The GoGlobal Blog

Month: December 2014

Goodnight Vietnam

Goodnight Vietnam

It’s my last night in Vietnam.

Wow. That’s a statement that I’ve been dreading admitting to myself, for a few weeks now. To be honest, I’ve been putting off writing this post for the last few days because I knew it would be strange and somewhat upsetting. I’ve also been touring Vietnam with my family for the past week, so that’s been a good excuse to avoid blog writing too. But even now, as I write this, I’m realizing that this is going to be a little more difficult than I realized.

While I suppose all good things must come to an end, I don’t quite know if I’m ready to leave yet. There is a big part of me that is quite excited and happy to go home … snuggling in warm cotton socks, cuddling with my goofy puppy, snacking on American food. (Oh my gosh macaroni & cheese, brownies, cinnamon rolls, sautéed spinach, delivery pizza, grilled cheese, Chipotle… I have a list, don’t worry!) I cannot wait to see my dear friends too; grab twin lattes at Metropolis and catch up with them. I miss both of my homes, Chicago (of course) and even little Dayton, Ohio. I know that it will be good to go back.

But the other part of me knows how much I will miss Saigon, and this beautiful, peaceful country I’ve been living in. I went back to my dorm today in District 10, grabbed an iced ca phe sua da, sat on the stoop just outside the front gate, and watched the motorbikes speed by. It was weird knowing that Ash wasn’t going to run out to meet me, or that the whole group wasn’t meeting to grab a cab to District 1. While I was enjoying the solitude for a little bit after a long family trip, it was also nostalgic and somewhat heartbreaking. I realize that even if I return here someday, the incredible experience that I’ve had will never, ever repeat itself. Things will change here, and life will go on. Sometimes it’s just a little hard to let go.

I also know that when I arrive home, I will get asked over and over by my lovely friends and family, “Well, how was Vietnam?” … And how do I answer that? I have no clue!! Do I tell them about the craziness of living in Saigon for four months? Do I tell them of my international travels and very sketchy eating all over Southeast Asia? Do I tell them of all the wonderful and hilarious new friends I’ve made? All of the absolutely incredible things I’ve learned? All of that and more, I guess. It’s just a little bit daunting to answer that question in two sentences… to sum up a life-changing semester in just a few minutes of casual conversation.

Perhaps I’ll begin with how I have changed as a person. I’m a lot more relaxed… I can truly go with the flow in any crazy situation. I’m a lot braver than before, as my cliff-jumping and motorbike-riding can prove. I actually enjoy the heat and humidity (well, maybe just the heat). But mostly, I’m just happier. I have a much better perspective on where I belong in the world… I realize that I am so lucky to have had this incredible experience. I am eternally grateful to Vietnam for what it has given me.

Though I am not ready to leave this wonderful country, I will always carry it with me in my heart. Vietnam, I love you. Until we meet again … goodbye and goodnight.

Genoa: The Land of Pesto

Genoa: The Land of Pesto

When I flew into Genoa, I was absolutely stunned at the landscape.  The airport was located right next to both mountains and the downtown business district, which made for an absolutely gorgeous landing.

Genoa’s Central Business District.

Upon arrival, I immediately headed to the center of town to eat lunch.  I decided to do a bit a research before travelling to Genoa, and I found that this city is not only the home to pesto, but they also have many fresh seafood dishes.  Of course, when I went to lunch, I got both of these types of dishes.  I went to a back alley kitchen called Trattoria dei Maria, where I was the only person who actually spoke English.  I ordered the pesto gnocchi, octopus stew, and of course, a half liter of red wine to wash it all down.  The pesto was creamy, unlike anything I have ever eaten before; it was almost like a pesto Alfredo sauce, which was topped on some of the freshest gnocchi I have ever eaten.  The seafood dish was different, but had many flavors, and it was like I had a Nonna (aka an Italian grandmother) cooking for me.

