Thursday, June 26, 2014

Airports, goodbyes and tears

   I'm writing this as quickly as I can. But in a few hours I will be on my way to the airport. I'm leaving my home in Italy to return to my home in the US. This past year has been a wonderful experience that no one can replicate for me. It's been full of happiness, tears of sadness and joy and much more. As I begin to say my goodbyes I'm trying to remember all that happened throughout this great year. It makes me want to smile and cry at the same time. 
Anyway, for those in Illinois, I hope to see you all soon. And those in Italy, thank you for making my exchange year so great!! I'll return soon!!! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

Guess What? I met the Pope!

   On Saturday, May 10th, I left my host town, Torre Annunziata, for Rome at 9:00 am. I went with other students from the 4 schools in Torre. From my class, there was Anna, Martina, Elisabetta, and me. We arrived in Rome around 12:30 pm. We got to the Vatican and ate our sandwiches quickly because we needed to get a good spot. Already at 12:30, there were many people. On top of that it began to become extremely hot. My classmates and I tried our best to get good spots and we did. We were about 3 feet from the railing. We had to wait a long time to see the pope. There were people singing for the kids but not everyone was interested because it was so hot.
   Anyway, then the moment came. The pope came out in his "Pope Mobile" and started greeting people and kissing the babies. He finally got to us and I got one picture that wasn't very good but when he passed the second time I got a video. Also I gently threw a rotary banner, which made it in the pope mobile!!!

My classmates and me.

The bad first photo.

The good photo of 'Papa Francesco'

*Fun fact - The pope is a Rotarian*

Sunday, May 4, 2014

A late update about Easter!

     I know it's May and I'm just now posting about Easter but it's better late than never! 
    Anyway, I spent Easter with my host family's family if that makes any sense. (My host parents were in Florida visiting their daughter Renata Ricciardi.) I was with my host mother's sister, Laura, her husband, Mariograzio and their twins Claudio and Mafalda and Claudio's American friend, Mark. We went to their second home which was in a town called Praia a Mare in the region of Calabria. The rest of the family was staying elsewhere and Nonno was at Cinzia's brother's home. 
     The day of Easter was great to be honest. We all did what Italians do best; eat, eat, and eat. We ate many different types of food typical of the regions of Campania and Calabria. 
   Also during this weekend, I went to the beach for a little one day, but it was too cold to swim. Claudio, Mark, and I went to drive/walk a bit up a mountain we saw. We actually did it! 
    Above all, this weekend was absolutely wonderful. It will definitely be a holiday in Italy that I will never forget. If I could do the holiday again, I would! 

Torre Annunziata - my host town 
Praia a Mare - where I was for Easter

From the house. - Praia a Mare 

The mountain we went up is the one on the left. 

On the mountain. 

Me on the mountain! 

Selfie! Haha 

The beach! 

Thank you all for always reading my blog! 
Arrivederci! (Goodbye) 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Rotary Trip to Padula.

     A few weeks ago, I went on a trip with my Rotary club (Rotary club of Pompei Oplonti Vesuvio Est). We visited a town called Padula which is about an hour away from where I live. At this town, we visited caves which are some of the longest caves in Europe and these caves are also symbolized to be those of the gate to hell in Dante's Divene Comedy. Sadly I wasn't allowed to take any pictures, so I can't show you all how beautiful it was.
   Then we had a huge lunch at a very nice restaurant. We ate appetizers, two plates of pasta, a meat plate, with vegetables, then fruit. There was so much food, but it was very good. 
   Later we visited a ancient monestary which was absolutely beautiful. There were many paintings on the ceilings and there was even a very old library. Anyway I had a wonderful time with my club and the other exchange students. 

Our table with all the exchange students. 
The pasta! 
At the restaurant. 
The monestary. 

Like father like son. (My host dad, Lello and his son, Mario. P.S. they're both architects.) 

Until next time, 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Host Family Change 2.0

This past Saturday, I changed host families again. I left my second host family which was Carla Zeccato and her daughter Serena LaRocca. I lived at their house for the past three months. I had a wonderful time living with them and those three months really passed very quickly. It seems like we did our first host family change a month ago! 
My second host family - Carla Zeccato and Serena LaRocca. 

                Second host home.
                      The host car.
       From the balcony. Nice view, right? 
The host family's garden. 

Leaving any place is always difficult. I can't really explain how difficult packing is after you've been at a certain place for so long. Currently I'm living with my first host family- Cinzia and Lello Ricciardi! I've returned and I'm very happy. I'll try to update again soon! Ciao!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Classes, Naples & 99 days until I'm home...Oh my!

