Sunday, December 28, 2008 general

I haven't updated in a while and I'm very sorry for that. I have been very busy with my 3 day long Christmas celebrations which I will tell you about in the next post which will be coming soon...hopefully tomorrow??

Well I thought that I would explain to you some of the Italian school system is run a little bit because its a little bit confusing for even me and I have been living in it for the past 4 months. But a disclaimer to all of you who are reading this that go to school in the USA right now be ready to be VERY grateful you go to school in the USA. once you have experienced how it is in other country's you realize just how good we have it in the states and our "boring" is really AMAZING compared to other places.

Well I guess the most logical place to start is in the way the kids here receive their grades. As all of you know in the USA we use a point system that eventually leads up to an A B C D or F (hopefully not an F but not really the point of this blog lol) but in Italy they do things different then we do in the USA. (well they do most things differently but again that is for another post) In Italy they use a system that numbers your grades from 1-10. They do not use the point system in deciding the grades either. When they take a test (which is the only thing they actually get grades on because the teachers do not check there homework EVER. they go over it in class but they never take any grades on any of it. I don't think in the whole time that I have been in Italy I have seen a teacher go around and check to see if homework was done) the teacher gives them the grade that they think the student earned. It is not based on points like it is in the USA. Personally I think that the point system is alot better then this system as do the other students because if you have a teacher that really does not like you it is very easy for them to fail you.

So the 1-10 system here's basically how it breaks down. 10 is impossible to get. in the four months that i have been in Italian schools i have not seen one student (not even the best ones) receive a 10 on anything. I have seen kids get perfect papers on a math test (meaning NOTHING wrong) and they still do not get 10's. Teachers just never give them out even if the paper is perfect. so lets move on to 9. Well a 9 is another grade that is hardly ever given out i mean hardly EVER. I have seen one student get a 9 on a test and that was from a really really nice teacher. so ok 8. 8 is what the really really good students get on their tests. and I mean you have to study hard and have basically no mistakes to get an 8 yeah its hard. and it makes me miss the point system. so there 7 which would technically be equal to a C here in the states is something they are EXTREMELY happy to get. if they get a 7 they know they did a good job. i don't know about any of you but a C on a test for me i would not be extremely happy with my self (although i was here when i got a 7 on my first test :D) the 6 is the last grade you can get before it goes into the fail range. so technically its actual a D but people are still happy when they get 6's so I'm convinced it doesn't really a D lol... 1-5 are all fails.

In Italy if you fail 3 or less classes (with a score 1-5) you can study the material over the summer and take a test in the fall before school starts to recuperate the grade that you got during the school year. This is completely normal for kids in Italy. It is normal to fail a class and to even repeat the year because school is so difficult. If you fail more then 2 classes then you have to repeat the year which is something that happens more in Italy then in the USA.

Then they have something that is similar to our parent teacher meetings here in Italy. 2 times a year all of the teachers stay late (but only to 6 o'clock so the parents all have to take off work because the teachers all get up and leave after 6 pm) there are 2 teachers per room and there is a sign up sheet outside of the classroom and the parents have to write their names on the list and wait for their turn. and let me tell you lines do not exist in Italy so this concept is very difficult for them to accept. when the name of your parent comes up you (if the child goes which is not necessary) and your parent go in to the room and the teacher and your parents talk and they give you your grade for that class.. basically it is alot like it works in the USA but its set up way less organized lol.

I should also say that for any one that thinks the USA schools are going through a budget crisis right now they really need to come see schools here in Italy. all of my classrooms in the USA have tv's and projectors and I'm lucky if my classroom in Italy has a chalk board. The schools here in Italy do not even have enough money to buy toilet paper for the school (the kids bring there own) or to buy chalk. I really used to think that we had a big budget crisis in the USA but honestly my school in the states has about 10 times as much stuff then my school here in Italy has. my school here has one room of working computers, it doesn't have a library and when you need a TV you have to go to the room that has a TV. I must say I wont take the things that my school in the states does have for granted again.

so the reason that i decided to post this is because earlier i had posted about the strikes and i just thought that i would give you a little but of knowledge on how the Italian school system runs a little bit.. now I have had Christmas and i promise that I will update you on that VERY soon lets just say you have some exciting stories about roasting baby pigs head and me eating something really WEIRD!!! that I bet none of you would have thought i would have tried..New Year's Eve is tomorrow and I'm super excited for the party.. I'll update pictures as soon as possible.. love you all

Monday, December 15, 2008

AFS meeting

Sorry for not updating in a while i promise this one will have one following it probably tomorrow. ive been super busy finishing up school for the year. so here i go about AFS

So I got an email from Andrea Sanna (the president from my Afs chapter in Cagliari) the other day that went something like this:

considerando la mancanza assoluta di orientation da parte della maggior parte degli studenti stranieri, ed il comportamento di altri. da giovedì 12 dicembre 2008 inizieranno una serie di incontri, per chiarire le idee a tutti gli studenti, e per spiegare che tipo di programma venga proposto da intercultura. il primo incontro si terrà ad elmas in via dell'arma azzurra 43 alle ore 14,30-15,00. gli studenti del cl iglesias possono scendere alla stazione di elmas col treno. Per tutti gli altri, il posto dove ci dobbiamo incontrare, è sotto casa della famiglia Desogus, dove è ospitata Lilla. per chi non sapesse arrivarci chieda info atraverso email. tutti gli studenti devono rispondere a questa email per far sapere che avete letto questa email e la vostra partecipazione. la partecipazione è obbligatoria per tutti gli studenti e riguarda solo gli studenti. saluti a tutti andrea

(the reason i put Italian in my blog is because well I'm in Italy, and i want to show you all I'm learning to speak this BEAUTIFUL language.)

But now in English.

Considering the absolute lack of orientation on the part of most students, and the behavior of others. Wednesday December 11 2008 will begin a series of meetings to clarify the ideas to all students, and to explain what kind of program being proposed by interculture. The first meeting will be held in Elmas at 14,30-15,00. students churches can get off at station Elmas by train, For everyone else, the place where we must meet, is at the house of Desogus family, hosted by Lilla. for those who do not know ask to get info through email. all students must respond to this email to know that you have read this email and your participation. Participation is mandatory for all students and covers only students. greetings to all andrea

so needless to say when I got this email I was a little bit scared because the way the email sounds it sounds like we were all going to get yelled at because someone had done something wrong. Well originally i had a problem with the time because Elmas is 1 hour away and i don't finish school until 200 every day so i emailed Andrea and he told me to just come late because i couldn't make the first train to Elmas. Well I got out of school and went to the train station and obviously i was nervous because I thought we were in some kind of major trouble or something. When I got to Elmas I walked to Lilla's house and walked up to her floor and when I got there every one was happy and laughing so I wasn't nervous anymore.

Well it seems like this was one of Andreas little "jokes" that he didn't mean the email seriously but I must say being an exchange student has made me alot more gullible because of the language barrier i cant ever tell if people are kidding or if they are being serious with me. He wanted to make sure everyone showed up and he thought it was funny. while this may seem mean you all don't know Andrea Sanna this is just his type of sense of humor. and If you all knew him you would get it I don't know why I didn't get it before lol.

They waited to start the meeting until when I got there so when I did arrive they finally got to what they really wanted to talk about. Well it seems that what they really wanted us there to talk about was our last remaining 6 months that we have here in Italy. The first thing that he said was (in Italian of course) "these last 6 months are going to go by twice as fast as the first 4 have gone by" which of course scared all of us so much because these 4 months have gone by soooooooo fast and we don't want them to go by any faster then they already are. And they wanted to talk about or schedule with AFS for the next 6 months. So here is my schedule for AFS (and some from school as well) for my last 6 months in Italy:

