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Gaudi, there sure is no place like Barcelona!

Gaudi, there sure is no place like Barcelona!

Wherever life takes you, just be there in the moment and take it all in. Realize the best dreams happen when you’re awake, even when you’re not prepared for them. Just go and know you’ll end up where you belong, trust in God and do more than simply exist. This is the life I’ve come to live. I’ve traded in the fast paced lifestyle for that of taking time to see the world and have been given one thing, a taste of the fullness of life, my greatest gift.

There’s no time to be bored in a world like this. There’s people, places, culture around every corner waiting for me to absorb it in. I get caught up in the kids popping bubbles at Piazza Trasevere, get chants stuck in my head from the Roma Soccer Stadium, and find a piece of myself a little more walking along the streets of another unknown city. I think to myself what a wonderful world it is and how lucky I am to truly experience it.

I learn constantly, about myself, my surroundings, the world, everyday. Through class assignments, such as my Italian Movie Project, I am forced to immerse myself in a culture completely. To attempt the language, hand movements, and warmth of the people around me. My homework is more than piece of papers, it goes beyond what’s right in front of me, making me leave my comfort zone and try something entirely new just to see where it takes me. It’s talking to people I’ve never met, speaking a language I’m starting to grasp, and inviting them to join me on my adventure even if only for a moment. These are my grades, they transform into my story.

The lessons of my classroom have become lessons of my life taught by people all around me with more than just the title of Professor. Although my teachers have gone above and beyond their job, I’ve come to get to know and connect to the John Felice Rome Center community. I have gained relationships with the chefs of Mensa (our cafeteria) knowing life behind their uniforms, have shared conversations and meals with the Director of our program, someone I admire and see as a great friend, and have grown to have a large appreciation for the people who operate these facilities. My Student Life Assistants do exactly as their title explain, assisting me in all manners of my life, becoming friends and mentors along the way. As for my peers, they allow me to be placed in an environment filled with authenticity, an emphasis on education, and full enjoyment of life that constantly keeps me going. The community here inspires me daily to not only see the world around me, but encourages me to change it.


With this newly developed mentality and positive environment, I have gone beyond my comfort zone, leading me to events, people, and places I never would of expected, including times where I traded in the field for the stands taking the skills I’ve learned in Calcio to root for the actual team! With a group of around 40 study abroad students in my program, I attended a typical Roma soccer game filled with more security than fans and cheered on the city I’ve come to call my own. I experienced first handedly the importance sports have on Italian culture and how teams tie with political and social views. Calcio, Italian soccer, is more than a sport played within a 90 minute time period. It’s a part of who the Italian people are. They see it as something that defines them. This just like many other things shows the passion of the Italian people and pride in all things that define them. It’s a rarity I’ve never seen among any other group of individuals, but hope to gain from living here.

 Getting to see Roma in this different light allowed me to appreciate the complexity of cities, leading me to the perfect destination next on my list, Barcelona. Flavor, passion, and rooted culture were discovered within every restaurant, street corner, and cathedral. The city represented more than the country of Espana, giving it’s own individuality as the Catalan people.

While walking the streets, one gets lost in the beautiful work of Gaudi, a man who envisioned more for Barcelona and took his talent to transform the city into what it is today. The streets, parks, monuments would be nothing without him. He made Barcelona and he was only one person. His impact on an entire city makes me think someday I can use my individual talents to do the same. This encouragement and inspiration was not something I only found in myself, but saw in that of others as they walked the streets of La Rambla and the coastline with me.


There was so much to take in during such a short period of time, but that never intimidated me. On top of walking more than a marathon around the entire city limits, I embraced the mentality that life is all about walking up an hour early to live an hour more, using the map in my hand to guide me and taking well deserved breaks enjoying the natural juices of the St. Joseph Market to keep me going.

Through experiencing this city, I recognized how the Spanish people make everything transform into something beautiful, whether it be the parks, monuments, cathedrals or benches on your way to the beach. They take art and give it a deeper meaning using that as a source to express their values and morals as a community. They added rooted heritage to their Catedral, celebrated their power in the world by creating the Font Magica at Monjuic and Arc de Triomf at the entrance of Ciutadella Park, embraced a new time of technology at Torre Agbar and Els Encants Flea Market, as well as, established a place for community at Park Guell and home of Gaudi. Everything was their own, traditional and authentic.

The Catalan people of Barcelona live in a way that everything will always fall into place, taking their history of a torn city to lay as the foundation of their current success. They take pride in their people, like Picasso, Gaudi, and Colombus who changed the course of history. The people of Barcelona weren’t just people their, they danced in the streets on Sunday morning before heading to mass at the Cathedral, sold authentic and natural goods in the markets, lived in apartment buildings found between the amazing Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, and passed the masterpiece of Sagrada Familia daily. They celebrated life everyday through their never ending night life and lived in a way where working as a team and taking your time was the only way to success. They showed things without every having to state them. That was Barcelona and that’s why I loved it.


I was fortunate enough to not only see the monuments, but the lives of the people, sharing my weekend with mutual friends who lived in the country and enjoying John Felice Rome Center students outside of the norm. It was an adventure I’d take again any day and have already set on going back in 2030 when a century of work is complete. The city changed my perspective, faith, and appetite, things I will forever take with me.

When returning from to my home in Roma, I realized the date. The setting around me and the people I share my experience with have made my enjoyment overcome the need of keeping track of time. It’s a blessing, but also a curse. I am now almost half way through this adventurous chapter of my life and can only hope that the days remaining come easy, the moments pass slowly and each road leads me to where I want to go. If I had one wish it would be that a trip like this could last forever, but I’ve come to realize that’s sadly not my truth, so I take in each breathe fully and pray that I’ll really live each moment because it’s the least I can do. I’m off like always to explore a new city and fall in love with my own all over again. I don’t know my next stop or lesson, but can promise you one thing, I’ll continue to mistaken my reality for a dream, if you lived my life, you’d be doing the same.


Adios for now,

Gabriella Lunich

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