Friday, February 27, 2009

This picture is of some of the many AFS kids in Peimonte from all over the world! We all met up in Ivrea for the Orange Carnival.
You may be wondering why so many of us are wearing silly red hats... well, the thing about this carneval is that the entirety of it revolves around orange wars. There are many different teems that ride around in horse drawn chariots and they chuck oranges at the croud, and the crowd in return chucks oranges at them! (If you are wearing a red hat, then you are supposed to be safe from getting hit by an orange, but you still have to be careful!)
There are huge stacks of crates of oranges in the plaza's and once it has begun the ground gets completly covered in oranges and horse poop. It is pretty amazing! People really get into it too! The guys on the chariots have on protective gear like a football player, but everyone else only has their colorful jumpers on over their clothes to protect themselves with! I saw tons of black eyes, and bloody noses (there was a girl in our group that got hit in the nose and had to go to emergency because she was loosing so much blood!). Many people were injured but I think the worst part was their hair! It was enoughto make you vomit! People had the gnarliest globby, sticky dried up orange bits all tangled up on their heads with red blood orange juice dripping down their faces. It makes me shiver just thinking about it!
Over all it was a very fun day!
I went to the library in the castle last week and found that they had several books in english! I got The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (but they only had an abriged version that was for italians trying to read in english) and a big old book of Edgar Allen Poe short stories! What fun! Now every night before going to bed I write in my journal and read a story of murder and madness! Thankfully these stories aren't having any negative side effects on me. I am still the happy, goofy, optimistic american wandering around Italy with her jaw hanging loose murmering sentences that may be italian and may also be jibberish.
At school my friends have been tightening their belts on the english and forcing me to speak italian with them which is a good thing! I actually can converse with them most of the time! And I have crossed out all of the italian words I had on those flash cards I was working on because I have them all down, and now I am putting new words on them to study! Simo and I were going through all the words for foods and stuff I didn't know yet...
I really enjoy studying italian too! All is well! Pizza is yummy! As are bugia (a little sweet that has nutella or chocolate or jam inside, but Bugia translates to lies so sometimes they lie and come empty!) and I am a Happy 2kg heavier american!
Oh! and I also posted more photos on Facebook! Yay!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Chugging Along...

Making pasta with Davide and Eros! This is the group of all the AFS/Intercultura kids in my local chapter. The girls behind me is Liliana and she is the only other american in the group.

This picture is at the train station in Torino when I first met my host family! (Agnese is at Grandma's house...)

Okey Dokey, Shall we continue with the food?

I feel like you get the jist of it and can guess what dinner is like after reading about lunch and I want to move on and talk about random food stuff so here we go!

If you are eating pasta you always use a fork unless the pasta is small like shells, then it is manditory that you use a big spoon.

We made pizza for dinner tonight. 3 pizzas for 4 people, do the math. ;D We also made pasta from scratch on Sunday and my forearm muscles were soar the next day! It was a lot of fun anyways! I was a pro at getting the dry crummbly dough rolled out into nice little pancakes to put through thepasta squeezer machine thingy!

The nightwe ate the pasta Maria and Dario (Simo's parents) came over for dinner and we ate well! That night we also pulled out this special alchohol stuff. I forget what it was called, but it was a really strong liquer of this fruit that only exists in one small part of Sardinia (or was it Sicily...) and it was intense! I just had one sip and the flavor lasted for ten minutes!(or not... that may have been a hyperbole...) Basically,I like being able to drink.

Oh! How could I forget! You are all probably wondering If I am a chain smoker by now, aren't you? The answer is no. The very first thing that hit me when I stepped out of the airport in Rome was the intense scent of cigarettes. It is very strange also when school finishes and I step out of the school to walk home and I see some of my friends in my class sitting around and smoking on the school steps. It's weird, but it's just how it is.

Now you are all probably wondering WHERE ARE THE PHOTO'S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!?????????????????

I have more than just the one at the top of this post, but I have many more on my facebook, so I will give you the link to view them all, ok?

P.S. And to my lovely readers who post comments, I want you to know that I read them and I appreciate them, but I can't always respond to them... (it asks for a login for something that I don't have and is very confusing =( so please don't think I am ignoring you or don't care!)

Monday, February 16, 2009

Past the Two Week Marker

Ok, let me explain myself!
Sidewalks are kind of built into the buildings so they are like little tunnels with arches and pillars and they are called Portici (pronounced porteechee). I found out that they only exist in Piemonte, not anywhere else in Italy or the world! Go Piemonte!

Now, let me commence with wonderous tales of Italian food:

The snack (spuntino) between 4-5 is called miranda (or at least that is how it sounds, it is probably spelled way wrong!) and one may eat a pudding, or a cookie/toast thing with nutella, or gelato!

Did I mention before that I live directly next to una Fabrica Di Balocco? (a Balocco factory) For those of you poor souls who don't know what Balocco is then go to the nearest grocery store and educate yourself by buying the first package of cookies or panetonni with the big red letters on it saying BALOCCO. Some days if we're lucky you can smell freshly baked cookies in the air when you step out the front door! If you are unlucky, you may smell burnt cookies...

Do you want to hear what a day of eating looks like over here? Of course you do!

Colazione/Breakfast: cup of hot milk with some coffee in it, some delightful little buttery cookies for dipping in the nilk, and a cookie/toast thing with nutella on it.

Pranzo/Lunch: Fizzy white wine which is not Champagne but better (I find my taste for white wine is growing, but of course I still love red wine), ravioli with a cream sauce with sage leaves in it (you eat around the leaves...), olives soaked in some wonderful mixture of flavors, then when I finish the pasta, I whip out the bread and soak up all of the left over sauce and oil on my plate. Then we may have some cooked carrots with such a sweek flavor you'd think they were caramels!
Then out comes the cheese- There may e 5 different types of cheese on a plate and then a tupperware with some fresh mozzarella balls that are not from a cow, but a goat (Davide only eats this cheese or cream cheese or sometimes Fontina). We cut off hunks of cheese to eat either with bread or we drizzle some honey on it and eat it that way.
After the cheese isfruit. We put a huge basket of fruit on the table and pick out which one we want. It you go for an apple you have to peel it like a potatoe before you eat it because the skin is thinker and kind of gross. If you go for an orange, do not be suprized to find that it is indeed red on the inside. I prefer to go for a Kiwi which in italian is kiwi.
Lastly we pull out the left over apricot cake that Erika (my host aunt) made. But whait I forgot, the last step after we clean up is the coffee. Me, Eros and Simo enjoy a hot (and tiny!) espressos with sugar!

I want to go on to explain dinner, but It would take too long and I have to go, but I will continue at a later date.

Love, gratitude, happiness -Michelle

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Ciao Tutti!

I am sorry that I haven't updated at all lately, but my host families computer has the slowest internet in the world. I assumed that it wasn't uploading my blog page correctly, when in reality I just needed to wait another five minutes... But I got it figured out now.

There is so much to say. I have been here for a week, and it has been the most exciting week of my life!

Basically, I love it all.
I love the food.
I love the language.
I love my host family.
I love Fossano.
I love my class.
I love the sidewalks.
I love the coffee.
I love the other intercultura kids in my local chapter.
I love the Alps that you can see any direction you look.
I love the castle in Fossano.
I love Via Roma (a street)
I love the snow.
I love the victory of communication.
I love speaking full sentences in italian with correct grammar!
I love the bread.
I love the pasta.
I love the cheese.
I love the fake mexican food my host family and I tried to piece together.
I love the snack between 4 and 5 O'clock that has it's own name.
I love my friends.
I love setting the table and clearing the table for dinner.
I love my house.
I love the little socks with sticky things on the bottom that we wear in the house.
I love Cuneo.
I love my routine.
I love walking home after school.
I love the neighbors dog.
I love teaching my friends weird english phrases.
I love the cobblestones of the main street here.
I love the tiny little shops.
I love olive oil that the neighbors make and give to us.
I love my life in Italy!

There you go! Now you may ask what I don't love?
Trying to understand Italian history when the teacher is speaking a billion words a minute and making indecipherable scribbles on the chalkboard that I am supposed to copy. Yes. These scribbles are even worse than those of Mr. Paul and Eli combined. Luckily my schoolmates all speak english fairly well so they help me.
Other than that everything is peachy!

I am actually enjoying my german class that is taught in italian. And it is so much fun in english class when this petite italian woman is speaking english with a perfect little brittish accent and teaching the class how to say absolutely superb! School is fun. My class is on the top floor of this huge building and is only 15 students:
Me, Elena, Elena, Elena (yes, there are three of them), Serena, Serena, Edoardo,Alessandro, Alessandra, Laura, Lucia, Louisa, Sophia, Costanza, and Marlenys.

I am in the 3 class (there are 5 years of high school in Italy) and I am in the Linguistico school, quindi (therefore) my classes are as follows: Art history, Chemistry, Latin, Italian literature, PE, History, Philosophy, Physics, Religion, Math, German, French, Italian, English (my favorite class), and I have an italian tutor after school 3-4 days a week.

School starts at 7.55 and ends at 13.25 and I do have to go on Saturdays. Each class is one hour long, but sometimes we have 2 periods of something back to back. We have 5 minutes between each class for our teachers to switch classrooms (the students stay in the same room for all classes and the teachers switch), and then we have one 10 minute break for a snack.. Then I walk home to have lunch with my family.

I am picking up a lot of italian alreaday and my host mom said that in just a couple days of school I know many new words! (Go Me!) Tomorrow I meet with my italian tutor to figure out when we will meet each week, and I can start working italian seriously.
I have a little pocket dictionary which is now my security blancket (I don't go anywhere without it) but soon I will have to get a bigger one.

Yesterday I went to Alba (circa 35 minuti in macchina—about 35 minutes in the car) for a welcomeing party for me and the other girl from the US in another nearby place. Me and Liliana are the only two newly arrivals for the semester program in our local chapter, but there are five others that are on the year long program. There is a boy from China that goes to my school in Fossano, a boy from Germany, and a boy from Brazil. Then There are two girls, one from Belgium, and I can't remember where Catalina is from....

Anyways, it was a lot of fun getting to talk to them! None of then knew any italian when they got to Italy, and now they are practically fluent (at least they seemed fluent to me). The boy from Brazil (sono molto smemorata, quindi non ricordo lui nome—I am very forgettful, therefore I don't remember his name) said that he was so lost when he arrived (he also literally got lost in the paris airport, but that is another story) and that I am very lucky that my friends speak english. I spoke as much italian as I could with him, and when I didn't understand we spoke english, but he said that I also know a lot of italian for being here only a week..

I get to see all of the intercultura/AFS kids in my local chapter again soon when we meet up in Torino for the Orange Festival. Simo was telling we a little about this carnival and she mentioned that some orange throwing occurs. Yikes! Oh well. It will be a new experience and that is a good thing nomatter how sticky I get.

Everything is new, and a little confusing, and overwhelming, and my mom was right. I need to work on beeing less shy, but I am having a blast! It is another world over here, and I am doing my best to enjoy every minute of it and to record every minute of it because we all know how forgetfull I am.

There are thosands of little quirky things that seem odd (like the utter importance of using rulers in school) and I can't write everything on this blog so forgive me, but I will try to keep you all updated because I know you are all checking this blog every hour to see how I am... RIGHT? Heheh...

Amore e Baci (look it up ;D)