  • School vacation starts on December 22 (TODAY!!!)
  • Possible get together with the kids for a Christmas lunch - We did end up doing this on December 21st. We all met up in Cagliari on Sunday at about 230 for lunch. On Sundays the trains don't run nearly as much so we had to meet up late. We couldn't all make it to lunch but after lunch we went to McDonald's for some ice cream and the rest of the kids met us at Mcdonalds. Then we all walked up and down the port of Cagliari because its SOOO beautiful and up the main shopping street of Cagliari and talked and had soooo much fun .i love my get togethers with the other kids they are all soooo amazing!!
  • Christmas eve which is more important here in Italy. Me and my family all go over to my nonna's house (the mom of my papà) and have a big lunch or dinner with his whole family.
  • Christmas which is obvously on December 25 and me and my family will go to my other nonnas house for lucnh with her family in sant'antioco.
  • New Years Eve me and ele are going to a party in sant'antioco with Claudio at our beach house with all of claudios friends.
  • Befana which is a holiday on January 6th where this really old ugly woman brings treats and candy to the little kids and puts them in a stocking. In Sardegna its not a really big thing but near Napels they use the day of Befana as like the day of Christmas and give the kids and family there presents on January 6th instead of on Christmas.
  • School- we go back to school on January 7th after the day of Befana. And we have shcool all through January.
  • January 31st all of the semester kids arrive in Italy and there are 6 new kids coming to my chapter (i believe) and we are all going to meet them at the airport in Cagliari to welcome them to our chapter and to Italy.
  • some time in the first week of Febrary we are going to have a party with the new kids in our chapter to get to know them all and welcome them to Italy even better. We are all excited about having new people in our chapter.
  • Some time in February (they weren't sure) we will be going to Terellba for the Carnival and for our mid year orientation. This orientation will be alot like the one we had in Sassari in October except this time we are going to be living with families for the week so that we can experience more culture with the Carnival and everything. But i feel kind of bad for all of the kids that actually live in Terellba because they just have to stay home lol.
  • For a week in march (it depends) we have our week long exchange to a city of our choosing. We get to go to another city in Italy for one week and live with another family for a week and be a tourist for one week. I haven't yet decided where i'm going to go but I would really LOVE to go to Venice. my papà says that its the most beautiful city in Italy and i REALLY want to see it :D
  • Also for a week in March I have a trip with my chapter of AFS (only Cagliari chapter) to Rome and Tuscany. Which does mean that I will get to see Florence and Pisa again but I'm super excited to see them both again. I only got one day in both places last time and it will be great to see them again. im SUPER DUPER excited about seeing Rome. I mean I can't live in Italy for a year and not see Rome.
  • For a week in April (or possibly March) I have a "gita" with my school. That means you go on vacation with your school to another country. Im sooo excited for this because i really really want to see another country in Europe. It seems my class is debating between Paris, Madrid, and Budapest. Personally I want to go to Budapest but I'll be happy with any one of the three :D
  • For a week in April the kids that chose Sardegna for there week exchange will come to the Cagliari area and stay with families for a week and we (the kids in our chapter normally) will get to go on little day trips with them around Sardegna. :D
  • The last month of school. and that's really all that exciting that happens in May lol
  • End of stay orientation will be for a week in June they are not sure where it will be but Honestly I'm NOT looking forward to this one becuase that will mean that I'm in my last month and thats just toooooooooo sad to think about.
  • July 5th we (all of the AFS USA people here in Italy) depart from Rome and fly to Paris and from Paris we fly to NYC and we will arrive in NYC on July 5th

Well this is what I will be up to in the next couple of months and if i do say so my self I'm VERY excited!!! well in the next few days I will be updating my blog again on school and I'll have more pictures to come too.. love and miss you all

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Pisa, Palermo and Florence

So this post is all about my week long jaunt through Italy! All I have to say is Italy is truly the most beautiful country that I have ever seen. While I've only seen The USA and Italy. Italy is much more beautiful then USA. Yes big tall shiny buildings are pretty for a while but the old buildings the rivers the landscapes the EVERYTHING (except maybe the graffiti) is beautiful!! so now on too my vacation. I guess I will start with Pisa because well that's where it starts lol.

So on November 24 we got up at normal time as if we were going to go to school but when papà woke us up we got to get ready for the airport and not for school. It was definitely a nice change then from getting ready for school that's for sure. So we left the house at about 830 to drive the one hour to the Airport in Cagliari. When we got there we ended up having to pay for my ticket check in because mamma had checked the "check in online" box but because I'm not an Italian citizen I can't check in online. So we went to the ticket booth and payed for my ticket then we all had to weigh out bags because we were only taking carry ons they needed to be under 10 KG which is like 20 LBS and we could only have ONE bag and NO personal item. You can not have any personal items, you are only allowed to bring one bag with you on the plane. So we got though security no problem which was nice. In Italy you only need to be at the airport about an hour before departure because security is so much easier then in the USA. Well the plane ride was pretty uneventful. Its only about an hour and 5 minutes off of Sardegna to get to Pisa which is where we were going for the first day of our trip.

When we arrived in Pisa we didn't have to pick up any luggage so we went right out in to the meeting area to meet mamma's friend who is who we were staying with for the night and who was going to show us around Pisa for the day. She was there so we didn't have to wait at all. She drove us to her house which was about 30 minutes away from the airport because the airport isn't in the city of Pisa but just out side like most cities. so when we got to her house she showed us to our rooms. Me and Ele slept together in one room and mamma in another room. we had about 20 minutes before lunch and then we left again so we could see Pisa!!

So we left the house and we drove in to the center of Pisa and parked the car in a parking garage and we started to walk in to the center of town. It was a little cold and rainy so it wasn't perfect weather but it was still nice cause there weren't crazy amounts of people at the attractions. So before i knew it we were coming to this place that had lots of arches and i could see the top of the leaning tower of Pisa. I was so excited. This is something that is FAMOUS for people to see and famous all over the world and I was actually going to get to see it in person. yeah i was super excited. So we walked through the arches and you could see the tower with the other two buildings that stand with it and they are all white and sooo beautiful. its hard to believe that there hundreds of years old they look almost new. they are so well maintained. So i took a million pictures of the tower and of the buildings and of course the famous "holding up Pisa pose" which i must say made me feel like a HUGE tourist! which was a weird feeling cause honestly while i was there i didn't really feel like a tourist because i speak the language (kinda) and just in Italy i don't really feel like a tourist any more. which is a nice feeling!! Well after we saw the monuments we walked towards the river to see the famous river that runs from Pisa all the way to Florence. When I first saw the river i was in awe. It was sooo beautiful. All of the houses and buildings around the river are all original to Pisa and just its amazing that they are still standing and still so beautiful. they are so gorgeous. Pisa is so beautiful! Then we continued to walk around Pisa to see the other sights. there is a University in Pisa and when I saw it for the first time i could hardly believe that it was a university. It was so beautiful and so old just its gorgeous! I loved it. I thought the UW Madison was pretty. well i was wrong Pisa is BEAUTIFUL!!!

Well we were cold and hungry for dinner and tired of walking so we walked back to the car and we went back to her house. She made us and her family dinner which was nice and it was good. me and Ele were goofing off making funny monkey faces at each other making each other laugh really hard which was a blast . we couldn't stay up late because we had a flight out to Palermo at 11 am the next morning and needed to leave the house at 9 am to get to the airport.

Well we woke up at about 8 am so we could get our bags repacked. Its amazing me and Ele were there only for one day and we both managed to almost unpack our whole bags lol. Well we went back to the airport and we had to pay for my ticket again but this time it was different price. the first time we paid 8 euro but this time we only paid 5 euro so we weren't sure what was going on lol. So we got through security all right it was really easy. Security is really no big deal here in Italy. you don't have to take off your shoes or anything like that like we do in the USA. which is kind of nice not having to be at the airport 3 hours early for a flight that is only an hour and a half lol. SO on the plane the first thing that i noticed was that everyone was speaking Italian around me but it sounded REALLY funny. I asked Ele about it and she said that it was the Sicilian accent. To me it sounded just like a person from Ireland speaking Italian. which is a strange combination if you can imagine it or not. well it took me the whole plane ride just to be able to understand what the people were saying and i still had to concentrate really hard because of the different accents. the pronunciation is so different then what I'm used to but people say the Sardo accent is really strong but for me its normal because its what i hear every day.

Well we got to Palermo and we had to take an hour long train ride in to the city because the airport is so far out of the city. Its almost equal to the Chicago airport is close to Chicago. Well the train ride was nice but I've decided that every train in Italy is exactly the same as the others because the trains in Palermo looked identical to the trains in Carbonia. well when we got to Palermo station we ate lunch in the station at a fast food pizza place and then one of mamma's friends showed us where our bed and breakfast was. We went in to our rooms (me and Ele shared the big room and mamma slept in the single) and tidied up a little bit then we went out and met up with 3 of mamma's friends. They started showing us the principal tourist attractions which i must say are sooo beautiful. I know people say churches are boring but they are so not boring in Italy. they are sooo beautiful in Italy. they are all of marble and so intricately made with the most amazing art work that you could ever see and the art work is not on the walls but on the ceiling. its all paintings. ok i cant explain straight how on earth do people paint something above their heads. its just amazingly beautiful. they all have complicated Mosaic windows just yeah i was in awe the whole time and with every single one of them. then we saw this one cathedral in Palermo. it is the most beautiful building that i have ever seen in my whole life. Its huge and all made of stone and the outside is soo intricate and just me and Ele took so many pictures of us with this building because its just so beautiful all we could say was WOW. then we say a Classico school that looked sooo beautiful we were both jealous of all of the kids that get to go to this school.

