Thursday, March 31, 2011


Some people dont understand America. They dont understand that it seriously is like the world's largest melting pot. Like here, or all around the world I'm pretty sure people are aware that America is diverse, but they cant really get it in their head, or picture it. There are people from every country around the world, people of mixed races. It's a diverse country! That's what makes us America.

It's really strange and awkward for me, because in Italy, everything is Italian. I mean obviously, but very very italian, only italian. Only Italians food, people, culture, everything. I guess thats one of the biggest differences for me. Where I live in america, people of all races are accepted for the most part. But here, the culture is so strong in Italian-ness, that they view even people who are asian or african, but were born and raised in italy, who know everything only to be italian, as foreigners. they dont see them as italian.

People think America is one race, i guess it is. But Americans are made of all races mixed together. When i walk around, people look and stare at me, badly. Like as if im another one of the immigraters that Italians all seem to hate. Some people dont believe I'm American, as if its impossible. Like they dont realize that America is made of so many different cultures, that being american means you life the american life, the culture, but your roots are always something different.

No one questions other Americans, because they look normal, caucasion, what "Americans" are thought to be. But then they question me. I bet if you ask the other americans, they might not know their roots because their families came from wherever they came from a long long long time ago, or they might say that they are part norwegian, or part italian, or polish, or swedish, or french, the only reason no one asks though is because they are caucasion and look like a typical american, but Americans can be chinese, or indian, or ethiopian, algerian, taiwanese, japanese, columbian, mexican, and canadian too. you name it. We seriously are from all over the world, and we are still American.

I dont understand why people dont understand this. I know I'm repeating a lot, but does this make sense? or am i just rambling on.. I'm really cranky. Main point: People dont believe I am american, they think being chinese american(What i am) is somehow different from any other american. But really, all Americans are mixtures, i dont see how its any different. Some people are really close minded. It's just really difficult for me to be here, because no one believes me, or if they do, they think its still somehow different, like my life isnt really an american culture. Idk, in my opinion i think they see me as like a foreigner in my own country. Maybe they think like i belong in china. Like, i dont know why I'm just noticing all this now. I guess it's because i thought people didnt talk to me in the beginning because i didnt speak italian. ok fair enough. but now i speak it, and people still dont talk to me. Yes a few people started to talk to me more, but the rest, nope. I guess i thought that after i would be able to speak italian, life would magically get better, and id be considered more normal here. But i guess i will always be looked at as a foreigner here, but not just any other foreigner like an exchange student(italians for the most part love exchange students and are always really curious) but a chinese one. and Italians really dont like chinese or africans.

p.s. some people think all asians are only chinese......
oh and one time i was just out and about, and someone came up to me and said ni hao, and pulled their eyes back at me like making fun of asians, and then my friend(italian) established that im american. and THEN he apologized.. that's just not right. It's really awkward being a chinese american in a country that hates chinese but loves americans. Especially when i LOOK chinese. so for all the people that dont know me, for all they know i am chinese, so i feel like they hate me a lot more.

Life is great.. Italy has made me a lot more independent, but a lot more self conscious and in a difficult position with who I am, conflicted. I've Never been uncomfortable in my own skin before. I guess obstacles like this make you stronger! However. I am Chinese American. Deal with it. Even though obviously not everyone in italy is like this, it's just a lot more of this behavior than in America. obviously.. Anyways, I hate prejudices, and I hate racism. Now i kind of miss America.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

6 mesi. Sardegna. Carnevale

Heyyy so It's six months today. in italy. wowwww!!! only 4 more months left :(
So today i just got back from Sardegna. I went for my exchange week. and I was also there during carnival. Today has been a really busy day, and i actually have to go. But I will update and write lots more sometime within the next 3 days. I'll put up pics and write about sardegna and stuff.  :)

thanks readers! check back here sunday!


