Sunday, July 19, 2009

Im home

Well as most of you know by now, because you have probably seen me around town, i am home. Kendra Wagner is back in the USA, back in Wisconsin, and back in Monroe. Some times i don't believe it either so if its hard to believe that after a whole year in Italy I'm finally home, don't worry because well its something that is kind of hard to wrap your mind around.

Its not easy to get from Europe to the United States. Well wait, now that i think about it it is fairly easy if you compare the journey to back when planes didn't exist. when you had months on a cold, uncomfortable boat. but even if the journey is a relatively easy one it is a very LONG journey.

My long, long travels started on the morning of July 4th (much like i said in the post before this one) when my host dad and my host sister took me to the airport. well the Italian time perspective lasted right up until the last day of my stay in Italy. we were the first family that showed up at the airport. before AFS before everyone. that was one thing i was happy about. getting back to a country where people will be there when they say they will be and OMG they might, just possibly, be there 5 minutes early. we waited for the other families to get there and every time someone got there you saw the sadness in their eyes, faces and body language. and it wasn't even just the kids, it was the families as well. this good bye was not just hard for us, it as just as hard for our families. i realized something that morning: we are not the only one that had a unique, hard, amazing, confusing, wonderful, scary, happy experience, our families had the same type of experience that we had. i realized that when i saw that: wow its not just us that are sad that we are leaving all of our families are losing something as well. they are losing daughters and sons that they became so close to. they don't know just like us when we will see each other again. its not only hard for us, its hard for them as well.

Well all of us kids we did our check in. let me tell you that was the first hard thing we all did. we had to get our bags weighed. let me tell you that is stressful when you know that there is a good chance that our bags will be over weight and what will we do if it is over weight? well i got lucky and my bags were underweight :) once we went though check in we had to go through security. that was one of the hardest things that i have ever done. i had to officially say good bye to my family. it was SOOOOOOO HARD!!! we all hugged and said goodbye and said that this wouldn't really be good bye. it was so hard. i cant imagine telling you how hard it was to say goodbye to them because there are no words to explain the feelings that us exchange students go through in that moment. only other exchange students can understand what i am explaining. its like there is a giant balloon in your chest that is slowly leaking air leaving you with a big whole in your heart and chest that you have no idea how long its going to take to fill or if you will be able to fill it again. and that doesn't even come close to how it feels but that's about all i can think of to describe the pain and hurt.

getting on the plane i knew that i was leaving my Italian life forever. i had been thinking about it for a long time but in that moment it was real. it was real that my Italian life was leaving me forever and i wouldn't be able to get it back. well the flight to Rome went by very quickly and we got through everything and we got our bags. no ones bags got lost so that was good. but just as we were about to go out and meet the volunteers all of the kids from Sicily got to the airport so that was like a reunion with kids we had not seen in months and months. it was amazing. we waited for them to get there bags and then we all got packed in to buses to go to the hotel. it was MAJOR deja vu. we took the exact same route that we took when we got to Italy but this time we were leaving. it was like going around a circle exactly. like we were finishing the experience exactly the same way that we started it. it was a cool feeling but still sad. we knew that these were some of the last things that we would see of Italy. well we got to the hotel and we and we got our room numbers. we all threw our stuff in our rooms and we then ran to lunch. literally ran because there was only 20 minutes left of lunch and we were soo hungry. we all knew that our room numbers were pointless as soon as we saw our name tags. the Americans were group 1. which meant that we were the FIRST group to leave, we were going to be the first people to have to leave the hotel and say goodbye to everyone. and the worst part it was at 330 am. which meant that we were NOT going to be going to bed because it was our last night together and i was NOT going to waste that night sleeping. no way!!!

We were one of the first groups to get to the hotel so we waited and about every hour or so another group of students from all over Italy would show up. it was one of the coolest things that i have ever experienced because we got to see all of these kids that we had not seen in over 10 months. it was soo cool to all be able to see each other again and see how we had all changed and how everything was different but we were all still able to make friends so easily. the coolest thing was however. was that this time we were not all speaking English, we were speaking Italian. it was the coolest thing ever because we were able all communicate in a language that we had all learned. we were all on an even playing field this time.

Well at about 630/700 was when the two buses that i was waiting for showed up with kids from Trento and the kids from Leece which was bringing me some close friends that i hadnt seen in 4 months (since my week exchange) for the rest of the night we went around talking to the people that we had grown to really really like for the last time in the near future. we were all desperately avoiding talking about going home and the inevidible ending that would be comming at 330 AM for alot of us (that is when the americans were going to leave) Oh and remember when i raved about the food 10 months agao when i wrote about the Rome orientation? well they either got a new cook or it sucked the first orientation too and we just didnt know lol.. because for this orientation it REALLY REALLY sucked. for the 15 hours that i was there (with no appetite because we were all so sad we didnt even want to eat) i lived on Apples. because they couldnt mess those up lol.

We all decided that we wouldnt go to sleep because we didnt want to waste the last few hours that we had together sleeping. whats an all nighter when its the last night you have together? so basically for most of us we hadnt slept all night the night before becuase we were sad, scared, excited, nervous, happy and a million other things at the same time that arent good for sleeping. then we didnt sleep that night so basically we were in for a very awake meeting with our families lol!! as the night went on it started to get colder and the mood got sadder and sadder as we all started to realize that in just a few short hours it would be over. about an hour before the Americans left we had to start getting our bags together and getting ready for the bus and the most dreaded thing:saying goodbye. we all started to gather in a HUGE group around the busses that had arrived and we started to say goodbye. it was the hardest thing that ive ever done in my whole life. i was saying goodbye to people that i had learned to really love over the last year and we were all crying sooooo hard. we gave out our last gifts and our last hugs that we may ever get from these friends and some of those hugs were the wettest saddest hugs that ive ever had in my life. then all of these sad hugs with volunteers are our necks saying "you have to go you have to go the bus is going to leave and you will miss your plane. and trust me that sounded like a good thing to some of us!!!

we got on the bus and i cried the whole way to the bus which was about 1 hour long. i sat with Efren (the boy from venezuela) and just cried we got to the airport and we got in to the line to check our bags which honestly was a big ordeal because for alot of people this was there first plane ride and they were worried about what there bags weighed but the airport workers were pretty lenient and they let us all pass though and we got to the plane. by this time most of us were still really sad but we were just ready to be home. we had accepted the fact that it was over (not that we were ready for that) but we were just ready to be at home with our friends and families at this point skip all the travel and just be there in our own beds and just not be on a plane. even though the plane that we had from Zurich to New York was VERY VERY nice!!! this time we only had about 1 hour in Zurich which was really nice becaue by the time we got there we were already going back though check in again. and this time we had a cool chaperone who just let us do what we wanted and was pretty chill.

On the plane we all tired to sleep watch movies and just waste time as much as possible and to not think of what was going on and the fact that we were just leaving italy after a year, and how sad we were. There were some good movie choices and we all decided to watch our last badly dubbed italian movie. and i chose to watch "hes just not that in to you" and it was REALLY bad. I imagine it was bad in english well it was even worse in italian!! i love italian but they still arent good at dubbing movies. I would like to say the 8 hours passed quickly but it really didnt. We talked alot, slept, read books, watched movies and just tried not to think about leaving italy. We finally got close enough to see the USA on the map of the world that showed the planes path (which is really cool and fun to watch actually) and we started cheering (which made the other passengers look at us oddly because a group of 60 students just randomly started cheering) then when we did finally land we started clapping, cheering and saying WE'RE HOME!!!!!!! which again got us odd looks from other passengers. when we got off of the plane we had to go through customs in the usa. they gave us a sheet to fill out about stuff we had with us in our bags then we had to wait in a line where we handed the workers this paper, then get our bags (which took FOREVER) then get in another line and have them stamp our passports and then go wait for everyone else to get through that line.

There were alot of kids parents there waiting for them which was nice for them because they didnt have to go on another plane like all of the rest of us. afs gave us there last speech "be good in the airport, have fun and you did it you did your year congratulations" and they let us go our separate ways. so i made my way to delta and went through security again (which was really starting to get annoying) and then set in to wait my 4 hours for my plane to Milwaukee. in the begining i just walked up and down the delta waiting area which is pretty big then i ate burger king. which i know exciting first meal in the states right? well not so much i didnt really eat it but i knew that i needed to eat something cuase i had no idea how much time it had been since i had last eaten so i knew that i needed to eat. but it didnt really work very well lol.. well after that i saw another girl that had an AFS luggage tag so i decided to go up and ask her were she went. it turns out that she had just gotten back from belgium and was headed back home to California. we talked for about 2 hours until i had to board my flight.

