Buon Natale!

Alright so this last week has been all about Christmas. Which was really different from Christmas back home in Duxbury, MA. For starters my Christmas vacation in Italy is from the 21st til January 7th = O yes a very long break! Back home its only from the 23rd til January 3rd or something short like that. Anyways my vacation even started a day earlier than planned. On the evening of monday the 20th my brother came into my room and announced that there will be no school tomorrow due to snow. I looked out my window and saw lagit 5 inches of snow. I asked him if he was serious and he said yes, that Italy will cancel things due to small amounts of snow... Wow. Back home I heard there was 3 feet and my town was the only one that didnt have a cancelation or delay. So it was really nice sleeping in that Tuesday morning... and every morning so far = )

Some of the big downsides living in Italy is that they dont like using a lot of heat, dryers, dish washers, big cars or even using real christmas trees. They are very green here! So Ive been noticing that Ive been doing some serious layers up... a lot. Just hanging out in the house I wear two pairs of socks, leggings under my jeans, sweater, cardigan and scarf. Simply because they hardly even turn on the heat and the heaters are really small and there arent many in the house. My family also leave this small side door open so the cats can come in and out of the house. Brrr.
Then with the hole dryer thing... they just dont have them. Everything is washed with a washing machine then they pick an area in the house to hang dry the clothes. For me its our massive size bathroom. Ive learned that I have to be careful on what I put into the hamper becuase I wont be seeing it for a week or more. And then when my clothes are clean and dry that are cold, stiff and dont have the right fit... its hard to explain. You know when you take a shirt out of the dryer and it smells spring time fresh, its soft, warm and clings to your body perfectly? Well sadly this doesnt happen here = (
With the dish washers they will pile all the dirty dished on the counter (not in the sink) and wait until there is enough for a full load. Other wise they will wash them by hand. No half full dish washing loads here!
In Italy there arent any big cars... You will not see any soccer mom style suburbans that fit 8 people. They just simply dont exsist. Its all these tiny look a like cars that fit 5 sometimes only 2 people. Its probably because gas is super expensive here- about 7 dollars for a gallon! Also families are really small- most Italians only have 1 or 2 kids so theres no need for the big cars.
Finally with the fake Christmas tree... yeah its just sad. I rememeber my host parents said to me a few weeks ago that they wanted me to help them with the tree. I said okay lets go and buy one, and they said that they had already bought one. I asked where it was and they said it was in this box and the needed help assembling it. = O It was a total Charlie Brown tree but thankfully my mom has passed down a small amount of her interior decorating skills to me so I was able to spruce it up. We bought some very full cranberry garners and small sparkley red ball oriements. Then the final touch was stringed popcorn. For a tree thats on a budget it looked good to me!

Okay so onto my first Christmas in Italy. So the days before the 25th I mainly did some serious lounging around the house and hanging out with friends. In Italy Christmas time doesnt really mean family time... more like friend time. Very strange but true. Even on the 24th its normal for teens to go out late at night and then again on the 25th. For me this is just so weird, and that Christmas eve and day should really only be celebrated with family and very close friends.
So Christmas Eve I video skyed home which was really awesome to see my mom, brother and sisters, even my cat Jamal. It was weird seeing my house all decorated for Christmas and everyone just chilling out... I felt like there was something that was missing... me. After my lovley skype session, my sister and I saw the movie The Priness and the Frog which I loved and was able to follow along in Italian without any problems = ) Then for dinner me, my papa and sister got McDonalds. Normally Im happy with Mickey Dees for dinner but on Christmas Eve.... not so much.

Then the next morning was Chistmas Day, I was actually really excited that night and didnt sleep much. I had no idea what to expect for the day since my family didnt really tell me what the game plan was. So I woke up early (9 am) to my little cousins loudly talking and running around the house. I went into the living room and was wished a buon natale (merry christmas) by my mama and aunt nora. My little cousins were already ripping open the gifts my mom had sent them which they totally loved. When I looked at the tree I only saw the presents my mom had sent me from America... Turns out my family doesnt do the whole present thing. So my mama told me to open my presents which honestly was a bit awquard. Opening a huge pile of presents alone is kind of... sad in a way. Back home we open presents all together after church on the evening of the 24th. We all gather in our living home with holiday music playing, something that smells really good cooking in the oven and all of us tearing open the presents under the tree and showing each other what we all get in our new pajamas. (its a tradition to buy new pajamas for christmas eve) This year I was basically opening all my presents alone on Christmas morning in pajamas I hadnt worn in a while so they sort of felt new = p
While opening gifts my mama gave me a very cute pair of earrings that she said were from her and my papa. Their gift to me for Christmas was 5 sundays worth of skiing lessons! = D I dont really know how to skii or have anything for skiiing so this should be very interesting! I start after the first week of January and Ill be leaving the house at 5:30 am and hit the mountains with my brother and papa. Goodbye late saturday nights out and sunday mornings of sleeping in!! But Im really excited to learn how to ski, I know its going to be a really big challange but I know ill enjoy it!
So for Chistmas my mom did a totally amazing job at picking out things for me. I really think that I got the best Chistmas gifts out of all the years. The fact alone that Im in Italy is an amazing gift itself!! My mom and my sisters pick out some really cute clothes, shoes and jewlery which I was in despret need for! On Christmas eve I got a small package from Verona. Thats right, a gift from Federico = ) He sent me a gorgeous pair of swarovski diamond earrings which I really love; what girl doesnt love getting nice jewlery?? So overall the presents and ski lesson in Italy are an A+ in my book!! = )

So Christmas day in Italy includes of eatting, eatting, drinking, sleeping and eatting some more. Thats basically sums it all up right there. Christmas lunch is huge... like Thanksgiving times 3! After we ate I started to clear my plate and my family told me that we had only eatten the first course = O I was already so full... I dont know how Italians do it. Im almost 100% sure they have two stomachs or something. And there all so skinny, its uncommon to see a person of size over here.
The only down side of the lunch was that it basically was all seafood. Those who know me, know I am not at all a seafood fan. My host family knows that I dont like it since day one. So I tried everything, most I didnt like but I put a smile on and said that it wasnt bad even if I wanted to spit it out that second. In Italy Im trying really hard to try new food. Some things look really weird and gross but I try them anyways, sometimes they are surprisingly good other times its worse then I expected. Im thinking that I have a taste of a 5 years old since I prefer a cheeseburger or chicken finger and fries over some fancy seafood meal.
The rest of Christmas day included me, my brother and sister taking a really long nap after lunch, waking up eatting some more then playing board games with the family then going to bed.

The next day was Saturday so I video skyped to my cousins house in Wahsington D.C. where my family goes to from the 25th til the 29th. So I got so see my family again as well as my cousins, auntie and uncle. I really miss everyone back home a lot!! It seemed like total chaos in the house but Ive been noticing I prefer total craziness to a rather quiet home = p
Saturday night I went out with my friends to a local bar then we all piled into cars to head to a new bar that just opened. On our way there we went over a pot hole that gave us not just one flat tire but two flat tires. And we were in the ghetto of Italy around 12 am. Luckily I was mainly with males who look like they can take a punch so we didnt have any creepers bother us. We did have to wait an hour however for a tow truck. By the time the truck came we ended up going back to the local bar for an hour since the new one was too far away to go to at that hour.

Sunday was a total lazy day, I ended up watching a bunch of old school disney movies like little mermaid, lion king, alladin, and robin hood in Italian with my brother and sister. Then that evening I went to a really nice bar for happy hour with some friends. = )

Then today (monday) I took a train from Treviglio to Bergamo were I met some AFS friends like Michelle from Hong Kong, Ray from Canada, Erin from Oregeon, Katie from Alaska and Tonje from Norway. We all hung around Bergamo for a few hours, seeing the little city all lit up with christmas lights. We also went ice skating which I hadnt done in years. I knew that ice skating was like riding a bike, it just comes back to you. Well I put on the skates and took one glide and an untentional spin and did a lagit belly flop. Very embarassing but we all just burst into laughter when it happened. In the course of half an hour we all had our fair share of wabbles and falls. Luckily that was my only fall and after 10 minutes I finally got the hang of it = )

Tomorrow I think Im going back to Bergamo with the same people and going shopping since everyone but me has Christmas money burning a hole thru their pockets. = p
The the rest of the week Im not sure whats in store for me. For new years eve I was invited to Federicos house in Verona but I have to get special permission from my advisor so finger crossed everybody! If the trip to Verona is a no go ill be spending it with my brother and our friends at our house then probably after midnight hit the disco. So two very promising evening of fun!

Ill write again next week about the rest of my vacation. Theres also another holiday that comes after new years. I dont know to much about it, only that supposely a kind old women comes to peoples houses on a broom stick and bring presents to all the little children. I really dont know much about this holiday but when it does happen ill give you the full scoop! Until Next Time...


And Thats a Wrap

Only two more days til Christmas vacation! Im so looking forward to my last day of school tomorrow, you have no idea! I think that we are all feeling this way, when Christmas is just around the corner we all start to get ants in our pants and just want to be done with work or school. And while were all at school or work during those last few days before the 25th no one can keep focus on anything for a long period of time. Our minds simply drift away and all you can think about is how much you want your vacation to start. Then reality hits and you suddenly rememeber that your exams are less than 24 hours away and you havent cracked your books open.

In Italy they dont use letter grades instead they give you a number 1-10. In northern Italy school is a lot harder than it is in the south. Im also at one of the hardest schools in my region. Ive been told that is extremely rare for someone to get a perfect 10. Its basically like someone getting an A++... practicly impossible. I rememeber one of my friend took a math test and got everything right and the teacher would only give her a 9. Weird but true. To pass you must get a 5 or better. If you fail here its kind of a big deal. Getting below a 5 can ruin your class average and you have to study a lot to bring it back up.

