Sunday, September 14, 2008

my long journey to Italy

Wow ok its been along time!! well i'm in Carbonia :D and i'm about to tell you the LONG journey it took me to get here from Chicago finally to Carbonia!

Chicago --> NYC

This whole travel journey started on September 3rd in the O'Hare Airport me and Michelle had a 9 am flight from O'hare to New York . Me and my family went down to Chicago the night before because the flight was so early that we would have had to get up at 3 am to arrive in Chicago on time for my flight. Well we got to the airport about 1 hour earlier then we had to be so i got some breakfast and checked in my bag. That was surprisingly easy. it was underweight so i didn't have to pay extra and then we waited for Michelle's family to arrive at the airport. When they got there we stood around and talked for a bit then she checked in and then we waited some more because we got there early just in case. Then came the good bye.. it was well there are no words.. we were all very sad because we all knew that it was the last time we were going to see each other again for a very long time. me and Michelle proceeded through security surprisingly easy. we did not get stopped and neither did our bags so it only took like 5 minutes when we planned for like an hour. Me and Michelle just sat at the gate and waited for them to call our row in the plane. when that moment finally came we were both just soooo excited and a little sad at the same time. The plane ride was very uneventful and very short. we both just read our books the whole time and looked out the windows. When we arrived at the airport we found our way to the baggage claim area by our selves (YAY) and we waited the long wait to see if us and our bags ended up in the same place (a very agonizing wait) well Michelles bags came like first so then me being me over course started to spaz a little because my bags had not come yet lol... then the conveyer stopped and my bag still had not arrived.. but when all of the people moved i saw that someone else had taken my bag off of the conveyer belt thing and set it on the ground (i was jumping up and down in side). Then we had to find the AFS volunteers in Red shirts. so we were trying to secretly go up to every person in a red shirt without being to strange. but the volunteers seemed to know who we were so when they saw us they came up to us. then we were all (6 of us) loaded in to a van an taken to the double tree hotel.

NYC Orientation

I can sum up this orientation in just 3 words "Boring and Pointless" but I will tell you about it any ways. Well I arrived in Nyc at about 1130 and we got to the hotel at about 1200ish. When I got there I checked in the orientation and found out that I did not have a room yet. so i had to set my stuff down in the big conference room and wait until i was assigned a room. We had lunch of bad take out pizza and the actual orientation started at 2 pm. We did a few "get to know you" activities which were by definition very boring and not helpful at all because there was 120 people and there was no way to remember every ones name. Then they handed out the most useful thing of the whole orientation! color coded name tags!! Each country had there own colored dot on there name tag (Italy was Green) and they had your name and where in the USA you were from!! hahaha yes its sad but the most useful thing from orientation was the name tags lol.. We had a bad dinner of chicken and some kind of saladish type thing or what they call a salad. Basically the food was NASTY and we could not wait to get to our countries so we could have good food. Well I finally got a room at about 8 pm so I got to take all of my stuff up to my room and get settled in. the other good thing about the orientation was the BEDS they were SOOOOOOO comfy. Well we were done with orientation for the night so we got to hang out with the other students until 11 which was "Everybody in your own room time" So i hung out with Kayla and Zoe in Zoe's room until 11. We had alot of fun and took alot of really bad pictures. Then I went back to my room and fell right asleep. We had to be up insanely early 700 (ok not that early but it seemed like it) and we had more pointless activities untill 11 pm when we had to check out of our rooms!! then we just sat around and at a really stale lunch until 200pm when the Italy people (which was half of the orientation by the way: 120 total: 65 Italy: 40 Spain : 15 Portugal: 2 Ghana: 3 South Africa) Left for JFK airport

NYC --> Zurich, Switzerland

Well as you can imagine trying to keep track of 65 teenagers in one of the worlds busiest airports is no easy task so our flight was assigned a chaporene. She was a nice lady. So we all had to stand in the check in line with each of us having a years worth of luggage made for a VERY long line. I was one of the lucky ones that called first so I got through the line very quickly and went right through because my bag was underweight :D and went through to the first mini branch of security. Then just waited for everyone to get through the line. Then we went through security which went suprisingly well concedering we had 65 kids. No one got stopped by security so we went through security very quickly then we waited at our gate for about 30 minutes until they called coach seating for our international flight to Zurich, Switzerland. Well the flight was as boring as you can imagine sitting in one place for 8 hours can be. No it really wasn't that bad my seat mate wasn't very talkative so i talked to the people across the isle from me. I didn't sleep at all during the flight because in the USA the flight went from 6 PM - 2 AM so i wasn't tired but we were flying over Europe's night time so when we arrived it was 8 AM on September 5th (so basically i lost a whole nights sleep) But by far the best part of the flight was the yummy Swiss chocolate at the end of the flight!