My flight to milwaukee went really really fast surprsingly. it was only about 2 hours long and it was on a VERY small pane. i was in the 12th isle and it was the last isle on the plane lol. with only 3 seats across the plane. when we got off the plane it was really exciitng because my Mom, dad and sister shannon were all there waiting for me along with 3 other AFS waiting families (there were 4 of us on the plane) then after getting a little lost getting out of the parking garage we got home fairly fast because there was no traffic at 9 pm going out of milwaukee.

That was pretty much my journey home now since ive been home ive been really busy trying to get ready for school and finish up all of my homework. but really this summer has been good. Ive been avoiding all things Italy just because its easier not to think or talk about it then it is to constantly talking about it. which is why i havent updated my blog or my pictures. in fact all of my italy stuff is sitting in bins and bags in my closet and all my pics still on pen drives that i have yet to touch now that im states side.

I would like to thank all of you for reading my blog and i really appreciate all of your support during my year it really had been an amazing expierence that i would not give up for anything in the world. thank you all!!

Grazie mille a tutti!!! Arrivederci!!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

my last day

---NOTICE---Well I would like to start this entry by saying that all pictures will be updated when I get home and when I have fast Internet again because quite honestly the Internet here in Italy is VERY slow and it takes me HOURS to upload pictures here and lately I have not had time to sit at the computer for hours on end uploading pictures. But I do promise that when I get home I will upload all of the remaining pictures that I have so that you guys can all see the pictures from the last 2 months of my trip :)

Now for the real reason that I’m writing this blog entry... If you do not know by now I will be leaving Sardegna tomorrow and I will be leaving Italy on July 5th 2009 so that leaves me today as my last full day left here in Sardegna. I just would like you all to know that this blog entry might not be as long or as thought out as my normal ones because if I tell you in all honestly I’m FREEKING OUT. I woke up today and the first thought in my head was "this is the last time that I will be waking up in this bed to have a full day here in Sardegna!" (I will wake up in it tomorrow but just to leave directly for the airport). I now can't stop running the lists of things that I still need to do (my blog being one of them) in my head over and over and still not fully grasping the fact that I really do only have ONE day here left! It still doesn't seem real that this experience is already over. That the 10 months have gone by this fast. It can’t be true this has to be some kind of joke that everyone is playing on all of us exchangers...

I couldn’t tell you guys if I was more happy then sad, more scared then excited, more nervous then ecstatic. I honestly couldn't tell anyone how I exactly feel right now. My stomach is in knots and my head still can’t grasp the concept that I HAVE to finish everything today because there WILL NOT BE any more days to finish it. That just doesn’t seem real or right to me. I can’t believe that that’s how it is. None of this means that I'm not actually ready to come home and excited to come home because I really am. I really am excited to see all of my friends and my family and my town and everything. I’m just not quite ready to leave here. I love Italy and I love my life here, I love my family and my friends and I know that when I leave here. When I get on that plane tomorrow at 1100 that even if I were to come back. (Which I WILL) nothing will be the same. The world, my world in Sardegna, will have changed forever and I will never get that world back. It’s impossible to get it back exactly how it was this year. It will never be the same as it was and that that is the hardest thing to accept with all of this. its hard to accept the fact that no matter how hard I try how much I continue to study and contact my friends and family here.. If I come back, when I come back, it will never be the same. All of my friends will NEVER all be here at the same place at the same time. It just won’t ever happen. And that’s depressing it really is. I hate it. It’s horrible!

I feel like today, I have too much to do in too little time. When in reality I don’t really have that much to do but because it’s my last day everything seems to feel like it will take me 10 hours and that I will never have time to finish it. But I know that I HAVE to finish it. Like in reality there are only 4 things I HAVE to get finished today. I have to finish this blog (which I’m doing right NOW) then I have to finish writing 4 letters to friends and family, I have to do last minute packing and I have to finish up the gift for my host family. It doesn't seem like much right? Well just because I still have those 4 things I’m like freaking out. I’m freaking out that I won’t finish everything that needs to be finished that I won’t have time that I won’t do them good. (So I should apologize if this blog entry is really crappy, and makes no sense I’m not exactly in a good state to write loll).

Tomorrow I will have to wake up early, by 730 because by 830 I will have to get in the car with my host family so that they can take me to the airport. I will have to have the exact same car ride that I had exactly 10 months ago tomorrow. Only this time, I know that I will be crying instead of incredibly happy, this time I will understand everything that they are saying to me and not need translations like the first time. This time I know that I will be leaving them for a long time and not that I will be going to stay in their house. This time I will be leaving a house that I know and love instead of going to a house that I don’t know and that I don’t feel comfortable in. This time I will be totally comfortable in Italy and really sad to leave instead of being in a new place where I know nothing where I don’t know the language or my family. This time I will be dreading arriving at the airport instead of excited to arrive at home. This time I know I will be saying goodbye instead of hi for the first time. This time I will be envying the person I was 10 months ago because she still had 10 months in Italy instead of me envying the person I am now like I was 10 months ago. This time is the end not the beginning.

I will get to the airport and meet up with all of the people from AFS; about 25 of us will be leaving the Cagliari airport at the same time. We will all be there with our families and we will all be saying good bye to our families and then all of the AFS workers. I can image that that will be one of the saddest airports in the world in that moment. I never really thought about it. But airports are some of the saddest and happiest places in the world. People are constantly leaving and reuniting with the people they love. Whether it be for 3 days or for 3 years they are leaving and reuniting in the airport. There are 2 types of people on a plane the people that are really sad and the people that are really happy. I can guarantee you that we 25 kids will be in the really sad group. its not that we're not all excited to reunite with our family and friends its just that for now all we can think about is leaving these friends and this family and NOT coming back for a while. It wasn’t like when we left that we knew that we would be home in 10 months... now we're leaving with out certainty when we will come back. And how it will be when we come back. It’s all unknown. This time we are leaving into the unknown

I don’t want any of you to get the wrong idea about this post. I am super excited to come home and to see you all again just right now my brain is stuck on "OH NO IM LEAVING" because I still cant comprehend the fact that this time tomorrow I will be in the airport, going through security and leaving my host family and Sardegna forever. I do love you all and miss you all like crazy and I’m excited to be coming home. Just know that.

I will write about the rest of my journey and a "closing blog" when I am finally home became I don’t know how it’s going to go or whats going to happen yet. So i'll let you all know when I get home how it all went and how I’m doing. I’m sorry this one was so strange, short, without grammar, and sporadic but my brain isn’t in the best place to write correctly right now. I hope you all understand what I’m writing. I love and miss you all... see you soon!

Love,
Kendra

Monday, June 15, 2009

End of stay camp!! and saying goodbye

I just got home from one of the SADDEST and one of the FUNNEST 4 days in my whole life!!

I bet you are all wondering how on earth can a time period be the saddest and funniest at the same time well it can be. Especially in the life of AFS that I'm talking about is what they call "End of stay camp" (they call it this even in Italy, even though its in English lol) and its basically the last time that all of the exchange students of Sardegna will be together at the same time in the same place again. Depressing i know, but one good thing about when you get 50 16, 17, and 18 year old exchange students together we always manage to have fun even if its not in the best circumstances like: being sad about going home. Well I'll tell you how it went:

On June 10(which would have been the last day of school but none of the exchange students could go because we had this camp) I got up and got on the train at 830 so that i could get to Cagliari by 10 which is when the bus for Sassari when i got there there were already a whole bunch of kids there so i just joined the group and i waited until the bus got there. we ended up leaving a little late because there were a few kids that got there late because they didn't know where they needed to go or what time they were supposed to be there so we ended up leaving a little bit late which sucked lol because that mean we got there even later!

It was just like the bus ride that we took for the first camp. So for about the first hour of trip we were all by our selves (just Cagliari and Iglesais)because we hadn't picked up anyone else yet and then we stopped in Terallba and picked up more kids, then Macromer, then Sassari. And every time that we would go and pick up more it was crazy because everyone would have to say hi to everyone which meant the 2 kiss thingy and with a TINY aisle in the bus and like 50 students it doesn't really work out that well, but we make it work. well when we finally had all of the kids we could finally start on to the place where we had to go for the orientation!! When we got there the first thing they did was give us our room assignments and gave us our name tags!! yes MORE name tags!! I think that Ive had more name tags this year then i have ever had in my whole life! and now they seem kinda pointless because we know each others names already so we didn't really need them any more. well i was in a room with Lilla, Hendrikje, Marium, and Me so that was nice! they obviously did the rooms by friends this time and not just randomly like they did last time!