This month has been off to a good start. My classes are becoming easier. I've been doing very well in school too. I've had a new interest in the class of Philosophy. (It's actually a great class.) I've learned the Greek alphabet. (Greek is still super difficult though. Might have to study some more.) 
My classmates Annarita, Maria Vittoria and me! 
My great friend, Maria Rosaria.
Anna goofing off during class. 

      I also took a nice day trip to Naples last Sunday with a few friends. We took the train to get to the center of Naples then we started to look at the many stores. Then we ate a "pizzetta" (a miniature version of the pizza.) Plus, we ate some gelato later. We then continued to look around. I was lucky to find some clothes and some ENGLISH BOOKS. (I'm really excited about my books, ok? Hey, if you hadn't read in your mother language in a long period of time I think you'd be the same.) Then, we returned home after a long day. 
I spent some nice quality time with these two! 
Clarissa - (a friend from my class) 
Gelato (limone e melone) Lemon and Melon. 

My new favorite part of Naples. Look at all the flags. It's exchange student paradise!!!! 

       Guys today marks 99 days until I return to my home in the United States. It kinda makes me sad because as my father would say I'm now a "two digit midget." Thanks Dad! I'm sure I'll be sad to leave my Italian home here but I am returning HOME AFTER 10 MONTHS. I guess the only way to go about things is just take it all in and enjoy what I have in front of me. 
The countdown.....

Until next time, 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Quick Trip to Calabria!

This week has been a little stressful because I had to present a power point presentation to my Rotary club; the Rotary club of Pompei Oplonti Vesuvio Est, in complete and perfect Italian. That said, I did do well and everyone was pleased. 
      This weekend was kind of a nice get away I guess you would say. Lello, Cinzia, Darcy, Laurel and I got in the car to make a 4 1/2 hour drive to Vibo Valentia in Calabria. We went to this town to present our presentations to their Rotary club.
The blue dot is where I live and the red marker is where you can locate Vibo Valentia. 
         One thing I can say is Calabria is extremely different than the region in which I live in, Campania. The Calabresi have a slower accent which I found was very difficult to understand, probably because I've become so used to the Napoletano accent. However, the Napoli area we have more slang in the speech and we cut off the vowel endings. The food from Calabria was delicious. I especially enjoyed the pastas and a spicy spread made from peppers. 
     Darcy, Laurel and I went to sleep at the house of a very friendly Rotarian and his family.
The next day, we got up to eat breakfast and then we went to see a ancient castle which under it had Greek artifacts. *Southern Italy is known for the Greek artifacts because many Greeks moved to Italy in look for a new life, money, etc.*
      Later that day we ate at probably the best Italian restaurant that I have ever eaten at. This restaurant was literally 300 feet or less from the sea. While at the restaurant we at octopus salad (one of my favorite dishes from Italy), fried calamari, shrimp, and baby octopi. These were just the appetizers! I chose to eat a pasta with mussels, shrimp, calamari, and clams. Lello and Cinzia were proud that I got something that was popular from that restaurant. Lello had told me what he had ordered and I thought it was one of the grossest things you could order. ( I'll keep the suspense going and not say what it was but it was weirder than the sea snails I ate at Christmas) Once his plate arrived, he immediately served me some of it. The dish was pasta with squid ink. Trust me, It tastes better than what it looks/sounds like. I do have to admit it was really good and I would eat it again. Then, we all ate a special type of gelato which is like a square of gelato with a liquid chocolate filling covered with cocoa power and a cake only from Calabria. It was so good and I hope I go back again. 
     Shortly later, we had to leave our new friends but not without hearing that Darcy, Laurel and I will be coming back to Calabria and visiting Sicily with Pio Luigi and his family! I can't wait! 
At Vibo Valentia. 

    The castle! 
Old Greek vases. 
A Map of where the Greeks moved to in Italy. 
Ancient Greek money. 

An Ancient Greek scale. Awesome, huh? 

The view from on top of the castle! 

I don't think I'll ever be able to forget an experience like this. 
The other side of the castle overlooking the sea. 
Hey let's climb over the safety bar to get a awesome picture! *ps huge drop under this* (That was for you Mamma.) 
Laurel and me! 
The Yolo squad of District 2100. 
    The sea - Il mare! 

My pasta with mussels, clams, calamari and shrimp! 
Lello's dish which I tried. Pasta with squid ink. Yum! 
Laurel at the restaurant. 
Anyways, thank you for reading my newest blog post and I want to thank everyone who has helped me for my exchange here or the EuroTour. I will be going on the EuroTour on June 9, however I am about $300 short. If anyone could help through anyway it would be greatly appreciated by me. Thank you all in advance! Grazie Mille! (Thanks a lot) 
Until next time,