The GoGlobal Blog

Tag: Vatican City

I Live in Rinaldo’s

I Live in Rinaldo’s

I live in Rinaldo’s. I’ve officially set up shop and am not leaving until spring break starting today. I realize that I’m spending too much time focusing on creating content for work and brainstorming that I haven’t been studying enough. I’ve done research on different and effective ways to use instagram to make sales, while posting 3 times a week, I’m supposed to also be posting 2-3 stories a week,

finding new stories to write about like new restaurants, and the March Events Blog post is due next Monday. I completely bombed my finance test which probably shouldn’t have been as hard as it was. I need to be more focused and balanced in how I’m allocating my time. The rest of my midterms are next week so I’m basically not leaving JFRC until my grades are where I need them to be (or sleeping probably, but that’s college right?). Today I took the 990 Bus to Vatican City to take some pictures for my internship and send out postcards to my friends and family. It was 2,80 euros per stamp. The man who was working at the post office seemed was super rude. I handed him my debit card and he threw my postcards on the

desk and said, “No Card.” Alright, noted. I handed him cash, took my postcards and stamps, and left. It was probably because I spoke English to be honest. On my way back to the bus I stopped at a McCafe. I wish McDonalds had them in the united states like they do here. They have cheesecake, muffins, cornetto, colorful doughnuts, and it’s awesome. I got some decent pictures for the Roman Foodie instagram. I ended up buying a creamolosa al caffee. Its pistachio fudge topped with espresso and vanilla soft serve. I had no idea what I was getting but I figure I should try a new thing every day if I can. My life has been changed. With such easy access

to sweets, I’ve come to the realization that I need to do something to keep me healthy. So, for the past month or so I’ve gone to the gym 5-6 times a week depending how my body feels. I’m finally starting to see the benefit of all the work I’ve put in and I’m really happy about. So, the goal for next week is to sort my life out, but its really hard to say the least.


Culture Shocked: Transportation, Scammers, Making Friends

Culture Shocked: Transportation, Scammers, Making Friends

Thursday, January 18th, 2018.

What am I doing here.


Prior to arriving in Rome, I had this notion that I’d be living in the middle of a postcard. Everything beautiful all around me all of the time. That wasn’t the case. Here at the John Felice Rome Center, we’re on the hill. It’s sort of the outskirts of Rome called Balduina and is on top of a hill. If I take the 990 Bus, for example, I’m 45 minutes from Vatican City. That is if the bus ever comes, of course. This is the first culture shock: public transportation works how and when it wants to. There is no use in understanding it. This is just the way it is. Understanding that Rome has no logic is the hardest part of adapting for me, but now I’m two weeks in and I’m over it. Need more dependable transportation? Take the metro.

Culture shock two: Scammers. They’re everywhere. This is a huge obstacle to making local friends other than the language barrier. The second night in Rome, a group of friends from at the JFRC and I went out to Trastevere. All of the locals know this area for their American pubs and clubs so some often times locals will come to swoon the International Students. Its also known by JFRC staff as an area

for students to be more cautious in. While hanging out near a bar, a group of locals approached my friends and I. They seemed really friendly and we had a lot of fun trying to overcome our language barriers. They knew as much English as we do Italian. One of the guys offered us a drink out of his cup. Red Flag. Its important to remember, especially if one’s been drinking, to stay aware of possible harm. I don’t know whether he was being amicable or malicious in his offer; however, I did know I did not want to find out. This isn’t to say making friends here outside the JFRC is impossible

because there are so many warm and loving people in Rome. More-so, never forget to stay aware.  During the first two weeks of orientation, the JFRC staff takes all of the students on trips and diners. One trip we went on was to The Colosseum and to the Roman Forum. It is one of the most astonishingly beautiful areas I’ve ever been in. Around these tourist areas specifically I’ve noticed, people on the street will approach me with roses, selfie-sticks, bracelets, ect. and try to put them in my hand essentially to get me to buy. At first I found it shocking, but now I’ve learned to say, “Non, grazie,” and be on my way. One place I noticed scammers weren’t as prevalent are the Villas. As a group, JFRC visited Villa Farnese other known as Villa Caprarola where we were privileged enough to tour the mansion. Sometimes the coolest places in Italy are in the middle of nowhere and its amazing.


