Friday, October 24, 2008

SCIOPERA

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.

Thursday:
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.

Friday:
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.

Saturday:
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...

Differences

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

School
  • 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/Home/Food
  • 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)
Cars/Traffic
  • 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..
Speaking
  • 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.
Style/Friends
  • 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.

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 papà 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)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

First Orentation Camp

So I have officially been in Italy for 1 month today because today is October 5th and I arrived in Italy on September 5th. I can not believe that it has been 1 month already. My journey had gone by so fast I can not believe that it is 1/10th over already because it feels as if I just arrived in Italy because the time here has gone by so quickly. Well on to what my post was supposed to be about. This last week I had my first orientation camp for Sardegna Italy. It was SOOOO much fun!!! I seriously had so much fun with the other exchangers, but I guess when you put 40 teenagers in one hotel with only 6 volunteers your bound to have an interesting time.

October 1st
I woke up extra early to drive one hour with my papà to Cagliari. The bus left from Cagliari at 930 so me and my papà left Carbonia at about 730 because we knew there would be traffic going in to the city at that time of the morning. Well before we left Carbonia we went to a small deli to get me some sandwiches for lunch because the students would be eating lunch on the bus. When we got there he asked me one sandwich or two. When I said 1 he sais "but there small" so I said that I would have two because well it takes longer to convince Italians that your not hungry then to just eat what there giving you. When they started making my pannini they were 2 HUGE pannini!! Then at the register he also bought 2 soda's and chocolate. In my head im thinking. ok wow i can not eat all of this food for lunch. I mean who has 2 giant sandwiches for just lunch. Then we made our way in to Cagliari which took about an hour and a half when it should have only taken about 50 minutes because of traffic. We went and got some breakfast at this small cafè. I had a cafè and a small breakfast cake thingie. And my papà had milk. Ive never seen anyone put sugar in milk before but it seems to be common practice for Italians. Then we went and waited for the other Cagliari - Iglesias students to arrive so that we could get on to the bus. When everyone got on to the bus we started our 6 hour bus ride to Sassari. All of the Cagliari -
Iglesias kids sat in the back of the bus and we talked soo much it was so much fun. About an hour and a half in to the ride we stopped at Tarellba to pick up the kids in that chapter. It was really nice to see all of the kids again because i realized how much i actually missed them. Then we stopped in Oristano to pick up the kids in that chapter. The bus kept getting fuller and fuller with kids we hadn't seen in a full month. The last stop to pick up kids was Sassari. There were a few kids inSassari that I was looking forward to seeing again! Then we drove the one hour from Sassari to the Resort that we were staying at for the orientation. When we got there we checked in and we got our room assignments, I roomed with a Thai girl and a German girl, and we were given one hour to walk around and to go to our rooms and stuff. Well after that hour we went down and we had a big meeting with all of the kids and the volunteers. We introduced our selves in Italian to the whole group which was kinda fun because there were some kids that i didn't remember. Then we were spilt in to 3 big groups with 2 volunteers for each group. My group was really cool i liked them alot. on the first day because we didn't get there till like 3 we only did one section of orientation. We talked about our families and problems and stuff with our families. Then we had free time until dinner which was at 8. so we had about 3 hours of free time. my little "group" here , Me, Lilla (aHungarian girl in my chapter), Ami (aParaguaian girl), Sergio (a Colombian boy) and Efren (a Venezuelean boy) and Katerina (aRussian girl), hung out together for the 3 hours we had before dinner. We just walked around and talked. I like those 3 students alot they are so nice. Ive decided that out of all the people South Americans are the nicest for sure. then we had dinner which
was AMAZING it was like 4 courses just wow. After dinner we had about 3 more hours of free time and my little "group" went to Lilla's room and we played cards and listened to music. it was alot of fun. at about midnight we went to bed because we didn't know the volunteers well yet so we didn't want to push curfue the first night. But when i got back to my room both of my roommates were asleep so i had to be really quiet lol.

October 2ond
We had to wake up at 730 so that we could be down to breakfast at 830. At breakfast at my table every kid was from a different country so that was really cool. after breakfast we had to have more orientation which was really really boring. we talked about our school and about the language and stuff so it was really boring. But we had only about 2 hours of it and then they gave us pool time. Now mind you its October 2nd and we are all going to swim outside. we all went and got on swimsuits and went swimming. it was SOOOOOO cold but oh so much fun. I probably wouldn't have gotten in but people started throwing people in to the pool and I heard my name and i didn't want to get thrown in the pool so i just got in on my own but it was sooo much fun. The whole group (well most) took a big group picture in the pool it was sooo cold but so much fun!! Then we had lunch which we found out is the same size as dinner just minus the dessert at the end. After dinner we played some "tennis" with my group it was so much fun. After tennis we had more orientations but this time we talked about sterotypes for each country that was represented in our group. There was a big poster board for every country represented in our group and each person had to write something they thought or knew about the country on the board. It was fun to see what people thought about the USA and about the other countries. Then the kids from that country went up and told if they were right or wrong about the countries sterotypes. Then we had "personal interviews" I talked to Andrea Sana (the president of my chapter) about our families and school and language and stuff like that so that was nice but i really haven't had any problems yet so it was all good. Then was dinner which was the same as the night before so VERY yummy. Then there was a traditional Sardinian dance performed for us so that was really really cool!! It was nice to see some of the culture that was in Sardegna long
before us exchange students video ever stepped foot here. It was so interesting to see that people used to do this for special occasions all the time and how elaborate the costumes were and just it really was amazing. Then we, my group, played bullshit (a card game) for a while while everyone was getting called over for there interviews. After that we suddenly hear some one playing the piano so my group decides to go listen to the music. We all pile on 1 couch and one chair. so basically we were all laying and sitting on one an other but it was alot of fun. and we all stayed up listing to him play until like 130 am (curfew at 1 am but the voluteers didn't care) and after that we went to bed.