Anyways my exams all went really well! Since Im only taking three subjects (english, spanish and gym) I didnt have to study my bum off like I would have to back home. Here my gym final included me doing this fairy-like dance routine on a balance beam. All of us looked rather silly doing the routine and trying are hardest to look poise and graceful.... easier said than done! I got an 8/10 on my dance which my friends say is really good! In Italy an 8/10 is equal to a B+/A- back home, so not bad! For my Spanish final I though I was going to take a written exam with the rest of my class but at the last minute my super nice teacher thought it would be better for my to have a short oral exam. = ) All I had to do was describe the memebers of my American family in Spanish which would have been a snap... about 3 months ago. Ive been noticing that the more Italian I learn the lass Spanish I rememeber. So during my oral exam I keeped mixing up the two languages but my teacher was very understanding and have me a 7/10 which is equal to a B-.

Now I have three English exams- writting, grammer and literature. The writting exam I got a 9+/10 which is about an A+ so I was super happy when I found out my grade!! Then I had my grammer exam which I got back this morning and got a 7/10. It was actually kind of difficult considering the exam was on British grammer, so it was a slight challange. Today I finally had my literature test which I had to talk for what seemed like forever about 5th century to 15th century settlement in England. Now I dont know squat about that so I actually had to study for this exam. I got a 7+/10 which is a solid B. I probably would have gotten a higher score if she hadnt asked me about the two types of ballods becuase I thought there was only one type of ballods = p

Now Im finally done with all my exams! Haaa Zaaa! Odd thing about exams in Italy is that majority of them are done orally. Something Im totally not used to since almost all test are written. Another difference is that there are never an exact date for these exams. The teacher will say to the class that they will be tested for example sometime between Tuesday-Thursday... for me I wasnt actually tested until today (monday) almost a full week later! It was a huge pain in the bum studying every night and not being tested! I definatly like American school systems more than Italian ones!

So basically this last week has been all about school as boring as that is. My host parents got a kick out of watching me studying the same subject for a week and asking me every evening if I had been tested yet. I also finished reading Pride and Prejudice and now have to write two essays on the novel over Christmas break. Ive also been assigned to read A Christmas Carol as well. Lovely.

Apart from school Italy had its first snow fall over this week! I rememeber getting ready for school and looking out my window and seeing what I thought was a layer of frost everywhere. It was really a half inch of snow. = ) So not nearly as much as Boston but Im happy with the white blanket. All the Italians were freaking out that morning. They were all amazed at the snow and thought a half inch was a lot. And they all drive super slow esp since majority of cars dont have 4 wheel drive. This week the bus takes 40 minutes to get to school instead of the usual 20. Ive also had to start layering up since Italian dont like to use heat. Ever. The school has these tiny vents near the window so classrooms are cold, stairscases you can easily see your breath and at night im wearing leggings under my pajama pants. Ive also been wearing two pairs of socks everyday because I didnt bring any Uggs with me in Septemeber. So now I have to wait until Christmas day to wear them since they are all wrapped up. My fall boots caved out the other day so Ive been wearing converse. They are not water proof, snow proof and struggle to keep your toes warm. Oh well Christmas is in a few days so ill just have to suck it up until then.

Yesterday (sunday) I had the most fantastic surprise. My American brother's very good college friends Mark and Andrew were in Milan! So they sent me a facebook message asking me to meet them. They had spent semesters abroad and were going back home soon. Luckily I was able to take a train and hang out with them in Milan for the whole day! It was so amazing to see both of them! My train to Milan was delayed and so were all the other trains in my region due to the very small amount of snow. Oh Italians and snow.... Anways the three of us had a great day, it was the coldest day of the year but we were all having so much fun we hardly noticed. = ) Mark and Andrew had the whole day planned out for us so we did a lot of sightseeing and everything was so magical looking with the snow. The boys were super nice to me, they paid for my metro ticket, lunch and dinner!

The only down side to our day was that every train was delayed some were even cancelled. So I planned to leave Milan around 6pm and arrive home before 7 so I could go out and celebrate one of my friends birthdays. Very sadly the train from Milan to Treviglio (my area) was delayed then delayed again then finally cancled. Whamp whamp whaaaamp. Since it isnt safe for me to travel alone after 9pm I took a train to Brescia where my friend Frederick from Canada was taking a train from Venice. So the two of us met in Brescia (a city an hour away) then took a train to Bergamo (our mini city) which of course was delayed by an hour. We finally made it to Bergamo at midnight where Fredrick's host dad picked us up and drove us home. We arrived in Castel Rozzone around 12:30 am and I dropped into bed and fell asleep in seconds. Overall it was an amazing day in Milan with Mark and Andrew but the whole train situation was an absolute nightmare! I was so glad that I had Mark and Andrew with me in Milan. If I had to figuare out the whole train thing by myself I probably would of had a nervous breakdown since Im a total hyper with that kind of stuff!

Tomorrow is my last day of school before Christmas break = ) And tomorrow night I have an AFS dinner with my advisors, volunteers and with the two other exchange students Michelle and Akiralie and our families. Then I can finally have two weeks of relaxing, sleeping in, eatting yummy Itlian food and hang out with friends = ) A lot of people have asked me if I can go home for Christmas but sadly Im not allowed to with my exchange program. Its going to be really hard to be away from them this year but I have a great host family who will make Christmas extra special. I dont believe my family and I are going anywhere for Christmas, I think its going to be a low key vacation. They havent really given me the details about our vacation so we shall see soon! Ill write more about my first Italian Christmas sometime before the new year. So Until Next Time....


Expect the Unexpected

Okay so last week I had some new adventures that I wasnt at all expecting to part take in. My first big expierence happened on Wednesday in Milan on my class trip. I asked my host parents and my school friends what exactly I would be doing on the class trip to Milan. And they all said the same thing, you will find out when you get there. I even tried reading the permission slip about the trip but of course it was in Italian so I couldnt get all the details. Rats.

So Wednesday morning I got so sleep in a little and my mama drove me to the train station to meet my class and teachers. Of course we had left the car outside the night before and there was a frost so we had a rather hard time getting the engine going. So I arrived at the train station late, but got on the train just fine and headed to Milan. Thankfully it was a georgous sunny day unlike majority of the days here! We all walked around the Duomo and had a toured the inside of the church. This time there wasnt a mass going on so more of the church was open than when I came on Sunday. After we explored the gallery next to the Duomo and then walked to this giant castel in the center of Milan. The tours for the castel were really pricey so we just explored the outside on our own for about 10 minutes becuase it was freezing and we were all starving for lunch.

After seeing the castel we took the metro to this new museum. While our teachers were buying our tickets we all quickly went into a cafe to buy pizzas for lunch. The museum was unlike something I had ever been to. It was a museum where you learn without using you eyes, but thru using your ears, hands and nose. Basicaly it was a museum for blind people. Now I wasnt expecting that we would go there, I thought we would go to some "very rich in culture" art gallery or something. This museum was so cool, we started off in a small room where a blind woman talked to us about seeing only darkness, reading braile and how the other senses become stronger when you dont have the sense of sight.

After they showed us how to usewalking canes and brought us into these series of dark rooms. Now when I say dark I mean pitch black, I cant see my hand infront of my face dark. Each room had a theme for example the beach, a classroom, a city, a food market and a forest. We had a blinded guide to take a thru all the room and we would have to figuare out what kind of room we were in by the smell and the sound. We would also feel different object around us. At first I was really scared using the cane and having to walk around the obsticales. All of us were bumping into each other and at first having a difficult time getting around the rooms. So many times Id back myself into a corner and have to idea where anyone was and just wanted to scream "can we turn the lights on please!" By the end we made it to the final room which was a cafe and we even ordered drinks and snacks and payed with real money, we even sat at a tabel and talked. It was a serious taste of walking in someone elses shoes!

Being in that museum and walking thru the dark was an amazing esxpierence. I never really thought what it was like for blind people. It really a drastic change from seeing everything to just darkness. My mom has always told me that I should be thankful that I was born healthy, and she is so very right!

So basiclly I only had school from Thursday-Saurday becuase Monday and Tuesday were holidays and I had the school trip on Wednesday = )

Friday I saw the Christmas Carol in 3D with my friend Ray from Candada on Friday. We were both wicked excited to see the movie but we were sadly disappointed. The movie tickets themselves cost 9 euro so $13.50... I think it was my most expensive movie ticket yet! So we sat down for the movie and were surrounded by little Italian kids and their parents and the movie started off great, with the music playing and you get that Christmas rush... Then the narrorator started speaking in Italian, great. We thought that it would be in English with Italian subtitles but no. So as the movie progressed I noticed it didnt have the same feeling as when I watched the muppet version. This new version was rather... Scary! I did the whole jumping out of my seat, gasping thing for serval parts. Even the ghosts of the past, present and future had this erie feeling. The little 5 year old boy sitting next to me was crying his eyes out! I just didnt get that cheery and happy feeling you get from watching a Christmas movie. Oh well, I guess not everything is what you expected.