After lunch, I decided to do something different; seeing as though Genoa has an oriental art museum, one of just a few in Europe, I decided to go there.  The art collections mostly focused on Edo Japan, a time period in which there was a Renaissance in Japanese art and literature.  Because I have taken an East Asian History class recently, I was able to not only experience Japanese culture again, but also to experience Italy’s take on Japan, thus combining a pervious culture experience with a current cultural experience.

Once I finished up at the Oriental Art Museum, I looked at a map of Genoa to see if there were some interesting other attractions.  In the harbor of Genoa, I found that there was a rather large aquarium.  Although the ticket prices were steep at 24 euro a person, it was worth it to see examples of Mediterranean aquatic life.  Moreover, there were additional exhibits relating to both biodiversity in the Mediterranean, as well as the issues that face our environment today, specifically dealing with aquatic life.

The Genoa Aquarium.

After experiencing the food and the aquarium, I noticed many parallels between Genoa and Monterrey, California.  Like Monterrey, Genoa is on the coast, has a mountainous backdrop, a very large aquarium, and a beautiful harbor.  As such, I will be revisiting Genoa next semester, since I not only loved the food, but also the city as a whole.

Ciao e buona giornata-


A December Update: Academics

A December Update: Academics

Things have be so busy lately! With school and trying to be the best, tourist on a budget ever, I’ve managed to stay on my toes always. Since the last week of November though, there has especially been less time to breathe and think.

Due dates are coming and finals are just next week. I leave in TEN. DAYS. I don’t know if I’m stressed or in denial but work and social responsibilities are social responsibilities are piling quite high.

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Reading Week: My EuroTrip

Reading Week: My EuroTrip


I just realized that I’ve had a saved draft for this blog called ‘Reading Week and a trip to Europe’ for a month now. I best catch up!

In the middle of December, City University as well most other European schools had Reading week, which is the equivalent of Loyola’s fall break. In this time, I took a trip to Madrid, Barcelona, Nice, and Monaco. Spain and France, two of the most dreamy countries in the world gave me good food, my first great cocktail, incomparable wine, the ability to practice my Spanish and some fantastic picturesque backgrounds.

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Que pereza! My time in Costa Rica is over!

Que pereza! My time in Costa Rica is over!

Hola readers!

It’s been so busy here with my last week here in Costa Rica I have barely had time to fill you in on my whereabouts!
During our semester here, we unfortunately had to miss a family celebration, Thanksgiving. I thought it would be fun to celebrate this hear and I offered my friends a potluck type of dinner. Seeing as we can’t have that many friends over in our host family’s homes, we gave up for the time being. Later, I ended up working with our program directors to get a program dinner going. An email and sign-up sheet later, we were rolling. Our program rented a bus and a finca (a small house in a field up in the mountainous area) in Heredia. We all signed up to cook/bake/buy something. This was a blast! We felt like home, eating delicious food and well, overeating. 😀

The weekend was a long one after that. My friends and I set out on a journey to Santa Teresa, which was the most beautiful place I had visited in all of Costa Rica! If you ever find yourself in this wonderful country, this is the place you need to go! The journey was long, but oh so worth it!

After we got back, it was finals week. With 4 papers, 2 presentations and a test, I was not sure I was going to be sleeping at all! On top of this, the stress of packing and getting those last few souvenirs was really crazy. But, as the Costa Ricans say, tenga paz, which means keep calm. I had to take a great ton of deep breaths, but I made it. Last night my friends and I went out to a last dinner together this semester.

You know that torn feeling you get when you know you need to do something but don’t really want to? Yea, that is what I feel about going home tomorrow! I have said this so many times in my blogs, but it’s very true, I have fallen in love with Costa Rica! PURA VIDA has become part of me.

I just checked into my flight about 2 hours ago. My host mom has a friend coming to pick me up at 6am to drop me off at the airport and my friends back home are counting down the hours if not minutes! I already know that I will miss this new home I created. But in the words of Jimi Hendrix, “The story of life is quicker than the wink of an eye, the story of love is hello and goodbye…until we meet again.”

Do yourself a favor and STUDY ABROAD! You will not regret it!

The USAC Thanksgiving dinner (:



Santa Teresa beach