Since my last post, I experienced many things for the first time. I’ll make a list and then go into detail: disco (FINALLY), Christmas away from home, Boxing Day, and Verona.
On my third attempt to enter a disco, I finally did it. I KNOW RIGHT?! It was a special Christmas party (we went about 4 days before Christmas) and the venue was PACKED with people. It was so ridiculous. The dance floor had a high ceiling with lights everywhere and I felt like I was in a movie. The wardrobe was full because there were so many people, so we had to hang on to our coats the whole night. I only went with two Italian friends, and it was a fun time but we didn’t end up dancing enough for my tastes. The next time I go to a disco, I will go with a larger group and I will make sure to dance more. J
Christmas away from home was such a strange feeling. On the one hand, I obviously missed my family and our special traditions. I missed hearing Christmas carols being played throughout the house and I missed seeing decorations all over everything. But on the other hand, on Christmas Eve we visited my host relatives, who are truly nice and caring people. They made me feel more comforted in that difficult period. On Christmas Day, the same relatives visited our house for lunch, and then I chilled the rest of the day. We opened presents on Christmas Eve after returning from the relatives’ house. I enjoyed exchanging my MSU presents with my host family and receiving the gifts they had gotten for me. On the third hand, three packages containing gifts from my real family and godparents did not arrive in time for Christmas. Indeed, the one from the godparents arrived today, and the other two are apparently lost. I traveled across town (by foot) yesterday to FIVE different post offices, only to have no luck (Italian postal system). So maybe I’ll receive those two packages eventually, but I’m certainly not holding my breath.
|my host brothers and cousins on Christmas Eve|
Boxing Day is the day after Christmas, for all you Americans, haha. I was invited to Celeste’s house (she’s my half-British friend) and we had a grand day celebrating Boxing Day. This consisted of lunch, video games, piano-playing, and a strange game that was similar to Dirty Santa. In the end they made me feel very welcome (speaking English certainly helped) and I enjoyed myself quite a bit.
A few days ago the Italian family I met on the plane to Paris visited Milano and invited me to aperitivo! If you have been following this blog since the beginning, then you will already know that I met an Italian family in the DC airport, and this family later saved my life in Paris by helping me make my connection to Milano. We met up for the first time since that fateful day and had an incredible night at this super chic place in a fancy district of town. The next day we ate lunch together and I saw them off as they took a train back to Venezia, where they live. They also invited me to stay with them in Venezia sometime, so I’m sure I’ll take advantage of this opportunity!
|whooo airplane friends!|
Today I went to Verona for the first time. Some Italian friends invited me, and we took the train early in the morning. It was quite cold and a bit foggy, but the city is charming. It has a romantic feel which I’m sure is helped by the fact that Romeo and Juliet is set there. “In fair Verona where we lay our scene…” We totally went to the house of Juliet and saw her balcony and everything. We also saw an ancient Roman arena (awesome!) and a very old castle, among other things. A fun day. J
|rubbing her breasts for good luck :)|
|the castle by night|
I finished my first ever book in Italian, and now I’m exhausted. Reading Italian is actually much easier for me than speaking, but still. Now I have to read another book in Italian for school but I’m finding it difficult to get motivated. My France trip has officially died, a result of the fact that I no longer have a family that can host me there. It’s an extremely long story, but I’ll leave it at that. Oh well.
I officially change host families on January 8, the day before school starts again. I wish I had more time to settle in before school, but it is what it is. Soon I will have to say goodbye to my South African and Australian friends; since their exchange year is ending, they will return to their home countries in the next two weeks. I already said goodbye to my dear Sophia from Australia, and I already miss her. The hardest part of exchange is saying goodbye because usually it’s for an extremely long time. I don’t want to think about it, but everyone’s time will come to go home, so I may as well accept it.
Bring it on, 2012. J