This week I met someone named Ben. He’s an International Student studying medicine at a neighboring university. One night, we walked all around Rome hitting all of the tourist spots that just have to be seen and he explained the history of each spot. It was fascinating. We saw the Fontana di Trevi (Trevi Fountain), Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti (The Spanish Steps), and Villa Borghese gardens. Days like this where the weather is beautiful, tourism is down because its later in the evening, and great friends surround you are days where Rome is absolutely lovely and the fact that buses may or may not ever come doesn’t matter to much. Making new friends, in my opinion, is my favorite part of being in Rome. I generally trust new people, but taking precautions such as telling my roommate or SLA where I’ll be, who I’m with, ect. to stay safe is vital. We drove back to the JFRC to drop me off at the end of the night on a scooter and in that moment I actually felt like Lizzie McGuire.




So, what am I doing here?
Living my best life.


Canonization Celebration: Benvenuta, Santa Teresa of Calcutta!

Canonization Celebration: Benvenuta, Santa Teresa of Calcutta!

Never before have I been so excited to wake up at 3:30 A.M.

Fully self-aware of my tendency to wake up at a snail’s pace, I knew that I required some moral support to leave the John Felice Rome Center by 4:00 A.M. So, I spent the previous night sleeping on the floor of my new friends’ Stephanie and Brenna’s room. (Oddly enough, I got better sleep than they did because the cool floor dulled the intense Italian heat. Santa Teresa was definitely looking out for me!)

With drooping eyelids but soaring spirits, our small but mighty group of devotees boarded the N6 bus downtown to the Vatican, where we waited (somewhat) patiently with thousands of other faithful people for the guards to grant us entry to Mother (now Saint!) Teresa’s canonization. These people represented all ages, ethnicities, occupations, socioeconomic backgrounds, and other identifiers. The electrifying passion in the air was almost tangible!

Canonization Line

Only one other time in my life have I felt this way.

As a Washington, D.C. area native, I was immediately reminded of the two Obama Presidential Inaugurations I attended in 2008 and 2013. Landmark moments in history—the swearing in of the first Black U.S. President and the canonization of a saint–only occur a few times in a lifetime. Compared to the millions of people these events affect emotionally, only a marginal (lucky) few get the opportunity to witness them physically. You have to be in the right place, at the right time.

Back in January 2009, it was a special time to be an African American living in D.C. Now in September 2016, it’s an equally special time to be studying abroad at a Catholic university in Rome!

Admittedly, some of the less glamorous aspects of the Inauguration bled into the Canonization. Sure, there were some aggressive line-cutters (CAUTION: Nuns have VERY sharp elbows!), funky outdoor restrooms with ridiculously long lines, and extreme weather conditions (the frigid Washington winter and smoldering Italian summer).

Yet, these small nuisances were overshadowed exceedingly by the overwhelming feeling of joy among the crowd! In line for the Canonization, our group waited nearby a family of Spaniards singing their hearts out with hymns. Just like at the Inauguration, the Canonization was full of nothing but sleepy eyes and good vibes. Everyone couldn’t be happier to stand outside and wait at 5 A.M…and we still had 5 ½ hours to go before the Mass even began!


After going through the rigorous (but colorfully suited!) Swiss Guard security, our group power walked as close as we could get with our tickets*. With the sunrise came thousands of more worshippers, some waving huge flags to represent their various countries. Perhaps the most frequently spotted flags, deservedly so, were the Albanian flag from Santa Teresa’s homeland, and the Indian flag from the country where she conducted most of her ministry and her first recorded miracle.

*By the way, the tickets were free of charge. This demonstrates how charitable and gracious the Church can be, even though these hot tickets were coveted to the point of Hamilton status!

At this moment, I realized the defining factor that made this Canonization different, and decidedly more profound, than the Inauguration of a Presidential “first”. Let’s look beyond the obvious factors of the U.S. Capitol versus the Vatican, the political versus the religious, or even the American versus the global. What separated this Canonization from that Inauguration was the fact that, despite any individual person’s political leanings, ALL human beings recognize INHERENT GOODNESS. None of us spectators were on the council of Cardinals that approved Santa Teresa for sainthood, and yet, by faith of our internal meter of morality, we INSTINCTIVELY KNEW that she belonged among the saints.

None of us checked a box…just our hearts. None of us had a say, but our souls answered for us.

I couldn’t help but cry behind my sunglasses. I will never forget this day.

Vatican Santa Teresa

The Big and the Small

The Big and the Small


My first 20 days in Italy have been extremely busy but productive! Since arriving all of us at the JFRC have been learning how things work in Rome and on campus, and we all got to spend a weekend in the beautiful region of Umbria! Now that classes are picking up and routines are settling in, I have found I have more time to relax.

