Anna, Outbound to Italy

Last week my mom called me to tell me that my blog posts needed more content than me just writing my feelings down. She said I should probably start writing about what I have done and where I have gone. I am going to and I thought I was already doing that, but as I read back I realize she was right and for the most part all of my blogposts were about something other than my adventures and more about the dramas and exhausting situations Exchange students find themselves in. I like to write these things down because if I don’t, I know I will forget them and even though at times I really do want to forget how dramatic being a 17 year old girl in another country, surrounded by other dramatic 17 year olds is, I know that it’s not what my mom wants to read about, and probably not anyone else. 

For Christmas and New Years, I went on a trip with my family to the south of Italy. As I have probably written before, my host parents are both southerners. Christmas was spent in Macerata, a small but beautiful city in the central area of Italy, near the Adriatic coast. We spent a week there. Then, for New Years, we went to a small town in Puglia, where my host mom is from, San Marco in Lamis. We spent eight days there. While I was in San Marco, I went on a lot of little trips with my host dad to interesting places that are greatly revered in Puglia and the south. The south has a patron saint whose name is Padre Pio. My host dad took me to his crypt, and I saw his body, still in perfect condition. Padre Pio is so famous and so loved that it is almost more of a sin to take his name in vain than God’s. My host nonno has a huge tattoo of Pio’s face on his left shoulder. I got to see three Churches that were constructed in honor of Pio. I also visited a city that looks out on the Manfredonian Coast. The day before we left for Cremona, my host dad took me to Napoli (Naples). We visited every single landmark in one day, which Gino (host dad) called a “miracle”. The day we all returned to Cremona it snowed in Macerata. Since we had to go through Macerata to get home, I was able to see it. This was my second time seeing snow in Italy and in my life. I really, really don’t like the cold, or the grey that comes with it, but snow is very beautiful. The few days before school started were taken up with activities because I was invited to both Venice and Milan right after each other. I had a great time in both cities but now I wish I had said no and just slept and recuperated after a long two weeks with my family. Now school has started and the Short Term exchange students who arrived in December are starting to go back to their home countries. Their exchange is only for 6 weeks and to me that is so unbelievably short I cannot even imagine it. I get jealous that my other long-term exchange friends are getting to stay until August or September while I must leave in July. I can’t explain how much I love my family because there are not words in English for how I feel. They are so different from my family in Florida, yet so similar, in the ways that count. I really appreciate them and though I know that it is hard to take care of a child that isn’t their own, they really make an effort to make me feel like I am a part of them. I also love having a brother so much. In Florida, I have two little sisters and though I love them, sisters can be mean in ways brothers can’t imagine. Anyway, tomorrow I will go to one of the gyms in Cremona to buy a membership and see if I like it. I came to Italy very thin and very fit, and I want to leave with me at least staying as fit as possible, if I can’t accomplish thin. Until next time! 

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