Friday, October 22, 2010

New scheduel. Stuff. Camp. yeahhhh

Havent updated for awhile. again.. haha

SCHOOL: has been going well, they just recently changed my scheduel this tuesday, so that my classes are customized to me. being an exchange student, who is trying to recieve credit, i need to have a personalized scheduel. School in italy is very very differnt(read a post below)staying in one class all day with the same group of people. the teachers go in and out. and they have a curriculum set for you. but more than half of the subjects are things i dont need to study! like religion, philosophy, latin, italian, etc. and I need more science classes. So NOW I have one class with a year 3 class, and one class with a year 5 class. the rest of my classes are with my main class, a year 4 people. It's really fun and really nice to be able to get to meet all these people of all different ages! But then it's also really confusing, because random people will come up to me and say hello. and i dont know who they are. they probably are someone i know and have met, but i cant remember everyones faces and names!!! i feel bad.. haha but give me time and i think i'll get it. though it took me like a whole month to learn everyone in my own class' names..

my class recently went to milan to go to the theater to see a play. I was bored because i couldnt really understand much(it was also in old italian, like its not used anymore.. apparently) but i understood some things! I was really excited

My school(on monday) had an assembly. It was very different from assemblies in the states. in the states its informational, and entertaining. here it was very boring, and boring, and very very boring. Thats all. At least for me. proabbly because i couldnt understand anything. But I beleive they talked about the manifestazione in milano. and they also talked about elections, and school trips. Even though it was boring, at least we got to not have class for 2 hours :)

This friday(today) we had the elections, where we voted for who would represent our class. And they gave us 2 hours to do it. I thought that was really stupid, because it really only took 15 minutes, 30 minutes at most. and we spent the rest of the tiem sitting, hanging out in the classroom. We were not allowed to leave. And we didnt do much. though it was fun to hangout with my classmates. I just thought it was stupid that they gave us 2 hours to vote...

ITALIAN: has been improving. I can now say some full(but basic) sentences on my own. and i understand basic words out of every sentence. Italian classes have been going well. I have italian homework and everything. it's 2 hours each class, 3 times a week. lunadi, giovedi, e venerdi(monday, thursday, and friday)

by the way I missed 2 of my italian classes due to AFS camp...

AFS CAMP(october 14-17)

I did not go to school on thursday. I did not go to school on friday. I also skipped italian class on both of those days :P
I first had to take the train from my village, the the main city of my local chapter, Novara. there i met with 3 other AFSers and we took the train together to torino, the main city of the piemont region.(Italy is divided into regiones, and within each regione there are provinces. my province in novara.)

So In torino at the train station all AFS students met. Except for Ivrea students. We took a bus and picked them up on our way to the place we were staying at. It was like a 2 hour drive up in the mountains in the middle of no where. no city. and it was so foggy you couldnt see. but at the same time it was kind of pretty. It was really high up though! like when we drove down after our ears popped..

The first thing we did when we got there, was get our rooms, put our stuff away, and go down for snacks and just to hangout.
Then we had introduction, where we talked about rules and stuff. and they broke us off into groups, 4 groups(our name tags were color coded, red, blue, orange and green, i think..)
in our groups we talked about school. We made charts on what we liked about school. what was different( i think, i sort of forgot) and what our problems were.
after we had dinner and all hung out together for while. we didnt do much, but just being with a group of people your age, like you, experiencing what you are experiencing, going through the same troubles and difficulties as you, and just being in a new place like you, It's just so fun just to be with them!
Then we all got together in one room, and started to play games. some of the games were really weird. like one, was where we had to have one person sit in the middle. and the goal was to kiss them on the cheeck(two people would be called to the middle) without being kissed on the cheek by the other person in the middle first. It was really weird. and I never quite understood it..
Then we all went to bed

Day 2:
we had breakfast, and then split off into our groups again. but this day we talked about problems. all problems. host family problems. There was a whole list, and we had to go through each one and it took a REALLLLYYY long time. as far as i am aware, 2 people are switching/switched host families.
then we had lunch. then went back to our groups and played more games(LOTS of random games)
in the evening had dinner, then played more games. we did the human knot. and we also played a game where we split into two groups, and had a blanket. the blanket was held up, so that two peple could side on both sides of it, without being able to see each other. then they would drop the blanket and we had to gues eachothers names, whoever said their name first won. It was difficult becuase there were soooo many people and sometimes there were instances when both people didnt know eachothers names. so they just say there saying "uhhh" literally..