Alrighty then on Sunday I finally got to go to Brescia! = ) I had been dying to go to Brescia since Ive been in Italy because all my good friends live in or near the city. So Sunday morning my advisor Chiara picked me, Michelle and the new exchange student Akiralie from Australia up and we drove about an hour to Brescia. It was a bright sunny day but extremly cold!! Luckily I brought my new matching hat, scarf and gloves set so I was prepared. When we got to Brescia there was about 30 exchange students and we all got lunch at this giant cafe. We were all chatting about a mile a minute since we hadnt all seen each other since orientation in Aprica. After lunch we went to this small building where we met some local volunteers who had prepared a surprise for us. Turns out we were all going to dress up in Christmas themed clothes for the holiday Santa Lucia and we were going to be a parade of exchange students and march thru Brescia singing and handing out candy. Kinda a cheesey I know, but when your with your friends you just laugh about it.
So the volunteers were all dressing us and asked all the blonde haired, blue eyed girls to come to the front. Out of 30 only 5 of us matched that description. They wanted to use one of us to march infront and lead the parade being Santa Lucia. Now she gets to wear the big gold crown covered in ivy leaves and has white candels on top of the crown. She also wears a long white dress with a red sash. Bascially they had the five of us try on the crown and see which one of us could pull of the part. The crown fit my head well but it weighed so much it kind of threw off my balance when walking with it. They ended up picking my friend Marianna from Finland who fit the part perfectly with her naturally long light blonde hair. Anyways all the girls who are short dressed up as elves, medium height girls were angels (me) and the tall girls were lumber jacks. Most of the boys played the part of Santa and a couple were lumber jack men. One was even a reindeer = p We even wore these pins with our countries flag on it just in case if a person saw us they would instantly know we were all very foreign.
The parade was fun, me and most of my friends were angels so we had long white dresses with silver sash and silver crown and carried a white candel. We would all randomly stop and have to sing Jingle Bells, Silent Night or other Christmas songs. Only the Aussies and Americans really knew the words so it was it was up to us to lead = p
After the parade we all got coffees and hot chocolates and said out goodbyes. When exchange students say goodbye its sometimes forever. Some kids only stay for a a couple of months and others live really far away and will be going home before you. Sad but true.
Although Brescia was a very fun day! = )

So this week Ive learned that being abroad means expect the unexpected. I never know when I wake up that Ill be thrown a giant curve ball or not. Sometimes I handel these obsticales really well other times.. well its a lesson learned. For example this week my English teacher told me that I needed to give an oral presentation on the book Pride and Prejudice to my 3rd year English class. She gave me about 2 days to prepare. Sadly I was only less than half way threw with the book. It was simply up to me to pull together an accurate, easy to follow and interesting oral presentation which I did ( I got an 8 out of 10 which is equal to an A back home) = ) Another time I threw away my English literature notes from another class and was later asked a lot of questions by the teacher about the notes. I ended up sounding like a total dumb American blond = ( Now that Im abroad and I dont have my mom asking me what I have for homework and seeing me do it, Im realising its only up to me to study really. I guess ill be ready for college! = )

This is my last week of school before Christmas break = ) Tonight my school is having a holiday concert so im going with my family and friends. My host brother will also be preforming with his band so it should be a good night. Tomorrow I have an English and Spanish exams. Ick. Some what prepared for those. Hopefully they will be the only exams so I can finish this week in a stress free note! So until next time....


Allora, Where Do I Begin??

Wow okay so this week a lot of really random things happened! Im just going to start from the beginning and work my way thru!
Allora, (which is Italian for okay/so/now) anyways Tuesday I took a train with my friend Michelle to Milano to meet the new exchange students from New Zeland and Australia who are here for there winter holiday season. They stay here for about 6 weeks, which I think is the shortest amount of time you can do as an AFS exchange student. Anways Michelle and I met our advisor Chiara and got a coffee and window shopped for a little bit then went to the giant Milan train station to meet the new comers. It was the weirdest feeling being back in that train station. Almost 3 months ago I arrived there with the other 60 students, all of us wearing our bright yellow matching t-shirts and huge suitcases. This time there was only 6 new students, they could wear their regualr clothes and had less stuff with them. Only one of them is some what close to me. Her name is Arkiralie and lives in the mountains about an hour away. She seemed really nice, I wish she was going to be a lot closer to me and Michelle and here for a longer time.

After Michelle and I did a little shopping and went to the brand new Abercrombie and Fitch that just opened in Milan. Its the only one in all of Italy, and the prices are three times higher than regular American prices. Total rip off! The least expensive thing I could find was 30 euro so 45 dollars. After we got Mcdonalds so it was a very American like night. Although Michelle and I got a challange from our advisor- to make our way back to the underground metro and then take a line to the gaint train station in Milan, and find a train home. Okay big challange for me becuase I wasnt at all pay attention on how we got there in the first place. And not that many people speak english here, so we had to rely on our crummy Italian. So we found the metro, but got off at the wrong stop. Great. Luckily a very nice metro engineer pointed us into the right direction and told us what stop to get off. So we made it home ay-oh-kay. = )

Wednesday I got back my third year English exam and didnt get the grade I was expecting... my teacher and I thought I was going to pass it with flying colors. I ended up getting a 7.5 out of 10. The kids that arent so great at English got higher scores then me. My teacher explained to me and the class that American English and British English are very different languages esp when it comes to grammer. That exam was so difficult... I later found out that I am at one of the hardest schools in my region. Now they tell me. After I had Italian tutoring with Michelle and met her Candian friend, Ray who is an exchange student for a year as well. Luckily he wasnt French Candian so he cool and normal and it was so good to here a somewhat familar accent. I could also use the words wicked and sick and he wouldnt look at me like I had two heads. = p

Thursday, nothing really to report. Friday I got coffee with Michelle and Ray after Italian tutoring. When I came home my host parents told me I didnt have to go to school the next day since it was a long weekend and Saturday I only have one first year Spanish class. So I was really happy about that. So friday night I went to this disco with some friends. The disco wasnt your typical disco, it was more of a bar/club for people of my American parents ages. Therefore my friends and I esp stuck out. I think I was the youngest person there but my friends always tell me I look 20 so it wasnt a big deal. So we made the most of the night, overall it was a good time with my friends but I dont think ill be going back to that club for another 10, 15, or 20 years.

Saturday- No school! =) A morning of sleeping in very late, watching tv, going online and overall relaxing. I decided to make some brownies since I had a free afternoon. Funny story about the brownies... I mixed up the batter without a problem and pre heated the oven. While pouring the batter into the pan I smelled something odd... Now I dont have the strongest sense of smell, and my lack of sense of smell hasnt really been a problem, until that day. When I went to open the oven smoke poured out... I thought what the heck!? Turns out my mama made pizza dough and put it in a plastic bowl with a huge wool blanket over it so the dough would rise, and she put it inside the oven! Normally its on the counter or something. So I opened the oven and the blanket luckily wasnt on fire but had some black marks. I pulled it out and quickly ran to the outside porch and threw it on the ground. Then I stuck the plastic bowl which wasnt melted, by the window so the dough would rise. The house smelled so bad, I opened some doors and windows and put the brownies in the oven. Lucily no one was home so the icky smell was gone in a short time.
I felt like I was 5 years old and had accidently broken my moms favorite dish or something. Just that embarrassing and awquard feeling you get when you have to tell your parents that you did something bad. When I told my hosts what had happened they both just looked at each other and burst into laughter. They thought it was so funny, Pheew! So the dough rose just fine, and brownies came out amazing so it all ended okay.

Sunday was another relaxing day, I went with my family to a big shopping mall, where they did some Christmas shopping and I window shopped. Later I went out to some local bars with my host brother and some friends. So another good day = )

Monday I took a train with my new friend Ray from Canada to Milano to meet Michelle to hang out in the city for the day. Sadly it was raining and it was wicked crowded in every store but we had a good time. I finally went to the inside of the Duomo and it was so beautiful! I have taken a bunch of quick touristy pictures from the outside but finally had extra time to go inside. We all did some Christmas shopping and explored the area a bit. Normally when we go to Milan were all on a tight schedual and dont really have to time to go into the funky store and look around. So it was overall a very good time. My very cute pink umbrella that I brought over from Boston broke the second I opened it. Rats. So then I had to buy one from a street vendor, after an hour or two that one broke to. Double rats. I ended up having to buy one of those big unbrellas from a store which was the same price as the previous crummy umbrella. Talk about a rip off! We got burger king for dinner and this time we didnt have a problem with the metro and got off at the right stop and all made it home.

Tuesday (Today) I have no school so got yet another morning of sleeping in. When I woke up my mama made me a big cup of hot herbal tea and gave me little tea cakes while she and my papa made home made lasanga. And when i say homemade I mean they made the pasta themselves! It was so yummy! Today we are decorating the house for christmas and putting up our tree = )

Tomorrow I have a field trip to Milano, im not sure exactly what class the field trip is for, why were going and what were going to to exactly...

This Sunday is going to be wicked fun because AFS has organized a trip from all the kids in our region to go to Brescia for this big festival. Im not sure what the festival is about but im just happy to see all my friends that I havent seen since the Aprica orientation. So im excited for this weekend! = ) Ill fill you all in on what exactly my field trip to Milan and about my AFS trip to Brescia! Until next time....


No Canned Pumkin = No Pumkin Pie

Okay so as most of you know Thanksgiving was last week. Sadly Italy doesnt have Thanksgiving so Wednesday was a totally normal day in Castel Rozzone, Italy. I asked my host mama if I could stay home that day and she said that I was in Italy now, and Italians dont celebrate Thanksgiving so I better hurry up or I would be late for school. =( And of course it was raining outside, and my clothes werent dry yet (they dont use driers here, everything is hung dry so it takes longer to get your laundry back) so I threw on a sweatshirt and pulled my hair in a pony tail and was ready for the day. Wednesday I dont have many classes so I spent the school day mainly in the library youtubing Thanksgiving things like Charlie Browns Thanksgiving, The Cosby Shows Thanksgiving, and Miracle on 34th Street. After school I had italian tutoring with Michelle and after got cappichinos and cookies (luckily it had stopped raining by after school) then I waited for my bus home... which I strongly believe never came. I have been taking the same bus home for the last 2 months and never had a problem with it. That day it just decided not to come or became invisible when it came to the stop becuase I was watching for it like a hawk. So I had to call my mama and brother to come and pick me up at the bus station. When I finally got home (2 hours than normal wendnesday time).
I was super excited to video chat my American family. I hadnt talked to most of the by phone yet and they were going to see my for the first time in 2 1/2 months. I even changed my clothes, redid my hair and makeup so I looked more pulled together than I was feeling. Of course the skype decided to go Ka-Put on me and wasnt in the mood for working. Great. I tried making the little bugger work for over an hour (and the skype is all in Italian making things a little harder). After a cyber fight with my older sister about how much I was hating skype at the moment I ended up talking to my family thru facebook messanger. Not at all the same as video chat with skype but at least I got to talk to them on Turkey Day.

