Monday, December 13, 2010

Snow and Santa Lucia

Last Friday it snowed here!! It was only the second time I've ever seen it snow, and it was beautiful! I have no pictures of it actually snowing (because during that time I happened to be making a four hour skype call.... Lauren.... XD) but it was still there the next morning so I took some pictures then,(blogger isn't letting me put them here, so I put them on facebook in my second Italy album). There was a lot less that morning, so we had to go to school. Apparently, if it snows enough (from what I hear, still not a lot) we don't have to go to school! It is supposed to snow again this week on Wednesday and Thursday... I'm excited!! But scared since all I have to wear is still a fall coat and converse... hmmm. Strange having to buy all these clothes and wear layers.

Oh, and today is a holiday. Santa Lucia day. Last night we put out little sacks, fruit, milk, and raw polenta by the fireplace. And then this morning when we woke up and there was chocolate and presents all over the floor!! I am told this is a tradition in the north of Italy, and not usually in the South. My host dad explained to me that in the past Santa Lucia day used to mark the solstice, but when Christianity came about it kept all the old holidays and transformed this one into a day for Santa Lucia, a little girl who rides a donkey and died for the religion by having her eyes pried out. She is the saint of vision now. Lovely. Anyway, cool holiday, I have some chocolate and new house socks and gloves that I really needed now =). Thank you Santa Lucia!!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Spongebob and Chirsmas Lights

I have things to say! Sort of....
First thing: The Sponge Bob song in Italy has no words! It was so horrible the first couple of times I watched it, it's just an instrumental version of it along with the normal animation, but it feels so empty without the picture of a pirate singing. So of course at the begining I was the one who had to sing it out loud every time to make myself feel better about it's emptyness. But THEN, a couple of weeks ago, we found that if you change the language on the TV to English, that the song plays like normal! Now people believe me that the song has words! Oh yes!!!
Another thing: In America I always used to randomly start talking in a British accent. If I am speaking English and I do that here, no one notices. I have English class with one of the first year classes at my school and they have recorded voices that they have to repeat. The voices are recorded in British and I find it hilarious to repeat it in British as well. Then I start laughing at myself and the entire class is like "what???" which makes it all even more funny. No one finds the humour (hehe) in me walking around saying "I'm Harry Potter" in British either..... oh the depression.
Good news! I might go to Germany! I would be going with a class a year older than mine who has had a lot more German than I have studied and in the mornings I would be expected to go to their intermediate language class with them. I find that very funny since my German level is so low that I walked into German class the other day and the teacher asked me how I was and I got really confused because I couldn't understand her. Yes, that's right, 2 months of German and I still can't say "How are you?". Good news is that most Germans speak English better than I speak German, so I think I'll be ok. It's easier to just focus on Italian, not German, for now.
My town has started hanging up Christmas lights! Some people in the city even hang them from the balconies and the whole town is pretty now at night. Next time I'm going to take some pictures of it because it's beautiful! But I will still miss the way it is in America... I have yet to see a shiney penguin hanging anywhere. I expect many, many, many front lawn penguin army pictures to be sent to me from America. 25 days until Christmas anyway (more important now, becasue I skipped Thanksgiving...), I'm excited!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I feel boring. No, not bored. Boring. Read this anyway.

I would like to say somethings about my life.
1. I eat cookies every morning for breakfast. This is considered healthy.
2. I'm freezing. I want to buy a coat.
3. When I come back to CA I would like a radiator. These things are so amazing and warm to sit on.... who cares if CA is the same all year round I WANT A RADIATOR!!!
4. I love how we get fresh bread and cheese every day for lunch, mmmmmmm....
5. I think if I skipped drinking an espresso (that's normal coffee here, none of that watery american stuff) everyday after lunch I would die.
6. When I first saw the town's historic center I was in awe. Now it's normal, there's a beautiful, old, historic building right there and all I can think about is finding gelato.....
8. Hot chocolate here is just hot pudding. Amazing.
9. I go to the bar almost everyday. There is a bar in my school. A bar is not a place where old drunk men sit here, it's like an American cafe with alcohol still, but it's like just for show behind the register. Bars are for pastries and coffee and hot chocolate and tea. And just general Italian amazingness.
10. People really like labels here. They will wear the ugliest thing in the world just because it has a designer on it. Even a fake one. This explains why I haven't bought anything here, EVERYTHING has labels. Not good shopping for me at least.
11. I know you all want to know this because everyone asks: no, Italian guys are not all hot. It's about the same ratio of hot to ugly as it is in America. The only difference here is they iron their clothes.
12. Throwing trash on the ground is normal. If you don't they think you are weird. Then you explain how you don't because you want the town to be pretty. Then they tell you that the town is clean and get insulted when you point out the piles of trash. It's an exciting cycle.
13. I love focaccia.
14. it is necessary to eat fruit after each meal. I like oranges.
15. I love how there are millions of roundabouts here and no one knows how to use them. There are so many people who don't look just to almost crash and get angry. Entertaining.
16. Gonna stay here forever just for the fact that there are pigeons and no seagulls or crows.
17. Ending with a happy thought: The city next to me, Taranto, is full of iron factories. It is famous for the number of people who get cancer there. Wooooo!
I'm getting lazy. I don't want to write on my blog. Apologies for the general unexcitingness of this post. It's what you get. Be happy. I really am having a great time =D. Greetings from Italy until next week!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sorry! It's gonna be a long one...

