Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Living Life in Italy

I thought that I would update everyone on how I am doing in Italy. So far life has been great in Italy. I really love it here. The people are very nice and the culture is so open and friendly that it is easier to make friends and easier to talk to people because there more interested in you and what you have to say. So I am very glad that I picked Italy I believe that it is a very good match for me and that I ended up with the right country for me. I have basically been living life day to day just getting through one day at a time trying to learn more every day so that I'm not as lost the next day. I still spend some of my time following around people like I'm two because I don't understand whats going on around me, or why we are doing something, and sometimes I don't even figure it out until we are there or sometimes after lol. Being on exchange really does remind you of what it was like when you were about two years old because that's the language skills you have and how much understand. So my life so far since my last update...

School is very hard! I still don't understand very much in school because the teachers talk very fast and they are talking to the whole group and I really only understand people when they are talking directly to me because then they are concentrating on me and they remember to speak slower. So in class I really don't understand anything in most of my classes because the teachers talk way to fast for me to be able to follow. I understand a little of my math class but he does everything different then the way that I learned it so its hard because he says that my way is wrong so I have to do it there way and there way is very hard. I really don't understand my Spanish class now because my class is way ahead of where I am in Spanish. Ive decided that language classes in the USA have a lot to learn from other countries. I had 2 years of Spanish and they have had 1 year of Spanish and they know 4 times as much as I do. While yes they do have an advantage because Italian and Spanish are very close so it is easier for them to learn. In general the USA needs to come along way in there language classes. For one they need to start them earlier because 4 years of one language is not enough to even become proficient in a language. Ive met so many AFSers who speak 3 and 4 languages well enough that they can have full conversations about anything with out a problem. I wish US schools did classes like this. So I don't understand my Spanish class and my teacher is convinced thatI'm stupid because I told her that I have had 2 years of Spanish so she expected me to be AMAZING but they don't understand that it was my first language and that we don't get nearly as far in Spanish because English and Spanish really aren't that similar. I understand my physics class a little bit but not very much because its alot of story problems. My English classes are getting a little bit better because my teacher has started to speak a little more English (she cant speak English she can only translate from English to Italian when she reads). So for my English class i read out loud for the class the whole class period. All of my other classes I'm kind of lost in because there so difficult so i usually just study my Italian during them because it passes the time quicker and it will help me learn Italian faster....i hope.

I'm starting to make friends in school but its hard because my class has been together in the same class for 4 years now so they are already really close friends so its hard to break into there little groups that are already formed. I wish that it was easier. Like for the kids that have other exchange students in there classes/schools its easier for them because they have built in friends that i don't have but I'm also glad that I'm the only student in my school because I cant rely on the other students for English and I will (hopefully) have more Italian friends at the end of my experience.

My family is amazing. I really do love my family and they are a great match for me. My family and i get along really really well. They always make sure that I am where I need to be when I need to be and for that I thank them alot because half of the time I don't even know my own schedule because it was explained in very fast Italian and I didn't understand what was said. They also help me by speaking somewhat slow even when they speak to each other they make sure that they are speaking a little slower then normal so that I can try to follow the conversation. Me and my sister get along really well. We share a bedroom and I think that its a good thing actually because we have gotten closer then normal. If i have a problem or a question I usually go to my sister. One day she came to me and decided that she was going to dress me up goth for the day (if you want proof go look at the pictures on my web sight) It was definately an interesting experience but I definately think I will never go goth again. for one it takes WAY to much time. My papĂ  is very very nice to me. We have conversations together after dinner sometimes and its always really nice and I always feel really good afterwards because I realize that Ive just had a whole conversation in Italian. Although in our conversations dictionaries are a must lol. My mamma is also very nice and she helps me and treats me like her own daughter which is really nice. And like I said i don't really know my brother that well but I hope that will come a little later. My family has also planned a semi "birthday" present for me and they are taking me to Pisa, Palermo, and Florence for a week after my birthday. So I am very excited about that because I get to see more of Italy..

The Italian language is VERY frustrating because I still cant say everything that I want to say when I want to say it and that is soooo frustrating. I want to have an intelligent conversation with someone and that's not about school or food. I want to have an actual conversation about something that matters. When i'm talking to someone that's not my family they always get frustrated with me because I take along time to answer a question even though I understood the question and I know the answer it just takes me a while to arrange the answer in my head. People get annoyed that it takes me so long and then they just stop the conversation. so that is really frustrating. I guess I expected this time to come because the first month of major learning has ended and now I need to start really working harder (I have been working on it alot) on my Italian if i want it to improve more rapidly. Well we will see how that goes. The Italian lessons are starting to help more because they are getting a little bit harder which is nice because I don't feel like I'm wasting my time going to Cagliari three times a week. Now that they are helping more I'm grateful for them but I still cant wait for them to be over because they make for VERY long days.

Exchange is definately the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life because I am only 16 years old and I am 6000+ miles away from my home, my family, my friends and everything else that I know. I'm not going to lie it is hard but i know that it will also be the most meaning full experience of my life. I do love it and I am loving my time that I'm having here. Yes I do miss home. I miss my family and my friends and that Is hard sometimes because I cant just see them and talk to them when ever I wanted like I could at home. I really have not had that much homesickness for which I'm very grateful because that can cause alot of problems with exchange and I am personally glad that I haven't had to experience those particular problems. But I don't want to allude anyone. Exchange is Hard but it is most definately worth the experience because while its hard it is also alot of fun!!

Because this post is already insanely long I'm going to make another post right now from a list of "differences" that I have compiled for your reading enjoyment.

(I'm sorry for my horrible English, its getting harder to speak and write in English because I''m starting to use Italian grammar and word order in my English sentences making them make no sense. so I'm very sorry if something is a little bit confusing)


Anonymous said...
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Lisa said...

Kendra - You rock!! I am so proud of your patience with the new language and your willingness to adapt to a new culture. By December you won't need slow Italian anymore. And hang in there with Spanish class! I want a bi-cultural near native speaker in Advanced Spanish class next year. (-; Thanks for the great posts! Profe (Lisa Hendrickson

Nate said...

"I understand a little of my math class but he does everything different then the way that I learned it so its hard because he says that my way is wrong so I have to do it there way and there way is very hard."

What does he say that you are doing "wrong?" Aren't you still getting the correct answer by oh, I don't know, working smarter not harder? ;o) :o) Glad to hear all is well. Nothing really major new here. 1st quarter is almost done and soon the students wont see matrices until the 1st semester final.

Yeah, goth, not really your look :o) Hope you have fun in Florence! It is an amazing city. Check out the Duomo and Michaelangelo's David that is INSIDE (Not the one that is outdoors, that's a fake!)


Nate (Mr. Cannon)

Anonymous said...

I love it.
When i am in spanish classes sometimes i end up spelling things wrong or saying things funny when i try to speak english again. lol.
Right now, i am living the Italian life through you.
I cannot even believe you've done this all. I'm about a year too late, but still, it's amazing to read. I'm *i know i am, i HAVE to convince my dad* studying abroad in Italy (hopefully with AFS (maybe ill have your famiglia!) in my 10th grade year. I'm just going into 9th. I love your blog. Thank you so much!
And no worries about messing up your english, lol.