Saturday, January 26, 2013

Turkey & Italy

Hey everyone! So this past week I think has been the busiest week ever! My school's doing a one week exchange trip with a school in Istanbul, Turkey. Last Friday the Turkish students arrived! Then in the end of April, we're going to Istanbul! I didn't host a Turkish student because my host family said that there wasn't room at our house since I was already here but I still get to do all the activities with the Turkish students and I'm going to Istanbul in April! Anyway, Friday night we all went out to a pub together for some drinks. It was nice being able to speak English with them! I was pretty much the translater for the entire week they were here because no offense to my Italian friends but they're not very good at English at all... It was really fun though! So Friday night I got home kind of late then the next day we had school.. it sucked but thankfully I got to skip gym class and go to the Castello di Rivoli with the Turkish students instead. It's a contemporary art museum and we were there for about 2 hours, honestly I didn't really understand how half of the objects were considered art but whatever it was fun and better than gym class! Then on Saturday night I met up with my Italian friends Sara, Sarah and their Turkish exchange students Cansu and Bengu at our friends Martina and Ilaria's volleyball game. They won the game then we all went to Torino together and met up with all the other Turkish girls and our friends. Also my exchange student friends Sanni, Paula and Efe met up with us. It was insane there was people from like every country, America, Turkey, Germany, Finland and Italy hahaha but we all went to a pizzeria for dinner. Then we took the metro back and then we were going to take the bus back to Rivoli but we were waiting for like 20 minutes and it didn't show up so my friend Martina's mom drove us all home.. all 11 of us in her 5 person car. It was hilarious, Sarah, Sara and Martina were sitting like in the trunk, Ilaria and all the Turkish girls, Pinar, Cansu and Bengu were in the middle seats then I was in the front seat sitting on Ilaria's mom's lap who I just met that night! hahahaha I had to sit on her lap since I was the smallest. It was just a little bit crowded.. anyway then on Sunday night Martina had a party at here house and almost everyone in my class and the Turkish girls went. It was really fun we ate a bunch of pizza then blasted music and were dancing, I think Martina's neighbors wanted to kill us. Then on Monday we didn't have to go to school instead we went with the Turkish students to Torino and visited the Fiat factory and Palazzo Barolo! It was a really fun but long day, we were taking buses and the metro all over Torino and walking everywhere all day. My friends taught me a sentence in a dialect of Southern Italy: "Uima saricé ca cazzo ha cumminatu". It's so weird that there's all different dialects in every part of Italy and they are completely different languages! Anyway that sentence means like "Oh my god what the fuck have you done!?" I think.. I'm not positive but when I say it with my American accent my friends like die of laughing every time.


We learned how to make some artwork at Palazzo Barolo 

Palazzo Barolo

Pinar, Marta, Defne, Benny, Casnu, Sara, Defne and Silvia!

Sitting on my friends mom's lap in the front seat.. hahahhaa
10 girls in 1 car..

So I got home Monday night at like 7 from Torino and I was exhausted! Then my host sister Federica reminded me that her boyfriend was having his birthday party that night. She had told me a couple days before but I totally forgot. So we had like an hour to get ready and then Angie (Federica's boyfriend) picked us up and off we went to his birthday party. It was at a pub/restaurant and they rented a huge room for everyone. There was like 35 people and the food was really good! We got home at like 1 am and then yeah you'll never guess I went to school the next day! Whoooo. After 4 nights in a row of going out I was about to die at school.

the birthday boy! 

On Wednesday after school I took a nice looong nap! Then on Thursday after school I went to my Italian lesson like usual, we finished at 6:30 then I went to Porta Nuova and met up with my Italian friends and the Turkish girls and we went out for dinner at this really good place called Obellix. Everyone was there, all the Turkish kids, our teachers and the Turkish teachers. It was a buffet so we ate a bunch. Also there was 2 birthday's so the teachers surprised them with a cake. After dinner without the teachers of course we all went to a bar for some drinks. Then we took the subway and bus back to Rivoli. Once again another late night with school in the morning :/ Friday after school I went over my friend Kaylin's house for her birthday and we made puppy chow and hung out. Then Friday night my host mom and I decided to try making gnocchi for the first time. It turned out really yummy! It was actually super easy to make too, you just need potatoes, flour and mix that together then make the shapes of the gnocchi stick in boiling water, mix with some cheese and butter and you're done! I'm definitely gonna make it for my family when I get back to Ohio. 

