Wednesday, May 11, 2011

8 months and Italianization

It's been just past 8 months here. In beautiful Italy. Where everywhere you go, there's old buildings and something ancient. Something magical with a little bit of story behind it.

We are 80% through. Only 20% more to go.. I can't even explain how i feel. I had been told before, that at this point i would feel torn. Between wanting to go back home, and how i would love this place so much.. Yeah i guess a little bit of that is true, but i didnt really imagine how it would feel. Obviously i miss things about America, driving, school, family, friends, my bed. But I've created a life here, it's so hard to think about the fact that i've been living here for 8 months, with a new life, and just like that, in a 10 hour flight in 2 months i will be back in America, back to my "normal" life. I don't know how im going to go through that, i dont know how I'm going to just drop everything here, end it. When i first signed up for this year i knew it would be a year, of learning, a language, a culture, meeting new people and learning so much more about the world. I had never thought out completely what would happen, how i would feel, and how life would lead me up to here, how it would turn out. I knew i loved Italy, but being here i didnt know that i would fall in love with Italy. It's my home. So yes, i am torn. I miss some things, but this is where my life is now, i dont want to leave, and i know leaving here will be one of the hardest things i will ever have to do.

My first 5 months were really quite difficult, but i learned a lot, and i became really independent. I felt like i had no one, and i did everything on my own. I was given freedom, and no one questioned me with anything i did. I just had to take care of myself. I guess i hadnt really been living the culture, i just grew as a person.

Now, with my second (absolutly amazing, and to whom i absolutly owe everything to. they saved me and they provide for me and i know they are always there for me and i love them so much!) i've been so much more immersed in the culture. I feel so loved and an actual part of this family. Now i do so many things italians do, and i have to say it's really weird. If i looked back at myself being who i am now and seeing the things i do, i would be a little weirded out.
I've adjusted so well to this culture. Even in the beginning, i was never shocked by the culture, i eased right into it. I dont know why i didnt experience the culture shock, but i know im going to experience the culture shock RETURNING to America, which is strange..

Italian things:
I say things that italians say, things that in english makes no sense, but i just say it. (can't think of examples right now)
I bike around my village, in italy everyone bikes, i think its kind of cute
I use my hands when i speak, which i have to admit when i do, i feel very italian xD
I blow my nose like im an elephant, and it's absolutly disgusting.(i think its because of my horrible allergies here in italy) I will probably have to change that habit when I get back to America.
I walk around the house wearing slippers
I eat fries (and pretty much everything else) with mayonaise. Which in the beginning i thought was pretty nasty and i missed barbeque sauce, but now i think its really good and it's kind of grown on me.

BUT one italian thing i will NEVER do, is use the bide. No. Not going there.

I am forgetting english.
This worries me a little bit considering when i get back to America i will have to take the SATs ( a major exam for college entrance). Starting i think about 3 months ago, i started writing in my journal in italian, completly in italian. I'm speaking italian everyday all the time, I've just loss the use of needing to speak english, or write it, using it at all in general really. I think in italian, and english words just havent been coming to me. My italian friends and host family correct me sometimes with my english and it's actually really quite embarassing. It feels like i dont even know my own langauge anymore. I know thats not true, but it's just really kind of sad to forget some of even just YOUR own language. My vocabulary in italian has grown a lot, and is continuing to grow. Meanwhile my spelling and vocabulary, and grammar in english is getting worse.. I've forgotten many words, forgotten how to spell, or sometimes i spell with italian pronunciation, and correct myself, or when i try to read something in english i read it out with an italian pronunciation and wonder why it doesnt make sense until i give it more time and correct myself or someone else helps me. The other day when i was in the train returning home, i said : "I've never arriven from this direction" i dont know about you but that sounds right to me. But i was told i was wrong, it's i've never arrived from this direction. You tell me. But either way that's still embarassing. At least we can look at one posotive thing, one thing on the bright side. My italian is improving. Good. That's all. In the beginning i was forgetting my english while not learning italian. thats just a negative and a negative. at least if i lose some english i gain something else. I just hope when i return, giving it a little time my english will come back to me. Or not just hope, i NEED it to come back to me, SATs are on the line.. xD

ok, peace for now.
ciao ciao
a presto

xoxo Rachael

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Long time no post.