I haven't written for a while... sorry! I've been really busy with things, but that's a good sign because before I was bored a lot (still am, but I have better things to do than inform America of my life in Italy... haha). So I'm just going to try to briefly explain what I have done in the past... oh wow... almost a month =)

1. Went to a camp with all the AFS kids in the Puglia region. Boring meetings all day, but god do I love foreign exchange students =D. We had the best time ever, it was so sad to leave after only 4 days together. I'm just lucky a lot of the awesomest people live in my town so I can see them often =)

2. I went camping. It was pretty. I walked in a cave. Which was really beautiful. But the camping part wasn't so fun. And I didn't bring my camera because I thought I would break it. I was probably right.

3. I went to northern Italy. Saw the city Padova and met my host brother who is in University there. He's awesome. And Padova is beautiful! The next time we go up to the north though, my family said they would bring me to Venice which I am way excited to see! There will be pictures of Padova on facebook eventually as well =)

Those are pretty much all the cool adventures I have had since I stopped writting... so here are some updates on my daily life:

1. My family. My host sister is awesome. We are still like real sisters. I am so glad for this because some of my friends aren't close to their host siblings... I can't imagine not being anymore =). My little host bro is sooooo awesome!!!! As some people may know, my name when I am a man is Paco. I taught my little brother to say "I am Paco" and now he runs around the house shouting this. I love it =D. My host mom is what I had always thought "Typical Italian" but even more, and real. She really cares about me and my brother and sister, especially about us being cold. Especially about me being cold. Because everyone knows that you get soooo much colder than Italians when you have lived in California your whole life. Haha, she likes to give me food too. Lots and lots of food. =D. My host dad likes to talk to me about intelligent stuff. But for some reason he and my host mom are the two Italians i can understand the least of what they are saying so explaining intelligent stuff to Emily is difficult. But they really feel like my family and I am so happy to be here =).

2. My school. Boring. Haven't really been getting along with the class I am officially in. I like them, but I think the novelty of being American has worn off, and I don't have really much time in the class anyway because they take subjects that I don't understand. And most of my other classes are cool too. I have been taking German, yes for nine hours a week, and I have not learned a thing. It is soooo hard learning it in Italian when it's not my first language and I'm so focused on the Italian that the German pretty much slips through the cracks.

3. My friends. As I mentioned, I don't really hang out with my class a lot like I would probably be expected to. I like the group of foreign exchange students too much =). It's not really a bad thing, because I don't get to go out a lot, and I still speak Italian all day. But foreign students are the awesomest people on earth. It's proven.

4. The food. Yes, I know, everyone wants to hear about it. It's the first question I always get when I talk to people... yes it is amazing! The food at my new house is even better than the first (which I didn't know was possible). Because it's cold now it seems we are eating lots of soup. Not as much pasta as you may think. Also lots of fish, bread, and pizza. And the coffee. My favorite thing ever. I can't live without it. And Italian coffee is amazing.

5. Wait. That's all I can think of.

Here, I can tell you guys what I miss:

1. The warm weather in CA. But I can survive.
2. My little dog. We only have big dogs here. I want my little dog to sit on my lap.
3. American milk. The Italian milk has a nasty aftertaste...
4. Not being tired all the time. It's my fault actually... if only I didn't stay up all night talking to my host sister...
5. Having time to do things. I don't even know why I have no time. I seem to wake up in the morning and then suddenly it is like 11 pm...
6. My dad's cooking. He needs to send me his recipe for cinnamon rolls.
7. Not having to dry my hair. They literally freak out if you have wet hair here. They think it's going to give you a headache. No joke.
8. American stores. I personally, do not like Italian fashion. Come here and you will see. Some things I see people wearing or buying just get on my nerves.
9. My car. I wish I could just drive myself somewhere whenever I wanted.
10. My little Pedro. It's ok though. When I start missing him too much I just look out the window at my host cousin who is a 13 year old boy. He throws sticks at cactuses. It gets on my nerves just enough to be angry at little Pedro again XD
11. I really want a warm waffle with real maple syrup right now!!
12. Starbucks. I don't think I even really have to say this. Everyone who has met me knows that no starbucks for a year has killed me just a little inside.
13. My school in America... not specifically my school, just American schools in general... what I wouldn't kill for a little organization and an activity or two instead of a monotone lecture in ever class..
14. American gum. My parents sent me some. Seriously though... only 6 packs?!?!? That'll last me a day!! Send more!!! Anyone who wants to send some peppermint flavored extra should ask me for my address on facebook... please!! Gum, people, gum!
15. Carpet. My feets is cold.

