Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Language

I haven't really talked about the Italian language much, and I thought I'd fill you in.

Italian is beautiful, I've always thought so. But it's also very complicated, most specifically, verbs. In English, verbs are in general very simple, almost always the same: We ARE, You ARE, He IS, She IS, I AM, in Italian, not so much. I'll use "to be" as an example:

Io sono
Tu sei
Lui/Lei  รจ
Noi Siamo
Voi Siete
Loro Sono

....And that's just the present tense. Then after that there in future tense, past tense, irregular past tense, and on and on. To say the least, it's a tad bit complicated. 

And on top of that, when you first learn a language (any language), when it's being spoken to you, an entire sentence blends into what sounds like a single word.
So coming here with little to no experience with the language is definitely stressful, and there were no doubt days where I just wanted to have a pity party and block out any Italian spoken to me. Headaches were common, almost to the point where I forgot what it was like NOT to have a headache. Those first few months were terrible. (Not the experience, the language).

And no doubt, there are still difficulties with the language, grammatical errors are consistent in every conversation and my head still feels like it is going to explode sometimes, but it's gotten better. Every single day it gets a little easier. Every single day English gets harder. I love it.

So whether you're on exchange, or going on exchange, or just a random person reading this, don't give up on learning another language. It's so rewarding when I get complimented on my Italian, or when I can easily express myself.

And with my progress at this point, I can easily talk, and don't really have troubles expressing myself, though my grammar could use some work. I often find myself thinking in Italian, or replying in Italian when I don't mean to. I have dreams in Italian pretty often, and I apparently even talked in Italian in my sleep the other day .....awkward.... and even though I was extremely embarrassed when they told me, I was also really happy with myself.

P.S. I am so extremely happy in my new situation. I haven't felt this happy, really actually happy in a while, but I do now. I can't stop smiling. Thank you again for all that supported me :)

Love you all
Arrivederci-
Rachael 

And totally remember that if you ever want me to talk about something specific PLEASE email me or facebook me or comment on this, it makes it so much easier to write.

Oh and I felt like sharing this, I can relate.





Saturday, February 16, 2013

A New Beginning

Hello!

So there have been a few changes in the last week. And by a few, I mean a heck of a lot of changes.

For those of you that I talk to on a regular basis, you know how unhappy that I've been in recent weeks. I was overwhelmingly unhappy and decided I needed to try some new things, because I wanted to have a positive experience rather than a negative one.

As of Wednesday, I've been living in a new family.

It wasn't that I didn't like my old family, because I did, and it's really hard to explain this to someone who isn't an exchange student, but things just didn't click right. The bottom line is, they were wonderful, but it wasn't the right situation for me at that point. There were parts that I could have absolutely handled better, and I wish that things were left on happier terms, but as of now, I am no longer with them.

And here is how the story goes....

I have wanted to switch things around for a while now (This wasn't an impulsive decision) and I talked to some volunteers before camp this last week.  .....I will tell you more about camp in a minute..... and so I was on my way home from camp on Wednesday, and instead of hopping on a bus to come home, a volunteer picked me up in a town called Nuoro, and informed me that I wouldn't be returning home. We drove to my old house, and I packed in a hurry. I spent that night at a volunteer's house, then after school on Thursday, my new family picked me up! I have been here ever since, and I can't even begin to explain my happiness. It's everything I could have asked for. I have 3 host sisters (8, 22, and a 16 year old who is in the US with AFS right now) and one host brother who is also 8. I live in a town called Tertenia, which is only about 30 minutes from where I was, so I still get to attend the same school! Everyone is so nice, and I already feel at home here :) So in the least, it has been an extremely exhausting week!

Thanks all who have supported me and helped me, it means more than you will ever know!