Yesterday the Turkish students went home and it was kind of sad, I'm going to miss being with them and constantly going out! :( But I can't wait to go to Istanbul in April! Today (Saturday) I went to school, came home and slept for a while then went over my Italian friends house and I just got home. I'm so happy, I've been hanging out with my Italian friends so much more in this past week and we're starting to get so much closer. My friend Sara today was like "Jacqueline I'm sad that the Turkish kids left, I can't even imagine how sad I'm going to be when you leave, I don't even want to think about July." It was so sweet but it made me sad! I don't want to think about going home either :( Oh but another thing I forgot to mention is that my Christmas package FINALLY came in the mail after over a month!! THANK GOD <3333 There was Christmas cookies that my mom & grandma made for me and like 7 packs of Reese's. My friends in my class went insane when they tried Reese's! Everyones begging me for me and asking if they can pay me to have my mom send more from the U.S! 

Skype with my mom getting ready to rip open the package finally

I have some more random pictures that I'm gonna upload now too!

The closest thing to Starbucks in Italy 
My school <3 
The bar/cafe at our school
my class 3F (the best class in the school)
Okay well that's all for now! The next couple of weeks are going to be so much fun, next weekend I'm going to Venice with AFS and all my exchange student friends and then the week after we finish school on Thursday then there's a huge discoteca and we have like 5 days off school for Carnevale! I think my Italian friends and I are going to go shopping in Milano for a day too! Okay well ciao ciao! (:

Sunday, January 20, 2013


So the other day one of my old friends from back in Brunswick messaged me and asked if she could write an article about me for our school newspaper. Of course I said yes and she sent me some questions. Writing and looking back on all the challenges and fun times I've had so far makes me so grateful for this experience. I figured I might as well post the questions she asked and my answers on my blog! If anyone has any more questions they want to ask me just leave a comment or e-mail me at ! (:

1. What made you want to go to Italy?

I decided to come to Italy honestly because I was just ready for a change. I’m used to moving a lot with my family, we lived in Australia when I was in 6th and 7th grade and after being back in Brunswick for 2 years I was ready for another experience in a different country. At first I asked my parents if there was a chance that we could move again but they said no. So instead one day last January, I went online and found a study abroad program called AFS (, asked my parents and applied. It was a really spontaneous decision; I only had 2 weeks to complete my application and most of my friends didn’t even know! There wasn’t a specific country that I wanted to go to; I was more interested in the experience. I had actually put down over 10 different countries on my application. I put Italy as my first choice because there was a $2,000 essay scholarship that I applied for specifically only for Italy. I won the scholarship and that’s how I ended up choosing Italy!

2. Where are you staying in Italy?

Currently I’m living in a small town called Villarbasse in Northern Italy near the Italian Alps and the border of France. I live really close to Turin, the old capital of Italy and the city where the 2006 Winter Olympics were held. I live with an Italian host family chosen for me by AFS. My host parents names are Roberto and Giovanna and I have 2 host sisters; Federica who’s 20 and Nini who’s 12. Roberto is a lawyer, Giovanna is a nurse, Federica goes to college in Milan and Nini’s in middle school. Our house is connected in the garage with both of my host mom’s sister’s houses. It’s honestly the perfect typical crazy, loud, big Italian family I could’ve ever hoped for! 

3. How is Italy different from Ohio?

I don’t even know where to start; there are so many differences between Italy and Ohio! I think some of the biggest differences are with the school and nightlife. The school here is completely different from American school. First of all, there’s 5 years of high school and you stay with the same one class. Basically it’s like elementary school; you go to one classroom and stay there for the whole day with the same people and you stay with them for all 5 years of high school. The teachers switch classrooms instead of the students. The next difference is that each class finishes school at different times and you don’t get to choose any of your subjects. Honors classes don’t exist, you do whatever classes the school assigns to your class. However, in Italy there are lots of different types of high schools you can choose from. I go to a scientific school where the focus is on math and science but there are also classical, artistic, technical and linguistic schools. Every school has a different time schedule, some finish as late as 5 pm and some finish at 1. The last and worst difference is that we have school on Saturday’s. Not every school in Italy has school on Saturday’s but of course mine does. We go to school from 8:15 am to 1:15 everyday except Friday’s we go until 2:15 and on Saturday’s we finish earlier at noon. I guess it’s not that horrible, my friends and I still normally do something on Friday’s but I just hate waking up early 6 days a week. I’m so excited to come back to Ohio and only have school 5 days a week, it’s going to be amazing!