I don't think I miss much else.... that I can think of now XD. Sorry again that I haven't written in so long... comment questions you want me to answer here next time, and I will try to next week =). Ha wishful thinking. I'd much rather sleep than write about my life. It has become so normal... I feel like I live here, but not completely Italian... it's really weird... but it would be weirder if I came back home right now... I feel like I belong here more that in California... can't explain that. All I know it that I like it =). Sooo... if you miss me you should send me some gum and skype me!!!!
Ciao ciao =D

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Last night I got my new host family. And I am officially the luckiest foreign exchange student in the world! I love this family! I have an almost 10 year old little brother, and he is really cute =). Just like my little brother in America, but Italian and not annoying =D. I also have a 17 year old host sister who is awesome!!!! She loves musicals (Wicked being her favorite =D), and she has a picture of Sweeny Todd hanging up near my bed! I love it! We share a room and we talked last night and I found out some more awesome things about her that I'm not remembering right now. But I'm just gonna say, everything is awesome.
I met my host mom first at her office in town and she was so nice, she drove me to the house and talked to me in Italian on the way. Yes, you heard me. This family speaks Italian!!! I think I will actually be learning the language better starting now! I do speak just a bit of English with my host sister, but that's ok because I have increase the amount of Italian by a lot! This is how it should have been my first three weeks, and it does kind of make me sad thinking about how well I could be speaking now if my first experience here had been like this.
But now I will talk about the house. It is large. And, wait for it... IT HAS A DRYER!!!!! I had been prepared to give up that luxury for the year because EVERYONE hear hangs up their clothes, whether in an appartment or a house, they all have that little rack thingy and the wooden thingys like you see in movies or detergent commercials. But I have a dryer!!!
Ok, moving on from me freaking out about laundry. Not I will freak out over THE MILLIONS OF AMAZING DOGS! I miss my dogs in America so much. When I skype home all I want to do is have my family put the computer in front of my dogs so I can talk to them. Yes I am a freak. But here I have many, many, many dogs! And they are amazing =D. I have cats too, but I only really like the REALLY cute 2 week old kitten! It makes me sad that it will grow up eventually... it is so cute right now. It climbed up my leg. And then fell off. And bit my shoe. Awwww..... =D
So, if you haven't guessed by now (you know with all the capital letters, smiley faces, and exclamation marks), I am out of this universe happy. I can't wait to spend this year with this wonderful family, I have so much in common with my sister (which apparently was an accident, the family knew nothing about me before I showed up XD), the little brother is really funny, and the host mom is so nice! I love this place because finally my happyness outweights the suckyness of everything before! And I'm sure I'm forgeting to write something... but I'll think of it before I write next time =). All that really matters is that I want to scream for joy now. But I kind of can't because I'm sitting in a computer lab at school during one of my numerous free hours. I have three today. Only 2 hours and 13 minutes until the next class.... aw well. It is so true when they say Italian schools are boring. But the food at school is amazing! Worth the whole trip! But it is Italy, so what else would I have expected? =D

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I have no idea what to call this....

I'm changing host families. It has been quite dramatic these past couple of days, and it has made me more stressed than I think I have ever been in my life. I am glad it's over. And I am excited to meet my new host family =). My temporary host family is awesome, it makes me wish I had told someone about my situation much sooner. So I will write here my reccomendations to future/ current exchange students who may come across my blog and find it somehow useful:
1. You are in a foreign country to learn a language. If anyone you come across is not 100% supportive of you and your efforts you have to fix it. If you want to speak the language make it clear you do. Also make it clear what your level is. I'm pretty sure my previous host family thinks I understood nothing (actually I know they think that, I read it on their facebook page. In Italian. Nice.) I should have told my assistant earlier that the host family wanted more to learn English from me than to learn Italian. It seemed like a small problem, but in the end it was big. My Italian has improved so much in the days I have spent with another family speaking Italian all day. It makes me sad thinking about how I missed three weeks of this!
2. Obey everything your host family tells you to do. This is important. But if you make a mistake because you didn't understand, you should be held accountable, but forgiven. It is not entirely your fault! The different family dynamic/ culture definatly didn't help me. But I still don't actually know for sure if I disobeyed anything, or if rules were created after the fact. But nevertheless, listening to people is important.
3. No problem is too small. If something seems a little weird to you, tell your assistant. They are happy to tell you if it's a cultural thing or a problem. Never just blame it one the culture without knowing for sure. My assistant would have been happy to help me and fix things if I just would have asked. I'm foriegn, I have an excuse for not knowing!
4. I really can't stress enough how important it is to TALK TO AFS at the very first sign of trouble. This would have saved my weeks of not being as happy with Italy as I have now realized I could have been =D.