After chatting with my American family I sat down for dinner and my mam had made chicken legs and home fries for dinner. Not bad but not the same as dinner back home, but I was happy that she made the effort to make that instead of the standard pasta. Since Italy doesnt have canned pumkin (I endlessly searched the food market for it and there was nothing) so I couldnt make pumkin pie. =( so i had to opt for apple crisp. I would have made apple pie but I had to go to school and tutoring. The apple crisp was good and I made an extra for my adivsor, Chiara who is an awesome and a huge apple fan. That night I went bar hopping with my friends and then went to bed late.
Overall Thanksgiving was a super sad day for me. I hadnt felt that sad while in Italy. Of course I miss my family back home, but im not crying everyday saying that I want to go home. Italy feels like my home away from home. Im really happy to be living in Italy, it was just Thanksgiving was a very dark day for me. I know Christmas will be super hard to get thru, at least Italians celebrate that holiday!

The next day I tried skype again and of course it worked with no problems.... just my luck!

Early that week I had got a package from home which makes me super happy. Getting a package from home is probably one of the big things exchange students look forward to. The other things we love are seeing our other exchange student friends, seeing new cities and speaking our native language and eatting food from home. When I opened my package I felt like Raulphy and Randy on Christmas morning =) Its so strange how the smallest things like finding a tube of chapstick or a pack of gum in your winter coat from home can make you happy. Its very odd but those little things can put such a big smile on your face. I guess its an exchange student thing....

Saturday I had school but had to make a trip to the post office with my papa to get this paper stamped for my school trip to Scotland. So we stood in the very long line and when it was finally our turn I handed the man the paper and he asked for a credit card so I gave him my moms number and he gave my a big thumbs down. He said it was illegal for him to take a random credit card number so I gave him mine... which wouldnt work either. So luckily my papa stepped in and gave the man his card. If I didnt have the paper stamped I would have gotten a very big whack on the hand by my school adivsor because it was actually due on Thursday so she said in her very posh British accent that I absolutley must it in Saturday or I wont be going to Scotland. So I arrived at school late with the paper in hand and gave her the dang thing. One thing I can check off my list.

Saturday night I went out with some new friends to this wicked cool disco in Bergamo. The place was huge and the whole night was a lot of fun! Sunday we were supposed to go to Venice, again but it was raining so we had to cancel the trip, again. So sunday was a lazy day due to the rain =p

So tomorrow (Tuesday) the new AFSer from Australia will be arriving in Milano sometime in the afternoon. So after school Michelle and I will meet up at my school, go to our regular lunch cafe (we go there so much that the owner sees us and knows what to bring) and then we will take a bus to Treviglio where we will take a train to Milano where we meet our advisor, Chiara and do a little shopping. I think the Aussies train comes in later afternoon and we will all give her a big welcome to our area and hopefully not completly overwhelm the girl. Im excited to be going back to Milano, I havent been for over a month and Iver heard the shopping there at Christmas time is amazing so im wicked excited for tomorrow =)

So until next time...


Where are the crunchy fall leaves?

With Thanksgiving around the corner Im starting to get into the whole holiday mode. In a couple days is Thanksgiving Day, Italy doesnt celebrate it becuase they didnt have the pilgrims or the Mayflower. Its kind of sad knowing this is my first big holiday away from home. Yes, I made it thru Halloween just fine but that holiday teens spend more with their friends than with their family. My mama asked if I wanted her to cook the big traditional meal. When she asked a huge smile spread across my face. So we are going to give the whole Thanksgiving thing a whirl which is really cool and different. Im thinking a skype session to my home in Duxbury, MA will be in need on Thanksgiving!

So this week the weather has again been really crummy. Its odd, whenever the weather is nice here, its icky back home and vise versa. Very odd! I really cant complain about the weather here since it was gorgeous for the first two months. My italian family told me that october, novemeber and december are northern Italys not so nice weather months. And I must agree on this one! Everyday is very cloudy, gray, foggy, cold, and windy. It always seems like its misting!! Its so foggy here that you cant even see the mountains. On a normal day they are so big and in your face its impossible to miss them, I miss my mountains!
I wish I could be home to see the trees change color, to smell fire burning in a fire place, the crisp air, eatting a big juicy apple that is covered in carmel... How I miss New England in the fall! The other day me and my friend Michelle from Hong Kong were walking to our bus and train after Italian lessons when I realised something. Italy doesnt have those leaves that crunch when you step on them. I know thats really random but the leaves here are all the same color- this icky brownish orange. And there arent many of them. I remember being a little kid and my dad having me and my brother and sisters all hands outside to rake up the backyard. Our yard was huge and it would take hours for all 6 of us to get the job done. I remember hating the fall season because it ment raking up the leaves. As pathetic as it is I kind of wish there was some big crunchy colorful leaves for me to rake up...

School is good theres a new girl here. Shes from Africa and doesnt speak english or italian just french. So I tried introducing myself and seriously failed. It wasnt until after I tried talking to her that I realized we dont speak the same language. Luckily my exchange student friend from Canada is fluent in French so he was able to show her around the school.
Oh and speaking of new students there is going to be a new AFS exchange student coming to my local area. Her name is Akiralie and is from Australia, she will be in Italy for 3 months. Since she is Australian she is about to have summer while its our winter. Odd yes, but very cool! Im so happy that there will be another AFSer in my area because currently its just me and my friend Michelle. So on December 1st Michelle and I will take a train together to Milano to meet her with the AFS volunteers. Hopefully with Akiralie coming it will put a fire under my adivsors bums to organize more trips and activites for us to do since we dont do anything really!

So in the beginning of last week I had to write a letter to my school asking if they can pay for half my school trip to Scottland in March. My school adivsor told me today that they said to book my flight so Im guessing thats a yes!! Haaa Zaaa! When I was writting the letter in Italian with my brother and sisters help they were telling me that I was wasting my time, that the school was going to say no and basiclly laugh in my face. Well look who is laughing now = p Im wicked excited for the trip, I dont think ill ever get a chance to go to Scottland. Its a cool country and all but its definatly not the first place you think to travel to in Europe. Anyways I leave in mid March and I go for a week with three third year classes and stay with families in Scottland. During the day we will go to school, afternoons sight see, and nights go out and have fun. Ironic that I will be an American exchange student living in Italy and going to be an exchange student in Scottland who is from Italy...

So on Saturday I made banana bread, I know its not the best American treat but I found a recipe online that was amazing! Most people compare banana bread to fruit cake aka ick. But this banana bread was wicked good! I took it out of the oven and when I came back from yoga class two hours later it was almost gone = o Ill have to make another loaf of it soon!
Saturday night I went out with my friends to a pub and then to a disco which was a lot of fun! My Saturday nights are a lot different in Italy. Back home I usually go out with my friends around 8 or something and we go to Plymouth and walk around and get Mcdonalds for dinner then go to someones house and hang out and watch a movie. Im usually home around 11 or midnight. This Saturday night I left the house at 11pm and went to the pub with my friends, got some late night fries and then went to the disco at midnight and came home around 3- 3:30 am. The disco was wicked crowded and there was a long line. Luckily one of my friends new the guy at the door so we went right in and for free! = ) Inside was really chic and cool and was blasting house music. There was also by far more guys than girl there. Lagit 1 girl for ever 5 or more guys. I would think it would be the total opposite! Drinks were a shocking 12 euro each so me being a not so rich exhange student could only get one. I knew there had to be a catch to getting into the club for free. But overall the night was very fun!
Sunday my mama had another yoga retreat in Torino so she was gone before the sun was up. Luckily my brother let me and my sister Ottavia sleep in peacefully that morning. I woke up at noon and to find one of my cats got hungry in the middle of the night and thought my cell phone charger looked tastey. Needless to say Im in a need of a new charger. But my nonna made a big home made lunch of steak and home made french fries- yum! Since it was raining again, we all stayed inside and had a lazy day. After lunch my belly was so full I went into a food comma and ended up taking a very long afternoon nap. Later I did some homework and played wii. Then had an early dinner- 7:30 pm of homemade lasagna double yum! My nonna is such a good cook, she always makes the best meals! Then sunday night me and my brother Ale went to a pub to watch the soccer game with our friends. So overall a good weekend!

So this coming week I have my first and probably last Thanksgiving in Italy, AFS Australian girl coming, and probably going to Milano to show her around the city and I think my Italian friends want to take me ice skating and to a Chinese restaurant in Milano. Hopefully the weather will shape up, if not Im in Italy so I shouldnt be complaining about fog and mist. So until next time...


Christmas Decoration Already??

I know totally crazy right? Its mid November, why are there already Christmas decorations?? I thought it was an unwritten rule that you cant decorate or have a decent Christmas commercial until they have finished showing the Macys day parade on tv on Thanksgiving Day. Well in Italy they dont have Thanksgiving because they dont have pilgrims or the mayflower. My mama told me that Italy starts decortating for Christmas the day after Halloween. Really Italy? Jumping the gun dont you think??

Okay so over this week I baked chocolate chip cookies for my family and they were all gone in 24 hours. I forgot how long it takes to make them from scratch. Normally I just by the betty crocked package and just add water and an egg. Or if Im really lazy I buy the premade dough were you just put them on the cookie sheet and bake til golden brown. But I went old school this time and did everything myself and I have to say that cookies from scratch and premade dough cookies basically taste almost the same... to me at least. Most people will totally disagree with me on this one but for me I dont really tatse the difference.

