Thursday, September 13, 2012

Orientation, Festivals, and the First Day of School!

     So as you all know I came to stay with my host family a few days earlier than the first planned date, then about 3 days after getting here, I took a train all the way up to Milan for orientation. But what I didn't tell you yet, (but you probably already know anyways) is that is was beautiful there! The weather was sunny and warm the whole time and from the second you get off the train you can tell it's a beautiful place. Really! The train station in Milan is like a palace! Its huge and looks like it would have used to belong to a king. At the hotel I shared a room with 2 very nice girls from different countries in northern Europe (I cant remember which ones, sorry!), but I found out a short time later that  everybody at orientation was from northern Europe except me! The first day we were there we went to see the Duomo which was amazing. I especially loved the huge green doors with engravings of people etched into it. Very neat to see. But unfortunately we couldn't actually go inside because we were all wearing shorts which apparently isn't allowed, darn. Later at night after we went out for dinner (and had burgers and fries!) the half of us who didn't want to go back to the hotel quite yet stayed with the Manuela, the person in charge of us, and went to see the Navigli. They are 2 water channels that run through the streets and on the road next to them are so many restaurants and little shops that light up the path, along with the strings of light bulbs going over parts of the Navigli. The second day we actually had orientation in the morning which just went over the rules and what to expect and how to deal with problems, things like that. Not very exciting, but afterwards we got to go on one of those 2 story buses and take a tour of Milan which was great because you got to see more than what was just right next to the Duomo and hear a little background information on it. Then after the 2 days of orientation, I left early the next morning to go all the way back down to Avellino. Its about a 5 hour trip, and I took the fast train!

Duomo in Milano!

And it's beautiful green doors!

   Because my host family owns a second house in the "country" we were able to go to the festivals in the small village of Salza which is very close to the home. They were so much fun and it was great that I could go because it helped me make even more friends from Laura's friends. For I think 3 nights they had a big festival where the whole town was lit up with these giant structures and arches with colored lights making patterns and designs. Plus they had a stage set up where they had concerts and comedians up for hours. And the fireworks! Oh the fireworks were amazing here! I don't think they have any laws or restrictions on them here because they were wonderful! Laura, me, and some friends were at one of the friends house who lives in Salza and were sitting in the front yard when the fireworks started (even though people had been shooting off their own fireworks all day). But every time one exploded it was almost like you could feel it in your chest. They were shooting them off just down the road so at one point the shells of some of the fireworks fell down on the houses and on us. It seemed like they would never stop shooting them and like all the time was the "grand finale" but eventually they did end, which was when Laura and I were walking down the road to get picked up by her mom, and found the neighbor yelling at the firework people because of the shells. We just went around it but thought it was pretty funny.

     Also while we were at the country house we went just up the road to the horse stables to bring the horses some sugar and found out that if we wanted, Laura and I could take riding lessons. I love riding so I was so happy to hear this, and Laura had never ridden before so she was excited to try. We actually took our first lesson a few days ago and it was very fun except for when we had to stop for a little but in the middle of the lesson because it started pouring down rain on us.
     Finally, the last thing I have to tell you guys for now, was that today was the first day of school! We were surprised this morning to find it raining again outside because yesterday had been hot all day. I was put in the same class with Laura and some of her friends (yay!). The schedule here though is something I will have to get used to. Every day of the week the schedule is different and sometimes you will have 2 classes of one subject in a day and others you will only have twice a week! The good part it, school ends at 1:30, the bad part? School on Saturday. The teachers know that I don't speak Italian yet so they don't expect me to understand the lectures, but from the week I've been living here and listening to Italian everywhere, I've gotten to the point where I can't yet understand a whole conversation or lecture, but I can at least tell what the person is talking about and pick up the key words. Also since I'm at a Liceo Linguistico, I will be taking along with Italian; English, French, and Spanish. Plus the other classes like math, science, p.e., physics, and philosophy.

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