Well once our rooms were all organized we all had to go to the main meeting place so that we could start orientation. They say that this is the orientation that is the most important because it will help us realize that we are going home and that this experience is ending and that we are going into what they say is one of the hardest part of the exchange the "re-entry". We were divided up in to 3 groups because you cant just have one massive orientation because no one would get to talk or do anything because we would be in one gigantic group of 50 lol. My group leaders were Nicola and Maria Luisa. We had goups of about 15 or so which was a good number to have. we started with those silly orientation games that they always make you do to try to get you having fun by having everyone make a fool of themselves? yes you all know them.. even if you dont want to admit you've played them you all know your guilty of playing at least one of them! we all pretend to hate them but we secretly know that we love them! hahahah then we started the actual orientation. We talked about how it would be difficult to readjust to our home countries now that we are used to Italy because we have gotten used to and come to accept the cultural differences of Italy as our own and have begun to forget the small things that make up our own countrys so we will have a little bit of "culture shock" for our own country.

They told us that they were trying to get us ready for the things that we would experience when we went back to our home countries so that we wouldnt be completely alone with no knowledge of what we were about to do. They warned us that we would not be going back to the same place that we left for 2 reasons. Everything there has had a life for 1 year with out you, its grown, changed and will continue to change in ways that you will not understand because you were not there for a year and 2 the even bigger reason is that we have changed. we have matured and we are not going back to our homes the same way that we left them. They say that in one year (of exchange) the exchange students mature 3 or 4 years more then normal. They dont want us to think that we will be going back to things being exactly the same as if we never left.

We then had free time which we all spent in the SEA. yes there was a beach at the resort! it was soo nice we loved it! we all went in the water even though it was completely freezing but we went in anyways because we are strong! hahaha not really we went in screaming. but we couldnt stay long because of dinner. well after dinner we had another orientation type of thing. we all sat in a circle and they gave us each a candle and we had to light the candle and then go up in front of everyone and tell them an experence. it could be good or bad but it had to be an experience from this year. if it was a good experience we left the candle lit and if it was a bad experience we blew it out. then we left them there. and almost all of them were good experiences at the end which was really nice. then came the really hard part. we all had to go up in front of everyone and we had to thank someone. someone that helped us during the year someone that we had relied on during that whole year. it was something really hard to do and we were all crying while we were doing it because saying thanks is not something that is easy to do. especially in front of alot of people. but we did it. lets just say we were all really sad after that because i think we all kind realized that "WOW" this is really ending .. we're really coming to the end of this experience and that we really dont have that much time left here.

The next day we had to get up so that we could do more orientation we started with some general orientation with everyone and then we played this game where you stand in a big circle and one person goes in the middle. and they go up to people and say "sweetie, I love you and if you love me smile for me" and you have to respond "i love you very much honey but i cant smile for you" with out smiling and if you smile you have to go in the circle. its HARD let me tell you.. IT was fun tho! then we had more orientation because, that was the point of all of us getting together at this place hahaha.. we did some more talking but today it was just about our experiences over all here in Italy. About how we thought it went and how we thought about it over all. we talked about the problems that we had had and how we resolved them. we also got to talk to Ikka which was a Finnish exchange student in Sardenga the last year and he came back to visit so we got to ask him some questions about how his life was now that he was back and all of that stuff so that was nice. its nice to hear about the experiences of all of the exchange students! now that the year is over and how much we have all changed.

Then we had more free time so we basically all went into the water again because it was hot and well its fun. we all went in to the sea even tho well its FREEZING but it felt good because it was hot. After dinner we had another thing to do like the night before. there was a circle of candles and we all had to lay down in a circle and we had to listen to a lady talk and imagine that it was real. she had us imagine that we were leaving Italy, on the plane going home, seeing our families and friends for the first time in months. going back to our town and house and finding it different. finding our friends a little different then they were when we left them. had to imagine all of the things that could happen this year when we get back home. it was something really really really hard to listen to because because we know that all of this will be happening in just 2 weeks. we cant say anymore.. oh yeah when i leave... and still know that we have months.. we all now know we only have 2 more weeks here in Italy so its getting harder and harder to think about. Its not that we dont want to go home it's just the fact that we know when we leave here on July 5th we are leaving this life forever. Even if we do come back it will NEVER be the same. all of these kids will NEVER be in the same place at the same time ever again. that we will never be able to get this exact life back even if we were to come back and visit and thats the hard thing to accept. It wont ever be the same as it was this year. well all good things have to come to an end!

The next day we had the morning off so we mostly spent it by the beach and getting ready for the talent show. Seriously!! they have not realized by the 3rd talent show that we do NOT have any talent hahaha. All the talent shows they watch must get really really boring lol. but no this one was alot more fun then the other one because we all know each other now and we aren't afraid of making a fool of ourselves any more which is nice.. we were all trying to organize the talent show most of the night but we also had to do AFS stuff. we had to fill out our last evaluations of AFS, we had to write how our experiences went and how we thought AFS was and what they could have done better and what they can change and all the normal stuff that these type of organizations make you fill out lol. it seemd to never end as well. when we finished one packet they just kept giving us another one, like it would NEVER stop lol. in the end i think it was like 3 or 4 packets of info that we had to fill out. Then we had a break for dinner then the TALENT SHOW

Well i must say this talent show was soooooo much better then the other 2 that we put on. (even AFS said it was one of the best ones they had ever seen) the presenters were really funny and interesting this time and some of the acts were really funny. some of the guys dressed up as girls and danced (not sure what that was but it was really funny lol) and some of the girls played this game where like 10 people stood in a semi circle and they passed around a fake rabbit and you had to say where you were gonna kiss it and no one could kiss it in the same place as another person well when all had said they said that they now had to kiss the person on their left in the same place as they had said they would kiss the rabbit.. so there were definately some awkward ones like hmm lets see: foot, neck, lips, BUTT.. but they were all good sports and they did it. and then at the end of the talent show we got the pleasure of having the volenteers (Nicola, Luca and Ikka) do a performance. They stripped hahaha.. it was the funniest thing ever. they said that they had never done a talent show before so we all felt a little honored that they would do one for us :) and trust me we all have videos that will eventually (when we have fast internet again) be on facebook! hahaha

Then after the talent show we had the AFS party because during camp we had 3 birthdays!! Carissa 17, Gonzalo 18, Ami 19.. HAPPY BDAY ALL!!! so we had a little party for them with dancing and all that fun stuff it was fun but still a little depressing because we knew that it was the last night that we were there so we were obviously really sad. we all went to bed REALLY late but still had to get up really early because breakfast was done at 930 lol..

The next day we spent it taking pictures and having everyone sign our flags and our memory books and all of that kind of stuff. which is really nice we had time (not enough tho) to do that because we all had flags to sign and we wanted people to write things for us so that we could remember later. well at 1200 we had to get on the bus, for the dreaded bus ride home. we knew that we would slowly be losing people. We were all walking up and down the aisle having the rest of the people sign our flags and our books and we were talking to everyone. then the first hard stage. We lost all of the Sassari kids, then the next stop Macromer. we lost all of the kids that live on the east or middle of Sardnega. Every stop got harder and harder because we knew that we probably wouldnt be seeing these friends any more until Rome and even then we probably wont get to see them all. By this time the bus was pretty empty.. I sat up near the front and was talking to Nicola and some of the other kids because we knew that we wouldnt get to see him after today because he was going to Rome the next day to study. I had the volunteers write in my book because the volenteers this year were amazing (the Cagliari Iglesais ones!! especially!) and i knew that when we all got off the bus in Caglairi it was going to suck big time. well then we stopped in Terralba. It was just the Cagliari kids now! Well let me tell you it was a VERY sad bus ride. we were all sad and crying because we knew that there were kids that we just said good-bye to that we would never see again (or at least for a very long time) then we got to Cagliari. and we all had to say goodbye to Nicola because we wouldnt see him any more. that was hard because he was a big help to us this year (especially to the Iglesais kids :) ) and for me it was really really sad! then we all said goodbye but that wasnt that hard because we knew that we would all see each other again because we're all from Caglairi!

All in all this was one of the funnest weekends that i have had in all of my experience but it was also by far the saddest and the hardest because this year, the people (beside your family) that you get close to is your AFS family. they are the people that understand you and the people that you really click with during the year and saying goodbye to them is the hardest thing ever because you dont know when you are going to have money to go visit them all over the world! and you know you will all never be in the same place again! If this camp was hard (when we all know we will still see each other in Rome and maybe another time in Sardenga) i can only imagine and dread going to Rome because then it will be real. the goodbyes will be real and final. We will all be getting on planes and really be heading home. well everyone i leave you with 2 words GOODBYES SUCK but you know when the goodbyes suck and when they are the hardest that you have made real friends and that you have had an amazing experience that you will remember forever

Kendra

P.S. Love and miss you all and i am excited to come home! see you all in 2 weeks!
P.S.S Ill try to blog another time before I leave and as for pictures i will continue to post those even after i get home because here the interenet is so slow that it takes me FOREVER to upload pictures!

I WON!!!

Well i would just like to thank everyone that voted for me and let you all know that i got the number one spot on the blog contest!!! I will post the email they sent me here!