Anyways the rest of the week I had school... blah. My tutor cancled lessons this week because she was out of town or something so that ment two extra afternoons of napping = ) This week I have a meeting with my school advisor and teachers to talk about me going to Scotland with my school in March. The trip is pricey so Im hoping for a scholarship since coming to Italy alone is very expensive. So my school adivsor told me I have to write a letter to the school basiclly saying who I am and what I want... in Italian. This is where my lovley brother Alessandro comes in with his great knowledge of English and Italian = )

Oh and in my last blog I mentioned I was going to either Verona or Torino. Turns out I didnt go to either. Yeah huge bummer! So my friend Michelle from Hong Kong invited me to Verona, but my mama invited me to Torino as well. I decided I wanted to go to Torino since my good friend Julia lives there and I hadnt seen her since AFS-NYC orientation. So while my mama had her yoga retreat I would hang with her. So I told Michelle to go to Verona without me so she left Friday night. Then on Saturday evening my mama told me we would have to leave the house at 5:30 am!! Seriously?? 5:30 am?! She said that her yoga started at 8 am and it was a very long train ride so we would have to leave early. Normally on Saturday nights im out til 2:30 am... so I would only get 2 1/2 hours of sleep. So I didnt go to Torino on Sunday like I planned. = (

Sunday morning it was raining and my brother Ale thought it would be "funny" to wake me and my sister Ottavia up at 8:30am. To the normal person waking up means saying "hey wake up" and maybe giving the person a nudge. But to Alessandro Spreafico it means swinging the bedroom door open shouting "WAKE UP!!" then opening the windows so this nice freezing cold breeze fills the toasty warm room. Then turning all the lights on to full blast. Ottavia and I just looked at each other like what the heck?!? We asked him why he was waking us up, was there an emergancy or something?? And replied with a simple no and said that we had slept long enough and it was time to wake up. I was simply flabbergasted. He then procceded by jumping on our beds while we were still in them and then taking off our blankets. I procceded by kicking with impressive force him off my bed and ripped my blanekts out of his hands. Then he marched into the living and blasted heavy rock music at its full volume. I raced to the bedroom door, slammed it shut, and locked it. Ottavia and I tried desperatly to go back to sleep but it was impossible when your house has paper thin walls.
So Sunday morning I was cranky, tired and we were out of cocoa puffs ceral so I was also hungry. Great way to start off your one day off from school!! Luckily my friend Roberto took me Christmas shopping at this wicked big shopping mall. For those of you reading this that are from the Boston area, this mall was the size of the prudential/copley shopping center and had south shore type stores. It was actually Robertos idea to go shopping there. I know weird right? Most guys only go shopping when forced by their mothers. This guy drove me, followed me into any store I wanted to go in, knew all the stores like the back of his hand, insisted on carrying my shopping bags, bought me a mcflurry, and didnt complain once. Hes a keeper! Im sorry but you can only find those kind of guys when they are seriously whipped by their girlfriends; other wise its rare to find them in America or at least in Duxbury, MA.
This amazing shopping center is probably my new favorite place to shop, its also where I saw all the amazing Christmas decorations. I must say that I have to give myself a pat on the back because I was able to get something just right for all 5 memebers of my family by mid Novemeber. The only reason I shopped so early for them is because it take about a month for large packages to get from Italy to America. So kudos to me = p

No other new to report here, I think Im going to try to make some banana bread when I get home from school. When the weather is crummy like it is today and I dont have Italian tutoring or yoga I like to bake. Almost every exchange student tends to have a hard time filling their afternoons. Esp. when your host country has never heard of your sports like lacrosse and field hockey. So for me baking is relaxing, enjoyable, I can watch mtv while doing it and it makes my Italian family happy which is always a plus. So until next time...


Offically a Citizen!

Thats right I am now offically part of the Italian goverment system!!
Okay so Thursday morning I didnt have to go to school (Yeah!) and I got to sleep in (Double Yeah!) and I went to the Bergamo police station with my papa that morning. I got to sleep in, take my time getting ready for the day and even had time to get a coffee and pastry and a local bar. Very lovley. Unforuntely it was raining.... a lot. Luckily my USA mom had sent me a very cute rain jacket so it wasnt a problem. We drove about 25 minutes to Bergamo which is a mini city near my town. I went there last weekend for halloween. Anyways we arrived at the police station and were sent to a huge waiting room... that was full of immagrints from around the world! While I was waiting in line this lady heard me speaking english and asked if I was American. I of course replied yes, and she said she had a daughter who was American too and long behold was my very good friend Erin from Oregon! =) I had met Erin in New York orientation and we had become good friends at the Aprica orientation. It was so awesome seeing her again. Talking to a friend in English for two hours really makes the time go by fast then just sitting there twiddling your thumbs.
So me and Erin had brought all of our paper work so we could be put into the Italian system. Of course me being me, I totally forgot to bring my 4 passport photos and had to take them in a near by photo both. And I wasnt looking my cutest that day since I was still sick with that horrible cold. So now Italy has a lets just say not the most flattering picture of me. Great... So Erin and I got our fingerprints scanned and had signed and few papers and we were free!
After the police station Erin came with me and my papa to get McDonadls for lunch, this is only my third time eatting McDonalds in Italy. Very strange for me since I eat it probably once a week back home. After me and Erin hung out for little bit then she had to get back home since it was a school night.
School all week was boring. I was only at school for half the week becuase I had my cold and it seemed like everyone else at school and home were sick too. Anways today is Tuesday and it has been a solid week and I am totally back to my normal self. Feel great!!
Over the weekend I met a lot of new and interesting people... they were my host brother, Ale friends. The are mainly 19 years old and are really nice and fun guys. Some dont speak english that well, which can get really funny when they have a few beers in them. Its good hanging with Itlains esp when they speak slow italian for me so I can learn more! When ever I talk to them I have to adjust my english so they can understand me. I have to drop my Boston accent ( i didnt know i had one til i came here) and then i have to take out the slang words, then i use really simply words and try then to use birtish sounding words. After I just sound liek my english teacher when they are giving a lesson to thrid year students. Weird I know!
Sunday my host parents took me to a small choclate factory where I tried a bunch of yummy italian chocolate = ) Lesson that I learned was just because something is free, doesnt mean you have to have a boat load of it. (The night ended with a belly ache) But it was so worth it! I hadnt had chocolate for the longest time. Italian chocolate kicks American chocolates butt!
Monday and today I have school. Blah. Tomorrow I have a half day becuase at the last half of the day all the students are supposed to go on a run. Strange I know; were supposed to run 3 miles tomorrow and it counts in your gym class. And they record your time and everything. It shouldnt be bad, ive run a lot further for lacrosse and field hockey I just wish I had found out about this earlier, so I might be a little more prepared for tomorrow. Oh well...
This weekend I think I will go out with the guys that I went out with last weekend. Im also supposed to go to Verona with the exchange student Michelle from Hong Kong and her family on sunday. My mama told me she has a yoga retreat in Torino and I could come with her on sunday instead. I have afs exchange student friends in Torino that I havent seen since New York back in September. Im not sure what city I will be on sunday but I should figuare that out in the next few days. Thats all the news here right now... Until next time....


First Holiday Away From Home

Okay so as you can tell from the title this weekend I had my first real holiday that wasnt spent in Duxbury, MA with my family and friends. Over the weekend was Halloween, one of my favorite holidays; who doesnt love dressing up, eating candy, watching movies that are so scary you almost pee yourself, making carmel covered apples, carving pumkins and did i mention eatting candy?? Well here in Italy Halloween is well... a lame holiday to say it bluntly. They only celebrate it every three or four years. Luckily they decided to celebrate it this year or I would have been wicked bummed. Alright so let me give you the run down of my Halloween.

Saturday morning I woke up and went to school and half the class was either studying or blowing there noses becuase there very studius here and the cold/flu is spreading like wild fire! All my friends and classmates asked me a bunch of questions on saturday about what halloween was like in America. I told them it depended on your age- that little kids dress up and trick or treat, teens usually get together watch movies, go to parties, maybe get into a little mischief and how adults tend to manage the door for trick or treaters.
Anways since my good friends were sick with a bad cold they werent going out so I went out with some new friends. My mama made a lot of her delicious home made pizzas then my family carved pumpkins. My brother got a fat round one and did the traditional charlie brown pumkin face. I got a tall skinny one and did a scaried face. It was funny to see my papa scooping out the inside of the pumpkin and prettending it was real guts. Gotta love him!
After I met up with some friends who I met last week at a birthday party. It was one of the guys birthdays and he was turning 16 which is like turing 21 in the US. And my town has more bars than houses so there you go. Later that night I went to this I dont even know how to describe it... it was a bar/restuartant/disco. Its in Bergamo- a mini city about 20 minutes from my town. I went with my friend/neighbor and her sister and friend and they were all dressed up with devil and bat headbands, super high heels, and about of pound of makeup. The reason they were wearing headbands was becuase if you wore it you got free lollipops at this bar/restaurant/disco place we were going to. Anyways I was wearing a black thin headband with a black sparkley rose on it, ballet flats, and natural looking makeup. The second I got to my friends house she tried to put red lipstick, more mascara and eye liner on me... I tried to dodge it but sort of failed...
When we got to this place in Bergamo I quickly realized I was going to stuck out like a sore thumb yet again. First of all there were all these crazy people dressed up in their gothic halloween costumes. I was also probably the youngest person there, the only blond, blue eyed, and pale girl. Also I was speaking mainly english with a mix of broken italian and I was one of the only girls dancing because I wasnt wearing feet crunching pumps. I got home pretty late that night and overall had a really fun halloween!
Sunday was a day of sleeping in, eatting, and shopping.
Monday was a national holiday so I didnt have school which was good becuase I woke up with a big old fever, achey body, sore/scatchy throat, cough, and a lovey headache. Yupp the common cold. Normally I just go into the medicine draw take 2 teaspoons for nyquil am and pm for 4 days and Im good as new. But they dont have a medicine draw here so I had to wait til mama got home. It was also raining cats and dogs all day so me, Ale and Otty were stuck at home while our parents were out for the day. My sibs studied all day while I watched dvds from home on my laptop. Luckily my mama is mary popins and the second she saw me she told me I looked aweful. Grazie Mama! = p She is very into the whole organic, all natural stuff so she has been giving me uncommon meds, and making my drink home made juices that are actually good.... after you dump a couple table spoons of sugar into them.
Tuesday (today) mama check my temperature and said it had gone down but I should stay in bed today and rest. She has her cute little mama, Gina who doesnt speak a word of english checking on my every hour and making sure Im okay. Mama said if I get worse today then she will take me to the Docs. Doubt I will have to go becuase I feel better and should be okay for school tomorrow. If I do have to go to the Docs I hope he knows english otherwise ill have to point to my head and throat and say Owww! = p
Nothing else much to report so until next time...