Day 3:
We went on a hike in the mountains, and got chestnuts. we came back to where our place was at and roasted them and just talked and hung out. overall camp was pretty chill. throughout the 3rd day we also had private interviews. AFS asked us things like about our families, our school. how we like our overall placement. how good of a job we think AFS is doing. (oh my bad, in italy they call it intercultura)
If you have a problem, they have you work it out. they are ALWAYS there for you.This day we also did an activity, where for each person who represented a different country there(people in the piemonte regione: thai, chinese, bolivian, canadian, australia, japanese, german, belgian, finnish, greenlandic, icelandic etc)we had a poster with the country's name on it. then we had to pass each poster around and everyone had to write at least one thing they thought about the country. whether it be as terotype, or just a thought about the country. at the end the person/people who represnted that country had to get up and talk about their country. talking about whether or not things that were written were true. it was actually really interesting! below is a couple pictures.


sorry only took pictures of a few.
this night we had really good food. pizzaaaa!!!
after dinner everyone hung out in the main room together, because the next day we would be leaving each other. this is one big group picture we took. i dont think everyone is in it though.. because there were about 50 of us there.

Represented here:Chile, Brazil, Russia, Argentina, Finland, Bolivia, Belgium, Turkey, America, Canada(and others who arent in the picture..Iàm in the green jacket)

day 4:
More interviews, lots of free time. Hung out with each other, went in each others rooms and just listened to music. and talked. breakfast there btw, was ALWAYS the same. lunch this day was really good. we got lasagne and then tiramisu. soooo good. i was in heaven.
after we got out bags, and went home.. we all took the bus back to torino. and from there we all went our own ways.
i went with 3 other girls on the train to novara. one got off the stop before ours. then the 3 of us went to novara, and we had aperitivo(not something they have in the states, so i dont know what it is called, but its like an appetizer.) We went into the city and all had pizza together :) it was delicious! but then we had to go back to our host families and there in novara we said goodbye

All the exchange students talked about how they gained weight. All the boys lost weight, and all the girls have gained about 2 kilos each already. wow... I'm too scared to weigh myself...
You dont even understand, the food here is soooooooo good. It needs to stop being so good. i cant resist myself. and it is getting us all fat! at camp we shared stories about people we knew who went on exchange. one girl said she had a friend who went on exchange and gained 30 kilos... :O that is insane. i hope i dont get like that.. It's very difficult for me. because i honestly think food is one of my best friends. AND back home in seattle i waas always doing sports, here i do nothing. So i am actually scared. I talked to a lot of other people and they said gaining weight is actually one of their biggest concerns. It's a serious matter!

Now it is the weekend. and Tomorrow I will go to the city and meet friends there. I love going to the city :)
I'll update more later.
On October 28th we are leaving for NY, then to mexico. My host family has a wedding to attend there. and It is sort of a vacation because i think they find it pointless to travel that far just to go for a day or two.
Though I'm kind of bummed to miss halloween here, because apparently there are HUGEE parties and I am missing a manifestazione in milano(students go to big cities and start protests), but its ok. Because I'm going to Mexico! And there are going to be other manifestazione things.

I am excited to return to the states, I want to buy lots and lots of gum! and i am going to eat lots and lots of chinese food! and hot dogs from the street corners. haha I'm so excited. Ive been to NY before, but only for oreintation. I have never actually seen it. So this will be fun!

Sunday, October 10, 2010


This is the chalkboard in my classroom.. I think its really funny. In america we just have plain white boards. you dont paint your classroom, and definitly not a simpsons character. i think that might be considered inappropriate. but here i think its funny

The chuch in the village where i live

Me with a ferrari in Torino at the factory

Me and one of my host sisters, Sofia at the festival in the small village near france

novara, walking around in the city

Friday, October 8, 2010

I know i blog too much. but before i forget..

llRandom events:
>The other day i went to a chiense restaurant. It was soooo gooood to have chinese food again. I LOVE Italian food. but i missed chinese food.
> went to Torino. my host dad had business there, he had to deliver something. we went to a factory where ferraris are designed, so i got to see a bunch of models, uncluding prototypes. It was awesome!