Dear Kendra,

Hearty congratulations from the team at bab.la and Lexiophiles! Your blog has been voted number 1 in our Top 100 International Exchange & Experience Blogs competition for 2009 . We had more votes for this competition than we have ever had before, so you should be really proud of yourself for attracting so many readers!

We have published the entire list of blogs and how they ranked after the voting on our bab.la site. We have also written an article explaining more about how the competition came to be, which you can read here if you are interested.

We have also created the buttons for you to put onto your blog telling everyone that you came 1st in the competition. Follow this link and simply copy and paste it the code for the relevant button and put it in your sidebar so everyone knows how well you did!

You should also have received your certificate today from Unicef regarding the donation we made on your behalf. I have attached a copy here in case it hasn't arrived yet! You should be very proud that not only was your blog voted number 1 by your fans, it is also helping people in Africa… how many bloggers can say that?! ;)

We really hope you enjoyed the competition, keep your eyes on bab.la and Lexiophiles for the next one!

Kind regards,

Erin

Grazie mille per l'aiuto!!!

Kendra

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Vote for ME!!!

Hey everyone!

It seems as if i was nominated for a blog contest. I'm not sure who nominated me but I got a comment that said that i was nominated for the blog contest of 100 best international blogs of 2009! I'm still waiting for a risponce from the contest runners for the exact details but I thought that I would put a little notice up here to tell everyone to VOTE FOR ME!!!

http://www.lexiophiles.com/english/ix09-nominated-blogs

Go to that link ^ and im number 79!! You have to click on the "vote here" or "vote for your favorite" links at the top and then scroll down untill you find my blog named "La mia vita italiana" and you click on the bubble and then VOTE!!

I would like to thank all of you in advance for voting for me!! The voting ends June 7th so we dont have much time

Grazie a tutti!!
Kendra

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Calcio Crazyness!!!

In the USA the main sport is Football and in the rest of the world the main sport is also football, but a football of another type. And by another type I mean SOCCER!!! While I have been in Italy I have heard more talk of Calico (which is soccer in Italian, even thought it really is the word for “kick”) then I have ever heard in my entire life of 17 years combined!! But I was bound to learn about why the Italians love it so much before I left Italy so hence the goal (get the pun???) to go to a professional soccer game before my time in Italy was up!!

I have never really (and am still not,even though I played for many years) been a huge fan of soccer but while I have been here in Italy this year I have heard all about it and have even started learning who the players are and who the famous people of European soccer are. I’m not going to claim myself to be an expert by any means but I will say that I am much less ignorant about soccer now then I was when I left the USA. Although even though I’ve heard a lot about it here in Italy I’ve never really understood the “craziness” that everyone talks about when they talk about soccer games here in Europe. Well on May 10th (my dad’s birthday and the day that my parents left) I got to experience this madness first hand at a Cagliari – Rome soccer game that took place in Cagliari.

After we (me and my host dad) left the airport he took me in to Cagliari so that I could meet up with my friends that I was going to go to the game with. I will admit to you all right now that I wasn’t going to the game so much for the soccer as I was going to experience something new and to have fun with my friends. I could honestly careless about the soccer game itself but I knew that because I was going to be going with my friends it would be a lot of fun! Well when I got to Cagliari I met up with Marga, Sofia, and Lilla and we went to Lilla’s house to hang out for a little while because we had some time before the game started. About an hour and a half before the game we started the 20 minute walk to the stadium.

When we started to get closer to the stadium we started to be joined by a TON of people. There were sooooo many people there that we didn’t even have to worry about not knowing exactly where the stadium was (because we didn’t hahaha) we just followed the big mass of people wearing red and blue (the colors of Cagliari) We did eventually arrive at the stadium, but there was only one problem. There were about 30 different doors that you could enter the stadium in (and you had to enter in the correct one, meaning the one that is written on your ticket) so we started walking around the stadium because we had no clue where the door that we had to enter was and we eventually just had to ask because it felt as if we had been walking around the stadium for ever (when in reality we had really only walked around ¼ of the stadium) but we found out that we were going in the correct direction and that we just had to keep walking because we had come in on the northern side of the stadium and we had tickets for the southern side of the stadium. So when we finally found our entrance we got in line! I was glad that we got there early because it didn’t seem like they were letting in the people very fast because they were checking everyone’s tickets and name cards so it was taking sooooo long!! And my friends were freaking out because they didn’t want to miss the beginning of the game but it started moving a little faster thankfully!

Let me tell you the line was LONG!! We apparently had really good seats (I didn’t know I just was going by what the other people told me) so we waited with our tickets and our passports in hand. Yes I said our PASSPORTS!! We needed our passports to get in to a soccer game because we were foreiners and they want some kind of ID and because we don’t have Italian ID cards we had to take our passports! I thought this was a bit much but honestly I had never been to any type of professional sporting event before this so I didn’t know if it was normal procedure or if this was some kind of Italian red tape. Well we eventually got to the front of the line and we showed them our tickets and our passports and they checked to see if the names were the same and then they asked us if we had water bottles. We all did so they made us throw away the caps (because they had problems with people putting soap in to them shaking them up and spraying people with soapy water) and we were allowed to go in to the stadium!!

I walked in and I’m not going to lie I was a little bit in awe because it was HUGE!! The field looked so big and the players so small. When we got in there it was just the warm up practice thing for the players because the game had not yet started. We found our seats really easily and we sat down and waited for the game to start. OMG when the players came out for real, like when they all had there uniforms on, the crowds went WILD. Not just for Cagliari but also the crowd that was there for Rome. Everyone went crazy and so far all they had done was walk out on to the field in a straight line. To me not so impressive yet but still every one went completely crazy. Then that’s when the game started. I was surprised that there was no like ceremony or anything they just all took there places and started to play. There was no person commenting on the game or anything there was no score board or a place to tell you how much time was left or what was happening they just took the field and started playing. I was surprised at how many complications there weren’t (although I don’t view the commentary or a score board complications because they help the people like me that are a little confused all through the game haha)

I was rooting for Cagliari (I mean come on I do live on SARDEGNA!! And I'm pretty sure that if I was rooting for Rome in the section that I was in I might just have been murdered by all of the Cagliari fans that were sitting around us because we were in a Cagliari fan section!!) but as soon as the game started I didn’t honestly think that Cagliari had much chance at winning because Rome seemed to be a much better team over all. For most of the first part of the first half (I was a little confused because I had no clue how much time was passing and what not) it was mostly Cagliari on defense and Rome trying to score because they were better. This made the Cagliari fans go CRAZY because they were convinced that the refs were partial to Rome because in there opinions every time Cagliari would get they ball they would call some sort of foul and make them give it to Rome. But before the second half was over Cagliari scored so that made all of the fans really happy because it mint that Cagliari was in the lead and that they only had one more half and if they could keep the lead they would win the game. Well as you can imagine there was an intermission between the 45 minute halves. But we stayed in our seats waiting for them to restart the game.

In the beginning of the second half Cagliari scored another goal which made the fans very happy because they were winning 2-0 against Rome! Then the problems started to set in! Rome started to take control of the ball more which eventually lead to them scouring a goal on Cagliari which made the fans really really mad. Some of the fans were getting so mad that they were starting yell some very bad things at the refs and the players and fans of the other teams! They were really getting into the fact that there team had a chance of losing its lead so they started to get a bit mean to the other teams and especially the refs. Every time the refs would call something on Cagliari they would get called so many names by the fans (especially in my section because we had the good seats so it was the people who really liked soccer! So they were really in to the game and wanted to see Cagliari win) it was really funny to watch all of the fans (if I dare to say it, it might have been more entertaining to watch the fans then it was to watch the actual game of soccer. They were more lively and did different stuff and the game started to get boring after a while becauseI'm not a huge fan of soccer so it did get boring but the yelling screaming people were very funny even all the way to the end of the game)

When Rome scored its second goal the Cagliari people were enraged because one of the Cagliari players had been pushed (or so they said) before Rome scored its goal so they were convinced that the goal shouldn't count because he was pushed down before the goal was scored. They were all standing up in there seats and hanging over the edges of the rails yelling some not so pleasant things to the refs trying to get them to take back the goal that they thought shouldn’t count because of what happened. Which made the fans of Rome really mad because they thought that the goal should count and that he was not pushed down but that he just fell. So the were yelling at each other across the field which was really amusing. Especially when it was like adults in suits yelling at each other all red faced and angry. In the end the ref decided that he was not pushed down and that the second Rome goal would count for Rome so the score was now 2-2 with only like 3 minutes left in the game.

