The GoGlobal Blog

Month: October 2015

Lessons Learned Outside of the Classroom: Fall Break Wrap-Up

Lessons Learned Outside of the Classroom: Fall Break Wrap-Up


What makes a place difficult to leave? Is it your comforts? The familiarity? The relationships you’ve made there?

But before I get to that; with a blink of an eye, fall break, the ten day pausa from all of our hard work here at the JFRC that I’m pretty sure 99% of the student body was looking forward to, has come and gone. Don’t get me wrong, I think we all love or have grown to love Roma, but sometimes you need a break, you know? I had the opportunity to go to three cities over my fall break with three lovely travel companions. We all had a vote in cities and so Munich, Vienna, and Prague were our top three choices that also seemed feasible and logical (in some sort of geographic sense…).

_DSC1398-001München aka Munich aka where my (in another universe) husbands, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Müller play for Bayern. Oh and the world’s biggest Oktoberfest is held here- but that ended last week which is why there are so many less tourists and our flight here was only around 30€ #bless.  It was stunning! The sky was bright blue, the sun was shining, we were excited that München actually has a Starbucks. Yup. I’m THAT basic. In the words of comedienne Iliza Schlesinger, when we applied to be girls, we were asked what our favorite seasons were, and of COURSE the answer is fall and so I had a pumpkin spice latte and IT WAS A GREAT MOMENT. Surprisingly, there are A LOT of Italians in Munich, so I felt right at home talking to the very attractive barista who was actually from Bolzano and thought I was Italian because he said my accent was great *cries*. Genuinely, Munich was a lovely surprise and I found myself a little sad when we had to leave.


Wien (Vienna) was also wonderful, although it was difficult to follow Munich. Everything seemed quite grande and impressive- the old palaces, the palaces that are now art museums, the architecture throughout the city- EVERYTHING! Previous to this trip, I never really had any particular notions about Vienna/Austria in general, so it was nice to experience something new and to go in like a completely clean slate. The city definitely had a cool vibe, our hostel in particular had such interesting people in it that it almost deterred me from wanting to go out and explore, and the desserts we had every day were divine!

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And lastly, Praha. Prague was a city that was at the top of my list of places to visit outside of Italy during my time abroad and I’m ecstatic that I got to visit it over fall break. It reminded me a lot of Krakow, Poland, and I felt the connection both cultures share with the Slavic spirit- quindi (as I say all the time in Italian), I felt right at home. It was breathtakingly gorgeous. I absolutely loved the walking tours we took (our tour guide, Pistis, was probably THE coolest person ever), they had kielbasa (something I had been missing profusely back in Italy), and the overall, I was just in love. I didn’t want to leave- I could have stayed here the whole 10 days of break. I would definitely consider coming back here in the future.

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Regardless, some of the things that fall break has taught me:

1)The beautiful thing about Europe is that all of these countries I want to go to are at the very manageable to get to in a short amount of time, which is INSANE. I want to go from Rome to Munich?- an hour by plane. That’s only about 20 minutes more than my L commute from the Loyola Lake Shore Campus to Water Tower. The other beautiful thing about Europe are all of these cheap airlines that offer affordable flights. My flight to Munich? €30! (About $33!!!!). Sure, it was at 7 in the morning, but it cost less than the cab we took from JFRC to Fiumicino. One of the least glamorous things? The reason those prices for the actual ticket are low are because it only includes one carry-on. I never thought I’d be able to say I can live out of one backpack for more than 10 days, but hey, now I can cross that off my bucket-list, too.


I don’t think I’m very high maintenance (and if you think I am totally wrong or blind to this, please feel free to chuckle about it here), but 10 days with a weather forecast calling for all types of crazy weather (we saw potential snow in Prague), teeny-tiny toiletry essentials, and enough clothes* (*underwear) to last? I’ve been conditioned and accustomed to being allowed at the very least one GIGANTIC suitcase, so this was something I was definitely NOT used to- but with hindsight, I’m really proud I could actually do it AND have a little bit of room for souvenirs for both me and my mama back home (we collect Starbucks mugs… so now we have two more to add to our collection!). Plus, it’s made me an expert on what’s necessary VS. what I WANT to bring for my own comfort. It also made for an excellent excuse to buy a new scarf and hat, something I definitely brought with me to Rome but not with me to Munich, where the weather was at least 20 degrees colder.

2) As I’ve said in one of my posts on my photography blog, the human body is capable of many amazing things; one of them being the ability to take everything that comes your way while traveling. Sitting for hours in a cramped and uncomfortable seat that was way too overpriced, food that shouldn’t be deemed edible (I’m looking at you, overpriced airlines), sleep deprivation and yet; we somehow keep on pushing until we make our final destination. There were mornings where we’d be up at 5am, trying to figure out what bus to take to which train station where we’d find a train to take us to the airport. But yet, on those same days, we’d walk at least 10,000 steps in a new city, IN A NEW COUNTRY. That’s pretty amazing, especially when I think that I tend to consider myself a pretty stationary being.