This past friday I spent the day roaming around Rome; shopping and sipping cappuccinos in a cute cafe while watching the rain. Friday night, however, was one of my favorite nights so far. Earlier in the week we had the chance to sign up to distribute Panini’s to the homeless in St. Peter’s Square. I signed up, excited about visiting Vatican City.

When I first walked into the square, I was taken aback by how massive it is. I have been in some pretty big stadiums and buildings, but combining the size and historical significance made it feel tremendously magical. It was strange knowing Pope Francis was somewhere in the Papal Apartments right above me.


I was assigned to bag fruit for the homeless to take with them after they got their meal. A few of us set ourselves up in an assembly line and started filling bags with apples, peaches and plums. They all gladly accepted the additional food and thanked us profusely. It was eye-opening how a few small pieces of fruit put such a big smile on their faces and hopefully, eased some of their stress. Everyday at the dining hall there are apples to take and I don’t blink an eye, but there in the middle of Vatican City, apples were revealed to be much more valuable than I assumed.

After that night I could not stop thinking about how important small things are. For example, on Saturday a few friends and I took a day trip to Pompeii. Last semester I took a class on Pompeii for my history minor, so walking around the streets I had read about was something I had been looking forward to for a while!


Toward the end of the day, we were standing in the forum when something caught my eye. On the ground in the middle of the large open space was the imprint of a sea shell in the stone. It was so small and the only reason I saw it was because I noticed a hole in my shoe.


It was such a sharp contrast to everything else we had seen. I felt like I had been looking up the whole day, admiring the mountains outside of the city and the architecture that had been so well preserved after the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius. After seeing the shell I started to notice details that I might have missed, like the carving of a gladiator in a home and a stone that looked like a lego.

DSC_0060 DSC_0092


Overall I had another amazing weekend!

I am excited to get to know Rome better in the coming weeks and will hopefully notice more of the small and unconventional details while still gazing at the bigger things.



How To Survive A Papal Blessing.

How To Survive A Papal Blessing.

According to my Italian textbook, religion (i.e. Roman Catholicism) is one of the main reasons people go to Rome. Although I am not Catholic, I do acknowledge the impact  that Catholicism has had on Western history and art, plus Father Bosco’s tours usually featured gelato at the end. I even went to the papal blessing.

This is not the line. This is AFTER the line.

What a mistake that was. Sure, it was cool to get decent seats for such a huge event, but honestly, it barely felt worth getting up so early in the morning.

Yes, one has to get up early to visit the Pope. It takes less than an hour to get from campus to Vatican City. The reason is the line: Picture the longest line to a concert you have ever seen. Then remember that Italians do not believe in orderly cues, so it is more like a mass of people in front of the Vatican. Seats fill up fast, so be sure to get your (free!) ticket beforehand.

Here’s another thing you should get beforehand: BREAKFAST. The food at the Vatican is overpriced and tastes only slightly better than the “Italian” food in America. I paid 3 Euro (at least .50 more than average) for mint gelato that was far from the best. Considering the sheer amount of people that go to the Vatican, one would think they would have better food. They do not. They are ripping you off for every last centime. (If anyone knows of a GOOD place to eat near the Vatican, do inform me.) Get breakfast first, even if it is just something small.

Speaking of small things that you should probably get beforehand, if you have any rosaries that need blessing, bring them along. The rosaries available just outside of the Vatican are only slightly overpriced (Rome has some amazingly fancy ones, but the ones at the Vatican aren’t a bargain, either). The blessing itself isn’t much to look at, but one student brought her grandma’s rosary over. That rosary had waited 150 years to reach Vatican City!

If you are going during the summer, bring an umbrella. It is hot, hot, hot in Rome and you will be sitting for a very long time beneath the beating sun. Prepare adequately. Bring a lot of water if they let you take it in. Do what you must to stay cool as long as it does not violate church rules.

Even after all of this, it is sometimes hard to get a good look at the Pope. Bring a camera with zoom in case you do not get a prime seat. It was still pretty cool to be able to speak Latin in public (even though church Latin is pronounced differently from pagan Latin) and, even though the blessing was extremely brief,  there’s something special about my blessed rosary.

In summary, go there once if you are curious, twice if you are a devout Christian. Any more often and you risk your sanity. Oh, and have breakfast beforehand.