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....