August 5, 2010

Clearing Up The Confusion


When I find a new blog, I don't immediately go read up on the entire life story of the blogger - partly because I still try to follow some invisible form of blogger etiquette, which means not prying into someone's life on the first read (even if they are the ones putting it out there for you to see!), partly because I want to wait and see what I can learn from the posts themselves, and partly because sometimes there's nowhere to get that information.

Some bloggers have highly detailed About Me sections, and some don't. It's a personal choice, and I would argue that it's not at always necessary to include additional personal information when you're sharing so much about yourself every day already.

To each his own, pretty much.

But sometimes it can get confusing. Especially with bloggers who travel often, or have had complicated lives prior to when they began blogging which they refer back to. They write as if people know exactly what they're referring to, and it gets difficult to piece together the time line.

I'm guilty on both counts. I travel - a lot - and I only started blogging less than a year ago, so I inevitably refer back to times before that which I've never posted about. Granted, I do have an About Me section, but maybe it's lacking a bit, and maybe people aren't in the habit of checking it out.

I bring all of this up because when I posted my Top Ten Reasons I'm Thrilled To Live In The US Again I got quite a few comments saying, Thanks! This helped me understand your confusing story a little better!

So I thought I would take further initiative and clear up the confusion by writing a post that explained what my deal is. Rome? Madrid? Montreal? Boston? New York? What do they all have to do with me?

I'll get to each and every one of those cities. Don't worry (and don't hate me if you're one of the people who actually has read my About Me section and see that it's practically all the same information!)

Where to start. Well, my dad is Italian,

My dad and me, January 1985 (I was about two days old)

and my mom is French,

 My mom and me, July 1986

(yes, both have silly accents). But they met and got married in the United States, so instead of growing up in France or Italy I was born and raised in Cambridge, Ma. At first it sounds less exciting and exotic than living up in Europe, but they do call it The People's Republic of Cambridge, so it wasn't exactly a boring place to grow up.

Oh, and I also have a little brother. His name is Lucas, and when he was small and annoying I used to call him Mucus. But now he's almost twenty-three, is twice my size, and can totally kick my ass, so I don't call him that anymore.

 Lucas and me, Santa Marinella, July 1992

Lucas, Harvard Graduation 2009

Because both sides of my extended family still live in France and Italy, my parents wonderfully took the time to teach us both French and Italian growing up (I say wonderfully because I know too many children of immigrants who sadly don't speak a word of their parents' languages). It was sort of confusing - since my dad only talked to us in Italian, my mom only talked to us in French, and they spoke English to each other - but we managed, even if I occasionally mixed up the languages and made some funny international sentences.

They also managed to bring us to Europe every single summer, to spend July in Italy with my dad's family, and August in France with my mom's. Though growing up I knew how lucky I was to be able to travel so much, as an adult I've really realized what an incredible privilege it was to be able to go to Europe every year, and to grow up really knowing my extended family even thought they lived so fay away.

The beach house, Santa Marinella

This connection I've had with Europe throughout my whole life is what really made it easy to move there when I finished school. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

After spending eighteen wonderful years in Cambridge (aka Harvardopolis) I decided that I needed a change. So instead of sticking around in the North East (college central) I chose the Great White North, and went to university at McGill, in Montreal, Canada where in four years of school I spent equal parts of my time partying,

Charlene and Me, popping bubbly for my 20th birthday


Skiing at Mont Orford

and studying.

So I don't actually have any pictures of my studying, but this is me graduating (and getting bopped on the head by the dean, in a bizarre McGill tradition), which proves that I studied enough for them to give me my degree.

After graduating, I wasn't ready to go back to the US. I didn't have any job prospects and I wanted to spend some time in Europe. So I moved to Rome in July 2007, where I taught English (first in a language school when privately) and worked at UNICEF. 
At the Colosseum 
 Hugging a Fiat 500 (my favorite car)
 In Tuscany
My original plan had been to spend a year in Rome and then a year in Argentina (to brush up on my Spanish - which I studied for ten years - and learn first hand about the culture, since I minored in Latin American studies). But that didn't really work out. I ended up staying two-and-a-half years in Rome (partly for work, partly for love) and I only managed to arrange for six months in Spain - which was good for learning Spanish, but bad for learning about Latin American culture. But oh well, beggars can't be choosers and with an EU passport it was easier for me to stay in Europe.
So I moved to Madrid in January 2010, where I lived until June, teaching English in a private elementary school and learning Spanish.
 Me and the kids
(dancing to London bridge)
 My co-worker Amanda and me
In July I went back to Italy to spend a month with my family, including my cousins and their kids.
 Playing with Duccio
and I just got back to Cambridge on Monday, which pretty much brings us up to date.

As for the future, next month I'm starting a Master's in International Affairs at Columbia University in New York City (with a concentration in Human Rights Policy and a specialization in International Organizations). I can't wait! But I really can't say what will happen after that. I'm crossing my fingers for a lucrative career in the non-profit/improving human rights sector, but I think if you're making big bucks in non-profit someone is doing their job wrong. And even if I don't end up rich, I'll be happy with any job that keep me globetrotting.


Well, I hope that clears up whatever confusion there was, but feel free to ask if anything is still unclear :)



Nicole Z said...

I had no idea you were getting your Master's in International Affairs! That's what I'm hoping to get mine in once I get my Bachelor's paid off :) You've had quite an exciting life, such a blessing! :) Have a great week!

littledaisymay said...

How fun! I loved reading more about your exciting life :)

Hotcakes said...

hi julia :) how would you know if a person isn't subscribed to the post commentS?

The OriginalPsyn said...

I'm guilty about what you are talking about with background. I'm still trying to fill out my about me. LOL!!! I often find myself talking about things that only I know. Then I feel the need to explain, then I digress and let the rambling begin. Oh well. I'm loving your blog. I so glad I found it you give me inspiration.

BTW Thanks for the hint about email addy. I'm having some issues with my outlook. So I'll have to get the hubby to fix it for me. Makes him feel special.

Lost in You said...

What a beautiful life your parents gave you! Is there one language you find yourself communicating in or thinking in more often than the others?

Good luck with the Master's degree.

my.pensieve said...

So, I've been an avid fan of your blog and your traveling. But I just want to say I am more jealous of the fact that you learned French and Italian during childhood. Both of which language I would love to learn!!! Props. :)

Robyn said...

wow julia! your life has been so rich and full of culture and knowledge. you're an impressive young lady! good luck in your new joruney at Columbia. :) I can't wait to read updates!


Tarver said...

So I just started reading your blog, and I love it!

and this post was so great, its seriously so interesting that you've lived and visited so many places!

Sam said...

your life is amazing! i'm jealous! i never knew you had an about me section; i click on your posts from reader to get to your blog and it defaults to where the post is, skipping the banner and buttons :( I just figured that out because I was like "what? an about me?" and went searching for it :) you must be a smart cookie studying where you have. and your brother! Man. smart cookies!