As you can imagine the game ended in a tie much to the Cagliari fans dismay because they were all still thoroughly convinced that it should have been 2-1 because the last Rome goal should not count. Honestly I would have loved to see Cagliari win just to see them win but they didn’t and that’s fine with me too. In the end though I’m really really glad that I went to the game, soccer is a part of the culture of Italy that I had not yet seen. It’s a past time that a lot of the Italians enjoy (although it seems like more of a stress then a stress reliever to them hahaha) so I’m glad that I got to experience something that is part of there culture that I had not yet experienced. Gli Italiani sono PAZZI per calcio! (The Italians are crazy for soccer)

And above all it was a very fun day that I had with the other exchange students (it was there first Italian soccer game as well) having an “Italian first”

Pace, Amore, e felicitĂ , (peace, love and happiness)
Kendra

Monday, May 25, 2009

10 days with my AMERICAN parents :D

As most of you readers probably know my American parents came to visit me in Sardegna from May 1st through May 10th (my daddy's birthday: D) but now I'm going to tell you about all of the adventures that we had while my parents were here.

First off let me tell you how nervous I was to see them. I know that sounds weird but really all of you right now imagine not seeing your parents for 8 months and then preparing yourself for seeing them for 10 days and then having them leave again and not seeing them for 2 more months. It’s an odd feeling. The whole morning of the first I was really nervous and I kept checking my watch for when we would have to go to the airport. The host mom of one of the girls was nice enough and she took me to the airport in her car so that I wouldn't have to try and find a bus that would take me to the airport on a holiday. While I was sitting in the car all I could think was "OMG in less then an hour my parents are going to be here!! What is it going to be like? Are they going to be different? Am I going to seem different? Will they get along with my host family? Will it be weird having both my families here? Will it be hard to translate for them all the time?" my mind was running a mile a minute and I couldn't think about anything else. When I got to the airport I thanked Paula and went in to the airport only to find that the plane had been delayed 20 minutes.

I found my host dad talking to one of his friends (who was also waiting for someone in the airport) we had to wait because my parent’s plane had been delayed. I decided to watch the TV (that says the status of the planes that are coming in to the airport) and when there plane landed I went and told my host dad but before I could wait for my parents by the door I had to go outside and add money to the “meter” for the car because its only for 20 minutes at a time and because there plane was late landing our half hour was up so I had to go add a new ticket. I did it really fast because I was afraid that my parents would get there. When I got inside I found out that no one from my parents flight had come out yet so I just waited, I talked to the other people waiting to pass some of the time. I started to get nervous that my parents had missed there flight because people from the other flight after heir’s were starting to come already and my parents had not yet come out. After waiting for ever I finally saw my parents and when I did I ran through the gates and gave them both a big hug. The guard seemed really mad at me because I ran through the gates. I said I was sorry and we went back through the gates together.

Then came the first weird part: Introducing my real parents to my host dad!! We walked up to my host dad and I introduced them then we all got in to the car and I found out why it had taken them so long to get through baggage pick up. They didn’t know that they had an international terminal because they were coming from Rome (but their bags had been checked all the way through from Chicago to Cagliari) so they waited for their bags in the national place and then they went to claim them missing and the lady told them that they had to go to the international place. So they went there and then finally got their baggage and well I told you I had made great friends with the airport guard.

In the car mostly me and my mom and dad spoke in English catching up a little bit. They were obviously really really really tired because they had gone a whole 24 hours with out sleeping. They got on their plane at 5pm in Chicago and got to Europe at 8 am the next day. So they had gone a whole day with out sleeping because when they were in the plane it was night in Europe but the evening of the USA so they weren't tired enough to sleep so they didn’t end up getting much sleep. I'm sure that they felt like that hour long flight was just as long as I felt like it was that first day I got here 8 months ago!! When we finally did get back to the house my parents were determined to stay awake because they didn’t want to suffer from jet lag all week so they were determined to stay awake the first day so that they could get in the habit of the time in Europe.

I showed them around them around the house so that they could get used to it a little bit. And then I helped them unpack. While I was helping them unpack I realized something. Almost all of the stuff that they had in one whole suitcase was ALL my clothes. It was all my STUFF. They actually brought a whole suitcase full of my stuff haha. I knew I shouldn’t have been surprised because I knew that they were going to be bringing me clothes and stuff but I was still slightly surprised as to just how much they did end up bringing me. I was really happy though because I really needed some summer clothes which are what they brought me. Up until that point it hadn’t really gotten that warm but my family said that it was going to start getting hotter so I knew that I would need some clothes. So I was really happy that my parents brought me some clothes. We got all of their clothes put away in the spaces that we cleared for them so that they wouldn’t have to live out of their suitcases for the whole 10 days that they were here. We decided that we would stay home that night because we were sure that my parents would be really tired, and they were, and we wanted them to have an easy night at home. Then we did something that was VERY un-Italian. We ate dinner at 7:00p.m. So that my parents could go to bed early that night. Now I know your all thinking WHAT 7:00p.m.?? That’s early?? Well in Italy it’s VERY early to eat dinner. In fact it was very strange for me to eat dinner that early. I and my dad watched a movie and then we all went to bed.

I know that I normally do a day by day recount but I've decided this time (mostly because I don’t remember exactly what we did on what days) that I will spare you all that and give you a general recount of what we did with the 10 days that my parents were here. With telling you some specifics and some highlights in specifics.

Well on the first day we gave them a choice about what they wanted to do. Because it was Saturday and their first day they decided that they wanted to see my city. But first we had to get through breakfast. My dad tried cafĂ© for the first time. His reaction was that it was just like normal coffee but that he prefers American coffee. And my big news about breakfast I had CAPTAIN CRUNCH for the first time in 8 months. I must tell you that it tastes AMAZING especially after not eating it for 8 whole months. Man was it AMAZING. I never thought that I would miss something like breakfast cereal (even thought it’s not something I realized I missed until I started eating it) but you end up missing the little things a lot. Anyways because that it was Saturday there was the market in my town. I don’t get to go to it very often because normally I have school but obviously because it was the first day with my parents my host parents let me miss (plus none of my classmates went to school either because we had planned to just make it a holiday) which was really nice of them.

We took them in to the centre of town and then we decided that we would walk around the market. The market is actually pretty cool. I like it a lot. You can find a little bit of everything there which is really nice. My mom really liked it a lot which was good. We walked around the market one time and then we had to go to the bankomat but its obvious that everyone decides to get all of there money out on Saturdays because there was a line for every one that we decided to go to. We then went for another round of the little market because mom wanted to: D.

We went to A LOT of different beaches while my parents were here. I will tell you some of the more memorable stories that we have from while we were here. Well I would have to say that the most memorable beach that we went to would have to be the one where we had to ROCK climb to get there. Yes I (and most importantly YES my parents) said it right I ROCK Climbed to get to a beach. Basically you drive up to this one beach (which is really pretty in itself) and then there is this small path that is on the side of the mountain that is really really rocky and there is a pretty steep fall to the water if you were to fall. My host dad tells us that we are going to go on that path and we will be arriving at another beach. My host dad went first so that he could help my mom and me and my dad went behind him. It was really hard to do especially because I and my mom were in flip flops and not tennis shoes so it made climbing a mountain a little difficult. Well basically when we got there the beach that we saw was BEAUTIFUL and small and we had it all to ourselves!!! It was one of the prettiest little beaches that I have ever seen in Sardegna. My host dad told me that the only way to get to that beach was to do what we did or to swim so alot of the times there aren't alot of people on the beach because they don’t know about it or just didn’t want to go to the hassle of going over there. We stayed at the beach for a while and I and my mom put our feet in the cold water because we were hot from climbing the rocks. Then... bum bum bum... We had to GO BACK on the same path that we came on so that meant more rock climbing. Although going back was a lot easier then getting there was. So that’s good!!!

One of the other good "beach" stories is when we went all around the coast of Sardegna right north of where I live. It was so beautiful. My dad kept comparing it to the coast line of California because the roads were carved right in to the mountains and all you saw for miles was the water that was right to your left (or right depending). They said that it was one of the most beautiful coast lines that they had ever seen. We then went up to this little town that is in the mountains that is sooo beautiful. Honestly when you see it you think of the stereotypical fishing towns in Italy. All of the small low houses with red roofs that are all close to the sea. I can’t imagine waking up to see that view every day. I would LOVE to see that view every day as the first thing that I saw when I woke up in the mornings. We went to a Sand dune while we were in this little town. Basically REALLY high up in the mountains there is a few really huge sand dunes which means that at one point the ocean arrived at that point in the mountains because it is sand from the ocean. My parents were really tired at this point but I decided that I was going to run up to the top of the sand dune. So I started running, but I realized that running up sand is very difficult, and when I got about half way I was already really tired but I was determined. I was determined to make it all the way to the top. Well when i did make it I made my mom take my picture: D just to prove that I did really climb that giant sand mountain. Well when you go up something really high coming down is always more fun but then there’s the thing that it always takes soooooooo much less time to come down then it did to actually go up so it doesn’t seem like it was worth all of the work that it took to go up the mountain (wether it be a real mountain or one of sand) but it was fun anyways!!!