3) I received a HUGE wake up call when we got into the Westbanhof train station in Vienna. Of course, one of the first things we normally did when we got to a train/bus station or airport was try to connect to wifi, just to let our parents know we were safe and made it to our destination or to check alternate travel routes to our hostels. Something I noticed was the wifi networks offered at the Vienna station. One of them clearly had Refugee Info as one of the titles, while another just said Refugee Free Wifi.

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I knew Austria was one of the main countries that many of the refugees were traveling to in order to get to their destination in Germany or other desired countries (mostly in Scandinavia) and I also knew that this ongoing crisis was really happening- but there’s a difference between seeing it in a newspaper or television set and actually seeing it with your own two eyes. I never doubted that this was a serious thing that was actually happening, but this just made it more real. I was taken aback, seeing so many families with maybe two or three more bags than I was carrying- bags that were probably carrying what was left of their whole life. I have to admit, I don’t understand politics and I don’t understand how the E.U. works when it comes to how to approach aid- but at that moment in time, I felt a huge surge of sympathy for them and gratitude for all my life has given me so far. I think everyone goes through their fair share of hardships and it’s truly difficult to compare who has it worse, because everyone reacts to obstacles differently. The worst thing that can ever happen in your life could be way less serious in the eyes of someone else, but you both could potentially react to it in the same way. These people had to leave behind their homes, their lives. Meanwhile, here I was, thinking how much I missed Chicago and how far away home seemed. It was sobering, like I said, but it did make me thing of all that I’m thankful for in my life.

4) Lastly, although this is actual a general lesson that’s slowly becoming more and more clear to me throughout the semester, being in other cities in Europe have definitely solidified my thoughts of coming back to Europe after I’m done with my senior year at Loyola. Would it really be that crazy to move to Europe? My whole family moved to America, not knowing any of the language and sacrificing so much and yet here I find myself entertaining the thought of “coming back.” What do Roma, Prague, Munich, Dublin or Krakow have that Chicago doesn’t? What is it about Europe that makes me want to come back. I love Chicago with all of my heart. I was born and raised there. My lack of Portillo’s cheese fries and deep dish is always tugging at my heartstrings, and don’t even get me started on missing the whole support system that is my family and friends. And yet, here I am in Rome, already considering becoming an ex-pat for just a little bit longer.

Riddle me this: I’ll admit, I had no problem leaving the small neighborhood where my family currently resides to Rogers Park- and I lived there my whole life. I mean, I knew I’d be back for breaks/summers/etc, but for me, that was the beginning of “leaving home” for me. I knew that after that first semester, Rogers Park was my new home and I loved it. Leaving Rogers Park for Rome on the other hand was extremely hard- despite knowing that I’d be back within a year. And now, I find myself ALREADY dreading leaving Rome. There’s a sense of “I feel at home” here and there’s still so much I want to do and see and be a part of here, despite not having the same connections to people that I do back in Rogers Park. I don’t know what to make of all of this, but it’s definitely got me re-evaluating my plans for after graduation.

So what makes leaving a place difficult? Is there really a concrete answer? Like most things in life, probably not, but I’d like to think that with this fall break experience has given me a little more insight into answering that question.

Made it to the end of the post? I congratulate you, because Lord knows I can ramble on and on. Until next time 🙂


With Hoops of Steel

With Hoops of Steel

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel.

-Shakespeare, Hamlet

OKAY, I’m going to try to make this quick because I have been doing homework all. evening. and technically it’s already Monday. Let’s get going!

I had a great first week back from break, but a very stressful one. We’re putting our scenes in Acting class on their feet, starting read-throughs for Twelfth Night in Shakespeare class, and writing reviews for Dramatic Criticism. We’re also getting into more in-depth neutral mask work in Physical Theatre and adding onto our fight choreography for Stage Combat. I feel like I do homework from the time we get out of class to the time I go to bed . . . good thing it’s all such fun work!

After two solid evenings of homework, it was exciting to get to go to the theatre on Wednesday. We saw Farinelli and the King at the Duke of York’s, and it was my favorite piece of theatre we’ve seen as a class. I loved everything about it: the acting, the script, the music, the scenic and costume design. All of the elements came together in a way that was unlike everything else we’ve seen. The play created a cohesive, immersive world that brought the audience into the space – literally: there were box seats on the set itself. All of the relationships between the characters were complex and alive. It was a privilege to see Mark Rylance work, along with the rest of the stunning cast.

The whole crew at the Duke of York's.
The whole crew at the Duke of York’s.

Thursday evening, after another tough day of classes and homework, my flatmate Ashley hosted a little dinner. She made chicken parmesan and we all relaxed and talked about our fall breaks in various parts of Europe. We listened to music and ended up talking until midnight and going to bed full. It was a great, relaxing evening!

