you miss your train!

Ciao for now!


Week 3: Getting Lost in Rome!

Week 3: Getting Lost in Rome!

Ciao tutti!

I cannot believe that this is going to be my last week in Rome! Time flies when you’re having fun and seriously, I’ve been having so much fun that it has been feeling like a dream. I feel like none of these posts really capture my adventures, which is why they are so difficult to write. This week I’m going to tell you about getting lost in Rome, because that is the only way to truly experience how magical and wonderful the city can be!

This week was wonderful for numerous reasons, but for the most part I enjoyed this week because (almost) every night, I would get lost in Rome. I would always go out with a small group of people and we would never really have a destination (except for dinner, we planned that out so we would be eating the best food in Rome!).

One night, walking around aimlessly with my room mate, we ended up in a piazza where a giant stage was set up in front of a church. It was this famous Italian orchestra. We got to sit down and enjoy wonderful music in the middle of an Italian piazza, which we never would have gotten to do if we hadn’t gotten lost.

I have stumbled upon many things in the process of getting lost in this vast city; delicious gelato, a movie showing in the park near Castello San Angelo, a festival in that same area with a ton of nice street vendors selling beautiful things, pretty famous land marks that were beautiful and amazing.

We also got lost in Villa Borghese the other day, which was WONDERFUL. Villa Borghese is probably bigger than Central Park and better. It’s full of rich history and beautiful trees and a replica of the Globe Theatre in London! It wasn’t crowded or touristy at all, which made us feel like real Romans.

If you get lost in Rome, you are bound to come upon many churches that seem like they are small or a hole in the wall compared to St. Peter’s Basillica. GO INSIDE THEM ANYWAY! Sometimes those churches can be the most beautiful (I honestly can’t say that I’ve seen an ugly church in Rome yet!).

Although there is a lot of hustle and bustle around the main streets of the city and near the touristy areas, if you go a few streets off the main ones, you will find yourself wondering if you’re even in the same city anymore.

The best way to experience a city is to get lost in it, so next time you go somewhere, don’t just go to the land marks. Get yourself away from them and off the busy streets and you’ll find the real life of those who live in the city around you, and you’ll most likely fall in love with it!

That’s my advice for now! Ciao!


Markets, boats, fireworks, and…a prison?!

Markets, boats, fireworks, and…a prison?!


This past weekend was filled with markets, shopping, quite a few boats (including a kayak), fireworks, and oh yeah, a prison. Starting off the weekend with Friday evening, our whole group went out for a nice dinner at the Bistro Romain on the Cours Mirabeau, and it was delicious! After eating too much and exploring Aix at night we got back to our rooms for some sleep before our early rising Saturday morning for the markets. Let’s just start out by saying this: if you think you aren’t going to buy something at the markets, or maybe that you have this thing called self control, you’re wrong. Plain and simply wrong! From clothing, to jewelry, to food, and literally anything you can want, it’s all decorating the streets throughout Aix and it’s impossible to avoid. But who can complain? So after we all spent a little (or a lot) more than we were planning on, we headed off to grab some coffee at our newly favorite Australian coffee shop (yup, Australian haha) before catching the bus to Marseille. From Marseille we hopped on a boat out to the Chateau D’If, which is basically an amzing historic castle-like prison you can walk around in, and then on to the island of Frioul, a place now known to me personally for its incredible white chocolate and nutella ice cream (real chunks of both!!!), and from which me and a friend rented a kayak for some Mediterranean exploration :p


Les Calissons – A traditional candy of France, and specifically, Aix-en-Provence. Calissons are made of candied fruit, ground almonds, and are topped with a special icing.

Vibrant pottery at the Saturday street market in Aix

Lavender sachets for sale at the Saturday market in Aix

Port at Marseille

Chateau D’If

Port area of the Chateau D’If

Chateau D’If prison door

Kayaks at Frioul!



