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...


Welcome to Castel Rozzone!

Okay so I have arrived in Castel Rozzone, Italy yesterday! It took my 4 days to get here, I took trains, planes, buses and cars but i am finally here! It was a wicked long journey, over 4,000 miles but i made it in one piece. so basiclly this is how everthing went down:

September 9th:
I got up really early that morning to get a ride to school with my friend peter. i had some last minute things i needed my school to sign. after that my mom picked me up from school and we went to get a state id card from the dmv. and of course it had been a long weekend so the dmv was wicked packed. it took us two hours to get the piece of paper!! while i was waiting my mom got euros for me which look like monopoly money. by the time we left the dmv it was 11 am and my flight was at 2pm. i made a quick grilled cheese and headed off to the airport with my mom and sister. sadly it was my little sisters birthday so i felt bad leaving her but i knew the second i left my mom would take her out shopping. I was really happy to see my friend emily from marshfield was at the aiport too. we got to sit next to each other for the 30 minute flight to new york city. normally it take 30 minutes from boston to new york by plane. for us it was 2 1/2 hours because obama decided to land in jfk right as we were taking off. and we could take off until he left. When we got off the plane afs voluneers and other kids from around the country were already there. I claimed my very overweight bag (75 pounds) and headed to the hotel. At the hotel we had two days of very boring orientation.... wont go into detail

September 10th:
All the afs kids from the usa flew together to zurich from new tork that evening. there were about 40 of us. and only two volunteers. check in wasnt to much a problem, exept i had to pay $150 for my bag cuz it was twice the size it should have been. anyways we had a six hour flight to zurich. luckily the food was good and we had tv and i got to watch movies during the flight. but it was inpossible to sleeps cuz we had no room. so we missed a full nights sleep.

September 11th:
Yes i elizabeth hofmaier flew on sept 11th but we had no problems exept two of the kids left their passports in the air plane so that was actually a huge problem lol. we had a four hour layover in zurich, so we just hung out, ate chocolate and drank coffee. We had a quick flight from zurich to rome which was only an hour and we got see a lot of italy via plane. i got a sick picture of the alps from my window seat = ) When we got to rome afs ppl meet us and we got our bags and met up with the japanese exchange students. Now the walk from the aiport to the bus was extremely long, esp when you have a 75 pund check in bag, 20 pound carry on and a 10 pound back pack!! We all tried to stay awake on the bus ride to the hotel but we were all sooooo tired that we ended up falling asleep for that hour. When we got to the hostile we dropped our stuff of in our rooms and took quick showers. When we came outside there were 400 exchange students from around the world! They came out of no where!! It was soo overhwelming with everyone there, speaking different languages. But everyone was really nice to us! We were the last country to arrive so we had missed the rome orientation ( no complaints) I went to bed kinda early cuz i had only gotten 2 hours of sleep for the last three nights.

September 12th:
All of the exchange students had been broken into groups depending on where they were going. We were all leaving that morning to meet our host families... finally! People left from 6am-3pm. i left at 1030 so it wasnt to bad. there were about 50 students going to the milan/bologna/florence area. We all piled our stuff onto the train and had a 4 hour ride. wasnt much to do so i ended up playing uno, coloring in coloring books and reading 17 magazine. my ipod was dead and there was no internet connection = ( after days of traveling we finally made it to milan!! i was feeling so gross from the long ride to milan and carrying all my stuff. 10 minutes before we arrived in milan the afs ppl told us we had to introduce ourselves in italian to all of the hosting families thats a lot fo ppl!! okay so my italian sucks so the afs ppl wrote down the four sentances i had to say. they where:
ciao, me chiamo elizabeth
sono americana
vado a treviglio
dalla famigilia spreafico
hi, my name is elizabeth
i am american
i am going to trevigilo
i am stay with the spreafico family
I had the sentances down perfectly but the second i saw all of those people i got wicked nervous and froze after sono americana... alot of the kids did so the afs ppl would whisper our next line lol. I was sooo happy to finally meet my family after talking to them for the past few months! I have a mom, a dad, an 18 year old host brother (alessandro) and a 14 year old host sister (ottavia) and three cats. little did i knew i was entering an episode of full house. when we arrived at my house i realized that i have an aunt, and uncle, three little cousins and a grandma. They all live in a big beautiful house and each family lives on a different floor. They are all extremely kind, sweet, loving, helpful and fun. I know that I will fit in great here and will love it all. Tomorrow is my first day of school and im wicked nevervous!! If i was fluent in italian i think i wouldnt have any fears about living here. I hope to learn the language very very fast!! I miss my home, family and friends but im trying not to think about it cuz it makes me very sad knowing i wont see any of it for 10 months. Until next time...