Well everyone in the group was a bit cold (i wasn't) so we decided to go get some cafè. we went to this cute little cafè but i didn't want cafè i wanted some hot chocolate. So i told my mamma and then she gave me another menu to choose from cause there were so many different flavors of hot chocolate. well i ordered chocolate with mint because it sounded so yummy. well when it came it was more like hot pudding but it was still really really good. just wasn't exactly what i was expecting when i ordered hot chocolate. well by the time that we left the cafè it was dark out so I got to take some pictures of Palermo at night which was sooo beautiful. Then we went to one of mammas friends house so that we could all use the bathroom before we went to dinner. we ended up playing her WII which was REALLY fun!! we played a game of group bowling and i found out that i suck at WII bowling just as much as i suck at real bowling. it really isn't my sport. then we all went to dinner at this little pizzeria and Sicilian restaurant. Me and Ele both got pizza because the Sicilian food looked a bit scary. well dinner was really good. After dinner we walked back to the bed and breakfast and me and Ele got in to bed but we ended up talking for like 3 hours before we went to bed so we didn't get much sleep but that didn't matter to us cause we knew that we would have an hour on the train and an hour and a half on the plane.

Florence (Firenze)!!
Well we woke up and we walked to the train station so that we could take a train to the airport. well we missed the train we were planning to take which was fine because it was about an hour earlier then we needed to be there so it didn't matter. so we stayed in the train station until we could get on the next train to the airport. well the train ride was really boring and me and Ele were a little bit tired cause we didn't sleep much but that didn't really matter. when we finally got to the airport we saw that the check in line was like a MILE long so i stood in line while mamma and Ele went to see if we could check me in upstairs because i didn't have to check my bag. the first person she asked said not but the she asked some one higher up and they said that i could so we went up stairs where there was no line and i got all checked in. then we had to go through security which was kinda a pain cause my necklaces got caught in the machine (fell out of the bucket) so they had to get it out of the machine lol. and they wanted to take Ele's bracelet but they let her keep it so this security was kind of a pain. but it was still pretty quick. we were still about 1 hour early for our plane so we went and we sat down and killed some time while we waited for our plane to board. well the plane ride was about an hour and a half long and we arrived in the Pisa airport again because apparently the Florence airport had deadly runways. I don't know but that's what everyone says.

so when we got there there was a another one of mamma's friends that lives in Florence there waiting for us to pick us up and take us to her house that's about an hour away from Pisa. Both me and Ele slept on the way to her house which turned out to be a good thing lol because shes a CRAZY driver. Well when we got to Florence we decided that we were going to just stay in for the day because we were tired. so we just lounged around her house and took a nap for the first day then at about 7 o'clock we left the house for what me and ele thought was dinner because we were REALLY hungry but really we were went to walk around Florence at night for a about an hour before we went back to the restaurant. when we got there we had to wait for the other people in the group to arrive which took about an hour so by the time we ordered our food it was about 9 PM and by the time we got it, it was almost 10:00PM well we had this amazing Tuscan pizza that is only in Tuscany. it was the yummiest pizza I've had while in Italy. After dinner we went home and went to bed because we were planning on seeing Florence the next day.

The next day we woke up and we got ready for a day in Florence. I was SOOO very excited because this is a city that i have always wanted to see because just its always seemed so beautiful in pictures and it was 100 times more beautiful then the pictures could ever be. We drove down to the center of Florence and we parked and started to walk around and at first it just seemed like a normal town but then we saw it. we saw the center of Florence. it was breathtaking. it was the most beautiful thing that i have ever seen in my whole entire life. We saw the river that we saw in Pisa but it was about a million times prettier in Florence then it was in Pisa. the river was too beautiful all the buildings that flank the river are old and historic and sooo beautiful. then we crossed the famous bridge that leads to the other main tourist attractions. It is full of jewelry stores that sell almost exclusively gold. they are all very beautiful but soooo expensive that normal people could Not afford what was in these shops but they were beautiful and beautiful to look at. When we crossed the bridge it was the first time that i saw the Duomo. It was the most beautiful building that I have ever seen in my entire life. It is so intricately designed and sooo HUGE. I truly love this building. Right now I'm debating if it is my favorite building or if the one on Palermo is my favorite. You guys can tell me what you think based on the pictures. Then we went to get lunch at this little restaurant with some of mamma's friends in Florence. When one of the ladies got there the first thing she said to me was "Happy Thanksgiving" it was really sweet of her because I had totally forgotten that it was Thanksgiving. They obviously don't celebrate it here because its an American holiday but explaining Thanksgiving is a bit hard cause it uses some odd vocabulary lol. But i have had to explain it about a million times so far lol. Well after lunch we walked up this GIANT hill to see a panoramic view of Florence. This was the prettiest view i have ever seen in my whole life. I am soooo jealous of people who wake up to that view every day. It sure as heck beats the "newness" of American cities. All of the buildings are so old hand have so much history to them. They all have so many stories to tell and are all so famous. The architecture of ancient Italy is AMAZING just the time it must have taken these people without modern equipment to build these churches and put in all of the details they have on them it sure makes building an all steel skyscraper look like a cinch.. Well we were all getting pretty tired so we decided to go back home.

Well for dinner that night the lady that we were staying with had a whole bunch of friends over and we all had dinner. i didn't eat very much of it and neither did Ele cause neither one of us really liked the food so it was an interesting dinner because they all knew we were hungry but kept asking why we weren't eating. then there is there deranged cat. it kept going around and around the table and peoples laps.. and normally i don't have problems with this cat but when i saw it just an hour before with its face covered in rat blood and a half dead chewed rat in it's mouth. sorry i really don't want it on my lap at all lol.. but maybe that's just me no one else seemed to think this was weird. lol.

The next day when we got up it was raining so mamma told us that we wouldn't be going out in Florence today but that we were going to go to another town to pick up some steaks for dinner. Well we all got ready and we got in to the car and drove an HOUR to buy steaks. its in this little Tuscan town that is apparently famous for there steaks which are thick (and to me looked just like normal steaks in Wisconsin). we walked around the town for about 20 minutes (very tiny) and there were like 10 butcher shops in just the main road.. Well in my time in Italy i have decided butcher shops are truly gross. they have hanging meat on the ceiling and just soo nasty. I am very content with Pick-in-Save deli thank you very much. Then we went to a store of one of mamma's friends and helped her organize it for a little while which was fun but i don't know how she worked in it before it was sooo disorganized.. ahhhh.. Well when we finally got back home they started cooking the steaks and me and Ele packed up our bags because we were leaving the house at 3 am to drive back to Pisa to get our 6 am flight. Well we had dinner and the steaks were SOOO good although I don't know how "Tuscan" they are cause they taste just like normal steak from the USA.. i think they just fed the cow more corn like we do with all cows lol.. idk.. personally when it comes to cow meat i'll stick with USA. lol. Well we attempted to go to bed early because of our flight but me and Ele for some reason didn't end up going to bed until about midnight.

At 2:45 mamma woke us up and we got in to the car and drove to the airport in Pisa (because apparently the Florence airport is scary or something i don't know) we got to the airport and went through security very easily and then we waited for our flight to board which was on time thankfully. well Ele slept in the plane but i have decided that i just cannot sleep on planes. it just does not work for me to sleep on planes. so when we got to the Cagliari airport i had a MAJOR deja vu moment going into the room where you would pick up your luggage that you checked and the area where people pick you up. My first thought was. "wow 3 months ago i was picking up my bag and meeting my family for the very first time and was sooo I'm just happy to be home and to be with my family again" it was a really strange moment. Well papà picked us up and drove us home.

Well this was my week long vacation in Tuscany and Palermo. I hope you enjoyed reading about i know that i enjoyed it soo much. I'm sorry that its taken me so long to get this out. there were some technical difficulties lol..

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My 17th Birthday in Italy

Someones first birthday away from home does not usually happen at 17 but mine, because I am in Italy, has happened. So I'm going to tell you all about my first birthday away from home and my birthday in Italy. I really have 2 days to tell you about because my birthday happened on 2 days here. The day of my actual birthday and the day of my party.