And camp! the camp was in a town called Terralba, and we stayed with other host families for the week!
Thursday
So we started our journey to Terralba early last Thursday morning...6:30.... and we first went to Nuoro by bus. After that, we ran to the train station with all of our luggage, scrambled onto the train, which took us to Macomer, waited two hours, and grabbed another train to Terralba. All of this was happening with empty stomachs and little to no sleep. We then met up with all the other AFS students I LOVE YOU ALL (that was for my amazing AFSers) and waited for our host families to pick us up.
Friday
Early morning yet again. I met my friends for breakfast at a Cafe....caffe ginseng... and then we walked to the school where the orientation was being held. I really don't remember exactly what we did at the orientation friday, but I'm almost certain we split into groups and discussed our experiences, then practiced for yet again, another talent show. Dinner was spent with the family, and then bed.
Saturday
Early morning.. I met up for breakfast at the same Cafe, and after we went to ANOTHER orientation, we discussed problems, and the curve that every exchange student experiences. You can't escape it. We went home after, but later that night was an AFS party! We showed off our talents, some were better than others, and then we all went out after. It was tons of fun!
Sunday
Family day. We had a family lunch, then I slept, and slept, and slept. I was exhausted. Still am.
Monday
Monday we went to a few museums which were pretty cool!
Tuesday
The biggest day of them all! First we went to Sartiglia, which is an event where men ride on horses and try to catch a metal star on the end of their swords. It's difficult to explain, but was very cool! There were men from a lot of the towns near Terralba! Another event is where there are two horses, and three men. They are all standing on the horses, and one in between! It was pretty cool, but there were so many people it was difficult to see.
After Sartiglia, it was Carnevale. For those of you who don't know what carnevale is, it's pretty much a huge party with the entire town. There is definitely more to it, but I'm not going into it. My friends and I went dancing and had a ton of fun:) Foreign kids are the coolest!
Wednesday
We headed home around 2... It's definitely one of the saddest times of the experience, saying by to all the amazing exchange students that you've become so close to in such a short time.

Sorry for the messiness of this post! I'll post pictures soon. I just haven't unpacked my huge suitcase yet which happens to have my camera charger inside!

Thanks for reading,
Arrivederci
Rachael

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Halfway

Hello!

5 months. Depending from your point of view, that can mean a number of things. When looking forward, waiting, it seems like a lifetime. When looking back, all I see is a blur.
5 months. I've been here 5 months.

As for other news, I'm feeling a whole heCK of a lot better now. I've had a tough couple of weeks to say the least. And maybe it's because we have another camp starting tomorrow, and maybe it's because I am starting to see the flickering of a light at the end of the tunnel, whatever it is, I am happy today. Or as close to happy as I've been in a little while. But don't worry, exchange students sort of become bipolar the moment that the plane lifts off the ground in the US.

I won't go into details now, and I'm not sure if I will at all, but it was a tough one.

On another note CAMP IS TOMORROW AND I'M SO HAPPY. All of the Sardinian students are coming together in a town called Terralba, and we are celebrating carnevale together! And get to stick together for an entire week!

To be honest, I'm having a hard time figuring out things to say on this.. Things have become so routine, so normal. I don't know what to tell you about!


But I do want to say, thank you all for helping me get here and supporting me through the ups and downs. I don't know what I would do. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world, and I am so sorry for all that I took for granted before. Love ya'll.

Here are the photos from Naples that I promised... 2 months ago!

Had to put a picture of pizza on here




Overview of Naples


Thanks for reading <3

Arrivederci
Rachael

P.S. IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO HEAR ABOUT PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE EMAIL ME OR WRITE A COMMENT! I'd love to hear what you want to hear about, and it makes this a whole lot easier. Email: rachiiramsey@hotmail.com OR rae_raeramsey@yahoo.com


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Not Forgotten

Hello all

I haven't written for a while again. I apologize. Things have been kind of crazy, and I have been feeling rather down, so I haven't known what to write. I still don't. I just wanted to let you all know I didn't forget about you.

I also haven't wanted to make a post that was as down as I am. So, I'll leave it like that.

Stay beautiful
Arrivederci
Rachael

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Let's Play Catch Up

Wow! Let me start by saying how incredibly sorry I am. It has been what, 5 weeks? I'm so sorry! The time must have gotten away from me.

So much has happened in those weeks.
Let's start with Naples.