October 3

We woke up at 730 again and breakfast was at 830 again. I had breakfast with my little group again and It was so much fun. I love all the kids that I hung out with at orientation. Just they are so nice and so much fun. South Americans are so nice all the time. The weather today was really crappy and rainy so we all had to stay in the piano room and the balcony today because it was so wet. We had to stick around between breakfast and lunch because the rest of the kids had to stick around and do a survey which was really stupid. Then lunch was really really yummy I love Italian food! Then after dinner all of the kids decided that we were going to attempt to draw the world. It was alot of fun but our world ended up really really weird looking but we had so much fun. The "exchange student" world is a very messed up world. With many added countries and many countries that don't exist in our world. But it was so fun to draw because we weren't looking at a map when we drew it and we drew it in pen and marker so there was no going back once we started drawing. (and teachers that are reading this forgive us we tried) Oh one of the Chinese boys in my chapter in Sardegna is named Cao-Cao (pronounced cow-cow) and we all found out that in Chinese Cao-Cao means (excuse the language if it offends any one but this is what it means) Fuck-Fuck. So basically all of the exchange students LOVED Cao-Cao. He was like the most popular kid at orientation. And we basically named all of the Asian boys Cao-Cao.. they were 1 2 3 and 4 but they got a huge kick out of it and liked it. In our world South America and Africa were really close (we ran out of room) and they were connected with Cao-Cao bridge. Our middle Europe didn't exist and we forgot or left out alot of countries or we just didn't know what countries were there but just we had a BLAST drawing the world. Just I guess when you put 40 teenagers together were gonna come up with some weird things. Then we had dinner. After dinner we had a talent show which was alot of fun! Everyone's talents were sooo good and just it was fun to watch. Then we all just decided that we were all going to go on the stage and dance. so the dj put on music and we all just danced and had alot of fun. Then we all went to the pool and alot of people decided to swim at like midnight. It was soooo cold so i didn't swim but it was fun hanging out with everyone. Then me Sergio, Sheron (a girl from Alaska) and Voltier (an Icelandic boy) were walking around hanging out and that was alot of fun. then we went to bed because we were leaving the next day.

October 4th (a very sad day)

We all woke up and had breakfast together but this time I ate breakfast with some of the volunteers and that was alot of fun they're fun to talk to. Then all of the AFS kids went to an outside stage so that we could all take pictures. I took soooo many pictures. We all did weird groups together. Like Cold countries or America. Just it was alot of fun and i took sooooo many pictures. We also took one big group picture which was alot of fun. Let me tell you trying to get 40 kids that haven't slept in 3 days to sit still long enough to take a group picture is not the easiest thing in the world. It took our group about 5 tries before we finally had everyone in the picture. Then we all started walking to the place where we were going to have lunch but lunch wasn't ready yet so we all walked down to the beach. The waves were HUGE and coming in all different directions but we were all taking pictures. but sometimes you wouldn't see a wave coming and you would get your feet really wet because the wave would come up and suddenly you were standing in water. Then we had lunch in a place where we could see the sea. Then it was on the bus to drive back home. We stopped in Sassari and my group began to be broken up because Sergio left in Sassari because that's where he lives. Then we stopped in Oristano and we lost Ami and Efren. then we stopped in Tarellba and we lost Katerina and Sheran and then it was just me and Lilla left and it was sooo hard to leave all of the exchange students because you get really close to them all even if we were only together for 4 days you become friends with them really really fast. so it sucks to leave all of them. I am going to be very sad at the end of this because we are all very close already and just i miss them alot. When we got home to Cagliari it was nice to see my papà and mamma and my family because i missed them while i was in Sassari. Me and my family have gotten pretty close and i like them alot. We came home and had dinner and then I went to bed because i was REALLY tired because i basically didn't sleep in Sassari.

Well that is a summary of my first AFS orientation it was sooo much fun but a little sad at the end saying good bye to everyone.

(Pictures: 1: The first picture is of my "group" of friends at orientation, from left to right its, Me, Ami, Sergio, Efren, Lilla.... 2: Is our group pool picture.... 3: Is the USA poster of Stereotypes (most are bush and fast food)... 4: the video of the dance.... 5: All of the students crowded around the piano on 1 couch... 6: is the exchange student world (forgive us its really bad but it was oh so much fun) ... 7: is all of the kids on Sardegna.... (if i figure out how to put the captions with the pictures i will but i don't have time right now..hahaha) IF YOU CLICK ON THE PICTURES YOU CAN SEE THEM BIGGER)

Ciao