Vacation in October...?

Thats right I got a lucky break and had a week of vacation from my italian life and got to go see Roma, Florence, and Naples for a week! Now I wasnt all that lucky, I had to drive to these cities with my aunt, uncle and there 1, 3, and 4 year old kids. And we didnt really see much of the cities just some of their parks and playgrounds becuase the kids couldnt tour around the city. Their car didnt have a dvd player and the kids didnt have any of those fisher price games that are specificly designed to entertain kids in the car. So it was up to them and the others in the car to keep them under control. As many of you know I love kids, I work with them during the summer at a kids camp. The problem wasnt really dealing with the kids, it was being able to communicate with them because of course they dont know english and my itlian is well.... it is what it is.

So on Sunday evening I got home from Aprica and was really tired. And when I got the news that I was leaving Monday evening for Florence I didnt even bother unpacking my suitcase from Aprica, I just added a few clothes and called it a night. I know that was very lazy of me but very convenient. Monday I went to school then left the house with my cousins for Florence. I got my own hotel room the entire trip which was very nice of my family and very strange for me for I have always had to share a room with someone when ever I travel. Anways Tuesday morning my uncle left for work so it was up to me and my aunt Nora to get the kids out the door and explore Florence. Now I have already been to Florence with my school back in Febuaury so I had already seen all the big touristy spots. My aunt didnt know the city so we ended up taking a lot of cabs and walking around with a map glued to our hands. Florence was really pretty and over all a nice city.

The next day we left for Roma! My favorite city in the whole wide world! Tuesday night we checked into another hotel. This time I stayed at my old host families house and got to see my old host sister, Silvia and her family which was really lovley. The second I stepped into the house it felt like home. I got warm greetings from everyone in the house, it felt so good to be back in Roma. Tuesday night me and Silvia went to a pub with some of our friends and hung out that night. It was nice break away from watching the kids. I slept at Silvias house and early Wednesday morning we were back at the hotel ready to start the day. Silvia came with me, my aunt and cousins that day and showed us the city. We not really the city, we just went to more parks and playgrounds that were some what close to the hotel. That night I said goodbye to Silvia and we all piled back into the car and headed to Naples.

Okay so Naples was by far my least favorite city out of the three. It was just so old, dirty and run down looking. It also rained the two days we were there so we were stuck in this huge buisness hotel. Nora and I attempted to venture out Thursday morning but we only got so far when mother nature decided to have a big down pour of rain. Getting three little Italian kids from one point to another is not, easy esp in rain!! Overall Naples wasnt to lovley, there were lots of police men everywhere, many buisness men who acted like they had never seen a blond hair blue eyed girl before, and there was lots of trash... everywhere. Definatly not one of Italys finer cities!

Friday night we all headed back home, and I was ready to go back and sleep in my own bed again. The drive from Naples to Castel Rozzone was anything but short... Luckily I had my laptop and ipod for when we hit some serious traffic. If only they had ever lasting batteries.... We finally made it home at 2:30 am Saturday morning. I crashed into my bed literally becuase I didnt want to turn on the light and wake up my sister Ottavia.
I learned a lot over this little trip of mine. For instance when I get older and have kids I want my car to have a dvd player, and my kids will know english and anothe language like italian. They will also be very well behaved and there will probably be only two of them. After this trip I give any parents who raised three or more kids serious props. Esp my mom and grandma, I dont know how you two did it!! Kudos to both of you!!

Saturday I slept all morning and skipped school and had a "me day" of relaxing while everyone was at school or work. I did have a very special surprise when I got home- the package my mom sent me had finally arrived and had a bunch of goodies from home = ) Saturday night was my very good friend Cates 16th birthday so everyone from our class went out to a nice restaurant and got pizza and yummy drinks. Very great day for me!! Sunday I slept in which my host parents find odd when I sleep past 10am. To me its totally normal to sleep until noon on sundays if your not going anywhere that morning. My host dad had to explain to me that today was day light savings and the clocks had gone back... in italian. Took a solid 10 minutes for me to figuare that one out! Not much else happened Sunday, I got Mcdonalds with my brother and papa, I hadnt had a real cheeseburger for a while which is very strange and different for me. I basically have pasta and pizza coming out of my ears here!!

Now Im back at school and into my regular schedual. Oh by the way Ive got a new schedual, one that is official and everything! I basically created it with my school english teacher/advisor. The only classes I have to get credit in are english literature and gym. It so perfect! Im now in all 5 years of high school ( in italy they pull a post grad and have 5 years instead of 4). So now I have a more American senior like schedual. I have about 5 different english classes, 2 different spanish classes, 2 different german classes, 2 different gym classes, italian lessons and library time. I have a few blanks in my schedual where in the future I will take italian and art literature. Currently Im not ready for those classes. Im glad to be moving around a lot more. It helps me met new people and actually do something during the day and not just pretending to listen and understand my philosphy and history teachers endless lectures.
Right now some of my schools teacher are on strike so some days I will be starting school 1-3 hours late depending on my classes. Unfortuntely I had school at regular time and my brother starts 3 hours later. Totally fair right? Oh well... Ill write about my Halloween weekened next week. Until next time...



So over this weekend I had my one month afs orientation weekend in Aprica! = )

I got to sleep in thursday morning and packed my carry on size bag for a long weekend. My papa drove me to the train station where I took an hour long train ride to Milano. Luckily my friend Michelle from Hong Kong got on a few stops later so I wasnt alone the whole way. We got off the train and met with other afs kids and advisors. We walked outside the train station and there was a HUGE pack of afs exchnage students. It was so great to see everyone that I hadnt seen for a month. There was over 50 of us and we all took a double decker style bus and drove three hours to the beautiful city of Aprica. This town is lagit on top of a mountain and was really cool seeing all the mounatins and lakes on the way up. It was wicked cold in Aprica, lucily I bought some boots and a winter jacket to take up with me or I would have froze my bum off.
So when we arrived we all piled off the bus, got room assignments- i roomed with a girl from Denmark and a girl from Thialand, they were really sweet girls! Luckily for me my afs advisor was on the trip so I got extra attention from her, esp since her room was about 2 feet away from mine.

During the orientation we played lots of lets just say touchy/feely/kissy type games. Its true that Italians are into that sort of stuff. We played a lot of ice breaker type games where we quickly got to know each other! The main point of the weekend was to talk about our expierence so far. I realized after talking to everyone that my expiernce has been really great so far, and that I dont have any problems. A lot of kids have problems with their families, school, or friends. For me Im not having any difficulites, I just wish I could learn Italian faster!

One activity we did was to get a big piece of paper and write our countries name on it. Then everyone would write down their impressions of that country. For the US people wrote down things like Hollywood, mcdconalds, new york city, fat people, fake blondes, stupid people, disney world, fast food, plastic surgery, big houses, big cars, celebirites, gossip girl, the oc, melting pot, lots of races, american dream... when we had finished writting we had to go to our piece of paper and say what was true and false about the comments. It was hard to explain to everyone that yes those things do exisist in the US but its not all common everywhere in the US. And a lot of it is around the world as well. A lot of people had comments for the US, Italy, Germany and China. And not much to say about Thailand, Norway, Finland and Chile. In another group there was a girl from Bosnia and a girl from Serbia . Now I have never heard of these countries let alone know where they are. So when they were speaking about their country not that many people wrote comments for them. Their piece of paper mainly said small european countries, near Italy, near Croatia, unkown to most people... It was kind of awkquard when I first asked them where they were from. When they told me and I told them I didnt know where their countries where they asked me if I was American. Sad I know. I asked some of the Europeans about these two countries and they said there kind of the lame countries of Europe becuase there so small and nothing really famous about them. Oh well...

One of the big high lights of the weekend was the talent show. I know it sounds lame but it was actually really fun! For my group it was a few americans, a guy from Belgium and a guy from China. Since America doesnt really have just one tradition we decided to show some American culture but dancing thru the decades. Cheesy I know. We did cotton eye joe, swing, souja boy, crumping, macariana.... and a bunch of other American dance moves. The whole dance went well, and the talent show itself was wicked long cuz there was so many of us. We ended with a dance party where I learned that the brazilians and americans are the best when it come to dancing. When you put over 50 teenagers from around the world in one hotel for 4 days you are gauranteed to have fun and some craziness.....

Overall it was a really great weekend. It was awesome seeing everyone one again and meeting new friends. I realized during the trip that the Americans are by far the loudest and biggest group with afs. We are constantly talking and together. Out of the 50 kids 8 of us were American. We mainly hung out with kids from Norway, Germany, Turkey, Brazil, Finland and Belgium. They were the most outgoing and American like I think. Most of them didnt have that strong of an accent and were a lot of fun! Its sad to think that Im probably not going to see some of them again since they are only staying in italy for a trimester or half year and some live a good 2 hours away from me. I miss Aprica and the afs ppl, it was a very fun trip and was great to get away for a few days.

Now I have to go pack for my trip to Florence, Rome and Naples! My aunt and uncle told me a couple days ago that they wanted to surprise me and take me away for a trip. I love Rome so much, its probably my favorite city. And I get to see my old host sister and her family for a day! I guess this is two weeks of traveling and no school for me = ) I didnt even unpack last night when I got home, I just threw a few more tops and an extra pair of pants into my suitcase for this week. Very lazy I know... oh well. Ill write a new post at the end of the week when I get home. Until next time...