Ok. Life. Life in Italy, i guess everyday is the same, or school days at least. days go by, I've established a normal routine. Actually it ws sort of established right away with the new family. WOO!! two months with them :) sono contenta

Tonight I went out to dinner with a girl who will go on exchange next year, to argentina. She's from Novara province. I met with her because my host mom is an afs volunteer, and she wanted to meet with me. It was really cool that someone wanted to meet me, i dont know why but it just was. anyways i explained to her things that i never really thought to write here before. or maybe i did write(seeing as i write a lot) and forgot and its somewhere wayyyy down low in my old posts idk. buttt here it is:

>going on exchange, Is the most difficult challenge ever. Things you once thought were once so simple, everyday things have become some of the biggest challenges. like i used to think going to school was normal. Yeah i know in america i had life good, walking across the street. but even if i didnt have that, normally youd drive ten minutes at maximum to go to school. Thats just how the school system is in america, they are all the same and theres one in like every town. But in italy, since there are diffiernet kinds of schools, you have to travel to go to the kind of school you want to go to, and in italy everything is like small villages. (like my first family, was in a forest in a village of 3,900 people give or take. and this new family in GHEMME famous for wine, has about the same number of people) anyways here in italy every morning i have to take the bus at 6:55 in the morning just so that i can get to school on time. But get this, even though school starts at 8, i get there at 7:20 or sometimes 7:16 and i have to wait outside until it opens at 7:30. then i wait inside where its warm. I have to do this because its the only bus that goes to the town of my school in the morning, the next bus that goes there is like 1 in the afternoon and thats when i finish school.. But the point is, life is just different here. The culture. like i wrote before in my 5months post, there are things that are normal, the same, yeah theres cars, schools etc. but the culture. the way its done or gone about. its so weird for me to have to do this in the morning every day.. but whatever, its become routine.
> another big thing was making friends. I guess i used to take having friends for granted. but now i really miss my friends, and here its so hard to make friends. Only because the school system is a little bit different, or just, everything in general. like becuase everyone lives in small little towns, generally theyve lived there their whole lives. soooo they have their own little group of their own village friends. then at school since in high school you stay in the same class with the same group for all 5 years of high school, they already have their groups established. its so hard to break into it. its hard to make friends :\

Overall I just told this girl that When you go on exchange, its the most difficult experience of your life. But you will grow so much. You will always be tired, because everything is always new, there is something new everyday. And you will be tired from having to focus on trying to understand and listen to the language. (like me, i fall asleep everytime we watch a movie in all italian with no subtitles or anything) Things that were once simple, might not be anymore. A culture shock will hit you, maybe not right away, but it will. You will miss things you never thought you would. Stupid little things might point out to you. And you will have to try your hardest, so hard to do everything. To understand, speak, make friends, everything, because you have to start and establish your own life
(yeah a lot of that is actually repeated.. my bad.. and some of that stuff i listed i didnt tell the girl.. i guess i forgot but i hope shes reading this :) )

in conclusion of 6 months: BOOOOOOOOOOOOOO only 4 months left :'(

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

La settimana di scambio(the exchange week) in SARDEGNA!! (sardenia)

I left for Sardegna Wednesday morning, March 2nd. Arrived in Cagliari, the main city of Sardegna. I was the only one for the exchange week, but it was all good because i got to hangout with all the other exchange students of Sardegna.

At first I didnt want to go, like i really wanted to participate in the exchange week, but there weren't many other posts left. A lot of people were like omg sardegna! you get to go there! yeah it was really pretty, i was excited for a week of a whole new culture(p.s. in sardegna they consider themselves sardo, not italian, and they speak another language, which i learned some words of the language. called "Sardo" obviously haha) I had originally looked into doing exchange week in puglia, or a place near napoli, becuase then id be able to see pompei. Im a really big history freak.

I dont know, Sardegna turned out to be a lot better than I thought it would be. I honestly don't really enjoy beaches much, or the sun for that fact, like ill only stand being in the sun if its like worth it, like for example if i go to Egypt and its burning hot, but its ok cuz im seeing something awesome.

