Its true, I have officially been living in Italy for 5 months now! I can't at all tell if its flown by or not... Its the strangest feeling, I feel like I just left my house back in September yet I feel like Ive been here for a very long time! All I know is that I'm very proud of myself for making it thru this far with very few problems. I rememeber the last few days before I left the US... just wondering what my stay in Italy would be like. Would I get along with my family, will I make friends, will I be able to speak Italian, will I be crying all the time from homesickness?? I must say that things turned out a lot better than I had hoped. I fit in nicely with my Italian family, I have many group of friends, my Italian... well... thats something I could definatly work on! I miss home of course but in the last 5 months I think Ive cried a total of 3 times. My first week I was an emotional wreck... I rememeber my first few days in Italy and thinking "what the heck am I doing here?! I'm on the other side of the world for the next ten months, I know hardly anyone, I wont see any of my friends or family for how long??" I rememeber my first call home, and that I put it off for a couple of days just because I knew I would start crying the moment I heard my moms voice. As much as tried I couldnt help but to shed a few tears after we hung up. The other two times I have cried were on Thanksgiving and Christmas... I was so homesick those two days and couldnt really do anything about it. Other than that I have honestly been really happy here.

So Afs has asked me to take some time to reflect on my stay so far. Weigh in the pros and cons of the last 5 months in Italy. If I had to give you a number on my stay so far on a scale of 1-10 I probably give it an 8. Somedays I feel so incredibly low and just want to be at home again. Other times I feel like I could live here forever. I remember I had an Afs meeting before I left and they told us that this expierence would be a huge rollercoaster. We would have many ups, downs, loops and turns during our stay abroad. I can honestly say they were really right on this one. Everyday isnt at all perfect but there's days that are that make up for it.

The things that I miss most about home is of course my family. I miss everyone so much esp my mom. It wasnt until I got to Italy that I learned how much I took them for granit and how lucky I am to have them. And of course I really miss all my friends back home too... I cant wait for this summer to be reunited with everyone! Another thing I miss is the food. As sad as it is I really miss it! I know that your thinking "how could she miss the food when shes in Italy??" If you come to Italy for a week or two you will say its the best, but after 5 months you will be craving American food like no other. The last thing that I really miss is my town... I really took living on the water for granite! Im in the middle of northern Italy... to see the ocean you would have to take a train about 3 hours either east or west.

I do think however in the last 5 months I have grown up... a lot! I feel like when I come home I willl no longer be seen to my parents as their "little lizzy". Ive learned in the last 5 months that the only person you can rely on is yourself. Its up to you to be the person you want to be, and how you want to live your life. I know that when I come home I won't be relying on my parents as much as I did in the past. The other big thing that Ive learned is that not everything in life is going to happen as expected. And that when life hands you unexpexcted things you have to accecpt the challange and make the most of it. Like the famous quote "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade".

If I had to change anything in the last 5 months I would probably would had learned more Italian before I came. It defintaly would have made things a lot easier the first month! I rememeber my first day of school was only 2 days after my arrival in Italy- I couldnt even introduce myself to people. I quickly learned that smiling will get you far when your abroad!Other than learning Italian before I came there really nothing I would have done differently.

Ive been told that the next 5 months will be better than the first half. That the second half of my stay will fly by, and that my relationship with my friends and family will become stronger, my knowledge of the language will become better(fingers crossed) and that I will overall have a better time. I have a lot to look forward to:
This Saturday I'm going to Verona for Valentine's Day. Ill be celebrating it with Federico and will stay over night at his house with his family. It will also be the mark of our first date two years ago. = )
Monday and Tuesday I have no school becuase it will be carnivale in Italy. Basicly the entire country goes crazy with parties in all the cities. They celebrate carnivale 40 days before Easter so you sort of do all the things your going to give up for lent.
Next week there will be a new exchnage student arriving in Treviglio. Shes from Canada and will be here for 3 months. Always happy to have a new exchange student!
In two weeks it will be Federicos birthday and were hoping to go to Torino to celebrate with all his friends for the weekend.

From the 6th-12th ill be in Edinburgh, Scotland!
From the 21st-28th ill be in Gela, Sicily!
= D lots of traveling!!

My my, sister and my moms's boyfriend will be coming to Italy for a few days to see me the third week of the month!! = D Super happy about that one!!

Its my birthday the 25th... also my mama's, host sisters, host aunt, and my new baby cousin thats on the way!

Finish school the second week and will be Freeeeee!

I have 10 days to do anything and everything before my flight home

So as you can see Ive got a lot of things coming up in the next 5 months! Some things that happened in the last week is that I got my report card and got all 8 in my classes and 10 in conduct/particaption in class = ) solid grades! My host parents were really proud. Yesterday (sunday) I had my last day of skiing. Im feeling bittersweet aboout that one. The expierence was amazing and Im really happy that I had the chance to do it! I am however excited to have my saturday nights going out late and sunday morning of sleeping in!

So Until Next Time...