Pile of Scrap Ep. 26: An Unpredicted 2020 with Giovanna Sacco
With classes transitioning to online, trips being cancelled, and working from home becoming the new norm, it’s safe to say that the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted our lives in the most unexpected way. John Sacco’s daughter, Giovanna, joins Pile of Scrap to discuss how her life was changed once she first heard of the European travel ban while in the U.K. for a semester abroad. Between having been a possible victim of the virus to being in complete isolation for 14 days, Giovanna gives you a firsthand look of her COVID-19 experience.
Watch this episode of Pile of Scrap here.
Giovanna and John Sacco
Introduction: The following is an original audio series from Sierra International Machinery. Pile of Scrap with your host, John Sacco.
John Sacco: Hello and welcome to another episode of Pile of Scrap coming to you from my house in Bakersfield, California during this crazy COVID-19 quarantine special. Some of us, uh, in the recycling industry are still going in. We are an essential supplier of raw materials for critical manufacturing. And today, I am joined with my daughter, Giovanna Amelia. Giovanna, welcome.
Giovanna Sacco: Thank you for having me. Or, thanking…
John: For demanding…
Giovanna: Thank myself for having me.
John: Yeah, well it took a while to get you to say yes to this, but…
Giovanna: I guess that's what happens when you're bored.
John: Well, you know what… Pile of Scrap is, uh, is it – uh, as you know, you know, you helped produce the very first Pile of Scrap. You were behind the scenes on the very first Pile of Scrap episode.
Giovanna: I was behind the scenes on everything: creating the name, the image, the description, the RSN for the iTunes and the Spotify. So, yeah, I did – I did have a hand in creating this.
John: Yeah, you had a big hand in figuring out how we do this. And so, it's, it's kind of fun to have you here. You know, I did a podcast back… Oh, a couple months ago in March. Well yeah, back in March. And um, you know, we were talking about how you were in Europe. You were a semester abroad and all the craziness to get you home because it was some crazy times. So, tell us about what was going on, what you were doing and all of a sudden…
Giovanna: Yeah, I swear, I've told this story probably like 500 times now.
John: Well, 501.
Giovanna: Um, but, uh, we were over there and we kinda every day woke up and read the news and saw how it was just progressively kinda getting worse.
John: Over where?
Giovanna: And in this new…
John: Over where?
Giovanna: Oh, I was in Budapest. Um, Budapest, Hungary – the most underrated city in Europe, I’d have to say. Uh, I would 100% recommend for anyone who's looking for a different but fantastic European vacation. But, anyway, so in this day and age, I think we're so used to, like, a really quick stream of news where something will be on the hot seat for about two to four days and then all of a sudden you wake up one day, you won't hear about it again. So, you know, I think we were all kind of expecting that with the Coronavirus, like waking up one day and it wouldn't be the top headline, but it wasn't that case. We woke up every day, it was getting worse and we are monitoring it and honestly we kind of felt like sitting ducks. Uh, a lot of other colleges were pulling their kids and, you know, USC was monitoring it and emailing us, but they hadn't pulled the trigger yet. And so, we were just kind of sitting there waiting for it to kind of blow up. And, it did. I happened to be in London getting ready for…
John: St. Patrick’s Day, right?
Giovanna: I was going to be in London for two days and then fly to Dublin for the St. Patrick's Day weekend. So, I was geared up for a great weekend, staying with my best friends in London, uh, and uh, we were having a cheese and wine night and we turned on Trump's…
John: Speech. Which, we had on here.
Giovanna: Speech from the Oval Office and it was probably 1:30 in the morning, European time. Um, and we turned it on and immediately he said, “Travel from Europe st–stops on Friday.” And, everyone kind of looked at me and obviously I was their first concern because, um, you know, my home-base wasn't the UK or Ireland, so my friends were like, “You got to get back to Budapest, like, now.” And I was like, “I got to get back to the States”. So, obviously, called you, called Mom.
John: Yeah, it was – I remember the phone call, “Get me out of here.”