The other thing I find really different is the nightlife in Italy. In Ohio on the weekends we’ll go to a football game, the mall, movies or someone’s house. In Italy it’s so different, normally kids go into the city center and go to a bar, pub, restaurant or a discoteca. A discoteca is just the Italian word for a club. Instead of 21 like in the U.S, the legal age to get into clubs and order drinks in Italy is 16 but they rarely card you. Normally they’ll just ask “How old are you?” and that’s it. Anyway, I really like the nightlife here, I’m going to miss it so much when I come home!

Another difference is that since the driving age is 18, everyone just takes buses and the subway everywhere. During the week I take a bus and then a subway into Turin for my Italian lessons. The public transportation is really good here, one time I took a train by myself to another city 2 hours away to visit my friend.

4. What are some of the best experiences you've had?

I’ve had so many amazing experiences here already! One of the very first ones was our 2-day orientation camp in Rome back in September. We had just arrived at the airport in Rome and then everyone went to a hotel right outside Rome. There was over 400 kids from all over the world. It was so amazing, I met people from nearly every single country you can imagine, Denmark, Costa Rica, Japan, New Zealand, France, Portugal, Bolivia, Romania, Thailand and so on. It was our very first experience in Italy and it was perfect. The Italian volunteers were so much fun, I was surprised when I saw them sharing cigarettes with some of the foreign kids. In our American orientation in New York City the day before we left we had a strict curfew and they did room checks. At our orientation in Rome, we had no curfew and both nights everyone including the volunteers and supervisors stayed up dancing, listening to music and just talking. It was just unreal being able to meet people from all over the world and after those first few moments I already knew how much I loved the Italian culture.
Another one of my favorite experiences was when my host dad and I spent a day riding through the mountains on his motorcycle. It was in the beginning of October so the trees and leaves were all pretty. We got up early and spent at least 3 hours riding up higher and higher in the mountains. I love riding motorcycles, my host family has 2 motorcycles and one Vespa. I miss riding on them now that it's winter, snowing and too cold out! I already told my parents back home that I want a motorcycle when I come home!

I’ve had some really nice times with my host family, I had some school off in the beginning of November and we took a vacation to their beach house on the Mediterranean sea then we spent a day in Nice, France and Montecarlo in Monaco. I just love how in Europe it’s no big deal to just casually go to another country in one day! Then during the Christmas vacation we went skiing in the Italian Alps and it was just so unreal and beautiful. Also one time my cousin, aunt, host mom and sister all took a day off from work and school and took a one-hour train trip to Milan! When I was little I dreamed of going shopping in Milan, one of the fashion capitals of the world. It was a dream come true, I saw the Duomo and all the crazy expensive fancy Italian stores. 

I thought that the holiday’s here would be difficult and I would be homesick but they’ve actually been some of the best times I’ve had so far. Obviously in Italy they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving so my American friend Kaylin and I spent the entire week preparing a huge, classic Thanksgiving meal for our host families. I was so proud of us for cooking the entire meal all by ourselves and it was so much fun sharing our culture with our host families. Halfway through the dinner I left and changed out of my skirt into sweat pants, my host family was really confused. I explained to them that I had to change because my skirt was too tight and I wanted to eat more food! I’m pretty sure they think us American’s are insane for eating so much on Thanksgiving. Christmas was also probably one of my favorite experiences here so far. I thought I would be really sad without my family but it was the complete opposite. For Christmas all of my Italian aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents had a huge lunch at my aunt’s house. By then my Italian had improved a lot and for the first time I really felt like part of the family. It was so great to experience Christmas in a different culture.

New Years was probably my favorite holiday in Italy so far. One of my friends in my class had a huge party and sleepover at his house. Nearly everyone in my class went and some other kids. At midnight we watched the Italian New Year’s program on TV, popped champagne and blew off a bunch of fireworks. Normally in Ohio I spend New Years at my cousin’s house with my family. This was the first year that I went to a party with my friends instead and I’ll never forget it!

I’ve also had just little moments and memories that mean a lot. I remember one day after school in November my friends and I were walking to the bus stop and we ran into one of my friend’s mom’s. Her mom spoke to me in English and when I replied in Italian she was shocked. My friends told her, “No! Jacqueline é uno di noi adesso! Lei puo parlare Italiano.” (No! Jacqueline is one of us now! She can speak Italian). That was honestly one of the best moments ever. 