It's been awhile.. I think I've just been so caught up with life here. I'm so happy with my family! theyve taken me everywhere and provide me with everything, and helped me learn so much more about this country, this culture. I've begun speaking with my hands, and walking around the house with slippers like an italian, I've begun to eat fruit after meals, and so many other things! I'm soooo grateful i am with this family now. I feel like im living the full on italian expereince with them. And i love it! i never want to leave!

My italian is coming along pretty well, though im still really dissappointed that my first family always spoke only english to me, and i was hardly ever able to go to italian class. Like my italian should be WAYYYYY better than it is now, but i guess it's ok. Like now Everyday is italian(well its been like this for a long time, but i forgot to mention it). Before in the beginning with this family, I could speak at home, but i still wouldnt speak it with people at school, i guess because we started speaking in english at school, and so i wasnt comfortable speaking italian with them. But since i have been with this family, i have always been able to speak only italian when i go out and do things, or around in the house or with the family in general.

But now im speaking in italian all the time. At school, home, around. Speaking with my hands now. And i've recently been getting a lot of comments on my vocabulary, which has been making me real happy :) I also think study/translating my entire book of science has helped me. Ive been studying A LOT recently, and i think its helped me learn a lot of random terms, and also a lot of difficult terms and terms that maybe arent used so often. so im really proud of myself for that :)
Whats up been up?

Went to Lago D'Orta  few weeks ago:

Apparently its really famous, there were quite a few people there!

Oh and we ate the best gelato in the world, everytime i eat gelato reminds me even more why i love italy. good food. good gelato. gusto! xD

This is a picture of the lake. Isnt it beautiful? It's actually the prettiest lake I've ever seen. My host sister told me that when it gets warmer, we'll go there to swim or in italian (faremmo bagno). I usually don't swim in any body of water other than a pool, i know I'm weird. But this year, just becuase I'm in italy, im going to swim, and im REALLY EXCITED! I mean who wouldnt be? I'm in Italy! and look how pretty it is!

United States, Norway, Bolivia =)

I also went to Torino within the past month, i met with two other girls of intercultura, from Norway, and Bolivia. It was really nice to see other exchange students. Being in Novara (A province newer to afs) we are only 2, and its sometimes lonely. Like obviously i have my family, but to have other exchange students is awesome. Sometimes i envy the other guys like in Ivrea or Torino, where theres like more than 10 of them and they are eachothers best friends. I kind of wish i had that sometimes, because it's so much easier to get along with other exchange students, and on the other hand, here where i live, being one of only two, it's really hard to make friends!

Anyways, we had a lot of fun, we shopped, they complimented me on my italian (knowing 3 months ago i couldnt say anything) and talked, talked about all of our problems, doesnt matter what country we are from, where we live in italy, we all have the same problems and are going through the same things. We're like always there for each other :)

Then there was Vacation, Vacanze. for easter! it's called Pasqua. and also in Italy, the day after easter, the monday is called pasquetta. it's also celebrated here. So no work until tuesday! i had break from april 20th until may 1st. I had an abnormally long break, which was awesome!

What did I do during break?

FLORENCE! The city where i think the pinocchio story originated, and the city where arts, and skin is famous. skin as in leather.. just random facts..