Giovanna: Yeah. So, I was on the first flight out of Gatwick to Budapest on Thursday morning. So, it was an 8:00 AM flight. Um, I pulled an all-nighter, got to Gatwick at 6:00 AM. Just a mess. Uh, and so, I went back to Budapest on Thursday, packed all my things, um, had one last dinner with a couple of my roommates that were still there and friends that were still there and then got a few hours of sleep and left back for the Budap–Budapest airport at 4:00 AM on Friday morning for my flight at 7 back to London and then London back to LAX.
John: So, on that flight, you were with George Adams’ son, Jordan, and his first cousin – cousin Alex, who we've traveled with in China and Africa together.
Giovanna: Yeah, so Alex and I, um, you know, we're – we're scrap kids, scrap family, and so, Alex and I actually met up in Budapest earlier in the semester.
John: He was where?
Giovanna: He was in Nice, France. So, his program pulled the plug as soon as ours did too. And, then Jordan, uh, George's son, happened to be over there for spring break. He was one of the brave ones that went over internationally for spring break and we ended up all meeting up in the Netherlands the weekend before everything happened. And then, the next weekend we all met up again but at Heathrow to go home. So it was, it was crazy, but it was definitely funny how it worked out.
John: Okay. So you get home, you go over to the beach and you spend your 14 days in quarantine…
John: By yourself.
Giovanna: 14 days.
John: What was that like? 14 days with nobody around you.
Giovanna: I loved it.
John: You needed the rest.
Giovanna: I needed the rest. I needed the – I needed the isolation. Being abroad is very – it's always a group effort. It's always… You're with the group, you're traveling with the group, you're eating dinner with the group. So, honestly after six weeks of that, it was nice to…
John: Safety in numbers.
John: You had to go through some safety training at Sierra. So, see you learned it. So. Okay. So, during quarantine, I got a few calls from you thinking you had some of the symptoms.
Giovanna: I definitely think I had it. I was exposed to two people that were confirmed tested positive, um, that I was with on my last night. And, obviously none of us had any idea. Um, so, I just think that shows that…
John: What were your symptoms?
Giovanna: I didn't have any, um, obviously, like severe symptoms. I woke up – um, so I landed back in the U.S. on…
Giovanna: I woke up that following Monday with a scratchy throat. Nothing too bad, just probably like what I would normally get after a long weekend of, you know, going out or traveling or whatever. So, I didn't think anything of it. I just thought my body was run down. Uh, then two days later, or… Yeah, two days later, I woke up with no taste and/or a lost sense of smell. And so, at the time, I didn't really think anything of it. This was before that losing taste and smell came out as a symptom. Uh, so I was just like, maybe I burned myself on my detox tea or…
John: Which I kept telling you, Giovanna, relax.
Giovanna: Yeah, he kept telling me it was. But, I was still like, “Something's weird.” And so, anyway, I got my taste back like four days later, the longest I've ever gone without having taste. And that, was weird. It is so weird.
John: So, you know, it's interesting because an employee of ours, his wife who's a nurse, just tested positive. So, of course he goes home, can't come to work. So, they wanted to test him. Well, his test comes up… He has the antibody. So, he's had it, yet zero symptoms. So you know, that's crazy. And so, you know, your Uncle Gino was down for two weeks –– severe Bronchitis. This is early February. Your brother Giancarlo… He had really bad Bronchitis and we think, and the doctors think without a doubt – they haven't been tested for them, but they had it. Because nobody knew…
Giovanna: I mean, honestly, I mean, it might be interesting to get them tested and just see if they have the antibody. I mean, why not? No. I mean in 40 years, like 20 years, we're going to be telling like the younger generations about it and it might be… Not cool, but it'd be like…
John: It’s a good story.
Giovanna: “I had it. I survived COVID-19.”
John: All right, so you're – you're in your junior year at USC (University of Southern California) and you had to leave, but you're doing your classes.
Giovanna: Yeah. Luckily my, um, university in Budapest had the technology to continue all of our classes online. Totally not bad. Um, I do have to wake up at 5:00 AM one day a week to take, um, to do, uh, a live, uh, in per–like a Zoom conference.
John: I think anybody who listens, 20-year-olds don't like getting up at 5:00 AM.
