Thursday, December 27, 2012

Natale in Italia

So time for the big post about Christmas!
So once again I come to the procrastinating blog posts. I have had this window open all day and I don't know how to start writing!
So I haven't been able to take that many pictures the past few days because I left my camera at my friend's house on friday night when I slept there! I went to her house on friday because there was this ballo del liceo thing which is kind of like a "dance" for the high school students in that town. It was pretty fun. And then we had to go to school the next day after getting aprox. 1.5 hours of sleep. Yes that was just lovely. Thank god we had a shortened day. For the last hour of school we gave each other "congratulations" I guess for christmas. Basically we just ate some panettone that someone brought in and some coke and said happy christmas. It was pretty boring haha. Not to mention I was exhausted.
Then after school I went to go get my hair done and I fell asleep...While they were doing my hair. Yeah  a little too partied out...
Then I went home and slept and me and Karoline were supposed to go out again to the disco but we decided not too because we didn't have a ride and were tired anyways. (But I think we are going this Saturday!)
Then on Sunday I woke up to a strange smell in the house...And what do you know later on I figured out it was a (oh wait TWO) dead lambs that were given as a gift to my host mother. So that was a little difficult to see... I also have pictures that I will upload later. Then later we went to the shopping mall (me, my host sister and my host mom. BTW my host sister came from Torino. She is visiting for the holidays.) We got some seafood that we ate on christmas (octopus, muscles, etc.). Then we went to a bookstore and did some more shopping. After that I met up with Karoline and Mariana (a girl from Mexico who is here with rotary) to do some more shopping. Then we went to Karoline's house and made some cookies! Then at like 9 we decided to go to the circus with Mariana's host sisters! It was really fun even though I felt bad for the animals at some points... :(
These are Karoline's pictures from the circus
Then here's one of Mariana, Karoline, and me :)

So then the next day (the 24th) in the morning I went out with Karoline for a little while after lunch and I finally bought this ring that I have been looking at for ever in the big christmas tent in Sassari in the main piazza. And then I came home and here comes the bad part... I got home and suddenly I don't know what it was but everything just hit me. The fact that everything is different here (or at least feels different) for the holidays. The fact that I wasn't with my family. And the fact that everybody is doing everything at home without me...So I cried. And I cried. And I cried... And then I realized I had to pull myself together. That we would be going to the neighbors house for dinner so I had to pull myself together. And I did. And everything was fine in the end. If you're another exchange student you will understand this. If you're not, you probably won't. But things like this happen a lot. You're perfectly fine one second and then breaking down the next. This is how it is. 
So we went to the neighbors house for the dinner and it was very nice and we ate a lot and then at midnight we all had a toast and wished each other "tanti auguri" and "buon natale". 
And now I am trying to put more pictures up but it's not working! >:(
Anyways then we all exchanged gifts and then we went home. Oh I forgot to include that as part of dessert we opened these silver things that my sister brought that are apparently english and they all had paper crowns inside so we decided to wear them. xD 
My host dad and sister.
Anna Maria (neighbor)

My host parents


Dessert (typical sardinian sweets)





More pandoro.. :) Mmm



Then on the 25th the neighbors came over to our house and we were at the table for (I kid you not) like 4 hours. I was stuffed we were all stuffed and then I went out with Karoline and we went iceskating!! :D In Piazza d'Italia (the main piazza in Sassari) they put up an ice skating rink so we decided to try it out. We had a lot of fun. 

Me ice skating
Karoline ice skating
I forgot to mention that (I think it was on the 23rd) we made homemade gnocchetti! They were sooo good. I only came in for the last part but the next time we make them I will help with the whole thing and then take pictures.
The gnocchetti with ragù sauce. 


