Now that I have an established host country, district, family, and school, I have to get ready for camp. Not Boy Scout camp, not theatre camp, but Rotary camp. It's a 5-day camp for outbound students (like me) from parts of the states Texas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. There will be about 60 outbound kids there. We will attend numerous seminars about various things we need to know before our departure in a few months. Kids who went on exchanges in the past few years, known as Rotex, will be there to tell us all about our country. Each country will be in its own small group of about 10 students, with one Rotex and several Rotarians (adults) assigned to the group. My group consists of mostly outbounds to Italy with a few going to Spain. I believe I am the only male in the group going to Italy, which should make for an interesting camp experience!
Before I can actually go to camp, which is at the University of Central Oklahoma from June 15-19, I had to complete 9 extensive "homework" assignments. These ranged from basic Italian phrases to currency exchange exercises to researching histories of my state, the US, and Italy. Many more subjects were also covered in the homework. As of today, I have 97% of it done, which is great considering camp starts in less than a week! I still have some info. to fill in, but I will not receive that specific info. until I receive the elusive Guarantee Form which will include the most specific information about my school and every host family I will live with (probably 2 or 3). Apparently the Form got held up in Customs coming from Italy, but it should arrive in my hands any day now!
You're probably wondering how I've been learning Italian. I have been attempting to learn it through a software program and several workbooks I have, along with the help of Anna Follett, a Rotex who went to Italy last year. I now know basic vocab. that covers food, numbers, colors, greetings, shopping, and time. Easy enough. Grammar is the hard part. Words in Italian are so mixed up from their normal order in English. It's. So. Confusing. I'm used to Spanish, in which some parts of speech are flipped around, but in Italian it's even worse. Even Italians themselves admit that it makes no sense. So how am I, a NON-ITALIAN, supposed to learn it?!?!?!?!?! I'm kind of sort of REALLY freaking out here!!!!!! But I've been told that after a few months of being immersed in the culture, I will start picking up on it better than before. I'm desperately hoping this is true.
P.S. For camp, it's not all boring seminars and lectures. There is a talent show as well as a dance. For the dance, each country group was given a color theme and told to make a costume that color for less than 5 USD. My color is yellow. YELLOW. Sigh. Worst color for a costume. But I got over it and eventually decided to be the Yellow Brick Road. Clever, right? I can't wait. The costume turned out pretty well, but now I just have to figure out how to fly to Oklahoma without messing it up...