It was amazing. Beautiful. We were only there for about 2 days, but it was one of the highlights of my exchange so far. Living in this small town that I am, I miss the energy of a city. I miss the hustle and bustle and the bigness of it all.
The first day we were in Naples we went shopping, a volcano museum, and ate pizza (It's Napoli, of course we ate pizza). I don't mean to be one of 'those' people, but oh my gosh I loved shopping in Naples. There street vendors and food stands and little shops all along the larger streets. Let's just say I didn't come home with too much money left in my pocket.
The volcano museum was underground and at one point there was a lack of space for everyone, and holy claustrophobia it was a tight fit. The return to the above-ground was quite the relief. I don't do well in small spaces. Especially underground ones. But it was really cool.
Pizza.. How do you explain the best pizza that you have ever had in your life? You don't. At some point in your life, I don't care who you are, put it on your bucket list to eat a pizza in Naples. The first pizza I got was my Margherita (or for my American friends, cheese) , my second was Lasagna (Pizza made with ricotta cheese.) and my third (yes third WHOLE pizza) was Marinara, which was pizza without cheese, just the sauce. It was excellent.
The second day we adventured the city until our feet were about to fall off. Literally. I wore a pair of new shoes, and I could barely walk by the end of the day. Oh the pain. At one point we got to this place, which looked over most of Naples, it was magnificent. It looked like a painting.. The entire time I was like "Holy Mother! Am I actually here?" After that we walked some more, and more, and more, until we finally got to a little restaurant near the ocean. Right next to the restaurant there was this hotel that had Christmas trees on each of the balconies with twinkling lights, and I am a total holidays person, so I loved it.
Leaving Naples was pretty sad. We left that night after dinner.
I really hope I can go again some day.

We had a week of school in between Naples and Christmas break, but I'm just going to skip that, because, well, there isn't much to tell.

The Friday that we got on break, we had an "End of the World" dance at my school! It was a lot of fun, and quite a bit different than dances at my school in the U.S. For one, half the girls, including me, were wearing jeans, and there was a lot less dancing. People just sat around and smoked mostly. But I got my friends to dance, so we had tons of fun!
My host sister came home from Rome the next morning reallyearly, and her and I went to The Hobbit later that night. (For whoever hasn't seen it, I recommend it)
During the rest of the break, most of what we did was eat. And eat. And eat. And eat. And I could say that another 100 times, and it wouldn't be enough to explain how much we ate for the holidays. Christmas was pretty difficult, I'm not going to lie, but I also really loved seeing a new way of celebrating it. My entire host family got together and we had a six hour long meal, and then spent another two hours talking about the meal.
For New Years Eve, I went with my cousin and her six closest friends and had a sleepover where we didn't fall asleep until 6(ouch)am, and had to wake up at 9(even worse)am, to go to a family brunch.

Sorry for cramming so much into a short few sentences!
And I don't have any pictures from Naples on my computer yet due to well.. laziness mostly.
I promise I will soon.

Here is the talent show video I promised a few months back: (Watch it if you need a laugh, as of now I'm calling it the Talentless Talent Show Video)
video


I'm sorry for my terrible grammar and organization and vocabulary. My life is Italian Italian Italian, and my lack of English skills is starting to show. Thanks for reading anyhow. 










I guess that's all for now
I'll try to be better, but I'll make no promises

Arrivederci-
Rachael

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sardinia is not Italy

Hi!

So the thing about Sardinia is that in so many ways, it is not Italy. The food is different, the people are different, the culture is different, they even have a different language (Italian is still the most spoken language though). The people here are very proud to be Sardinian, and in many places you can find graffiti on walls that says "Sardinia is not Italy" In Italian of course though. The only thing that they consider connects them to Italy is their government.

At first, this kind of made me upset, because I came here for ITALY not Sardinia, but I guess now I'm realizing, that this is such a unique experience, and I am lucky to be one of the few that are placed on Sardinia. Also, I am lucky enough to learn Italian and a little of another language.

Another thing that took a while for me to understand is that I am NOT in America anymore, which means I CAN'T keep acting like I am. And it is really hard sometimes, because this is a town of 2 thousand people where there is nothing to do a lot, and I come from a city of 2 million people where there was so much to do all the time! And I had so much freedom in Salt Lake, here, I really don't. The kids my age here go into the town square and literally just sit there for hours for fun, and with the language barrier that can be really boring sometimes, but I guess you learn to love it.