Fun dinner with friends :)
Fun dinner with friends 🙂

Friday we had a fun evening to celebrate making it through a very hard week! We all got together in one of the girls’ flats, a few people baked cookies, and we watched I Married an Axe Murderer, which was absolutely terrible but perfect for getting in the Halloween spirit in the goofiest of ways. Then a group of us went out dancing! Saturday was a very lazy day, and today’s been all about the homework . . . except for a couple hours this evening, watching Gogglebox (a great British reality show).


Now I really need to go to sleep. Got to be ready for a busy week!

(More pictures to come when the internet is a little faster!)



Happy anniversary to Italy and I!!! It has been almost two months since I packed my two overweight suitcases in Kansas, and relocated to Rome for the semester. So far I have travelled to ten cities in Italy and have fallen in love with the country as a whole. From the people to the food there is an life, adventure, and beauty everywhere you look.





Its funny that when you study abroad everyone has this crazy idea that you are supposed to travel every weekend to a new crazy and exotic destination. Although this is so fun and makes for great instas it is utterly exhausting, and too often I feel like people forgot to appreciate the country they are in. It would be outrageous if I got home and couldn’t tell people all about the beauty of Italy. Soooo that is why over fall break my mom came and visited me and we spent our time together traveling throughout Italy. We started in Rome and had an eventful 48 hours. Of course we took a tour of the Vatican, went for aperitivo, sat around and drank coffee, and even got to visit the Villa Borghese Museum. Our time in Rome together was great; I learned all about Michael Angelo and loved showing my mom my favorite spots in Trastevere.


We then ventured north to Florence. Our four days there were jammed packed and I felt like we did it all. We saw the David, went to the Uffizi Gallery, visited the leather school, and admired the beautiful Ponte Vecchio. I was surprised to see how different Florence was from Rome, I almost felt like I was in a completely different country.





After Florence we took an easy train ride to Venice. Seriously, I think I left part of my heart there. It was beyond perfect. Every bridge lead to another quaint street with beautiful architecture leaving one with the impression that they were in a fairytale. My favorite part of Venice was wondering through the city and hearing the old men sing beautiful Italian songs as they took tourists on a classic gondola ride.


Our final stop before heading back to Rome was the town of Verona, home to the inspiration of the Colosseum and Romeo and Juliet. So far I can say with confidence that Verona is a hidden gem of Italy. Not only is the town full of life, but also the beautiful are actually all beautiful!


Beyond seeing all these wonderful places and learning about their historical significance, I have learned things that a textbook could never teach me. Italy has taught me to eat long meals, and savor every bite of delicious homemade pasta with a glass of good wine. Italy has taught me that time is irrelevant and to appreciate all the little moments in each day. Italy has taught me that you can walk almost anywhere you want and it will be faster than taking a cab or waiting for the bus. Italy has taught me that you dress to impress. Italy has taught me that there truly is history and culture in everything we do. And most importantly Italy has taught me life is much simpler than we think in America.

Ciao for now!





Last weekend was my first trip outside of the UK! My roommate Nita and I planned a trip to Amsterdam and it was a blast!

We don’t have classes on Friday, so originally the plan was to leave Thursday night. However, USAC had tickets for all people studying abroad to go see Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre. Personally, I’ve never been a huge fan of musicals, but I’m glad we decided to postpone our trip to stay and see the show. The Apollo Victoria is a beautiful theatre and the show was really good as well!

Friday morning our train for Amsterdam left early in the morning, so naturally we were running a little late. We had to convert all of our pounds to euros, which took more time than we thought, but luckily we had no trouble getting through customs and boarded our train just in time. Our train had a layover in Brussels, so I got a chance to try a real Belgian waffle, and it was incredible!

The first thing I noticed when we arrived in Amsterdam was the insane amount of bikes. Near the train station, there were plenty of cars and taxis, but the further you get into Amsterdam, there seem to be more bikes than people. I spent the entire weekend looking both ways multiple times before crossing the road to avoid getting hit by the aggressive bikers. Luckily, I managed to make it out of Amsterdam without any bruises caused by bikes (Nita was not as lucky).

The second thing I noticed about Amsterdam was how unpronounceable the street signs are. When I went to France in high school, I had a few years of French knowledge to back me up. When I went to Italy, I had a tour guide that spoke fluent Italian. I don’t speak Dutch. Nita doesn’t speak Dutch. And everything was in Dutch. I had no trouble communicating with anyone, seeing as everyone in Amsterdam speaks English, but it was still a strange experience not being able to read any part of the signs. It was also disorienting not being able to understand conversations going on around me.

