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