My host mom and I wednesday evening took the train to milan, stayed the night there with one of my host sisters(the train for florence was really early the next morning). Thursday we took off! took a massive fancy fast train to florence, and the tourism began. Our hotel was perfectly in the center, and we were able to walk around everywhere, it was amazing! Florence is seriously one of the most beautiful cities in Italy, Second to Rome. Rome will always be magical. but Florence is really interesting, a different kind of interesting. Its famous for the renaissance, and the feeling of this city was different. it's just a different kind of magic from Rome. I dont know how to word it though.. either way Florence was magical :)

Ponte Vecchio. Old Bridge

Since Florence is famous for the renaissance and the Arts, art is EVERYWHERE. People on the streets paint giant famous masterpieces.

This is a view of Florence from the top of the tower which we climbed. over 400 steps. It was tallllll

me, host sister vale, host mom

In the Garden. Nel Giardino

The famous Duomo and Tower.

Love locks. A major Tourist thing. But i thought it was pretty cute. They are absolutly everywhere in Florence
Oh yeah, and in Florence, there's amazing food. I had my host sister choose my food for me everytime we went out, it was always amazing. just saying, since im like obsessed with food. Oh and there's amazing gelato there too! We went to one place called vivoli. It used to be the best gelato place in all of italy a few years ago, now i dont know. but still, it's pretty good. If you go, you should all go there and buy all the ice cream you can eat. 
Host grandma, uncle, cousins, dad, sisters, mom everyone :)

We came back Saturday, right before Pasqua. Sunday morning, Easter day, we got ready and family came over to our house for a massive lunch. We had the whole family from my host moms side of the family over, and we had about 4 or 5 rounds. we all got fat xD Then on top of that, there's the colombo. It's a sweet dessert thing for only easter. It was kind of like the special dessert only for christmas, but in a different shape. It was weird, but good! Then later in the evening, we didnt eat dinner, because we were so full, instead we ate chocolate bunnies and eggs! Here in Italy, they have chocolate everywhere, and especially giant eggs for easter. i didnt eat one of the GIANT GIANT ones, but i had one, and it was sooo gooood.

My chocolate bunny is the one on the right with the white collar :)

Have you ever seen a egg this big? Woww

The next day was Pasquetta (i dont know the translation because it doesn't really exist in america, but the monday after easter) and my family and i went up to the mountains to the grandparents house. Everyone was there, except this time everyone on my host dads side of the family. My host grandparents celebrated 50 years together, which was really cute. I have a friend who is also a part of intercultura who lives there. So we met up, it had been about 5 months that we'd seen eachother. Last time was in milan for that one holiday in november, and i couldnt speak italian. Now, she complimented me, and was in awe. Everyone's in awe, everyone who spoke with me when i was with the first family, and spoke with me now. they see the change. i speak completly normal now. Thanks to my new family, i love them so much! they practically worked magic on me :P
On the top of a really tall bridge.

In the village eating some random food only made in
this town in all of italy. With sofiane! From canada.
There were still a few days of break, so i went to Milan and stayed with my sister. I went out and met up with one of my Intercultura friends whom I hadnt seen for 8 months, or since rome. So we hung out and caught up on a lot of stuff, it was really great to see him!
We also ate a lot, i dont know why, but everytime im in Milan(where all these restaurants of diverse food/cultures exist, which is a thing i miss about america. becuase here in italy, most food is all.. italian.)i have this need to eat a lot, like eveyrthing. We ate japanese one night. and the next day the best pizza in the entire world, fried pizza :) oh yeahhhh
I also went to Genova for a day trip. It was this big Intercultura event for the people of my regione, Aosta, and Liguria. We were all invited to go and see the Aquarium. I had already been to Genova 3 years ago, and had already seen the Aquarium, but i went to see one of my best friends Lauren who lives there. But her region Liguria, is really stupid(like in terms of intercultura) and shes never allowed to leave that region. So i went to go see her! Practically one of the only times i'd be able to see her here in Italy.

Genova is really pretty, prettier than i remembered it to be(i had been there before 3 years ago)

Australia. america. america(me) turkey, america, australia, america. and sideways dude, denmark.
  It was really nice to see Lauren :)

Perfect ending to break/Vacanze