Anyways, I didn't think Sardegna would suck, i thought itd be pretty, and interesting because there was lots of stuff to do on the program(but initially didnt like the idea of sardegna at all because what its mostly famous for is beaches..)

I get there and EVERYONE is so nice! We did see some beaches, which were really pretty, and they took me to see some historical things, and Carnival was amazing. It was FESTA FESTA FESTA always! carnival was a big famous thing in the city i stayed at. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.

The first few days I went to school with my host sister in Oristano. and we went to see the Nuraghi, ancient buildings, like villages:

one of them, they are all over sardegna, theyre famous in sardegna. oh, and sheep and cacti are everywhere too

Inside a nuraghi
Throughout the week we were also taken to see the beach and other archaeological sites, the beaches were beautiful!!! the weather, sometimes it was REALLY hot because the sun was almost always out, only except for that one day we went to see the nuraghi (pic above) but we couldn't swim because sometimes there was wind, and when theres wind, its freezing. It was really annoying because you would be wearing a jacket when theres wind, then when it goes away it was really hot, then wind would come back. So the whole day youd be taking your jacket on and off.

Archaeological site: Tharros :) took pics but it wont let me put it here right now.. dont know why maybe later. but you can google it!

Then CARNIVAL! Sardegna was the only regione that did a camp for carnival, i guess because its such a big deal there. So there was a camp in Terrabla (I stayed in the city of Oristano about 20 minutres away by car) where all the ragazzi of sardegna stayed.Iit was one week long, the same week I was there. So Saturday night, there was a festa of intercultura, we all decided to go (took a lot of effort, because the two girls of Oristano should have gone to the camp, but they stayed with me, but Oristano Intercultura was stupid and made it difficult for us to go. but we managed!)

There I got to see all the other ragazzi of intercultura of Sardegna! it was awesome! I never get to see other exchange students! because in my local chapter its only me and the australian girl Brittany. (which by the way, since i changed families, AND she changed families, we now live 10 minutes away bar car. its friggin awesome! ) But it was so fun to see everyone else! and since its been past 5 months, it was cool because we were speaking to each other in italian, not english this time :) haha I actually had one friend from Russia who lost her english really bad because in Sardegna no one speaks english. only Italian and Sardo. (paragraph on language later) Anyways, Its just always really fun when you are with other exchange students, always! like i mentioned before, you just have a bond, and you all get along so well, i love it! oh, and I got to see my other american friends, and one of my friends who is also from seattle :) from all of United States, there are 60 of us in Italy now, for the year program. Im not sure about 6 months.. more came. and just from Seattle, we are 6.

Carneval sunday, we saw the parade of the SARTIGLIA:

It was really cool! and really pretty! I dont know but im really into like everything "typical" and historical. Like i feel the need to take a picture of every single thing typical, and when i chose my exchange week, i saw this and immediatly wanted it because it had "The Sartiglia". Anyways, there are like 120 horses and horse riders all masked, and women and children dressed up.

One of the many different groups of masked men. They decorate the horses too.
The traditional clothing and costumes

This design on these horses are of the flag of Sardenia (Bandierra di Sardegna)

I didnt really understand the significance of this dude, but hee's the main dude and waves the green flower stick in the shape of a cross.
So what do these people do? there is like a whole street covered in dirt, and hay (sort of a problem for me because im allergic to hay and horses.. i died a little bit, but i didnt touch anything :) ) and in the middle between two trees a string with a silver star hangs. the star has a hole, and the masked men on the horses have to run through the course with a sword like stick. I forgot the name. like lancing.. lancing stick? lancing sword? So they have to run through on the horse through the whole street and charge at the star, and get the sword through the hole in the star. its a game! they do this over and over again for many many of the masked men. I don't think all of them go.. i didnt count. I couldnt get good pictures of it because i sat all the way at the top of the bleachers, but you can google "sartiglia". Then later in the evening they do acrobatics on the horses! that event was too crowded i couldn't go to see it, but i watched it on the screen, it looks like this:

Yeah they do this while the horses are running.. thats right

So this is what happens during the day. and all day long there are people running around in their costumes, normally more children during the day. Then at night there in the center was a band that played traditional sardenian music, and everyone gathered around in the center piazza to dance! I took a video but i cant put it here. Then in sardegna, particularly oristano, There is a typical wine called Vernacia. People everywhere at night drinking it, there were actually a lot of drunk people, but it was ok. We tried some of it, for the "culture", it was good. But at night just the vernacia, costumes, and dancing! It doesn't sound like much, but the city was so alive! I dont know how to explain how fun it was!

It was like this for three days, and no school. :)

I dont know, Maybe it doesnt sound like much, maybe it sounds like a lot, but it was so fun! and i found that people in sardegna(or at least in my opinion) are so much friendlier! in the one week i was in sardegna, i went out with italians more than i had in m entire 5 months here.. thats so sad. but maybe not because of the culture, but because of my first family, where i couldnt really go out.. but the point is they were really friendly.
(i stayed 8 days, not one week, because from sardegna, there werent any planes flying out until the next day)

Sardegna Culture: Its so different. They speak Sardo. Everyone seems to be more open, so much more friendly. Their accent is stronger, much like the italian i imagined all italians would speak like.They are more laid back. And they smoke, A LOT! The culture in sardegna is considered south, yet sardegna is completly different from the rest of italy.

But the culture there, it's a lot more like how i imaged typical italy, its strange. The weather, the people, the behavior of people, everything!

Language: Like i was saying before, It was really cool that when i was with all the other exchange students, we spoke with eachother in italian. In sardegna, i was always really tired, even more than i am with this new family(with this family i speak only italian, and im always tired) because nooo one in sardegna speaks english! I as more tiredf than normal becuase normally at school or something, i have at least a little of english in my everyday life! i know its not good, but thats just how it is. and so in sardegna, nothing.. everyday, all the time, italian. and sardo.. Soooooo During this week, My vocabulary might not have grown, but i learned to understand better, i understood before, but now i understand even when people talk faster, and with accents(other exchange students speaking italian) and i can speak more fluidly, i dont have to think so much now when i speak, it just comes. but my vocabulary still isnt very good. I want to know everyword in the dictionary! i know its not realistic but its a noble goal xD my friend alice in class(also my table partner) and i are making lists at school of all the random words we can think of. it helps a lot! a lot more than youd think.
so overall, my italian has gotten a lot better, in only one week! lesson learned, being absolutly surrounded with the language, 24/7 seriously helps.

Oh and i learned sardo. Aio=andiamo/dai=let's go/c'mon. eia=si=yeahh
and other words, but they arent very appropriate hahah le parolace!

ok so sardegna was awesome, Though at the same time i was a little bummed for two reasons. I missed out on the big costume party at the discoteca for carnival with my host sisters, they dressed up in really cute funny costumes and everyone else did too! it's like halloween i guess, but the cotumes are crazier! Second reason im bummed, i couldnt be with the other ragazzi of my own regione piemonte for carnival. I dont know, im at a crossing with this one, because im happy i got to be with everyone in sardegna, im happy i went to sardegna, it was beautful! and i learned so much, but i still miss my friends from my own regione(live to far from me but still my own regione) and i wish i could have gone to the carnival in ivrea also. I guess we cant have everything! xD

Everyone from my regione, or almost everyone went to Ivrea for carnival. something typical here, Its the battle of oranges! La Battaglia delle Arance!! so yeah these pictures below are of The carnival in ivrea, the thing everyone from my regione was invited to, and i should have gone to, but instead i went to sardegna! ma vabbé sono conteta che ho scelto per andare in sardegna! :) it was so fun!!

but yeah if im missing anything, ill add more later. peace
p.s. scrivero qualcosa piu in italiano piu tardi quando ho piu tempo