Those are a few of our fun beach related stories now i'll move on and tell you a few other stories that we had while we were here: One day while they were here me and my host dad decided that we would take them to the middle of Sardegna so that they could see the Nuraghe. Nuraghe are the old houses that the ancient Sardi people lived in. These houses are made entirely of stone and are older then all of the Roman things that exist in Italy. They just started finding and uncovering them in the last 50 years because in the thousands of years since they were used the land has changed and covered them up and until about 50 years ago no one had ever bothered to uncover them. I had seen Nuraghe before but I had never seen these particular ones that we went to see that day so it wasn’t boring for me either which I was glad about. It took about 2 hours for us to get to the middle of Sardegna where they were so we decided to get on the road early in the morning (at around 8am) And when we got there we paid for our tickets so that we could see 3 different things which ended up being a really good idea.. We got our tour guide and we were in a group with one other Italian guy who came from northern Italia and he was going around Sardegna on his bike. The tour guide was really nice and he gave me all the time I needed to translate all of the stuff to my parents because he didn’t speak English. So he would explain in Italian and then I would explain it to my parents in English.

I've decided that the Sardi people were even short then when they made these houses because the ceilings were really short and on the stair cases the ceilings were really close to the floor. And let me tell you that it made it very difficult for my dad who is 6’3” (almost 2 meters)!! We walked up and down the different floors of the Nuraghe while the guide explained all of the different parts and what they were used for. For this kind of thing you really do need a guide because if we were to have done it alone we would have had no idea what we were looking at and it would have seemed to us like a bunch of rocks put together with out much sense. But because he was there to help us know what we were seeing we actually understood what we were looking at which was good. We then went to the other 2 museums that we had paid for and one was really neat. It was this old house that is of some famous Spanis person and they found a Nuraghe UNDERNEATH of the house. But the house is a land mark they can’t just tear down the house to get the Nuraghe so they are digging underneath of the house to dig out the Nuraghe but they have to slowly support the house as well so that it doesn’t just cave in... It is really cool to be inside of the house that seems like it is balanced on nothing and you are floating. Plus all of the floors are made of this like glass materiel so you can see the Nuraghe underneath!!

That very same day we decided that we were also going to go to this wild horse reserve. So we kept driving closer and closer to the middle of Sardegna so that we could go see this reserve. It ended up being really cool because it wasn’t all wild horses it was also normal horses that were so used to people you could just go right up to them and pet them and stuff. And my mom had brought apples for US to eat but she decided that she wanted to give them to the horses instead (thanks mom!!) so then the horses really loved us because we kept giving them food. There was even one who kept following me around because he thought that maybe I had more food even though he had already eaten all of the apples that I had to give him. We went around the rest of the reserve and even saw the wild horses too but those ones you cant touch because well there wild so we just saw them from a distance. After the reserve we were all tired so we decided to head back home especially because I and my parents had to get up early again the next day so that I could take them to Cagliari to show them around and so that they could meet my friends!

Me and my parents got up early and got all ready so that we could catch the train to go to Cagliari. They wanted to see exactly how I did it so that meant going by the train and not going in the car. So we went to the station so that I could get the tickets. We got our tickets and we got on the train. They were lucky because the early train in the morning from Carbonia to Cagliari is a direct train that is one of the new trains so their first thoughts of the Italian trains were that they were really nice (even if that’s wrong mostly haha) Well when we got to Cagliari we decided to go in to the McDonalds so that my dad could get a cup of “American” coffee. Although we found out that really what they do for “American” coffee is they just dump 5 Italian espressos in to 1 cup and they call it American coffee. When in reality it’s really nasty!! Then we went outside and we waited for Lilla. I had decided to ask her to help me show them around because she knows Cagliari way better then I do so I figured she would be a better tour guide then I would. WE decided to go the Bastione (the fort of Cagliari) and to the church (which I have explained in the week exchange to Cagliari post) But by that point my parents were hot and tired (and so were me and Lilla) so we decided that we wouldn’t go anywhere by foot any more and that we would buy bus passes so that we could take the busses to go around.

This turned out to be the BEST thing that we did because we ended up going really far to see the next thing that we saw. We decided to go see the Ampitheatre of Cagliari. It is an ancient Roman theatre so it’s really pretty and really old. After that we went to this church that has the BODY (yes I said the real body) of Sant’Efisio which is the Saint that was born in Sardegna. I must say it was really weird seeing a dead body of a very short man in a plexy glass box and imagining all of the people that come here to worship a dead body. I know that it’s a church thing but still its a little bit creepy how they keep the body on display for people to see. At this point it was almost time for lunch so we decided to walk back to the centre of town (it was all down hill and it had started to cool off) so that we could meet up with all of my other friends so that we could all eat lunch together.

We ended up getting back to the centre earlier then the other kids got there so we sat down and took a much needed rest and we waited for them all to get there. In the end we all (Me, My parents, Lilla, Hendrikje, Maddie, Sofia, Marga, and Bruna) all decided to go to “La Cantina” to eat lunch. We decided that if my parents really wanted to see how we students lived that we would take them to the best (and cheapest) sandwich shop that we always go to. And let them see how we live the cheap student life. WE all went there in a HUGE group so it eneded up being a little hard to get a table but we did eventually find one which was good and my parents were really surprised that we at a VERY VERY good lunch for 10 people and spent less then 50 euros. That’s not possible in the states even in McDonalds. After lunch we went to a place that we could get ice-cream and we then went and sat down in a park and waited until the stores started to open so that we could go walk around the shopping streets. When they started to open, we got on the bus and we went up to the shopping streets while we were there my mom bought herself a Sardinian ring. There is this type of jewelery that is only found in Sardegna. It’s really pretty too. Almost all of us (girls) exchange students have something from there because it’s just so pretty and it’s something that can only be found in Sardegna. We continued to walk around with my friends for a while and then I and my parents had to go so that we could catch the train to go home to Carbonia. While we were on the train going home my parents told me that they really liked all of my friends and that they really enjoyed there day in Cagliari so that made me really happy.

One other thing that we did that was also really fun was that we went out to dinner with my host parents so that my real parents could taste Italian pizza. It was really fun because it was really hard to decide what kinds of pizzas to order for my parents because there were so many choices they couldn’t decide. Plus they couldn't believe that we had to order one pizza for one person instead of like we do it in the states. They ended up really liking the pizza in Italy though even if it is a little bit different it still is really good and hey pizza CAME from Italy you cant knock it until you try it!!

Now I will tell you a little about what we did in the nights. We would always have dinner with my family every night which always proved to be really fun because I would basically have to be the translator for my family because my real parents don’t speak Italian and my host parents don’t speak much English so when ever we would have to have big conversations I would have to translate but when my parents just wanted to get something small across (like when I was in school the few days that I went and they went around with just my host dad with out me ) they could normally get all (or at least the point) of what they wanted to say with a mix of English and my host dads knowledge of English and the use of my dictionary which my dad took to carrying around with him at all times. That way they wouldn’t have to translate every single thing that they wanted to say. Well after dinner I and my dad usually would watch a movie together like we used to when I was at home. That was something that I hadn’t realized that I missed but I really did miss. It was really nice to have that again.

Well I helped them pack up there luggage (which was A LOT of my stuff) and they ended up within one pound of what they had to be at because of all of the stuff that I had added to their bags and of all of the stuff that they had bought here in Italy. It was really hard to pack up all of the stuff because we had all of the stuff that couldn’t be broken so my dad had to pack it up so that it wouldn’t break on their way to home. Well on the morning that they were to leave we all woke up early so that we could drive to Cagliari. It was me my parents and my host dad. We got to the airport and they got all of there stuff checked in without a problem which was good because we were worried about them being over weight with all of the stuff that had to be added. Then we walked over to security. Then we had to say our goodbyes. It was really sad to say goodbye to them because honestly it had been 8 months and I had forgot how much I missed them then I saw them again and then had to leave them again for 2 months and wait to see them again until I got home. It felt like I was just leaving again. Well we said our good byes in front of security and I and my host dad waited until they were through security until we left and then we left the airport. I was sad...

It was sooooo nice to have my parents here in Italy. It was so nice to show them my life. I'm not goin to lie there were times that were a little strange but over all I would not change them coming for ANYTHING I loved having them here and I loved showing them all around and about my life here in Italy. I am so glad that they came to visit me here: D it was one of the best weeks of my exchange. And I hope that they had as much fun as I did: D

Thanks for reading guys.. Love and miss you all!!!

Coming soon: My experience with Italian soccer

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Settimana di scambio: Cagliari

I already had my exchange week in Trento, Italy but as of 2 weeks ago there were still plenty of kids that had not yet had there exchange week. This is because they were going to have there exchange week in Cagliari. Cagliari has one of the latest exchange weeks of all of Italy because in that time period of the year (April 24th through May 2nd) there are lots of holidays in Cagliari and there is one of the biggest holidays of the year in Cagliari on May 1st. AFS organizes the week exchange this way so that the kids get to see some of Cagliari when there are lots of people here and when its in "party mode" or "festival mode" which is much more interesting then it is normally and plus there is more things to do in Cagliari during these holidays.