Happy holidays to everyone,

Nicole







Monday, December 17, 2012

Matricole, Usini, Natale

So today is a good day. I got to sleep in. We don't have school (yet again) today or tomorow. I am beginning to feel like I will never have a full week of school. There is always something. Whether it's a strike, some assembly of teachers, autogestione, or university students coming to "liberate" us from school one or two hours into the day.
On thursday, friday, and saturday we had "liberatio delle matricole"which is basically when the first year university students come to all the high schools in Sassari, blowing whistles, yelling, coming into classrooms, dressed up crazily and we can all leave school for the day. They are "liberating us". Yeah... I don't really get it either. But that's Italy for you. Apparently they all get drunk too. And then they go driving around the city causing chaos and being crazy college kids. And I have a video of it too but it's not uploading here. :/
Ah here's another one from the internet. It's in Italian but you can probably get the hint. 
On friday I made apple muffins because I was bored and didn't have anything else to do. And of course everyone love them and they were gone within a few days. Then yesterday I made banana bread (which they don't have here and my family has never heard of it) and that was a success too and the loaf is already over halfway gone. xD
On Saturday after the "liberatio" I went to my friend Irene's (pronounced Eee-reh-ney not Eye-reen) house along with my friend Valeria. She lives in another town called Usini. Which is really small, but adorable. It has like 2,000 inhabitants. We were supposed to go there for "La Festa Del Vino"(The festival of wine, all locally made I think) which was on Saturday but we didn't really end up participating. :( I did, however eat more than maybe I ever have in my life. xD Valeria told me that whenever she goes there she gains three kilos and now I know why. Irene's mom is an amazing cook. And she made us homemade pizza, lasagna (pasta al forno as we say), chicken, veal, salad, really good sweets, and more. We did go out on Saturday but it was before dinner and we just ended up walking around because they said we would "participate" after we went out again after dinner. But we were so full from eating all the pizza from dinner that we had to lay down for a while and then Irene's friends went to Sassari and still weren't back and we were tired so we just didn't go out again. Then on Sunday we went to Irene's volleyball game in Sassari and her dad gave me a ride home after.
At Irene's house

Me and Valeria went to a bar during the volleyball game to drink some coffee. (I'm drinking a caffè latte.)

The sign for the wine festival (Also in Sardo.)

When I got home my host mom was setting up all of the christmas things finally! So now we have our tree up, along with other christmasy things. Not to mention we've been listening to a lot of christmas music in the house (which makes me very happy) because I love christmas. :D Enjoy some of our christmas-y house.









My host dad also has been preparing this "cinghiale" (wild boar) for a few days and last night I tried it for the first and probably the last time...Lol. I've been trying a lot of new foods here and this one wasn't my favorite.

There was this huge slab of fat with i'm pretty sure hait on it that he was cutting off... Which I then found pieces of in the next picture... Not my cup of tea.


We also made more orange peels. You take the peels of oranges and save them and soak them in water for at least a day and then heat them on the stove with A LOT of sugar. Like the weight of the oranges and the weight of the sugar have to be equal. And then you put them somewhere to sit for awhile and then you have caramelized orange peels. :) I think this is an Italian thing but I don't really know for sure.

We also eat Panettone (a christmastime italian thing) which is really good and probably really unhealthy and looks like this.
It is basically a sweet bread with powdered sugar sprinkled over it

One more random thing to add! The other day my friend Valeria gave me a bracelet with little four leaf clovers made out of silk with the colors of the italian flag so that was really sweet. :)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What's New

Okay so I have finally gotten around to writing this post.
It's probably good to fill everyone in on what's been happening with me lately.
Since the last time I really updated (obviously) a lot has happened. We celebrated an Italian-style thanksgiving which was surprisingly successful. With the help of our neighbors, my exchange student friends, and my host family we had a great feast. We had turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, frutti di boscho (because we couldn't find any cranberries. So this is basically just a mix of different berries), along with of course bread!
I was feeling pretty down earlier in the day thinking about how I wasn't with my family and I was really missing the U.S., but everyone worked so hard to make this happen for me, it made my homesickness go right away! Now to tackle Christmas... Which I am starting to get sad about. :/ For once I just want the holidays to be over!
I also went to Nuoro (a city in the center of Sardinia) with my friend Karoline! Our Italian teacher also has a travel agency type thing with his family and he invited the exchange students to come to one of the trips he does every sunday (now they're finished for the season). So me and Karoline decided to go to the one in Nuoro and we had a ton of fun! We had to get up really early and go to the bus stop and then we left with all the people doing the excursion (we were the only young ones on the bus lol). It took 2-3 hours to get there and then right when we got off the bus it started raining! :( So all day I was trying to share an umbrella with Karoline or Marco (italian teacher). We walked around Nuoro eating Sardinian specialties and seeing other cool traditional stuff. I ate horse too! Sorry if you're reading this and you like horses.. They eat horse here (among other things) and I thought I have to try it at least once! Overall it was really fun and we felt really independent for a day without our host families or anyone. :)
We also had our AFS camp in October! We have three camps throughout the year with all of the kids on Sardinia. One at the beginning (October), one in the middle (February I think), and one at the end (June). It was so fun hanging out with all of the other exchange students! They also took us to the beach and we went swimming in the ocean in the middle of October!
I've also been hanging out a bit with some of my new italian friends from school, visited different cities (Porto Torres, Castelsardo, Nuoro, Stintino, the suburbs of Sassari, etc), went to my first discoteca, eaten some more food, gotten to know my city, taken public transportation alone, met some new people, and more.
Now I understand sooo much italian, it's crazy! Sometimes I feel very discouraged because when I am with a big group of people I don't understand everything, but for the most part (when i am having a conversation with someone) I understand everything without problems. my assistent/afs tutor person told me a few weeks ago when I met with her how amazed and proud of me she was because of how much my italian has improved in this short time. At the beginning we only talked in english, and now we only talk in italian.
Okay well I can't really talk about EVERYTHING I've done because otherwise this will go on forever.
I will try to start blogging once a week or once every few weeks at least, from now on.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oops...

Hi everyone who is still reading this,
So as you can see I kind of forgot to blog... For like 2 and a half months... Sorry about that. But now I feel that is is time to start this blog back up because I want to not only keep sharing my experiences with everyone back home and other curious readers, but I also realized that I don't want to forget this year! My Norweigan friend Karoline who I might've mentioned earlier has a blog and she updates it all the time and has pictures and videos.. So I think I can do it too. :)
That's all I have to say now because I have to go help Karoline (my Norweigan friend also here with Intercultura) make some Norweigan sweets! I WILL update either today or tomorrow though!!

Nicole

Friday, September 21, 2012

Some pictures

                                         My class and me (3M)

I don't even remember what this was but it was good :)
Me eating gelato
The beach in Stintino
Stintino

I'll add more later!

Happiness, School, Stintino, Alghero, etc


Ciao,
So I am getting used to my life here now and I really like it! I was having a hard time the first week, but now I feel a lot better! I think I was having trouble adjusting.. I don't really know what it was. Maybe too much was going on for me, too much was new. Now I am in more of a routine which I think is what I needed. I also understand more at this point (if people speak slowly of course.)
I was too preoccupied with my thoughts and sadness but now I have time to "stop and smell the roses" if you will. I can appreciate and take in everything now. Another reason I think I was sad is because everything did not meet my expectations. As much as I tried to not expect anything... I just couldn't help my day dreaming... but now I've realized that I can't change how things are right now. So some things may not have met my expectations? Oh well. I can't change these things, I can only change my attitude and try and enjoy what I have here, because before I know it, this exchange will be over and I will be wishing I had certain things once I am back in Minnesota.
So down to what I have been up to.
School started on the 13th! I thought it was supposed to start on the 17th (like everyone else's school in Sardinia), but I guess not. It's probably a good thing it started earlier though. I was feeling a little lonely.  The social aspect of school is pretty good for me so far! I really like the people in my class and the girl who I sit next to speaks pretty much fluent english... So if I don't understand something she can help me. Actually, all of my classmates are very nice and always willing to help me if I need something. I have walked to school with some of my classmates as well. As far as the learning part of school goes... It's bad. I pretty much don't understand anything. In some classes (math, german, and of course english) I understand more, but still not everything. I know soon it will get better though. Many of my teachers are also really nice and willing to help me.
On Saturday I went to Stintino. My host dad is from Stintino and grew up there so my host family has a house there and my host dad also grows a lot of fruits and vegetables in the countryside of Stintino. We went to a very famous beach while we were there called "La Pelosa". It was so beautiful!
Yesterday I also went to Alghero with my host brother. We took a bus there after I finished school. I really liked it! Even though we didn't get to see all of it. We did some shopping (I've done way too much since I've been here) and he had some kind of meeting.
I've also found that since I've been here my other exchange student friends have been my main form of support. Me and my friend Rachael have skyped many times since we've gotten to our host families and I hang out with a girl named Karoline from Norway a lot. She lives right by me and she is also here with Intercultura. Other exchange students can relate to you and understand what you're going through.
Overall I am enjoying my time here a lot and I am getting used to everything. :)


Nicole

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Sassari

    This is the name of my city in Italy. It is on the island of Sardegna and has (from what i've read on the internet) about 130,000 inhabitants. I'm coming to like this city. last night my brother took me out to a place called "los cornetteros". A lot of young people go there, so once I make friends I might end up going there a lot. I really liked it. I've also walked around a lot. Whenever I have went out, that's all I've done. There are a lot of little stores, clothes stores, book stores, stores that sell meat, cheese, bread, there is a supermarket, there is a piazza I really like, pizzerias, and a lot of bars and cafes. Almost all of the streets are small and many of the sidewalks and streets have cobblestone.
    It's windy a lot here. My host mom even told me "We have names for each kind of wind. The wind is life." Or something along those lines. :) Our apartment usually has a lot or all of the windows open. I always try and keep my window open but I can't right now because it's REALLY windy.
    The weather has been very nice since I've gotten here. I don't know the exact temperatures but it's been nice. Kind of hot, but that's better than cold I suppose. A lot of parts of Sassari have many trees (the sidewalks I mean). So when I am walking in those parts it's a lot cooler.
    I went out by myself the other day for the first time. My family made me my own set of keys so I just took a little maybe 15 minute walk. I have to admit I was a little scared (A 16-year-old blond american girl who doesn't speak english, doesn't know the city, and is an easy target doesn't sound good), but it went fine. I did get stared at. And honked at. But everything was fine. Now maybe I will go out again but for a longer period of time. I just have to know where I shouldn't go and my family said not to go to the centro storico (old part of the city) because there are a lot of drugs, etc.
    I start school tomorrow so wish me luck!!

Baci,

Nicole

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sono arrivato

I have arrived.
I don't even know where to start.
There is so much to say.
I'm here in Sassari, Sardinia now. I met my family at the airport on Sunday evening. Just my host mom was there. My host brother was in the car. At the airport I also met like 3 other people. I don't remember who they were exactly though... This seems to be happening a lot. One of them gave me a piece of paper with her name, address, and email on it. I think it was my italian tutor or my volunteer person. It's probably bad that I don't know... Oh well haha.
So then we went to the car and I met my host brother and we drove home. There were a lot of pretty sights on our way home. I saw many mountains in the distance. I wish I had a picture but I didn't take any!
After I got to my host family I think I was just very overwhelmed with everything, scared, and homesick. So I cried...A lot. But it's okay now. I feel a lot better today.
I can't even remember everything that happened on Sunday night (when I got here) but we did have dinner. I didn't eat a lot and I felt bad but ever since I've been in Italy I just don't feel like eating for some reason. I'm not hungry when I'm nervous or anxious or I guess homesick. Lol. A side note: I think my host mom has been telling everyone we run into that I don't eat. I've met a lot of people since I've been here and when my host mom is introducing me the words "intercultura" "lei non capisce molto italiano" and something about me being like bea (their other exchange student from two years ago) because I don't eat much.
Yesterday was spent running errands all day. I am so glad I got to get out of the house (even though I had to get up early). We had to go to many places to get my residency permit (I think that's what it's called) and other things I needed (conditioner, face wash, contact lens solution, etc).
Okay if I keep writing like this, the post will never end.
Since I've been here

  • I've eaten gelato (molto buono!!)
  • Eaten pizza 
  • Cried a lot
  • Skyped with different people
  • Walked around Sassari and drove around Sassari
  • Been really confused at times
  • Met at least 10 people
  • Taught my host family some english (so cute and funny)
  • Seen crazy italian driving
  • Watched tv in italian
  • Drank caffè italiano
So yeah some cool stuff. Also, everything is smaller here and I find it really amusing. My host mom and me were talking about this. The cars are smaller, the streets are narrower, the stores are smaller, the money is smaller, our house is smaller, the shower is smaller. I feel like a giant a little bit.

Okay that's all for now. There are a lot of random things I could say that are amusing/I've noticed but then this post would be even more unorganized than it already is. If anyone has questions or something you should comment with them on this post because then I can be more organized with my writing!

Ciao,

Nicole

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

This is it.

I leave tomorrow.
My emotions are constantly changes from nervous to sad to excited to terrified to so-happy-I-could-cry. Right now I feel happy. I almost have everything in order. I'm almost packed. I have my flight booked for 6:30am tomorrow to JFK. I finished a level of rosetta stone (finally). I have gifts for my host family. My host mom told me a few days ago that she was preparing my room. Almost everything's in order. Now maybe I have actually have time to think. 
I can't believe how far I've come. I've been wanting this (Italy) for maybe a year and a half. I have been wanting to travel and see the world for much longer. I'm really proud of myself for making this happen. I can't wait to meet all the other exchange students at the orientations in Rome and New York. I can't wait to meet my host family and develop a bond with them. I can't wait to discover and live in Italy.
Well that's all I have for now. The next time you hear from me will probably be when I am in Sardinia! :D

Ciao,

Nicole


Enjoy this song. It's called "On Top of the World" by a band I like called Imagine Dragons. It pretty much symbolizes how I feel right now.. :)

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Consulate Appointment

Well... I had my visa appointment in Chicago yesterday. It was really nerve racking but I think I'll get my visa on time. I was really nervous because we didn't have 2 of the forms we needed from AFS that were supposed to be sent in the mail. So now they are being sent directly to the Chicago consulate. After they receive everything, it takes at the most a week to process. Hopefully I'll get my visa on time!

Ciao ciao,

Nicole

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

3 More Weeks.

       I only have 3 more weeks left in Minnesota. Just 21 days. This makes me so happy I cannot even begin to explain it. I went through having mixed emotions about this trip to now just being EXCITED. Since the last time I updated, I have talked to my host mom and brother many times. Every time my host mom talks to me I can't help but smile. I am so happy to have gotten the family I did. Even though I won't have any siblings close in age to me, I am happy that I have a family who is just as excited as I am for me to come into their home and has already been so sweet and welcoming.
       I have also found out which school I will be attending! My host mom gave me the option of a scientifico, classico, or linguistico. After I researched which types of schools there are (this was a while ago) I had thought that scientifico would be the best for me. But after hearing 2 opinions saying liceo linguistico woud be easiest for a foreigner, I decided to go with that. (If you're totally lost a liceo is basically just a public high school and in Italy the schools have different focuses. Liceo linguistico has a language focus.) My school will be called "Margherita di Castelvì". Since it is a language school I have to study italian and 3 other languages. It looks like a really good school and they are all about promoting openness to other cultures so kind of like AFS! They actually got a honorable mention from Intercultura (AFS Italy) in 2009!
My scuola
It's hard to believe I will be leaving so soon. I'm so happy. <3


-Nicole

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Famiglia Ospitante!

Ciao!
So today as I was moping in my room, having a somewhat bad day, I saw that someone was calling me . It was a weird number...But I thought maybe it could be important and I don't want to miss it (you never know). So I answered and this woman told me that she was my Italian host mom! We attempted to communicate in English/German/Italian for 15 mins and finally decided it would be easier to chat on skype! She also sent me 3 emails (4 days ago) that I had to dig for in my junk mail! (Stupid yahoo.) So they live in Sassari, Sardinia!

Sardinia is (as you can see) an island right off of the mainland. I have read about it, watched shows about it, etc and it seems so wonderful and amazing and beautiful I cannot wait!
There are 4 people in my family. My host mom Piera, my host dad Giovannino, my host brother Riccardo (30), and my host sister Ginevra (26). Ginevra is studying in Parma now, so she is not in Sardinia (but hopefully I will still meet her!) My host dad likes cooking (yay!) and my host mom likes listening to music and going to the theatre. Everyone likes reading in the family.
She said Sassari is very beautiful and they live 14km from the ocean!(: There are 150,000 people in Sassari.
I am beyond happy and excited with my placement(: I will also get to live (somewhat) near my good friend Rachael whom I have been talking to for a long time! (She was the first one I talked to who also wanted to go to Italy.)

Nicole

Monday, June 4, 2012

Travel and Logistics

Hey everyone,
I wasn't going to make a post on this, but "why not" I guess. So I received all of my travel information, dates I am leaving, when my orientation in New York is, etc, etc. I leave this lovely state of Minnesota on September 5th, probably sometime in the early morning to fly to New York (I haven't booked my domestic flight yet so I'm not sure). I'm supposed to arrive in New York sometime between 12:00pm and 4:00pm. Then I will meet AFS people and we'll all go to a hotel right by JFK to stay there for the night and have our orientation. All of the kids from the U.S. going to Italy will be there along with other students going to France and Spain I believe. They have different orientations though I guess. Im not really sure.
Then on Sept 6th at 10:00pm we fly to Zurich Switzerland! It's a 13 1/2 hour flight! (My friend corrected me in the comments. It's actually a 7 1/2 hour flight due to the time change!) Then we have an hour or so layover in Zurich and we fly to Rome. I am guessing after we get to Rome we meet up with all of the other students from all over the world going to Italy (at a hotel or something probably). There are I think about 470 of us so... It will be crazy and fun! After that we all part ways and go to our host families! Oh yeah that reminds me...I have yet to receive mine. -_-
I'm a little frustrated about that, but I guess I just have to be patient seeing as I might not get mine until a week before I leave (which I am really hoping does not happen).
Did I ever say anything about my visa? I also have to start working on that. There is a bit of paperwork that still needs to be filled out, along with birth certificates, marriage certificates, etc. And on August 21st I have to go in person to the Italian Consulate in Chicago to obtain it. Hopefully all will go well.

That's all for now,

Nicole

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Pre-Departure Orientation

So today I had my pre-departure orientation which is a mandatory meeting for everyone leaving to go on programs this summer. We talked about a lot of things like expectations, concerns, health and safety, rules rules rules lol. I think you kind of talk about the same things a lot. Rules being one of them. I have heard at the orientions in New York and Rome you talk a lot about rules and stuff too. So needless to say it wasn't the most exciting thing, but it was cool to meet other people going abroad. Many of them were only going on summer programs however. I was a little sad because EVERYONE I talked to had there host family already. But nope, not me. -_-
Which brings me to my next point: I am sick of waiting! My excitement level is going down now because nothing new is happening...I need to get excited again! But it;s hard when I can't really have any expectations because I have no idea where I am staying, who with, etc. I could be in Sicily, Sardinia, southern Italy, Northern Italy, etc. And all of the regions are so different so I just have no idea what to expect!
Well anyways the orientation wasn't all super boring, I did meet some cool people and what not. I met a girl going to India for a year (wow!) a girl going to France for a year, 2 girls going to Norway for year programs, another girl going to Italy (but only for the summer.) And a lot of other people. There was only one guy there aww haha. I wonder why more girls do exchange..? My step dad seems to think it is so that they can meet cute boys lol.
Well anyways that's basically all.

Ciao,

Nicole

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Things I'll miss and other thoughts.

So over the past few weeks I have had time to think about all of the things I will miss while I am in Italy for 10 months. For over a year I have been super excited to go, but now that's it's coming closer (I'm still super pumped!) I am realizing how many things I'll miss. My family, my friends, speaking english, understanding  the language that's being spoken to me, driving. I just got my driver's license a couple months ago and it's almost summer so this is the time when I am driving around with my friends and having the best time. Even though I will do amazing things in Italy and have an awesome experience, I will still miss these things.

Something else I was thinking about yesterday: My older sister just got back from traveling in England and Scotland to look at a college she is most likely going to in September. When she came home to tell me about her experiences the other day, I was amazed. I think she now knows what it's like to want something as bad as I want to travel and see the world. She told me about how she was coming out of the underground and right as she got up the stairs, there was Big Ben. It had just hit 6 o'clock (I think) and started  chiming. She said it felt unreal. She said it seemed like something like that would only happen in a movie and it felt amazing. I can't even explain it. But that's when I stopped feeling sad about leaving momentarily. Because I know that when I get to Italy, I will have those same feelings. I will be so glad I decided to do this.

Well those are my thoughts for now.  Also, I am still waiting for a host family and an Italian volunteer said most students get theirs by June. Fingers crossed!

Ciao,

Nicole

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Grazie sponsers!

Thank you to everyone who has donated (so far)! A few weeks ago I sent out letters asking for donations and got a lot of generosity! So thank you thank you thank you to everyone who donated! I need to go out and buy some thank you cards! ;)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Packets!

I received some packets from AFS in the mail today! That's all. Lol.
It just says "The AFS Guide for Participants"


Friday, March 16, 2012

nuovi amici

So a few weeks ago someone on Facebook created a page "AFS Italy 2012-2013" or something along those lines. I have been talking to a lot of new people and I can't wait for all of us to meet at orientation in New York and Rome! I have even been skyping with them. I already love you guys and we're going to have the best experience. (: On another note, AFS sent me an email today giving me a scholarship for almost 500 dollars! Thank you AFS! So now I have quite a bit of money raised and saved up. (But still not all of it, so if anyone can donate that would be awesome!)

Ciao,

Nicole

Friday, March 9, 2012

Fundraising

First of all THANK YOU SIERRA FOR DONATING. And second of all, if anyone is reading this, I have less than one month before I have to make a 1,500 dollar installment and less than 2 months before the rest of the money is due. Fundraising is not that easy, so if anyone reading this could donate even a small amount of money I would greatly appreciate it! I applied for a scholarship in January that was worth 2,000 dollars and I REALLY needed it and didn't get it. I'm not going to lie, I was pretty angry and bitter because I spent a lot of time working on my essay for that scholarship and I really thought I would get it. I guess that just means I have to work harder to get the money... My parents will let me repay them if they have to pay for the majority of the tuition, but there is still less than 6 months before I leave, and I really need to do more fundraising.

Ciao,

Nicole

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I can say it's Italy. :D

So today I received some very exciting news! I was accepted to AFS-Italy!! A woman from AFS called me, but I missed her call. I listened to my voicemail a few hours later and I was just like "oh, okay...I probably have to fix/change something.." And suddenly she says "I have some very exciting news--you have been accepted to AFS-Italy". I was in the kitchen with my mom and I just start going "omg...omg" and my mom was like "What?!" and then I started crying (of course xD).

This came as such a surprise to me because 1) I wasn't supposed to hear back for 4-6 weeks after I recently got accepted from AFS-USA and 2) I thought AFS-Italy would need more information on things, I don't know what on, but sometimes it feels like you have to keep changing more things, filling out more forms, etc. I think I'm finally done filling out forms...Oh wait. Visas... Ehh that'll come later.

So I called the woman back and was very happy (to say the least) and I told her how I was very surprised I heard back so soon and she said "I guess it was just an easy decision for them..(:" Yayyy. :D And then we talked about my next steps, pre-departure orientation in a couple months, etc. Being accepted also means that at any time from here until my departure I could get my host famiglia (though she said most people don't hear 4-6 weeks until they leave...I have faith I'll hear back sooner ;))

Ciao,

Nicole      

Friday, February 10, 2012

Finalmente!

    So at 12:00 today I received an email saying that I was accepted by AFS-USA and my application is being sent to Italy! This is probably not very excited news to anyone, but it does mean that I will know if I am accepted to AFS-Italy in 4-6 weeks. I am glad everything is finally happening at least. :D Also, I will know if I got the Viaggio Italiano scholarship in March, so that's also exciting. All there is left to do now is wait pretty much. Exchange contains a lot of waiting...

Arrivederci,

Nicole

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

F.A.Q.s

     I have time tonight, so I thought "Why not?" I have been thinking about making a post about frequently asked questions I (and I am sure other future exchangers) get asked a lot. So here goes.

Q: Do you even speak Italian?
A: Well obviously I am not fluent, but I know some and I learn more almost everyday.

Q: Won't you miss your family?!
A: Of course I will! But I have been away from home countless times for weeks at a time and when I go abroad, I will hopefully get a host family that becomes like my other family.

Q: So you'll go to a school where they speak Italian?
A: Lol yes...

Q: Do you know where you'll be living/Do you have a host family?
A: HA. I wish. That seems like years away. (Probably a couple months away but still.)

Q: So you don't even know where you're gonna be living yet?
A: (A lot of these questions get annoying -_-) Nope.

*This one my mom wanted me to put up here
Q: How can you let your child leave you like that for so long? She's so young.
A: This is her dream that she has pursued and planned for without hesitation, how could I not let her go?

Q: Why are you doing this..? (people think I'm crazy and don't understand)
A: To become fluent in a new language, I have always wanted to travel, to gain a cultural perspective, to gain friends and a new family, and it's the experience of a lifetime, I would be crazy to turn it down...

Q: Did you hear about that Amanda Knox thing?! You could end up like her...
A: *laughs* I don't think so...xD

I can't think of anything else right now but I'll add more when I think of it. So there you have it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Updates

       Since I had time today (I am staying home from school today), I thought I would let anyone who cares to know that I was contacted by AFS a few days ago about my application! Finally things are rolling. For everyone going on exchange it works like this: You turn in your preliminary application (which is just basic stuff and maybe where you would like to go and for how long), then you start working on your full application (which has basically EVERYTHING anyone would want or need to know in it), then you turn that in, THEN AFS contacts you saying specifically things they need clarification on/if they need any statements, etc. After that you submit your full app again and way to hear back. Then I believe they accept you, send your application to your first choice country to be reviewed and if you get accepted there, then try to find you a host family. Yes, it's a process.
         So now I am just waiting for them to contact me again and hopefully I will be accepted and they will be able to send my application to Italy! The reason it has taken so long for them to start reviewing my application is because they were busy working with the semester kids, but now a lot of the semester kids are leaving!
        On another note, I have been working on an essay for a 2,000 dollar scholarship!! I reallyreallyreally need and want this scholarship and I don't think that many kids are doing it and 6-12 will get the scholarship, so fingers crossed!

Arrivederci,

Nicole