Friday night we decided to explore the city a bit, and wandered upon a fair going on in Dam Square. I discovered very quickly that the best way to see Amsterdam is upside down, going 90mph. The ride was well worth the price because I spent about 15 minutes at the top of the 180ft ride waiting for people to board. Unfortunately it rained pretty much the whole weekend we were there, so needless to say after the ride we were drenched and freezing and decided to call it a night. Saturday and Sunday we packed in as much as we possibly could! We spent a good amount of time walking around, mostly because the public transportation in Amsterdam was confusing, chaotic, and all around bad. But also because walking truly is the best way to see a city! We bought 24 hour tickets for a boat that stopped at 8 different places along all the canals, which was a super convenient way to get around and sightsee. We managed to find a few nice, cheap museums and some really great places to get pancakes!

amsteram river

However, I think the most significant thing we did that weekend was see the Anne Frank house. It’s an incredibly popular museum in a very small space, so Nita and I wound up waiting in line for 45 minutes outside in the rain just to get in. Absolutely worth it. It felt surreal being in the house that Anne Frank and her family had hidden in during World War II, and it was so indescribably moving. At Otto Frank’s request (the only member of the Frank family that survived the war), the actual house and annex where they hid was kept bare to represent the emptiness that was left behind by all the death. There were quotes from the diary written on the wall, and further into the museum was Anne Frank’s actual diary. It’s difficult to describe how it felt, walking through a place that is so well known for such horrendous reasons. Personally, I think the most moving part of the whole experience was seeing pencil marks on one of the door frames, where Anne’s mother had measured her and her sister’s height during the time they were in hiding. For one, it was shocking to see just how long the family was in hiding, and how much they had grown in the two years they were there. Second, it reminded me that they were just kids. Measuring your kids’ growth on the wall is such a, for a lack of better word, normal thing to do. It really struck home and was such a humanizing factor. Being in the actual house was a lot more emotionally taxing than I could have expected, but it was absolutely one of the most moving things I’ve done since I started my European adventure last month.

Monday we had to check out of our hostel at 10am, but our train didn’t leave until 4pm, so we sat ourselves down at a restaurant and then a coffeehouse for most of the time because we didn’t want to lug our suitcases around the city! We boarded our train and traveled to Belgium with no problem. However, we cut it very close to missing our connecting train to London because we got stuck at the British boarder. Nita and I both have short term student visas, which requires us to show the customs officer our letter of acceptance to London Met every time we re-enter the country. We weren’t aware of that. Luckily, we had our London school IDs and Student Oyster cards (for using the Tube) with an expiration date on it, so we were allowed through. I’m really thankful that we did, because I did not like the idea of spending the night at the train station! That would have been a not so fun end to an otherwise fantastic trip!



Half way over???

Half way over???

Hola!!! I just finished crying because I just realized my time in Spain is HALF WAY OVER. I’m trying to be positive here and think, golly gee, I still have two months left in this beautiful country! That being said, I can’t stop the ticking clock in my head that is counting down my time left here. *sobbing*. HOWEVER, this blog post isn’t to whine about how much I don’t want to leave Spain, rather it is to share with you all the most amazing week I had with my two favorite people who just so happen to be my parents! They arrived here on October 15 and just left yesterday (October 21), *sobbing again* so they were basically here for exactly a week. If you know my dad, you won’t be shocked to know that he literally had a folder containing a list of all the restaurants, foods, places and things he wanted to try along with some other information he had researched. Shocked? Me either.

The greatest people you will ever meet

First on our list of things to do was of course food related. We had signed up to do a tapas tour around Madrid and let me just tell you now, I have never had so much fun in my life. We all met up at a nearby plaza near Sol and were introduced to our tour guide Enrique. There was me and my parents, a young couple from Texas, three older gentlemen from England, and two couples from Atlanta and Chicago (wooo shoutout to my favorite city in the US!). Quick explanation of how this tour worked; we made our way to the restaurants and upon arrival Enrique would order a bunch of tapas that the particular restaurant is known for. We would then eat the tapas, sip on our vino, and relax until we had to move onto the next restaurant. Food, wine, and good company? What else could you possibly need??? In total, we went to four restaurants and ate everything from grilled squid, to flambéed bread pudding! It was a great way to try different types of Spanish tapas that I wouldn’t normally get!


We did a bunch of ~*touristy*~ things while they were here, like visit Retiro Park, shop along Gran Via, see the museums and we also ate at a couple mercados. We also went to a Real Madrid game! On Saturday, Real Madrid played Levante at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Our tickets were purchased the day before and I am not even kidding we had the highest seats possible in the whole stadium. No one was behind us because we were the last row!!! But I knew it was going to be a terrific game because one, before we had entered the stadium my mom (bless her heart) bought me a bag of gummy candies from a small vendor outside, and two, when we walked into the stadium, TAYLOR SWIFT WAS PLAYING!!!!!! If you even know me then you’ll know this is the best sign that God can possibly give me. And even though this was no special game, the stadium was insanely crowded! Spaniards really do love their futbol! It was all cool though because at this particular game, Cristiano Ronaldo was recognized and given a golden boot award for scoring the most goals in Real Madrid History!!! And we also ended up winning 3-0 so it was a very very successful game!

Hala Madrid!

