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!!!

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!!

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)

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