> I've realized recently, that if you have blue eyes, and come to Italy. Italians will love you, and swarm all around you. two of my friends who are also exchange students have blue eyes, and they are constantly being followed. I on the other hand.. not so much. not sure if thats a good or bad thing. they are making a LOT of friends, but they are annoyed sometimes a little.

>the other weekend in Novara I witnessed a car crash. Yes you've probably heard many stories of how italians are famous for bad driving. i think in the north it is MUCh better in the south. but that is just my opinion. Never in my life have i ever been there for a car accident. i think in my whole life ive probably seen 3-5 car accidents, i it was just me driving by them. i wasnt there when it happened. But this one, I didnt actually see it, because i was in the car. but i heard it. it was sooo loud! I hear a car screeeeech and then a huge crash. everyone got out of their cars(this was in the piazza). EVERYONe was running towards the accident. my host dad had gotten out of the car to see, but i stayed in because he left the keys in the car, and for some reason i was just terrified that if i left the car someone would take it(though no one probably would since everyone was focused on the accident) After he got back in the car we drove around the piazza to get out. we drove by the accident and one car was trying to drive straight past the piazza, as another was turning left into the piazza, but turned into the car that was going straight. make sense?

> many car accidents here, but the driving is much better and controlled than in the south(when i went to rome)

>my italy handbook told me about walking around with wet hair. hows its socially unacceptabloe apparently. how you cant walk around the house in barefoot or just socks, must always be slippers or shoes. but its not true. at least in my case. i talked to one of my friends(yes i know youre reading this.. fabio haha )and he said it is mostly traditional or older people. he laughed when i told him about this stuff. for him this isnt the case, for my friends it isnt the case, for me it isnt the case. i walk around with wet hair and just socks around the house. its too cold to walk around barefoot, because floors here arent carpeted.

> I think ive already mentioned this before, but you have to pay to drive on the highways here. It's so weird. because in america you dont. My host dad told me it is because the highways were not built by the government. It's just so weird because everyday you might have to drive somewhere that really isnt that far, but the speed  limit is low(its not a highway) so it takes longer. but back home, the highways are everywhere, and you could go frmo one place to another in like 5-15 minutes. here it might take half an hour or so. as i mentioned before, it is completly normal to travel half an hour or so or even more just to go to school everyday
Here since you have top pay to go on the highway, it seems like you have to make driving on it worth it(since its expensive) so you would drive on the highway for hours. also, there arent many people on the highway, and there arent many exits, only to major major cities for the most part, like milano and torino. and the highways are like in the middle of no where, last weekend when we went to a small village near france, we drove side by side to the train. it was cooool

> Last weekend i slept over at a friends house who lives in the city. We went to a birthday party, and then a small concert. Italian music(it was rap) is kind of good but weird :P I also went to a small village near france. my host family has family friends who live in that village. the village celebrated trade(its so close to france, it uised to be a major trading center esp. since there used to not be tax on trade) so there was a festival. It was really cute there were cowbells everywhere and all sorts of goods and examples of items that would have been traded back then. they were just out on the streets for show.
(small villages in italy apparently celebrate almost everything, just for the sake of celebrating and having a festival) according to my host mom :P

> my host brother has D&G shoes.. I think thats awesome but strange. he's 8 haha, not sure if thats normal.

> Here, I've learned to accept the food that is giv en to me. by all means im not given random strange food, but just different kinds of what i would usually eat. for instance, i eat cheese, but normally just cheddar on a sandwich, or cheese on pizza etc. But here theres cheese all the time everywhere, and normally i would question what kind it is and everything. But ive just accepted that it is cheese, and thats all. so i eat it. same goes with meat. I used to eat only chicken, and pork and beef. nothing else. but here i'm given all kinds of salami(which i never used to eat before) and bruschetta( i think thats what its called, but the italian ham, which in the states i didnt eat) but here i do. ITs just weird. i dont question it anymore. (mommy you will be very happy about this news for when i get back, knowing im such a picky eater)

>I've noticed that scarves(scerpa, i think..) are VERY in here. many people wear them at school. and they are sold EVERYWHERE

> though i had chinese food fairly recently , i still kind of miss it. but its ok cuz food here is really good. i dont know why its such a big deal. i guess food is a REALLy important aspect of my life. i think it might be my best friend.. I made a list at school when i was bored of the food i miss. i think its just chinese food, bubble tea, and micdonalds. mccdonalds is much better in america. and i miss food my mommy cooks. food here is AMAZING! but i just miss that food too :\