Speaking of language, I guess my Italian is coming along little by little. I still get really frustrated with myself, and I hate that a lot of the times I can't express my exact feelings, but for the most part, all is well. Before I came I thought, "oh, I'll catch on eventually!" No, no you will not. You have to study, study, and study some more. Have as many conversations with people, about as much random topics as you can, and your Italian will improve, whether it's by them correcting your language and grammar, just TALK. That's something I've learned I need to do more of recently.

School is.. school.. I guess it's the same in every language! The language does make it more complicated and hard, but once I have more of a language background I'm guessing school will be easier (HOPEFULLY).

I'm going to Rome and Naples in about 2 weeks, which I am so so so excited for, and soon after that is Christmas break, can't wait!

More soon,
Sorry that I haven't been posting more. I never realized how hard it would be to post often.

Arrivederci,
Rachael

P.S. if anyone has a specific thing that they would like me to write about please comment below or  email me (rachiiramsey@hotmail.com or rae_raeramsey@yahoo.com). I'd love to hear what you guys want to hear about, and it will make it so much easier to come up with things to say. 

P.P.S. My host family had my try something the other day, and laughed when I spat it out, Turns out, it was PIGS BRAIN. Thought I'd let you know.
Love you all, Rachael.

Here are some pictures of my beautiful home:

 































Monday, November 5, 2012

Meet Me in Rome

Hello all,
Rome Rome Rome. The most beautiful city on earth. It holds so much history, I love it. I am so sorry by the way, something is going on with my camera and won't load the pictures to my computer. I'll figure it out soon.

The reason we decided to go to Rome was to visit my host sister.

Wednesday (also Halloween)
We left at 4, yes 4AM Wednesday morning to drive to Cagliari. (I have the HARDEST time pronouncing this the Italian way, because it has a sound in it that English doesn't use. the 'agliar' part of it is weird) We arrived in Rome and it was raining :(, and we went to a cafe near my host sister's house and then to a museum. I'm really sorry, I don't remember the name. We spent 10ish hours there. I loved every second of it. I have always been so intrigued with Roman history, and I just couldn't get enough of the art and stories that belongs to each and every piece. And it is all right there in front of you. That's what is so amazing, that it has been preserved for so long, and I had the opportunity to stand RIGHT THERE next to it. I feel honored that I had a chance to see it. That night I was exhausted, and despite the fact the it was Halloween, I passed out around 10:30.

Thursday:
Shopping. Lot's and lots of shopping. I can't even remember all of the stores that we went into. I ended up buying a sweater, a scarf, a cardigan, and shoes. From H&M and The Vans Store. I guess there isn't much to say about Thursday, because all we did was shop. That's it.

Friday::
Hadrian's Villa. I'm not sure if I spelled that right. Oh my gosh, it was beautiful. And again with the history, I can't tell you how much I love history. So, I'll tell you a little about Hadrian.

Hadrian was a Roman Emperor in the 2nd and 3rd decades of 2nd century AC. The villa is located in Tivoli, as a retreat from Rome, because the emperor is said to not have liked the palace on Palantine Hill in Rome. Hadrian's successors used the villa after his death During the fall of the Roman empire, the villa fell to disuse, and crumbled. Parts are still standing today however. Anyhow, Hadrian is best known for building Hadrian's wall, which marked the northern border of Roman Britain. He also rebuilt the Pantheon. He was the third of the so-called 5 good emperors. 
If you want to know more about him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadrian

It was magnificent. Here are some pictures that Wikipedia provided:


The villa's recreation of Canopus, a resort near Alexandria, as seen from the temple of Serapis






Saturday:
The Pantheon. Last time I was in Rome, the Pantheon was under construction, and this time, as far as I can tell it wasn't. Gosh it is so large and extravagant. I can't even imagine building it in times without our modern technology. How did they do it? Well, they tell you how they do it, but it's truly incredible.

Saturday night we flew home, an unfortunate end to our time in Roma.

Random thought:
I never knew how much I loved eggplant until I came here. 
I really can't think about going back to not eating Italian food everyday. What am I going to do!

Arrivederci
Rachael