Speedos and Capuchinos

First of all Happy Columbus Day to all back home! Enjoy your day of sleeping in and shopping sales. I had to go to school today, which actually wasnt that bad of a day. When I told some friends of mine that it was Columbus Day back home, and that everybody has that day off they told me that Columbus is actually Italian. In the US they teach us that he might have been Italian but no one has proved it for sure. Here they have huge stataus of the guy, go figuare.

Okay so over the weekend my family surprised me and took me to a city in northern Italy called Padova. So on friday night I was doing my english homework which was to write about my dream wedding when my mama came into the room. She had a big smile on her face and told me that my aunt and uncle were taking me to Padova for the weekend. I was so happy- going to Padova for the weekend ment first of all no saturday school, getting out of my tiny town and seeing a cool new city. Now I have never heard of Padova before so if your reading this I suggest you google it. Basicly in one sentance Padova is near Verona and Venice and is known for its art.

So saturday morning I got to sleep in and it felt great!! I got to take my sweet time getting ready that morning which I noramly never have the chance to do here. Its always a race for me to get up, dressed, and ready before the bus comes. So saturday morning my aunt, unlce, and three little cousins all piled into our mercades mini van and drove two hours to this mystery Padova. We arrived at my uncles parents house where grandparents and more aunts were waiting for us. We had a big lunch- something im not used to cuz back home lunches consist of a sandwhich, water, and some chips for me. Any ways it was crummy weather and was raining on and off so we all went to these warm pools. I dont know the correct name for them so I just called them the big hot tub pools which they basically were. This leads me to part of the title of this post- speedos. Thats right there were lots of men there, not cute italian boys but old european men with big bellys strutting around in their little speedos. Not a pretty picture!! The pools were really nice and relaxing so iI enjoyed that a lot. The only down side was that you had to wear a swimming cap. Personally ive never done the whole intense swim team thing so I dont own a swimming cap, so my aunt lent me her extra. Here every pool you have to wear one. I dont really like this, and it doesnt really make sense to me but what ever.
The next morning my mama and papa met us at the house and were supposed to bring my brother and sister with them. Unfotuntely my italian siblings used the "to much homework to go out" card so they got to sleep in and stay at home- not cool gys! So my mama, papa, and I spent the morning exploring Padova which was actually a really cool city. We went to this famous church that was painted by a man named Giocco. There were also lots of parks, street markets and yummy gelato places. We also had another HUGE lunch where I discovered capuchinos. Coffee here are really, really strong little shots. Its like a slap in the face. So I told that its to strong for me so they ordered a different drink for me. Back home I like a big cup of hot french vanilla coffee with cream and sugar. So a capuchino is the next best thing, it taste good and gets me thru the afternoons. I have been having a huge problem with sleeping. Most exchange students get headachs from learning a new language. For me I just get really, really tired like all the time. When I get home from school I sometimes have to take a 2 hour nap so I dont fall asleep during dinner. Now thanks to this coffee drink Im sure to okay for the furture (thankyou aunt noara!)
The weather that day was so nice, I was only wearing a t-shirt and I was plenty warm. The weather has been so great here, its the warmest fall they have had in years. = ) So my parents and I headed back home to Castel Rozzone later that afternoon. We had a little surprise though about a mile and 1/2 away from home we ran out of gas. This situation has never happened to me cuz my mom has that little alarm that goes off when she gets past the empty line. My familys car here doesnt have that so we got to do an interesting method to get home. My papa would hit the gas and we would go a few feet then stop and repeat. At one point we all just burst into laughter. It was one of those "oh man this is crazy/ i cant believe this is happening" kind of moments. We did make it home okay, but running out of gas on a narrow road, surrouded by fields and at night time isnt the best situation. But were good and hopefully its another lesson learned.

No curent news, just the same old things so onto furture news. This thursday Im going to Aprika, a place in the moutains for my AFS orientation camp! YEAH = ) Ill be gone thursday-sunday so no school for me at the end of the week. And ill get to see all my friends from NYC and Rome orientation that I havent seen for a month. AFS orientation is basically a mini camp where you bring kids from a certain region and we all talk about our expiernces so far and do games, and talk and what not. Its really a retreat for us exchange students. Then come the following week im leaving Tuesday to go to Florence, Rome and Naples for a week!! = ) I leave Tuesday and come home Saturday, and the trip is totally free! The only downside is that I have to drive down with my little cousins who arent always happy campers and can cry for a record amount of time for no reason. So im all little worried about that. But Im so excited to go back to those cities. Esp Rome, its probably my favorite city in the whole world. So ill try to write a new post on sunday when I come home from Aprika. So until next time...


Apple Pie and Coke Floats

Okays so during my last three weeks here in Italy Im discovering some of my talents. Actually make that talent. Ive discovered that I really like baking American desserts... a lot. Last week I wanted to bring some American culture to my Italian family and what better way to warm the heart than with food. So I started off easy and made brownies and they were gone that night. So then I thought mmmm whats a classic American dessert? And one answer came to mind- apple pie. I asked my mama how many pies she wanted and she replied "Oh I dont know 6, 7, or 8. As many as you can" Now im thinking that A LOT of pie!! So I went to the grocery store with my papa to buy ingredients. It takes about 7 apples to make one pie so 7 x 5 is 35. So buying 35 apples is kind of a lot... and cashier was looking at my like "crazy american..."
So when I got home my mama saw all the apples so she asked me why I bought so many. I told her that she asked me to make 6 pies. It wasnt til my host brother (thank goodness hes fluent in english) explained to me that she really ment that she wanted 6-8 apples in one pie. Yup thats right she only wanted one pie!!! Now im stucking with over 30 apples!! Mama mia... so far ive made 4 pies. And we still have about a dozen apples left over which ive been eatting for breakfast and afternoon snack. Three for my very large family (ive got a lot of relatives in this big house) and one for my afs dinner. Making pie from scratch takes about an hour to make and and hour to bake. So its takes a while and the pies disappear rather quickly.
Oh and your probably wonder about the coke floats. Now I really love rootbeer floats, but they dont have rootbeer here in italy... at least I dont think they do. (If anyone in Italy see rootbeer let me know!) so I opted for the next best thing- coke. So one night for dessert my family and I were eatting vanilla gelato and they were putting alcohol and coffee in their bowls. So I decided to put coke in my bowl, my family all thought it was wicked disgusting, that is until they tried it and thought it was very good. Oh and I made grilled cheese sandwhiches last night. Throw some ham in there maybe with a couple tomatoes and BAM you got a quick and easy dinner (thxs mom for teaching me). My family thought they were yummy and easy to make. I guess Im intoducing a lot of American traditions over here = )

And now onto other news, like school. As many of you know school here is really hard, a lot harder than your average public high school. So me being me, and knowing basiclly no italian Im not doing so hot in my classes. I think I would be fine if I spoke the language but unfortunetly I dont... yet. So with my English teacher and I sorted out my schedual. We talked about my classes that I dislike and seriously struggle in. I dont even think the word struggle works for my situation becuase to struggle is to be not very good at something because your having difficulties understanding. In my case I dont understand at all, in most classes all the info goes into one ear and out the other. Anyways my teacher and I decided that I should drop my math, science, philosphy and history class. Back home Ive already met all the requirements for science, math and history, and no one really takes philosphy at my old school except for the really smart kids. Im also taking 5th year english (im so good at english here that im skipping two grades! = p) and im pulling a true Duxbury senior move and taking two gym classes. Here we only have gym once a week for two hours. And during my blank classes I can go to the library to read, study, use the comptures and one the teacher will help me with one on one italian tutoring. Overall my new schedual looks great!!

A lesson that Ive learned this week is that if you need help, just ask for it. A lot of time while bring here I try to figuare things out on my own, like finding the right bus, or what my philosphy teacher is writting on the board or even where the sugar is in the kitchen to put in my wicked strong coffee. Im realizing that yes, its good to be independent and what not, but asking for help solves the problem a lot faster and easier. I wish I had known that earlier, then I wouldnt have walked 5 or 6 blocks instead of just turing the corner, or that I wasnt in philosphy, I was in history class or that the sugar in the the cabinet to the right of the stove.

Other news that has happened in the last week... honestly not very much. My family is really great, im so happy to be apart of their family. Some one told me they wish they could switch their family for a different one. I thought to myself I would never switch families, Im way to happy and comfortable with mine. I really have no complaints with them. Im making good friends, the girls from my class are super sweet and nice to me. Im really lucky to have me them so early in the game!

Onto future news, next weekend I have my first AFS weekend orientation! Im wicked excited its from thursday til saturday or maybe sunday. Yup, three days of no school! = ) And its up in the mountains and I get to see all my friends that I met in New York and Rome. I havent seen any of them for a month now. Its hard for me to get together with them becuase I live a solid hour away from Milan, where most of them are so its hard to commute there. The letter from AFS said that Im supposed to dress in my countries traditional clothes... so jeans and a t-shirt it is then! Also I have to preform a talent... mmmm i can make a mean apple pie lol. I dont know, ill probably end up doing a skit with a bunch of other americans.

A lot of people have asked me to tell them about some of my crazy adventures and expirence here in Italy. Unfortunetly I dont have any, yet. But the second something really out of the ordianary happens ill be sure to write a new blog post about it. Until next time...


Two Weeks In!

Okay so I have been in Italy a little longer than two weeks but all the days are starting to blend together that it wasnt until today when I met with my adivsor that she asked me "so how have your first two weeks been??" Wow okay so time here has mushed togther into this big blob of new expiernces and repeated ones. Good thing I have this blog to keep everything in order.

Okay so lets see here... Not much new to report becuase monday-saturday grr saturday i have school and guess what?? I know have an extra hour of school. YEAH!!! hahaha i was wicked bumbed when i looked at my phone and was wondering why the last bell hadnt rung yet. Turns out that they start of slowly here with school and sneak in an extra hour or more each week. School is well.. hard and boring. Im hoping it will get better in time... if not oh well im in Italy so I really shouldnt be complaining at all. Im really starting to realise how much more advanced Italian schools are compared to ones in the US. I dropped down a grade so im in my third year and the students are a lot smarter than me. Hmm but the US does have better colleges and universities. School here compared to US schools pretty much have nothing in common. Except they both have a buliding, teachers and students. Everything else is very different. Im writting a list that is constantly being added of differences with school. Its only been two weeks so ill have a later post about my difference list. Its actually kinda interesting and funny.

In other news I had met with my afs advisor today! Also a girl named Michelle from Hong Kong who lives near my town. We met with our new Italian teacher who we will have lessons with on tuesdays and fridays for an hour and a half. After we met with the teacher, my advisor Chiara showed us around Trevilgio which has a bunch of really expensive outdoor outlits. Good for window shopping and gelato. Im finding that gelato places are everywhere. Its worse than McDonalds in the US- you cant escape them!! Oh and big yet patheltic news for me- I took a city bus all the way home by myself = 0 hahaha! In Duxbury, MA there really isnt any buses to take, you simply drive everywhere all the time. So when I go to italian tutoring I will walk to the teachers house from school and get lunch. then take a bus to a town. walk a block and hope on another bus to my town, and walk to my house. And when I say walk I mean 2 minutes of it. I love having buses to take me places, having sidewalks and gelato places. I makes me feel more independent. Im so tired of saying "mom... can you drive me to this place and can we stop at far fars" (a local ice cream place in my town)

I had a fun weekend, Federico picked me up after school on saturday and we went to Bergamo which is a mini city with great shopping and beautiful view of the mountains. He could only stay for the afternoon so Saturday night I went out with some friends from school. Very fun saturday = ) then sunday slept in, ate another huge lunch and went to island with the family. This island was so beautiful with this giant castel over looking the water, great little boutiques and shops. Oh and it has sulfur beaches which stink like rotten eggs but the water is soooo warm. In certain areas the water is naturally bubbling and steaming. Its very dfifferent for me to see older men wearing spedos and older women wearing thong binkies. Very European... ! I went with my papa, aunt, uncle and three little cousins. When ever we go out as a family ive noticed we kind of cause a lot of attention. First of all were a big group (10 people), three very adorable and loud little kids, half of us speaking in English, and me who looks completly opposite with my annoying light features. (why cant I be tan??) Anyways I had another great weekend in Italy!

I finally feel like im getting into a beat here. I have a daily schedual which tends to change when i dont expect it. Being an exchange student means going with the flow... Overall Im happy, and now healthy (my little cold had gone away) So im all good here. = ) Until next time...


Very Short Weekend!

Okay so here in Italy we have very shortweekends compared to weekends in the United States! Here we have a little thing called saturday school. Yes saturday school, as in you loose a full friday night of going out and a full saturday morning of sleeping in. Two things I really enjoy! Now I would like to know who came up with the idea of having saturday school. Seriously I want a name becuase this isnt right! Italy is known for many great things like its amazing architecture, yummy food, great shopping... the list goes on and on but one thing that is not so awesome is saturday school. I know that Im really lucky to be here in Italy and I usually dont complaine but this really isnt floating my boat. School is very hard here, esp when you dont know italian. I come home everyday so tired, not becuase Im doing anything physical but that Im learning so much! I constantly feel tired and drained during the day. Today in school I almost fell asleep so I had to use the pinching myself method to stay awake!

Anyways Im writting very quickly today to talk about my first full weekend here. Okay so friday, I went to school, went to McDonalds for dinner with my papa and sister. And the people that worked there thought it was cool that I was an American eatting at a Mcondalds in Italy lol. So I was craving a cheeseburger and fries after eatting lots of pasta and pizza. The thing very different about McDonalds is that its more of a restaurant, and people arent ashamed to be eatting there. There are less choices, fries are more salty, they put a weird sauce on the burgers and charge you 30 cents for ketchup. Thats right, no more taking a bunch of free ketchup packets. After McDonalds we went to a town near my house and went window shopping cuz all the stores were closed.

The next day was Saturday and as usual I got up at 630 am and got ready for school against my own will. I kept thinking this isnt right, this isnt right... School was boring, but was only 4 hours so I got home, had a huge home made lunch and watched tv with my brother. Me, my brother, sisters and some of my sisters friend all decided to go to the local pool for a swim. The pool was wicked crowded with kids doing lessons. so there was only two lanes for free swim where intense older people were taking laps. After an hour of laps we took a break and went in the little kid pool. My brother decided to be funny and tell me all about how little kids pee and spit in the pool. Lets just say he went into such detail that I doubt ill be swimming in public pools ever again. Saturday night I went out with some new friends from school. We went to one of the girls town where they were having a festival. So there were music bands playing, people dancing, fancy cars for display, bars, pubs, and ice cream places were open. It was a lot of fun!!

Sunday morning my sister and I got to sleep in (YEAH!) til 10 and we quickly got ready to go out with the family for the day. We got chocolate pastries and orange juice to go becuase everyone else was up and ready. We drove about an hour to this town that was on a lake, a very very big lake! From the town we took a boat to this cute little island that had old churches and the most amazing view of mountains that had houses on the coast. If only we had rememebered to bring a camera. The island wasnt to big so we decided to walk around it, which was a lot more walking than we had planned or wanted. It was about 7 miles, and was over 80 out. And all of us were wearing jeans and t shirts. It was a very long walk and very warm weather with lots of hills but thank goodness for the view lol. After the walk we all got big ice creams and headed home to celebrate my aunt noras birthday with very yummy pastries = )

All in all it was a very fun weekend, I just wish it wasnt so short! Oh well life isnt always perfect so you have to make the most of it. Now I have to go and have italian tutoring. Oh and for future notice when I say brother, sister, aunt I mean host brother sister or aunt... it takes to long to say or write it that way and sounds silly. And I dont have any natural family here so its just easier this way.

My first week here was really cool, crazy and totally different than I imagined it would be! This has been the fullest week of change that I have ever had. Until next time...


First Week!

Okay so I had my first week here in Castel Rozzone, Italy = 0 !!

So on Monday, September 14th I had my first day of school at my new high school. Luckily my host brother and sister go to the same school. So that early monday morning we did our two minute walk to the bus stop. Now when you think bus and school you probably think big, emarrassing yellow school bus. But this bus was the kind that are super long and you see in the city. Okay so we took the very crowded bus to school, and my host brother should me the meeting spot for after school (which i forgot where it was cuz all the hallways look the same) and my classroom. Normally I would be doing my senior year but since italian schools are more advanced I am in my 3rd year of school. Its okay becuase I am young for my grade I rather be taking "easier" classes. Luckily I wasnt as neverous as I thought I was going to be. So I walked into the classroom and only half the students were there and they all just stared at me... and didnt really say anything... wicked awkquard! And I dont speak Italian yet so I could kind of introduce myself to them in italian. Luckily a really nice girl came over to me, who spoke english and introduced me to everyone. And told me to sit with her and her friends. My first teacher came in and just endlessly started talking in italian. She didn roll call and noticed that she had a new student. She asked where I was from in english and then continued talking in italian. For majority of my teachers this is what happened at the beginning of class.

So these are my classes:
Science, German, Gym, History, Art, Philosphy, Religion, Enlgish = ) Italian, Latin, Math, and Spanish.

Okay so Science, History, Philophy, Religion, Math, Latin, and Italian dont make any sense to me at all. They are tought in Italian and the teachers talk really fast and basiclly lecture for an hour, some times two hours!! Imagine two hours of math (omg!!) I thought I would at least understand math but no, the numbers look different. For example the 1 looks like a 7. The 4 looks like a triangle. The 5... I dont know what the 5 looks like, just a squiggley line. And the 9 looks like a g. And they way the solve problems.... no idea how they are doing it. The teacher just picks a student and for 20 minutes they are at the white board doing a long problem. At home with math class the teacher takes 20-40 minutes explaining the lesson and how to do problems then we do a worksheet for the rest of class. I have never had a religion class in school before becuase I go to public school. Here they can teach religion buts it your choice to listen in class. The teacher was actually a priest and half the class did other things that hour. I tried to follow what he was saying but at always i didnt understand him... yet.

German class is kinda hard too, the teachers saw my last name which is hofmaier and she sais oh your german, do you speak german? And of course I dont, and that looks bad... Im guessing Im not the only American who doesnt know their nationalities language. Esp when your a european mutt like me and have many different nationalities like german, irish, french, english, austrian.... I think that I would like to learn German when I come back home, its a cool language but right now I really need to learn Italian first!!

I have been taking Spanish for a few year now. My spanish isnt horrible but it isnt as good as the other students in my class. The first day of class we had to each talk about what we did this summer and our goals for the year. Not to hard, but I couldnt understand fully what the other students were saying. And they know a lot of vocab words that I havent learned. And the students can speak spanish so fast. My favorite class is English as sad as that it. Its the only class I understand fully because the teacher is British. She helps me learn new italian words and wants me to do some creative writting and read some English literature instead of American Literature, which I like so that class is good.

Oh and I have school on Saturday! There goes my friday nights going out and saturday mornings sleeping in. School this week was only 4 hours (8am-12pm) But next week it will be for 5 hours. My school in Italy is a lot smaller and the students are there just to learn. There is no school sports teams, mascots, or spirit. Its very serious and kinda boring, but not everything in life can be fun. I basiclly dont understand what is going on my most of my classes right now. Kind of feeling like a fish out of water. At least im a senior and I only have to pass english literature and gym to graduate which wont be a problem here becuase they are my easiest classes.

Ive only been in Italy for a week and I have already had a cold. Kind of a bummer and its ironic that the last time I came to Italy I got a cold as well. Maybe its something in the air my body isnt used to. No worries though, my mama bought me some serious meds that made me feel all better even if they tasted nasty.

Tonight Im going out with some new friends from school so ill write more about my short weekend in my next post.

Oh and good news for me, I have another exchange student from Southern Cananda living 2 minutes walking distance from me. He speaks english, and is a senior but is taking 3rd year classes too. We both kinda in the same boat lol. Until next time...