Zurich, Switzerland --> Roma, Italia

We had a 4 hour layover in the Zurich Airport which was very boring. Basically me and a group of people just walked around for a while then we studied some italian. Oh the first weird thing we saw in switzerland was the bathrooms! they don't have stalls each toilet has its own little room and it has a heavy duty lock (like a bigger lock then the lock on my hotel in NYC) and the flusher is a big button on the wall or a little button on the floor. Basically half of our group passed out on the floor of the airport and slept the whole 4 hours (i was trying to avoid jet lag so i didn't sleep as much as i wanted to) Then we boarded our flight to ROMA which was very short but I don't remember any of it because i passed out and took an hour long nap. I remember take-off and landing and that's it. Well we got to the Airporti di Roma and all 65 got in line to get our passports stamped then we all bombarded customs at the same time so they kinda freaked out and just let us all pass because they didn't want to search 65 kids VERY fat suitcases! We were ushered in to this room with the German kids that were there. Then we were split in to 3 groups and given new name tags that we were to wear till we got to our families. Then we were put on giant buses and lead to a hotel out side of Roma. It was kind of disappointing that we didn't get to see any of Rome, but hopefully I will in January (more on that later).

Rome Orentation

When we finally got to the hotel we were told that we would not be able to get in to our big bags the whole stay only our carry-ones so we had to rearrange a little. Then we were all given rooms with 2 other people. My room mates were very nice. We all got along very well. Well for all of that day (we got there at like 2ish) we just got to mingle with all of the students that were placed in italy (400 in all with the USA being the biggest group) All of the kids were very nice. Ive decided that AFS kids or well exchange kids in general are the nicests/easiest to get along with/most accepting kids that there are. It was soo fun finding other kids that are placed close to me. Then we had our first meal Italian style and let me tell you it made me never want to go back to the usa. at oru NYC orientation we had bad take out and stale sandwichs for lunch /dinner every night and in Rome we had 3 course meals and fancy place settings for all 400 kids! and let me tell you the pasta was AMAZING!! The only thing that I didn't like about the meal was that they served bubbly water with the meal and i've decided that i detest bubbly water! After dinner more kids were arriving but i couldn't stay up any longer so i went to my room and crashed. The next morning we had breakfast (mom you know you said i cant have cake for breakfast well HA in italy cake is breakfast!!) then we had our orientation day where about 30 of us sat in a room all day with volunteers and talked about our "fears and expectations" sooo yeah as you can imagine it wasn't very fun. and the room was really hot. It was in a school ... i think... i wasn't totally sure lol. at about 5 o'clock we got out of the orientation and we were told we had till 8 o'clock to do what ever we wanted. most of the kids slept but i was trying to get a normal sleep schedule so i didn't sleep. then we had dinner which was amazing yet again and then we had our official "welcoming ceremony" It was fun but very hot. there were over 500 people in one tent. The president of AFS in Italy welcomed us and there were notes read from ambassadors from our countries. USA sent one which was nice yet very long. Then we went to bed. The next day was filled with good-byes as everyone left for there perspective host families at different times.

Roma --> Cagliari

I left for the airport at 130. We got all checked in and got on the plane from Roma --> Cagliari with about 30 other kids. That plane ride was filled with nerves as we all knew we were about to meet our host families for the very first time. We all picked up our suitcases from the flight (mine was last again) and we all headed as a group to meet the families. I was standing in frount of the group for a second and then my family found me (thank god because i didn't know what they looked like) and we all stood there hugging for a minute and we tried to talk a little bit then i had to go talk to the presidents of the Igleseas-Cagliari (they work together) chapters for about 5 minutes. Then we left the airport with our families.

Cagliari --> Carbonia

I had about an hour drive from Cagliari to Carbonia, my city, and for the most part we tried to speak in Italian but Claudio and Eleonora (Ele) translated for me alot so that i could talk English for a while cause i was really tired and my brain wasn't working very well. The ride was very interesting. My family was very sweet the whole way. Then we finally got to Carbonia and they showed me around the house.

And that was my journey from September 3rd to September 7th. Ok well this post is long enough I will tell you about my adventures in Carbonia thus far in another post

Ciao a tutti

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