November 21 - Actual Birthday
My actual birthday was a Friday this year so I had school on my birthday. When I woke up in the morning, the first thing that happened was my sister and my mom came to me and gave me my birthday presents which was really nice. My sister gave me a really pretty necklace that has a charm of Sardegna on it and my mom gave me a book which I cant read yet but I'm determined to read it later. Everyone in the family gave me a big hug and wished me "Tanti Aguri" which is like Happy Birthday in Italian. When I got to school and went in the the class room everyone in my class came up and gave me a hug and the double kissy thing and wished me a happy birthday which was nice cause I know that they didn't forget. After my normal break after 3rd hour the English teacher stops me and asked me to come to the room for a minute which i have no clue why because I don't have English on Fridays. So I went back to the room with her and she had bought me a cake and brought some soda and it was really nice. Some of the teachers were there and they wished me a happy birthday as well. Which was a little strange for me because well, in Italy, when you wish someone happy birthday you give them a hug and a double kiss thing on the cheek. This is for everyone including teachers. so yes I have hugged and kissed 3 or more of my teachers. It was really weird for me because in the states that could possibly be illegal, I'm not sure lol.. The party in school was soooo much fun and the cake was sooo good. I felt really included because well i was a little nervous for my birthday because I've only been here 3 months (not even) and I wasn't sure how close my friends were so just I was a bit nervous. But everyone was sooo nice and they were so great on my birthday in school. Well I got to leave school early on that day because there was a teachers strike so I got to leave at 12:30 instead of 2:00 like my class. While I was in school I got a whole bunch of text messages from different people wishing me a happy birthday: Virginia, Kayla, Lilla, Katia, Hendrikje, and Yue Soo it was nice that people remembered my birthday. :D.

After school seemed a little like a normal day. I talked to my mom for a little bit on messenger trying to figure out Skype a little bit which was rather interesting lol (more on that later) then my friend Katia (an exchange student from Russia) called me and we talked on the phone for over an hour. The cool part was that the conversation was ALL, i mean 100% in Italian. This was my first successful conversation in Italian. Mind you it was with an exchange student but still I'm proud of myself for having a full hour long conversation over the phone, phone conversations are much harder then ones in real life because you can't point to things or use hand or arm movements to help you describe what your trying to say. So yes YAY on my birthday I had my first successful conversation over the phone. She is one of my really good friends on exchange so I plan on calling her more often now that I'm not afraid to use the telephone lol.

After Mamma and Papà got home, mamma said were were going to nonnas house but I wasn't sure why because I usually only ever go to nonnas house with papà because it is his mom but I went with mamma and when I got there, nonna had gotten me a birthday present. It was a ring from the same jewelery company that Ele got my necklace from. It's a company that only sells jewelry in Sardenga. Its a really beautiful ring that I like very much. We stayed and talked to her for about 20 minutes which I enjoy alot. Nonna is really nice :D. When I got home I got ready to talk to my Mom and my friends over the computer which I was really excited for.Well it took us forever to get the microphone to work and then we got my webcam to work but we never did get my mom's web cam to work so that I could see them lol. but I got to talk to Emma and Stephanie while they were on Lunch break from school so that was really nice so we talked for about an hour which was so nice because I miss them alot. Then I got to talk to my mom which was kinda strange because I'm talking to my mom from 6000 miles away on my birthday..

Well for dinner on my birthday we had something that I have never had before. We had lamb. And the way that Italians cook lamb is on this little rotating stick like thing that you put near the fire. So i walk in to the kitchen and I see this big hunk of meat over the fire like were camping or something (not that I've ever BEEN camping, but i can imagine). So I got to try Lamb for supper, it wasn't bad but it wasn't my favorite. Its common in Sardenga because sheep in Sardegna are like cows to Wisconsin.

A little funny about my birthday. I was born at 5:15 PM on November 21 in WISCONSIN. So if you factor in the time difference to Italy. Technically my birthday is not until 12:16 AM on November 22 here. I'm not sure if this is real logic but it works in my brain and makes sense to me lol.

November 22 - Party
So while my party was on a Saturday I still had to go to school which kind of sucked because I really don't like to go to school on Saturdays. But then again I do because I'm not sitting home on Saturdays and it gives me a reason to see everyone so i still have mixed feelings about the whole school on Saturday situation. So basically school was really really boring because I was thinking about my birthday party the whole day and so 1:30 could not come fast enough for me. When I finally did get out at 1:30 I rode home with Claudio from school and when I got home Ele already had everything decorated because she gets out at 12:30 every day. We just had to put the food out and get ourselves ready. While we were getting ourselves ready people started to come to the party. Here is who was at my party: Federica, Sylvia, and Virgina (school friends). Lilla, Hendrikje, Yue, Saskia, Olivia, and Cao-Cao (AFS'ers), Giulia (one of my sisters friends) and then 4 friends of Claudio's: Alessandro, Marco, Demo and Daniele. So the first couple people came but then I had to leave with my papà to go to the train station to pick up all of the AFS'ers at the train station. There were too many so we had to make two trips back to the house to get everyone there. So after a little while of hanging out we all went in to the kitchen to eat some of the amazing food that we had made the few days before. Everyone filled up on some amazing desserts and some amazing cookies and some rollish type thingies.

Then we decided to cut the cake and sing happy birthday. Well everyone sang happy birthday in Italian to me and I blew out the candles, but then we had to sing happy birthday in everyone's natural language. so we had: Chinese, Germany, Hungarian, Dutch and Norwegian, then Italian of course. It was really cool to hear the same song in so many different languages. Well then obviously we cut the cake and everyone ate the yummy cake that me and Ele made. Then Claudio's friends got there so then they ate the rest of the food that was left on the table lol. 5 teenage guys what do you expect hahaha. So then we all went back in to the living room and we started listing to some music and people were singing along which was alot of fun. Then we had this little mini talent show where Lilla danced hip-hop. Ele danced and Hendrikje and Claudio both played the piano. Alot of my school friends had to leave because none of them live in Carbonia so they started leaving the party earlier and so did Olivia and Cao Cao so all that was left was the rest of the AFS'ers and Claudio's friends. But both Saskia and Yue were asleep so me, Lilla and Hendrikje were hanging out with Claudio's friends at the party. One of them plays the Guitar so he was playing the guitar and we were all just sitting and listening to him play and singing along which fun. We hung out with them for about an hour to hour and a half or so just taking goofy pictures and listening to music so that was fun. Well by this point it was already like midnight or so. Every one left the party and Me, Lilla, Hendrikje, Yue, Saskia and Ele all piled in to Claudio's bed and we watched Phantom of the Opera in English and then we all crashed for the night at around 430.

Over all both days of my birthday were very much fun and I enjoyed them both very very much.

My vacation stories are on there way as well as pictures, be sure to check them out. love and miss you all!!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

ho cambiato mia orario ancora (i have changed my schedule again)

So as you all know from 2 posts back I had changed my schedule to better fit my needs and understanding level but after having this schedule for about 2 weeks i found out that I wasn't totally happy with my schedule so I have decided to change it once again. I have decided that I wanted to take more Spanish (with the first year so it doesn't clash with my math and physics) and a little less French and Italian so that I wont totally lose all of my Spanish while I'm here in Italy. I have made a few changes so that I can have 3 more Spanish classes and 2 less french classes and 1 less Italian classes. I am very happy with this schedule.

Lunadi (Monday)
1) Italiano 1C
2) French 1C
3) French 4C
4) Italiano 4C
5) English 4C
6) Gym 4C

Martedi (tuesday)
1) Science 4C
2) Italiano 2D
3) Spagnolo 3C
4) French 3C
5) French 2D
6) Math 4C

Mercoledi (Wednesday)
1) Spanish 3C
2) Spanish 3C
3) French 1C
4) Gym 4C
5) Science 4C
6) Science 4C

Giovedi (Thursday)
1) Italiano 1C
2) Italiano 1C
3) Italiano 2D
4) Math 4C
5) English 4C
6) Religion 4C

Venerdi (Friday)
1) French 4C
2) Italiano 4C
3) Spanish 3C
4) Science 4C
5) French 1C

Sabato (Friday)
1) French 1C
2) French 2D
3) English 4C
4) Italiano 1C
5) Math 4C

Well I should give you a couple updates quickly. I have bought some books for school now. I have a Spanish book and a French book so it makes it easier to keep up with the classes so that helps. My Spanish teacher took the time to catch me up on what they have learned because I have forgotten all of my Spanish the 3 months that I've been here. Plus because Italian and Spanish are sooo close they learn more in 3 months then I did in basically 2 years. So I think even though I'm in the first year ill come back knowing more then the last year does when I return to the USA. I'm excited to have my Spanish class because I'll come back with a little more of another language. YAY.

My birthday party starts in about 2 hours and I'm super excited!!! 4 AFS girls are spending the night tonight and 2 others are coming to the party and then 4 friends from school are coming, well I'll update you on that after I get back on vacation in which i leave for on MONDAY I'm super excited...well this week is hopefully going to be amazing..


Monday, November 17, 2008

Quasi 3 mese (almost 3 months)

Wow, so as the title of this article implies I have been in Italy for about 3 months already!! while this post does not have a specific reason like a lot of my posts do, ie.. changes or parties, i thought that I would give you a quick (are any of my blog posts quick reads? I'm not so sure about that lol there pretty long) update on life here in Italy thus far in the 3 months I've been here.

My Italian has greatly improved which is amazing because at times i thought that i would most certainly have the vocabulary of a 2 year old forever. Although now I can have a proper conversation with someone one-on-one. When I'm talking one-on-one with someone i usually have no problems communicating what I need to. Some times its weird because I will get stuck on a word that I don't know so I will describe that word with a whole bunch of other words and hope that the person gets what I'm trying to get my point. (Ill give you an example, if I was trying to say elephant but i didn't know the word i would say something like, BIG animal, lives in the zoo, has big ears and a HUGE nose, naturally in in Africa, and afraid of mice.) i only have to do this a couple of times, ok maybe more then a couple, in one conversation now but that is a far improvement from the first and second month of my exchange. Honestly the first 1 to 2 months of exchange is like one GIANT game of charades. While it was fun while it lasted it really was frustrating when you really needed to get a point across and you don't have the vocabulary to say what you need or want to say. And having all little kid conversations all day long for 2 months gets seriously boring, or having the same conversation over and over with different people gets really boring. but in the first two months it was nice to have those conversations sometimes because I knew that I would be able to get through them with out a problem because people pretty much asked me the same questions so I kind of have scripted answers for them so that is nice. But now its nice to be able to get through a new and deeper conversation with out having to use my dictionary every couple of sentences. Now when I have a conversation I might need my dictionary once or twice but i can usually make my own definition with other words and then the people can guess what I mean so that's nice because people get frustrated when you have to stop a conversation to check the dictionary for a word that you don't know. So now that my Italian is getting better its easier to have conversations with people, but there is one down side to understanding and speaking more Italian. I can no longer speak or write in English.

As you may have noticed as my posts get later and later into the year my English is slowly disappearing. I have been speaking more and more Italian therefore less and less English so I am starting to forget English words and English grammar. When I speak and write in English now i tend to leave out the subject of the sentence, (because in Italian the subject is told by the conjugation of the verb so it's not needed) I use too many articles (the) (because in Italian you HAVE to use an article before every noun) now in English because I'm starting to mix up English grammar and Italian grammar. I'm also starting to talk like a person who speaks English as a second language. I caught my self saying "I have not understood" because to say "I don't understand" in Italian you say "non ho capito" which directly translates to "I have not understood" which is something a foreigner would say not a native speaker. So I would like to apologize to all of you that have to read this blog because I know that my writing and grammar skills are not like they used to be when I started writing my blog.

School is getting better. It is still boring, but well I'm sorry to all teachers reading this blog, I've come to the conclusion that school is pretty much boring every where in the world. Although I do have to say school in Italy is really rather boring but I am starting to get to know more people in the school and become closer to the people so when I walk down the halls now I see way more people that I know and way more people say hi now so its less lonely at school only knowing like 13 people like I did before. I'm also starting to make more friends then I had before. We're not super close but it is getting better so that's good. I'm also starting to understand classes more so it helps make school less boring now that I actually understand some of whats going on in most of my classes. although I'm still totally lost in physics and math lol.

My family is just as amazing as they have been these last 3 months. I truly do love my family here I got really lucky and a good normal family chose me. We are an amazing fit honestly. They help me out so much. I think that they are the main reason that I have not been very homesick in these three months. Since the very first day that they brought me home they made me feel like part of the family and not like a guest. I think that was the best thing that they could have done, its made me feel at home here even though I've only been here for 3 months. I know that I am truly going to miss them soooo much when I have to leave its one of the saddest things to think about is to leave this family.

Ive covered all the normal topics so i guess its on to the topic of feelings. Oh my. everyone reading this blog knows that teenagers have crazy emotions to begin with but then you add exchange on to that and everything kinda goes haywire for a while. I truly have not really had that much of a problem here which I'm very grateful for. Although it is complicated being away from home, away from everyone and everything that is familiar to you. You also finding yourself homesick for the most random things. Things that you took for granted when you were at home. Like big bear hugs from your parents. I think i can agree this is one thing that every exchange student misses. Also just emotions are weird especially when you really don't know how to express your self properly. When you don't know the language its hard to express yourself and emotions tend to all build. I write in my journal every day so that really helps me i think. Over all this has been a fun exchange .I really have not had many hard times so that's good and I've loved sooo much of it so far and i can not wait to find out whats going to happen in these next 7 months.

Well my next post will be about my birthday which is in 4 days and then families and I are going on vacation to Pisa, Palermo and Florence that is coming up next Monday. So I wont be updating until after that probably so It will be awhile. I love and miss you all


Thursday, November 6, 2008


Well a lot has happened all over the world in this last week and there have been a few of those things that have personally affected my life. I guess that I will start with the small thing and lead up to the big thing. (this is going to be like all of my other posts, long hahaha, sorry)

Well the small thing that has changed in my life since my last update was my school schedule. My English teacher and french teacher got together and made up a new schedule for me because there was no way that i would be able to follow the Philosophy, Latin or History classes (actually I was following my history lesson pretty well but my History teacher decided she didn't want to deal with someone who couldn't follow fully that i could stay but she would prefer me to be moved to another class, so i made the decision just to leave because its easier then having a class where the the teacher didn't want me there) so those two teachers got together to try to fix me a personalized schedule. There was also a conflicting problem with changing my Spanish classes. I knew that I wanted to take extra Italian classes with the first year students because there class was all about grammar and I knew that it would help me if I took a class on grammar. So I was given the option that I could cut the amount of Spanish classes I was taking and take French and the grammar class and another Italian class or keep the Spanish classes and only pick up French. So I decided to cut my Spanish classes and take french instead for 2 reasons. 1) It will help me in the long run to take extra Italian classes that aren't literature because I can understand them a little bit and it will help me improve my Italian faster then taking Spanish would. and 2) I take Spanish at home and French is not an option. I know that when I get back I will be able to pick up Spanish fairly quickly because I will speak Italian fluently but I do not have the option to take French in school at home so I figured that I would take another language here while I got the chance so that I could start learning another language. Plus the language classes in Italy are much faster here in Italy so I will learn a lot of French in just one year and I'm excited about picking up a new language.

This change in schedule is good for a couple of reasons. 1) I will understand more during the day because I'm with younger classes and I'm in classes that i find more interesting so I will want to pay attention more. 2) I get to meet more kids because I'm in classes with other kids besides just my class even if they are younger then me. and 3) I have a better chance of getting better or half descent grades because I'm in easier classes. I'm excited to be able to actually be able to do something in class. I miss understanding whats going on in school. I always took language and understanding for granted in the USA like even if i was zoned out in class i could still half listen and understand everything that was said. In Italy i have to concentrate very hard on every word just to get the general idea of whats being said. I can honestly say that I'm not going to ever take that for granted again. So I thought I would give you a look as to what my schedule looked like before the change and what it looks like now.


Lunadi (monday)
1) Philosophy
2) Spanish
3) French
4) Latin
5) English
6) Gym

Martadi (Tuesday)
1) Science
2) History
3) Italian
4) Spanish
5) Spanish
6) Math

Mercoladi (Wednesday)
1) French
2) Philosophy
3) Art History
4) Gym
5) Science
6) Science

Govadi (Thursday)
1) Latin
2) Italian
3) History
4) Math
5) English
6) Religion

Venerdi (Friday)
1) French
2) Latin
3) Art History
4) Science
5) Philosophy
6) History

Sabato (Saturday)
1) Spanish
2) Spanish
3) English
4) Italian
5) Math

NOW: (the numbers and letters after it are the class I'm with, 1 is like freshmen and up from there)

Lunadi (Monday)
1) Italiano 1C
2) French 1C
3) French 4C
4) Italiano 4C
5) English 4C
6) Gym 4C

Martedi (tuesday)
1) Science 4C
2) Italiano 2D
3) Spagnolo 3C
4) French 3C
5) French 2D
6) Math 4C

Mercoledi (Wednesday)
1) French 4C
2) French 2D
3) French 1C
4) Gym 4c
5) Science 4C
6) Science 4C

Giovedi (Thursday)
1) Italiano 1C
2) Italiano 1C
3) Italiano 2D
4) Math 4C
5) English 4C
6) Religion 4C

Venerdi (Friday)
1) French 4C
2) Italiano 4C
3) Italiano 2D
4) Science 4C
5) French 1C

Sabato (Friday)
1) French 1C
2) French 2D
3) English 4C
4) Italiano 1C
5) Math 4C

So that is my new schedule and I must say I do love my new schedule. I'm excited that I get to learn French and that I'm in extra Italian Classes because it will help me learn the language faster. And I love being in classes with the other kids. SO that is the change that happened to me personally now I want to talk about the big change that has happened in the , well i was going to say USA but that wouldn't really be correct, in the world.

So unless you have been living in a cave for the last few days you know that Barack Obama was elected the new president of the United States of America. I thought it would be interesting to tell you how my view of the last 2 months of the elections were from an over seas point of view.

So these last 2 months every couple of days there would be something on the news about the election that was going on in the States. I would never totally understand what they were saying but I could get the general idea about what they were saying because I already knew what they were talking about. For me it was really interesting to hear about news from the USA so often on the news in Italy because I know for one in the USA most of the news is not international but domestic. So basically for the last two months I have been hearing about the election on the italian news and reading about it on the internet. Then there is when i first meet people one of the first things that they would ask me is "Obama or McCain" Which was interesting to me because people in the states do not usually ask you this question right out because it is generally seen as a more private choice and private matter. So that is what has been happening in Italy about the elections for about the past 2 months. Which brings me to November 3rd.

So on November 3rd In Italy I was very nervous and planned on doing nothing all day but watching American News on the computer so that I could keep updated on what was going on with the election. But with the time difference when I got home from school at 2 pm it was just 8am in NYC so the elections were just starting but it was very very interesting to watch and listen to the news because everyone seemed to have different opinion even though they were all looking at the same data. I have found that since I have been in Italy I have become a lot more interested in government, politics, economy and just the world in general. I'm not sure why this is but i most certainly have. maybe its because I've seen more of the world now and I've gotten to meet other people and now i want to see how the world works together and that stuff, or maybe that's too deep and I'm really just growing up now and i realize i don't live in perfect lala land and I want to see what kind of world I really live in. So I watched the news for a couple hours after school but because of the time difference the good part of the elections 8pm-11pm are in the middle of the night and very early in the morning here in Europe so I did not get to watch any of that news coverage because I was asleep because I had school the next day. So I went to sleep very nervous thinking that when I woke up the USA would have a new president.

When I woke up the first thing that I did was to turn on the computer and open up MSN. That is when I found out that Obama was the new president of the USA. When I went to school no one knew about the outcome of the elections yet so when I told them that "Obama won" every one seemed and was so excited. Italy is very Pro Obama. And that is basically what happened all day. Except people when they would see me felt the need to tell me that Obama won because I'm American. SO i heard it about 10000 times that day. well i will skip ahead one day just to add that even in the Italian news papers something about the elections and something about Obama was on EVERY page of the italian news papers. I found it very interesting how global this election was.

SO that is a semi-foreigner American got to view the election for the history books. Hope you enjoyed reading about the changes in my life that have all happened in the last 4 days. Ciao

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Halloween Party and Exchange students

Yes I am updating again lol, October has been a very event filled month.

So me and my sister decided about 2 weeks ago that we were going to have a Halloween party. about a week before the party, so a week before Halloween, we started cooking all these different cookies and cupcakes and figuring out how we were going to decorate the house and everything. Which was a lot of fun but also a lot of work for food we had: Ghost, pumpkin, bat, mummy and headstone shaped cookies, a grave yard themed pizza, Halloween shaped sandwiches, Halloween colored cupcakes, a gelatin face with the brain coming out, and little hot dog mummies. (for pictures check out my picture web sight) We also decorated the house with ghosts, fake dust, paper cutouts in different shapes, and a headless woman (again for pictures check out the picture web sight).

Ele invited all of her friends and I invited all of the AFS kids but only Lilla, Hendrikje, and Yue were able to come but we had soooo much fun. The party was a lot of fun because there was a lot of great food and there was music. We brought the sound system from Sant'Antioco back up to Carbonia so that we could all sing along to songs at the party. Singing along to the sound system was a lot of fun because we all sang at one time so that no one sounded horrible. Then we all danced around to the bad euro-pop music that is so popular here right now and just over all the party was a lot of fun. The food was amazing and the people here were amazing. but what made my party so good was the exchange students that were there.

If I do say so my self, not that I'm biased or anything, exchange students are the best people on this planet!! It was so nice to be able to talk to Lilla, Hendrikje, and Yue about everything that has happened in these last 2 months, OMG can you believe it??? its been 2 months already!!!, well I most certainly cant believe that it has been 2 months already. well for most of the party we all hung out in the kitchen or in my room because well it helps to talk to exchange students. we all know what the other one is going through and you don't feel guilty complaining to other students as you do when you complain to an intercultural volunteer. its just really nice to be able to talk about family, feelings, things that are different with someone that actually understands what you are talking about. No one but an exchange student can actually understand what they are going through. While the adults in the program can say they do but really they don't, its only the kids that went on exchange can relate. its such a crazy insane life choice that we all made and such a unique experience that we are all having it is something that only we can understand. Well we all talked for a couple of hours about everything that's happened in the last 2 months and i have to say it makes you feel really good to get everything of your chest and to have the other person understand what your complaining about or why your sad. So honestly this has been one of the best time that I've had in Italy. Just being with other exchange students automatically means a good time. Because we are just the funnest people. We all know what we are all feeling. just seriously i love hanging out with the other exchange students. we made plans to meet and everything because now that the lessons are over we don't have to see each other 3 times a week like we did when we had the lessons for italian in cagliari (IM SOO HAPPY THEY'RE OVER) but we all still want to get together because we do want to stay close and its nice to just sit and talk to the other kids for a while. So we made plans to meet in Cagliari and do things like shop and get pizza.

I already know that I'm going to be VERY VERY VERY sad to leave all of these kids that i have become soo close to in just 2 months. Even in Sassari when we were together for just 4 days it was sooo hard to leave and I''ve gotten so close to the kids in my chapter that I'm starting to realize that maybe these are the friends that its going to hurt to leave the most. and i know that i have 8 more months but you can't help but think "after these 8 months am I ever going to see these people again?" I mean I now have friends from all over the globe: Hungary, France, China, Japan, Chile, Germany, Russia, Iceland, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, Venezuela, Colombia, and Paraguay and sooo many more. Am I ever going to get to see these amazing friends that I have made again? Its going to be soo hard to leave them because its so easy to make friends with an exchange student. Exchange students are soo open and soo accepting to just about everything. And because we are all living the same crazy life for one year we all become friends sooo quickly. Even Just today when Lilla, Hendrikje, and Yue were going home i didn't want them to leave because we are so close, its just really sad to say good bye even when you know your going to see them again, I don't even want to think about how its going to be in July when we're all in Roma and slowly one group at a time leaves for the airport to fly home and you have to say goodbye to all of the amazing friends that you have made this year. I honestly think that saying good bye to all of the people here and leaving Italy is going to be harder then saying good bye and leaving the USA was because when i left the USA i knew that i would see all of these people again 10 months and that no matter how much i missed them that i would get to see them again just 10 short (and i mean very short, time flies when your on exchange) months later. But when I leave the other exchange students come July in Roma I wont know when or if i ever will see these kids again. it is going to be very sad and very hard, but I wouldn't take back being friends these people even with the painful goodbye because they are some of the best friends that I've had and i know that some of them could even last my whole life.

Over all my Halloween part was alot of fun because i got to hang out with exchange students.

Friday, October 24, 2008


For those of you non-Italian speakers out there a sciopera (pronounced kinda like show-per-a ) is a strike. Strike's especially for teachers and students, yes in Italy students go on strike too, are not near as a big of a deal as they are in the states. Strikes here are usually only for one day where one party or the other boycotts school (or work, but this post is about school strikes) for the day and protests in the piazza. Well the reason that I thought that I would update my blog again so soon after updating it last time is something sort-of big has been happening in my town for the last two days and is possibly happening again tomorrow. That big thing is a sciopera for the students. Here has how the last 2 days of school have been for me.

When I arrived at school on Thursday all of the kids were gathered around the entrance of my school. Which is normal but today no one was going in to the school, which was weird. I asked a few of my class mates what was going on and they said that today there might be a strike. To me this sounded very weird because in the States students don't go on strike. Well one of the older kids got up and started speaking to the big group and then a whole bunch (almost all of the school) started walking back out of the gate. My class stayed because they had a big Latin test that they had to take that day so my class stayed so i did too. I didn't join the strike (which I didn't have any clue why they were striking because I didn't understand). So we didn't really have normal classes because the teachers didn't really teach anything all day because there were hardly any students in the school. Well at 1130 when we have our normal break what students were in the school went out so that we could have our break. About 5 minutes in to our break we see this GIANT mob of students holding signs and chanting (in Italian so i don't know what they were saying) So all of us students went back in side the building while this mob surrounded the school (it was really amusing to me because it was soo different) They all gathered around the school and one of the older boys got up with a megaphone and was talking to the whole crowd (me and my class were watching from the classroom) and they were all chanting and they had whistles and blow horns and signs and everything. The teachers were all watching and honestly they seemed amused too. The mob stayed for about 30 minutes at our school then continued walking down to do the same at the other schools. When I got out of school and came home I found out that there were student strikes all over Italy today and that they were on TV. The strike in Carbonia even made it on TV. Then My sister informs me that there is going to be another strike on Friday and Saturday. and that brings me to Friday, today.

Me and Ele get ready for school like normal except this time we don't take any of our school things with us to school because we know that there is going to be a strike and we don't want to carry our school books with us while we strike. So we get to school and again everyone is crowding around the entrance but this time NO ONE is entering the school, unlike yesterday when a few people went in. The same few older guys got up on the ledge thing and started talking saying that they didn't want to enter so the whole group of kids walked down the street to the piazza and waited for the kids from the other schools to get there because they aren't as close to the piazza as the classic/linguistic school is. Once everyone got there finally a few of the senior (5th year) students got up and started talking about all the problems and why we were striking while everyone stood around... there were sooo many students it was truly craziness but it was soo cool to see all the kids together for one thing. After they talked for a while we all just had to wait for the president of the school to show up, I'm not sure why but that's what I was told. To be honest it was really really boring and kind of hot waiting for the president to come talk to us. Well the boys got up and talked a few more times I'm not totally sure what they were saying but its something about the classes being cut and it not being fair for the little kids I think. At around 1130 they told us that we would be having another sciopera tomarro and we will be protesting at each one of the schools starting at 900 am.. So really today we didn't do anything but sit in the piazza for 3 hours and not go to school.

We all got ready for school just like we would normally but this time Claudio didn't drive us to school we went right to the piazza because this strike was already planned and everything was set in to place. so everyone waited around for about an hour until everyone showed up because it was planned for 900 some people didn't even come until 900 even though school normally starts at 830. there were SOOO many people there at least twice as many as there were yesterday. So they started passing out whistles and balloons for everyone to use and to blow up and then the whole mob started to (very slowly) walk in the middle of the street down the main street in downtown Carbonia. We were stopping traffic and everyone from there house s and the shops came out to watch the strike. everyone was shouting, yelling, using there whistles, blowing there blow horns and just being really loud (i have the massive headache to prove it). we walked all the way down the main street of Carbonia really slowly and stopping alot so that they could yell and chant together. I don't know for sure what they were saying cause i didn't really understand. Then at random times we would all sit down in the middle of the road so that we could listen to the "organizers" of sorts talk. We all walked together for about 2 hours very slowly through the streets of downtown Carbonia. We finally made it back to the piazza and then it was over. It was alot of fun even if i have a huge headache and am not sure why we were striking.. but hey... no school!!!

So I have figured out why I am striking (which we are still doing by the way). There is a new piece of Ledislation that is trying to be passed by the Italian Goverment. This legislation, created by Italian Leaders Gelmini and Berlusconi, is taking funds away from public schools (elementary and secondary, for now). With this piece of legislation, they are secretely trying to privatise the schools. As funds get taken away from the public schools, and given to the private schools, that means that teachers will be laid off, it means some students wont have chairs and desks to sit at. Because parents want the best for their children and their childrens education, they will take their children out of public schools, and place them into private schools, that, even though they receive large grants from the government, demand large sums of money for education. By this time, if there are less then 300 students in a school, that school must close. With the closures of most public schools, many students will, of course, be in private schools. But there is an even bigger, more sinister thing behind this as well. The government is also trying to shut down the public universities, In public university, you only have to pay like a thousand euro to go their for a year, but with the private universities, you have to pay, large, exorbitant amounts of money, like back in America (the government says it is trying to make the school system more "european", but it is looking more and more american). Many of my friends now are worrying that they will have to go to France or to Spain, or to some European country far from their home, to get a good, cheap, university education.
With that said, I am joining my friends in some of the protesting(peacefully) against this piece of legislation. We have protests almost everyday, that involve sit ins, traffic jamming, and the likes. (so yes, it is like I am living in the 70s, really it is like the 70s :) I have put up pictures on my web sight if you would like to see.

(side note: thank you for everyone who has left me comments on my blog, I love reading them they are very interesting, keep them coming)

Monday, October 20, 2008

You know your an exchange student when

I know that I just posted earlier today but I found this list on Facebook and I just had to add it to my blog. I know that all the exchange students out there will understand exactly what they are saying and everyone else will be wondering .... "that's funny??" but here is a taste of the life of an exchange student everyone. While not all of these apply to me alot of them still do and even if they don't there really funny to read. So I hope you all enjoy them. Don't forget to check out the "Differences" post that i posted earlier today

1] before waiting to see if anyone understood what you meant, you start acting it out.

2] you think 100 pounds to pack up your entire life is plenty of space.

3] you don't have preferences anymore, especially when it comes to food. Nothing tastes familiar, that's for sure.

4] you spend a lot of time smiling, nodding, and pretending you understand what's going on.

5] you classify "doing your homework" as translating half of it. And that alone took three hours.

*6] when your grandma asks you what you've been learning, you tell her something general, instead of "how to open beer bottles with a 50 cent coin."

7] you sometimes use the excuse "Sorry, I don't understand" to avoid answering a question....even if you do.

*8] they offer cocktails at the back-to-school party.

9] you want to hug the people who attempt to speak your native language to you.

10] you've called every person who says "hi" to you your friend... because you don't really have any yet.

11]you'll read anything in your native language just to have something to read...even packaging labels.

12]you've got on the bus and had the driver say "you don't want to be on this bus" because you got on the same bus the night before and it was wrong then, too.

13] you sometimes walk around the school during breaks to act like you're doing something, because you don't see anyone you recognize and don't want to stand there awkwardly.

14] you know the answer to a question in a class but don't raise your hand because you don't want people to expect to much from you.

15] you're better than your teacher in your foreign language class.

16] you are a master of pantomime and circumlocution and still can't have a conversation.

*17] you actually think the language barrier is a good thing when it comes to things like lying to your host parents.

18] you've ever mispronounced something in your native language (for example, names of products, TV shows, companies) because you know the others will understand it better if you say it with an accent.

19] you've tried so many different foods due entirely to the fact that you cannot understand the person asking you what you want so you just nod your head, say "yes", and hope to god it tastes half-decent.

20]you've tried to order something in your host country's language only to be answered in English because you did it so badly.

21]you've gotten annoyed with said people that automatically answer you in English when you try to speak to them in their language.

22] after you come back everybody tells you that you have a weird accent.

23] your dreams are bilingual.

24]sometimes it takes you about 5 minutes to remember a word in your native language that you were going to use.

25] you automatically use words in a foreign language that you cant even translate but they just seem to fit the context.

26] you watch television shows and movies that you know in your native language, just to understand it for once.

27] you begin to enjoy foods that you had previously despised at home.

*28] you've gotten out of a punishment or being yelled at because you didn't understand the language, or at least pretended you didn't.

29] it becomes a habit to introduce yourself by saying: "I am from (country) and my name is (name)."

30] you've gotten upset because someone assumed you wanted to do something...and then were told you were asked if you wanted too, and you said yes!

31] you've said something like 'oh yes' or 'not thanks' only to have everyone laugh because your answer made no sense compared to the question.

32] you actually got a high five when you understood what someone said to you.

33] you're never sure if someones being your friend, flirting, seducing you, or sexually harassing you.

*34] while you're having a nice conversation with your Gastopa and Oma, your host sister is making out on the same couch. Then her and her boyfriend are always sure to announce when they are going to take a bath together.

35] you're not sure whether it's a children's book or porn.

36] you get a little scared before starting a sentence with big words in it in another language.

*37] you have been put in a one or more classes with the fifth graders, because you're supposed to understand more there.

38] you are always counting the time difference between where you are and home.

39] you always forget the time difference when you call a friend or family member back home.....sorry for waking you up at 4 AM mom.

40] you do something wrong and people look at you weird, your excuse is "That's how we do it in my country" even if it isn't.

41] you have gone in to greet someone with a shake of hands and find yourself being pulled into an awkward hug/double kiss on the cheek or the other way around.
42] you carry a dictionary and a camera in your bag.

43] you get so used to broken English you finish people's sentences even though no one else can understand them.

44] you get into arguments with the foreign language teacher (English) over how to pronounce something.

45] you try to speak in the native language and everyone immediately knows "You're not from around here".

*46] you can get into the strictest clubs with your ID from you host country, because most people get confused and just let you get in.

47] you know every cuss word in your host language, but still cant conjugate into past or future tense.

48] peoples stares don't bother you anymore.

*49] you're ready to drink anytime of the day.

*50] you have mastered the arts of deception and sneakery.

*51] you've spent more than one night getting drunk with your host parents.

52] everyone thinks your playing the tough guy when you say you haven't called your mom yet and don't miss her too much.

53] a conversation is going fine, before it suddenly get stuck on some word or phrase which makes you completely forget what you were talking about.

54] you buy clothes in your country so you don't look so much like a foreigner.

The numbers marked with a * are the ones that don't, or haven't yet applied to me so mom, dad, teachers, anyone else reading this blog... don't freak out lol. I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I did...


Hi everyone, Sorry this has taken me so long to put up. Ive been really busy with my Italian class and being sick so I haven't really had the time but I thought that everyone at home would get a kick out of seeing some differences from life in Carbonia Italy and life in Monroe Wisconsin. Oh disclaimer this is going to be a very long post because I wrote this during school on one of the days when I have: French, Italian Lit, History, Latin, Art History, and Philosophy so basically i understand NOTHING so i had alot of time. LOL

  • The school day starts at 8:30 but that does not mean that the teachers or the students will actually show up at 8:30 and this is completely normal and accepted.
  • The teachers are late almost every day when all they are really doing is sitting in the "lounge" talking to each other.
  • Classes are a full 1 hour long
  • You have a different schedule every day of the week that can be changed at any time. (I've been in school for a month and still don't have a concrete schedule)
  • You get out at different times every day depending on your schedule. Some time between 1200 and 200.
  • You stay in the same classroom all day and the teachers change rooms.
  • You are with the same kids all day and you have the same class for all 5 years of high school.
  • YES they have FIVE years of high school
  • The classrooms have nothing on the walls and are just white boxes because the teachers move classrooms so they aren't decorated like they are in the states.
  • There are no substitute teachers. If a teacher is gone for a day then you just have a free period.
  • They have no lockers they keep all of there books at home and bring what they need to school every day.
  • They have to buy there own books every year because the school doesn't provide them.
  • The teachers are not guaranteed to know the subjects that they are teaching. (my English teacher does not speak English)
  • In a class when you need a tv or projector you have to go to another room because not every classroom has one.
  • The classes are all lecture style. there is no discussion. the teachers talk AT the class and the class takes notes for the whole hour.
  • The teachers are ALWAYS right even if you know for a fact they are wrong like if its written in the book differently then what they say you do not correct them because they are right and the book is wrong.
  • All of there tests are oral tests. they have to study the whole chapter and the teacher can ask them any question she or he wants and they have to have studied that part of the chapter. they are not given the questions ahead of time either.
  • There are no sports or clubs in school. school is for learning and that's it..
  • There is no school "pride" or school spirit.
  • There are routinely strikes for the students and for the teachers and this is a normal thing. Its not a huge deal like it is in the states.
  • You do not eat lunch at school. you go home and eat lunch with your family.
  • It is normal for teachers or students to just get up and leave class to answer there ringing cell phones.
  • Family meals are very important
  • Italians eat ALOT
  • A normal meal consists of a full plate of pasta (that would be the end of the meal in the states) then there's some kind of meat dish. (the first meal we had in Rome we all filled up on pasta because we didn't know there was more.. then we of course filled up on the meat cause it was so delicious.) and then you have fruit after wards.
  • When you empty your plate they think you want more and if you don't empty your plate they think your some kind of alien with an eating disorder because you don't eat enough.
  • They don't have sliced white bread. they either have fresh homemade bread or they go buy fresh bread from the store every day.
  • Bread with EVERY meal
  • Sandwiches here are ALOT of bread with a little meat as apposed to the opposite in the states.
  • They don't have snack food
  • There is really no fast food or take out here.
  • McDonalds is REALLY expensive like 3 euro for one burger (i haven't had it yet so idk if its more or less good)
  • When you go out for pizza everyone orders there OWN pizza. which is about the size of a medium pizza in the states. then if you don't finish it the waiters look at you like your nuts because normal people can eat the whole thing even if its piled high with STRANGE toppings.
  • They put french fries on there pizza.
  • Breakfast is really really light. usually only water or cafè and a small cake like thing.
  • Lunch is late too.. its around 230
  • They eat dinner really late. Usually at around 830-1000 is normal time for dinner
  • If you want a glass of water here you have to pay for it its not free like it is in the states.
  • When you want water you have to ask for flat water because other wise they will give you bubbly water. and you have to ask for a small bottle or you get a whole liter.
  • They do not drink tap water here EVERYTHING is in bottles.
  • cafè is espresso and is REALLY strong
  • American coffee is basically water here and is really nasty.
  • They do not use cloths dryers. they hang everything out side.
  • You cant walk around the house barefoot you have to have shoes on at all times
  • They do not have carpet they only have tile floors
  • It is normal to only have one or two electrical sockets in one room.
  • There are light switches in the hallway for the bedroom and light switches in the bedrooms for the hallway so your never in the dark.
  • The toilet bowl part (in the states the part that holds the water that is behind the toilet that the flusher is on) is mounted on the wall up by the ceiling.
  • The flusher is a tiny button on the wall.
  • You cant flush the toilet right after its already been flushed because it takes forever for the water to fill back up in order to flush again.
  • Italians have a weird second toilet called a bidet (which im not going to explain because i don't really know what its for because i don't use it. but if you want to know click HERE that is the Wikipedia definition of bidet)
  • Most of the cars here are small
  • All cars are manual transmission
  • Stop signs are optional annoyances to Italians that the government puts up to make the roads look more organized but are not things that have to be taken seriously.
  • Cars drive VERY fast even in town.
  • Roads are very narrow. for two cars to fit through at once time one car has to pull over to the side of the road to let the other one pass.
  • It is perfectly acceptable to park on the sidewalk, or where ever else you choose to put your car.
  • When you are crossing the street you look both ways and then run because you know that cars will not stop for you.
  • Honking is a perfectly normal thing to hear and you hear it ALOT.
  • you don't get your drivers license until you are 18.
  • You can drive a scooter/moped type thing when you are 16
  • It is normal and not gay to see two boys on one scooter
  • In fact you see 2 boys on one more often then you see a boy and a girl on one..
  • Italians talk very loud and very dramatically with ALOT of emotion.
  • When your talking to someone (this could very well just be me but i have thought it on more then one occasion) you can sometimes think to your self that the person should be saying "1 and 2 and 3 and 4 come on ladies feel the burn" (like a bad Richard Simmons work out video in the 70's) because they are moving there hands so much.
  • a normal conversations can sound like a fight because they speak so loud and with so much emotion.
  • it is normal and acceptable to have a verbal argument with someone on the street.
  • Everyone is very friendly and likes to talk
  • they are very open to new people
  • when there is a new person everyone wants to get to know them
  • Girls style
  1. Skinny jeans
  2. sweaters
  3. converse/flats/heals
  4. polos
  5. Tight fancy t shirts
  • Boys Style
  1. Unfortunately the same as the girls (Italian boys look somewhat gay by American standards lol)
  • Everyone LOVES sunglasses
  • They are very in to designer labels
  • everyone wears glasses (designer) and not many people wear contacts
  • they don't dress casually
  • when you go out you have to change because your "home clothes" are different then your "going out" cloths.
  • you don't hang out at each others houses
  • you hang out at the piazza and walk around in circles for a couple hours then go home.
Public Transportation
  • Busses and trains in every city and town
  • They are not always on time and not of the best quality but its very nice and very cheap to get around Sardegna on the bus or the train.
Well those are some Italian --> USA differences to amuse your selves with for a while.. hope you enjoyed reading them.