All in all, I had such an amazing week with my parents. Its always nice to eat something other than sandwiches and croissants!!!I just wrote a snippet of my favorite things we did together so I apologize if this post is so short! But having them here made me realize again, how lucky I am to call Spain my home! From the amazing artwork at the Prado Museum, to the amazing wine from the wine tour (We also did a wine tour but I’ll save that story for another time 😉 ), Spain will always be a place that I call home!


Hasta Luego!


I’ll be in Italia next week so be on the lookout for a fun little blog post regarding that!

The “Thin Phenomenon”, Homosexuals, and More: Some Observations

The “Thin Phenomenon”, Homosexuals, and More: Some Observations

Welcome back! Let’s get right into it. Topics of the day include: “Where Are All the Fat People?” and “Gays: No Bueno” with bonus categories such as “Mormons!” and “A Small, Yet Amusing Compilation of Creative Uses of the English Language”. Off we go.

“Where Are All the Fat People?”: This is a question I ask myself on a daily basis as I shove my busty 5ft8in frame like a battering ram through crowds of petite Asian women with figures similar to 5ft Korean Barbie dolls. Perhaps as an American, my opinion on what constitutes an “average” body size is slightly skewed given the well-known fact that Americans are well above “average” (I mean, Americans invented the “Fat Acceptance Movement”, that should tell you everything you need to know). Everyone claims that the traditional Korean diet is exceedingly healthy, hence the reason why Koreans are able to ‘naturally’ maintain low body weights. While it’s true that traditional Korean meals are primarily comprised of rice (fat-free empty carbs), meat (lean protein), kimchi (fermented cabbage, not exactly an abundant source of anything unhealthy) and bean sprouts (basically water held together by air, if we’re being honest), in recent years there has been an influx of fatty fried foods (fried chicken joints, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King, not to mention there’s literally a Starbucks on every corner). Additionally, Korean women do not eat like the delicate baby birds they resemble; Korean women I’ve observed in restaurants literally inhale their food in a manner similar to the Super Smash Bros character Kirby. Combined with a complete lack of exercise facilities (apart from the campus gym, as far as I can tell there are no gyms, yoga classes, or CrossFit centers available to the greater public, or if there are they are certainly well-hidden), I am stumped as to how Korean women manage to maintain such slim physiques.

I’m going to boil this whole thing down to a math equation. Thus, we have:

Korean women whose eating habits rival the inhaling power of Kirby himself  + a lack of any discernible exercise plan + a traditional diet that has been distorted by the arrival of fatty fried foods = Thin women i.e. the Korean “Thin Phenomenon”

While I have been able to draw a couple hypotheses, they are less-than-pleasant but not entirely off the mark. Basically, it is no secret that the majority of Korean society is infatuated with physical beauty. Plastic surgery ads are everywhere and each smiling woman on the advert appears to beckon to the viewer, insisting that “Yes, there is a new life awaiting just beyond the knife!” Even my professors unabashedly admit that many Koreans look the same, not because of their shared ethic/racial heritage but because the plastic surgery craze is quite literally transforming the nation. Thus, I have come to believe that the general consensus is: “What good would your new and improved face do if your body didn’t match?” Furthermore, I have also discovered that the term “diet” among Korean women has a different meaning. What would constitute an eating disorder in the western world might be passable as a harmless diet plan by Korean standards. For example, if one were to google the diet plan of a popular Kpop idol, suggestions such as “5 strawberries and 1 cucumber for dinner” or “1 sweet potato for lunch” might pop up as an legitimate diet suggestion. In America, another word for diet habits such as this might be… anorexia? But who’s to say. Cultural differences are a funny thing.

“Gays: No Bueno”: Although homosexuality is not criminalized in South Korea, gay marriage is still illegal. The Korean population’s reaction to homosexuality is… frosty, to put it kindly. On an evening out with a group of westerners and Koreans, I witnessed a western companion become increasingly intoxicated and proceed to loudly discuss how much he missed his boyfriend back home. When it became apparent to the Korean males in the group that there was a gay man in their midst, the mood of the night changed irrevocably. I know this is an odd metaphor, but the best way I can describe the situation is to refer to the scene in The Little Mermaid in which Ariel’s voice is stolen by the sea witch Ursula. The moment the word “boyfriend” left the westerner’s mouth it was as though some octopus woman had reached her clawed hand down the Korean boys’ throats- leaving them speechless- while the rest of us tried to recover in the atmosphere of uncomfortable hostility that was left in the wake.

Ironically enough, in Korea it is quite common to see male friends in close physical contact- intertwining arms, hugging, and at times even holding hands. As an American, the sight of two men engaged in such close physical contact indicates (to me) that they are most likely a couple or involved in some type of romantic relationship. However, by Korean standards, same-sex physical contact is merely a sign of friendship and nothing more. Thus, it is entirely possible that there is a myriad of gay couples on the streets of Seoul openly displaying their affection for one another and no one is the wiser.

Bonus round #1: “Mormons!”: The amount of Mormons I have seen out and about in Seoul is astonishing. They trot around politely, dressed in black pants and crisp white button-down shirts with spiffy name tags in English and Korean proclaiming “Elder John”, “Elder Thomas”, or “Elder So-and-So”. They are a fascinating group. Minnesota is not exactly a mecca of Mormon activity therefore I have not had much contact with Mormons in the past. To be honest, my knowledge of Mormons is limited whatever I could glean from The Book of Mormon (a fabulous play, if I do say so myself) and therefore I wouldn’t exactly say I have had a ‘traditional’ education about the Mormon religion. Nonetheless, I just find it amusing that I have to go halfway around the world to encounter a religious group whose roots are American through and through.

Bonus round #2: A Small Yet Amusing Compilation of Creative Uses of the English Language: I feel like this one is pretty self-explanatory. Whenever one travels to a country in which English is not the native language, one will undoubtedly encounter a few amusing mistranslations/misinterpretations of English words or phrases, and even a few where you have absolutely no idea what they were trying to get at.


This one reads: “HUK HUC is a common exclamation from feeling of relief after hard exercising”. I found it printed on the sleeve of a white t-shirt dress in a rather high-class boutique. The meaning still has yet to be deciphered.


I found this printed on a snapback at a street market. It reads: “I read a book in the mouth and spiny bumps”. I really don’t know where they were going with this one. I am seriously considering returning to buy it. So watch out, the Secret Santa at this year’s Christmas party is about to get weird.

Maybe one of these days I will actually get around to writing a ‘traditional’ blog post filled with fun pictures of Seoul and my trips around Korea. But maybe not, because that sounds kind of boring and I like writing a post wherein which I can discuss homosexuals and mormons in the same breath. Stay tuned!

The Glass is Still Half Full

The Glass is Still Half Full

FOMO: Fear of missing out.

Many students abroad are from Chicago and die hard Cubs fans. The curse might finally be broken, and the Cubs might fulfill the ‘Back to the Future II’ prediction by winning the 2015 World Series. The problem is that there is a seven-hour time difference, so watching the games is a bit difficult.

The Cubs, among other things, are an example of FOMO being experienced at the Rome IMG_4232Center.

We’re halfway through the semester, FOMO is real and students are starting to miss home. Fall break is over; classes have resumed and the next break we have is Thanksgiving, a time typically spent with family and friends.

I am not one to get home sick, but it’s a completely normal thing to experience. This is not to say I don’t miss my family; I miss them dearly. However, I know that my family would not want me to be sitting in Rome homesick. They made sacrifices for me to be here, and I realize this. (Thanks, Mom and Dad.) That is why I am making the most of my time here.
Over fall break, several students participated on trips sponsored by Loyola to Greece and Poland. I took my own trip with a friend around most of Northern Europe to Barcelona IMG_4067(not north; I know), Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and Berlin. The trip was one of the most exciting experiences I’ve ever had. I made all the travel plans myself, and it’s satisfying to know I can make it on my own.

I saw so many sights: the Eiffel Tower, the Berlin Wall, Manneken Pis, Sagrada Familia and more.

Living in Europe makes traveling through Europe so much easier to do. Domestic flights are usually not more than 100 euros and hostels are always cheap. Had I not studied abroad, I might not have ever made it to these places. I’m also learning things about myself and have made friendships that I’m sure will last a lifetime.

I am saddened to know that our time is half up, but we still have half way to go, and I’m looking at it from the “glass half full” perspective. You might get homesick, and that’s okay. IMG_4118Remember that you’re living abroad and having the experience of a lifetime. FOMO might be real, but I promise whatever you’re missing won’t compare to your time here.

These pictures don’t do the places and experience justice, but my hope is that it might encourage you to study abroad and take some trips too.

Ciao until next time,


Swifter than the Wandering Moon

Swifter than the Wandering Moon

“We the globe can compass soon,

Swifter than the wandering moon”

-Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

What a week in Paris! I’m a day late on this blog update because it’s been a whirlwind coming home, unpacking, and getting back into the swing of classes. It was such a wonderful opportunity to spend a whole week exploring a new city, and so good to spend time with my Uncle Jeff and Uncle Brent. We definitely kept busy!

So much fun with my uncles this week - and so much great food!
So much fun with my uncles this week – and so much great food!

Monday we set out for the Parc Des Buttes-chaumont for some exploring and some great views. We walked all over, took pictures, and watched a woman feed birds right next to a “don’t feed the birds sign.” The leaves aren’t really turning in London yet, but Paris was full of lovely fall colors! After that we found our way to the Chapel of the Miraculous Medal, Shakespeare’s Bookstore, and a great falafel place for lunch. Then we spent the afternoon at Luxembourg gardens enjoying the views and the statues. Tuesday we spent most of the day at Versailles, mostly inside because it was freezing! In the evening, we came back into the city and watched the sun set from the roof of Printemps, a department store.

Parc des Buttes-chaumont with Uncle Brent.
Parc des Buttes-chaumont with Uncle Brent.

Wednesday was our busiest and definitely my favorite day. We spent the morning at the Garnier Opera House. I expected the beautiful architecture, lavish ballrooms, and even the giant, colorful Chagall painting on the ceiling of the auditorium, but I did not expect them to have costumes on display! They had dance and opera costumes from Sleeping Beauty, The Marriage of Figaro, and Balanchine’s Jewels, among others, and I was so excited to see such beautiful pieces on display and to be able to appreciate them up close in a way that an audience never would during a performance. That afternoon we went to the Louvre, which was honestly a blur of incredible art from all around the world and throughout history. My favorite piece was the Winged Victory of Samothrace, a recently restored ancient Greek statue. I was completely struck by its size, the detail in the sculpting, and the sense of movement and power the artist managed to convey through marble.

I LOVED the opera house!
I LOVED the opera house!

We spent most of our day Thursday shopping! We also went into Notre Dame, which was super beautiful as it was starting to get dark outside. Friday we saw more amazing art at the Musee d’Orsay, including some works by Van Gogh, Renoir, Degas, and Monet (their Impressionist collection was huge). They also had a temporary exhibit on the beginnings of women’s presence in photography, which was obviously great and right up my alley.

Saturday we went to another Gothic church, St. Denis. My uncles had never been there before, and we studied it in Honors seminar my freshman year, so it was an interesting experience all around. Most of the French kings from the 10th to the 18th centuries are buried there. It is also considered the first Gothic church, so it’s definitely exciting architecturally, too! That afternoon we shopped and went to some sites from the movie Amelie, and then finished off a great week with a delicious dinner at my uncles’ favorite restaurant, Chez Toinette.

Yeah!! Paris!!
Yeah!! Paris!!

Sunday I packed up and my uncles took me to the train station. It was a quick journey back to London, and I was surprised how much the subway and bus ride back to my flat felt like coming home. I can’t believe this adventure is halfway over!!

It’s a Small World After All

It’s a Small World After All

When I was a high school senior trying to pick a college, a very important factor for me was a good study abroad program. I’ve always loved seeing new places and was set on spending a semester abroad. It’s a big reason why I chose Loyola. However, after further contemplation I knew I didn’t want to study on a foreign Loyola campus. I think it’s fantastic that Loyola makes it so easy to study abroad at one of their campus’s, and I was jealous when my roommate (currently studying in Rome) had one application while I had four. However, if I was going to study abroad I wanted to go all in. I’ve been at Loyola for two years, and I’ll be there for another year and a half come spring. Why not experience a completely different school system and attend a foreign institution? Thanks to Loyola’s incredible international program, my options were limitless. I could go anywhere. After looking into a lot of different options, I decided on England. Why? I’m a massive Harry Potter fan for one, but I’ve also always wanted to see England, experience the culture and the history, and hear the accents in person.

Also they speak English.

I’m not ashamed to admit that a big factor in choosing England was the absence of a language barrier. By not studying at a Loyola campus, I’m immersing myself completely into a different school. I took French through high school and took a year of Italian at Loyola, but my communication skills in both languages are very limited. If I was going to spend a semester abroad I didn’t want any difficulties communicating. After spending two days here, I knew I made the right choice. I’m totally and completely in love with London and its culture. I’ve always been a fan of big cities, and London has about the same amount of people as New York with ten times more history. While planning for my trip, I expected the culture to be similar to the US with a few little differences.

I was right. To an extent.

I went to the same public school district from first to twelfth grade. My first year at Loyola, I was surrounded by freshman that didn’t know what they were doing any more than I did. Coming to London, I’ve never felt more out of place in my life. The flat I rented is four other people traveling through USAC, so when I’m home I’m surrounded by Americans that are in the same position as me. However, as soon as I leave the American bubble of my flat, I’m very clearly foreign. After three and a half weeks here, I’d like to think I’m no longer an obvious tourist wandering the streets, but every time I open my mouth I’m very identifiable as American. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I’ve never been so conscious of my accent. I’m still thrown off when I get compliments on my accent because I’ve always considered the British accent to be appealing and the American accent to be viewed as annoying and loud. You always want what you don’t have I guess? (Side note: I’ve also been repeatedly mistaken for Australian, which has left me and my American flatmates baffled because I’m the only one that seems to get this comment.)

The accent is the dead giveaway of my international origin. However, after observing and having discussions with some classmates in London, there are quite a few small cultural differences that I didn’t consider. Slang, for example, is a big one. When I hold the door open for someone, I don’t get a “Thank you”, I get “Cheers!” Rather than ask “How are you?” Brits tend to ask “Are you alright?” which throws me off because my first question is “Yeah, why? Do I not look alright?” One of my personal favorites is the difference between pissed and pissed off. If someone is ‘pissed’ here, they’re drunk. If they’re ‘pissed off’, they’re angry. Apparently not as interchangeable as they are in the States. Similarly, spelling is another difference that seems small until you have to write a paper. While taking notes in classes, I’m trying to get in the habit of spelling ‘victimization’ as ‘victimisation’. I’d rather not lose marks for little spelling mistakes that aren’t actually mistakes to me!

Crossing the road proves to be difficult some days. I find myself looking both ways the entire time I cross because I forget which direction the cars are coming from. (Side note: You wouldn’t get hit by a truck here. You’d be hit by a lorry.) Jaywalking isn’t actually a thing here. You cross the road when you please, no one will stop you. You just have to be smart enough to not get hit.

To conclude this rambling blog post, I’ll say I’m definitely settling here. The UK is different (obviously), but similar enough to feel at home rather quickly. Starbucks tastes different. McDonald’s tastes different (Sorry Mom, I’m still eating fast food. At least I’m eating it less?). Chipotle gives you a LOT less in their burrito bowl (so, a normal serving size probably). My accent is obvious but I’m extremely thankful I speak the language fluently because I’ve met some really incredible and fascinating people while abroad, and I’m so very grateful we can understand each other fully. However, though I’m happy in an entirely English speaking country, I’m very much looking forward to traveling to other countries (the Netherlands, Italy, and hopefully France or Poland) where I’ll be fully immersed into another different culture with different languages. I’m eternally grateful to Loyola and to my family for providing this opportunity to get to experience so much. I’ve learned more about the world and about myself in these last few weeks than I have my whole college career, and I can’t wait to keep exploring!


Ferris Wheel

The perks of living in Lyon

The perks of living in Lyon

France has been nothing but unforgettable so far. If you are like me, who has dreamed of spending at least a semester abroad in France since elementary school, then coming here will look like a dream and also the ultimate spot to travel to.

Let me start by saying that THERE IS SO MUCH TO SEE! That’s the best thing about living in Lyon, it is right in the heart of Europe. You can purchase a ticket of 55€ to Milan, a flight of 70€ to Barcelona, and a ticket of 1€ to Paris. It sounds almost unbelievable but that’s what’s so great about it all. With that being said, I have been able to see a few places so far around France and in two weeks, I will also be able to go visit Barcelona and hopefully Italy, pictures of which I am excited to share with everyone. Also, if you ever want to go to  cities such as Switzerland or Belgium, that can easily be planned to be a weekend trip or even a day trip, as each is only four hours away. So, make sure to visit Lyon at least once!

The Saône River  Lyon, France
The Saône River
Lyon, France

Out of all the places I have visited so far, I wanted to share with you some of my favorites so far. I will start with Marseille. My favorite thing about Marseille was the Mediterranean Sea. I grew up with the Mediterranean Sea as my vacation spot every summer, and going back definitely brought a little bit of nostalgia. If you ever go to Marseille, start by walking around Vieux Port. It has markets, cafés, museums nearby, stores, and all that you need to know about the history of Marseille, and its beauty as well. My favorite thing we did in Marseille was take a boat to one of the islands nearby, l’île de Frioul, and spend a couple of hours at this small, but beautiful little beach. Just to also touch a little base on the enriched history of Marseille, if you are on the boat going to one of the two closest islands located in Marseille, you will pass the Château d’If, which is very fascinating to see, as it used to be a fortress and after a while it became a prison, and therefore a setting for Alexander Dumas’s book, “Count of Monte Cristo”.

Vieux Port Marseille, France
Vieux Port
Marseille, France
Ile de Frioul Marseille, France
Ile de Frioul
Marseille, France
Chateau d'If Marseille, France
Chateau d’If
Marseille, France

My next favorite spot in Marseille was the MuCEM, which stands for Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée. It is one of the best museums I have visited so far. What caught my attention about this museum especially was its architecture, specifically its outer wall, it was like no other building I had seen before. It is a little hard to describe so I made sure to attach pictures. Not only that, but it is located right by the sea, therefore not only do you get to know hands-on a little more about the history of Europe and the Mediterranean area, you also get to enjoy a beautiful view, maybe even a sunset, right by the Mediterranean Sea.

MuCEM Marseille, France
Marseille, France
Inside the MuCEM Marseille, France
Inside the MuCEM
Marseille, France

My next favorite place was Annecy. Annecy is the perfect, most characteristic little French town. What I love about Annecy is that it is very picturesque, everywhere you go. Not that other cities have not been scenic, but Annecy is the most quaint city I have visited so far. There is a market that is open every day and it has pretty much everything, whether it be food, clothes, shoes, purses, etc. If you ever have the chance to go there, also make sure to stop by one of the little coffee shops around, the service, the coffee, and the view is incredible, and very French. That’s the first time I truly felt like I was in France. Annecy has made sure to keep the antiquity, the history, and the traditions of the city as they were in the past, with little to no changes.

Lake Annecy, Annecy, France
Lake Annecy, Annecy, France
Annecy, France
Annecy, France

That’s all my stories so far. My advice to everyone who is on the edge of studying abroad to France, I highly recommend you come if you have the chance. Coming to France also means being able to visit at least three or four other cities in Europe, and on top of that it will be an unforgettable experience.