Also my school here in Italy is currently doing an exchange program with Istanbul, Turkey. There’s about 14 Turkish exchange students here for a week and of course they don’t speak Italian, only English and Turkish and my Italian friends only speak Italian and a very little bit of English. So for the past couple of days I’ve been translating everything for everyone! This has been a great experience because I’m finally able to speak Italian almost fluently and help people. My friends said without me, it would be nearly impossible to organize things with the exchange students!

5. Any challenges?

This experience has been wonderful but I’ve definitely had my fair share of challenges. The first month was probably the hardest month of my life. It was just so hard in the beginning because I’ve never studied Italian before and I couldn't understand absolutely anything. My host family tried their best to speak English with me but most of the time they spoke Italian. I just felt so alone, I was homesick and I hated not being able to communicate with people. It’s the worst feeling ever when you’re sitting at the dinner table and someone says a joke and everyone understands and is laughing except you. I remember one night I just broke down and couldn’t stop crying. I was so homesick and lonely, I just kept thinking, “Why did I leave my friends and family in Ohio to come to a foreign country alone where I can’t even speak the language?”

Also the school here is forever going to be challenging to me. Even now that I can speak and understand Italian pretty good, school is still extremely difficult. Imagine learning a lesson in Math, you don’t understand it so you ask your teacher and she explains it to you in extremely fast Italian. First I have to concentrate on the Italian and make sure I understand that then I have to concentrate on the math equation and make sure I understand it as well. The language barrier makes everything 10x more difficult.

6. What do you miss most about being in Brunswick?

The thing I miss the most about Brunswick has got to be Chipotle, Reese’s, lacrosse and school. Italian people always ask me, “Don’t you miss your family back home?” and I always answer, “Yeah I guess… but I miss Chipotle more” then I go on to explain how delicious and amazing Chipotle is. My parents told me that when I come home in July and they pick me up from the New York City airport we will go straight to Chipotle since I’ve been deprived for a year. Also they don’t have Reese’s here so in my Christmas package my mom sent me like 8 bags of Christmas tree Reese’s. In Italy the sport lacrosse literally does not exist. When I tell people I play lacrosse they give me blank stares and I have to explain what it is. I played lacrosse my freshman year and I really miss it now. In Italy it’s not very common to play sports, schools don’t have sports teams at all. I’ve just been running on my own afterschool but I really miss being on a team like cross country or lacrosse! I also really miss American school. I don’t think us American’s realize how lucky we are and how much fun our school is. Italians always ask me, “Is school just like the movies?! Do you have cheerleaders, football players and yellow school buses?!” Our school is so much fun, I miss all the extra curricular activities, switching classes, having a locker and not having school on Saturday! In Italy we don’t even eat lunch at school or a cafeteria, we have a 15-minute break after every 2 hours and that’s it. I think when I come home; I’m actually really going to enjoy American school.

Oh and of course I miss my family and friends back home. I'm not very good at keeping at touch with people, I only Skype with my parents maybe every 2 weeks at most and with my friends probably less. I love my new friends here but sometimes all I want to do is talk to my best friends Kayla, Haley, Ellen and Natalie back home. I miss them so much. And of course my Italian host family is amazing but they're not my real family. At times I just don't know how I'm surviving without my real family. This experience made me realize how lucky I am to have such loving parents who support me no matter what. Being alone in foreign country I can't run to my parents if I have a problem anymore. I've become so much more independent and mature. None of this would have been possible without my parents, I love and miss you guys so much.

7. When do you come back?

Ahhh I don’t even want to think about coming home yet! We haven’t gotten our official plan tickets yet but I know that I come home sometime around July 7th. We fly into New York City and then my parents are going to come pick me up. Thinking about coming home makes me really sad, Italy is my new life now. I can't imagine leaving my new family and friends here. I know I still have more than 5 more months but that doesn't feel like enough to me! I'm finally comfortable with the language and my life I never want to come home!

8. Do you have any good friends in Italy? How did you meet them?

I’ve made so many amazing friends here. Like I mentioned before my class is like one big family. I’m so lucky with my class, I fit in perfectly with them and they’ve always been so welcoming and nice to me. In the beginning it was a little harder with the language barrier but thankfully there’s one girl in my class who’s basically fluent in English and she would translate everything for me. I love my Italian friends so much. I really don’t want to think about leaving in July because I’m going to miss them so much! We spend so much time together since we don’t switch classes and I see them pretty much every single day of the week. Now that I can finally speak Italian we’re getting even closer. I also have a lot of other exchange student friends. In my local region there’s about 15 exchange students. I’m really close with some girls from Denmark, Finland, Germany, the U.S and boys from Thailand, Turkey and the U.S. I don’t know what I would do without my exchange student friends. First of all it’s really nice that we can all speak English together. Sometimes I just get tired of Italian! Plus my exchange student friends are going through the same experience as me so they understand everything. I really hope that all the friends I’ve made here will be friends for life.

9. Can you speak anything in Italian?

Posso dire qualcosa in italiano? Certo! Sono quasi fluente perché vado alla lezione di Italian tre volte per settimana e anche é più facile per imparare quando sei nel’Italia dove tutti parlano italiano! (Can I say something in Italian? Certainly! I’m almost fluent because I go to Italian lessons 3 times a week and also it’s easier to learn when you’re in Italy where everyone speaks Italian!) Hahaha sorry
My Italian’s not perfect yet but I think I’m getting there. In the beginning the first month I pretty much only spoke English. Like I said before my friend in my class would translate everything for me. After the first month I started speaking a mix of really bad Italian and English. I’d say it was probably in middle/late November when I made the transition into only Italian. Of course nearly everything I said was wrong and I often had to ask how to say certain English words in Italian. Then I think during the Christmas break my Italian really started to improve. And now I never speak English unless I don’t know a specific word. I can understand almost everything except some classes at school like Philosophy and History are still pretty difficult. I’d say that I’m almost fluent. I make some grammar mistakes still and don’t always know every single word but I’m really proud of how far I’ve come. Learning a language in less than 5 months is something I never thought I’d be able to do. Except there’s one problem I think my English is getting worse. Just now I forgot how to spell Philosophy and I wrote “Filosofy” instead. I’m also forgetting lots of English words! People will ask me how to say an Italian word in English and I seriously can’t remember. I had to use google translate to remember the words spouse, mole, clipboard, podium and garlic. I really like when I mess up English though because it means that I’m learning Italian better! It’s just that I rarely speak English anymore, only with my exchange student friends and on the computer. I’m scared for when I come home in July and have to speak English all the time! It’s going to feel so unnatural and I’m probably going to say so many wrong things.

10. What's your favorite thing to do in Italy?

My favorite thing to do in Italy is to hang out with my Italian friends, go to the discoteca and I really like going to Turin. The discoteca’s in Italy are so crazy, crowded and some of the most fun I’ve ever had. Normally discos don’t even start until like 10:30 or 11 pm and close at like 5 am. When you pull up to the disco there’s always a huge crowd of people outside waiting to in line to get in. That’s probably the only bad part is waiting in line forever and it costs about 15 euros to get in. Once you’re inside you can’t hear anything besides the DJ’s pounding music. I would honestly go to the disco every single weekend but my host parents are kind of strict so I don’t go very often. I think when I come home to Brunswick I’m really going to miss being able to go clubbing.

Turin is such a beautiful city. Most people haven’t heard of it before. This summer when I got my host family’s location, I had absolutely no clue where the city Turin was. It has a population of about 1 million people so it’s not too big and crowded but obviously not too tiny and boring either. I love it because it was the first capital city of Italy so there’s so many gorgeous historical buildings and piazza’s everywhere. It has piazza Vittorio, the biggest open piazza in all of Europe. Literally every corner there’s some statue, monument, piazza, old church or building. Also I just love the shopping and atmosphere in Turin. The shopping is amazing, there’s a street called Via Roma with all the best stores like Guess, Louis Vuitton, Swarovski, H&M and so on. I know I’ve spent way too much money shopping here! I’ve been trying to cut back lately. I think my parents back home would be happier if I wasn’t near such a big city with so much shopping! When it’s warm out there’s always people walking around with gelato in their hands, people playing accordions on the side of the street, Vespa’s and motocycles passing by and crazy Italian drivers yelling and honking. The city is just so Italian and I’m so lucky that I get to go there all the time for Italian lessons and during the weekend.

Monday, January 7, 2013

2nd week of le vacanze di natale!

Hey everyone! So the Christmas vacation is already over :( It went by way too fast. Today was my first day back at school and it was surprisingly not too bad. The only difficult part was getting up in the morning.. I spent pretty much the entire break sleeping till about noon. My Italian has improved a lot  and at school my friends who I didn't see during the break were were surprised by how good I am now! Yay! (: Before I came everyone told me that one day after Christmas you just wake up and are able to understand everything. I still don't really feel like I've had that moment yet, there's definitely plenty of times when I still can't understand things. I find it really difficult to understand the news on TV, I'm not sure why, they just talk extremely fast! And when I'm with a big group of people and there's like a bunch of people talking at once I can't really understand. If someones speaking with me one on one I understand everything. Yesterday marked 4 months in Italy so far and I know I say this every time but I can not even believe how fast the time is going by. It feels like just yesterday, I was the little American girl starting Italian school and not able to understand anything. I feel like I've grown up so much in these 4 months. I look at old pictures or read my diary from when I first got here and I feel like I used to be so immature and young. It's a bittersweet feeling when I think about the fact that I only have 6 more months left here. Yeah I know, 6 months is a long time, but I'm almost half way through with my time here. It went by in the blink of an eye and I know the 2nd half of the year's going to go by even faster. On one hand, I'm excited to get to see my family and friends back home but on the other I really don't want to leave my new life here. I love it so much, I'm finally adapted to life here and can call Italy my home. 

Anyway, I already wrote about everything that happened the first half of the break with Christmas and everything. 2 days after Christmas, everyone in my host family except Federica (she stayed home to study for her university exams) went to my family's house in the mountains. Their house is in a city called Sauze d'Oulx, a ski town/resort a little west of Torino, very close to the border of France. The freestyle skiing events of the 2006 Winter Olympics were held in Sauze d'Oulx. I guess it's a really popular skiing resort for British people because we heard a lot of people speaking English! Whenever I hear someone speaking English I really just want to run up to them and be like, "I speak English too! Talk to me!!" hahaha but then I realize that would be really weird.. It's going to be so weird when I'm back in the States and everyones speaking English. The first day spent skiing was actually kind of tough for me. Back home in Ohio, I've been skiing since 3rd grade every winter except our ski resort isn't in the mountains, it's like one hill with 7 different ski slopes. Sauze d'Oulx is completely different. I can't even count how many ski slopes there are, and every single one was for sure steeper and longer than any of the hills I've ever skied on before in my life. So the first day spent skiing, I fell pretty much every 5 seconds and I felt so bad because my host dad and little sister kept having to wait for me. It was still fun and it was such a beautiful day out, going up to the very tip top of the alps was unreal, it was unbelievable you looked down and just saw the Alps and snow capped mountains everywhere. At around 2, after skiing and falling for about 2 hours, I kind of had enough. One time I fell pretty bad and kind of twisted my leg a little bit. I walked back to our house and my host dad and sister continued skiing. That's another cool thing about Sauze d'Oulx. All the houses are within walking distance from the bottom of the slopes. Like you literally walk outside your house and there's like ski lifts 5 minutes away. However being blonde of course on the way back to the house I still got lost.. and I was carrying my ski's & ski poles while walking in ski boots on the icy street which was not easy. I forgot my cell phone too so I was about to start crying because I was exhausted, lost and sweating from carrying all the crap. I saw a nice looking couple and asked told them the number of my house and asked if they could help me. They were so sweet, they carried my ski's and ski poles for me and walked with me all the way to my house. It turned out I turned left when I should've turned right on a street. But really thank goodness I can speak decent Italian now or I think I would've been screwed and probably would've ended up crying in a snowy ditch on the side of the street. That night after showering my host parents and I went to Bardonecchia, the city in the mountains where we went to the fashion show about a month ago and visited their friends boutique that had the fashion show. There was a flat screen playing videos from the fashion show and Nini and I were in one of the videos eating some desserts from the after party! Haha I'm famous! Lol jk but it was pretty cool! After Bardonecchia, we all went our for dinner at Nini's favorite pizza restaurant in Sauze d'Oulx. 

Our cute little ski cabin house


I think this was my favorite slope, we were up so high in the mountains!

This is a map with all of the ski slopes..
The second day of skiing was 100000x better than the first! Once again it was a really nice sunny day but I felt a lot more comfortable skiing and only fell once! I'm so amazed by how big skiing here, it's a part Italian lifestyle in the North. I feel like everyone goes skiing and everyone knows how, it's nothing special for them. I was so surprised to see teeny little kids skiing. Once we were on a ski lift and I looked down and saw a little boy all alone in the middle of a really steep hill just stopped. I asked my host dad where the heck was the kids parents or ski instructor or something! He looked about 4 years old! My host dad was like, "Don't worry, look now". Sure enough, I looked back at the kid and he started skiing down the hill like a pro, way better than I could've ever skied. My host dad told me that pretty much all Italian's start ski lessons when they're about 4 in the Alps. I was so worried all day watching all these little babies skiing but they're pros! I think it's so cool. Oh and another difference I noticed is the ski lifts here are way faster and there's a metal bar that you pull over your lap after you get on the lift. I was all surprised when they pulled it down cause all the times I've gone skiing there's no protection, you could just jump off the lift if you wanted! My host dad thought I was insane when I said we don't have the metal bar holding us in. We finished skiing at like 4 and I was sad because I was finally getting the hang of it! 

We got home from the Alps on 30th then the next day was Capodanno (New Years Eve)! Back in Ohio, I've always spent New Years with my cousins and family every year, it's our tradition. This year instead, I went to a sleepover party at my friends house! His parents weren't going to be home so they said he was allowed to have 40 kids over for a party and then everyone slept over. Almost my entire class from school was there and some other people. I'm really so lucky with my host family here that they let me go to the party. My friend's mom sent out an e-mail to everyone saying that there would be no parents or supervision at the party, alcohol and smoking (cause a lot of my friends here smoke). My host parents have never met my friends parents and my host mom was a little bit worried but in the end they let me go to the party and sleepover (: I was so happy! It was seriously so much fun, I'm really starting to love all my classmates and Italian friends here so much. I feel like my class is one big family and I love it. At midnight we watched the Italian countdown, popped bottle of champagne and lit off a bunch of fireworks in the backyard. Everyone brought some food, I made peanut butter nutella cookies and everyone went crazy for them. We didn't end up going to sleep until about 6 am and everyone just passed out on the floor in sleeping bags. I'll never forget this New Years, honestly it was a lot more fun than my usual New Years back home. The next morning, I have no idea why but everyone woke up at like 9 am. The night before I told my friends to wake me up when they did but in the morning I wanted to kill them. Why the heck did we get up so early?? Haha my host dad came to pick me up and laughed at me when I got in the car because I looked like a zombie, my make up from the night before was all screwed up and my hair was a mess because the night before someone dumped a bucket of water on me! I went home that day and slept the entire day only waking up for meals. haha

Last picture of 2012 with my host sisters before we all left for our New Year's Eve parties <3 
I look scary but NYE partyy! 
One of my best Italian friends (:
Okay so after New Year's I still had a week of vacation. I didn't do anything too special. I spent most of the days sleeping in until noon then eating lunch and studying until about 4 (I'm a nerd). I just really want to understand my math class here because I don't want to be behind when I get back next year. I think the studying's paid off though because today at school I understood a lot in Math! (: Anyway then most nights the last week of break I did something with my friends. One night I had dinner at my friend Victoria's house with her host sister and her friends. Then another night I slept over Victoria's house and we pigged out on cookies and watched amici di letto (Friends with Benefits) but it's so funny because if you translate amici di letto directly into English it means, "Friends of bed" hahaha then one day during the day Victoria, Sergio and I went to il Museo Egizio in Torino (the second biggest Egyptian museum in the world!) and walked around Torino. Then one night I went out for dinner at Mac Bun, this Piemontese restaurant with panini's all typical of the Piemonte region, with Federica and her friends. One day Sergio and I went to Torino and we got a huge plate of 50 pieces of sushi from our favorite sushi restaurant in Torino. It was soooo amazing <3 My host family thinks I'm insane because I did the cinnamon challenge a few weeks ago and I told them that now I'm doing the sushi challenge where I have to eat 25 pieces of sushi. They thought I was going to be sick but that's only because they can't stand raw fish. Then that same night I went back to Rivoli and met up with my Italian friends and we went out for pizza. Oh and yesterday was an Italian holiday called Befana. It's really similar to Christmas, basically in Italian folklore there's a witch who brings kids candy of January 6th if they're good and coal if they're bad. My host sisters and I all got candy of course (: 

I love Torino so much <3

Eygptian museum with my favorite exchange students!

My candy from La Befana yesterday! (:
Federica and I drove by this amazing sunset on our way to dinner!
Walking around Torino with Federica and her friends after Mac Bun! 
Okay well I think this is the world's longest blog post but I had so much to update! Wish me luck getting used to the 6 day school weeks again.. Ciao! (: