Thursday, December 27, 2012

Christmas in Italia!

I'm so sorry I haven't posted in forever! I've been so extremely busy and being in Italy now just seems like my normal life, I feel like there's nothing special that I should write down! haha okay so the last time I posted was about the fashion show! Since then I went to a party at my friends house.. had a dinner with my host parents friends & their daughter.. made Christmas cookies & cupcakes.. celebrated Christmas.. finished the first trimester of school.. went shopping in Milan.. went to discoteca and tried a cow tongue.. hahhaa I'm really starting to feel so comfortable & happy with my life here. It just feels so natural now. I feel like my Italian's improved a lot and I can finally communicate with everyone. Oh and I'm so happy in Math I got a 7 for this trimester (: Anyway, my last day of school was on Saturday but we only had 2 hours of classes and then a one hour party with a bunch of desserts that everyone brought. I made sugar cut out Christmas cookies and everyone went crazy for them! haha then on Saturday during the day I went to an AFS party with all the other exchange students and met 2 girls from Perth, Australia (where I lived for 2 years) who are here for 2 months! Then my Italian friend Giulia came over and we got ready together for the discoteca on Saturday night. The disco was so much fun, I love them so much! On Sunday my family and I went out for lunch with my host dads side of the family for a Christmas meal. The restaurant was really nice and served the best food ever. They just brought out plate after plate of food. We literally had like 6 antipasta's, 2 different kinds of pastas, fish, meat, salad, bread, deserts and everything imaginable. The waiter's just kept bring out more and more food and I kept thinking that we were finished. Everyone was laughing at me because I was like "what?! more food!?" my host aunt went to New Jersey for a year when she was my age and she gained like 30 pounds in one month.. so she kept shoving food on my plate and telling me to eat more because I'm only here for a year and have to try everything! The lunch lasted like 4 hours. Then we went back to my host grandparents house and exchanged presents. I felt so bad because my package with all my presents didn't arrive yet so I didn't have anything to give anyone. I wasn't expecting to get any presents either because I've only met this side of my family like once but they gave me a necklace and pair of Scooby Doo slippers which I thought was so sweet! (: On Sunday night I went with my host sister and her boyfriend to their friends house for a Christmas dinner that they do every year. It was so sweet one her friends got me a book about Turin in English & Italian! Then on Monday, Christmas Eve, I woke up at about 1 for lunch. Christmas Eve was pretty relaxing, in the evening I went with Federica to her boyfriends house to give him his present and we walked around Rivoli for a little while. Then at midnight we all went to church in our town for the Christmas mass. It's a tradition, my family goes every year at 12 and always end up falling asleep for a little bit. haha (: After the mass, the church served hot chocolate and everyone gathered around outside the front entrance and wished each other a Buon Natale! (: Then we went home went to sleep and woke up early the next morning to open Christmas presents! I felt really bad because my package didn't arrive on time so I didn't have gifts for everyone :( We're actually still waiting on my package and I reaalllyy hope it gets here soon!! My host family got me really pretty leggings, a sweater and tanktop. I got some pink gloves from Milan and a red bra & underwear set from my host aunt (: I got my little sister Nini the game Just Dance 4 for Wii but I wrapped it like a thousand times with a bunch of different packages so it looked really big & took her forever to unwrap (: After presents we eat breakfast together and watched the top 20 Christmas song countdown on MTV then got ready and went to my aunt Louisa's house for a huge lunch with the entire side of my host mom's family. My host aunts have been preparing this meal since last Saturday! They made home made agnolotti and it was amazing! We also had cow tongue.. I tried it but I didn't like it at all.. hahaha the lunch lasted like 3 or 4 hours because we took breaks in between like each course. It was fun hanging out with all my cute little cousins and stuff. I really feel like I'm part of the family now, I'm not just the awkward random girl anymore. For desert we had panettone cake with this amazing cream that my nonna made. Ahhh heavenly. We returned back home ande everyone took a little nap because we were all so exhausted from eating so much food! Then I skyped with my family back home and I participated in our yearly gift exchange through Skype. hahhaa (: I don't think I was really that homesick this Christmas! Since we ate so much for lunch, we didn't really have dinner, just some cakes, cookies & coffee for dinner. Then after dinner we watched an Italian movie and I actually understood a lot of it! Then yesterday was a pretty lazy day, we all just kinda slept and ate and just relaxed all day! Then today we're off to the Alps until the 30th for skiing! (: My host family has a house up in the mountains! I'm so excited I haven't been skiing in forever.

Oh and I forgot to mention that a few weeks ago I went to Milan with my host mom, aunt, sister, cousin & my aunt's friend! My cousin and I got to skip school for a day to go (: It was so much fun! I didn't buy anything though cause we mainly just looked at all the really expensive shops like Gucci and Dolce & Gabbana. It was a nice trip! I really liked Milan and I hope we can visit again!

Okay well that's all for now, we're leaving for the mountains now! I'm gonna finish with a bunch of pictures from the past couple of weeks now! (:

Federica wrote this hahhaa 
The xmas tree in Porta Nuova is covered with letters to Santa! (:
So grateful for all my amazing presents from my family & friends in Italy! 
Last day of school festa! 
mmm Christmas cupcakes! 
Ice skating in Torino! 
My cute little cousins on Christmas!
My crazy loud Italian family during our Christmas lunch  
The cow tongue.....
Our Christmas tree!
3F my class!
First snow! 
The village of babbo natale in Rivoli!
Babbo natale!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Fashion shows & Italian school (:

It's already December! When did this happen!? It seems like yesterday that I was in shorts landing in Rome.. 

Soo what happened this week.. Monday as you remember I didn't have school, Tuesday Italian lesson, Wednesday I started some Christmas decorating and Thursday another Italian lesson. One day this week at school this week, one of my friends told me that it feels strange for her to speak in English with me now because I can speak Italian! It was one of the nicest things ever, I was so happy! haha On Friday I had an Italian lesson then went shopping with Kaylin afterwards and I bought a new winter jacket. But then on Friday night it was really sad because it was the last day that my friend Olivia from Denmark is here. She left on Saturday morning because she's only staying for 3 months. I can't even believe how fast time is flying, it's already been 3 months! I can't imagine going home already. I felt so bad for Olivia. It was so sad, we watched a bunch of videos and looked at pictures from the past 3 months. It's so weird to imagine going back to my normal life in Ohio, it doesn't seem real anymore. I don't know how to describe it. Anyway all of the exchange students in my area stayed at Olivia's house for dinner and then she made a Danish dessert for us of rice and sugar. It was a fun night, I got home pretty late and school on Saturday was pretty horrible.. haha then on Saturday night I went to a fashion show in Bardonecchia with my host family. They're friends with the designer, it was really cool! The first fashion show I've ever been too. The clothes were really nice and afterwards we went to a different room and there was some really good food and champagne. I tried the Italian version of sushi with pesto, raw red meat, rice, peppers and anchioves in the center. It was delicious! I want to make it when I come back to the U.S for my family. We also walked around Bardonecchia for a while before the fashion show and there was a bunch of snow and Christmas lights, it's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas and I love it! After the fashion show we were still a bit hungry so we went out for pizza. On Sunday I didn't do much, just slept in, went running and relaxed!

Sushi the Italian style (:

New Christmas tree in Porta Nuova

After the fashion show

La mia mamma italiana (:


I'm such a midget compared to the models..

Fashion show!


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas <3


Alright so I know I've been meaning to do this FOREVER but I've finally gotten around to it, I'm gonna write all about Italian schools (:

So in Italy there's lots of different types of high schools, Classical, Scientifico, Linguistico, Artistico and so on. I attend a Scientifico school where the focus is on Science and Math. My school's first class starts at 8:15 am. There's 5 years of high school in Italy, I'm in the 3rd year, my class is 3F. In Italy you don't change classrooms for different subjects. You stay with one class all day and the teachers change rooms instead. Then that one class that you stay with all the time, you stay with them for all 5 years of high school. You don't even change classes every year so your class is basically like your family. It's nice because everyone is so close with each other but I don't like it so much because it's harder to meet new people and people from other classes. Okay anyway, so to me school feels more like college. Every class has a different schedule and it's completely different, the first and second year doesn't have school on Saturday and everyone else does. It's also different because some classes finish school at 1 pm some days some finish at 2. School never ends at the same time for everyone. You don't have the same classes everyday either like in the U.S. My class takes 10 classes and it differs on how many hours of each class we have every week. On average you have maybe about 3 hours of each class each week. My class normally has 5 classes everyday and we almost always finish at 1 pm except on Friday's we finish at 2 and on Saturday's we finish at 12. I did the math and I actually go to school less hours here in Italy each week than I do in the U.S! I go to school 7 hours everyday in the U.S, 5 times a week = 35 hours and here I go 5 hours everyday, 6 times a week = 30 hours. It really doesn't feel that way though because of the school on Saturday.. Anyway we have 5 classes (5 hours) of school everyday. Sometimes though we have 2 hours of a certain class, for example today we had 2 hours of math. It's different everyday! We do 2 hours of classes then have a 15 minute break, 2 more hours of class, another 15 minute break and then 1 more hour and then it's over. Oh and the grading system is completely different, they use a scale from 1 to 10. 1 is the worst, 10 the best. Except unlike the U.S, it's pretty much impossible to get a 10, like literally no one ever gets 10's. An 8 or 9 is considered the best and anything above a 5 is considered passing. Okay so, this year I'm trying to get credits for my Math, Chemistry and English classes, so I have to change classes for those subjects. My class does Biology not Chemistry so I switch into a 4th year class for Chemistry 3 times a week. And for English I go to a 5th year class since I'm fluent.. haha (; Okay so I'm gonna run through everything that happens in each class:
  • Matematica: I actually like math year, most of the time during class when the teachers explaining I don't really understand everything she's saying but when I look at the examples and try it myself I can usually understand. Plus the teacher's really nice so sometimes during her free hours at school we meet up and she explains everything and helps me! I've taken 3 tests in this class so far, and I'm so proud on my last test I got an 8 and a half which is actually pretty good! (:
  • Filosofia/Storia: We do both Philosophy and History with the same teacher. Pretty much the teacher walks in, talks for the entire time, everyone frantically writes down notes and then she leaves. I don't really participate very much in the class yet because it's just so difficult with the language barrier but the teacher gave me a different History book to the class with questions at the end of each chapter and I try to work on that! I don't think this teacher likes me very much because my phone went off a few times during class.. hahhaa
  • Scienze: In Science my class is doing Biology this year and I did Biology last year so I kind of understand what's going on it's just hard with the language barrier right now! I took one test and I don't think it went too awful but since I don't need to do this class this year I normally leave during the class and go to Chemistry or English or another class that I have to do.
  • Inglese: I do 2 English classes here, one with my class 3F which is obviously easy for me but I like helping everyone with their homework and everything. Then I switch into 5B, 3 times a week for English with them. I thought it'd be easy but it's actually kind of difficult what we're learning! We're doing romantic poetry and Jane Austen right now, I have an interrogazione in a few days!  
  • Storia dell'Arte: My class only has Art History 2 hours a week and for one of those hours I leave to go to English with 5B so I only have 1 hour of this class each week. Normally I just work on my Italian workbook and study Italian. This class seems so difficult, it's not like Art in the U.S where we do fun drawings and stuff, they have to draw 3D shaped buildings and it looks so hard.
  • Italiano: It's so strange, during "Italian class" we actually do Latin. Then in Latin class we do Italian, I asked my classmates why it's opposite and they said it's because the Italian teacher is better at teaching Latin. So yeah it's opposite! Anyway to me Latin seems to be the hardest subject for my classmates. This is the 3rd year they've been learning Latin and I've never learned it before so the teacher gave me an Italian workbook to do instead. Everyone in my class is always stressing out so much about Latin I feel so bad for them. 
  • Latino: Like I said, during Latin we do Italian literature and stuff. The teacher is really laid-back and honestly most of the time everyone just talks and doesn't do very much. Sometimes the teacher has me look up the Italian poetry on Wikipedia in English and try translating into Italian.
  • Fisica: I only attend this class once a week because I always leave to go to other classes so I obviously don't really participate! haha
  • Religione: We only have this class one hour a week and I normally go to another class so yeah another random class haha
  • Ginnastica: We have 2 hours of gym on Saturday's.. kill me.. It's so weird the girls and boys seperate and we then we go with another class of girls. I don't really like it, we're in a tiny gym in the basement of the school and we do the randomest, weirdest workouts but at lease it's keeping me from getting fat! I think....
  • Chimica: I change classes for Chemistry and go with the 4th year. This class is so hard for me just because of the language barrier, I've taken 2 tests so far. The first one he didn't give me a grade (probably cause it was so horrible) then on the 2nd test I was allowed to use my notes and my book and I still only got a 6.5.. haha but we went to the lab and did some experiments the other day it was fun!
Okay well that's all for nowww byeeee! (:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Thanksgiving in Italy!

Ciao tutti! Things are going really well here. I'm really proud of how much my Italian has improved. Of course I'm still not fluent but I'm honestly amazed by how much I've learned in just 3 months. It may not seem like a lot, I still speak extremely slowly, make lots of grammar mistakes and can't understand absolutely everything yet. But if I think back to when I first got here and I knew absolutely nothing besides ciao, spaghetti and pizza, I've made so much progress. Italian is becoming my instinct now, little words are just automatic for me, I just naturally say perch√© instead of because or ciao instead of yes. I feel like I'm going to go back home to the U.S in July and it's going to feel so strange to always speak in English..

I'm so happy that I was able to celebrate Thanksgiving here! Of course, no one celebrates Thanksgiving here because it's an American holiday. No one knows about Thanksgiving at all, I told all my friends at school that it was Thanksgiving, some didn't know what it was and most thought that it took place during the summer! Anyway, I wasn't really planning on doing anything for Thanksgiving. I figured I'm in a foreign country so I should just adapt to their culture and forget about Thanksgiving. But my American friend Kaylin thought we should make a turkey dinner for our host families! Her mom sent all the ingredients and recipes from the U.S and we pre-ordered a turkey from a butcher here! It turns out, 2 girls cooking an entire Thanksgiving meal is a lot of work!! Last Wednesday and Thursday we spent the whole evening backing pumpkin and apple pies and making home made noodles. It was so nice, we blasted Justin Bieber's Christmas album and cooked up a storm (: Then on Friday we got to leave school an hour early so we could cook the turkey, potatoes and everything else! On Friday night, my host family came to Kaylin's house and we had our Thanksgiving dinner! The meal didn't start until about 8:30 and all the food couldn't fit on the table so Kaylin and I took on the roles of waitresses and served everyone. Of course, as the tradition goes, before we served everyone their meals we went around the table and said what we were thankful for (in Italian of course). The dinner lasted at least 4 hours! There was sooo much food! Surprisingly everything turned out to be delicious! I was wearing a really tight skirt and after eating my first plate of food I left the room and went and changed into jeans instead so that I could eat more food, I came back to the table in jeans and everyone was so confused and asked why I changed. I said "Ho voglio di mangiare ancora ma la mia gomma é troppo stretto!" (I want to eat more but my skirt is too tight!) I'm pretty sure everyone thought I was insane and my host mom said I'm going to need to go running more since I eat so much.. haha anyway my host family and I didn't leave Kaylin's house until after midnight. I was exhausted and super slap happy and the end of the night. Kaylin and I were just laughing about nothing and my little host sister gave us a weird look when we were laughing hysterically and I told her that I get crazy when I eat so much and she said "not only when you eat alot..." hahahhaa (: We got home from Thanksgiving dinner at around 1 am and I was dead tired the next day when I had to go to school but it was worth it! I'll never forget my Thanksgiving in Italy (: My host dad said that it was his favorite day of the year hahaha but no mom and dad back home, I'm not cooking Thanksgiving dinner again next year..... Way too much work!

Setting the table
With our turkey!
La mia famiglia italiana

The chiefs of everything!

Besides Thanksgiving dinner the rest of the weekend was really relaxing and fun! (: Minus school on Saturday of course where I wanted to kill myself... haha after school I came home and just slept all day because I was so exhausted from cooking and staying up so late. Then on Saturday night I went to Rivoli with some of my Italian friends from my class. It was a fun time! (: We just went to a cafe got some drinks then walked around for a while. On Sunday I slept in then went shopping in Torino with Kaylin. We both got a lot of Christmas shopping done! It was hilarious we seriously bought sooo muuch we were each carrying around like 4 humungous bags and everyone gave us funny looks. Then for dinner we got some sushi, it was heaven <3 I haven't eaten sushi since I've gotten here and I miss it so much! Afterwards Kaylin slept over, it was so much fun we made paper snowflakes, listened to Christmas music, wrapped presents, decorated my room, made puppy chow and watched Elf in Italian. I understand everything in Elf since I've seen it so much! I forgot to mention that on Monday we didn't have school because there was a festival called Santa Caterina in Rivoli. Kaylin, Nini and I took the bus into Rivoli to go to the festival. It was HUGE there was sooo many stands with food and clothes and just everything! Oh and we ran into a lot of people that we knew. I swear everyone knows everyone in this town! Except I'm so mad because all my friends told me that there were some really cool carnival rides at the festival but Kaylin and I couldn't find them anywhere!! We just walked up and down and looked at all the markets. Then at the end when we had to leave we saw the section with all the rides. We were soooo mad! I told all my friends that we couldn't find the rides and they think that we're like retarded now.. hahaha 

I think that's all for now! I need to start writing more because I want to write a posts about Italian food, school and the language! Next time! Now I'm off to wrap some more Christmas presents (: