Friday, January 25, 2013

What is Exchange?

Hey there. Since I don't have anything to update...Or I am too lazy to write about my life, I will share this little "poem" with you all. It's not mine but one of my fellow exchange students posted it and it is pretty accurate. :)

What is exchange?
Exchange is change. Rapid, brutal, beautiful, hurtful, colorful, amazing, unexpected, overwhelming and most of all constant change. Change in lifestyle, country, language, friends, parents, houses, school, simply everything.

Exchange is realizing that everything they told you beforehand is wrong, but also right in a way.

Exchange is going from thinking you know who you are, to having no idea who you are anymore to being someone new. But not entirely new. You are still the person you were before but you jumped into that ice cold lake. You know how it feels like to be on your own. Away from home, with no one you really know. And you find out that you can actually do it.

Exchange is learning to trust. Trust people, who, at first, are only names on a piece of paper, trust that they want the best for you, that they care. Trust, that you have the strength to endure a year on your own, endure a year of being apart from everything that mattered to you before. Trust that you will have friends. Trust that everything’s going to be alright. And it is seeing this trust being justified.

Exchange is thinking. All the time. About everything. Thinking about those strange costumes, the strange food, the strange language. About why you’re here and not back home. About what it’s going to be like once you come back home. How that boy is going to react when you see him again. About who’s hanging out where this weekend. At first who’s inviting you at all. And in the end where you’re supposed to go, when you’re invited to ten different things. About how everybody at home is doing. About how stupid this whole time-zone thing is. Not only because of home, but also because the TV ads for shows keep confusing you.
Thinking about what’s right and what’s wrong. About how stupid or rude you just were to someone without meaning to be. About the point of all this. About the sense of life. About who you want to be, what you want to do. And about when that English essay is due, even though you’re marks don’t count. About whether you should go home after school, or hang out at someone’s place until midnight. Someone you didn’t even know a few months ago. And about what the hell that guy just said.

Exchange is people. Those incredibly strange people, who look at you like you’re an alien. Those people who are too afraid to talk to you. And those people who actually talk to you. Those people who know your name, even though you have never met them. Those people, who tell you who to stay away from. Those people who talk about you behind your back, those people who make fun of your country. All those people, who aren’t worth your giving a damn. Those people you ignore.
And those people who invite you to their homes. Who keep you sane. Who become your friends.

Exchange is music. New music, weird music, cool music, music you will remember all your life as the soundtrack of your exchange. Music that will make you cry because all those lyrics express exactly how you feel, so far away. Music that will make you feel like you could take on the whole world. And it is music you make. With the most amazing musicians you’ve ever met. And it is site reading a thousand pages just to be part of the school band or the vocal class.

Exchange is uncomfortable. It’s feeling out of place, like a fifth wheel. It’s talking to people you don’t like. It’s trying to be nice all the time. It’s bugs.. and bears. It’s cold, freezing cold. It’s homesickness, it’s awkward silence and its feeling guilty because you didn’t talk to someone at home. Or feeling guilty because you missed something because you were talking on Skype.

Exchange is great. It’s feeling the connection between you and your host parents grow. It’s hearing your host sister asking where her sister is. It’s knowing in which cupboard the peanut butter (Nutella) is. It’s meeting people from all over the world. It’s having a place to stay in almost every country of the world. It’s getting 4 new families. One of them being a huge group of the most awesome teenagers in the world.
It’s cooking food from your home country and not messing up. It’s seeing beautiful landscapes that you never knew existed.

Exchange is exchange students. The most amazing people in the whole wide world. Those people from everywhere who know exactly how you feel and those people who become your absolute best friends even though you only see most of them 3 or 4 times during your year. The people, who take almost an hour to say their final goodbyes to each other. Those people with the jackets full of pins. All over the world.

Exchange is falling in love. With this amazing, wild, beautiful country. And with your home country.

Exchange is frustrating. Things you can’t do, things you don’t understand. Things you say, that mean the exact opposite of what you meant to say. Or even worse…

Exchange is understanding.

Exchange is unbelievable.

Exchange is not a year in your life. It’s a life in one year.

Exchange is nothing like you expected it to be, and everything you wanted it to be.

Exchange is the best year of your life so far. Without a doubt. And it’s also the worst. Without a doubt.

Exchange is something you will never forget, something that will always be a part of you. It is something no one back at home will ever truly understand.

Exchange is growing up, realizing that everybody is the same, no matter where they’re from. That there is great people and douche bags everywhere. And that it only depends on you how good or bad your day is going to be. Or the whole year.
And it is realizing that you can be on your own, that you are an independent person. Finally. And it’s trying to explain that to your parents.

Exchange is dancing in the rain for no reason, crying without a reason, laughing at the same time. It’s a turmoil of every emotion possible.

Exchange is everything. And exchange is something you can’t understand unless you’ve been through it.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Benvenuto 2013! Una Norwegese, Finlandese, e Americana

Welcome 2013! A norweigan, finnish, and american
I think I may have had the most memorable new year ever. In my life.
Okay I'll rewind a little bit before then.
On Saturday my friend Saara (the finnish girl) came from Macomer (a town an hour or two away). She is also here with AFS and we have met a few times and became better friends at the camp in October. I have a long break right now from school and I thought it might be nice to have something planned or do something fun so I thought why not invite Saara to Sassari!? 
On saturday night Saara arrived and we went to the disco together (Me, Saara, and Karoline).
Then on Sunday we did some shopping for new year's eve (dresses, shoes, nail polish, etc). We also met up with our canadian friend Sadie who is here with rotary. We wandered around centro storico (historical area with little cobblestone streets and the whole bit) and then for dinner Sadie showed us this awesome hole-in-the-wall greek place which was awesome! I've learned to love those moments in which I end up in random places meeting new people and just really feeling like a world traveler. Then we all went back to our houses and slept to "prepare ourselves for new year's".
Now I've just abandoned this post for a few days because I procrastinate too much. :(
Anyways then on the 31st we all went to Karoline's house in the evening to get ready and have dinner with Karoline's brother and his friends. We all ate together and hung out and then even danced a little bit haha. Then we (me, Saara, Karoline) noticed that it was almost midnight. So we ran upstairs to get our bags and such and then ran to the piazza so that we could celebrate the new year there. It was really  fun and amazing. I had never seen the piazza so full of people...Ever. There was a concert going on and  people lighting paper lanterns and letting them float up in space. And then the countdown came (in italian of course) and then when midnight hit everyone went crazy and popped open bottles of champagne and huge fireworks went off. It was pretty great. <3
Then we went back to Karoline's house and walked with everyone to a disco.
It was just a great weekend/new years.
First night at the disco

Midnight!! :D

Walking in centro storico

At Karoline's house for dinner

In piazza

Karoline's house