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!!