Our Bastille Day consisted of lavender fields, sunflowers, beaches and fireworks, and who could want it any other way?! Sunday morning we took a school organized bus from our university out to Valensole (which for the most part looks like a fairytale land of lavender and sunflowers with small old stone homes here and there) and then continued on to Saint Croix du Verdon (a small lake village with a few cute rock beaches to relax on and plenty of boats to take out onto the water). When we finally got back home in the evening, we were just in time to shower, make ourselves some dinner, and get on our balcony to see the fireworks in celebration of Bastille Day! So joyeux 14 Juillet tout le monde! A plus tard!

Lac Saint Croix

Lac Saint Croix sailboats

Bastille Day fireworks over Aix



Day 11: Mio Compleanno!!

Day 11: Mio Compleanno!!

Yes, I got to turn 21 while in Rome and it was awesome! I was worried about being away on my birthday for the first time, but I had an amazing night with my peeps at JFRC. I won’t bore you will ALLLL of the details of my night, but I will give you the headlines.

My day started of kinda dreary actually… I had a quiz in my mythology class (which was weird because I have NEVER had class on my birthday), my lunch was so-so, I had to sit through MORE class after that, and I still hadn’t picked what I wanted to do to celebrate. My 21st birthday was looking kinda sad to be honest. BUT! I was sitting in my last class for the day when all of a sudden I hear “delivery for Kelly Ahlman,” and everyone started singing Happy Birthday. I look up, very confused, and see the largest bouquet for roses I have ever seen! My loving boyfriend ordered flowers for me all the way from Wisconsin 🙂 My day was officially made and I couldn’t even concentrate through the rest of my class.

After classes were over I scrambled to find a vase. I ended up using the garbage can from my friend’s room, very effective actually. We all got ready and headed for Roma. I decided to go to one of my favorite places, Piazza Navona, for dinner and we went to the first restaurant that had tiramisu on the menu (my only requirement for the night). I of course got all of my favorites, bruschette, tortellini, and tiramisu (and some vino bianco for the table) 😉 We all had a great time watching the street performers dance and play the guitars and accordions. After dinner I made my birthday wish in the Trevi Fountain and then we went to Campo di Fiori for some drinks and fun. Great birthday in Italia!

My spinach tortellini
Birthday tiramisu
Making wishes in the Trevi
Week 2: Day Trip to Assisi

Week 2: Day Trip to Assisi

I was feeling a day trip after our weekend trip to Sorrento last week. I didn’t want to deal with finding a hostel and worrying about getting back and all the chaos that comes with the weekend trips. So my room mate, Mallory, and I decided to take a day trip to the lovely little town of Assisi.

There were multiple reasons I wanted to go: first of all, I went to St. Francis high school, and in case you didn’t know, St. Francis was from Assisi, so that was a pretty big incentive. Second of all, I love the small, old little towns outside of Rome, they were my favorite part of my last trip to Italy. I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Third of all, I’ve heard that time hasn’t really touched the town all that much, and I’m all for feeling like I took a time machine back into the past. Since I’m a history major, I’d say that’s my favorite feeling in the entire world (aside from eating delicious gelato after a fantastic dinner, of course).

So Mallory and I booked our tickets and got up at 7:30 in the morning to get to the train station. We made it in time to sit down and have some coffee before our train left, which was nice. The train ride was full of tunnels that made my ears pop like crazy, so that was certainly an experience.

We got to a small town near Assisi, and had to take a regional train there. It was a 20 minute train ride, so not too bad. It was getting up to the city center that was difficult. We bought bus tickets, but the bus ended up being a zoo so we just took a cab. I’d say that taking that cab was one of the best life choices I’ve made here so far.

We had some pretty good lunch, although we had no clue what we were ordering so when it came out, Mallory and I tried it and said “not what we were expecting, but we like it!” We were expecting long noodles, but it was actually a noodle that was stuffed with cheese, like ravioli. It was delicious.

We visited the church of Saint Clare and the church of St. Francis, which was super beautiful and amazing. Everything was covered in beautiful paintings and frescos. I was a huge fan from the second we walked in.

After that, we walked around and we were craving some gelato. We stopped at this place called Santa Monica, which looked to be a cute coffee shop and gelataria from the outside. We walked in and were instantly confused. There were giant sweets that looked like Bundt cakes on the shelves. We had no idea what it was but we liked it. We finally were able to ask, and they told us it was CHOCOLATE. All of these giant things that we originally thought were cakes were different kinds of chocolates. We both ordered espresso and some chocolate, because when are you ever going to get to do that again!?

We got seated in a small little courtyard they had attached to the restaurant, and we had our espresso brought out in cute, decorated cups along with our chocolate. It was probably the most heavenly combination I’ve ever tasted (which is saying something because I’m not that into coffee).

It was wonderful. We left feeling super happy. After that we got some pastries from a bakery near the taxi stand. Since we were so high up in the mountains, it wasn’t like the taxis were coming every five minutes. So we headed down to the bus stop, which was a good 10 minute walk. We realized if we waited for the bus, we would never make our train. As we were starting to freak out, we saw a cab coming up the hill. We booked it to the taxi stand in order to catch it before it left. Thankfully we made it!

Taking the regional train all the way back to Rome was probably not the best life choice. The regional trains are very different from the big companies. They cost less, but you seriously get what you pay for. Since it’s so cheap, the seats aren’t comfy, and there is no air conditioning. I fell asleep but woke up because I was so warm and sticky. It was a mess.

Finally, we made it home and felt very fulfilled after a successful day. But we were glad to see our beds and not have to worry about checking out the next day!

Day trips are wonderful because they are short, sweet and to the point. But I know a lot of people who are taking weekend trips who are also enjoying themselves! My tip for this blog entry: travel around. If you’re in one place the entire time you’re abroad (whether for school, work or vacation), you aren’t going to gain the rich cultural experience that you would from travelling around the country or the continent you’re on. Take advantage of the cheap(er) transportation and GO SOMEWHERE NEW!

That’s all I got for you guys!


Ciao for now!

C’est la vie!

C’est la vie!


Baroque concert at La Chapelle de Sacré Coeur

Lemon sugar butter crèpe!

Cappuccino <3

Cappuccino à la awesome! Or a cappuccino with whipped cream and coco powder.

“Un Monaco” – beer, fizzy lemonade, and grenadine



Vendome  Pavillion

Le Vendome Pavillion Gardens

Vendome Pavillion Sculpture

(The Vendome Pavilion was commissioned by Louis, the Duke of Vendome, to be built by Antoine Matisse around 1666. The small chateau was  originally constructed as a place where Louis could take his lover, Lucrèce de Forbin Solliès, also known as the “Belle du Canet.” The Pavilion Vendome now is a historic house that also functions as a museum surrounded by gorgeous gardens in which people can stroll, read, etc.)

Festival de San Juan

Festival de San Juan

“If you are going to Malaga that weekend, you have to be there for Sunday night for Festival de San Juan”. And that was exactly what we did! After sleeping in on Sunday after La Noche Blanca de Flamenco, we got on the bus and made the 3 hour ride to Malaga, which is located in southern Spain on the Mediterranean Sea.

Group picture at the Festival

The festival traditions to celebrate the summer solstice  included:

– jumping into the sea at midnight to wash away the past year and bring good luck for the next coming year.

-writing down your bad habits from the past and tossing them into the flames of a fire

-jumping over those flames 3 times (or 6 or 9) for good luck

-releasing a paper lantern into the sky (something out of the movie Tangled)


There was no doubt (maybe a little when it came to jumping over the flames) that those of us who went to Malaga participated in all these traditions!

The music and people lasted well into the night and a few of us stayed the next day as well to enjoy some sun and beach!


Noche Blanca de Flamenco

Noche Blanca de Flamenco

Cordoba has their own version of a music festival- NOCHE BLANCA DE FLAMENCO. This spectacular night take place on a Saturday evening beginning at 10:30 pm until 6 am. Every plaza has a different musical or dancing act at various times throughout the night. It was easy to see where a different act was about to start from the amount of people walking to the plazas. There was musicians singing flamenco style music, a dancing performance of flamenco and other acts.


One of my favorite things there was getting to hear a singer in the patio of La Mezquita- Patio de las Naranjas. It was a smaller area but it was a great atmosphere!


It seemed that most people stayed well into the night for the different acts but most of us left at around 3am. Next time, we will be much more prepared and able to stay up all night.


Performance in Plaza Las Tendillas