>So lately Ive been hanging out with this girl named Brittany( i know youre reading this too, be happy im mentioning your name lol) she is also an AFSer and she is the only other one who lives in my province. ITaly is divided into regiones, and within the regions, into provinces. She lives in the city and i live in a small village about 40 minutes away. but almost everyweekend since weve been here weve hung out. Its really fun having someone there with you, also having the same experiences as you! and it is really nice for me since we have a lot in common, we get along well, and she is from australia so she speaks english well haha

>NOTE TO FUTURE EXCHANGE STUDENTS: We all have to make adjustements. Thats why you went on exchange, to experience something new and different. Of course you have to be comfortable with the differences, but you cant live somewhere where everything is sooo similar to your actualy home that there is practically no difference. why would you go on exchange? Let me explain the main difference i have adjusted to:

SCHOOL: i think school for me is the biggest difference. aside from the language
1. School here is like elementary school in the states You have one class, and you stay with them all day all year. you have all your classes with them
2. Teachers come in and out for each subject. You do not get break, only 10 minutes halfway throughout the day(we have 6 classes a day, so after 3). and sometimes if you are lucky the teachers come late, then you have break.
3. There is this really really weird thing called PNI or PNE, im not quite sure. and Its like advanced math. and the class splits up into two different groups for math class. I dont understand it..
4. There are no subsitute teachers here, if a teacher doesnt come, it's free hour.
5. Im not sure if this is all schools, but my school is one building. and in it there is another school. on the bottom floor. In the states one building is one school. Its strange to me that its divided into two.
6. during the 10 minute break they serve pizza and sandwiches which cost 1 euro, this is lunch.
7. schools scheduels are inconsistent and confusing
8. i find my hardest subject to be art. I have to draw something given to me in perfect proportionn and we have to measure everything(artbeing my hardest subject is really sad..)
9. getting a 6 out of 10 or above is considered good. It is very rare to get 9 or 10.
10. The other day i met with my tutors, they are helping me with recieving credits
11. I talked with my english teacher, she told me all my teachers and her are meeting to discuss what to do with me. as in what classes i should be in. They might possibly move me around to other classes for other subjects. just because i am further ahead than my main class in some subjects. I am really excited for this! not becuase i want to leave my class, i really like them, but i want to meet other people. i think itll be interesting and fun! I am told I will be given a new class schedule next week, or the week after. and I'm reallly excited to meet new people! I might get put in some 3rd year classes, and some 5th year classes! so ill get to know everyone of all ages!
12. There are specific scholls, top study specific things. there is technical, which is supposed to be an easier kind of school, where you study carears. I met a girl today who also live in borgo ticino(met her after we got off the train, also a good way to meet people who live near you) and she studies hairdressing... for Liceo(is the most difficult kind of school) there are many kinds. artistico, linguistico, classico, scentifico. I go to sceintifico. there are other kinds too of course. i just dont remember
13. gym here is sort of a joke. And also its weird that they dont have their own track field, Its like the community track and we have to walk and go off campus to get to it. gym is really chill here becasue if you dont come to class changed, then you just sit on the side and no one cares.

Today: I skipped school to go to the city to get my living permit. It took awhile.. we had to get our fingerprints done and everything. then went into the city with brittany and went ot lunch and shopped a bit. went home at the time school in novara got out(2) by train, and the train was FLOODING with students. I didnt even know that many people from out of novara went to school in novara. i mean i knew people did, but just, not THAT many people. I mean, It's different, or i thought school int he city would be differnet. that becuase it was a city, most people who go to school there would live ther.e but i guess i was wrong. on the train there were so many people I had no where to sit. I had to stand. I got a bit confused on the stops and had to ask to make sure i was getting on the right train. and when i asked if they spoke english, they all became fascinted by me. It seems the train is a great place to make new friends :) haha if you go at the right time at least. when i go in the morning no one is on it.

When i went ot lunch in the city, i was talking to brittany in english. and the waiter came up to us and asked us if we were russian. i was so confused. 1. neither of us look russian. and 2, we were speaking english. it was reallyweird and random
over all good past few days

Sorry my posts are always random and unoraganized. I njust type what comes to mind before i forget.