So I know this post is late, don’t hate me I got a lot on my plate! (See what I did there?!) these past two weeks have been full of adventures and I can’t believe it but as of today I have been here for a month. A month!! That’s just insane to me! On one hand it feels like its been longer because of everything I’ve done and accomplished, but at the same time it feels like I just arrived! It’s been one of the craziest months of my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world! And I can’t wait for what’s to come. 🙂
On a more serious note, I did want to mention the tragedy in Sicily on Thursday. In case you didn’t know, a ship carrying immigrants to southern Italy caught fire in Lampedusa. 150 people were saved but there were 500 on the ship, the majority of whom are unaccounted for. Yesterday in school we had a minute of silence for the victims and the people of Lampedusa. Many people cried. One thing that amazes me about this country is the comradery between everyone, and the attachment of Italians to their country. No matter where I am, when people tell me stories of this country they brim with pride and warmth. It is nice to see a people with such a love for their country and its people, and especially to see them come together at a time like this.
On a brighter note, lots of great stuff happened this week! This past weekend I got to skip school for two days and travel to the beautiful region of Emilia-Romagna, specifically a small town called Fognano. I swear, everywhere I go in this country I feel like I’ve entered a postcard. Emilia-Romagna is known for its’ agriculture, so there was vineyard after vineyard among the rolling hills, and laying in the midst of all of that was a giant convent which we stayed in! We were in Fognano for an Italy-wide inbound Rotary conference so there were over 100 kids there, plus adults! So a hotel just wouldn’t cut it ;). It was a beautiful building, albeit a bit creepy at night, with giant hallways that stretched on forever, Madeline-esque rooms lined with beds, and stunning courtyards tucked in the middle, though slightly inaccessible (don’t worry we managed). It was such a great opportunity to meet everyone in Italy, from literally all over the world. India, Finland, France, Brazil, Mexico, Germany, Canada, Thailand, US, Taiwan, you name it! It was so amazing to get a taste of every country and be in an environment where we can all come together like that. The weekend was jam-packed, with some hiking, gawking at the views of the town and castle, information sessions, impromptu singing, purposeful singing, cheesy photos, exploring, and socializing. Oh yeah, and EATING. It was an absolutely amazing three days and I had a blast. When I got back I was so used to speaking English that I couldn’t remember any Italian! Luckily it came back quickly and I am improving still! I start a course in Milan on Monday so we’ll see how that goes. I am able to have simple conversations so that’s good!
Other than that, school’s been pretty much the same. I am learning so much in my art classes, it is crazy. All of my teachers are so passionate and it really makes school interesting. I prefer the school system here, so for me it’s great! The last week has been pretty relaxed with not a whole lot going on. I went to Milan a week ago with friends to show them around, I’ve been going to the last of the softball games, running a lot, and hanging out with my family and host sister. Last night I went to Milan for a big event where the Inbounds (that’s people who are here on exchange) meet the rebounds (people who have come back from exchange). It was at this swanky lounge where we ate appetizers and drank funky alcohol-free cocktails. 🙂 Italy is starting to really feel like home now. Although last night I received some devastating family news which is very hard to deal with when you are on the other side of the world and you can’t be with your family, and on top of that I think I have the flu, I am keeping my head up and hopefully can take it easy for the next few days and then return to normal. Exchange is full of ups and downs and so many things you don’t know how to deal with, but my host family is amazing and they are letting me grieve in peace. Every day makes me a stronger person and I enjoy every minute, even if it is really hard sometimes. Make no mistake, I am enjoying myself more than I ever have, but not every moment is bound to be an “up”. That’s just life. Accepting that and moving forward with a strong and positive attitude is what makes people successful. I know I’ve got so many adventures ahead of me, and I can’t wait for them. So until next time, have a great weekend and smile.