Giovanna: It's definitely not fair for the West coast kids. East coast kids have a little bit better, but West coast kids kind of got screwed on that one.
John: All right. So, school would be finished for you in what? May?
Giovanna: Yeah, I have like three more weeks of actual class and then I don't have any finals ‘cause they just said screw the finals. So, I have a couple big like papers, but after that, it kinda comes to like a very easy – Easy stop.
John: Okay. So, you have an internship this summer, which, um, we've all been excited about, but it's kinda changed. Tell us a little bit about that.
Giovanna: Yeah. So, in October, I was offered a job, um, at Boeing in El Segundo, their El Segundo campus for the summer. I was, I mean, it's kind of a dream when you are told your whole college career that your junior year summer means everything and you land your perfect internship and you think everything's great, and I mean, I have so many amazingly talented friends that landed companies – I mean from Microsoft to JLL to Paramount to, I mean, law firms… I just have, you know, a lot of smart friends that also work in such great places. Um, and I'm very fortunate that Boeing has now, um, extended to us the courtesy of, you know, keeping our jobs alive. We will be virtual, uh, for the entire summer. Uh, I don't have any more details at the moment, but I know I will be getting paid and I – there will be work to do. It is all virtual, but I'm grateful that they are giving us a chance to work.
John: And some of your friends have…
Giovanna: So many of my friends at large – really wellknown companies had their programs completely canceled. I have friends in the last stages of interviews and I mean they were right there, right ready to secure that perfect internship and they just canceled the program.
John: So, Boeing… Sierra… Boeing... I don't know, I don't see the – I don't see the attraction.
Giovanna: I’m really… I am really excited, but I just think that a lot of the conversation has been about, you know, the seniors losing their last semester of college and obviously feel so bad for all the seniors out there and I am sending them, you know, all my support that I can, but also it's a huge loss for the junior class this summer. No matter if you are – no matter what industry or you are in, this summer is huge. Um, you know, most people will get that internship, whether it's like a paid or unpaid, you are going to have an internship that will affect your postgrad, um, job offer and a lot of juniors right now are getting completely screwed out of it. And, it kinda puts us – our class in a weird spot going into senior year because we don't know what we like, we never got to experience the company culture, we never got to go into the office, or you know, put on that suit or, like, really get a vibe of the people at the company. So, I think it really puts our class into question of like, where do we go from here?
John: Well, you know, look. It's like anything else. Things will change. I think the economy, you know, we're going to come out of this, you know, states are opening up as we speak and here we are...
Giovanna: Fingers crossed. My 21st birthday's in three weeks.
John: Why? You don't want it shut down?
John: So, for your 21st birthday party, what do you really want to do?
Giovanna: I want to go to a bar
John: Well, that's in May, so, let's hope that May… Everything opens up and, uh, you know, you get the 21st birthday you want, but I want to thank you for finally coming on Pile of Scrap.
Giovanna: It's been a long time coming.
John: But, you know, I think a lot of parents and a lot of people who see this and listen to our podcasts are in similar situations. I know I talked to many people who watch this podcast and listen to it that had, uh, kids overseas and, uh, they had to come home. And, everybody's dealing with this quarantine and having families together for probably a little longer than most of this are…
Giovanna: Oh, gosh. Yeah.
John: Used to… Not so used to having you around so much, but it's been great. I mean, look, you are an amazing cook, by the way. I want to tell you, she can cook and having her around is fantastic ‘cause dinners is like, “What are we going to have for dinner?” and she…
Giovanna: It is my only fun of the day, I will have to say that.
John: Oh, you can't go out. I get it.
Giovanna: And my Whiteclaw.
John: And your Whiteclaw. We've had some good bottles of wine.
John: Oops. You're not 21 yet. Oh, no. Well, anyway, everyone, listen. You know, I thought this would be interesting to get a family perspective from, uh, uh, the COVID-19 quarantine, you know, special that we're all in right now. And, I want to thank everybody for listening and watching. And Giovanna, thank you for coming on. And that's it for another episode of…
Giovanna: Pile of Scrap.
Conclusion: This has been a Sierra International Machinery original audio series. Thanks for listening. Please share this podcast and make sure to subscribe.