The first thing that was on the schedule to do with the new exchange kids was to go to the Mines/Caves of Iglesias. well the night before was the birthday party of Mateo (the Colombian boy= and almost all of the kids in my local chapter had spent the night at his house so we all arrived to the first mine together and still half asleep and not wanting to go see a mine that we had already seen. we all got there before all of the new kids so we wanted for them (because they were coming from Cagliari) all I was thinking was wow were going to make a great first impression on them: half asleep, unshowered , not well put together, and really not wanting to be here at all. maybe a party the night before something big wasn’t a good idea.. but it was fun!

When they finally got there they all (about 20 of them) piled off the bus. There were about 3 boys and the rest were girls. They were all Germans!!! There were like 10 Germans in the group. there were a few kids that I recognized from Rome and 2 that I recognized from Trento but most of the others ones I did not know because they were semester kids or I just didn’t meet them in Rome or I didn’t remember them from Rome. We all introduced our selves to some people but not everyone but in reality we pretty much stuck to our groups of Cagliari-Iglesias kids and “settimana di scambio" kids. Except of maybe 1 or 2 kids who went back and forth.

But it was the first day so I guess you can’t really expect much more then that. We were split in to two groups to go into the mines which, I didn’t know about for the new kids, for us from Cagliari was really boring because we had already seen this mine and we were all really tired. After the mine (we were all really hungry because no one bothered to tell us Cagliari kids that we needed a sack lunch) we all went to the beach of Iglesias so that we could eat. The weather was really crappy so no one wanted to swim but we did roll up our pants and put our feet into the water. It was cold. We all started eating (Andrea brought us food) and going into the water was fun but we got all sandy and wet which wasn’t very fun. Then we all had to go in cars up to the next cave we were going to. It was even more boring then the first one but this time I was in a fun group of new kids. A girl named Vivi from Paraguay, Rosie from Peru, Marie from Belgium, and Marte from Norway, they were all really fun!!

Well after the mine we were finally allowed to go home! a volunteer from a town close to mine took me home and I showered and went right to sleep because I knew that even though it was vacation from school I needed to get up and go to the train so I could go to Cagliari and do the tour of Cagliari with the new kids and Andrea the next day. I woke up to find out that the weather was going to suck that day too... I was just hoping that the rain would hold off until the end of the day so that we didn’t have to do the tour of Cagliari in the rain because that would suck A LOT!!! Well I got on to the train and went to Cagliari and as soon as I got there, I'm talking about the minute I stepped off the train it started to rain. I mean it didn’t start raining a little bit it started pouring down rain. I’m like OMG you have to be kidding me. Well I met up with Sofi, Marga, and Ami and we started walking to the meeting point. It was just our luck that the meeting point for the day was a good 20-30 minute walk from the train station.
The next good thing is we weren't totally 100% sure where we were going so we had to keep asking people. The people were helpful and we did eventually arrive. But we arrived soaking wet because between the 4 of us there were only 2 umbrellas so we were soaked from head to toe with water by the time that we got there.

All of the new kids were dry and happy because they had arrived in a car but we were already for the day to be over. Well we started the tour by going to the place in Cagliari where the Americans bombed it during WWII. There are still the markings of the bombs because they preserved some of the broken down apartment buildings. Of course me being the only American in the group they all looked at me this point and I just smiled… I had nothing to do with it I wasn’t even born yet… I mean my PARENTS weren’t even born yet so really people its not my fault we then went to see this REALLY beautiful church that is in Cagliari. Its one of the oldest roman churches that is in Cagliari. I am in love with that church. It took them 400 years to build it when they did build it. I love it a lot! Then when we left the church... yup it started raining AGAIN so we decided to go in to the bar at the top of the bastione. It was really nice but the bar was really touristy so that wasn’t that nice but still I liked the bar it was coolly decorated. When it stopped raining we went out side of the bar to look at the view from the bastione. Which all of the new kids liked a lot. I’m used to the view but I must say Cagliari is a really beautiful city. But you do start to forget about it after a while. After we were done with the bastione we really didn’t have anything else planned so we all went to McDonald's for lunch. And after lunch we all just hung out for a while and we then went shopping and planned for the next day about going to the beach.

I decided to come back to Cagliari again the next day so that we could all go to the beach again. All of us Cagliari kids got ready, which for us that means getting lunch (at an AMAZING sandwich shop in Cagliari, La Cantina) and then going to the supermarket to buy water and something for dessert. Then we meet up with all of the new kids so that we could take them to the beach that is close to Cagliari. I mean you can’t come to Sardegna with out going to the beach at least once can you? I mean really… it’s just not right. We got a group of about 8 of the new kids and we all got on a bus and when we finally arrived at the beach all of the new kids were in aww because it was so beautiful, when us kids from Sardegna knew that this was not the prettiest beach (not even close) in Sardegna. But they were all very happy so, so were we. We all opened our lunches (and the kids who didn’t have them bought their lunches there) and we spent an amazing (HOT) day at the beach. Then the only problem was is that we didn't know where we were supposed to get the bus to go back to Cagliari so we needed up missing the bus by like 2 minutes and we had to wait till the next bus came. I was nervous because I thought that I was going to miss my train but we ended up getting a bus not much later and I made it on my train to go home. Only with the plan on coming back again the NEXT day because we had to go to a school to listen to a presentation by the dad of Cornelia.

The next day I arrived in Cagliari to receive a phone call as I’m stepping off the train that said “Kendra where are you guys??? You were supposed to be here 30 minutes ago the appointment was at 900 not 1000 you guys need to get here NOW” well we had been told the day before that the appointment was going to be at 10:00 so we all planned to meet in Cagliari at 930 and all go there together. So I had to call all of the girls so that they could hurry up and get there so we could get a bus to go to this school. When we finally got there we walked in to this meeting room and there were about 300 people in there watching us as us 8 girls sat down. We walked in to the middle of the presentation and our vice president was looking at us like she was going to kill us because we were late. All I was thinking is “well if you had told us the right time we would be here at the right time” so it really wasn’t our fault.

The presentation was really nice. It turns out that the dad of Cornelia (who is Austrian and so is all of her family) is Jewish and was living in Austria during the time of WWII and he told us about his life and what he did to help stop the war. It turns out that all of his family (mom dad and siblings) were all captured and all of them died in concentration camps during the war and that he is the only one of his family that survived the war. He fought against the war in Spain with a group of other kids that were from Nazi countries. He fought against the war because he did not support the Nazis in WWII. He also helped fight the war in France with the same group of kids. He is the only one that is alive from that group now. He told us about his life after the war about how he volunteered in South America building houses for people who didn’t have homes. We were also allowed to ask him questions which were really nice. He spoke a lot of languages: German, Italian, French, Spanish, and English. The presentation was really really nice.

All of us kids decided that we were going to go the beach again so we all took the bus back in to central Cagliari and we gave the kids about 2 hours to go do what ever they wanted because Lilla had to go buy a swim suit and me and Sofi needed to go to the supermarket to buy water again and we all needed to buy sandwiches. Most of the new kids ate at La Cantina but we bought our sandwiches so that we could eat at the beach. Me and Sofi then went to the same supermarket so that we could buy water and cookies for dessert. While we were in the supermarket we found 2 American couples that were in Cagliari for the day because they were on a Mediterranean cruise that stopped in Cagliari for one day. They were completely lost so we decided that we would help them find the Bastione. And show them the shopping streets. They were really really nice. It was nice to help them some times tourists are not very nice but these couples really were. They really seemed glad that we were willing to help them and interested in AFS and our years.

We made it to the beach and it went pretty much like it did the day before except I went in to the water this time because I had my swim suit. It was REALLY REALLY REALLY cold!!!!!!!!!!! We knew where the bus was this time so I caught my train easily and had the only thought in my head was “damn I have to go to school tomorrow”

Well the next day I did go to school (the only time that week) but right after school I found out that I was going to be sleeping in Cagliari that day because I needed to be there the next morning early and because I wanted to go to the pizza party with the new kids for there last night. Me and Nicolas and Mateo caught the train together and while we were walking to the pizza restaurant we got totally lost for like 20 minutes. But we did eventually find it which was good but still we got really really lost until we did find it. They didn’t want to ask for directions. The party was fun but I noticed that even though it was the last day of there exchange week we were still separated in to groups “Cagliari kids” and “week exchange kids” It made me a little sad because I remembered my exchange week and that we were all together in one big group all the time. The pizza was really good but we didn’t get to do anything after wards because we had no way of getting to and from the places. I stayed the night at Bruna's house which was really fun. Her family is really really nice and I like them a lot.

