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!


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


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,


Grazie mille per l'aiuto!!!