My sad first host family story ends in drama. Being locked out for a night is not exactly fun. I will not get into that completely though. I really want to be done with these first weeks and move on to better times =). I have made such great friends here in Italy, both Italian and fellow AFSers, and I am really glad they have been there for me through this. And my languge has improved so much though being forced to explain and re-explain my sad story over and over agian in Italian. And while the subject isn't that fun, I am so glad to finally be comfortable with talking to people without feeling like a stupid American. Ok, well I still feel like a stupid American, but now I'm a stupid American who can speak Italian =).
I can't wait to meet my new host family, thier house is a lot father from my school, but as long as they are cool I think I will have a great rest of the year =). I really love Italy, I love my school, I love my classmates, I love the other AFSers, I love the language, I love the food, and I love everything! Well, maybe not Italian fashion. Or Italian mattresses. Or Italian gum. But my Italian cellphone has a flashlight on it so it's all good =D. And it is now a new month, so if Americans feel the need to skype me, choose a weekend morning/ early afternoon and let me know =).

(Also I appologize for my spelling becuase I'm using a different computer and it doesn't have a spellchecky thingy on the Internet like mine does)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Alberobello, Pizza, and a Strange Thing Called "Autumn"

Yesterday we went to Alberobello, a small town near Martina famous for it's trulli. In Alberobello they were having a celebration for the Saint of the town (no, I don't know the name of the saint, I wasn't paying attention to that, just how pretty the town was =D). We walked through the historic center or the town and literally every single building was a trullo! I think Martina Franca is quite beautiful, but Alberobello is amazing! And I just realized I should probably explain what trulli are =). They are round pointy old building thingys. Sounds awesome, yes? Haha, I'd better post a picture XD
This is me and some trulli. Now imagine them everywhere in a giant valley like thingy. It is quite pretty. But that actually wasn't the best part of the day =).

That night we went to my host dad's sister's house in the "country side" (I say that with quotations because it is quite near the town, I think country side just means they have a house instead of an apartment, in America it would just be considered a different neighborhood). And it has a pizza oven!!!!! Like one of those big firey ones! I think this description is also lacking so I will put a picture here too.
The man it my host dad's sister's husband. And they make the best pizza I have ever tasted! Well, I've only had two pizzas since I got here, and both have been billions of times better than pizza hut, but these pizzas were amazing nevertheless =). I ate the potato pizza, with potatoes and a little cheese, and the tomato pizza with little cut tomatoes sticking up all over it. Yummy =). And I will also have everyone know that here in Italy they put tuna on their pizzas. And not only tuna, it must be a tuna, onion, and caper pizza. I did not try this one because first of all, it was tuna pizza and second of all, I'm pretty sure my breath would have stank for days. I'm not sure they didn't make this pizza just for the purpose of making one's breath repulsive. But anyway, awesome pizza.

My school is (from what I hear) typical Italian, meaning amazingly boring. It makes me want to stare out the window at the laundry drying on our balcony. Seriously. I miss my clothes dryer =(. Anyway, I joined a whole bunch of other classes since the first day, and I love them all (needless to say, I'm talking about the people in the classes, not the actual lesson its self. I'm not crazy). And the good news is, my Italian is getting better and I could probably understand a class in Italian if a teacher decided to speak clearly and loudly. Like that's ever gonna happen XD. 

But I can say really simple things in Italian without thinking now. However the trouble is when I actually need to say something it is usually something I don't know how to say. So everyone thinks I don't speak/ understand them when they speak and will either think it's better to try and speak to me in very,very broken English or extremelyyyyyyyyyy slow Italian. Like patronizingly slow. AFS volunteers tend to go with the patronizing option. Even after I tell them I have studied Italian for five months (in Italian! with correct verb tenses!) they continue like this. Quite annoying. Aw well, they are the ones sounding stupid when they do it. And I can't really tell whether people are speaking English to me or not anymore. People ask me how much Italian I speak with my host family and I really don't know, I understand it all so what does it matter?

It is also getting cold here. Am I the only one who thought "Seasons" were a myth??? This "Fall" thing is really weird. And I need to buy a sweatshirt. For less than $80 preferably (everything is incredibly expensive here!). And a winter coat. And a scarf. And gloves. And thick pajamas (didn't know thick pajamas existed until last night, I thought people in cold places just put on more blankets and were fine in winter). And anything else cold people wear. Soon, because I'm already a cold person. 

Anyway, Italy is awsome. That is all I have to say.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Today was my first day of school, and it was awesome! I got there in the morning and chose the classes with the English teacher of my class, and (hopefully!) I will take:

English (I hope I do well in this, if I don't I think people will think I am the stupidest American ever)
Italian (I have no idea what I will do, because they are reading hard books, and I still forget the letters of the alphabet sometimes)
German (Hehe, the first year, with first year linguistic address students. I think it is easier to learn at the same time as Italian than French)
PE (Not happy about this, I better get credit in America)
History (I told the teacher that I would like to take Italian history, but I may take American History if the offer it because that is what America is doing now)
Geography (Because I'm still a stupid American who doesn't know that Africa isn't a country)

So after I chose those classes, my English teacher introduced me to a few more teachers and then showed me to my class, a third year classico (they learn Latin and Greek), and they we really happy to see me, the English teacher had told them I was coming, and they had brought some pastries and a mousse cake to school for me!!!! They were sooooo good! And I was so happy that my class was that excited to see me! My class is really crazy, so I think I will fit in well =D.

I entered class at the hour that they were supposed to be doing PE, so the PE teacher tried to make us eat quickly so we could go to the gym. The teacher told us to play outside so the girls in my class went outside with me and we decided it was too cold so we sat in the locker room and talked the entire time. And apparently this is entirely normal here. I like it =D.

Then the next hour was time for German! My class doesn't learn German so I moved to another class of 1st year students who were having their second German lesson. At first my German teacher introduced me and asked who knew English and everyone was silent and looked away. So the teacher asked me to introduce myself. I said "Mi chiamo Emily. Sono di California." When I said the word "California" the entire room got loud suddenly and everyone started moving over to make room for me. It was quite funny. What would I have done if I was from another state? I have no clue XD. But I ended up sitting between two very nice girls who helped me with the pronunciation chart (Italian equivalents to German sounds make no sense to me =D). And when I spoke in German (all I said was "Ich bin Emily" the German teacher looked at me funny and asked if I had studied German before. She thought my pronunciation was perfect! Haha, she should talk to all the German people I know who laugh when I try to pronounce words! Also good, I understood everything the teacher said, didn't forget that "w" is actually a "v" and even though most of the class had been studying English for 8 years (and most are only 13!) they all spoke English with me (except when I didn't know the word for "paint")!

Then for the last class of the day I was back in my class, but it was chemistry. They were learning about measurements and I told the teacher that I wasn't going to be in the class for a grade and she said I could just listen and that was all. The words were so different, I think I would have understood in English, but I really didn't understand anything! Towards the end of the lesson (very boring, I sat there and stared at the teacher and my classmate's notes) she asked me if I understood everything she had written on the board, she didn't speak English and wanted someone to explain it to me in English, so I just said yes because next week I won't be in her class at that time, so it didn't matter anyway.

I got to leave an hour earlier than the rest of my class so I could go home at the same time as my host sister, they were jealous I think XD. But I talked with them in Italian for a bit before I left (which I am very happy about =D). And then I left. I think I will enjoy this year! My classmates seem really fun and they all want to help me which I am very glad for! And they like to speak Italian with me and when I don't understand they translate. I'm quite happy =D.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


My American dad messaged me some questions to answer, and (a few XD) seem like good questions that people might want to know so I'm answering them here:

1. Do all the houses in your town look like rocket ships like they do in the pictures?
Uhhhh.... no. The houses look like apartment buildings with cool balconies. I haven't seen any rocket ships so far.

2. Are you really living in a hotel like Zach and Cody?
No, like I said, apartment building.

3. What's the funniest thing you've seen in Italy so far?

I've seen a lot of cool things, not really funny though. Like my host mom's mixer, it's like half blender, half mixer, and half cooker. We mixed and apple cake in it and it has a timer, a speed number setting, and even heat setting if you wanted to cook something in it, quite amazing. And then for some truly funny things, read number 7.

4. Does your bathroom have a bidet in it? Have you used it yet? Is it as good as Agnese says it is?

Of course the bathroom has a bidet in it! I'm in Italy, duh. Well, the bathroom I use when other people are in the normal one doesn't have one, but I'm American it's ok. No, I haven't used it, like I said, I'm American. Sorry Agnese.

5. WHO TOOK THE NUTELLA? (ok I know you actually didn't but I figured it might be funny in the blog if you mentioned these were the questions your dad was asking)
I did. And it was yummy. And yes I did mention you asked the questions. Haha.

6. What's the best Italian food you've had so far?
My host mom made me gnocchi! We got it at a place where they make it fresh every day, yummy!!!! And also her minestrone soup and her blended vegetable soup were awesome!

7. Are the Italian drivers totally crazy?
Oh yes! They speed up at stop signs, constantly swerve around people, never look behind them when someone is coming, honk at others constantly, and even with all of this, no one wears seatbelts! I do of course, I would rather not die. Oh, and I haven't even talked about Italian parking! There is one rule: as long as a very tiny car can pass through the road still you may park anywhere. That includes parking people in, parking on the sidewalk, having your car be touching one in front of or behind it, parking diagonally when all others are parked straight, and parking on the crosswalks. My host sister said this is because there are no traffic police in small cities, but it is way crazy anyway =D.

8. Did you get a chance to see the Pope when you were in Rome?

No =(, I wasn't even in Rome, I was like an hour outside and I didn't see anything famous. But it's ok because my town is probably much more beautiful anyway, when I remember to take pictures of it I will post them on Facebook =).

9. Is the Nutella better in Italy?

Actually, yes it is. It is a little more hazelnutty that in the US, which makes it yummier =D.

Anyway, this afternoon I am going out again so I think I'll take some pictures of the crazy parking and the pretty places, today was the first day of school for most people so the squares were quite crowded. I've taken a nap since then so I'll see if they still are when I go out =). It's really amazing here!!!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ciao Italia!

I'm finally in Italy! After 6 hours on a plane to NY, an incredibly boring orientation there, 8 hours to Zurich, and 2 more hours to Rome where I had another incredibly boring orientation (well... it was ok since I met so many amazing international people!). Then the group going to Taranto was informed that we would be the lucky ones to get up at 4 in the morning so we could go to the bus station where we would ride the bus to meet our families. That was at 10 at night already. I think my first 3 days in Italy I had about 10 hours of sleep total.

Anyway, we had a 6 hour bus ride to Taranto where I slept a lot and talked a lot more, and when we arrived in the bus station I looked around for my family and they were waiting for me, and I was so happy top meet them! The were really excited too, and they took me in their car (on very fast, very unpoliced roads) to Martina Franca! We live in a 3 bedroom apartment and I share a room with my host sister, and my host mom is so nice, she has been cleaning the extra bathroom so I can have my own. She made us lunch and whenever she accidentally tried to serve me red meat (I have decided I can try chicken and turkey here, but I think I haven't eaten meat in a long time so I will be sick, and anyway red meat is disgusting)she was very sorry and tried to feed me 5 times more than she was originally giving me. Haha, I don't eat very much anyway so I hope she is not worried about me =). After that I unpacked and gave them the gifts I brought, one being a really beautiful abalone shell from my uncle's yard, and they were so excited for it and showed me their large shells collection! I messaged my parents and wrote in my journal and then I lay down for a few minutes and ended up sleeping for 2 hours!

When I woke up my host sister showed me the historic center of the town, and it is AMAZING!!!!!! I can't even describe how beautiful it is! The architecture is amazing! And it is so pretty! I don't have any pictures, but next time I go I will take pictures and post then all on Facebook. It is all really old and wonderful, there is really nothing like it in America and it is just a part of the daily life here. I am so excited to live here! And the rest of the city isn't bad either, it is really like a city with apartment buildings everywhere and store fronts on the first floor. We went to my school today and saw some teachers and my hosting coordinator, I think it is a good school and it is very close to our house. They said I would start a couple of days after school starts on Wednesday. I am going to attend the Linguistic part of it, so cool!

After that we walked around the normal part of the city again and I saw some of my host sister's favorite parks which are really beautiful too =). They speak mostly to me in english and then speak to other people in Italian and don't realize I have understood, I am trying to answer in Italian but I can't think to form sentences, my brain is to tired. But it is quite funny to sit there and be introduced and then have people explain to you that you were just introduced. Oh well. They'll see what I understand and what I don't eventually. It is going well though and I feel like I am understanding more, I need to try harder to make real sentences though, not just one or two words, it make me sound stupid I think XD.

And now my host mom is going to make us some lunch, the house smells really good from it so I'm excited. I've already eaten some Italian pizza (my host sister said it was bad, but it is so much better then pizza hut!) and some gelato (from our freezer, half of it is filled with it =D). I miss everyone in America, but I'm really liking Italy now!

Friday, September 3, 2010


Only four more days.

I have my visa now.

There is still so much to do, so much to pack, and so many people to say goodbye to. But I want to just skip all that and be in Italy now! I've got to actually start packing, all I have is a suitcase full of gifts, and thing(s) I'm not using right now (one jacket, nice). I guess I should start to put everything else in, but 4 days...

All I really need to do (besides the packing of course)is eat Mexican food. And sushi. And pet my dogs. The three best things in the world that I will not be able to bring to Italy with me (because CA Mexican food is the best, there is no mochi ice cream in Italy, well Venice at least, and my dogs don't fit in my suitcase). So sad.

My Italian is getting much better and for the first time I feel like with in a week (or a couple of days, I have no clue) I might be able to communicate! For now, I spend my time walking around my house having conversations with my dogs in Italian (I swear they understand me! They must be Italian. Figures, both of them love cheese XD).

It is so weird that everyone is in school right now and I'm just at home. I met my friends for lunch the other day and I was the only one walking in the wrong direction (back towards the car, not the school) when the bell was supposed to ring. It's strange, I get weird looks when I go out shopping in the middle of the day, like "Aren't you supposed to be in school?". No. I'm going to Italy. Woah.

But, really, I need to finish up with America right now because I'm dying to start on Italy! Four days, and I can't tell whether they are going to fast or too slow! And it's not helping that I've been too excited to sleep for the past few nights =(.

I'm hoping the next blog post I write will be when I'm in Italy, so until the early middle of September, CIAO!!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010


Only 38 days! I found out that I leave on the 7th at night and arrive early in the morning on the 8th in New York. I think I'm getting to New York a lot earlier than all the other AFSers so I guess I can just find a Starbucks in the airport and sit there for a couple hours or something =D.
I've been trying to pack everything I need to bring that I don't need to use in the next month, it is hard. Everything (like adapters and other things I've bought to use in Italy) is scattered all over my house and I spent an hour or two last night running around trying to find it all. I'm sure there is going to be bags that my parents find after I leave that I should have brought with me. And that's why I have to start 38 days early.
I've heard a little more from my host family, and I really hope I can hear more soon!I really want to know them more and I'm so excited to meet them! I wish I could just fly directly from here to Martina Franca, but instead I have like 2ish days squished in the middle of flights worth of orientation. I think it will be fun, but I'm impatient =D.
Oh, and I take my drivers test in two days. Doesn't really matter to me because I'd much rather have a visa for Italy. But I guess the benefit of not having my license be provisional when I get back is good too.
Our house has been full of exchange students for the last month, and it's filling up with different ones again this month. I think we hit our record in July though, we had three at one time! I'm glad my Italian student from last year will be coming back to stay with me tomorrow so I can have her help me with my Italian =D. I'm still getting better and I think by September I should be able to communicate well enough and once I'm in Italy I think it will be much easier to speak because I won't even have the option of doing anything in English. Which is awesome =D.
I just wish I could leave now! I can't wait to start actually having something to write about in my blog =D.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

My Host Family and Some Super Fun Visa Stuff

Woah, I swear I already wrote a post about more about my host family... I guess not. Weird. A couple of days after they emailed me the basic information about my host family I got a big AFS folder in the mail. It kind of confused me because I had no idea what they would be sending me. I felt stupid when I opened it though, because of course they would send me my host family's application! I had already written them in Italian before I got their application and they had replied the same day I got it. Here is what I know now:
My host parents are both doctors, my host dad is a dental surgeon, my host mom works for the public heath system. My host dad likes reading and politics and my host mom (who wrote me the email) loves to cook and she wants to show me how to make typical Italian food! That makes me happy because I love cooking =D. My host brother and sister (Giuseppe and Isabella) both go to the same school I will be going to but Isabella goes to the Liceo Classico and Giuseppe goes to the Liceo Scientifico (basically you learn latin at one and math at the other). Their application says Isabella likes to talk, so I'm happy. I just wonder if she talks as much as I do, if she is anywhere close to that achievement then I should be fluent in Italian in about a day! I really do wonder how I am going to get though the first few moths of not being able to say what I want when I want to, I may die even.
Anyway, my host mom told me that Giuseppe has played violin for five years and their application says he "is like a vulcan" (I think that is a reference to Star Trek and my parents told me it means he has pointy ears) and he likes his motorbike. Is a motorbike the same as a motorcycle? I'm assuming it is, but I'll have to find a British person to be sure.
I'm glad I got my host family early because they wrote that they want I student who makes their own bed. I figure it will take me at least three months to learn...
I did a presentation on Italy in my Euro history class and I got to include Martina Franca in it. I have researched it a lot and all the pictures I've seen are soooo beautiful!! I can't wait to get there!
I emailed my host family back a week after they emailed me and they still haven't responded. I thinks it has been close to 3 or 4 weeks now and it makes me sad. But still excited. I think yahoo mail did something funny and made the title begin with "RE:R:" and maybe it went to their spam... I don't know but I re-emailed it and tried to fix the title and I hope it works!
My next project is going to be.... getting a visa! It's going to be so fun!!!! Best part!!! Yay for sarcasm. There is so much stuff and paperwork and documents to get together, it's worse than actually applying to go for the year (and that's saying something). At least it will give me something to do other than reading every word of every single AFS Italy blog, AFS facebook page, and repeatedly counting the days on the calender until I get there (89 by the way). I say that I'll just go to Italy as an illegal immigrant so I won't need a visa. Then I could stay as long as I want (or until I'm caught) and I won't need to fill out my visa stuff. Actually I'm not sure that AFS would appreciate that. The Italian government might not either.
Oh and my host family has a parrot (or a cockatiel)!!!! That's so awesome =D

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Host Family!!!!!!!!!

I got my host family today! The day after I write a blog post about how I'm sick of waiting... maybe I should do that more often =D. I was so excited when my mom told me she got an email that I could now see who they are that I think if any police had seen me driving home they would have put my permit though a paper shredder =D. But next year I will be living in... Martina Franca, Italy!!!!! It is a town with about 49,000 people at the top of the heel of the boot of Italy. Not really near any really famous cities so I kind of have to describe it that way. I have been googling all afternoon and there is only one thing I can find that I don't like about it: it doesn't snow. But other than that I am so excited!!!!!!!!
Oh, and my host family! I have two host siblings: a girl who is 17 and turning 18 in November, and a boy who turns 15 in June. I have a host mom and dad, and one of them is a doctor. I don't know which because it just listed one occupation that wasn't even attached to one of their names. And my host school is just 6 minutes walking away from the house (Thank you google maps!). I haven't sent them an email yet, but I don't think it matters that I've waited a couple of hours because they're probably still sleeping. But I think I'll probably do that now. In Italian. Haha, good luck to them trying to understand it XD

Monday, May 17, 2010

Pretty Much Nothing

Is it good or bad that there's still slightly over 100 days until I leave and I can't sit still? I wish I could just get on the plane to Italy already =D. I went to an orientation in LA this weekend, that was fun. And helpful. But mostly fun. And I got to see my friend Bettina who's going to Russia next year! I've been spending a lot of time studying Italian and just about Italy in general. I now know that the capital is Rome, and that the premier has a cool name that I can't remember. And there are 60 million people. And I think I'm going to start looking into getting a visa. Because that's probably pretty important if I want to live in Italy for the year.
I don't have my host family yet, maybe the one they had in mind for me decided not to or something. I really hope I get one soon though because it would be so cool to be able to talk with them before I get there!!!! Everything is basically up to AFS now, I have done all my paperwork, paid all my fees (sort of, I've done everything I can possibly do to get my parents to remember), and now I'm just waiting. Lots and lots of waiting.
And I think I'm going to start looking into getting a visa. Because that's probably pretty important if I want to live in Italy for the year.
Well as you can tell, I basically had nothing really to say. I just wanted to write a blog entry XD. I just hope I have something to say soon!!!!

Friday, March 26, 2010


Ok, so I just posed yesterday when I got accepted to Italy, but I left out one thing that I found out yesterday: I may already have a host family (!). I don't know for sure yet, but when my mom emailed AFS to thank them they told her that they already had someone in mind for me :D. That made me so happy because I was kind of expecting to get my family a couple of weeks before leaving, but I guess I was one of the first applications to get to Italy so... they might have found someone! I don't know for sure yet, but I hope so, it would be soooo cool to get to know them by email and stuff this early :D. I just don't know if I could really talk to them in Italian because right now I'm at the point where I just point at things and yell "CANE!!!" or "SCARPE!!!", nothing that really makes any sense (I think what I just screamed meant "dog" and "shoes" btw, but I could be wrong...). So they might have already found me a host school too because they were asking for my grades, but I don't know. I really hope so, it would be so cool :D. Anyway, I'll just be here... waiting for an email...

Oh yeah, I also got a cool thingy on the side (<---) of my blog so you can give me money. Well, not directly to me, it is collected to AFS and then put toward my trip. I think I really need a lot more than $1000, but $1000 is still nice, I need all the help I can get ;D. I have lots of Italian homework this week though (I go every Friday), but I still wish I had more. I just want to learn it as quick, as if I could get there faster. I wish.

Well, I'll write more if something else happens, and I hope it does soon :D.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I'm Going to Italy!!!!!!

I just got accepted to Italy!!!! I still have no idea where in Italy I'll be, but at least I have a definite country now :D. I was kind of getting tired of waiting this week, so I emailed AFS on Monday and today I came home from school and they had emailed me back saying I'm going to Italy! Now I have to send in the rest of my grades so that they can start finding me a host family and I will know where in Italy I'll be.... but for now I'm so happy to be going to Italy. I just have to keep working on learning my Italian, or I'll be completely confused when I get there. I should probably go study it now then because.... I'M GOING TO ITALY!!!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Here's my blog.... and what I'm doing with it.....

I'm Emily and I am going to be a foreign student for a year in......well I really don't know yet. I turned in my full application exactly 31 days ago, so I should hear where I am going anytime now. I am going with AFS, and yes I will be gone the whole year. That is the second question I am asked when I say "I'm going abroad for a year!". The first question people ask is usually something like "Who are you staying with?" or "Where are you going?”. The answer to that is I don't know yet =(. But I am hoping for Italy right now. Mostly because I don't think many people will yell at me for talking too loud there and also mostly-partly because I want to eat their food and learn to cook their food. And I speak Spanish, which helps me a little bit in learning Italian... sort of. I'm not very good at it... yet. But if I get accepted to Italy I promise to work harder =D.

I think my alternate country choice list wouldn't be so bad either: Netherlands (oooo, bikes and windmills), Switzerland ('cause it's cool), Denmark (also cool), and Norway (yay!). I think if I don't get Italy I would probably take any one of those. I should be told what country I will live in by somewhere around the 17th according to AFS. St. Patrick’s Day deadline, good timing XD. I am told I probably won't know who my host family is until about two weeks before I leave, so the answer to the third question people ask ("What part of Italy?") is I have no idea. I'm still just hoping I get accepted to Italy right now.

I did just get an email about the scholarship money I get (thank you AFS!), maybe that means another one about my country is close? Please? Hopefully? Haha, I also wish I could just go now... I'm really bad at waiting XD.

I'll make another post when I get more information, fingers crossed for Italy!