The next day was SantEfisio which is the Saint of Cagliair so there was a HUGE parade. We all met up in Cagliari so that we could watch the procession. Basically the procession was all of the costumes of Sardegna that there are (every town has a different costume) walk down the streets so that everyone can see them. Then the horsemen go down the streets. They are really really good horsemen too!! The procession was really pretty but I was a bit disappointed that what we were waiting for in the end was about 200 priests and nuns to walk down the street then the police and military caring a wooden statue of SantEfisio. All I was thinking was “I waited all this time for that?” it was really pretty but honestly I think they make too big of a deal out of it! Well I had to say all of my good byes then because the host mom of Bruna was going to take me to the airport to meet my parents when they got there. So I said my goodbyes to all of the week exchange kids that I wouldn’t be seeing any more until Rome. Then we walked back to the car and by this time I was really nervous because my parents would be in Sardegna in just like 30 minutes. Well we got to the airport a little late but it wasn’t a big deal because there plane was delayed. Me and my host dad were waiting for a while but then it started to seem like they weren’t going to come because all of the people that were coming at this point were from the airplane that landed after my parents. They did eventually come. I ran through the doors to hug them. The guard got mad at me but it didn’t matter. It turns out that they didn’t know there baggage would be at the international terminal and not the national terminal so they waited at the national terminal until all the baggage had been claimed and then had to go to the other one to get their baggage.

My parent’s week here will be in the next blog all. This one was about my week exchange with Cagliari. I hope you enjoyed it. I’m so sorry that its taking me longer to blog now. My time is running really short and I don’t have much time these days. Ill try to update more often!!
Ciao a tutti!!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

80% through..and growing up

Percentages are funny things. They are completely scientific and completely with out emotions. They do not take in to account anything except the numbers. They don’t lie to lessen to blow of what they are saying. They don’t care if they are bringing good news or bad news. They give you the way it is without emotion. Tell you how it is and you have to accept it one way or another. I've never really thought about it before but you know percentages are usually very cruel or sad things. You almost only ever see them when they are giving you bad news. When its good news you don’t need to think about the percentages because everything is going fine. You only ever look at them when they give bad or depressing news.

Like when I was just 2 or 3 months in to my experience I didn’t think of it like "I'm 20 or 30% through with my experience" I just didn't think about it at all... but now, now that I’m 80% through its all that I can think about. I can’t believe that it’s already 80% over that I only have 20% left of it now. 20 seem like such a little number when you compare it to 80. They are so disproportionate. The numbers aren’t close and they seem so much more disproportionate then 60 and 40 did two months ago. Something just changes when it gets to 80 and 20... You start to think... Wow I really only have 2 months left. How on earth am I going to fit everything that I want to do in just 2 more months? How am I going to fit it all in when time is FLYING by... flying by faster then I’ve ever felt it fly in my whole life. How am I going to fit everything in when I seem to have no more time? With all of the stuff that I still have to do with all my plans how can I fit anything else it and still have time with my friends and family for my last 3 months.

2 more months just isn’t enough time. 2 months is so short and the 2 month left mark sneaks up on you. You don’t see it coming and then one day you realize. OMG it’s already MAY... I only have 2 months left. How can that be? How can I have already been here for 8 months? It’s just not possible that I've already been here for 8 months! It’s all gone by way to fast!! How is it possible? 8 months seems like such a long time but when you’re actually living it 8 months is nothing. 8 months goes by faster then you can ever imagine. So fast that you don’t even realize that 8 months is over until you look at a calendar... When i would think.. WOW its already may I didn’t really realize that it really was may and that my time was going by this fast...

It’s going by way to fast and I don’t like that it’s going by this fast because I know that when I go back home I can’t come back to this experience like it is now. I will be happy to go home to go back to my old life but it’s still hard to think about the fact that when I do go home its impossible to go back to how my life is this year. It’s really hard to think about that. Even if I were to come back here to live. In my town and in my family it wouldn’t be the same because there are something’s that will never all be in the same place at the same time. The main thing is the fact that all the exchange students are leaving at the same time as me. We are all going back to our old lives and the chances that we will all be in the same place at the same time ever again is very small and that is really hard to think about because I know that these are some of the best friends that I have ever had in my whole life. They have done one of the hardest experiences in our lives at the same time as me and they are the only ones that will ever understand exactly how I feel about my experience and will be the only ones that I will be able to talk to about this experience for ever and not have them get annoyed.

When we all leave that Rome airport on July 5th that is the day that our lives (our Italian lives) will change forever because we can ever come back to this experience. and because this experience is just one year it makes me appreciate it even more because I have to learn that I only have one year to do all the things that I want to do and I really appreciate all of the experiences because I know that I wont just be able to do them another time any time I want because I do live very far away from them. It makes you more thankful for the time you do have here because you know its going to end but I was here for long enough to really learn to love the people and the culture. It’s kind of a catch 22. your here long enough to really learn and love the culture but when you do start to learn and love it you have to go home and you don’t know when you will be able to come back to this place that you really do love because its so far away.
While it is so far away my AFS experience makes the world seem VERY small. I know kids from all over the world from Iceland to Russia to Thailand to Chile and I can easily say that they are all my friends. How many people do you know that can say they have friends from all over the world? AFS does that for you. I and the other exchangers have been thinking about it and we have decided no matter how amazing this experience is the best thing about it is the friends you make from all over the world. You make some of the best friends of all of your life and they live all over the world. It makes the world seem very small and then because we have done this experience we are in the AFS world. And the AFS world is very tiny. I must say its one of the best worlds to live in because it has some of the nicest, open, funniest people that you will ever meet. I'm so thankful to be apart of this world and to have all of the friends that I do have because of being in this world

They say that on a 1 year experience with AFS that you normally mature 3 years in just your one year experience because the experience that you do in this year is much harder and requires much more maturity then a normal year at home with your friends and family would be. Before I got here I didn’t really believe that I could mature for three years in just one year but now that I’m almost done with this year I one hundred percent believe that it is possible to mature that much or even more in just one year.I have noticed that even I have changed over this year. When I first got here I had the mentality about college or university that was like “oh well its pretty far away its no big deal if I think about it later and decide on it later” now I’m starting to realize that it really is starting to get close and that I need to start thinking about what I want to do and where I want to do it and all of the finer details that I never really thought were that important when I was back in the states. I have also noticed that I've started to act more grown up and things like that. It’s really weird to think that I have matured so much in just 8 months when normally to mature this much it would take me about 3 years.

There is only one bad thing about this. I don’t know if it's a good thing or if it’s a bad thing to be so much mature then kids my age. While maturity is never a bad thing it will be a little strange to go back to kids my age (this year most of the kids I have hung out with have been the exchange students so they have gotten older just like I have this year so there maturity level is just about where mine is so its not like I am with kids my age) and they have the maturity level of a normal person of 17 years old when I have the maturity level of an age a little older then that. I’m afraid that when I go back (especially because I have to go back to High school not go right to college) to all of my friends I’m afraid that I wont fit in with them any more because I do feel so much more mature then I did when I left.

I know that this Is a normal fear for exchange students and the thing that scares me more then anything is that most former exchange students have a hard time going back to high school because they have matured a lot on exchange and usually they feel more mature then the kids in there grade. I’m hoping so much that this does not happen to me because I want to be able to be friends with my old friends with out there being a big difference like people tell me that there is when you come back from exchange. I’m hoping that I will still be able to be friends with my friends easily but that is something that I will just have to wait and see for when I get back.

Before I was talking about college and I thought that some of you might be interested that while I have been here in Italy I have changed my interests a lot and that I have decided what I want to do when I grow up. I know people always say “when I grow up” but when your 10 it seems sooooo far away but now that I’m 17 going on 18 it doesn’t seem that far away when I really have to go to college and decide for real what I want to do when I grow up. I have decided that I want to either go in to International business or International Economy. It sounds like kind of a dull job for must but for me it sounds amazing because I chose it because I have decided this year that I LOVE learning languages and that I really want to be able to travel with my job. I’m interested in economy and business so it’s something that I have decided that I want to do. Although I have starting to realize that deciding what you want to did is a lot easier then decided WHERE you want to do it because there are soooooooo many places you can study business and economy. There are so many places all over the world that I can study business and economy and even receive an American degree. Is so amazing. I love it so much. But I’m having such a hard time on deciding the where. I’m so torn between all the amazing universities in the world. Ill keep you all updated on what I decide.

I know that that this has been along time since I've gotten a blog out and I would like to apologize but these last few months have been very busy. In the next few days I will be sure to get out a blog about the exchange week in Cagliari and about the week that my American parents visited me in Italy. Yes that’s right my American parents were here for 10 days and ill be sure to write all about that.

Ok I’m going to get going now. I hope you are all enjoying the fact the weather is starting to get better. Ciao a tutti