JC, Outbound to Italy

It's been a while since I wrote my last journal entry and a lot of stuff has happened since then, so this Journal will be loaded with fun stuff I’ve gotten a chance to do so far on my exchange.

I think I’ll begin at Thanksgiving. Now, you may be thinking that since I’m not in the United States that would mean no turkey for me, but that’s where you’d be wrong. One of my closest friends here in Italy, GIulio, has an American mother. I was lucky enough to get invited to their home for Thanksgiving and I can’t say I was disappointed. The food was great and the company was even better. It’s great to get to know your friends and their families better and occasions like that are a great way to do it.

Next I’m going to jump in time to when I got the opportunity to visit the cities of Pisa, Florence and Rome with my fellow exchangers here in Italy.

The first place we went was Pisa. Yes, that’s right, I was lucky enough to climb to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa before even turning seventeen (thank you Rotary)!

After a morning and afternoon in Pisa, we got on our bus and headed towards Florence. The hotel we stayed at was comprised of these cabin type structures that housed three to four people. Once morning came around it was time to hit the city. The first thing we did was go to the Uffizi Gallery. I got to see several works from my favorite painter, Caravaggio, as well as works from Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo. The evening followed with some gelato, and then we were headed to Rome.

For the first day in Rome we explored the huge city, visiting several churches, as well as the Trevi Fountain (I got some more gelato of course). The second day in Rome was even more incredible as we were able to see the Colosseum and the ancient Roman Forum. It was like walking back in time. It’s a surreal experience to see photographs of something for your entire life and then to actual be able to see it. The Roman Forum was really something special and I think it’s very underrated. When I was walking through it felt just like a place I would go in a dream, only it wasn’t a dream, it was real! Afterwards we got back on the bus and drove the six hours back to Milan.

After Christmas, I headed up to Bormio, Italy with my host family for the two week break off of school. There wasn’t much snow in Bormio, but when we went up to Livigno, which is at an elevation of nearly six thousand feet, you can imagine there was a lot of snow.

When I was in Bormio I had the chance to play golf with my host grandfather and try snowboarding for the first time. After a few days I was beginning to pick it up, but I fell on my knee and had to retire from my snowboarding career.

For New Years me and my host family had a big dinner in Bormio and watched fireworks. I made friends with some of the kids that were in the same apartment complex as us and we went ice skating and played cards.

In my next journal I’ll talk about the time I went to Venice and how switching host families went.

One final thank you to all the Rotarians and volunteers that make this possible for me and all the other exchange students, and I’m off.

Ciao!

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